Laptop connected to Hunter Biden linked to FBI money laundering probe | 21 Oct 2020 | The FBI's subpoena of a laptop and hard drive purportedly belonging to Hunter Biden came in connection with a money laundering investigation in late 2019, according to documents obtained by Fox News and verified by multiple federal law enforcement officials who reviewed them. It is unclear, at this point, whether the investigation is ongoing or if it was directly related to Hunter Biden. Multiple federal law enforcement officials, as well as two separate government officials, confirmed the authenticity of these documents, which were signed by FBI Special Agent Joshua Wilson... One of the documents, obtained by Fox News, was designated as an FBI "Receipt for Property" form, which details the bureau’s interactions with John Paul Mac Isaac, the owner of "The Mac Shop" who reported the laptop’s contents to authorities.
Senate Democrats to boycott Barrett's Judiciary Committee vote Thursday --'We will not grant this process any further legitimacy,' Chuck Schumer says. | 21 Oct 2020 | Senate Democrats plan to boycott Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett's Judiciary Committee vote Thursday in an act of protest, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Wednesday. The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to vote at 1 p.m. to advance Barrett’s nomination to the floor. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said this week that the Senate will hold a final vote on Barrett’s nomination Monday. The boycott won't prevent Barrett's nomination from moving ahead, with Republicans on the committee vowing to confirm her.
The post “Expose the Contradiction”: William C Anderson on Anarchism, Mutual Aid, and What Comes Next appeared first on It's Going Down.
On this episode of the It’s Going Down podcast, we spoke with William C Anderson, who alongside Zoé Samudzi, is the co-author of As Black As Resistance, published by AK Press. We discuss the major themes of the book, its reception, and its growing impact in a post-rebellion world. I went on NPR's 1A to... Read Full Article
Calif. doctor successfully cures 1,700 COVID-19 patients | 06 Oct 2020 | While the media continues pushing hype around the coronavirus, actual medical experts say we already have the tools we need to combat the virus. One America's Pearson Sharp spoke with Brian Tyson, a doctor in Southern California who has successfully treated over 1,700 patients with the drug hydroxychloroquine. (Video)
Volunteer in AstraZeneca-Oxford University coronavirus vaccine clinical trial dies, report says | 21 Oct 2020 | A volunteer involved in AstraZeneca and Oxford University's coronavirus vaccine trial has died, Brazilian health authority Anvisa announced on Wednesday, according to Reuters. An investigation into the death is ongoing, but the trials will continue. The Wall Street Journal, citing local Brazilian press reports, said the volunteer was a man in his 20s from Rio de Janeiro... In the U.S., clinical trials involving AstraZeneca have been put on hold pending an FDA investigation into a "possible serious adverse event." On Wednesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told reporters that he was unaware of any plans to resume the trials as the case was still under FDA review.
via El Libertario, English translation by Anarchist News
by Mario Di Vito
The news, in itself, is simple, though unpleasant: after forty-nine years, "A" Rivista Anarchica ceases its publications. The first Italian publication "in alphabetical order" will no longer reach its subscribers and its interlocutors, leaving a hole where every month it was possible to read a fairly exhaustive review of themes and ideas from the varied libertarian world. The story is known and tinged with legend: Fabrizio De André's favorite monthly forum (who supported it financially), the voice that denounced the "state massacre" in Piazza Fontana, promoter of the campaign for the liberation of Pietro Valpreda, always with the intimate conviction that "there are no good powers" and that, therefore, anarchy is not an extreme position, but the only truly acceptable one.
IT WAS MONDAY, JULY 20, when the historic founder and editor - actually director, but hated that word - Paolo Finzi decided to die by throwing himself under a train in Forlì, and many wondered what would become of the magazine of which he was the soul and beating heart for decades. The answer came as a hard blow at the end of last week: cease of activities "by testamentary will," says the writing. "It is clear that because of the affection and respect we show for Paulo and his work, we will follow his instructions," reads the laconic letter sent to readers and collaborators.
The sociologist Enrico Finzi, Paolo's communist brother, however, speaks of this gesture as "an infamy" and, as executor, says he is "bitter, disgusted, enraged" because "the decision of not giving a future to "A" was taken by a small group of people; it was not shared by me and by many colleagues and comrades. It reverses the path to take accepted until recently. ”
Parting from that as well also the definition of what, according to him, would have been the future of "A": a number dedicated to its founder -already in preparation but never concluded-, the publication of other numbers that will arrive next spring, that is, the fiftieth anniversary, and then "a continuation at reduced costs, using the online format." In essence, a sweet death: if "A" survived all this time it is only because Paolo Finzi, month after month, by a miracle (something he never believed in) was able to keep all the pieces together, make ends meet, and send the latest edition out of the press, ready to be distributed. To think that the Anarchist Magazine can continue to exist even without him requires a considerable effort of imagination.
