A landmark piece of federal legislation aimed at protecting women from violent crimes seems to be a low priority for the 115th Congress.
The Violence Against Women Act was included in a defense and health spending bill passed last month. However, it was only granted a short-term reauthorization until Dec. 7.
“It should absolutely be prioritized, Congress should be engaging in a real way with sexual assault advocates,” said Terri Poore, the policy director for the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence. “This extension is just kicking the can down the road till after the election.”
In 1994, then-Sen. Joe Biden drafted VAWA during the aftermath of the Anita Hill hearings. It passed both the Senate and the House of Representatives as a part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, and it was signed by President Bill Clinton.
The law set aside funding for investigations into violent crimes associated with domestic and sexual violence designed to end violence against women. VAWA also financed legal aid, funded shelters for victims, provided federal grants for advocacy groups helping domestic violence survivors and toughened federal charges for abusers.
In 1991, Hill alleged that then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her when they worked together at the United States Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Now, 27 years later, Brett Kavanaugh, who was recently confirmed to the Supreme Court, has faced allegations of sexual assault. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford alleged Kavanaugh assaulted her when they were teenagers in the early 1980s.
Biden, who is considering a bid for president in 2020, was criticized for how he handled the Hill and Thomas hearings when he was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. His role in the 1991 hearings has come under scrutiny again in the midst of Ford and Kavanaugh hearings.
Each time reauthorization nears, advocacy groups work together through the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence to do extensive outreach to learn what parts of VAWA are working and what needs improving. Updates are always necessary to ensure that the programs are effective, Poore said.
“We had been making progress with Congress on getting the reauthorization approved, so it’s pretty disappointing to just get this short-term extension,” Poore said.
That being said, Poore said she is hopeful that they will get the full reauthorization approved eventually. Demand for services like rape and sexual assault support has skyrocketed recently and the funding can’t meet those needs, she said.
Since 1994, the act was reauthorized in 2000, 2005 and 2013. The law expired for two years, from 2011 to 2013, when conservative Republicans objected to new provisions.
But, during that lapsed period, VAWA programs continued to receive funding, since the budgeting process for the relevant programs covered under the law is separate from reauthorization.
When VAWA was up for reauthorization in 2011, Republican lawmakers were against extending protections to immigrants, Native American women and the LGBTQ community.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) sponsored the expanded version, which was eventually passed in 2013. Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) were among the Republicans who co-sponsored the bill, but it was met with resistance from a handful of notable Republican lawmakers.
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), who, at the time, was the senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was against the new provisions and offered a stripped-down version that failed in the Senate. Grassley accused the added provisions of being too political and losing focus on helping victims.
Of those in office in 2013 who are currently on the Senate Judiciary Committee, only the Democrats, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Crapo voted in favor of reauthorization.
In 1994, Grassley, the current chairman of the committee, and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), a committee member, also voted against the original legislation. Both senators were on the judiciary committee during the Hill and Thomas hearings in 1991. The other remaining members of the committee who were in office in 2013 voted against its reauthorization.
In 2012, Murkowski said the Republican Party was at risk of being painted as “antiwoman” if members didn’t support the legislation.
President Barack Obama signed the 2013 version. VAWA now grants temporary visas to undocumented immigrants who are victims of domestic violence, extends protections to Native American women and includes domestic violence cases for LGBTQ couples. The bill also expanded the definition of violence against women to include stalking.
Then-Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) was also against the 2013 reauthorization. He too said the new additions were more political than helpful. Earlier this year, Sessions, now attorney general, made it nearly impossible for asylum seekers who are victims of domestic violence to gain access to the US by citing fears of expanding existing definitions of asylum status to “private violence.”
The reauthorization of the 2013 version was the focus of heavy lobbying. Nearly 60 organizations funded lobbying efforts supporting or opposing the bill, including groups working on behalf of Native American tribes and immigrant rights associations.
This year’s version was a House bill sponsored by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX). Jackson Lee expanded the law to allow law enforcement officials to take weapons from domestic abusers who legally can’t own them. The new version also significantly increased funding for rape crisis centers.
Out of 173 cosponsors on the bill, not a single one is a Republican.
So far this year there haven’t been any reported lobbying efforts for reauthorization. The law expired Sept. 30 and will be at risk of lapsing again come December.
Last month, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan expressing her anger at the temporary reauthorization.
“Republicans’ decision to include only a short-term VAWA reauthorization in the must-pass minibus spending bill is nothing short of an abdication of our responsibilities to women in our country,” Pelosi said.
With the publication last week of journalist Eli Saslow’s new book, Rising Out of Hatred, which details how the son of KKK leader Don Black renounced white nationalism after becoming friends in college with Jewish students and others who questioned his views, discussions about how to deradicalize fascists are once again in the news.
While stories of transformation, such as the one documented by Saslow inspire optimism, it’s important for excitement about such victories not to bleed over into arguments about how anti-fascist energies are best spent through befriending Nazis in order to counter their violent bigotry.
While there is a place in this world for such a piecemeal effort to change the hearts and views of those on the far right, the problem with an overemphasis on such an approach is that it obscures the complex nature of how deradicalization is typically accomplished. Further, befriending members of the far right can lend them social clout and access to various spaces where they have the potential to cause significant harm.
