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TOTW: Cryptocurrencies

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 23:19

In 2009 the cryptocurrency Bitcoin was released to the public as open-source software. It was the first decentralized digital currency that works without a central repository or single administrator. The network is peer-to-peer and transactions between users take place through the use of cryptography, without an intermediary. Over the past few weeks Bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies have seen increased public interest, with one Bitcoin currently worth $11,531 as of this writing (6:10 pm, EST).

Have you used cryptocurrencies before? What do you think of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin? Are they useful to you? If so, is there something that makes it relevant to your anarchist practice (pros/cons)? In broader terms, how do we answer the problem of capital? How have other anarchists thinkers addressed similar ideas that you find noteworthy?

Do we need money to have a functioning society? And if we do, does cryptocurrency solve the problem that currency creates in society? What advantages and disadvantages does cryptocurrency provide over using cash? What kind of privacy do cryptocurrencies offer over other forms of currency for you?

Tags: totwcryptocurrencyBitcoindecentralizedpeer-to-peermoneyprivacyanok chancategory: Projects
Categories: News

Liberatory Community Armed Self-Defense: Approaches Toward a Theory

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 18:04

by scott crow
Editors Note: This is an excerpt from the new book 'Setting Sights: Histories and Reflections on Community Armed Self Defense

Notions of Defense

The world has been in tumult for decades, with more crises still ahead of us—from ecological and economic to political oppression and wars. These slow disasters will demand new approaches and open new possibilities. I think it’s time for all of us within civil society to think about how we want to respond, autonomously and collectively, without waiting to be saved by the same reactionary governments and corporations that have produced the crises in the first place.

In this essay, I will try to sketch a set of potential practices, praxis, and thinking centered on the narrow use of what I name as liberatory community armed self-defense. This distinct concept draws upon the histories of community self-defense, as practiced by various groups of people worldwide, and from the liberatory principles derived from anarchist and antiauthoritarian traditions.

The concept of community armed self-defense is a distinct development from grassroots social and political organizing models and notions of community defense, which at their core assert the right of oppressed peoples to protect their interests “by any means necessary.” That would include signing petitions and voting on one end of the spectrum to extralegal means of direct action, insurrection, or rebellions on the other. The Black Panther Party, for example engaged in community defense not only through their armed patrols but also through their survival programs, which opened health clinics and free schools in poor black neighborhoods otherwise lacking these kinds of services. This essay is an attempt at a critical reassessment of liberatory community armed self-defense: to re-envision the histories and analysis, to examine the praxis and bring these lessons forward to future engagements, and to broaden and strengthen our tactics and responses to crisis.

A Working Definition

Liberatory community armed self-defense is the collective group practice of temporarily taking up arms for defensive purposes, as part of larger engagements of collective autonomy in keeping with a liberatory ethics.

I am proposing liberatory community armed self-defense as a distinct idea borne out of a reassessment, spanning decades, of the historical experience of armed struggle and broader theories of the right of self-defense.

Self-Defense usually describes countermeasures employed by an individual to protect their immediate personal safety, and sometimes their property. Within the US, self-defense is discussed almost exclusively in legal terms relating to “rights” recognized by governments or constitutions, and only occasionally as human rights. By limiting the discussion to the rights attached to individuals, this framing fails to consider community interests, structural violence and oppression, and collective actions. The discourse thus completely neglects the defense of communities as such, and especially leaves out the political demands of people of color, women, immigrants, queers, and poor people.

Community self-defense in any form is not defined by laws but by ethics based in need (to protect) and the principles of anarchy (whether people call it that or not) by which groups of people collectively exercise their power in deciding their futures and determining how to respond to threats without relying on governments.

As a concept, Liberatory Community Armed Self-Defense attempts to take into account unrecognized types of violence and the limits marginalized groups face in their ability to determine their own futures or collectively protect themselves. For example, in 1973, when the American Indian Movement took up arms to defend “their people” in the occupation at Wounded Knee, they did so to bring attention to the horrible living conditions on the reservations and the violence their communities faced both from a lack of basic services and from armed vigilante squads. The town of Wounded Knee was not itself under attack, but it represented what First Nations were facing everywhere. AIM’s stand was a clear example of community armed self-defense, but it doesn’t fit neatly into existing typologies of self-defense.

Some Important Distinctions

Liberatory community armed self-defense is different from other forms of armed action for two major reasons. The first is that it is temporary but organized. People can train in firearms tactics and safety individually or together but would be called on more like a volunteer fire department—only when needed and in response to specific circumstances. Second, and possibly more importantly, power-sharing and egalitarian principles are incorporated into the group ethics and culture long before conflict is ever engaged. These two overarching ideas separate it from most armed conflicts.

For instance, right-wing militias—like the anti-immigrant patrols of the Minutemen Militia along the U.S./Mexico border, or the racist Algiers Point Militia operating in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina—have nothing to do with the type of community armed self-defense rooted in collective liberatory principles. These militias are built on abstract fears and racist beliefs, conspiracy theories, and a macho culture where the strongest or loudest is the leader. They are typically organized in military-type hierarchies with no real accountability to the people in civil society and the communities they operate within. These types of militias are far too similar to the types of the groups liberation movements have had to defend themselves against.

That said, the adoption of armed tactics in any conflict or threat situation always has the potential to morph temporary defensive measures into permanent military hierarchies unless conscious efforts to counter that tendency and share power are maintained. A liberatory approach is necessary to minimize, or at the least mitigate, that danger.