Enrico Finzi, with a good dose of optimism of will, says: "The idea has always been to involve the marvelous community of libertarians and some partisans in a shared effort, even if Paolo considered it unlikely." Especially in recent times, in fact, "A"'s editor had repeatedly expressed very sombre thoughts about the future of the monthly publication, while continuing to weave relationships and organize initiatives for a tomorrow that he finally decided not to presence.
WHAT REMAINS of "A"'s editorial team , however, does not intend to respond to the founder's brother's outburst, but simply reiterates that "what "Editrice A" had to say is written." And that's it.
It makes no sense to wonder where is the truth, in mourning and defeat, after all, it is a matter of little relevance, good only to incite notaries and lawyers, categories of people that anarchists keep at the adequate distance. What hurts the most are the words, thoughts and above all the suspicions, with the fear of betrayal always lurking to torment consciences and make one question even the most important assumption of all, that of the anarchist bandit Jules Bonnot: "One laments, yes, but in any case there is no regret."
These are the latest reflections of a painful story that began with the voluntary death of the anarchist Finzi and now sees a host of orphans in atrocious difficulties in managing a legacy that is not only ideal: the magazine and its more than five thousand monthly readers are capital that would be a pity to disperse.
IT'S NOT THAT THERE'S A LACK OF IDEAS, in any case. "A"'s editorial team is working to launch a new project and has already started looking for a publisher willing to invest something, in the umpteenth rebirth of a great classic of anarchist adventures: the fight for economic survival, a moment that One usually lives with water constantly at the level of the nose, but that also ends up cementing relationships and the discovery that the commitment of the militant-readers is often and willingly translated into a shower of donations. It has happened several times, it cannot be ruled out that it will happen again.
THE RUPTURE REMAINS in the anarchist family and is more than a bad omen. It is the manifestation of a weariness that has been felt for years, as if history has gone too far and left libertarians stuck wondering which direction to take. A political drama that seeps into the personal, even among comrades that for a long time have been told of all the nuances. It's certainly not a good show.
This is how Paolo Finzi's will also becomes a battlefield: is it closed or not? And, even if the founder had decided to take "A" with him, would it really be right to comply with his wishes or would it be better to discuss them? There are, for example, those who reject this decision, real or presumed, as an expression of "authoritarianism", a not very anarchic attribute and, therefore, it should be rejected in its entirety, whatever the cost.
IN THE END, MAYBE, Finzi's legacy is not to be sought in the magazine that he raised as if it were a daughter, but in his own words, or in the always persecuted will to bring libertarian thought out from its canonical places, beyond his own, out of their liturgies and their more or less narrow spaces, in the continuous and obstinate search for that breath that is felt in all parts of the world. The torch of anarchy that remains lit even after the anarchists, by definition "expelled without guilt", have left.
[Originally in Italian at https://ilmanifesto.it/il-triste-dilemma-della-rivista-anarchica . Translated into Spanish by the Editorial of El Libertario .]Tags: italyARivista AnarchicamagazinepublicationpressendingsdeathobituaryPaolo FinziRIP2020
The post From NYC to the World: A Call for a People’s State of Emergency appeared first on It's Going Down.
Call for community mobilizations in the face of the upcoming 2020 election. This is an emergency. It’s an emergency many of us have been living for a long time: from here in New York City, capital of global capitalism and onetime epicenter of COVID-19, to every corner of occupied Turtle Island. But it is also... Read Full Article
The post Principles of Solidarity In the Face of Fascist Repression appeared first on It's Going Down.
Statement and report from the Bay Area Anti-Repression Committee (ARC) regarding recent repression on the West Coast. The Bay Area Anti-Repression Committee (ARC) is aware of at least 13 arrests by federal agents and US Marshals across the West Coast in the last few weeks. These arrests are directly related to protests surrounding the 2020... Read Full Article
Gov. Gavin Newsom just issued “regulations” that ban gatherings of more than three households. But wait, on top of that you can only do that if you host your gatherings outside, indoor holiday gatherings are now BANNED in California. [...]
This Article California Declares War on Family Holiday Gatherings – Bans In-Home Gatherings is an original article from OFFGRID Survival If it is appearing on any other site but OFFGRID Survival, that site does not have our permission to use our copyrighted content!
The post Rhythm and Ritual: Composing Movement in Portland’s 2020 appeared first on It's Going Down.
Originally published by Ill Will Editions, the following reflection on the ongoing demonstrations in Portland offers both an analysis of why the revolt has continued for so long, why it has found sources of collective strength, and also maps out its weaknesses. While Portland’s uprising has been part of the general US #BLM movement, it... Read Full Article
Over the past five years, environmental advocates with the nonprofit Earthworks have made trips to 298 oil and gas wells, compressor stations, and processing plants across the Permian Basin in Texas, an oil patch which last year hit record-high methane pollution levels for the U.S. During those trips, Earthworks found and documented emissions from the oil industry's equipment, and on 141 separate occasions, they reported what they found to the state’s environmental regulators.