Calls to befriend fascists rather than to forcibly contain their public presence tend to crop up in response to any new resurgence of anti-fascist mobilization. Conservative commentator Bethany Mandel’s op-ed in the Forward — titled “We Need to Start Befriending Neo-Nazis” and published in August 2017, mere days after the deadly “Unite the Right” white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia — is a prime example of this inclination.
In the essay, Mandel argued that “It’s time to admit that even in the wake of Charlottesville — especially in the wake of Charlottesville — the only way we’re going to get our country back is to change minds. This might mean we need to start befriending nazis.”
As evidence, Mandel cited three white nationalists who were deradicalized with the help of people who patiently worked with them to dismantle their bigotry. For example, he mentioned Daryl Davis, a musician known for forming long-term friendships with members of the Ku Klux Klan to try to persuade them to give up their bigotry. Davis, the subject of a recent documentary called Accidental Courtesy, claims that he has convinced 200 Klan members to leave the group. While it’s true that extremists can deradicalize with the help of others who push them to challenge their bigotry, having engaging and challenging conversations with a person does not necessarily equate to a friendship (whatever that concept means to a fascist), and friendship alone is not sufficient.Let’s Not Underestimate the Difficulty of Neutralizing the Fascist Threat
The inordinate amount of hand-wringing attention the mainstream press has paid to fighting Nazis, coupled with the counteroffer of befriending Nazis as a solution to fascism, has resulted in a widespread misunderstanding of the broader anti-fascist project, and the scale of the fascist threat. Anti-fascist tactics are not, in fact, limited to the now famous punching of Nazis in the street but also involve organizing to inoculate communities against bigotry, mutual aid projects, occupations and picketing, doxxing fascists (collecting information such as place of employment and phone numbers and revealing it to the broader public), and general community defense against both civilian fascists and state abuses. These tactics, like all tactics, are limited, but have seen success.
One of the unfortunate outcomes of both portrayals that suggest anti-fascist activism only involves punching Nazis and of responses about how befriending Nazis is more helpful than physical confrontations is the notion that it is somehow easy to neutralize the fascist threat. If all it takes is “making friends” with violent people, or, alternatively punching them in the face, it sounds like a fascist-free world is easy to achieve. Our current political climate demonstrates this is anything but true.
The left and also some liberals have not taken kindly to the friendship theory of confronting fascism. Writer Quinn Norton was briefly hired then let go from a position with The New York Times this year after tweets came to light in which she spoke favorably of a now-notorious American neo-Nazi called “weev” (whose real name is Andrew Auernheimer). Norton had referred to Auernheimer as her “friend.” Auernheimer, who co-runs the Daily Stormer, a website that is massively popular with neo-Nazis, appears on white nationalist podcasts and incessantly calls for genocide against non-white people.
Despite all this, Norton found it appropriate to maintain a friendship with Auernheimer. “I have been friends with various neo-nazis in my time, yes” Norton tweeted when asked about her relationship with Auernheimer in 2014. “I have never agreed with them, and I’ve been clear on that.”
This latter statement in particular exemplifies a sort of “holier-than-thou” position that fascist-adjacent people sometimes deploy in order to skirt accountability for their relationships. In attempting to show that she, a good person, can be friends with a Nazi and still be good herself, Norton is also attempting to show that she is above the peskiness of partisan biases: the ultimate tolerant liberal.
However, other tweets where Norton used the n-word also recirculated amid the public outcry that accompanied her hiring at the Times, as did a 2013 Medium post where she called Nazi leader John Rabe her “personal patron saint of moral complexity.” Rabe was a leading figure in Nazi Germany, and also helped thousands of Chinese people avoid being killed during the Holocaust. That is, there are at least two Nazis about which Quinn has kind things to say. Still, Norton also claimed on Twitter in February amid all this backlash that on the rare occasions she still speaks to Auernheimer, she brings up “the racism” and attempts to address it with him.
Even if Auernheimer were open to leaving the Nazi movement, and even if Norton were herself a staunch anti-racist, it’s not only a matter of disagreeing “with the racism” when it comes to helping fascists change their ways. Indeed, if Norton had hoped to somehow neutralize Auernheimer’s hate or make the world safer via a friendship with Auernheimer, she failed spectacularly. Auernheimer is still a prominent player in the fascist scene and shows no sign of giving up on the movement any time soon.
This is in no small part because it’s actually quite difficult to deradicalize a neo-Nazi, and the process has to start with a genuine desire or need to change on the part of the fascist.The Complicated Process of Deradicalization
Contrary to popular belief, the process of deradicalization is long, complicated and very difficult work for all parties involved. Peter Simi, a professor of sociology at Chapman University who studies political extremists, says that “we have more to learn than we already know” about deradicalizing far-right extremists. Simi explains that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to helping Nazis leave the movement, but he emphasizes that a “combination of internal and external forces” are often required.
