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Radical anti-gentrification

Anarchist News - 1 hour 39 min ago

From edíciónes ínédítos

An anti-gentrification strategy which counters the “good local business” to the “bad, ‘gentrifier’ business,” and thus does not question capitalism itself, is a strategy which may garner popular support, but it is one which is ultimately shallow & reformist in nature. It confuses the symptoms of gentrification for the causes. If we take gentrification as an opportunity to truly interrogate what housing means under capitalism for proletarians, we would see that this society will always have us living as close to the edge as possible.

It’s easy to say “Fuck Hipsters” because of their hyper-visibility at the surface/cultural level. But if we are radicals, we have to be able to see beyond the white-tiled cafés, the art galleries which used to be party supply stores and the breweries which used to house manufacturing machines. Gentrification is very much a homogenizing force: every gentrifying city looks like every other gentrifying city but what unites these cities more than a spreading basic aesthetic are the intensifying capitalist social relations which they are a product of. Capitalism ever deepening its teeth into proletarian life.[1]

If we were to remove every ‘gentrifier[2]‘ business from Los Angeles, or any other city in the world, we would still have to pay the rent, go to work and lead a life so disconnected from our own needs & desires.

Of course, a strategy which takes into the consideration the totality of capitalist society is difficult to imagine at the level of everyday life, but if we are radicals then this is part of the dream we must make. Surely we will have to level antagonism towards the shocktroops of gentrification, but like a moldy piece of bread the shocktroops are but the end of a lifecycle of the parasites they are. They go on as contagion, but the deep work happened before their arrival. In the same way, we must look and think deeply. It is not simply “the community” vs “the not-community.” It’s about liberation of those of us under the thumb of capitalism and those who gain from pressing the thumb. And those pressing the thumb are more likely to be local & State government, international financial institutions investing in real estate, the police, local real estate agencies and banks…than those pressing French coffee presses.

Note on the font used in this banner image: this font was recently popularized by White artist, Cali DeWitt when he used this font for merchandise for Kanye West. This was a font first used by Chicanxs in the 80s, most notably on sweaters made to memorialize those recently deceased, often by gang or police violence. Using it here is an act of taking back what a White artist has appropriated for their own financial gain & furthering of their career off of Chicanx pain and cultural innovation.

Lincoln_Heights_funeral_sceneMan in a motorcade funeral procession in Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles shows-off his shirt that reads “FUCK LAPD.” Photo by Gary Leonard (1995).

Lincoln Heights funeral scene

[1] In other words, the intensification of the extraction of profit from the cycle of accumulation under capitalism: an intensification necessary to the very being of capitalism.

[2] Here, we also have to call into question what exactly is a ‘gentrifier’ business. Some would say it is a business run by the ‘gentry’! But what is the ‘gentry’? Is the ‘gentry’ the petit-bourgeoisie? The shopkeeper? If so, then even the small, local, longtime shopkeeper is also the ‘gentry.’ Some say it is a business which tends to promote the forces of gentrification, but in a way most businesses do exactly this by requiring our money in exchange for their commodities and/or services and thus act as a way of impoverishing us., making it harder to pay the rent. Although, often times cultural connections cultivated in ethnic and/or proletarian neighborhoods act as a mask, a cover for the fact that there too does capitalism wield its control.

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Tags: edíciónes ínédítosanti-gentrificationcategory: International
Categories: News

Human of steel: a documentary about anarchist fighter in Rojava

Anarchist News - 1 hour 39 min ago

From Pramen

Greek anarchists from RUIS (Revolutionary Union of International Solidarty) have issued a documentary about martyr Haukur Hillmarson, an Iceland anarchist, who joined the Revolution and died few month ago while defending Afrin.

 

Tags: SyriaRojavaobituaryHaukur Hillmarsonvideocategory: International
Categories: News

The Continuing Obfuscation of Nationalism

Anarchist News - 1 hour 40 min ago

From C4SS by William Gillis

In their call for nuance on the issue of indigenous nationalism, Emmi ends up writing in ways I find quite dangerous,

The nationalism that we oppose is Westphalian. It is neoliberal. It is authoritarian communist. It is anti-cosmopolitan. Its roots are in the sociopathic protection of geographic kin at the expense of those deemed “other” as a means of justifying colonial exploitation and expansionism. The nationalism we oppose is predominantly settler and colonial even if its ideological roots and practices are much older than the modern nation-state.

Sure we oppose those things, but that is hardly the full breadth of what we should oppose about nationalism. In fact the limited condemnation of nationalism here honestly takes my breath away. I would be remiss if in response I didn’t emphasize the militantly individualist insights of anarchism.

Nationalism is bad at root because it is defined by collectivism and segregationism. These can be oppressive even without anything remotely like colonial exploitation and expansionism. Nationalism encourages us to subdivide all minds in the world into arbitrary groups, to identify with, to prioritize, and to reify these groups. One doesn’t have to conquer an out-group in order for that division to do harm. Further the mechanisms by which nationalism usually functions are the valorization of traditions, collective narratives, and ossified relations over the agency of actual individuals. These lurk and reemerge timelessly in human psychology.

Nationalism is a pretty universal tendency of human cognitive biases. A facebook group can fall prey to nationalistic thinking. So can a gaggle of boys heading out to get pizza. And it is certainly not exclusive to modernity or western societies. As radicals we need to work to strike the root, not just some particularly apparent and egregious (ie political) branches. The dominant instantiations of nationalism today are copies of the western colonial model. It is particularly horrific, and especially visible. We must kill it, but hacking off one branch will be useless if some new and different branches can grow back to take their place.

A commune, organization, or club is not necessarily a full fledged outbreak of nationalism, but they are always dangerously on their way. Anarchists can sometimes make a fraught and suspicious peace with such social organisms, but we should always have our individualist daggers sharpened and at the ready.

When you summon a monster to do a task it is your ethical responsibility to keep it from growing too powerful to be banished. This is certainly true when we speak of informal cliques and or things like infoshops. And “too powerful” is not merely a matter of size or armaments. The price to maintain freedom is constant vigilance.

We in the west failed miserably to contain our monsters. They grew with such voracity that they nearly consumed the world, causing unfathomable genocide and devastation. For a long time now we’ve sought to fight the monsters we’d created by summoning more monsters. The relative uniqueness of our experience is a direct appreciation for the ease with which that mistake can be made.

In the 1920s Korean anarchists collaborated with and critically supported nationalists likewise seeking to resist the horrors of Japanese colonialism. They made a simple calculation that anarchist ethical purity was not worth a fractured resistance and that Korean nationalism was of such a different character, informed by a different history and culture, that it would not replicate the same evils seen in western nationalisms. Today nearly every Korean anarchist thinks that collaboration was an embarrassing mistake.

Similar stories can unfortunately be told about myriad underdog nationalisms. More undoubtedly lie in our future.

Today it’s common for indigenous activists to use “nationalism” in self-identification. The conscious embrace of the western term was intended to emphasize an equal status that westerners didn’t recognize with terms like “tribes”. Nationalism is seen as a language and framework that can be appropriated and redefined. Further many see it as one thrust upon them. But unsurprisingly this usage causes a lot of suspicion and ire from anti-nationalists. What has become common in indigenous nationalist rhetoric is a kind of proclamation that their nationalism is so categorically different from westphalian nationalisms as to be impervious to any similar critique. But this just demonstrates an anemic critique of nationalism.

It is understandable for those most directly under the thumb of genocidal machines of dispossession to focus on the most horrific mechanisms, but these ultimately arise from the same core cognitive biases that every human is subject to. The problem of nationalism is most decidedly NOT a recent phenomenon, but an eternal one that we must actively resist on many scales.

Of course a lot of rhetoric that seeks to distinguish “indigenous nationalism” from western nationalism falls back on sweeping and erasing narratives of uniform indigenous experience that denies the variety of cultures and social norms found across the first nations of the western hemisphere not to mention the world. It also collapses the vast diversity of perspectives that I’ve heard from my indigenous friends and comrades. There is unquestionably a vast wealth of insights and socio-cultural technologies in indigenous communities to combat instances of power and nationalism that anarchists would do well to learn from if and when indigenous activists have the time to teach us.

We should of course be nuanced in how we attack nationalism, how we distinguish and interact with expressions of “indigenous nationalism,” and what critiques we prioritize with our time.

But at the same time the usage of certain rhetoric or narratives around “indigenous nationalism” in the broader left constitute a pressing danger to the discourse and many broader struggles. Years ago the radical left finally kicked out indigenous activist Vince Reinhart and his “national-anarchist” entryism once examples of his homophobia and misogyny became too hard to ignore, but these were simply one potential rotten fruit of his nationalist seed.

Critiques that paint such “national-anarchism” as wrong merely because it happens to arise from fascists and align and collaborate with outright neonazis miss the deeper issue. One can still abandon westphalian nationalism, not to mention ethnic constructions, and retain the poison of nationalism. The “national-anarchist” or neoreactionary image of a world broken apart into a patchwork of small discrete tribes or communes is fundamentally at odds with the positive human freedom enabled by the diffuse and fluid interconnection of individuals.

Whenever a discourse turns to fetishizing discrete “communities” the nationalist creep is present. It is not remotely enough that there are no militarized border walls and people can leave voluntarily, because the all encompassing nature of the commune makes such a choice a catastrophic binary. You are either in or you are out. There is, for example, no room for fluid levels of involvement or repositioning between simultaneous multiple communities. When individuals are entirely at the mercy of one community — when their only options beyond it are total exit and restarting in another community — they are left very little counterpower against the tyranny of the collective. Decisions become all or nothings.

When quasi nations like communities, communes, organizations, cliques, and projects do not monopolize you at the exclusion of others you are left with more agency and your more fluid or gradual decisions to associate more or less transmit more information to everyone else. This is hard when one’s community takes discrete spatial forms or is attached to land.

Radical leftists are already way too inclined to retreat to land projects. One of the most pernicious effects that the valorization of certain takes on “indigenous nationalism” has had in broader radical spaces has been the way said veneration becomes justification for this very reactionary model of isolation as well as de facto empowerment of the collective over the individual. What also seems to follow this is a veneration of elders that reinforces ageism and social capital, as well as a focus on tradition and “institutional knowledge” that ends up stifling access and dynamism in myriad ways.

Obviously indigenous communities have had quite varied and rich experiences, and some with longstanding anti-authoritarian inclinations have the benefit of long histories that have shaped and forged better tools for dealing with these failure modes.

But the ethical vigilance of anarchism means that these issues and proposed mechanisms to resolve them deserve explicit detailed critical engagement rather than just “it works” handwaving — at least when adopted by leftists outside of indigenous communities or when championed before outsiders. We are radicals rather than reactionaries (in the truest sense of both terms) precisely because we never accept what is handed down as common sense or tradition from anyone, but seek to consciously break apart, analyze, and have informed agency in such structures.

It is all too easy to fall into the reactionary mode of thinking, to say “these worked for ages so we don’t need to revisit or explicitly defend them.” I for one am certainly guilty of this when I get annoyed at new anarchists who don’t accept positions that have become settled consensus in our networks (like on “non-violence” or “left-unity”). Sometimes the kids want to painfully reinvent the wheel for themselves, but stopping them by venerating received wisdom risks limiting us when there actually is a positive mutation we can adopt. And where there are persistent hidden power dynamics, it risks having them fester.

I am not urging western anarchists to intrude on indigenous activists like some kind of colonial anthropologist to sneer and offer peanut gallery advice from immediate perceptions. Those of us on the outside of any tradition or culture or discourse should generally follow the lead of those anarchists on the inside. Becoming familiar enough with a space to critique in detail productively rather than wasting people’s time is an arduous journey.

But being attentive isn’t the same thing as being an unthinking stooge or turning off our vigilance. Even while we must be cautious in our analysis, our critical support for the YPG or Zapatistas for example should remain critical. Because just as our groups and communities can fuck up and not catch it, so can they, in ways apparent enough to outsiders and worthy of note. Most importantly we must reaffirm, deepen, and strengthen our critiques of nationalism. Trying to tiptoe around indigenous activists by casting our rejection of nationalism as merely a rejection of its westphalian flower is horrifyingly inadequate and dangerous.

A truly radical or anarchist critique of nationalism needs to go so much deeper. It needs to tackle the cognitive biases and emergent social strategies that generate nationalistic tendencies wherever there are humans. It needs to examine network structures of societies to oppose not only discrete land-specific communities, but the oversimplified representations of individual human relations that organizationalism encourages. It needs to say that even social clustering is dangerous and can replicate insularity and power law hierarchies of network connectivity — that individuals should work to develop an expansive net of friends and relations who aren’t incestuously all friends with each other in some closed community.

When fascists came creeping into the counter-globalization movement and said “what we want is what you want: a world of small communes and tribes” that should have been the final wakeup call to anarchists everywhere. The creep shouldn’t have to look like white men with poorly concealed swastika tattoos for us to be concerned about the general ideological failure mode they represent, to learn our lesson. What we want is a distributed interconnected world, not merely one decentralized into little parochial jails.

Pushing back against the limited carrying capacity of their environment, peoples of the great plains sought to transcend and surpass the micronationalisms of tribes, coming together in great cosmopolitan convergences. This attempt to move beyond nationalism is deeply inspiring. Just as there were empires and problematic societies across Turtle Island before the genocides, so too were there myriad projects of human liberation shining through. But it is absolutely and critically imperative that we explicitly recognize that all attempts to kill nationalism are partial. The work of those who share anarchist values is always unfinished.

Nationalism, like statism, is a matter of degree. Something that compounds when left unchecked and grows in often unique but inevitably destructive ways.