However, in response to those 141 complaints, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) took action to reduce pollution — by, for example, issuing a violation to the company responsible — just 17 times, according to a new report published today by Earthworks, which describes a pattern in which Texas regulators failed to address oilfield pollution problems, allowing leaks to continue in some cases for months.Tags: TExas Commission on Environmental QualityflaringEarthworksSharon Wilson
Anarchists Confront the 2020 Election
As Election Day approaches in a context of anxiety about the prospect of Donald Trump attempting to hold onto power by force or cunning, the revolutionary potential that was palpable in early June has receded almost beyond the horizon. Anarchism, abolitionism, and direct action tactics have gained traction throughout the Trump era; thanks to the fearmongering of the administration, anarchists have as much visibility as we have experienced in a century. Yet once again, we are watching the election crowd out any other subject or strategy. Many anarchists, despite decades of rejecting representative democracy, are focused on hoping for a Biden victory—or trying to figure out how to block a Trump coup, lest democracy give way to autocracy. Others are echoing the far right in anticipating a civil war.
This is an old story, in which the twin threats of tyranny and civil war serve to discipline rebels back into supporting representative democracy, foreclosing the possibility of revolutionary change. But what if we want none of these—neither tyranny, nor civil war, nor to perpetually settle for being ruled by the lesser of two evils?
Subtle signs of unrest.
The best this system can offer us.
It’s not surprising that anarchists are concerned about the outcome of the election. Which administration comes to power—whether by electoral victory or by other means—will determine what kind of challenges we confront as we continue fighting to abolish police, prisons, borders, and other forms of oppression.
Here is the strongest argument we can imagine for voting: if we understand ourselves as engaged in an outright conflict with an opposing army comprised of all the forces of the state, it might make sense to take advantage of a chance, however small, to influence who will lead that army against us. From this perspective, it could be worth taking a half hour to cast a ballot—assuming there really is no more effective way to employ that particular half hour—but it could never justify diverting our attention from our offensive efforts or letting our enemies know where we sleep at night.1 (To those who worry that voting legitimizes our rulers, we might counter that the chief way we legitimize their rule is by not overthrowing them.)
Of course, the vast majority of people do not understand voting this way. The liberal obsession with voting as the be-all-end-all of political participation is a symptom of—and an alibi for—a perverse refusal to take responsibility for all the more effective ways that one can go about making change. Likewise, leftists who grant that the state presents a structural obstacle to their aspirations nonetheless tend to get their hopes up that the periodic reign of the lesser of two evils represents a step towards a better world rather than a way to stabilize the existing order. Consequently, they are always taken by surprise by the ways that state actors coopt and undermine their efforts.
Take the Workers Party in Brazil, Syriza in Greece, and—not so long ago—Barack Obama in the United States. All of these used progressive rhetoric and minor social reforms as cover to continue implementing a neoliberal agenda and cracking down on movements for social change, stoking popular disillusionment and ultimately creating the conditions for the far right to come to power. Only by comparison with Bolsonaro, New Democracy, and Trump—the far-right successors whose victories they rendered inevitable—can these administrations seem desirable to anyone on the left.
This time around, no one has any illusions that progress or reform are anywhere on the ballot. Cynicism abounds. If, in his first presidential campaign, Trump essentially promised that he would return the white working class to the 1950s, Joe Biden is proposing to take America back in time to 2016. Politically speaking, Biden is a nonentity representing voters’ fear of being ruled by Trump, their despair of ever seeing meaningful change through the political system, and their failure to imagine a more effective approach to self-determination.
“Without revolution, there is no change. Vote PCPE!” This graffiti promoting the Communist Party of the Peoples of Spain aptly illustrates the contradictions of the leftist relationship to state democracy. Since the mid-19th century, Marx and his successors have acknowledged that there are structural reasons that the state does not serve the working class—while nonetheless urging workers to form parties and run for office.
The more we focus on the election, the more we tend to internalize the logic of electoral politics: representation, majority rule, sovereignty as a winner-take-all competition, deference to procedure. Liberal concerns about preserving the rule of law and reforming the Electoral College serve to instill these premises.
For example—if the reason that it would be unconscionable to accept a second Trump term is that we believe that the majority of duly registered voters in this country oppose his candidacy, what if Trump surprises everyone again by winning the election with a solid majority of the electoral college, or even winning the popular vote? Will we then be duty-bound to accept his authority and obey the rulings of his Supreme Court?