Proposed Principles

The armed component should never become the center; otherwise we risk becoming standing militaries. To avoid that, and to equalize power as best we are able to, a liberatory analysis is necessary to nurture those who are learning to exercise their power, and for those who need to be accountable to their groups or communities. The liberatory framework is built on anarchist principles of mutual aid (cooperation), direct action (taking action without waiting on the approval of the authorities), solidarity (recognizing that the well-being of disparate groups is tied together) and collective autonomy (community self-determination).

Defensive arms should be used only for the goals of collective liberation and not to seize permanent power, even if their use could potentially, and possibly necessarily, escalate conflicts. In any case, arms are not the first line of defense and are only taken up after other forms of conflict resolution have been exhausted.

The use of arms is only effective for the long term if it is part of a dual power framework. Dual Power means resisting exploitation and oppression, while also developing other initiatives toward autonomy and liberation as part of other efforts in self-sufficiency and self-determination.

Those engaged with guns should hold the same power as others involved in other forms of community defense or self-sufficiency. Carrying arms should be seen as a privileged task, with the same importance as childcare, growing food, or taking out the garbage—and not more. To maintain a balance of power, rotate all armed tasks and training among all those willing to participate. All firearms training needs to include dynamic and evolving liberatory ethics and practices in addition to how-to and safety. Within any training or operation, there should be an emphasis on challenging internalized assumptions about class, gender, and race to interrupt typical gun culture.

Reflections and Questions Toward a Theory

These notes are only a beginning. Many questions remain, including those concerning organization, tactical considerations, the coercive power inherent in firearms, accountability to the community being defended and to the broader social movement, and ultimately, one hopes, the process of demilitarization. For example: Do defensive engagements have to remain geographically isolated? Are small affinity groups the best formations for power-sharing and broad mobilization? How do we create cultures of support for those who engage in defensive armed conflict, especially with respect to historically oppressed people’s right to defend themselves? What do those engagements of support look like? Additionally there are many tactical considerations and questions to be discussed and debated to avoid replicating the dominant gun culture. How do we keep arms or arms training from becoming the central focus, whether from habit, culture, or romanticization?

There can be an end to the senseless violence for domination or resources. But if we want to transcend violence in the long term, we may need use it in the short term. We thus need to ask ourselves some tough questions about our approaches and our methods. When is armed engagement appropriate? How would we want it to look? How do we create cultures of tacit or direct support and include people who would never themselves engage in armed defense? How will we keep from centralizing power? When do the consequences outweigh the benefits? There are no blueprints; we have to create this together, step by step. We need to challenge ourselves and overcome our self-imposed limitations and shed our preconceptions of what resistance and liberation are like. When we do, we will gain confidence in potentially using deadly tools with a liberatory consciousness. That means we have to understanding that the values of power-sharing and openness are every bit as important as the power of carrying loaded weapons.

Arms will never offer the only answer to exercising or equalizing power. Only we can do that, but they can be a deterrent against real threats, and can greatly expand our tools of liberation. Community armed self-defense opens up the possibility of changing the rules of engagement. It doesn’t always make situations less violent, but it can help to balance the inequity of power among individuals and diverse communities. I am not calling for us all to rise up in arms but to rethink how we defend ourselves. We can dream, we can build new worlds, but to do so we must not forget to resist on our own terms.

Tags: anarchyLiberationanarchist analysisanarchist agencyanarchist solidaritycategory: Essays
Categories: News

Anews Podcast - episode 40

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 17:26

https://podcast.anarchistnews.org/wp-admin/post.php?post=194&action=edit

Welcome to the anews podcast. This is episode 40 for December 1. This podcast covers anarchist activity, ideas, and conversations from the previous week.

Editorial: FBI investigates Sean Swain
TOTW – Conceptual Limitations

This podcast is the effort of many people. This week this podcast was
* sound edited by Linn O’Mable
* editorial by a member of thecollective
* written by jackie
* narrated by chisel and a friend
* Thanks to Aragorn! and Sarah for their help with the topic of the week
* Contact us at podcast@anarchistnews.org
To learn more

Introduction to anarchism: http://anarchy101.org
Books and other anarchist material: http://littleblackcart.com
News and up to the minute commentary: https://anarchistnews.org

Tags: projectssean swainlast act of the circus animalsFBIconceptssarahAragorn!category: Projects
Categories: News

Brazil: More raids on anarchist homes as state crackdown continues

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 13:49

via Freedom News. This article quotes a report that originally appeared on insurrection news

Punitive raids were expanded at the turn of the month, as police continue to try and pin recent incendiary attacks in Porto Alegre on the anarchist movement.

Activists in the city reported on November 30th that:

Operation Erebo (Operação Érebo) attacked anarchists once again. They invaded some houses, stealing things and destroying everything in their path. At this stage we don’t know whether any other homes were invaded. Communication is precarious since we don’t know the levels of police intervention. And this time nothing was broadcast in the media.

Even when the storm seemed to have calmed without any arrests or information about the operation, we are sure they are looking for us. Unlike other incursions, Operation Erebo appears to move slowly but surely.

We remain strong, determined and immovable against these persecutions, certain that the love of freedom cries stronger. Shows of support and solidarity are not lacking and the different positions of anarchism have remained firm in their rejection of authority and with their arms extended to their comrades. It strengthens us.

Spread the news

Arms extended to our comrades, clenched fists for our enemies!

Let us live anarchy!