There are of course significant differences between variants of “indigenous nationalism,” “global south nationalism,” and the direct colonial settler nationalisms of the west. Many more important subdivisions, distinctions, and addenda are possible. Pragmatism and strategy are frequently called for. Even while anarchists should resolutely say what only those with our aspirational values can say, there is a place for collaboration and holding our tongues.

Even if our historical failure has always been too much and too naive of collaboration with those who do not share our values or radical perspectives fully, I recognize that it is precisely our anti-nationalism that bends us continually back to such. And there is virtue in nuance and attentive listening. One can and should prioritize some critiques or interventions over others.

But in no sense should our critique of nationalism itself ever be watered down or hedged around. The dangers of silencing from our critique or misrepresenting it are severe. When someone says “oh but we only oppose modern western nationalisms” they are giving up the entirety of our radicalism, the root of our critiques, leaving only the barest afterimage. This is dangerous in ways that extend everywhere, opening doors to all sorts of unchecked monstrosity.

Our critiques of nationalism should be nuanced to the present world, its major lines of power and historical context, but they should also damn well be radical. This doesn’t have to be a tradeoff, but if it is made one we shouldn’t ever shy from our values and analysis.

Tags: c4sswilliam gillisnationalismcategory: Essays
Categories: News

The Hotwire #41: October 17, 2018

Anarchist News - 1 hour 40 min ago

From CrimethInc.

Proud Boys assaults—Hurricane Michael autonomous relief—squats and rent strikes

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Full Episode Transcript

Summary

Our features for this Hotwire are interviews about the Proud Boys attacks in New York City and Portland, Oregon, and we have an interview about autonomous relief after Hurricane Michael, which is also seeing organizing from neo-confederate fascists. We have a whirlwind of headlines from around the world, with breast-baring feminists burning barricades in Argentina, squatters from Ireland to Germany, and indigenous resistance in Canada. Connor Stevens of the Cleveland 4 is getting out soon, Jalil Muntaqim could use letters of support for his parole hearing, and we have calls to action from the L’eau Est La Vie anti-pipeline camp, plus much more! Send us news, events, or ideas on how our show can better serve anarchist activity in your town by emailing us at podcast@crimethinc.com.

Notes and Links
  • Table of Contents:
    • Introduction {0:00}
    • Headlines {0:38}
    • Hurricane Michael autonomous relief {6:10}
    • Proud Boys attacks in New York City and Portland, Oregon {16:50}
    • Repression Roundup {33:40}
    • Next Week’s News {39:00}
  • Download 29:30 minutes long version.

  • Upcoming events/demos/etc:
  • Upcoming anarchist book fairs and gatherings:
  • Autonomous Mutual Aid in the wake of Hurricanes Florence and Michael:
  • You can support the East Hamilton rent strike by calling the building’s administrative office at 289–426–3001 and telling them to stop repressing tenant organizing. Alternatively, consider contributing to their GoFundMe to help pay for the filing fees ($190 per tenant) required in Ontario of the strikers when they are issued eviction notices, a common retaliation to rent strikes.

    If you prefer to donate by cheque, please send it to the following address:

    The Hamilton Tenants Solidarity Network

    c/o Hamilton Community Legal Clinic

    Suite #203, 100 Main St. E, Hamilton, Ontario

    L8N 3W4

  • You can support the Seattle GDC’s campaign to get Proud Boy Nicholas Boling fired by calling Boeing’s commercial airplanes division at 206–655–1131 or the plant in Auburn where he works as a fabricator at (253) 931–2121.

    Sample script: “I am calling about Boeing employing Nick Boling, who is a member of the violent hate group the Proud Boys, and has misrepresented himself as being a Boeing test pilot when he assaulted a bartender in Bellingham Washington. Boeing should do the right thing and hold him accountable for his reprehensible behavior.”

  • Abraham Hernandez, a Black Mesa supporter, was arrested in Utah and is currently being held captive at an immigration detention center. Here’s a link to a fundraiser to guarantee Abraham’s safety and intentional protection, to contribute to and/or share!

  • Visit rupression.com for ways to support the eight antifascists currently being held captive and tortured by the Russian state. Ways to support them include: sharing on social media, online and physical letter writing, and monetary donations (including several cryptocurrencies).

  • Connor Stevens, one of the Cleveland 4, is being released as soon as November, and there’s a fundraiser to help get him basic necessities when he is released! Here’s also a Paypal to support the rest of the Cleveland 4.

  • Atlanta Antifascists have announced a new campaign against local white nationalist organizer Casey Jordan Cooper. Casey is attending John Marshall Law School and they’re asking people to call the law school at (678) 916–2600 and express your concern about the white power leader attending their school. Here is a sample script provided in an earlier call to action:

    SHORT SCRIPT: “Why aren’t you doing anything about Casey Cooper’s white supremacist organizing at your school?”

    LONGER SCRIPT: “Hello, I am contacting you about second-year student Casey Jordan Cooper. AJMLS has known for almost a year that Cooper is responsible for making racist death threats. All the evidence is at caseycooperinfo.wordpress.com. You are also aware that Cooper coordinated white power propaganda campaigns on Metro Atlanta campuses. I am deeply concerned by your school’s inaction. Why does AJMLS still view Cooper as fit to study and practice law?

    “I am reminding you that the issue is not just Cooper’s bigoted speech, but Cooper clearly threatening to lynch somebody. Doesn’t helping Cooper on his way to a become a lawyer — where he will have greatly increased power over people’s lives — make further harm likely? How is AJMLS working to repair the damage it has already done, to the broader community and to its own student body? The time has come for AJMLS to do better. Thanks for listening today.”

    EXTRA CREDIT: CONTACT BAR ADMISSIONS

    We also invite you to contact the Office of Bar Admissions for Georgia, supplying them with information on Casey Jordan Cooper’s conduct. Explain that Cooper is currently in law school but that his white power harassment and death threats reveal that he cannot be trustworthy and reliable as lawyer in the future. This information should be kept on file and Cooper should be denied admission to the bar.

    Office of Bar Admissions

    244 Washington Street, SW

    Suite 440

    Atlanta, GA 30334

    404–656–3490

    gabaradmissions.org/contact

  • Anarchist prisoner Eric King, who is in lock-up at Leavenworth Federal Prison, was recently thrown into the SHU. It is unclear how long he will be there and could really use some extra support! He has new mail restrictions-all paper has to plain white or lined notebook paper, envelopes have to be straight white or manila, and he is unable to receive cards. To find out more visit supportericking.org.

  • Jalil Muntaquim needs letters of support to get home on parole. Address letters to:

    Senior Offender Rehabilitation Coordinator

    Sullivan Correctional Facility

    325 Riverside Drive

    Fallsburg, New York 12733

    BUT SEND TO:

    Nora Carroll

    The Parole Preparation Project

    168 Canal Street, 6th Floor

    New York, NY 10013

    The subject line should be “Anthony Bottom 77-A–4283”

    For more instructions, go here.

  • Itsgoingdown.org, one of our favorite online sources for anarchist and resistance news, is launching a fundraising campaign to ensure they can keep funding all their bad ass (and important!) revolutionary projects, visit itsgoingdown.org to donate or find out other ways you can support their very important work.

  • Court support will be needed in the coming months for the Vaughn 17. Two of the rebels are defending themselves pro se and they could use all the support they can get! Email revolutionaryabolitionistmovement@protonmail.com to plug in.

  • There is a call out from L’eau Est La Vie camp to protest banks who are invested in the Bayou Bridge pipeline. The project is funded by a whole slew of banks that are holding employment recruitment events at colleges across the country this fall. L’eau Est La Vie is calling for people to gather their affinity groups and disrupt these recruitment events! Visit nobbp.org or read the full call on itsgoingdown.org.

  • Sales are now OPEN for the 2019 Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners calendar! The theme of next year’s calendar is Health/Care, and it features art and writing from current and former political prisoners like David Gilbert, Mike and Chuck Africa, and Laura Whitehorn. If you buy 10 or more, be sure to use the discount code “BULK” to get 10 or more calendars for $10 each—you can then sell the calendars to fundraise for your own organizing. Orders start shipping September 10!

  • Use this straightforward guide to writing prisoners from New York City Anarchist Black Cross to write
    birthday greetings to Jalil Muntaqim:

    Jalil Muntaqim (Anthony Jalil Bottom)

    #77-A–4283

    Sullivan Correctional Facility

    Post Office Box 116

    Fallsburg, New York 12733–0116

    Address envelope to Anthony Bottom, address card to Jalil

    {Birthday: October 18}

  • We have a Twitter! Follow @HotwireWeekly and send us news that we should include in the show.

  • CORRECTIONS & CLARIFICATIONS:
    • In Hotwire #40 Riot Dogg said that Laquan was murdered in 2015. He was shot on October 20, 2014. Also, a second degree murder charge in Illinois carries 4 to 20 years, with no mandatory time served. Each account of aggravated assault with a firearm carries a minimum of 6 years, with a max of 30. 85% of time must be served in the state of Illinois. That means if Officer Van Dyke gets the minimum 6 years for all 16 counts it’s a total of 96 years. 85 percent of that is 81.6 so that should be the minimum.

Tags: Crimethinc.the hotwirepodcastcategory: Projects
Categories: News

Update on EK in the SHU

Anarchist News - 1 hour 41 min ago

From Support Eric King

A quick update since Eric is still in the Specialized Housing Unit (SHU, segregation) and it is unknown how long he will be there. He still hasn’t received a write-up nor has he been brought up on charges, but is facing a precarious situation. Eric also has some new rules regarding mail. All paper has to be plain white or regular lined notebook paper. Envelopes have to be straight white or manila if sending something larger. Eric is also unable to receive cards.

As folx know Eric has been through a lot of trauma recently and really could use support through mail and always always books. He was pretty badly hurt, he misses his family and really needs the community right now. Eric is so grateful for all the support, letters, and books he has received so far. We in the support crew are so appreciative of people showing our friend the love!

Please keep Eric in your mind and heart, these are hard times and our friend will need a ton of solidarity and help in the coming months.

You can find his Amazon wish-list here: http://a.co/gUbDsYs

Eric King # 27090045
USP LEAVENWORTH
P.O. BOX 1000
LEAVENWORTH, KS 66048

As always, until all are free-

EK Support Crew

Tags: Eric Kinganarchists in troublecategory: Prisoners
Categories: News

Dispatch on Brazil: Interview with Hugo Souza

Anarchist News - 1 hour 41 min ago

From Black Rose Anarchist Federation

We present an interview with Brazlian anarchist militant Hugo Souza with his opinions on the current situation and advice for leftists in the US. As Brazil is rocked by economic recession, parliamentary coups and scandals, into the void has stepped far right-wing presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro. Winning the first found of voting earlier this month Bolsonaro is headed to the second round on October 28 where he will face off against the Workers Party (PT) candidate Fernando Haddad. Often compared to Trump, Bolsonaro is actually far more dangerous with a much more coherent and reactionary ideology and in praise for torture and Brazil’s previous military dictatorship.

We also recommend the statement by Brazilian anarchists “The Claws of Empire, the Rise of Fascism: Brazilian Anarchist Statement on Bolsonaro.” For those in New York City, Black Rose/Rosa Negra – NYC will be hosting an event with speakers from Brazil on Saturday, October 20, details here.

This interview was conducted by Amelia Davenport and has been republished from the online publication Cosmonaut. To clarify language and references that may be unfamiliar to a US audience we have added reference notes at the end.

Amelia Davenport: So to start, can you introduce yourself?

Hugo Souza: My name is Hugo Souza, I’m a leftist from Brazil who belonged to an anarchist collective for a couple years and self-identified as a Marxist-Leninist for a decade before that.

AD: What anarchist collective were you involved with?

HS: Coletivo Mineiro Popular Anarquista, Compa, a branch of CAB (Coordenação Anarquista Brasileira – Brazilian Anarchist Coordination) which organizes in the especifista/platformist group Anarkismo.

AD: So what sort of organizing work did you do with them?

HS: I was a member of 3 movements. The first was MPL, or Movimento Passe Livre, which was an organization that sought to fight mercantilization of public transport and promotes a self-managed, horizontal, cooperatively run model of public transportation. It was federated itself nationally and the Sao Paulo branch started the June 2013 protests.

I was also a member of MOB, Movimento de Organização de Base, which is a community organizing group also nationally federated that promotes community organizing. They mostly deal with illegal settlements, which are the initial stages of slums but not exclusively.

Last, I was a member of the Committee for Solidarity with the Popular Kurdish Resistance, which sought to bring awareness to the Kurdish cause.

In these three movements I took organizing roles, such as helping set up meetings, protests and such, took media roles, such as creating websites, facebook pages and publicity pieces in general, helped shape, reshape, found and design multiple organizations and also had a diplomatic role inside CAB and with regard to other organizations in Brazil as well.

AD: You also helped organize a publication is that correct?

HS: You mean elcoyote.org? I came up with the concept and set it up, I even translated some texts, but even though the website is technically mine I only do maintenance work nowadays.

Political Situation in Brazil

AD: Shifting gears a bit, what do you make of the general state of politics in Brazil?

HS: Worrisome. We are going to have a fascist elected in a couple weeks.

AD: Brazil had previously been considered a part of the ‘Pink Tide’. What do you think changed to shift the electorate so far to the right?