From our standpoint, it is moral cowardice to frame the problem with Trump remaining in power as a concern that he might do so illegally. The people who are focusing on this are forgetting that the reason we’re in this mess in the first place is because Trump was already elected through the same democratic electoral system that they are urging us to defend at all costs. Focusing on the possibility that Trump might pull off an underhanded victory this time around is tantamount to priming everyone who opposes Trump to be prepared to give up fighting and accept another four years of his administration if he wins “fair and square.” Just as significantly, this serves to accustom the same people to complacency if Biden takes power but goes on enforcing at least some of the policies of the Trump era—as he undoubtedly will. Democracy itself is the problem, beguiling people to disregard their own consciences in favor of protocol, regardless of the cost in human suffering.
As anarchists, we didn’t set out to interrupt Trump’s inauguration because he lost the popular vote in 2016—we did it because we opposed his entire agenda and the idea that anyone should be able to wield that much power in the first place. We didn’t shut down airports because we anticipated that a duly appointed judge would eventually rule Trump’s Muslim ban unconstitutional—we did it because we believe that all human beings deserve the right to travel freely, whatever any president, judge, or voting bloc decrees. Our ethical compass is not majoritarian or procedural. Even if Trump were reelected with 100% of registered voters casting their ballots in his favor,2 we would continue to stand up to his attacks on immigrants, his federal interventions against Black Lives Matter protests, his force-propped authority.
There is nothing inherently just about the will of the majority, any more than there is anything inherently ethical or honorable about obeying the law. If you really want to do away with injustice, make it impossible for any group—be it a minority or a majority—to systematically dominate others. Until we build extensive horizontal networks of solidarity to accomplish this, tyrants like Trump will continue coming to power, and centrists like Joe Biden will continue trying to meet them halfway in a manner that ratchets our society ever closer to tyranny, and all the voting in the world won’t help.
“Everything that happened in Nazi Germany was legal. It happened in courtrooms, just like this. It was done by judges, judges who wore robes and judges who quoted the law and judges who said ‘This is the law, respect it.’”
-Jerry Rubin, February 15, 1970, facing sentencing for contempt of court.
How the Center Uses the Right
The threat presented by Trump’s candidacy and the violence of his supporters is convenient for centrists like Joe Biden and his supporters at the New York Times. They have already spent the summer using this excuse to urge protesters to exit the streets and give up their leverage on murderous police departments, baselessly suggesting that protests could drive voters into Trump’s arms.
In fact, if we study the polls over the course of 2020, Biden consolidated his lead after the George Floyd Rebellion got underway at the end of May; Trump only began to regain ground when the protests died down. If Trump loses this election and fails to retain power by other means, much of the credit must go to the rebels for compelling a subset of the ruling class to shift their allegiances to Biden by showing that four more years of Trump could render the United States ungovernable.
Centrists have always benefitted from the threat posed by the far right. Thanks to Trump, if Biden wins the election and secures power, millions of people who have every reason to fight against his express agenda will breathe a sigh of relief all the same. Liberals who would have continued to protest against racist immigration policies and police violence under Trump will quietly accept them under Biden, leaving the radicals who continue to oppose them isolated and exposed.
We’ve come a long way since June 2020—a long way the wrong way. In the immediate aftermath of the uprising, when people around the country had seen demonstrators in Minneapolis abolish a police precinct via direct action, it was finally possible to imagine doing away with the institution of policing itself. Reformists diluted this bold proposition, substituting their proposal to “defund” the police via lobbying. Unsurprisingly, moving the struggle back to the terrain of party politics and government procedure produced dismal results. Now that the contest between Biden and Trump occupies everyone’s attention, even defunding the police seems hopelessly idealistic.
So the Biden campaign represents the counterrevolution, no less than Donald Trump does. Trump’s absurd efforts to portray Biden as a far-left radical mobilize right-wing voters, but they also serve to close the Overton window to the left, framing the Biden campaign as the most radical platform conceivable.
This tendency to water down radical proposals and reduce the scope of the popular imagination is inherent in majoritarian democracy. The exigencies of competing to form the biggest voting bloc in order to capture power tend to reduce all political platforms to the lowest common denominator, suppressing difference. Minorities of all kinds are structurally compelled to become junior partners in coalitions that have little incentive to prioritize their needs. Centralization gives rise to homogenization, marginalizing those who will not or cannot pretend to be like everyone else, reinforcing the existing order as the only possible reality.
Pressuring people to support the lesser of two evils rather than pursuing their own dreams, electoral politics puts those dreams further and further out of reach.
Graffiti in Italy: “Death to democracy. Anarchy and freedom!”
So what’s the alternative? If we don’t grant whichever politician wins the election the right to govern us, what does that mean for the future of the United States of America? If the consensus reality imposed by majoritarian democracy makes radical change impossible, how do we proceed?
The far right has already advanced their answer to these questions: civil war. If they cannot retain control of the state—the machinery of centralized violence—by electoral means, they are threatening to take violence into their own hands.