“Internal motivation is critical,” Simi says of the necessity of a desire to change. “Sometimes it’s not the storybook we want to hear, but [the motivation to leave] often comes when a person involved in this lifestyle is not having their needs met.” Bigoted people are often drawn to far-right movements in order to feel “involved in a family, a cause and excitement, you think it’s going to change the world,” Simi says, but after time, some will get burnt out on the “backstabbing and hypocrisy, and cheating with one another’s significant others” that is rife within fascist groups. When fascists decide they’ve had enough with these things and get some distance, Simi explains that they are then able to have “the breathing room to see not only was it not satisfying, but it’s wrong. And then there’s more fundamental changes in beliefs that happen later, but not initially.”
Simi also says that external pressure, such as losing a job, being exposed publicly as a fascist, or realizing they’re putting family in harm’s way because of their activities can push fascists to begin the deradicalization process. “They realize they’re sacrificing way too much,” he says. However, “For some people, that can also kind of seal the deal for lifetime, lifelong commitment. There’s a lot of contingencies; in some cases it works, in others quite the opposite. There’s no one model that’s going to work.” Simi also notes that there have been multiple cases where having a child prompts fascists to turn their lives around. In these instances, having a baby and the responsibilities that come with parenthood provide enough motivation for fascists to act in the best interests of their family’s safety and leave the movement.
For those with the energy, patience and knowledge, it is possible to help deradicalize Nazis, but they have to want it first.
Daryle Lamont Jenkins, executive director of the anti-fascist organization One People’s Project, regularly works with fascists who are ready to leave their hateful ways behind. Jenkins says he has an “open door policy” for fascists who want help getting out, “but they have to give us something in return.” Jenkins will be cordial to fascists to establish an initial rapport, he says, but he always requires that soon-to-be-defected fascists spill information about their comrades and work to undo the damage they’ve inflicted on society.
“My concern is the accountability for their actions being missed,” he says. “I think one of the things that makes it easy for me [to work with them], is they have to come to me. They have to be ready to give it up.”
Jenkins also notes that dealing with Nazis one-on-one during the deradicalization process is but one aspect of a much broader movement to resist and defeat fascism and support vulnerable communities.Direct Confrontation and Exposing Fascists Is Also Necessary
There are times when anti-racist and anti-fascist activists find it necessary to directly confront fascists, particularly as a means of preventing them from assembling and organizing in public. In the internet age, doxxing — a tactic also employed by fascists so they can threaten and harass anti-fascists, anti-racists, journalists and other private citizens they perceive to be their enemies — has proven effective for anti-fascist activism.
When asked how concerned citizens can best expend their energy tackling fascism and racism today, Jenkins immediately called for more work to expose fascists’ identities publicly. “We need to know who it is that is involved with this nonsense,” Jenkins says. “Yes, they have the right to speak and live their lives to an extent, but the bottom line is that when they’re out, they’re harassing people and seeking to tear the fabric of society. They shouldn’t have the luxury of anonymity.” While exposing individual members of fascist groups may sound like it has a small impact, the consequences have the potential to be massive under the right circumstances. Jenkins provides the cases of Richard Spencer and Stephen Miller as an example.
“Several years ago [One People’s Project] caught on to Richard Spencer and tried to sound the alarm on him. But we missed his buddy Stephen Miller, who is now in the White House and is the architect of the child separation policy.” Had Miller been exposed and confronted sooner, it’s possible he wouldn’t have a prominent role in the federal government today.
While Miller wasn’t adequately exposed in time to prevent his political ascendance under Trump, other fascists who work for or with the government have recently been thrown into the spotlight, and in some cases, fired. Take, for example, Michael Miselis, a white supremacist who, until recently, worked for the aerospace and defense technology company Northrop Grumman Corporation. ProPublica published an article exposing Miselis as a participant in last summer’s “Unite the Right” rally and as an employee of Northrop Grumman, which is contracted to work with the Department of Defense. Following the report, Miselis was fired.
Of course, Miselis’s firing alone will not temper the violence the Department of Defense perpetuates with Northrop Grumman’s help. The military-industrial complex is a massive structure of oppression that cannot be brought down with the firing of one racist man. But it demonstrates that there can be consequences for far-right extremists, even those in positions of some power.
And while doxxing and exposing fascists may not necessarily help deradicalize them, as Simi notes, it’s important to bear in mind that deradicalization is not usually the intended result of anti-fascist tactics. Rather, the primary goal is to prevent fascists from causing harm and generally making public spaces unbearable to them so that they do not act on their beliefs. Just because a Nazi doesn’t leave the movement after getting fired doesn’t mean the tactics that led to their firing were a failure; it means they were successful in inflicting some sort of negative consequence for bigotry. Some anti-fascists, such as Jenkins, incorporate deradicalization into their activism.
Physical confrontations, research, doxxing and applying pressure so that fascists face consequences for their actions are all vital tactics in the anti-fascist arsenal. With the ideal outcome, these tactics help to deny fascists platforms to organize, propagandize and commit violence. Working with extreme bigots who are ready to change their ways can sometimes be effective, but forming simple friendships alone can’t accomplish that massive task. Nor can confronting the fascist threat be limited to any one tactic.