The police themselves also said nothing about the raids on their reports wire, suggesting that whatever it was they were hoping to find they didn’t get it, instead settling for intimidation tactics.

Operation Erebo was launched in 2016 following a series of attacks against city’s Police Station One, including a dud bomb placed in a police car and a blast which took place outside the station. A total of 11 incidents are under investigation, mostly attacks on vehicles but also arson at the Public Security Bureau, plus attacks on political party headquarters and private banks.

Prior raids which took place in October took a heavy toll on progressive organising in the city, with groups including the Gaucho Anarchist Federation (FAG) and Kaos Library targeted. Following the latest raids FAG expressed its “sympathy to those who had their homes raped by the civil police.”

Many groups have struggled to cope with the situation, such as Parrhesia, a multiple human rights award-winning non-governmental organisation that works with social movements in the areas of human rights, culture, education and popular communication.

Volunteer Orlando Vitor, who was woken up at 5am by the police raid and has since struggled to get back vital computer equipment seized by police, recently produced a rap about the month of difficulties Parrhesia has faced.

In the piece Vitor talks a little about the situation he is living in, the damage done by the police action and also about the anti-jail fight to which he is committed. The rap “Another one arrested plus one case” was recorded in the studio Dunas Rap, Pelotas, honors Maurício Norambuena and counts on the participation of the rappers Tampa Diteto and Chycuta Mrs, both graduates of the prison system.

Tags: brazilOperation Éreboanarchists in troublecategory: International
Categories: News

2 theses against the anarcho-bourgie caste in Mtl, December 1st

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 03:02

La Passe gets spray-painted, a few bourgies someplace reportedly throw a temper tantrum

La "Passe" means a few things in French. Beyond referring to a "pass", like a theater pass or a peep show pass, namely, in Quebec lumpen speech it also has the connoting of fucking people over (like being conned), or to bluntly rape someone. We still use the expression se faire PASSER un sapin, that transliterates to the metaphor "being fucked with a cone tree", a colorful semantic variant on "being fucked over". More rarely it's used in tour de passe-passe, a magic trick of illusion. ALso, La Passe is a fairly-dubiously radical social center located between the Plateau and Mile End, hands down the trendiest and some of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Montreal.

So last Friday evening, on December 1st, on the thick wooden door of this bland, second attempt at a progressive social-cultural center located in the very convenient and symbolic basement of a Catholic cathedral, we’ve spray-painted the words « Bourgies » and « Anar-fakes ». We only had red paint for the occasion but we thought they’d like the color anyways. And we may try something better next time if they keep being recuperative jerks.

Let's not assume too quickly... it’s not like we’re pissed off about them precisely. The city contains countless pretentious pricks and other morons to be angry at and we got better things to think about in life than boiling about them. The neoliberal capitalist spectacle economy keeps producing those on a mass scale, as they need people to work in their arts industry n shit. Go ask Bourdieu or something.

BUT we have here a bunch of quite socially-privileged edgelords from well-off social backgrounds, highly-literate revolutionaries with suspicious ties to maoists (even tho I’d prefer not to cast over-simplistic categorization on the true nature of their agenda and sensibilities, it’s more like a class issue), who got their education from private college and decided at one point, during the last 10-15 years or so, that they were brilliant, astute, competent and wise enough to be the guiding lights of the coming insurrection that never really came.

So they went on setting honeytraps, intellectual boobytraps as well, and art traps, so that the youngsters interested in a more revolutionary change in every last student strike or Occupy or action camp may end up being fucked over with a Xmas tree then left for dead in the street at the coldest of the winter. Long story short, they’re a bunch of fakesters and have got frankly annoying with their long-lasting attempt at being the politburo of the milieu. They like to remind us on how 2012 changed everything and whatever, but it only gave them better jobs and/or connections. But if they got so much resources why don’t they just leave anarchists and especially anarchy alone, stfu and go up the social ladder… or are they that much losers at social entryism?

But noooo.... They'll keep pretending they’re into some sort of insurrection while everything they do is social entry and continuous accumulation of social capital in the name of maintaining their own social status!

Fuck them all anarfakes and their bourgie antics, nice retro outfits and polite talk. You perpetuate civilization you vile pendant scumfucks. Die under the heavy sun, snowflakes.

This said, I wish all the others a Merry Black December!!!

And I wish you fuck the system (their system too) in the most imaginative, ambitious, disturbing, funny, shocking ways you can find, please!

Fuck toute!

- the Longueuil Anarcho-Nihilist Brigade, celebrating a suburban insurgent consciousness since 2015

p.s.: By the way we've lost the ashes last year of the book by Nazi ideologue Heidegger you've been keeping at the library of the first La Passe. We might burn a few more books or things we don't like instead, that may or may not be from your stuff... who knows. We might get busier with other matters this month, like at Complexe Dix-30 maybe.