Some anti-fascists have adopted this rhetoric as well—and indeed, for some, the war has already arrived. “I see a civil war right around the corner,” Michael Reinoehl said to a reporter immediately before police murdered him in cold blood.
Most of those who warn of impending civil war aren’t explicitly advocating for it—they are just arguing that we should be prepared. Yet, as Emma Goldman spelled out in her essay “Preparedness, the Road to Universal Slaughter,” preparing for war can hasten its arrival. It can also make it difficult to recognize other possibilities.
The reasons that the far right are clamoring for civil war are complex. At the grassroots level, rank-and-file racists sense that they are on the losing end of the culture war and demographic shifts. Some have apparently concluded that the longer they put off open hostilities, the worse their position becomes. As they radicalize, demagogues like Donald Trump and Tucker Carlson must radicalize along with them in order to retain their loyalty.
Meanwhile, the extractive industries that supply much of the Republican Party’s funding are concerned about demographic changes eroding their voter base, leading to increased taxation and environmental regulations. They likely see pandemic safety measures as a practice run for ecological measures that could cut into their profits permanently—COVID-19 denial and climate change denial arise from the same sectors. They intend to keep maximizing their profits at all costs, ecological catastrophe and civil strife notwithstanding. Just as the George Floyd rebellion exerted leverage on the institutions of our society, Republicans aim to use the threat of mass violence as leverage to preserve the status quo.
But do we stand to gain anything from escalating towards civil war? If the far right are calling for it, we should be especially suspicious of this paradigm.
[https://cloudfront.crimethinc.com/assets/articles/2020/10/21/11.jpg September 5, 2020: Militia members in Louisville, Kentucky.]]What Democracy and Civil War Have in Common
Democracy is often framed as the alternative to civil war. The idea is that we have democratic institutions so everyone won’t just kill each other in direct pursuit of power. This is the social contract that liberals accuse Trump of violating.
But if, as Carl von Clausewitz said, war is simply politics by other means, we should consider what representative democracy and civil war have in common. Both are essentially winner-takes-all struggles in which adversaries compete to control the state—i.e., to achieve a monopoly on violence, control, and perceived legitimacy. The exigencies of civil war, no less than the exigencies of electoral competition, reward those who can appeal to the wealthy and powerful for resources and those who can reduce their agenda to the lowest common denominator in order to build mass.3
“Guided by the experiences of those who participated in the original uprising in Syria, we can learn a lot about the hazards of militarism in revolutionary struggle. Once the conflict with Assad’s government shifted from strikes and subversion to militarized violence, those who were backed by state or institutional actors were able to centralize themselves as the protagonists; power collected in the hands of Islamists and other reactionaries. As Italian insurrectionist anarchists famously argued, ‘the force of insurrection is social, not military. The uprising didn’t spread far enough fast enough to become a revolution. Instead, it turned into a gruesome civil war, bringing the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ to a close and with it the worldwide wave of revolts.”
If war is politics by other means, then politics as we know it—the state and its most resilient and stable form to date, representative democracy—may have emerged as war by other means. Militarized conflicts that compel everyone to take sides according to a binary framework tend to engender the same hierarchies, the same mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion, and the same centralization of coercive force that are fundamental to the state. The state emerges when one side wins a war and imposes its authority; civil war resumes when the incentives to compete for power via elections rather than brute force break down. War is the health of the state, as Randolph Bourne wrote—and that goes for civil war as well.
A brief review of US history confirms that representative democracy has always existed on a spectrum with civil war. Bleeding Kansas is perhaps the best known example of this: for years, people fought and killed each other in a struggle to determine whether Kansas would vote to preserve the institution of slavery. The same rivals who would beat and shoot each other one week would cast ballots against each other the next, then go back to beating and shooting each other.
Trump and his supporters are part of a centuries-old tradition that understands democracy as a variant of civil war. Trump’s strategy of voter intimidation, for example, draws on a long heritage extending back to the Plug Uglies and other gangs that employed violence to systematically rig the outcome of elections.
“Stealing elections is how democracy works. It’s how it has always worked. If you legitimize a monopoly on coercive force and authority by claiming to represent the will of the people, then obviously subsequent power struggles will focus on defining which people constitute ‘the People.’”
-Peter Gelderloos, “Preparing for Electoral Unrest and a Right-Wing Power Grab”
In this context, we can recognize Trump’s emphasis on Nuremberg-style mass rallies as a demagogic form of democracy originally descended from open clashes within the polity:
“Winning an election is one way to claim the legitimacy of having been chosen by the people; being acclaimed in the streets or instituted by popular violence are other ways. In ancient Sparta, leaders were elected to the council of elders by a shouting contest—the candidate who received the loudest applause won. The technical term for this is acclamation… This is the oldest form of democracy—Spartan rather than Athenian—in which the masses legitimize a movement or ruling party as representative by acclaiming it in person, rather than through elections.