Ridding our communities of racism and fascism is a tall and difficult order. Many on the left embrace a diversity of tactics, believing that a number of different approaches can be useful. This is necessary when we’re confronting individuals and groups that identify as fascists, violent racists who don’t necessarily belong to the fascist eco-system and the systemic racism that dominates our political system. Only a broad movement that is vigilantly opposed to racism and inequality can overcome these threats. And while already vulnerable communities are under increased attack, perhaps it’s best to spend the most energy confronting fascists, rather than trying to make them our newest friends.
The post Appalachia: Tensions Rise at Yellow Finch Blockade appeared first on It's Going Down.Reports from the front line of the Hellbender Autonomous zone.
In so-called Virginia, a blockade of tree-sitters continues to prevent work on the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) for a thirtieth day. Loggers for the MVP are cutting trees near the sitters and their traverses, unsuc cessfully attempting to intimidate blockaders and their supporters.
Lauren and Nettle are stationed in two trees that remain in the path of the proposed 300-mile fracked-gas project. MVP showed up on Thursday, Sep 27. Global Security called the cops as MVP threatened to remove Lauren and Nettle from the trees. Global Security is privately doing surveillance of protesters for MVP.
The cops stayed at the bottom of the hill where the blockade is located. MVP could not figure out where the pipeline was supposed to go, due to iffy GPS.
“Since they didn’t know where the easement was, the cops could not do anything since MVP didn’t even know if we were actually blocking the path of the pipeline,” Nettle said.
MVP ultimately left without felling any trees on Thursday.
They were completely wrong with their initial guess of where the easement was,” Nettle added. “Both the trees that Lauren and I occupy, and the trees that the traverses are anchored to are all on the easement.”Friday
Workers returned early the next morning and began cutting all remaining trees at the bottom of the hill, across a small wetland. Then they moved onto the hill, approaching the resistance site.
“They crossed over to cut trees beside the creek, and cut very close to Lauren’s traverse line,” Nettle said. “Supporters gathered at the bottom of the line and were threatened with calling the cops since ‘they were too close to the loggers’ even though the loggers were endangering the safety of Lauren.”
MVP has not measured any distances from the blockade to where they are felling trees. It is unconfirmed whether or not MVP has a tape measure.
Lauren and Nettle’s supporters offered to rent a tape measure to the surveyors at a reasonable hourly rate. MVP declined to do so, and continued to cut trees with little regard for safety or regulations.
“By the end of the day, all of the trees in the wetland in front of the creek were gone,” Nettle said. “Lauren’s traverse protected any cutting on the hillside beyond the creek. The scar that had been previously just on the ridge over was creeping closer to us.”
A private security SUV with no license plates arrived at the bottom of the hill Friday evening, and stayed until dawn.Saturday
On Saturday, loggers cut most remaining trees at the top of the hill, further away from the blockade. The security vehicle came again that night, still lacking license plates. The individual in the vehicle declined to speak to anyone, instead opting to smoke in his car silently with the windows rolled up.Sunday
On Sunday, MVP arrived early with loggers accompanied by private security. Cutting resumed as loggers felled all but a couple dozen of the trees atop the hill before lunchtime.
“Throughout the day the chainsaw noises got closer and closer,” Nettle said. “They left for a bit and then returned after lunch and began cutting at the top of the hill. I got on the traverse lines connected to the white pine I live on, a tulip poplar to my left up the slope and a red pine directly up the slope from me. This was in an effort to protect the trees close by the ones I was anchored to. If a tree fell and hit the traverse line or the tree, it would endanger me.”
Jenny works for Global Security. Jenny summoned three Montgomery County Sheriffs (half the entire department) to the site in an effort to intimidate those daring to resist the pipeline.
Steve works for Global Security. Steve lies about safety.
“I have to resume cutting as far as I can without presenting a danger within 200 feet,” Steve said. “That is the safety buffer. I don’t want anybody getting hurt out here.”
When asked if this safety buffer applied to a traverse between Nettle’s sit and a tree further uphill, Steve confirmed the “regulation”. Cutting within 200 feet of the traverse would be “Not safe..for y’all,” he said.
“They promised that they would not cut close to the lines but then continued to do so,” Nettle said. “Supporters stood by the trees, reminding the loggers that they would endanger my life if they cut too close. The loggers did not listen. MVP security threatened the people on the ground with law enforcement if they stood within 200 feet of the tree cutting. There were arguments about what constituted 200 feet. MVP of course did not have a tape measure.”
MVP was again presented with an offer to rent a tape measure at a reasonable hourly rate from the tree-sitters’ supporters. Again, they declined, instead opting to fell trees well within the “safety buffer”. Nettle got out on a traverse and moved closer to the cutting.
“People stood their ground to protect us tree-sitters and the trees,” Nettle said. “Regardless of the regulations that no one could be within 200 feet, MVP cut within eighty feet of the tree I was anchored to. Trees fell within forty feet of the tree and within seventeen feet of my traverse line. My heart was beating hard but I trusted my friends on the ground to look out for me, and for Lauren to yell from above at them (she’s fierce as fuck).”