Tags: montrealBlack Decembervandalismcategory: International
Categories: News

TFSRadio: Prison-Related Audio Roundtable and Follow-Up with the Manus Island Refugee Situation

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 01:02

Download this episode

For a 59 minute long, radio clean version for syndication purposes, please visit the archive.org collection.
Prison-Related Audio Roundtable
This week we feature two segments. The first is a roundtable discussion with producers from various audio projects around North America that focus on prisoner struggles and amplifying incarcerated voices. In the chat you'll hear from me, two producers of The Prison Radio show on CFRC radio in Kingston, Ontario, a producer of the Prison Radio Show on CKUT from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, and a producer of the June11 audio series released this last year and revving to mark the day in solidarity with Marius Mason and other long term anarchist and ecological prisoners.
Follow-Up with Walid Zazai on Manus Island
The second conversation is an update from Walid Zazai, the 24 year old Afghani man being held on Manus Island off of the coast of Papua New Guinea. Walid has been in detention for 4 years now awaiting resettlement at the pleasure of the government of Australia. We spoke with Walid two weeks ago after the Manus Regional Processing Centre in which he was living had been closed and he and roughly 450 other refugees stayed in protest of their longtime lack of freedom of movement and the violence they feared from PNG security forces and locals on the island. More coverage of the struggle immigrants against the Australian border authorities and other updates from the Oceania can be found on the long running Anarchist radio show based there, Subversion1312. Subversion1312 is also a recently added member of the Channel Zero Network of anarchist podcasts.
Now For Some Fun Events
If you're in the Asheville area today (December 3rd 2017), at 5pm at Firestorm Books and Coffee, Blue Ridge ABC will be hosting it's monthly letter writing session, where you can swing by, find out about political prisoners in the U.S., write to some with upcoming birthdays and meet other local radicals. After that, tonight at 8pm at the Lazy Diamond, 98-A, North Lexington Ave in downtown Asheville, comrades will be hosting a Radical Trivia night to benefit the 2nd Asheville Carolina Anarchist Bookfair, or ACAB2018, planned for this summer. Alone or in teams, you are invited to test your wits on subjects of Black Liberation, Anarchist History, Queer Resistance and more. A cash prize will go to the winning team or individual.

This episodes playlist

Tags: tfsradiotfsrweekly podcastrefugeesAustraliackut prison radiocfrc prison radiojune 11thcategory: Projects
Categories: News

Crossword Puzzle #28: Occupy

Sun, 12/03/2017 - 15:53

This weeks crossword puzzle is on Occupy.

Download it here: https://anarchistnews.org/crossword/crossword28.pdf

***

From LBC about the book:

For those anarchistnews fans who miss Worker's acerbic and insightful bon mots on modern-day anarchy and anarchists, here is a fix (however temporary) for you.

Fifty crossword puzzles of occasionally ludicrous difficulty (there are scattered puff questions throughout also, for those of you, like me, who are terrible at these kind of games) are featured for your education and amusement.

Anarchistnews.org is the most popular, utilized, and non-sectarian news source pertaining to anarchists in North America. Its open commenting system continues to be one of the few spaces in which anarchists, nationally and internationally, converse about topics of the day, challenge each other, and critically engage with a wide variety of issues and events.

Worker retired from running the site after eleven years... Since then they have reflected on their time in the daily trenches of running the site, and this book is the result. These crossword puzzles speak to the years of comment threads, the ridiculousness and wonderfulness of the anarchist space in North America, and finally the absurdity of working with cantankerous, stubborn, and self-righteous people by way of essay or manifesto.

These puzzles should probably be done by a reading group or a group of friends. They are supposed to make you think, laugh, and perhaps smack your head. A more perfect metaphor for North American anarchism cannot be found.

https://littleblackcart.com/books/culture/workers-book-of-50-sectarian-c...

***

[ Here are the solutions! Don’t peek!: http://ardentpress.com/crosswords/ ]

Tags: beautiful crossmess parzelthis sitepdfDownloadOccupycategory: Projects
Categories: News

The Limits of Hegemony

Sun, 12/03/2017 - 15:41

From Anarkismo by Wayne Price

Review of Jonathan M. Smucker, Hegemony How-To: A Roadmap for Radicals

How can we build an effective popular movement to change society? That is the subject of this book, which has been widely praised. In my opinion, it has important and profoundly true things to say, but is politically unbalanced and mistaken in certain ways.


This is an important and interesting book about how to build a movement. From the blurbs it includes, it has been highly praised by many well-known militants and theorists of change. In my opinion, as a libertarian (antiauthoritarian) socialist, it has something profoundly true to say, but it is politically unbalanced.

We live in a time when awful things are happening, politically, economically, socially, militarily, and ecologically—and worse things threaten to happen. Yet, as Jonathan Smucker points out (relying on the polls), “Today in the United States more millennials identify with socialism than with capitalism….On nearly every major issue, relatively progressive positions have come to enjoy a majority of support….The establishment is in crisis. Popular opinion is on our side.” (2017; 252—254) Why then are those committed to social justice so weak, marginalized, and with minimal political impact? What can be done to change that? That is the important topic addressed by this book.

Smucker’s message is essentially this: too much of the Left is inward-looking, comfortable with itself, and self-involved. It is correct, even essential, to have a core group of reliable militants, but leftists must reach out to others, go beyond their comfort zone, and get other people involved, to whatever degree they can be involved. It is not enough to build a club of the like-minded. It is necessary to work out a strategy for winning gains, for influencing others, for achievement, and for exercising power. It is necessary to build a movement, a movement for power. The strategic aim should be to challenge the dominance (the “hegemony”) of the ruling elite over popular consciousness and established institutions—and to ultimately replace its hegemony with that of the Left.

That is the book in a nutshell. He repeats the message over and over, to drive it home, with various elaborations and modifications. This message is true and important but not especially new. For decades, revolutionary Marxist and anarchist organizations have urged their members to go beyond middle class intellectuals and students, to root themselves in the working class—particularly in the most oppressed and discriminated-against sectors of the working class (African-Americans, unskilled workers, women, etc.). This was essential for building an effective revolutionary movement.