So civil war is not a solution to the problems with representative democracy. It simply continues the logic of the majoritarian contest for power on another terrain, the terrain of open violence.
Both representative democracy and civil war are essentially spectator sports, subordinating the agency of ordinary people to politicians or militia members.
If the risk of focusing on the election alongside liberals is that we will internalize the logic of electoral politics, then one risk of spending so much time fighting the far right is that we will internalize their premises, as well, coming to assume that the only alternative to electoral politics is militarized clashes. The proliferation of guns at demonstrations seems to reflect this—not so much the guns themselves as the way that they are coming to dominate our imaginations.
A few accelerationists have welcomed the escalation of hostilities, hailing a post-democratic era in which those who are mobilized by different ideologies, value systems, and notions of belonging will fight it out openly. This is redundant at best: we already live in an era of civil war that will almost certainly intensify. Ukraine—Charlottesville—one, two, many Syrias. The question is not how to foment social conflict, but how to maximize the likelihood that the outcome of these conflicts will be more freedom, more egalitarian relations, and hopefully, in the long run, more harmony.
Ordinarily, the anarchist position on elections is to reject the centrality of voting as the be-all-end-all of political participation. In 2020, it is just as important to reject civil war as the alternative. This is not an argument against partisanship per se—rather, it’s a question of what kind of partisanship we want to foster. Rather than forming or joining one of the rival factions competing for control of the state, let’s look for ways to transform these struggles and the social bodies that are engaged in them, broadening the horizons of possibility.
Instead of Civil War—Contagious Refusal and Revolt
In place of civil war, which pits discrete factions against each other in a contest of arms, we aim to spread revolt on a horizontal and decentralized basis, destabilizing the institutions of power and the allegiances and conflicts that underpin them. The first step in this process is to dismiss the idea that any law, majority, or leadership has an inherent claim on our obedience. The second step to throw out any lingering romanticism about what we can accomplish by force of arms alone—we seek to transform our relations with others, not to exterminate them. The third step is to refuse our roles in perpetuating the existing order—whether as active participants in it or passive accomplices who permit it to continue—setting contagious examples of rebellion that can spread throughout the entire social terrain.
The ungovernable uprisings of May and June demonstrated how effective this can be. Civil war revolves around building an army and fighting the enemy; in revolt, we focus on offering those who are not yet involved roles as protagonists in their own version of the story.
We should also explore all the other ways we can relate to each other besides warfare, setting positive precedents for coexisting and cooperating across lines of difference. The mutual aid programs that have multiplied since March have the virtue of creating connections between people who might not otherwise identify with each other, diminishing the likelihood that conflicts will escalate to lethal force. In addition to interrupting the prevailing order, we also have to weave a new social fabric, making peace as an offensive measure against needless and destructive conflicts.4
Necessary but not sufficient.
This November, if Trump attempts to hold on to power and legalistic solutions fail to resolve the crisis, some liberal centrists will press us to serve as the shock troops of democracy, taking risks that they would never take themselves in order to preserve the integrity of an electoral system that has always suppressed our voices and our autonomy. Far-right Republicans and outright fascists would love to see us locked in symmetrical warfare with better-armed militias who want nothing more than a fixed target and a legitimate excuse to employ their weapons. We should be careful not to end up playing either of these roles, but to chart our own path, evaluating the effectiveness of our actions according to the extent to which they achieve our goals.
If armed militias attempt to seize the capitol buildings to pressure the state to permit Trump to retain office, reprising the tactic they tested out during the “re-open” protests in April, we should not go to meet them there in open combat. Rather, we should identify all the pressure points throughout this society via which we can exert leverage asymmetrically, all the supply chains that deliver the resources that the militias, their backers, and the state itself depend on. Imagine a wave of blockades, strikes, self-organized assemblies, and cooperative actions across the continent targeting a variety of aspects of the state and the economy, arising from a multiplicity of overlapping forms of organization that cannot all be coopted by Democrats eager to dictate terms, setting precedents that will stand long after this particular political moment has passed. By seizing the opportunity to interpose our own narratives and our own agendas, speaking directly to the everyday needs of ordinary people, we could come out of the crisis stronger and better connected.
If there has to be a crisis, let’s make the most of it.The Good News Is—We’re on Our Own
If there is any unambiguously good news this electoral season, it is that neither of the major candidates represent anything like a radical agenda. Had Bernie Sanders become the Democratic candidate and won the election, he would have faced the same internal sabotage from career politicians that prevented him from winning the nomination, not to mention the structural challenges that doomed the socialist aspirations of the Workers Party and Syriza. His efforts to temper cutthroat capitalism could only have failed, inducing some of his supporters to embrace centrist realpolitik while leaving others disillusioned and bitter. Better that the center is discredited under Biden.