After cutting all the trees at the top of the hill, the workers went back to the bottom of the hill, where the sheriffs had remained for the duration of the standoff. One worker mentioned his increasing frustration with those resisting the pipeline. The sheriff expressed his sympathies for the loggers.
“Well, they’re getting paid,” the sheriff said, referring to the tree-sitters and their supporters. When asked who he thought was funding the resistance, he responded, “I don’t know. I haven’t figured that out yet.”
MVP left, taking their failing intimidation tactics with them. The unidentified private security would not return that night. On the hill, Lauren, Nettle and their supporters remain, ready to face whatever may come next.
“The chainsaw noises stopped ringing in our ears and we celebrated another day in the trees and on this land together,” Nettle said. Having cut all the trees on either side of the hill of resistance, MVP has not resumed cutting in the area since the weekend.
On Tuesday, the Army Corps of Engineers’ water crossing permit for the MVP was revoked by the Fourth Circuit US Court of Appeals. Now lacking several permits, the project may be on its last legs. The EQT corporation is the primary owner of the MVP. EQT stock is currently at a five-year low.A note from Nettle regarding cops
CW: Police violence, white supremacist violence
I heard someone on the ground remark that the cops weren’t doing anything to stop the loggers from potentially injuring us. They were just standing at the bottom of the hill while people on the ground were screaming at the loggers to not threaten our lives. Y’all, we’ve got to stop being surprised by this. Cops do not protect us. Cops have never had that purpose and will never have that purpose.
Cops time and time again have sided with profit, private property (most all land is stolen land in the so-called usa), corporations, greed, and white supremacists (many are white supremacists themselves). I have witnessed firsthand cops slamming nonviolent protesters to the ground on a public sidewalk.
I have witnessed a line of cops standing guard at a parking lot closed off for white supremacists, while they spit on us from the roof and told us they wished we were dead. I have even witnessed cops tear gassing a crowd with children in it.
Time and time again we’ve seen and heard about cops escalating situations, ending in police brutality and murder. So no, the cops don’t protect us. We protect us.Nettle on calling the cops
Before you call the cops, think about how they could escalate the situation. Look around you. Are there houseless people? People of color? Trans people? Undocumented people? How could they be affected if you bring the cops into the situation? This is a great compilation of resources about alternatives to calling the police.
Folks who want to get involved can contact Appalachians Against Pipelines.
From contra info
It’s been a long while. After a year we are publishing another issue of Vetriolo, issue number 2. We haven’t brought out the paper more frequently up to now, nor have we wanted to. Not that we didn’t have anything to say during this time, on the contrary. However we have never strenuously followed the possibility of giving a strict periodicity to the publication, which because of its form (with fairly concise texts of agitation, analysis and topicality as well as more extensive and complicated theoretical articles) is not suited to it. At the same time we’d like the paper to come out without long delays. In any case we think that this paper is an important instrument for the anarchist movement regardless of the frequency with which it comes out. The pages of Vetriolo have always been and will continue to be a means aimed at discussion, dialogue and confrontation among anarchists. The paper will continue to give time and space to dialogue and debate among revolutionaries, including those who find themselves imprisoned. In this issue there are writings and articles by Marco, Anna and Alfredo, imprisoned following the arrests of the repressive operation ‘scripta manent’ of 6th September 2016.
Anarchists have always appropriated instruments to nourish anarchist ideas and anarchism itself with discussions and actions. In this paper we will try to continue to give space and time to debate, polemics, reflexion, study and analysis. We won’t tire of repeating it; these are aspects that we consider distant from chatter, sterile opposition, commonplaces and hassles, which we believe afflict certain contexts of the anarchist movement. In this respect, the paper will never be representative of some special faction, ‘trend’ or line to be followed or complied with. We have no thoughts to be contemplated or flags to be waved. On the contrary we have the awareness of a clear difference in certain of our convictions compared to those of others. We are aware of the fact that renouncing anarchism means renouncing all revolutionary and subversive possibilities. We have the will and the intention to banish all forms of petty superficiality.
It seems that today those who content themselves with assimilating facts and notions that are easily memorized and shared are many. So many objective immediate things. Nothing too complicated, and very little to reflect upon. There are those who praise real and proper ‘ignorance’ and reject ‘theory’ as something out of place, boring, of secondary importance. Something authoritarian even. In fact, not by chance, you can happen to be told that you want to ‘rip off’ and deceive someone merely by exposing and expressing your ideas. Revolutionary ignorance? Certainly not. This kind of misery is typical of those who can’t perceive the complementarity between thought and action. We’d like this paper not to be ‘used’ passively, we’d like thought not to remain crystalized between the lines and columns of a publication, but animate the discussions going on among anarchists, to contribute to the clarification of intents and perspectives and give space to the various aspects of the antiauthoritarian struggle against power. Precisely for this reason we are calling on comrades who might be interested in taking on the circulation of the paper in their own areas as widely as possible, and we also invite them to send us reflexions and criticisms.