For example, in the ‘70s, Hal Draper criticized sects which postured as small mass parties: “The life-principle of a revolutionary mass party is not simply its Full Program, which can be copied with nothing but an activist typewriter and can be expanded or contracted like an accordion. Its life-principle is its integral involvement as a part of the working-class movement, its immersion in the class struggle not by a Central Committee decision but because it lives there.” (quoted in Krul 2011)

Prefiguration vs. Strategy

The problem of the self-enclosed and isolated grouping, then, applies in many forms on the Left. It applies to small revolutionary socialist organizations, built around their dogmas and their newspapers. It applies to co-op stores and bicycle clubs. But Smucker is especially aiming his criticism at anarchists, based on his experience in the Occupy Wall Street encampment in 2011. (Which is also consistent with my own—much more limited—experience with OWS.) He describes the anarchists as focused on building a self-governing collectivity, which would inspire people to go and do likewise. They did not, he claims, think of OWS in strategic terms, about how to use it as a basis for building a broader movement to challenge established politics. They vehemently opposed raising demands on the state, which would have been necessary if the movement was to attract others. He counterposes the anarchist emphasis on “prefigurative” organizing to his focus on “strategic” thinking.

“In contrast to power politics, ‘prefigurative politics’ seeks to demonstrate the ‘better world’ it envisions for the future in the actions it takes today….I argue that even leftist idealists have to strategically engage power politics proper, if they hope to build anything bigger than a radical clubhouse.” (103) Smucker cites major anarchist theorists, “Manuel Castells, Richard J.F. Day, and David Graeber seem to concur with my claim that [prefigurative politics] aims to replace…strategic politics, especially if the later is defined in terms of hegemonic contestation.” (127)

For example, David Graeber has written, “… most successful forms of popular resistance have historically taken the form not of challenging power head on, but of ‘slipping away from its grasp’, whether by means of flight, desertion, or the founding of new communities.” (quoted in Price 2016) Laurence Davis summarizes—favorably—this viewpoint, “For contemporary ‘small-a’ anarchists…these here-and-now alternative institutions…and social relationships …are the essence of anarchism….Many contemporary anarchists insist that ‘the revolution is now’….” (same) Some autonomous Marxists have adopted a similar perspective, calling it “exodus”—somehow escaping from capitalism without confronting it or the state.

I have written several essays critical of this view (Price 2015a; 2015b; 2006). Most of Smucker’s criticism is on the mark. The capitalist class with its institutions of power—especially the state—will not allow the people to gradually and peacefully build alternate institutions which could replace the market, industrial capitalism, and the national state. This was demonstrated (once again) when the police broke up Occupy encampments, after a few months. This was done throughout the country, with coordination by the (Obama-Democratic) national government. The power of the state could not be ignored.

But the opinions he cites are from only one school of anarchism. There is also the tradition of revolutionary class-struggle anarchism (libertarian socialism). (Price 2016; 2009) This aims to build a mass movement which can eventually overthrow the capitalist class and its state, along with all other institutions of oppression—and replace them with self-managed, cooperative, nonprofit, institutions from below. It sees a major role for the working class, with its potential power to stop the means of production. It also has organized other sections of the oppressed and exploited to fight for freedom, in various countries and at various times.

Smucker, who claims to have once been an anarchist, appears to be completely ignorant of this alternate, and mainstream, tendency in anarchism, which goes back to Bakunin and Kropotkin, the anarchist-communists and the anarcho-syndicalists. (A slight example of Smucker’s ignorance of anarchism appears in his discussion of recent biological evidence that human beings, like other animals, are not only competitive and aggressive, but also are highly cooperative and sociable. This is true, but it was demonstrated over a century ago by Peter Kropotkin in his Mutual Aid, a foundational work for anarchism.)

Revolutionary anarchism would not accept this binary counterposition of prefiguration vs. a strategy for power—whether raised, on different sides, by Smucker or by certain anarchists. Even Smucker accepts that a strategic approach may incorporate prefiguration, as a minor aspect. But actually the two depend on each other. We cannot build a participatory democratic society unless we build a participatory democratic movement, and it will be a stronger movement the more that people democratically participate.

This point is made in a book on unions, fittingly titled, Democracy is Power.Internal democracy is key to union power….A union will act in the interests of members only if these members control the union….The power of the union lies in the participation of its members, and it requires democracy to make members want to be involved….A union run by the members is also more likely to exercise its power.” (Parker & Gruelle 1999; 14) This does not mean that specific forms, such as consensus and open membership, are always required. However, strategy and prefiguration should be one and the same.

The Limits of Liberalism

The primary weakness of this book is its one-sided focus on sectarian withdrawal and self-involvement on the Left. What Smucker says against this is true, but it is not the whole truth.

The main problem with the Left in the U.S. (and elsewhere) is not self-involvement but liberalism, reformism, and opportunism. From the ‘30s to today, most of the Left has supported—or at least, accommodated—capitalism, only urging better regulation of business by the state. It has promoted the state as the main remedy for all social evils—if only the state would be somewhat more democratic. It has portrayed the state as a neutral institution, to be used by the corporate rich or by the working people, depending on events. It has urged a focus on elections, to put individuals into office to be “political” for the people. It has channeled mass action into the Democratic Party, the “party of the people,” which has consistently been the swamp in which movements suffocate and die. This has been true not only of liberals but also of most of those calling themselves “socialists” or “communists.”