2016 was a lifetime ago.
For years, we have argued that owing to the consequences of neoliberal globalization, the state can do little to mitigate the impact of capitalism on the general public. Under these conditions, no party can hold power long without losing legitimacy and catalyzing opposition. We saw this under the Workers Party in Brazil, under Syriza in Greece, under Obama in the US. Now we have seen it under Trump as well—the grassroots nationalists and white supremacists who suffered so many reverses under his administration would probably be in a stronger position today if they had been able to present themselves as the opposition to an unpopular Clinton administration. As we argued the day after Trump won the 2016 election:
Let us look for silver linings in this cloud of oncoming tear gas. Perhaps it is for the best that someone like Trump is coming to power now, rather than four years hence. Let the right wing demonstrate that their solutions are just as inadequate as those proposed from the Left. In a time of economic crises, ecological collapse, and spreading war, the state is a hot potato: no one will be able to hold it long.
If it is true that state power has become a hot potato that burns whoever tries to hold it—a thesis that will be tested again this November—the last thing we need is for our revolutionary proposals to be conflated with the watered-down program of some political party. If we are to make deep and lasting change, our movements must continue growing from the grassroots, demonstrating the efficacy of direct action, fostering an appetite for fundamental change, never confused with a party program that could be implemented through the existing apparatus of state power.
So if Biden secures the presidency, we must immediately pivot to confronting him, showing all the ways that his administration will continue carrying out Trump’s agenda. There must be no confusion about the distance between grassroots social movements and the political party in the White House.
Under a Biden presidency, we will likely see increasing attacks from a frustrated far right. The millions of racists Trump has emboldened will not simply shift their allegiances to the likes of the Lincoln Project if he is defeated at the polls. We should be able to weather their attacks the same way we defeated the fighting formations of the far right during the Trump era, provided our comrades on the left and towards the center do not leave us to fight alone. Once more, this will be determined by whether we permit Biden and his cronies to create the impression that the crisis of the Trump years has been resolved.
In any case, rather than facing a choice between democracy and civil war, we face a future that almost certainly holds both. It’s up to us to make sure that it holds something else as well—contagious momentum towards liberation.
As we wrote four years ago, hours after Trump won the election,
Cradle the seed, even in the volcano’s mouth.
In an interview earlier this month, a longtime anarchist fighter in Rojava described how this played out in the early years of the Syrian Civil War: “As the fights escalated and the war intensified, weaker factions were absorbed by stronger factions or just disbanded. When ISIS started to penetrate into Syria in 2013, the opposition factions had to chose sides—with Daesh or against them.” ↩
In this regard, we are inspired by the recent anti-war statements from rebels on both sides of the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. We can learn a lot from anarchists and other anti-militarists who lived through the civil wars in former Yugoslavia, Colombia, Peru, and Northern Ireland. ↩
In the heart of the Permian oil patch in West Texas, a massive $416 million solar array began converting sunshine to electricity this summer. One of the project’s main financiers has a very familiar name — Facebook.Tags: Permian BasinfacebookshellOccidental PetroleumChevron (NYSE: CVX)renewable energy
via Anarquía.info, translated by Anarchist News
Death to the State! Solidarity with Mónica and Francisco.
Throughout history, anarchists have always suffered persecution by the State. This is because the simple idea of a world, free and in solidarity, where the coercive power of the State is not only unnecessary, but undesirable, is in itself a threat for those who hold power. And those people who put these ideas into practice and confront State violence can take for granted that they will catch the attention of the State's repressive apparatus.
Mónica Caballero and Francisco Solar are going through that. They were kidnapped by the State on July 24th, 2020. Now they risk spending various years in some Chilean prison.
Freedom for Mónica and Francisco!
All the support to the struggle of the mapuche people which also suffers the repression of the Chilean State!
This video was made as part of the Day of Agitation and Propaganda for Anarchist prisoners, August 14, 2020.
Video made by: ANTIMIDIA
[Video transcript and translation below by Anarchist News:]
Quote on screen: "It's not cruelty, nor thirst for blood, nor any other criminal tendency, what induce a man to attack organized power. On the contrary, it's above all due to a strong social instinct, due to a strong abundance of love and an overflowing of sympathy with the pain and sorrow that surrounds us" - Emma Goldman
Narrator voice-over in Portuguese and subtitles in Spanish:
"In the morning of July 24th, 2020, the Chilean State arrested Mónica Caballero and Francisco Solar in another attempt to criminalize anarchists. The State tries to disguise all the brutality and violence inherent in its existence by accusing anarchists of violence. But there's no way to compare the violence of colonialism, the military, the police and neo-liberalism, with rocks, Molotov cocktails and other tools used by peoples that resist genocide and oppression, and the destruction of all the ecosystems that maintain all the life on Earth. And it's those same States who are responsible for the greater part of the violence in the world, who feel they have the right to judge us and call that "justice".