We know it is an ambitious project. This paper includes ideas but not as a mere container. It has the claim of wanting to explore the various ‘threads’ of reading, analysis and reflections that are developed and examined by and by. Therefore we won’t limit ourselves to setting them out and composing them in each issue of the paper. Moreover a good part of the texts are aimed specifically for this publication and were created as such, so have a specific meaning in this project. Each time we will analyse questions, thoughts and ideas that we think are important, necessary and impellent, and along with them we intend to proceed in understanding the reality around us. We have this obstinacy, this kind of stubbornness that we don’t want to renounce. And wanting to understand is not necessarily the same as wanting to be understood by everybody.
In particular in this issue we ‘discovered’ a spontaneous ‘conspiracy’ between the most important editors’ articles in respect to the topic of the interpretation to be given to the ongoing technological revolution. Alfredo Cospito talked about that in his interview, of which we have published the first part and which we will circulate further in the coming months; we faced it from a philosophical point of view concerning the ‘theoretical status’ (not) to be given to the concept of Nature, by criticizing metaphysical misunderstandings within eco movements; we also took it from an historical point of view, in the article dedicated to the birth of the State; and in the transition between so-called Bronze Age and Iron Age we identified the historical moment when authoritarian society implemented its military structure and the division of labour it required. But we didn’t stop at theory; we ‘dared’ interpretations we believe are fundamental to understanding the current times. As in the previous issue, we have observed the social crisis which new technologies are seen to inflict on the poorest classes of humanity (starting from the employment question, a real taboo for anarchist reflection in recent years), and this time we went even further: we suggested that new technologies are directly linked to so-called ‘crisis of globalization’ (why exploit a child in Vietnam when the bosses will be able to ‘print’ shoes directly with 3D printers?) and that phenomena such as Brexit, Trump, Orban, Salvini, etc., are the results of an historical trend towards a new robotic nationalism.
In other words general theoretical analyses meant to seize instruments adequate to the attack on the actual world. For, upturning the slogan which belonged to the no global: ‘another world is impossible, it is this one that we have to fight against’. So there’s much talk about elasticity, flexibility, the ability to be understood by others, happiness in adapting to the running times (but where are these times going if they’re running?) Often when you mention elasticity you imply the art of compromise, and for understanding you imply the art of negotiation. And for many this means being flexible, which also means becoming adaptable, malleable, kin to being manipulated and at the same time incredibly rigid. For in a certain sense the world got us accustomed to being rigid, of a rigidity which led to having blinkers and chains well planted in our heads. But why should elasticity and flexibility always be the same as compromise and negotiation with a reality that disgusts us? We think we can go further. Ours is the elasticity of a sling, a flexibility that aims to strike harder. Precisely for this reason we reflect, analyse and study the State, capital, science, technology, the economy, the misery of politics and the outcomes of the revolutionary movement. Certainly not to amuse ourselves or to find a hole for future collocation.
In this issue:
– Elastic like a sling
– 2007 – 2017. Ten years of revolts and refluxes
– Parallel convergences. A contribution by Marco from the prison in Alessandria
– From the popular front to the civil front
– 24-hour monoculture
– The whole truth…
– Considerations on the cages of democracy
– The unbearable dullness of being scientific
– Dreams of captivity and captivity of dreams
– Infinite eyes
– Rapist and boss
– Against State anarchism
– The birth of the State
– What international? Interview and dialogue with Alfredo Cospito from the prison of Ferrara. Part one
– The New monsters: ‘social but not class’ anarchism
– A leftist story. Part two (1943 – 1962)
– The fun has ended
2 euros per copy; for distributors, starting from five copies, 1.50 euros per copy. Postal fees: 1.30 euro (up to 2 kg). Postal fees in Europe: 5 euros approximately. Free for prisoners.
For orders, contacts, reflections and criticism and to send potentially interesting material to the editors, write to: vetriolo[at]autistici.org
in ItalianTags: italymedianewspapertranslationcontra infocategory: International
From It's Going Down
In this episode of the It’s Going Down podcast, we caught up with anarchist organizer, metal head, and journalist Kim Kelly. In this interview we cover a lot of topics, from Kelly’s recent successful introduction to anarchism in Teen Vogue, how she got radicalized, became involved in the world of journalism, anarchist ideas getting into the mainstream, unionization efforts in news media, and also the world of metal.
— Kim Kelly (@GrimKim) September 10, 2018
We cover a lot of ground in this episode, but central to the discussion is media itself, from frustrations over how anarchists, radicals, and antifascists have been presented in the mainstream, the need to create viable media alternatives, to the pros and cons of talking to and working with mainstream media. Throughout our conversation, Kelly discusses how her working-class and metal head background often left her the “odd person out” while in a room with her peers, but also gave her a different perspective than some of her colleagues.
Love the message behind @RACETRAITORcore's new video for "Cataclysm": "It is representing our community, which for us is inclusive of women, immigrants, Latinos, Muslims, Asians, queer people, and white men who reject what the far right has to offer them."https://t.co/ez4CqEhHqN pic.twitter.com/8hzTx3QcxI
— Kim Kelly (@GrimKim) October 2, 2018
This reality is also revisited as we discuss Kelly’s experience of being a woman within the metal scene, where for years Kelly has addressed reactionary elements within the genre and worked to highlight bands with revolutionary and antifascist politics.