The liberal approach has led to victories, but none which have remained stable and reliable (especially since the period of renewed stagnation and decline beginning about 1970, following the “long boom”). Unions won the right to organize—but today unions in the private sector only represent about 6 % of the labor force, about where they were before the upsurge of the ‘30s. African-Americans defeated legal segregation, but Black people are still on the bottom of society. Even their right to vote is under attack. Women made gains, which are again under attack, especially the right to legal abortions. The “Vietnam syndrome,” which limited the U.S.’s military interventions abroad, is over; now the U.S. wages war around the world, and threatens nuclear war with North Korea. Advancements in environmental protection have been viciously attacked by the current administration—which has attacked popular gains in every field. (Readers may add to the list as they chose.) Liberalism—reformism—has been a failure overall.

Yet this seems to be Jonathan Smucker’s perspective. While he strongly (and correctly) criticizes self-enclosed, sectarian, anarchists and others, he has barely a few phrases about the danger of being coopted by ruling powers. He hopes to build a broad popular movement, including large numbers of “ordinary people,” workers of all sorts, students, and oppressed people—but also to include powerful people from the rich and governing sectors. He wants to win over “allies within the existing establishment.” (167) Radicals need to know “how to strategically influence a decision-maker….” (250) There is a need for “actively courting influential supporters….” (70) This implies not an alliance against the ruling class but an alliance with sections of the ruling class and the state. (This has traditionally been called a “Popular Front,” as opposed to a broad alliance of organizations, parties, and movements of the working class and oppressed sections, which has been called a “United Front.”) In order to include establishment allies, the movement would have to limit the demands which can be raised and the methods which can be used.

Smucker’s aim is not only for a popular movement to develop counter-power to the ruling class, but to take state power. “The state is no longer an other that we stand in opposition to as total outsiders; instead we become responsible for it—parts of it, at least….” (152) His goal is “to consolidate victories in the state….wresting the helm.” (150) He expresses admiration for “the Chavistas in Venezuela…[who] have succeeded in winning some level—however limited a degree—of state power….” (136) Smucker does not mention more recent developments in Venezuela, which have not gone so well for the regime nor for its working and poor people.

Elections and the Democratic Party

To win “victories in the state”, it will be necessary to run in elections. “Hopefully this moment is helping today’s radicals to reconsider our relationship to electoral campaigns and political parties….” (170) Besides the Chavistas, he makes several glowing references to Bernie Sanders’ campaign. “In 2016 Bernie Sanders picked up the torch that Occupy lit….”
(246) “The Bernie Sanders campaign showed again…the ripe possibility of such an insurgent political alignment.” (217) The Sanders campaign did demonstrate that there was a lot of dissatisfaction which might be mobilized even behind someone who was called a “socialist” and spoke of “revolution.” This was significant.

But what was the strategic result? Sanders channeled this dissatisfaction into the Democratic Party, eventually behind Hillary Clinton, a neoliberal, militarist, establishment politician. Those who organized the Sanders campaign are now trying to keep its momentum in the capitalist party which has historically been the graveyard of movements. They want to turn the militant youth into voting fodder for another pro-imperialist, pro-capitalist, candidate, who has no solution for the economic and ecological disasters which are looming.

Smuckers cites a lot of sociologists and political scientists, but few radicals. He cites no anarchists (except for the non-revolutionary types) and no Marxists (except for the Italian Communist Antonio Gramsci--died in 1937). He never considers the nature of the state, apparently treating it as a neutral institution which can be used by either the people or by the corporate rich. He seems to think that competing classes can take over different “parts” of the same state—denying that it is a unitary institution. One thing on which both the revolutionary anarchists and Lenin agreed was that the existing state was an instrument of capitalism, and that it needed to be overthrown and replaced by alternate institutions. The fate of the Occupy encampments was one demonstration of this.

Other examples have appeared more recently in Greece in the fate of the elected Syriza government, in Brazil with the Workers’ Party government, in South Africa with the ANC, and in many other reformist parties over the decades (such as Allende in Chile in 1973 or the rise of fascism in Europe in the 1920s and 30s). Smucker discusses the OWS experience but not any of these. Nor does he examine any of the rich history of revolutions and counterrevolutions, which have been studied by anarchists, Marxists, and bourgeois historians. It is true that we cannot expect a revolution—or even a prerevolutionary period—in the near future. But the goal of a revolution can be used to guide the current struggle for reforms and how that is carried out. A study of the history of previous attempts at revolution could provide lessons even broader than only looking at OWS and the other limited experiences which Smucker has personally gone through.

In fact, limiting ourselves just to struggles for reforms, in the U.S. almost every major victory has been won by non-electoral means. The rights of unions were won through mass strike waves. The destruction of legal Jim Crow and other gains for African-Americans were won through mass civil disobedience as well as urban rebellions (“riots”). The war in Vietnam was opposed through demonstrations, draft resistance, campus strikes, and a virtual mutiny in the armed forces. LGBT rights were fought for through the Stonewall rebellion and ACT-UP’s civil disobedience. The women’s movement was an integral part of these non-electoral struggles. The legal and electoral aspects of these movements were efforts by the establishment to respond to these popular struggles, to get them under control, and finally to kill them. The Democratic Party played a big part in that.