HS: A combination of multiple factors. I believe the main one is a perception of an economic and moral crisis that was hammered by the media and the judicial caste, which portrayed the Worker’s Party (PT) as responsible for everything wrong in people’s lives. The media bombarded the public with negative information about the Worker’s Party. This fostered a sentiment known as ‘anti-petismo’ here. [1] Neoliberal authors claim PT mismanaged the economy and public companies like the oil giant Petrobras. Petrobras is a matter of pride in Brazil since a nationalist campaign in mid 20th century called ‘the oil is ours’ made the issue crystalized in the public’s’ mind. PT was accused of robbing the government, trying to ‘Mexicanize’ (institute a PRI like dominance) Brazilian politics and hire their cronies to positions within the state. [2]

People, in general, are afraid of Brazil becoming a new Venezuela, even though that is decidedly not the Worker’s Party intent, and there are also conspiracy theories about a sort of tropical Soviet Union known as ‘URSAL’ which are widespread.

The scenario shifted gradually from pro-PT views to anti-PT, with the help of groups trained and funded by Steve Bannon and the Koch Brothers, decidedly through Whatsapp fake news posting. They created a sense of impending doom and presented a messiah to solve all the country’s issues: Jair Messias Bolsonaro. There is a history of messianic beliefs in Brazil dating back to the Portuguese Empire when a Portuguese king disappeared fighting the Moors and Portugal ended up being ruled by Spain. In the resulting power struggle, the Portuguese establishment tried to fight it by creating a “king in the mountain” lore. It is a phenomenon culturally relevant to the entire Lusophone world, known as Sebastianism. Sebastianism had a clear manifestation in a monarchist insurgency of poorer people in the 19th century against the newly established republic. In the 19th Century, they thought the lost king would return to save Brazil. The first choice for vice president for Bolsonaro was the ‘heir Prince of the Brazilian monarchy’, but he declined. Brazilians have a weird combination of an anti-authoritarian outlook in life with an acceptance of an authoritarian delegation of a carte blanche for politicians to do as they please as long as there are results.

AD: So you’re saying that a big factor here is a political belief in a Messiah figure. Did Lula play a similar role in the past?

HS: Yeah. The judicial caste sought to punish the Worker’s Party disproportionately, even arresting Lula without non-circumstantial evidence, and tarnished Lula’s image gradually. Lula still has such an image in the northeast of the country, but I believe in most of the country he is more rejected than supported, which does not mean he has little support nationally.

Role of the Workers Party (PT)

AD: What sort of response is PT mounting to Bolsonaro?

HS: Ciro Gomes was polling ahead of Bolsonaro. The PT response was to delay their candidacy as much as possible to 1 month before the election by making a bogus ballot with Lula as president, considering there is a constitutional amendment saying people with convictions are ineligible for 8 years I think, passed by PT itself, and spreading the word people should vote on whomever Lula decided.

Best case scenario they were relying on vote transfers to happen fast and there would be no time for a counter campaign, worst case scenario and my actual opinion is that they knew they could not win and were only competing with the Ciro Gomes campaign for a spot in the second bout of elections so they could lead the opposition and not lose hegemony as their right-winged rival PSDB did.

They sabotaged Ciro Gomes campaign by alienating parties from his campaign and fighting internal PT members who considered the thought of allying with him in the elections. We estimate PT controlled unions will become more radicalized again once they have to fight for their lives, but only to a certain point. PT has a good number of congressmen overall, enough to be a nuisance to a Bolsonaro presidency.

AD: If PT does not have an interest in socialism, either of the Bolivarian model or the old Soviet one, why are the Brazilian media and political establishment so hell-bent on their destruction?

HS: PT is currently dominated by Lula’s current which is similar to British New Labour in outlook, but there are more radical elements with no expression within the Worker’s Party. They also have a history of radical rhetoric so the establishment can frame it that way. And the Brazilian establishment does not wish to cede an inch of privilege. They are literally bothered by poor people on airplanes.

AD: So the issue is not preserving capitalism but rather the position of established old money?

HS: No. PT has support from some of the oldest money there is. Agrarian elite, banks, international manufacturers…the Brazilian middle class does not wish to share places with people who were poorer before. Brazil before Lula had the worst GINI coefficient in the world, Lula changed it with very little effort, they invested more in photocopies than in social programmes and people thought they were bankrupting the country with welfare programmes. People were bothered with the ascension of the dirt poor to a less poor status. … Literally bothered they were able to go to university and buy airline tickets.

Rise of Reaction

AD: So it’s a reaction of the middle classes then? Would that be small and medium business owners or professionals in Brazil?

HS: Liberal professionals, medium business owners, a varied class. But small businesses are mostly proletarianized.

AD: Why do you think that the Haute Bourgeoisie [upper class] backs PT despite their anti-elite rhetoric, and the liberal professionals back Bolsonaro despite his rhetoric against the “establishment” they seem to make up?

HS: The haute is divided. Some of it made more money than ever during PT, and is resilient about Bolsonaro, other parts of it embraced full-blown fascism because they can make more money. The middle classes think this crisis is PT’s fault. This section thinks it can make more.

AD: Interesting. What sort of response has the left given so far?

HS: They are making meetings all over the country, broad left meetings, to discuss strategy and support the Haddad campaign in neighborhoods. But I believe it will not be enough. The Brazilian left abandoned a long time ago base work, and Pentecostals started doing it. The main Pentecostal leader in Brazil supports Bolsonaro and has put the weight of his church behind him

AD: Oftentimes the rise of fascism is accompanied by street violence. Has that happened much in Brazil?

HS: Yes.

AD: Is it organized or mostly “lone wolf attacks”

HS: There are hundreds of reported cases of LGBTQ+, women, black people and merely people with the #elenão hashtag on their bodies being attacked by Bolsonaro supporters. 3 Bolsonaro supporters carved a swastika on a woman with an #elenão bottom’s belly and the police claimed it was a Buddhist symbol. A woman was spray painting the hashtag #elenão near her place and got arrested, the police immobilized her violently took her to the station cuffed her from behind stripped her naked and told she’d only get out if she apologized and said ‘Ele Sim’ (slogan of Bolsonaro campaign). So there are lone wolf attacks, far right groups doing it and sometimes the police do it or cover it up, like in the Marielle case of which we suspect a police hit squad did it for 50k USD.

Master Moa do Katende, capoeira master, was stabbed 12 times in a bar after declaring he was not going to vote for Bolsonaro.

AD: So the police are firmly in Bolsonaro’s camp. What about the Gendarmes?

HS: We refer to the gendarmes as police here. The entire police military establishment is in Bolsonaro’s camp and he has connections to cop mafias in Rio known as milicias (militias).

AD: Does the left have any armed street presence?

HS: None. Gun control is really restrictive here.

AD: What about unarmed street defense?

HS: Leftist Brazilians are mostly hippies. Unions and some social movements have security though.

AD: There are some groups that have talked about base building on the Brazilian left like the Brigadas Populares. Have they been successful? If not, why so in your view?

HS: They have been successful with their proposal that was dealing with illegal settlements, but this right winged wave swore to sweep settlements down.

AD: Illegal Settlements?

HS: Yes. Proto-slums. Bunch of people invade a property and build houses. We call them occupations

AD: How did the Brigades relate to them?

HS: They mostly do the judicial aspect of their defense, but some Brigadas members in my city have criminal lawsuits on them accusing them of planning such settlements.

AD: So you’ve said the Brazilian left has mostly focused on the Haddad election campaign but that this won’t be enough. What do you think needs to be done?

HS: First I think the Worker’s Party and specifically Lula’s current needs to go. I will never forgive them for trying to blackmail the country into voting and supporting them with the threat of fascism. Second, the left needs to get back to doing base work and organize itself in perhaps a new formation without the vices of the old one. Brazilians will suffer a lot in the coming years, but maybe hard times can make harder people.

AD: Will it be possible to do the necessary work under fascism?

HS: It was possible in the dictatorship and it is possible now, the left just needs to get smarter, more organized and set their eyes on community organizing.

AD: Which groups would you identify with having the best chance of returning to community organizing? Or do you think entirely new formations are needed?

HS: Some groups like Brigadas, PCR, and CAB already do it, they could expand or a new formation could arise. I don’t know.

AD: As an American, Brazilian politics seem remote, is there anything you think left formations here could do to support the movement there?

HS: Funnelling money to organizations you choose and perhaps helping out refugees, although I’m not sure if that is possible under Trump. The Brazilian left desperately needs training in diverse skills too, such as digital marketing.

Advice for US Leftists

AD: Okay last question, do you have any advice for American communists and radicals dealing with conditions under Trump?

HS: The biggest lesson in both Trump and Bolsonaro is that people do not necessarily prefer centrist candidates over right or left ones. Moderation does not please more people. The right is not afraid to radicalize. Do not fear that either. Radicalize.

AD: Well put. Thanks so much for taking the time to be interviewed Do you have anything else you’d like to add?

HS: Yes. Bolsonaro is projecting himself as a new Pinochet. Neoliberals are siding with him over that. His minister of the economy will be a famous neoliberal economist and have free reign. There is a small chance the Worker’s Party wins. A recent poll was a technical tie of 52-48%. 3 million voters mostly in the Northeast which is a PT stronghold had their voting card nullified because they didn’t register their biometric information, and those 3 million were the difference for PT in the last election, so PT would have to turn even more the tide. Assuming PT wins, there is a risk of a full-blown military coup, already announced by many partisans of Bolsonaro including his vice president who is a retired military general.

To read more on the political situation in Brazil we recommend “Interview on the Assassination of Marielle Franco” and a statement by the CAB “Marielle Franco, Presente! – Political Murder and State Terrorism in Brazil.”

Notes

1. “Petismo” is the phonetic pronunciation of “PT,” acronym for Partido dos Trabalhadores or Workers Party, combined with “-ismo” or “ism.” The PT is the social democratic party that came to power in Brazil with the election of former union leader Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known as “Lula,” to the presidency in 2002.

2. The PRI, Partido Revolucionario Institucional or Institutional Revolutionary Party, was founded after the Mexican Revolution and held uninterrupted power in the country for most of the 20th century until 2000. While Mexico remains ostensibly a republic with democratic elections, the PRI was known for maintaining a semi-authoritarian rule through clientelism, domination of all aspects of the state and corruption.

Tags: BrasilBlack Rose Anarchist FederationInterviewthe statecategory: International
Categories: News

The Claws of Empire, the Rise of Fascism

Anarchist News - 1 hour 42 min ago

From Black Rose Anarchist Federation

Brazilian Anarchist Statement on Bolsonaro

What follows is translated statement by our comrades in Brazil on the current and politically urgent situation in Brazil. As Brazil is rocked by economic recession, parliamentary coups and scandals, into the void has stepped far right-wing presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro. Winning the first found of voting earlier this month Bolsonaro is headed to the second round on October 28 where he will face off against the Workers Party (PT) candidate Fernando Haddad. Often compared to Trump, Bolsonaro is actually far more dangerous with a much more coherent and reactionary ideology and in praise for torture and Brazil’s previous military dictatorship.

To clarify language and references that may be unfamiliar to a US audience we have added reference notes at the end. The original statement, titled “Statement on the Current Class Struggle scenario in Brazil,” can be found here and in Spanish translation here. We also recommend an interview on the situation with Brazilian anarchist Hugo Souza. For those in New York City, Black Rose/Rosa Negra – NYC will be hosting an event with speakers from Brazil on Saturday, October 20, details here.


By Coordenação Anarquista Brasileira (Brazilian Anarchist Coordination)


The current Brazilian political scenario requires a lot of lucidity and coolness for all popular organizers and their analysis of reality. We of Coordenação Anarquista Brasileira (Brazilian Anarchist Coordination), modestly, seek to give our contribution to the understanding of the convulsing social and political situation, which is defined by the legal-parliamentary coup that deposed Worker’s Party (PT) President Dilma Rousseff from office. We recently experienced the breakdown of the so-called New Republic agreement from 1988. [1] This pact maintained social exclusion of those at the bottom, at the same time it guaranteed minimum legal rights, in a coalition involving bourgeois politicians, corporations, the armed forces and part of the reformist sectors of the Left.

The construction of the Brazilian State, however, has always been closer to the interests of the imperialist shift powers than to its own population. The State has always criminalized the poor as a norm of institutionalized bourgeois democracy. The PT led governments since Lula have increased the criminal machine of public order operated by the entire legislative and judicial apparatus, reproducing the super-incarceration of the poor and Black population, as well as sustaining a repressive apparatus that attacks social struggles.

The so-called pact of class reconciliation was broken and the collaborationist agenda [of social compromise] was torn apart to be replaced by an agenda of financialized capitalism. These have replaced things such as social rights, relative freedoms and public services, which we should remember were historical achievements of popular movements.

The Empire Shows Its Claws

We cannot understand the current historical moment in our country isolated from the geopolitical reality of the Latin American continent. We need to calibrate our analytical tools and better locate Brazil as a peripheral nation within the world-system to understand what is at stake. The country has continued to maintain its primary industry of agro-exports and has aligned itself with the IIRSA Plan (Initiative for the Integration of South American Regional Infrastructure, now called COSIPLAN). [2] This plan sought to maximise the exploitation of our natural resources and speed up the process of supplying international markets to the benefit transnational corporations.This plan is a new offensive aligned with free-trade treaties established between United States and countries in the region. It’s an attempt to expand the neoliberal model in South America, supported by progressive and center-left governments.

The crisis of 2008 created major difficulties for the US to maintain their international agenda, which since the fall of The Twin Towers [the WTC 9/11 attack], began to present as the main objective the guarantee of their global hegemony which is evident by numerous aggressive military interventions by the empire. It’s also evident that imperialism guides itself by the idea that “where Brazil goes, Latin America will go as well.” It’s clear our continent, Latin America, is seen as a strategic reserve of resources (political, natural, energy) for the use of US, which makes the political situation of Brazil so important to Washington.