More Info: Anarchism: What It Is And Why Pop Culture Loves It and Kim Kelly on TwitterTags: podcastit's going downteen vogueMSMcategory: Other
This is the 15th Bad News: Angry Voices from Around the world episode, for September 2018, produced by Radiozones of Subversive Expression. On this episode we will hear from:
–A-Radio Berlin with an audio about the international week of solidarity with anarchist prisoners.
–Radio Kurruf from Chile with news from environmental struggles at their region.
–R.O.S.E. with updates from the international Thessaloniki Expo, news from environmental struggles and the acquital of Tasos Theofilou.
–The Final Straw Radio from the USA with a South Carolina prisoner speaking about the Nationwide Prison Strike across the so-called-U.S.
–Info Lora from Switzerland with a radio broadcast calling out for solidarity with the Heimbach forest in Germany.
Please send feedback and comments to: a-radio-network/at/riseup(.)net
And more content is available at https://www.a-radio.network.org
Tags: podcastThe Final Strawb(a)d newsa-radio Berlincategory: Projects
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Like many men raised in eastern Kentucky, Frank Morris spent a chunk of his working life in the coal industry.
Raised in the city of Hazard, Morris did a little bit of everything, from shoveling belt to diesel mechanics.
“Back then, if you were going to pick to live around here and make good money, you either went into the coal business or you went into the medical field,” Morris said.
Like many others, however, Morris was laid off several years ago when the coal industry started contracting. Metallurgical coal, used for making steel, was waning as part of a regular global cycle, and steam coal, used to produce electricity, suffered a long-term decline as power utilities increasingly moved toward cheaper, cleaner-burning natural gas and renewable wind and solar energy.
Morris found a job at Walmart, but given the cost of child care, he realized he was actually losing money by working there. He tried being a stay-at-home dad, but he found himself yearning to contribute to his family’s financial well-being in a more tangible way, so he started taking small carpentry jobs. Morris had been doing that for a while when he heard about an internship for former coal miners.
The six-month internship with Mountain Association for Community Economic Development offered training in new energy efficiency professions, placement with a local employer, and the potential for longer-term employment after the job ended. Morris applied for the internship and was accepted, along with another ex-miner named Randall Howard. The two received hands-on training in conducting energy audits—learning how to use equipment such as infrared cameras, duct blasters, blower doors, and much more—and went to work at their respective jobs, Morris for the nonprofit Housing Development Alliance and Howard for Christian Outreach with Appalachian People, an affordable housing organization.
Today “things are a lot better for us,” Morris said. “We’re in a better position financially and with our home lives. I’m able to be home every day, most days, before 5 o’clock. That’s something I’ve never had before in my life.”
The money isn’t quite what he made working coal, but it’s a lot better than what he earned at Walmart. He’s also found a better work-life balance than either of those two previous jobs offered.
MACED’s energy efficiency internship program is just one of many initiatives designed to retrain workers laid off during the cratering of the coal industry over the last decade. The coal industry has steadily declined since the 1950s, largely because of mechanization. With the advent of hydraulic fracturing technology in the 2000s leading to an abundance of natural gas, as well as federal regulations that resulted in the closure of older coal-fired power plants, the industry has collapsed in the last decade. Many companies went into bankruptcy or shuttered, resulting in mass layoffs and a ripple effect that’s spread to related businesses, such as railroads and equipment manufacturers.
According to a report produced by Kentucky state officials and reported in the Lexington Herald Leader, the number of coal jobs in 2013 had declined to 12,550—the lowest since the state started recording the figure in 1927. By August 2018, coal jobs had dropped even further to 6,238, according to the Kentucky Office of Energy Policy, which produces quarterly reports on the coal industry.
As a result, many coalfield communities have suffered economic distress and depopulation. Local and state officials have tried a number of approaches to reverse that trend, retraining miners for jobs in industries on the rise, such as computer coding and outdoor recreation.
MACED’s program, funded by a $2 million grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission, $100,000 from Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program Inc., and a $1 million match from MACED’s venture capital loan fund, is designed to build on related skills used in mining that can be adapted for energy efficiency, a growing sector. According to a study by E4TheFuture and Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), nearly 2.25 million Americans work in energy efficiency, including 24,579 people in Kentucky. That figure includes those who work with efficient appliances and lighting, heating and ventilation systems, building materials and insulation, energy audits, building certifications, and more. MACED saw the internship program as an opportunity to add to a growing field while also building local expertise.
“We thought, let’s see if we can develop some local champions who have technical skills,” said Chris Woolery, a program coordinator at MACED. “They can be advocates, they can be independent third-party experts, and they can connect folks to financing through various mechanisms. When I come to Hazard and talk about the gospel of energy efficiency, I’m not received the same way Frank Morris is when he speaks to his community. When Frank became the resident efficiency person at HDA [Housing Development Alliance], we immediately we saw the ripple effects.”
As the first two interns, Howard and Morris were both placed at affiliate organizations of the Appalachia Heat Squad, a collaborative program aimed at expanding access to energy efficient home improvements. They learned how to evaluate a home’s energy efficiency, how to identify and implement improvements, and how to educate homeowners about programs that could help them fund those investments. During their internships, Morris conducted 23 audits and 13 retrofits, while Howard did 22 audits and 5 retrofits.