The Hegemony of Gramsci

Smucker relies heavily on the concepts of Antonio Gramsci, such as “hegemony”, “articulation,” and others. Without being a Gramsci enthusiast, I do not criticize Smucker for being willing to learn from a Marxist theorist. (Although it seems a little odd to use an unusual word like “hegemony” in the title of a book addressed to a wide audience.) Gramsci advocated a revolution by the working class, in a broad alliance with all oppressed and exploited people, to overturn capitalism and the existing state. These are concepts with which I agree and which Smucker may not, or at least does not raise here. However, even the best Marxists should be read critically, given the disastrous results whenever Marxists have taken power.

For example, the concept of “hegemony,” as used by Gramsci, indicates that the capitalist class rules through dominating popular culture and ideology—and that the working class and oppressed need to reverse this, so that emancipatory culture and ideology becomes the “common sense” of the popular classes.

However, “hegemony” might also be interpreted with authoritarian implications, implying that a minority which thinks it knows the Truth should seek to dominate popular consciousness. In fact, Gramsci was a Leninist, an advocate of a centralized vanguard party. The party, in his conception, aimed to take power through a new state, presumably in the interests of the working class. In the factional conflicts within the Communist International and the Italian Communist Party, Gramsci took the side of Stalin (Chiaradia 2013).

“Hegemony” may also be interpreted as a reformist strategy. If we focus predominantly on the cultural and ideological power of the ruling class, this may lead to downplaying its economic power (the use of unemployment and insecurity to discipline the working class) and the armed power of its state. The police and military do not usually interfere directly in politics, but they are always in the background, to be used in a crisis (again: as in the destruction of the Occupy encampments). This can lead militants to emphasize political maneuvering and cultural enlightenment, and to ignore hard power, confrontation, and the nature of the state. In fact, after World War II, the Italian Communist Party, as well as later “Eurocommunist” parties, followed reformist strategies while claiming to be inspired by Gramsci.

None of this should prevent people from learning whatever they can from Gramsci’s work. (See Anderson 1977.) But they should view it critically.

Hope for the Future

Jonathan Smucker expects continuing difficulties and crises in society to create openings for popular movements, in various ways and on various issues. “A left hegemonic project will become a realistic possibility in the decades ahead.” (255) “The signs are all around us that such a progressive populist alignment is coming into being.” (247) I think this perspective is likely. I also agree with Smucker that radicals need to prepare for this, to think about how to cope with the growing discontent, and to organize ourselves as part of organizing others. The self-organizing of radicals is part of the self-organizing of popular movements.

However, he ignores some of the dangers involved. Liberals, reformists, and those establishment allies Smucker wants to look for, will aim to keep the “populist” movements within respectable and limited bounds—that is, to keep them ineffective. Revolutionary anarchists and other libertarian socialists need to build a militant, radical, left wing of the movements (especially the labor movement with its potential strategic power). They need to oppose (to seek hegemony over) those who withdraw into self-satisfied isolation, but also to oppose those who are willing to accept the limitations of capitalism and its state.

In the front of this book, his anarchist publishers, the AK Press Collective, have a statement. Probably referring to his electoralism and similar aspects of his strategy, they write, “Smucker’s personal politics sometimes include strategies for social change that AK Press doesn’t advocate, but we think the ideas he presents will be useful to a range of strategic approaches….”

As did AK Press, I find this a useful and interesting book. It raises insightful criticisms of some anarchists and others. It proposes programmatic suggestions, some of which I think are valuable from a revolutionary view— and some of which I think are wrong (reformist) but worth thinking through as he presents them.

References

Anderson, Perry (1977). “The Antinomies of Antonio Gramsci.”
New Left Review.
http://www.praxisphilosophie.de/anderson_gramsci_antino...s.pdf

Chiaradia, John (2013). “Amadeo Bordiga and the Myth of Antonio Gramsci.”
https://libcom.org/library/amadeo-bordiga-myth-antonio-...radia

Krul, Matthijs (2011). “What We Can Learn From Hal Draper.”
http://mccaine.org/2011/04/14/what-we-can-learn-from-ha...aper/

Parker, Mike, & Gruelle, Martha (1999). Democracy is Power; Rebuilding Unions for the Bottom Up. Detroit: A Labor Notes Book.

Price, Wayne (2016). “In Defense of Revolutionary Class-Struggle Anarchism.” Anarkismo.
https://www.anarkismo.net/article/29243?search_text=Dav...aeber

Price, Wayne (2015a). “Response to Crimethinc’s ‘Why We Don’t Make Demands’.” Anarkismo.
https://www.anarkismo.net/article/28353?search_text=Way...Price

Price, Wayne (2015b). “The Reversed Revolutions of David Graeber:
Review of David Graeber, Revolutions in Reverse.” Anarkismo.
http://www.anarkismo.net/article/28134?search_text=Wayn...Price

Price, Wayne (2009). “The Two Main Trends in Anarchism.” Anarkismo
http://www.anarkismo.net/article/13536?search_text=Wayn...Price

Price, Wayne (2006). “Confronting the Question of Power; Should the Oppressed Take Power?” Anarkismo.
http://www.anarkismo.net/newswire.php?story_id=2496

Smucker, Jonathan M. (2017). Hegemony How-To: A Roadmap for Radicals. Chico CA: AK Press.

*written for www.Anarkismo.net

Tags: wayne pricereviewthe strugglehopestrategyorganizationdemocracyliberalismcategory: Essays
Categories: News

Plain Words #4

Sun, 12/03/2017 - 15:26

From Plain Words

[For reading and printing 8.5×11]
[For printing 11×17]

The Winter 2017/2018 issue of Plain Words is here! This time around, we present articles on anarchist prisoners and grand jury resistance, social media and television as obstacles to revolt, local eco-action, animal resistance to techno-society, and memory as a weapon.