Freedom for Mónica Caballero and Francisco Solar and for all the people that were kidnapped by States!"
Mónica Caballero addressing the court: "Death to the State and long live anarchy!"
Francisco Solar addressing the court: "Long live anarchy!"Tags: Death to the State!Monica CaballeroFrancisco Solaranarchist prisonerssolidaritysolidarity means attack!repressionvideotranscript
All the most egregious deep-state sacks of garbage, like Biden himself: Biden eyes GOP [Never-Trumper] candidates for Cabinet slot --Progressives fret as Joe Biden's transition team vets a handful of Republicans for his potential administration. | 20 Oct 2020 | Joe Biden's transition team is vetting a handful of Republicans for potential Cabinet positions -- despite doubts it will win him new support from the right and the risk it will enrage the left. Among the names being floated for possible Biden Cabinet posts are Meg Whitman, the CEO of Quibi and former CEO of eBay, and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, both of whom spoke at August's Democratic National Convention. Massachusetts GOP Gov. Charlie Baker and former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) have also been mentioned, as has former Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), who resigned from Congress in 2018 and became a lobbyist.
Casket outside Brooklyn nursing home filled with 6,500 covers of Cuomo's book | 18 Oct 2020 | A silver casket was wheeled to the front of a Brooklyn nursing home Sunday -- and 6,500 copies of the cover of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's new book were dumped into it in protest of his COVID-19 policies. The number of covers was equal to the roughly 6,500 people who have been reported killed by the coronavirus in nursing homes in the state -- although the ralliers said they believe the figure is much higher. "My mother-in-law got COVID in an elder-care facility but died in a hospital, [so] her number does not count" in New York’s nursing-home tally, said Janice Dean, a meteorologist for TV's "Fox & Friends" who was among the roughly 50 protesters outside the Cobble Hill Health Center.
Japan set to release Fukushima water into Pacific Ocean --Release to occur after 2022 despite reputational worries from fishing industry | 16 Oct 2020 | Japan is set to officially decide to release treated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the ocean amid opposition from a fishing industry worried about its reputation. Keeping water at the site, where the devastating tsunami in 2011 led to three meltdowns, could affect decommissioning... The plant is managed by the Tokyo Electric Power Company. Since the meltdowns, groundwater and rain have been entering the site. As of fiscal 2019, an additional 180 tons of water was being contaminated every day by the high concentration of radioactive substances. Tepco removes major radioactive substances from the water, which is then stored at the site. As of Sept. 17, there were 1.23 million tons of treated water in about 1,000 tanks.
FBI in possession of Hunter Biden's purported laptop, sources say --The FBI and Justice Department concur with DNI Ratcliffe that the laptop is not part of a Russian disinformation campaign. | 20 Oct 2020 | The FBI is in possession of the laptop purportedly belonging to Hunter Biden which contained emails revealing his foreign business dealings, including contacts in Ukraine and China, two senior administration officials told Fox News Tuesday. The FBI declined to confirm or deny the existence of an investigation into the laptop or the emails, as is standard practice. Further, Fox News has learned that the FBI and Justice Department officials concur with an assessment from Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe that the laptop is not part of a Russian disinformation campaign targeting Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Ratcliffe, on Monday, said that Hunter Biden's laptop and the emails on it "is not part of some Russian disinformation campaign," despite claims from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif.
Russia offers one-year freeze on nuclear arsenal if New START extended | 20 Oct 2020 | Moscow is ready to offer Washington a mutual one-year freeze on both sides' nuclear arsenals, if New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) is prolonged for the same period of time, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated. "Russia offers to prolong New START for one year, and it is ready to take on the political obligation along with the USA to freeze the amount of its nuclear warheads for that period. This position can be implemented strictly on the understanding that the freezing of the warheads will not be accompanied by any additional demands from the side of the US," the ministry noted.
Greeley nursing home residents protest pandemic lockdown: 'I'd rather die of COVID than loneliness' | 08 Oct 2020 | (Greeley, CO) Waving signs that read such things as "I'd rather die of COVID than loneliness," and "We are prisoners in our home," residents of one nursing facility staged their own anti-lockdown protest along one of the busiest streets in Greeley, directly across the street from the city’s largest and longest operating hospital "Freedom, freedom, freedom," one lady chanted while waving a sign that read "we want our families back." The protest against the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and Gov. Jared Polis's (D-Dirt-bag) mandates that do not allow nursing home residents to see their loved ones, was thought up, organized and carried out by the residents, with oversight from their nurses and other staff members, said the Assistant Administrator of Fairacres Manor Ben Gonzales... One woman, who was not from Greeley, but happened to be at the hospital during the protest yelled across the street "tell them to let you out of jail."