The coup of 2016 did not only disassemble the small gains from the previous period as it made the financial and international control of the national economy stronger, by purchasing “assets.” These adjustments are required to be made by the judicial class, especially the judges themselves, which can be seen by the fact the Lava-Jato investigation [3] is aligned with imperialism, by using the strategy of lawfare. [4] It also increases the control of infrastructure, renewable energies, service, health and education by North-American and Chinese corporations. In regards to oil, 13 multinationals have already appropriated 75 % of the pre-salt [oil below the ocean surface], especially, Shell and BP, whose last auction rounds took place in October this year. From a political point of view, the action of imperialism is to disrupt any possibility of the Brazilian situation (even if it’s governed by a center-left reformist government) to represent any threat to its interests at continental level. It is important to clarify that the outcome of the current electoral race will significantly impact the crises of Venezuelan regime, possibly contributing to political destabilization, or even the possibility of military intervention.

The New National Security Doctrine: Politics and Threats of the Military

It must be pointed out that some years ago, while under Lula’s Workers Party government, a new National Security Doctrine was inaugurated with General Etchegoyen of the Brazilian armed forces [appointed as Secretary of Security by Temer]. This doctrine sees groups linked to drug trafficking, human rights or environmental NGOs, “ideological” government agencies, and social movements linked to a left vision as being new internal enemies. Other elements of this doctrine is the emptying of the role of university and research, a tougher stance of the penal code, continuity and expansion of mass incarceration, and adoption of counter-espionage measures. The doctrine uses means of social communication control, the spread of rumors, discrediting of accusers and the use of false documents. The promotion of strikes, road closures, occupation of lands and buildings and the struggle for social rights for political minorities are characterised as “terrorist actions.”

It was this new doctrine responsible for the anti-terrorism bill approved by Dilma. Its goal was to create a new pact, a “new democracy,” where the military play an active role in the geopolitics of the continent and national politics.

To summarize: The “Democratic State of Law” [5] is mounted on top of a state of exception for the “dangerous classes ” is now in the process of reconfiguration in the power plays of the dominant classes (in some places, the narco-state), and makes it emergence from reasons interior to the state and its relations with the interests of imperialism. Under these circumstances, reaction factors operate as a police State. An adjustment that cuts so deep into the flesh of the people and deeply increased the ambitions of the capitalist class and its lackeys, sooner or later, calls security in their favor and extends the space of the exception to redefine the normality of the system.

The Center-Left Bets All Their Chips At the Polls

The Brazilian left and center-left bet their luck at the ballot box expecting bourgeois democracy to come to their rescue, protect their rights, and limit the strangle and defeat of imperialism. While the system lifts the gun sight and wears the toga or the uniform to exercise power, it is always with support from the US government. The opposition movements on the left which emerged after the legal-parliamentary coup, and which took the streets, now unfortunately enters into this pragmatic logic of the state and government, where the enemy of the far right-wing would be supposedly won by the ballot box and vote.

The center-left strives to channel these efforts into electoral build-up by spending all its energy with the institutional dispute and the rotten game of electoral parties, to the detriment of class struggle. The Brazilian political scene is tainted by the fraud of a representation which for the bourgeois liberals has always been a mechanism of usurpation of collective forces and common goods by the powerful will of minorities. But we know that the system twists the constitution and melts the rule of law when it comes to defending the interests of its dominant classes.

We must build a long-term work that points out the unions and popular organizations as the most correct alternative for the people to defend their rights and participate in political life and by deepening direct democracy, repudiating the reconciliation of classes, and giving combat without truce to proto-fascism.

Proto-Fascism as a Super-Dose of the Elite Program

Such configuration of political power is also supported by propaganda tactics and direct action from reactionary sectors and ideologically affiliated groups on the far right which are generally backed by law enforcement. A factor that gains incidence in the streets and that everything suggests that it will grow, making space for its agents to repress the national political scene and align it with what is happening at continental level.

But there is more. Coming together with this is economic frustration, the failure of political solutions through representation, and the destabilization of values associated with positions of power in family, culture, and education. We also see a conservative subjective production which uses religious evangelicals as a popular base for distribution. This new right transitioned from anti-PT rhetoric to a radicalized anti-political and anti-system rhetoric, setting itself up as a right that does not speak only to the elites, but also to the popular and peripheral sectors. They act in the social vacuum left by the center-left, which puts itself only in defense of bourgeois democracy.

The despicable figure of Bolsonaro is part of this attempt to deepen the destruction of social rights and the patriarchal violence against women, LGBT, indigenous, Blacks and maroons. Violence that materialized in several attacks throughout the country lead by Bolsonaro supporters, among which one that resulted in the brutal murder of Capoeira Master Moa of Katendê in Salvador. [6] Far from minimizing the barbarity that Bolsonaro represents, it is necessary to place him within the logic of the application of the adjustment [neoliberalism], of the imperialist recolonialization of the country at a faster pace than it would be under a center-left government.

The Polls Do Not Beat Imperialism, Tax Adjustment and Proto-Fascism!

The result of the elections therefore does not solve the complex context posed by the correlation of forces opposed to the working class. All scenarios only serve to deepen the class struggle and against oppression. The “useful vote” against the Bolsonaro sheet makes at most an extension, leading to a “third shift” that will not be decided at the polls. The struggle is long-term to build a class and mass alternative that does not surrender to the reasons of state, governability and agreements subordinate to the empire.But it must also be a social force capable of defeating the bourgeoisie, imperialism and its attacks.

Our class flags need to be lifted up at this time of proto-FASCIST AND NEOLIBERAL ATTACK. We must not succumb to the panic and fear caused by the reactionary elites. Our role is to actively resist, strengthen class solidarity, ensure the fight in the streets, and the permanent mobilization of from below!

Therefore, We Defend:
  • Unity of anti-fascism beyond the polls, at the base level and on the streets – struggle is what will define it. The unity will take place in action and mobilizations against the neoliberal attacks and the barbarity promoted by Bolsonaro and his supporters.
  • Fight for social rights. Fight against privatization and attacks on the bottom. Fight against attacks on education, welfare reform, fight against rising cost of living, criminalization of social movements and the process of genocide of the Black, peripheral and indigenous people.
  • Building of a general strike against the advancement of fascism and the attacks on the rights of the workers which is the agenda of imperialism of the next period and of the business elites and independent policies of the elections.

The Strength of the People Can Stop Fascism!
Against the Neoliberal Barbarism, Struggle and Organize!

To read more on the political situation in Brazil we recommend “Interview on the Assassination of Marielle Franco” and a statement by the CAB “Marielle Franco, Presente! – Political Murder and State Terrorism in Brazil.”

Notes
  1. 1988 is the year Brazil’s constitution was approved after the end of the military dictatorship which began in 1964 and lasted over 20 years.
  2. The Initiative for the Integration of South American Regional Infrastructure (IISAR), now called COSIPLAN, regional development and integration plan to create regional infrastructure such as major highways often facilitate the growth of extractive industries. The effort is similar to Plan Pueblo-Panama in Mexico and Central America.
  3. The Lava-Jato or “Car Wash” scandal was an investigation into political corruption involving numerous high profile politicians.
  4. Lawfare, a term combining law and warfare, the use of law for warfare.
  5. “Democratic State of Law” in Brazil is similar to the US concept of “the rule of law” – a condition whereby laws and rights are respected by individuals and the government.
  6. Master Moa was Black capoeira instructor who was stabbed to death by a supporter of Bolsonaro after he participated in a public forum and supported the PT candidate.

Tags: BrasilBlack Rose Anarchist Federationthe statecategory: Essays
Categories: News

TOTW: A Rose is a Rose

Anarchist News - 7 hours 5 min ago

“'Tis but thy name that is my enemy; Thou art thyself, though not a Montague. What's Montague? It is [not] foot, Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part… Belonging to a man. O, be some other name! What's in a name? That which we call a rose… By any other word would smell as sweet; So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd, Retain that dear perfection which he owes without that title. Romeo, doff thy name, And for that name which is no part of thee Take all myself.” –Romeo & Juliet

The message is the prototype not the platform. The word itself appears to carry great weight, but upon its conveyance it is discovered to carry little substance. Anarchist, a word meant to communicate great meaning finds itself, in practice, lost on definition.

Monks have a saying. If you see Buddha in the street, kill him. Do not allow someone to define your practice for you. Your practice is yours alone.

To “Kill King Abacus” and live a personal anarchism that acknowledges many anarchisms, not just one, is to adopt a life without certainty. Without a prescribed anarchism, one which exists through the piety of its priests, what is left?

What is this word, anarchism? What purpose does it serve?

If we are not attempting to build movements, ideologies, dichotomies, then what use are the letters together?

Unless we hope to secure and enforce a particular definition, and we in fact value the liberty of the individual, then what value remains in a flag—black or otherwise?

If there is nothing uniform about anarchism then what makes us anarchists?

Tags: totwghostsadoptiondiasporacategory: Other
Categories: News

Charges Dropped Against Defendants from Charlotte Uprising

Unicorn Riot - 7 hours 45 min ago
Charlotte, NC – Over a hundred people were arrested following protests over the police killing of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte in 2016. Activists argue that mass arrests were made, and charges were filed, in an attempt to get people off of the streets during…

The post Charges Dropped Against Defendants from Charlotte Uprising appeared first on UNICORN RIOT.

Categories: News

October 2018 B(A)DNews: Angry Voices From Around The World

Anarchist News - Sun, 10/21/2018 - 18:49

From The Final Straw Radio

This month on B(A)DNews: Angry Voices From Around The World, participants in the A-Radio Network provide you with the news & views from our homes for the month of October, 2018.

You can hear the audio by clicking this link to the mp3 or you can play or download the audio directly from Archive.Org here alongside the English-language transcript (linked soon).

Contents

music1 (oma hans “ihr Mörder”) 5:28,7 – 8:20,0

  • Radio Kurruf (conception/chile) 8:20,0 – 17:14,0 :
    • report about the struggles caused by enviromental/health issues in the qintero-area in chile

music 2 (lumpen) 17:21,0 – 21:03,0

  • Radio Dissident Island (london) 21:03,0 – 37:25,0 :
    • court against 15 anti deportation activists –
    • Sounds from outside Chelmsford Crown Court, Essex, England on the first morning of the trail of 15 anti-deportation activists for ‘terrorism’ related offences

music 3 -part1 (gather “total liberation”) 37:25,5 – 39:15,0

  • A-Radio Berlin (berlin) :
    • conversation about the new police law in germany

music 3 – part2 (gather “total liberation”) 45:04,0 – 46:19,0

  • The Final Straw Radio (north carolina) 46:19,0 – 56:29,0 :
    • interview with Vanessa Bolin who is an indigenous artist, community organizer, and activist about the flood rescue and rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Florence in Lumberton, North Carolina

music 4 (tribade “mujeres”) 56:29,0 – 1:00:13,0

  • Črna Luknja (slovenia) 1:00:20,0 – 1:10:21,10 :
    • conversation with comrades from cluj, in romania, about general anarchist situation, important topics for the movement there and about initiatives in city of cluj with special attention to the newly established printing collective.

mod2 – 1:10:22,0 -1:11:35,5

Please send feedback and comments to: a-radio-network/at/riseup(.)net

And more content is available at https://www.a-radio.network.org

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Tags: podcastb(a)d newsThe Final Strawa-radio networka-radio Berlincategory: Projects
Categories: News

What It Takes to Build an Anarchist Desert Town

Anarchist News - Sun, 10/21/2018 - 18:38

From Atlas Obscura

In Slab City, the public library has no due dates and no library cards. The books are organized by section, but not alphabetized. In this anarchist squatter town in California’s Sonoran Desert, established on the empty foundations of a military camp created in the 1940s, the library runs on donations and good will, and if you want to borrow a book, go ahead.

“I decided to honor the anarchist library rules,” says Cornelius Vango, an “anarchist librarian and career tramp.” “I didn’t want people to feel any reason not to take a book. A lot of people are passing through and will never be coming back.”


People use what they can.

The current incarnation of the library came to life about four years ago, when Vango moved in. “I had been coming to Slab City for years, and I had never heard of the library,” they say. It had been founded by a woman who went by Rosalie, a librarian by trade, who died in 2003. Her grave is just outside the library. The year before Vango took on the project, a few people had tried to revive it, but the next season the library was in worse shape than before. People had taken the good books, but no one wanted to add new ones because the place wasn’t being cared for. Encouraged by others in town, Vango started rebuilding through salvage and donations. Today the library has thousands of books, divided into fiction and nonfiction sections.

“We’re out in the desert, and there are no building codes,” they say. “I can live how I want, and I can make the library how I want to.”


“All caps, fifteen inches high, the careful lettering defends as it also names—OCCUPIED—branding shelter as house and home.”

No one’s ever written a full history of Slab City; it’d be impossible. In a new book Slab City: Dispatches from the Last Free Place, architectural scholar Charlie Hailey gathers some fragments to begin to piece together this past. A survey in 1902 that parceled the land into one of California’s places for “free public common schools.” The establishment of the distinctive concrete slabs, in May 1942, as foundations for a Marines training base. A survey of RVs and travel trailers that started in 1980 and went through 1997, with a peak population of 872 rigs in January 1992.

Hailey, who is a licensed architect and teaches at the University of Florida, has made a study of camps, or any places that muddy the lines of temporary and permanent settlement. Slab City, he found, is unique in the way it taps into three key aspects of camps—autonomy, necessity, and control (or, put another way, desire, need, and power). Slab City’s been called the “last free place,” but that doesn’t make it an easy place to live. “Freedom is something you really have to work at,” Hailey says. “And the people who are living there are putting themselves in a situation where they really have to work at it.”


Slab City is on public land, but there are boundaries.

Even though it is mercurial, there’s been plenty written about Slab City and plenty of photos taken of its residents. “Slabbers,” as they call themselves, also tell their own stories. On Vango’s YouTube page, you can watch a mini-doc “by a Slabber for Slabbers,” take a tour of the library, see what it takes to survive the brutal desert summers, or peek in on live-streamed bar sessions.