“Energy efficiency is something that is especially needed in the coal regions,” Morris said. “Around here, electricity has always been cheap. Now we’re getting all these rate increases. That touches everybody—not just doctors and lawyers but grandmothers on fixed incomes, people who have to make a decision: ‘If I don’t pay my electrical bill they’ll cut my power off, but if I do, I might have to miss a few meals this month. Or do I really need my blood pressure medicine this month?’ It’s a hard decision.”
Instead of providing financial aid to pay those electric bills, the Heat Squad aims to fix the issue that’s causing the bills to be high, Morris said.
“Especially around here, housing stock is especially old,” Morris said. “And people living in mobile homes and double-wides can really benefit from this program.”
These energy efficiency programs carry additional possibilities for improving people’s lives. A five-year study of respiratory health in Letcher and Harlan counties found that people who lived in either a mobile home or public housing were twice as likely to have been diagnosed with asthma than people who lived in single-family housing.
The study, known as the Mountain Air Project, now in its second phase, involves prevention. Study participants who have been diagnosed with asthma and had symptoms within the past year meet four times with a trained nurse, and on the third visit, they receive a home assessment. In Harlan County, that’s conducted by Howard, one of the former MACED interns.
“He looks for sources of allergens and irritants in the home,” said Beverly May, a 28-year nurse pursuing a doctor of public health degree at the University of Kentucky, and who manages the Mountain Air Project.
She said Howard is “really brilliant in finding things that can cause trouble. He’s looking for leaks under the sink, pests that are hidden away in dark places you wouldn’t think to look, sources of mold around the outside of the house, water in the basement. Then he talks with the homeowner about what they can do to correct the situation.”
There’s often overlap between healthy homes and those that are energy efficient.
“If a home has cracks and crevices, the door isn’t properly sealed, the windows aren’t properly sealed, then not only does cold air come in during the winter, but there’s also the possibility for pests to come in,” May said. “If you can fix one problem, you might be fixing several problems.”
There are two main challenges. One is that people often feel uncomfortable letting strangers examine their homes, even for a beneficial reason. The other is that the repairs needed to fix problems sometimes outstrip the finances of homeowners. In both cases, Howard is well-positioned to help.
As a local, Howard can talk to homeowners to reassure them.
“I’ll try to connect with them in any way possible to try to ease their mind about letting me go through their home,” Howard said. “I try to show them I’m more of a friend than an enemy, that I’m there to help them. I live in the mountains myself. I guess they connect with me pretty good because I have lived in the past in some of the conditions that they live in. I’m open with them. I tell them I ain’t here to judge you because you’ve got clothes piled up in the corner or dirty dishes in the sink. That’s no concern to me unless there’s mold growing on it. I talk to them a little bit to show them I ain’t there to judge them.”
As for the financial piece, the mission of Howard’s employer, Christian Outreach with Appalachian People, is to build affordable rural housing and offer programs that can offset costs.
The results can make a big difference in a homeowner’s life. Howard describes one such rehabilitation project: “We went in, it didn’t have no insulation under the floor, and the roof was leaking. We put a new roof on, insulation under the floor, a new heat pump. I had to go back later to test everything out. I walked in and there’s an 80-year-old man. He stood up, walked over to me, and gave me a hug. He said, ‘We’ve been here 15 years and I’ve never been as comfortable as we are now. You’ve made this house better, so much more comfortable.’”
The homeowner’s electric bill was cut in half, Howard said.
MACED has now hired two more interns in Hazard for its second round of the program. Their focus is on commercial and industrial instead of residential projects. Because of economies of scale, Woolery said, businesses are often quicker to invest in energy efficiency projects than individual families, and there’s more immediate work available. MACED is hiring for three more internships as well: one doing commercial energy efficiency work in Paintsville, a second more focused on the marketing of energy efficiency and renewable energy in Berea, and a third trained for solar photovoltaic cell installation in Lexington.
Woolery hopes to push some of those interns toward the solar power, where there’s potentially even more opportunity.
“We’re just showing that there’s a ton of different ways we could diversify this economy,” Woolery said. “Knowing we don’t have access to any silver bullets, all we can do is shoot as many silver BBs as we can.”
Jordan Peterson calls on Judge Kavanaugh to stand down if confirmed to the Supreme Court | 06 Oct 2018 | Canadian professor Jordan Peterson has called on Judge Kavanaugh to stand down if he is confirmed to the Supreme Court. Prof Peterson, whose views have received a mixture of praise and scorn, tweeted on Saturday that even if Judge Kavanaugh does receive the Senate's backing, he should stand down. In [a Twitter] thread, Prof Weinstein said any outcome of the Judge Kavanaugh confirmation was "unacceptable". While he disagreed with people being disgraced by accusations and not facts, he insisted Judge Kavanaugh had a limited point of view, was "the kind of adult that entitled punks grow into" and would undermine the Supreme Court's legitimacy...He later tweeted that he wasn't sure if Judge Kavanaugh standing down was the "right move", but it would allow a "less divisive" figure to gain the nomination.