A Slab City road.

In the new book, Hailey and his collaborator, photographer Donovan Wylie, focus on the architecture of the place: the town’s layout, its boundaries, its infrastructure, and the sites people built within the constraints of an anarchist desert city. Building materials are mostly limited to salvage and the desert climate is harsh, but Hailey sees the making of places like this as an important expression of freedom. “They can build whatever they choose to build,” he says.


Slab City has a pet cemetery.

In the book, Hailey and Wylie visit Vango’s library. “There’s no door because the library never closes,” they note. But the library also can’t close, in a sense. According to the rules of Slabs, says Vango, “You need to occupy a space for it to be yours. If you don’t occupy it, people can come in and take your shit.” If Vango left the library for the summer, for instance, when the desert’s so hot that the population of Slab City drops dramatically, the place would be looted.

This is one of the contradictions of Slab City. There’s freedom, but it has an edge. “In a certain sense, it’s hidden,” says Hailey. “It’s really remote. But it’s also a place of exposure. Everything is exposed there.”

But it’s not a lawless place, exactly. “A lot of people come to Slab City and think they can act however they want without consequence,” says Vango. “It’s a community, and you need to respect people like you would anywhere else. The library is not just the library, it’s also my home. Ask before you try to take pictures. You wouldn’t walk into someone’s yard and start messing with their stuff. You have to respect the space here.”

That being said, drop by. “Everyone’s welcome. Don’t have expectations. Just enjoy your time here,” says Vango. “We’re really chill and friendly. And we really like ice donations.”


There’s freedom to create whatever is possible.

Tags: californiainfoshopdesertanarchist librarycommunityMSMcategory: Projects
Categories: News

Where Detroit's Anarchists Live and Perform

Anarchist News - Sun, 10/21/2018 - 18:01

From OZY

Why you should care

There’s a show or event for just about everyone. Anarchist or not.

Rolling up to the Trumbullplex, Detroit’s self-titled “Sexiest Anarchist Collective,” I’m seven minutes late for its weekly open mic night. After hustling up a long driveway separating the complex’s two-century-old brick houses to meet my contact, Chase (who wasn’t comfortable giving his last name), the warm-up act — a film screening — is still going strong in the barn-like performance space that stops the driveway’s eastward march. And Chase is nowhere to be found.

I wait in the adjacent zine library, where back issues of Against the Current share rack space with German-language leftist mags from the 1990s. In the foyer, free pamphlets tout artist fellowships, anti-water-shutoff action, free vinyasa yoga, dog training.


Detroit’s growth is inevitable; we see a role for ourselves in managing gentrification.


Chase, member of Trumbullplex

Later, between sips of La Croix in the south house’s cluttered upstairs kitchen, Chase opens up about the collective’s radical potential. As Detroit revives, market-rate development leaks westward from the trendy Midtown neighborhood, just across the M-10 freeway. Two years ago, the Trumbullplex — formally known as the Wayne Association for Collective Housing — matched a local developer’s $10,000 offer for two vacant, city-owned side lots it had long used for outdoor gatherings and foraging. Trumbullplex members are now raising funds to “beautify” the still-undeveloped parcels into a sort of collectively owned park.

“Detroit’s growth is inevitable; we see a role for ourselves in managing gentrification,” says Chase.

The quarter-century-old Trumbullplex may need to manage its own growth first. In December, Florida-based cult punk act Against Me! put on a “secret” show in the performance barn. Inevitably, word got out, marking a watershed (“our big break,” says Chase) for a collective whose frequent public shows — including open mic nights, there were 10 scheduled in June alone — have long flown under the radar. With heightened visibility, says Chase, the Trumbullplex could be a powerful ally for out-groups in a city more divided than ever by race and class. There’s talk of teach-ins, “countercultural” daycare, a free food stall at Eastern Market — whatever the community, and the collective, desires.

That second bit is key. The Trumbullplex governs by consensus. When members can’t decide on something, they table the issue, often for months. The collective’s vision is anything but unified; some members fret about attracting too much attention, and others chafe at the very notion of self-organization. (“‘Anarchist collective’ is kind of an oxymoron,” laughs Chase.) Limited institutional knowledge is another challenge — the longest-tenured resident arrived in 2012 — though tempered by a cohort of “ex-Plexers” who return twice monthly to root in the vegetable garden, tend the zine library and share stories.

The Trumbullplex hosts shows all the time, some more high-profile than others. Following on the heels of the Against Me! performance, the latest big test was the Trumbullplex’s “25 Years of Anarchy” bash, held on the last full weekend of August. The three-day event featured a Friday night drag show, a multi-band Saturday night show heavy on Detroit underground acts and family-friendly workshops on Sunday afternoon.

I head back outside to say my goodbyes as two boyish musicians trundle up and offer hellos. A young woman resident solemnly instructs me to visit the anti-ICE encampment downtown. The guy next to her recounts unprintable glories from a past open mic freestyle, his olive-green surplus jacket warding off voracious mosquitoes. A thoughtful collectivist appears and takes orders for a last-minute run to the package store down the street. Fireflies swirl. I linger, at ease for what feels like the first time in weeks.

  • Brian Martucci, OZY Author
Tags: DetroitTrumbullplexinfoshopsmusiceventsanarchist spacesMSMcategory: Projects
Categories: News

A Brief Explanation of Anarchism

Anarchist News - Sun, 10/21/2018 - 17:48

From Philosophy Now

Mary Shelley’s father, political philosopher William Godwin, was the first modern exponent of anarchism. In his honour, Nick Gutierrez states the stateless ideal.

Anarchism has been making headlines lately. Anarchists recently supposedly disturbed the peace during protests at the University of California in Berkeley simply because, according to one witness, “they just want to fight.” Anarchists apparently prompted several cities around the world to cancel May Day demonstration permits after protests got out of hand. Google for pictures of ‘anarchists’ and you see images of police engulfed in the flames of a Molotov cocktail in Paris, police quelling activists with rubber bullets in Istanbul, police in Washington D.C. clashing with anti-Trump protestors on inauguration day.

Such lurid publicity is hardly new for the anarchist movement. An entire century of poor press led David Miller to write that “the prevalent image of the anarchist in the popular mind is that of a destructive individual prepared to use violent means to disrupt social order, without having anything constructive to offer by way of alternative – the sinister figure in a black cape concealing a stick of dynamite” (Anarchism, p.2). Indeed, the popular consensus appears to be that those who advocate anarchist ideals are either misguided, or evil, or both.

But is any of this accurate? Is anarchism really a violent ideology hell-bent on destroying everything we love and cherish? For the anarchist, is the only path to liberation littered with smoke bombs and Molotov cocktails? Believe it or not, the simple answer to these questions is a resounding no. Anarchism as a strand of political thought is well over two hundred years old and has included major philosophers as diverse as Godwin, Bakunin, Kropotkin and Proudhon, thinkers who saw it as a way to peace and freedom, rather than hatred and violence.

It strikes me that to make reasonable value judgments about anarchism as a political theory, one needs a solid understanding of its underlying ideas. Unfortunately, anarchism hasn’t been the most well-defined of ideologies and, as David Graeber points out, “it’s hard to think of another time when there has been such a gulf between intellectuals and activists; between theorists of revolution and its practitioners” (‘The New Anarchists’ in New Left Review 13, p.61). The inevitable side-effect of this division is that anarchist movements tend to appear disjointed and hodge-podge, a haphazard gathering of motley students and dispossessed workers, who may not always be on the same page.

In what follows, I will try to clear up some of this confusion by providing a very brief explanation of what anarchism actually is. I will first provide a quick definition of anarchism by conducting a short survey of some of the thinkers most closely associated with it, paying special attention to its core tenet. Second, I will briefly describe the different types of anarchism that exist, putting particular emphasis on the two major categories, social anarchism and individualist anarchism. Lastly, I will attempt to illustrate how anarchist ideals are put into practice by pointing to several examples of the various methods of resistance that anarchists employ today.

It’s not possible in such a short article to give an authoritative survey of all aspects of anarchism in either theory or practice. I hope only to provide a guide comprehensive enough that those already familiar with the subject find it insightful, yet concise enough that the casual reader may find it easily accessible. Perhaps some clarity as to what anarchism is actually about could begin to dispel the cloud of misinformation that hangs over the movement and the negative stereotype of anarchism that has become so ubiquitous in Western culture.

A Definition of Anarchism

What is anarchism? One may be tempted to simply dissect the Greek origins of the word, by translating an + arkhe as something akin to ‘without rulers’. This, however, would be far too vague and simplistic. Fortunately, over the past few decades scholars have provided more elaborate definitions that we can use as a starting point. Rudolf Rocker (1873-1958), for example, once described anarchism as “a definite trend in the historical development of mankind, which, in contrast with the intellectual guardianship of all clerical and governmental institutions, strives for the free unhindered unfolding of all the individual and social forces in life” (quoted by Noam Chomsky in ‘Notes on Anarchism’ in For Reasons of State). In the 1983 documentary Anarchism in America, the social theorist and ecologist Murray Bookchin asserted that someone may consider himself or herself an anarchist if they believe that “society could be managed without the state”. This makes explicit what many would consider to be the most fundamental tenet of anarchism: a rejection of the state. Chomsky hints at this principle when he notes that anarchism is at odds with “the intellectual guardianship of all clerical and governmental institutions.” The Russian philosopher Peter Kropotkin (1842-1921), often considered a pioneer in the movement, also suggested it when he wrote that anarchism strives for “a society to which preestablished forms, crystallized by law, are repugnant” (Anarchism: Its Philosophy and Ideal).

So the core principle of anarchism is rejection of the state. But what is the state? It’s typically at this point in discussions of anarchism that fine details fall by the wayside, as many seem to take the dictum that ‘anarchism opposes the state’ as a broad decree for its followers to resist any and all forms of social organization – a prospect which many find disturbing. This notion of anarchism, however, is inaccurate. I will again turn to Bookchin for what I take to be the best explanation. By rejecting the state, he says, “I don’t mean the absence of any institutions, the absence of any form of social organization. ‘The state’ really refers to the professional apparatus of people who are set aside to manage society, to preempt the control of society from the people” (Anarchism in America). So for Bookchin, the state typically includes such entities as the military, judges, and politicians. In other words, the state consists of those categories of people who are given a special privilege or degree of control over the rest of society, but don’t typically act from within it. This status is sometimes referred to as ‘sovereignty’. Yet Bookchin emphasizes that anarchism does not oppose social organizations in principle. Rather, social organizations only become problematic when they take the form of a state. Not all organizations are states, and accordingly, anarchists take issue with some organizations but not others. Labor unions, for example, are a kind of organization that some anarchists would deem to be beneficial for society.

But what’s wrong with the state? I think David Miller has provided the most comprehensive answer.

While there is hardly any complete consensus among anarchists about which characteristics of a state are problematic (there is hardly any complete consensus among anarchists about many things), Miller points to several themes that recur in anarchist literature. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1809-1865) claims that “to be governed is to be at every operation registered, taxed, forbidden, licensed, extorted, robbed, condemned, shot [and] betrayed” (quoted by Miller in Anarchism, p.6), among other things. Referencing Proudhon, Miller agrees that states are both ‘coercive’ and ‘punitive’, reducing people’s freedom “far beyond the point required by social co-existence” and “enacting restrictive laws and other measures which are necessary, not for the well-being of society, but for [the state’s] own preservation” (Anarchism, p.6). Additionally, states inflict “cruel and excessive penalties on those who infringe its laws, whether or not those laws are justified in the first place.”

What does it mean for anarchists to reject the state? John P. Clark argues that for a political theory to be considered anarchist, it must have “a view of an ideal, noncoercive, nonauthoritarian society” (‘What is Anarchism?’ in Nomos XIX). For Clark, anarchism “proposes voluntarism, decentralization, or freedom” and “the anarchist does not want to bind anyone to one vision of the ideal.” Anarchism implies, he says, that the individual shouldn’t be forced to adhere to any one view of society, and must have the ability to ‘opt-out’ of a given society as he or she sees fit. Therefore in essence, anarchism must be non-binding. This is in stark contrast to the traditional state vividly described by Proudhon.

There are many recent examples of states being excessively coercive or punitive, or enacting unnecessarily restrictive laws. Miller is quick to point to the innumerable laws worldwide that limit various sexual behaviors between consenting adults. There are many other cases too of laws against actions that either harm nobody, or else harm nobody but the acting individuals, such as laws prohibiting certain forms of drug use.

To summarize, anarchists believe that the state needs to be rejected or resisted, and that the state consists of special groups of people that have gained sovereignty over the rest of society. For the anarchist, this hierarchy exploits the rest of society in a number of pernicious ways, such as coercing citizens to submit to their will by imposing excessive penalties for violating laws that may or may not be justified. There’s an interesting discussion among anarchists about whether or not all states are inherently problematic. Perhaps all currently existing states just happen to be bad ones and this leaves open the possibility that there may be such a thing as a benevolent state. This discussion goes beyond my present scope. Please also note that there are many other characteristics of anarchism that, while just as important as the rejection of the state, I have not examined here. One such is the concept of ‘voluntary association’.

How do anarchists envision society operating without the state? You may be concerned about the practical application of anarchist principles to situations in which we currently expect the state to step in. One may reasonably wonder how an anarchist society would handle situations where one individual aggresses against another, for instance in armed robbery or attempted murder, if it opposes police forces, judges and prisons. Recall that, according to Murray Bookchin, anarchists don’t necessarily oppose all forms of social organization. A similar observation is made by Miller when he writes that “it would be wrong to conclude that anarchists regard all the functions now performed by the state as superfluous”, and that, in the case of violence from one individual towards another, “anarchists admit… that in these areas some collective action may be necessary; but they refuse to admit that only a state can fit the bill.” In other words, anarchists can mobilize to confront acts of individual violence, and this is not inconsistent with their rejection of the state.

Varieties of Anarchism

Let me now say a few words about the different forms of anarchism. I imagine most people have at some point encountered terms such as ‘anarcho-communism’ or ‘anarcha-feminism’, or have perhaps heard that political libertarians are like anarchists, in a way. One may be forgiven for getting lost in all the –isms, and wondering what the difference is between, say, anarcho-syndicalism and egoist anarchism, or how anarcho-communism can somehow be related to libertarianism. I will try to clear up some of that confusion.

Generally speaking there are two breeds of anarchism typically identified in the literature, under which most other sub-categories fall: social anarchism and individualist anarchism.

Social anarchism has in the past been referred to as a ‘stateless form of socialism’. It’s a broad category that encompasses such currents as collectivist anarchism, anarcho-syndicalism, and anarcho-communism. Mikhail Bakunin (1814-1876), one of the earliest thinkers in social anarchism, outlined its essential characteristics: “The Communists believe that it is necessary to organize the forces of the workers in order to take possession of the political might of the State. The revolutionary [anarchist] Socialists organize with the view of destroying, or if you prefer a more refined expression, of liquidating the State. The Communists are the partisans of the principle and practice of authority, while revolutionary Socialists place their faith only in freedom” (‘Stateless Socialism: Anarchism’ in The Political Philosophy of Bakunin). Additionally, Peggy Kornegger makes the curious distinction between what she calls ‘rugged individualism’ and ‘true individuality’, where only the latter is compatible with the kind of non-authoritarian socialism she envisions for a good society. For Kornegger, this means “balancing individual initiative with collective action through the creation of structures which enable decision-making to rest in the hands of all those in a group, community, or factory, not in the hands of ‘representatives’ or ‘leaders’.” (‘Anarchism: The Feminist Connection’ in Second Wave: A Feminist Magazine Vol.4).

Individualist anarchism, in contrast, emphasizes that one pursue his or her desires over the desires of any group, and that the state only serves as a hurdle in achieving this aim. This view is usually attributed to the likes of Émile Armand and Max Stirner in Europe, and to Benjamin Tucker and the Libertarian Party in the USA. As Armand puts it, “the anarchist wishes to live his life, as much as possible, morally, intellectually, economically, without occupying himself with the rest of the world, exploiters or exploited” and there is “no common ground between the anarchist and any environment regulated by the decisions of a majority or the wishes of an elite” (‘Mini-Manual of Individualist Anarchism’ in L’Encyclopédie Anarchiste). Writing about Ron Paul and the Libertarian Party, Joel Sucher says that “Anarchism and Libertarianism are two political philosophies that have clearly shared the same space”, where “anarchism, in any guise, champions the struggle of the individual against institutions.” He remarks that Americans “hate being told what to do, where to go, who to be friends with, and that rather than blindly follow orders, we’ll bolt and run at the earliest opportunity.” Unlike social anarchists the individualist anarchists recognize that, even without the state, conflicts can still arise between the individual and the group, between an individual’s wishes and desires and the values of the majority. Yet one doesn’t have true freedom, for the individualist, if one has to compromise his or her desires simply to appease other people.

Methods of Resistance

Now we have at least a crude idea of what anarchism looks like, theoretically speaking. But what does anarchism look like practically speaking?

Again, the most widespread image of the anarchist in the mainstream media appears to be that of the black-clad Guy Fawkes mask-wearing hoodlum smashing windows and throwing rocks at police. While there is no denying that examples of this sort exist, it is disingenuous to portray this as the anarchist norm. Anthropologist and activist David Graeber provides us with a much more accurate depiction of the very animated tactics that anarchists employ, straight from the front lines: “Over the past decade, activists in North America have been putting enormous creative energy into reinventing their groups’ own internal processes, to create viable models of what functioning direct democracy could actually look like.” The result, he says, “is a rich and growing panoply of organizational instruments – spokescouncils, affinity groups, facilitation tools, break-outs, fishbowls, blocking concerns, vibe-watchers and so on – all aimed at creating forms of democratic process that allow initiatives to rise from below and attain maximum effective solidarity” (‘The New Anarchists’, p.71). Spokescouncils, he explains, “are large assemblies that coordinate between small ‘affinity groups’… each affinity group selects a ‘spoke’ who is empowered to speak for them in the larger group.” Break-outs, on the other hand, “are when a large meeting temporarily splits up into smaller ones that will focus on making decisions or generating proposals.” Graeber also describes what he refers to as a new language of civil disobedience which incorporates “elements of street theater, festival, and what can only be called non-violent warfare.” For example, he points to a 2001 protest in Quebec City in which activists constructed a large catapult that hurled teddy bears and other soft toys at police; or how activists dressed in tuxedoes and evening gowns “tried to press wads of fake money into the cops’ pockets, thanking them for repressing the dissent” during the American Party Conventions for the 2000 presidential election. Beyond Graeber, a 2011 statement from Anarchist International outlines what may be considered the ‘shock value plan’ to undermine the authoritarian order of capitalist society, including “routinely smoking weed outside a placid cafe or tavern”, waiting for people “to join you until everyone is doing every drug imaginable”, then beginning “to have public sex in nearby fields or parks”.

On the other hand, there are some forms of anarchism that have no such calls to action at all. ‘Philosophical anarchism’, as it’s usually called, arrives at the anarchist conclusion about the illegitimacy of the state, and its adherents “take this judgment to entail the non-existence of general political obligations.” But as A. John Simmons goes on to say, “what is distinctive about philosophical anarchism is that its judgment of state illegitimacy does not translate into any immediate requirement of opposition to illegitimate states… philosophical anarchists hold that there may be good moral reasons not to oppose or disrupt at least some kinds of illegitimate states” (‘Philosophical Anarchism’ available at ssrn.com).

Conclusion

This ends my brief explanation of anarchism. Perhaps the two most important points to take away are firstly that anarchism is actually a developed political theory that can sometimes be distorted by individuals, and secondly that it does not entail the rampant destruction and violence that one is likely to find in the news or on social media. Anarchists can (hopefully) acknowledge that their theory is a little more haphazardly developed than some other political theories, but this doesn’t automatically disqualify it as implausible. As I think Graeber has convincingly shown, real-life anarchist communities have developed, survived and flourished, even if for quite a limited time so far. So critics are wrong when they say that anarchism is merely a utopian daydream. Some of these communities have even managed to have a political impact without instigating violence, being more often on the receiving end of harassment than dishing it out.

It would be an interesting experiment to see how long one of these communities can sustain itself on its own internal processes alone. Would it bloom and flourish like Macedonia under Alexander, or wither and crumble from its own internal strife, like Rome? But before we can test this, we would need to abandon whatever false preconceived notions we have of anarchism, including distinguishing those who would use the moniker as an excuse to bring havoc from those who actually take it seriously as a working theory.

© Nick Gutierrez 2018

Nick Gutierrez is a communications consultant and independent writer based in the Seattle area. He received his MA in Philosophy from San Diego State University and is interested in literature and art.

Tags: MSMphilosophyintroductorycategory: Essays
Categories: News

Unions Can Protect Workers From Deportation

Truth Out - Sun, 10/21/2018 - 15:45

After more than two decades living, working, and building a family in the United States, Cesar Rodriguez feels his life is in limbo. The driver for the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach from El Salvador is one of more than 300,000 immigrants at risk of losing their temporary legal status in the US after the Trump administration scrapped the program for a handful of countries.

“I’m a trucker, and I make my living with my license. Without my license, I lose my job,” Rodriguez told In These Times. “If I lose my job, I would lose everything—even my family, because I wouldn’t have a way to support them.”

Rodriguez arrived in the United States in 1996. After living undocumented for five years, the government extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Salvadorans when a devastating pair of earthquakes rocked their home country, giving immigrants like Rodriguez protection from deportation and authorization to work. Now, he’s worried about what the cancellation of the program will mean for him and his wife, also a TPS holder from El Salvador, and their three US-born children.

“We’re fighting so that they don’t take away our TPS,” he said. “I don’t want to be separated from my children, from my family.”

Rodriguez, part of a group of port drivers fighting for rights to join a union, is relieved to have parts of the labor movement on his side. Although he is not unionized, he says he already feels like part of a Teamsters local due to the union’s support for workers like him on two fronts: labor rights and immigration justice.

The Teamsters is one of the labor unions taking a stand to protect TPS holders with the message that immigrant rights are worker rights. Six unions representing 3.5 million workers have teamed up under the banner of Working Families United to join the campaign to save TPS and demand Congress take bipartisan action to allow TPS holders to stay in the country.

“The fight to save TPS for us is very clear from both a worker rights side and a union side. That’s what brought us together,” said Neidi Dominguez, national strategic organizing coordinator with the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), which is part of the Working Families United coalition.

Not only would the cancellation of TPS directly impact scores of union members, but it would also strip unions of membership, Dominguez told In These Times. This is especially true for the construction and food service industries, which, according to the Center for Migration Studies, respectively employ 51,700 and 32,400 recipients of TPS from El Salvador, Honduras and Haiti, the three countries whose immigrants make up the vast majority of TPS holders.

“The Goal Is to Protect Families From Deportation”

Formed last year by IUPAT, the Bricklayers, Ironworkers, Unite Here and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW)—and later joined by the Teamsters—Working Families United aims to raise awareness about immigrant justice and echo immigrant rights groups in demanding US lawmakers create a permanent solution to replace TPS.

“The goal is to protect families from deportation,” Bethany Khan, spokesperson for the Culinary Union, a Nevada affiliate of the Unite Here union and part of the Working Families United coalition, told In These Times. “It’s about keeping families together, treating workers with respect and dignity, educating people on TPS and DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals], and elevating the profiles of these workers.”

Thousands of TPS holders set to become undocumented as they lose their status over the next year won room to breath last week when a federal judge put a hold on the Trump administration’s termination of TPS for El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan. The pause did not extend to some 57,000 Honduran TPS recipients whose status will expire in January 2020. Regardless, campaigners aren’t skipping a beat in continuing to demand a long-term solution.

Working Families United has organized 10 events in 10 cities across the country in the lead up to the November 6 midterm elections to pressure congressional candidates to support initiatives that would give permanent status to TPS holders, Dominguez explained.

The Teamsters kicked off the series of events earlier this month in Los Angeles. Port drivers, including Rodriguez, dedicated the last day of their three-day strike to putting the spotlight on TPS and demanding legislative action for immigrant workers.

Rodriguez said the protest showed that immigrant workers are not alone and also helped spur further conversations about TPS.

Rallies in Tucson, Orlando, and Northern Virginia, and a TPS forum in Las Vegas, followed after the LA action. More events are planned next week in Houston and Atlanta, and organizers are still finalizing plans for protests in in New York, San Francisco and Denver, according to Dominguez.

“Part of the Community Where We Live”

For John Doherty, national communications director of IUPAT, the midterm elections are key to tip the scales away from the Republican Party, which he described as “a party that has historically been against workers and worker rights.”

Elva Landaverde, a Las Vegas hotel housekeeper and rank-and-file member of the Culinary Union, also sees the midterms as an important opportunity. She took a leave of absence from her job alongside some 100 other union members to canvas ahead of the election. An immigrant from El Salvador who has lived in the United States for 18 years, Landaverde doesn’t have voting rights in the US. Nevertheless, she’s knocking on doors to encourage citizens to cast their ballots for candidates that have committed to protecting immigrant rights.

“We need immigration reform,” Landaverde told In These Times. She has a non-immigrant status known as the U Visa, but TPS still hits close to home, as some of her family members are recipients. “Everyone has to go out to vote so that our voice matters.”

The Culinary Union, Nevada’s largest immigrant organization with 54 percent Latino membership, has been organizing for immigrant rights since before the Working Families United coalition formed last year. One important win for the union, according to Khan, has been securing immigration language in the contracts of 48,000 workers that will strengthen job protections for employees in the event that they lose their current immigration status.

Along with other organizations, the Culinary Union also has organized delegations of TPS members to share their stories with elected officials in Washington and lobby representatives to support legislation to swap TPS holders’ temporary status for residency.

Two pieces of proposed legislation, the Safe Environment from Countries Under Repression and Emergency Act (SECURE) in the Senate and the American Promise Act of 2017 in the House of Representatives, aim to regularize TPS holders’ status by making them eligible to apply for permanent residency, with the opportunity to eventually become citizens. If passed, the laws would end the uncertainty hanging over some 400,000 TPS recipients from 10 countries.

Victor Mora, a TPS holder from El Salvador who works at the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas, is one of the people who has traveled to Capitol Hill with the Culinary Union to share his story and call for permanent status. He has lived in the United States since the early 1990s and has three US citizen children.

“We ask for support like how we have always supported this country,” Mora told In These Times, stressing the positive impact immigrant workers have on the US economy.

According to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, deporting TPS holders from El Salvador, Haiti and Honduras would cost US taxpayers $3.1 billion dollars.

Giovanni Peri, professor of economics and director of the Temporary Migration Cluster at University of California at Davis, has conducted research that confirms the academic consensus that immigration fuels job creation and stimulates the economy.

“Immigration in a local economy does not depress wages or reduce the job opportunities for American workers. Instead, it allows this place to continue to grow,” Peri told In These Times. On the flip side, harsh deportation campaigns can disrupt local economies and negatively impact wages and employment opportunities, he said.

“The destiny of foreign workers and American workers are connected,” Peri added. “If companies are scared by enforcement they move out. They also will hire fewer American workers … and when immigrants come in the sectors thrive, there are more opportunities, and some of them are for American workers.”

Jose Palma, a member of the National TPS Alliance and a TPS holder from El Salvador who has lived in the US for two decades, stressed that although the economic factors are undeniable, the role of immigrants in the United States goes much deeper.

“The TPS community, we are more than just an economic contribution to the United States. We feel that we are part of the community where we live,” Palma, a paralegal in Massachusetts, told In These Times. He has volunteered for various non-profit causes, and he and his three U.S. children are active in their local church. “We are part of the community, so we advocate not only for the undocumented or people with TPS, but for the whole community.”

More than half of Honduran and Salvadoran TPS recipients have lived in the United States for more than 20 years.

Palma applauded unions for joining the fight for immigrant rights, as well as for their willingness to follow the leadership of TPS holders. He’s optimistic that with support from unions, businesses and communities, advocates will be able to successfully pressure lawmakers to pass reforms.

“We need to build power with our allies to convince legislators to support a permanent residence campaign,” he said, adding that he sees the midterm elections as an opportunity to raise awareness about TPS.

According to IUPAT’s Dominguez, the awareness-raising is paying off.

“The TPS fight has been a really good bridge to a lot of members that struggle to understand all the intricacies of the immigration debate in the country and has actually opened up really constructive conversations,” she said. “This debate has been a good one in our membership to really start doing more political education about this issue.”

The IUPAT is also working in four cities with high immigrant populations—Nashville, Atlanta, Houston and Denver—to organize non-unionized workers, including undocumented immigrants.

Dominguez believes that by leading by example, unions organizing around immigration issues will help strengthen the foundations of a larger progressive movement where unions can play a part in standing up for immigrant rights.

“It aches me to say that I don’t think that as an entire labor movement we have been as strong as we could have been in responding to these attacks against immigrants, against women, against Muslims,” she said. “But we have at least that fracture with the dominant silence that gives a better chance for the future that we can be the labor movement that we need to be in this country to actually build power for every single worker.”

For Rodriguez, the port driver and TPS holder from Los Angeles, the bottom line is simple: TPS holders are part of US society and deserve residency.

“We don’t ask that the government help take care of us,” he said. “Just give us residency so we can continue to work hard with our families and move forward.”

The post Unions Can Protect Workers From Deportation appeared first on Truthout.

Categories: News

The Unquiet Dead Ch 5 – AudioZine

Anarchist News - Sun, 10/21/2018 - 15:44

From Resonance Audio Distro

The Unquiet Dead Anarchism, Fascism, and Mythology – Chapter 5 The Masked Goddess: Self-Invention and Becoming – MP3ReadPrintArchiveTorrentYouTube

Chapter five of this multipart series discusses strategies for self-invention and becoming in the work of Gloria Anzaldúa, Audre Lorde and Saidiya Hartman; the struggle for access to Native spirituality practices in Canadian prisons and the pitfalls of ally politics; response to calls for oppressed nationalisms and essentialism practiced by people of color. The full text is available at unquietdead.tumblr.com; we will be posting recordings of other chapters in the future.

“If identity is only a game, if it is only a procedure to have relations, social and sexual-pleasure relationships that create new friendships, it is useful. But if identity becomes the problem of sexual existence, and if people think that they have to “uncover” their “own identity,” and that their own identity has to become the law, the principle, the code of their existence; if the perennial question they ask is “Does this thing conform to my identity?“ then, I think, they will turn back to a kind of ethics very close to the old heterosexual virility. If we are asked to relate to the question of identity, it must be an identity to our unique selves. But the relationships we have to have with ourselves are not ones of identity, rather, they must be relationships of differentiation, of creation, of innovation.”

Musical Interludes: Mitski – Your Best American, Janelle Monae – Cold-War

Tags: podcastanti-fascismresonancecategory: Projects
Categories: News

The Violence Against Women Act is Unlikely to Reduce Intimate Partner Violence

Truth Out - Sun, 10/21/2018 - 15:42

The Violence Against Women Act, the federal government’s signature legislation aimed at responding to domestic violence, rape, sexual assault and stalking, expired at the end of September.

Legislative wrangling over the act’s provisions led to the expiration. This was not the first time controversy has gotten in the way of extending the legislation. Originally passed with strong bipartisan support in 1994, a previous reauthorization ran into problems as a result of disputes involving protection for Native Americans, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender victims of violence, and undocumented women.

Although Congress has temporarily reauthorized the act, its future is again uncertain, and advocates warn of the dire consequences of failing to pass the law.

But the fact is that the criminal system supported by the act isn’t stopping intimate partner violence.

Criminal System Focus

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 19 percent of women in America will be raped, 15 percent will be stalked, and 22 percent will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes.

The Violence Against Women Act was the first law dedicated to ending that brutality. With a total authorization of US$3.1 billion in 2013, the act supports rape crisis centers, pays for lawyers for victims of violence and provides money for transitional housing. But the single greatest beneficiary of the act is the criminal legal system.

The act’s two largest grant programs sent approximately $250 million to the courts, police and prosecutors last year. The money was used to train law enforcement and judges, develop policies for improved handling of domestic violence cases, encourage collaboration between community service providers and law enforcement, and staff law enforcement agencies with victim liaisons.

Without such incentives, supporters of the act say, the criminal legal system’s response to domestic violence will falter and violence will increase.

Although rates of domestic violence have fallen steadily since the legislation was enacted in 1994, the decrease in rates may not be a result of the act. Initially, those declines mirrored decreases in the overall crime rate.

And between 2000 and 2010, rates of domestic violence actually fell less than the drop in the overall crime rate – at a time when VAWA was pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into the criminal system.

Failing to Stop

The criminal system isn’t deterring domestic violence for a number of reasons. Criminologists question whether the criminal law serves as a general deterrent for any kind of crime.

I am a lawyer who has represented victims of domestic violence for almost 25 years and studied the legal system’s response to intimate partner violence for the last 15 years. As I argue in my new book, “Decriminalizing Domestic Violence: A Balanced Policy Approach to Intimate Partner Violence,” the increased involvement of the criminal system over the last 40 years has done little to solve the problem. Criminalizing domestic violence exacerbates some of the factors that cause it in the first place.

Here’s how that happens:

  1. Having a criminal record is a surefire way to decrease one’s chances of finding a job, particularly for men of color. Research shows that under- and unemployed men are more likely to commit domestic violence.

  2. Incarceration is traumatic; inmates are regularly victims of, or witnesses to, violence. Upon release, men who have been incarcerated for domestic violence bring that trauma back into their communities and their intimate relationships. Trauma is closely linked to committing domestic violence.

  3. Domestic violence is more common in low-income, unstable communities. These are the kinds of communities created when significant proportions of their residents have been incarcerated.

Harsh Response Favored

VAWA’s reliance on the criminal system comes from a time when Democrats and Republicans alike believed that being tough on crime was the answer to violence against women. Former Vice President Joe Biden, the act’s primary sponsor and most vocal advocate in the Senate in 1994, has consistently called domestic violence a criminal issue.

At its passage in 1994, 62 percent of VAWA money was dedicated to the criminal system; 38 percent funded social services. By 2013, 85 percent of VAWA monies were being funneled into the criminal system.

But I argue that the act could do more good if it focused on some of the underlying causes of intimate partner violence. VAWA could fund job creation and training efforts for men who need work. It could invest in community-based programs that would challenge community norms around violence, teach community members to intervene productively, and shore up community infrastructure, addressing the instability that causes domestic violence. It could shift money into programs like Fathers for Change that target the intersection of domestic violence and substance abuse.

The version of the act currently being debated in Congress continues to fund law enforcement disproportionately. But it also has some promising new provisions that deal with domestic violence outside of the criminal system.

Shift Away From Punishment

For the first time, the act would pay for alternative justice measures designed to help victims of violence find justice without requiring them to turn to the legal system.

Restorative justice, for example, enables victims of violence to enlist community support in holding their partners accountable. Lisalyn Jacobs, who worked on the act’s reauthorizations in 2005 and 2013, notes that these grants recognize that VAWA has been too focused on the criminal system. They are, she says, “an acknowledgment that there’s a significant population of people who need services and who are not engaging with law enforcement.”

The act also provides new ways to remove guns from those who abuse, a measure that could decrease domestic violence homicides. And it increases protections for those in federal public housing. Housing is the single greatest need identified by victims of intimate partner violence. Indeed, domestic violence is one of the primary causes of homelessness for women, and losing public housing can be disastrous for victims of violence. The new version of the act would prevent victims of domestic violence from being evicted as a result of their partners’ crimes and allow for early lease termination and emergency transfers without penalties.

Improvement, not Perfection

The new provisions don’t make the 2018 version of the Violence Against Women Act perfect.

I believe that it still relies too heavily on the criminal system. It doesn’t do enough to address the causes of intimate partner violence: economic distress, adverse childhood experiences and trauma, unstable communities. VAWA monies that currently go to the criminal system could instead be used for job training and economic empowerment programs, home visitation programs, anti-violence education for young adults and community-based justice.

Legislation could encourage incentives for developing innovative programs that can change abusive behavior.

The 2018 act is a start. But I believe the United States is still far from developing a balanced policy approach to intimate partner violence.

The post The Violence Against Women Act is Unlikely to Reduce Intimate Partner Violence appeared first on Truthout.

Categories: News

Marriott Workers Strike, Spanning Seven Time Zones

Truth Out - Sun, 10/21/2018 - 15:42
This article was originally published at Labor Notes.

Seven thousand hotel workers across the US are on strike against Marriott, the world’s largest hotel chain. A strike that started with seven hotels in Boston quickly spread to San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose, Oakland, Detroit, and Hawaii.

Marriott’s profits have doubled in five years. In 2016, the hotel chain expanded its empire when it acquired Starwood’s 1,200 properties, including the Westin and Sheraton hotel chains.

Sales last year totaled $23 billion. Yet workers say they haven’t seen it in their paychecks or benefits. Many are working two jobs to make ends meet. Rising housing costs have also forced many to live far from the cities they work in. UNITE HERE locals in different regions are negotiating separately, but rallying around a common slogan: “One Job Should Be Enough.” While local issues separate workers in different cities, the strikers have three core sets of demands: job security, an end to unsafe overwork, and better wages and benefits.

Courtney Leonard, a server at the Westin Boston Waterfront, commutes 100 miles a day round trip from New Bedford. She’s originally from Boston, but can’t afford to live in the city.

“I drive two and a half hours each way,” she said. “It’s awful. I’m 28, newly married, and I feel like my life is on hold.”

Fifteen hundred Marriott employees at seven hotels launched the first hotel strike in the Boston’s history on October 3.

Since then, Leonard has spent 12 hours each day picketing her own hotel and others around the city.

“We work for one of the richest employers, but the workers are being left behind,” she said. “There are room attendants working into their seventies. It’s heartbreaking. They are here because they need the health insurance. They can’t retire.”

During the Boston strike, hotel restaurants have been closed, and other services in the hotels have been reduced. Press attention spiked during the American League Divisional Series, when New York Yankees players—union members themselves—crossed the picket line at the Ritz before their games with the hometown Red Sox. UNITE HERE Local 26 threw together new picket signs with the slogan “Yankees = SCABS.”

Off-Season Layoffs

A key UNITE HERE tactic is to encourage organizations to move or cancel their scheduled conferences to avoid crossing picket lines. In many cities, including San Francisco and Boston, the fall is a busy conference season. The union created a website, MarriottTravelAlert.org, to help travelers avoid struck hotels. Three organizations, including the United Way, moved or cancelled conferences in Boston since the strike began.

In Honolulu, unionized United Airlines flight attendants checked out of one struck hotel. The Sheet Metal Workers cancelled 100 rooms booked for a week-long safety conference in Maui.

Marriott claims it’s offering raises comparable to the previous contract cycle, but workers say that’s not nearly enough to keep up with the skyrocketing cost of living in cities like Boston, San Francisco, and San Diego.

Boston hotel workers may make more than $20 an hour, but when tourism dips in the winter, their hours and shifts are reduced. Many lose their health care and much of their income.

To make their jobs sustainable, the city’s hotel workers are pushing for year-round health benefits even for those who are laid off during slow months.

Hotel room prices have skyrocketed to as much as $1,500 a room—but wages haven’t seen the same bump, said longtime Westin worker Manuel Martins. He has health insurance, but, he said, “I’m fighting for people who don’t.”

In Chicago one month earlier, 6,000 members of UNITE HERE Local 1 struck at 26 hotels, including ones owned by Hilton and Hyatt. It was the largest hotel strike in that city in a century.

The union has settled at all but one of the Chicago properties, winning its top demand: year-round health insurance. As in Boston, several conferences cancelled rather than cross the picket line.

Not So Green

Across the country, hotel workers are also demanding more say in how technology affects their work.

Innovations like ordering room service or checking in online might be convenient for customers, but workers say these changes allow hotels to cut staffing down to bare bones.

Kirk Paganelli, a striking bartender at San Francisco’s Courtyard Marriott, was laid off from his previous hotel job when the restaurant was shut down. He said he’s worried robots that can clean rooms or tend bar are not sci-fi but coming in the near future. “I live with a constant state of anxiety,” he said. “It’s a changing climate.”

Unions are pushing for contract language in their local agreements that would help protect workers from the consequences of automation.

Another strain on hotel workers is Marriott’s “Make a Green Choice” program. Guests are rewarded with points or a beverage voucher if they opt out of housekeeping.

It sounds noble, encouraging guests to conserve water and energy by reusing linens and towels. But hotel workers say it’s an excuse to cut jobs and make them do more work in less time.

If enough hotel guests opt into the program, housekeepers are sent home, waiting to find out if there’s work for them. “We have to sleep with a cell phone next to our pillow,” said Boston Marriott housekeeper Sorinelda Pabon.

Pabon, who was walking the picket line despite pouring rain, gets monthly cortisone shots for her hands because of the pain from lifting heavy mattresses.

A room that has gone uncleaned for days takes more work, and more time, she explained. Yet housekeepers are still expected to get through the same number of rooms as ever. “We have to put more chemicals, more physical work,” said Pabon. “What kind of green choice is that?”

Join the strikers on the picket line! For more info, plus photos of strikers in action, visit the Facebook pages of UNITE HERE Local 5 (Hawaii), UNITE HERE Local 26 (Boston), UNITE HERE Local 2 (San Francisco), UNITE HERE Local 2850 (Oakland), UNITE HERE Local 19 (San Jose), UNITE HERE Local 24 (Detroit), and UNITE HERE Local 30 (San Diego).

Joe Ramsey contributed reporting for this story.

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The post Marriott Workers Strike, Spanning Seven Time Zones appeared first on Truthout.

Categories: News

Experts Alarmed Over Trump’s Plan to Ditch Nuclear Arms Control Treaty

Truth Out - Sun, 10/21/2018 - 15:42

Concerns are mounting after President Donald Trump confirmed on Saturday that he will withdraw from a Cold War-era nuclear arms control treaty with Russia following reports that National Security Adviser John Bolton had been pushing the plan behind closed doors despite warnings from experts that ditching the agreement “would be reckless and stupid.”

The Guardian had reported Friday that Bolton and an ally in the White House have been working to convince members of the administration to support the United States withdrawing from the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty (INF) on the grounds that Russia is violating it. Nuclear arms control experts and others rapidly responded with alarm. Many agreed that Russia’s alleged violation “merits a strong response” but noted a withdrawal could alienate European allies and raise the chances of armed conflict.

The president’s comments on Saturday spurred more alarm, with Daryl Kimball of the Arms Control Association calling the looming withdrawal “an epic mistake.”

Jeffrey Lewis, the director of the East Asia nonproliferation program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey agreed. “This is a colossal mistake,” he told the Guardian. “I doubt very much that the US will deploy much that would have been prohibited by the treaty. Russia, though, will go gangbusters.”

“By declaring he will leave the INF Treaty, President Trump has shown himself to be a demolition man who has no ability to build real security,” responded Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. “Instead, by blowing up nuclear treaties he is taking the U.S. down a trillion dollar road to a new nuclear arms race.”

Journalist Glenn Greenwald tied the update to broader narratives about the Trump administration’s relationship with Russia, and in particular President Vladimir Putin:

This is a major (and dangerous) provocation toward Russia by Trump that – like his lethal arms to Ukraine, the bombing of Assad's forces, & sanctions/expulsions – should cause anyone who peddled the "Putin-controls-Trump-with- kompromat" conspiracy tripe to apologize in shame: https://t.co/bJJOrSJ6M3

— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) October 21, 2018

Trump revealed his withdrawal plans to reporters after campaign event in Nevada on Saturday. “Russia has violated the agreement. They’ve been violating it for many years. I don’t know why President [Barack] Obama didn’t negotiate or pull out,” he said. “And we’re not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons [while] we’re not allowed to.”

While claiming he would be receptive if both Russia and China concluded, “‘Let’s all of us get smart and let’s none of us develop those weapons,” under current circumstances, Trump appears hellbent on making more weapons. “If Russia’s doing it and if China’s doing it and we’re adhering to the agreement, that’s unacceptable,” he said. “So we have a tremendous amount of money to play with with our military.”

“We are going to terminate the agreement and we are going to develop the weapons. If we get smart and if others get smart, and say ‘Let’s not develop these horrible nuclear weapons,’ I would be extremely happy with that,” he added. “But as long as somebody’s violating that agreement then we’re not going to be the only ones to adhere to it.”

The signing of the INF treaty during the nuclear arms race of the Cold War, as CNN pointed out, had “marked a watershed agreement.” It required both Russia and the United States to eliminate ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 300 and 3,400 miles.

The treaty “wasn’t designed to solve all of our problems with the Soviet Union,” but was “designed to provide a measure of some strategic stability on the continent of Europe,” explained former State Department spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby, now a CNN military and diplomatic analyst. “I suspect our European allies right now are none too happy about hearing that President Trump intends to pull out of it.”

Kingston Reif of the Arms Control Association outlined in a pair of tweets the impact a withdrawal could have on American foreign relations:

Withdrawal wld make the problem far worse by:

-Removing all constraints on Russia’s production and fielding of the illegal 9M729 missile
-Dividing NATO
-Allowing Russia to blame US for killing the treaty
-Undermining US leverage to attempt to bring Russia back into compliance

— Kingston Reif (@KingstonAReif) October 20, 2018

And thanks to the president’s warmonger of a national security adviser, the INF treaty isn’t the only arms control agreement with Russia currently under threat of termination. As the Guardian reported:

Bolton and the top arms control adviser in the National Security Council (NSC), Tim Morrison, are also opposed to the extension of another major pillar of arms control, the 2010 New Start agreement with Russia, which limited the number of deployed strategic warheads on either side to 1,550. That agreement, signed by Barack Obama and Dmitri Medvedev, then president of Russia, is due to expire in 2021.

“This is the most severe crisis in nuclear arms control since the 1980s,” said Malcolm Chalmers, the deputy director general of the Royal United Services Institute. “If the INF treaty collapses, and with the New Start treaty on strategic arms due to expire in 2021, the world could be left without any limits on the nuclear arsenals of nuclear states for the first time since 1972.”

Responding to the developments in a series of tweets, Alexandra Bell, a former senior arms control official at the State Department who is now at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, said: “Trump says that he is abandoning the INF treaty, basically confirms a renewed arms race, and absolves himself from any responsibility to lead efforts to reduce nuclear tensions around the globe.”

The post Experts Alarmed Over Trump’s Plan to Ditch Nuclear Arms Control Treaty appeared first on Truthout.

Categories: News

Dow Wants to Bolster Use of a Pesticide Shown to Hurt Bees’ Reproduction

Truth Out - Sun, 10/21/2018 - 15:40

Dow AgroSciences has applied for a large expansion of sulfoxaflor, a pesticide shown to harm bees, according to a federal notice last week.

The agricultural chemical company submitted an application to the US Environmental Protection Agency to allow for use of the pesticide on rice, avocados, residential ornamentals and at tree farms and greenhouses. Sulfoxaflor, which attacks the central nervous system of insects, is designed in part to replace “neonicotinoid” pesticides, which multiple studies have linked to bee colony collapse.

Research suggests sulfoxaflor may also harm pollinators. Most recently an August study in Nature linked the pesticide to reduced bumblebee reproduction.

“Sulfoxaflor-exposed colonies had a 54 percent reduction in the total number of sexual offspring produced compared with control colonies,” the authors wrote. “Sulfoxaflor exposure could lead to similar environmental impacts as neonicotinoids if used on crops that attract bees in the absence of evidence-based legislation.”

Neonicotinoid “replacements are just a new method of creating pretty much the same widespread harm,” said Nathan Donley, a senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity, in a statement. “This is not the right way forward.”

The EPA had previously classified sulfoxaflor “very highly toxic” to bees. The agency approved the chemical in two brand name pesticides in 2013, but two years later the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the approval because there wasn’t enough evidence that the products were safe for bees.

In 2016 the pesticide was re-registered but, due to the court ruling, the EPA prohibited use “on crops attractive to bees before and during bloom” and during times when bees would be foraging.

In addition, sulfoxaflor has been used on an estimated 17.5 million acres of farmland under “emergency exemptions” granted by the EPA over the past couple years. This practice of granting emergency exemptions for pesticide use was recently criticized in a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of the Inspector General report.

“We found that the [EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs] does not have outcome measures in place to determine whether the emergency exemption process protects human health and the environment,” the report stated.

The EPA will accept comments on Dow’s sulfoxaflor application until November 13.

The post Dow Wants to Bolster Use of a Pesticide Shown to Hurt Bees’ Reproduction appeared first on Truthout.

Categories: News

Mexico: Anarchist Political Prisoner Miguel Peralta Begins Hunger Strike

Anarchist News - Sun, 10/21/2018 - 15:31

From It's Going Down

Below we publish a press release from the friends and family of the political prisoners of Eloxochitlán de Flores Magón announcing the hunger strike of Miguel Peralta in the face of the ongoing irregularities and delays in his legal case. We also publish a short poem from Miguel to mark the beginning of his hunger strike.

October 19th, 2018, Mexico City

We want to announce that today, Miguel Angel Peralta Betanzos, political prisoner of Eloxochitlán de Flores Magón, Oaxaca, being processed under the case number 02/2015, has decided to begin a hunger strike, so that the judge of the Mixed District Court of Huautla de Jiménez, Oaxaca, dictates his acquittal. He, together with 33 more, have been falsely accused by the now representative-elect of MORENA in Oaxaca, Elisa Zepeda Lagunas.

Miguel Peralta is one of the seven political prisoners of the Community Assembly of Eloxochitlán who remain in prison. Since 2014, the Zepeda Lagunas family, utilizing their economic and political power, have manipulated the legal process of the case 02/2015 taking place in the Mixed District Court of Huautla de Jiménez, Oaxaca. With this, they have drawn out in multiple ways the “due process”, in addition to causing the forced displacement of more than 20 families from the community.

Our compañero has been in prison for nearly four years, having to endure a legal process plagued with irregularities and violations of local, national and international norms. The legal terms that are clearly stated in these local, national and international norms, have not been respected by the court. As such, to this date, he remains in complete legal uncertainty. His detention has been extended and various rights of his have been violated including the obstruction of an adequate defense, the presumption of innocence and access to prompt and expeditious justice.

It is important to note that, in the criminal case 02/2015, legal decisions have been emitted by the First Criminal Chamber of the Superior Court of Oaxaca, District Judges and also of the same Court of Huautla, through which eight others accused for the same acts were given their freedom. Furthermore, they have canceled more than 18 arrest warrants, stating that the only evidence that exists—that is the testimonies of the 8 witnesses—are generic, contradictory and implausible. It is evidence that lacks probative value, for which the responsibility of our compañeros in the supposed crimes is not fully proven.

Specifically, on September 28th, 2018, nine months after the defense team of Miguel Peralta requested the closing of his case (to force the end of the interrogation of two witnesses, since, for almost three years, they didn’t appear before the court), his final hearing was held. It is important to mention that this legal stage should not take more than two months. However, in spite of the fact that the courts cannot, under any pretext, postpone, delay, omit or deny resolutions, according to article 130 of the Code of Criminal Procedures of Oaxaca, it took almost a year.

In consequence, from that date, the time to dictate a decision began. The hearing was carried out without the presence of Miguel Ángel, since the court clerk Jesús Reynaldo Canseco, in an arbitrary and negligent manner, didn’t do the necessary paperwork to request Miguel’s transfer to the court house from the director of the prison of Cuicatlán, Oaxaca. In this way, his right to be present at his hearing was violated, despite having solicited this since the beginning of his legal process and it being stipulated in the constitution. Regardless, with the defense team not agreeing to let the hearing be delayed any more, it was carried out. Finally, the judge Juan León Montiel, committed to give a resolution after 15 business days from September 28th, which ends on October 22nd. Thus, Miguel has initiated a hunger strike until the resolution is dictated, and his absolute and immediate freedom is decided.

Therefore, we demand that Judge Juan León Montiel impartially and objectively fulfill his job, that the resolution not be delayed and that Miguel Peralta be freed, so that his health is not further affected. The crimes for which they have maintained him prisoner (as well as the other detainees of Eloxochitlán de Flores Magón), are fabricated and do not have any legal substance. They are nothing more than the lies and the ambition of the cacique Zepeda Lagunas family, among them, those who serve as complainants: Elisa Zepeda Lagunas, municipal president and now local representative of MORENA, and her father Manuel Zepeda Cortés, ex-municipal president.

The Zepeda Lagunas cacique family has converted the struggle to maintain internal forms of organization of the community and the respect for self-determination into a legal conflict, snatching freedom away from of our compañeros for nearly four years and maintaining an environment of persecution. Criminal law must not serve as an instrument of social control, to resolve a social conflict that is evident in Eloxochitlán, In the Mazateco community of Eloxochitlán de Flores Magón, one does not live with peace, but lives with the imposition of repression, abuse of power and harassment beneath the control of Zepeda Lagunas.

For all this, we DEMAND:

  • Quick resolution and the declaration of freedom for Miguel Ángel Peralta Betanzos!
  • Freedom to the seven prisoners of the Community Assembly of Eloxochitlán de Flores Magón: Herminio Monfil, Fernando Gavito, Omar Morales, Miguel Peralta, Jaime Betanzos, Isaías Gallardo and Alfredo Bolaños!
  • End the arrest warrants against members of the Community Assembly!
  • Freedom to Eloxochitlán de Flores Magón, Oaxaca!

Family and friends of the prisoners of Eloxochitlán de Flores Magón, Oaxaca

Poem from Miguel:

October 19th, 2018

Hunger for truth!

Strike for freedom!

 

I use my body as a tool of war.

My anti-bodies will be the weapon for this battle.

Solidarity as a rock, and water as the people’s shield,

Will flow through time purging the lies.

Today, without food, I will continue resisting until I overturn the false accusations.

The rage and fire, transgressing borders, will cover my spirit,

Giving it life.

We will not surrender until we recover our freedom.

 

Down with the prison walls

Miguel Peralta

Tags: solidarityanarchists in troubleit's going downcategory: Prisoners
Categories: News

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