CONTENTS
– “Mirror, Kaleidoscope, Dagger: What is Anarchism?”
– Solidarity with Michael Kimble
– “Fuck Your Selfie: On the Spectacle of Resistance from Bloomington to Hamburg”
– “Destitution & Trolling”
– Solidarity with Grand Jury Resisters
– “Good TV as a Roadblock to Becoming Ungovernable”
– To a Trodden Pansy: Remembering Louis Lingg
– Night Owls Disrupt Yellowwood State Forest Timber Sale
– Deer: 1, Computers: 0
– Black December

Tags: plain wordspublicationpdfcategory: Projects
Categories: News

The Spheres of Insurrection: Suggestions for Combating the Pimping of Life

Sun, 12/03/2017 - 11:09

From e-flux - by Suely Rolnik

It is always a question of freeing life wherever it is imprisoned, or of tempting it into an uncertain combat.
—Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, 19911

The exhaustion of natural resources is probably much less advanced than the exhaustion of subjective resources, of vital resources, that is afflicting our contemporaries. If so much satisfaction is derived from surveying the devastation of the environment it’s largely because this veils the frightening ruin of subjectivities. Every oil spill, every sterile plain, every species extinction is an image of our souls in rags, a reflection of our lack of world, of our intimate impotence to inhabit it.
—The Invisible Committee, 20142

The world is in convulsion, and so are we. We are taken by a malaise, comprised of a mix of sensations. A dread in the face of the sinister landscape brought about by the rise of reactive forces everywhere, whose level of violence and barbarity reminds us of the worst moments in history. Along with fear, we are also taken by a perplexity in the face of another phenomenon, simultaneous with the first: the takeover of worldwide power by the capitalist system in its new version—financialized and neoliberal—which extends its colonial project to its ultimate limits, its globalitarian realization.

At first glance, the simultaneity of these two phenomena seems paradoxical, which blurs our comprehension and leaves us confused: the high degree of complexity and perverse refinement proper to the neoliberal way of life is light-years ahead of the narrow-minded archaism of the brute forces of this new conservatism. They are symptoms of radically different reactive forces, originating in distinct historical moments, coexisting in our contemporaneity. But after the initial shock, we understand that neoliberalism needs these rude subjectivities to do the dirty work of destroying all the achievements of democratic, republican culture, dissolving its imaginary and eradicating from the scene its protagonists—including the left in all its nuances, but not only. Lacking moral limits of any kind, reactive subjectivities fulfill their task at a dizzying speed and with intense violence—as soon as we recognize one of their coups, another has just happened. Carrying out this task gives them a perverse narcissistic juissance to the point of being pathetic. The ground is prepared for a frictionless and unencumbered free flow of transnational capital.

Added to the fear and astonishment, there is a deep frustration with the recent dissolution of several leftist governments throughout the world, especially in Latin America—which, not by chance, happens simultaneously with the rise of reactive forces of conservatism and neoliberalism, temporarily united. Such frustration mobilizes the traumatic memory of the unfortunate fate of twentieth-century revolutions. A state of alert settles into our subjectivity, as when the scarcity of essential resources exceeds a limit, putting life itself at risk. These are traumatic situations before which we either succumb (a pathological response that saps our vital potency) or widen the horizon of our gaze, which gives us more precision in deciphering the violence and inventing ways of fighting it (a response which preserves our vital potency, and even intensifies it, in certain cases). In the moments when, in the face of the trauma that we are experiencing, the second response wins, we can see an insurmountable limit against which left-wing projects stumble, especially institutional ones. Such a view imposes on us the task of problematizing this limit, in order to create the conditions of its overcoming.

First of all, we are forced to recognize that this barrier is not located only outside the territory of the left, imposed by adverse forces that are external to it. In fact, it is chiefly located inside the left’s own territory, whose horizon ends at the borders of the macropolitical sphere. This is the sphere of the shapes of a world, and its own modes of existance: the positions and functions set out in the social map, the modes of relation between them, as well as their codes and their representations. As the left-wing acts only in this sphere, its territory is confined to the dominant form of the world in which it has its origin and unfoldings: the colonial-capitalistic3 world. The perspective guiding the resistance of the left remains thus trapped inside the logic of the very regime that it (we) wants to overcome. Keeping this in mind, it is not surprising that left-wing actions are not only unable to fight the colonial-capitalistic regime, but also result in its dreary reproduction.

It is indisputable that within this regime, the left-wing positions are the fairest, because in different ways and to different degrees the left seeks a less asymmetrical distribution of places—not only in the political arena, but also in the social and economic ones—as well as a state that supports this extension of equality. If this fight is undoubtedly indispensable and has an undeniable value, the problem is that it leaves out the microsphere: the sphere of unconscious formations in the social field, to which corresponds a certain dominant politics of subjectivation and its respective politics of desire, with which any regime, of whatever kind, acquires its existential consistency, and without which it couldn’t be sustained.

Even when the left, especially the institutional left, talks about modes of existence, it tends to do so only from a macropolitical perspective. The left wing thinks of the oppressed as identitarian entities and tends to crystallize them, neutralizing the creating power (potency) of their subjectivity, thereby preventing this “creating power” from fulfilling its function: to respond to the need for change that emerges in the relational fabric of collective life. Worser still is when the focus is on groups of disadvantaged people who don’t fit into the category of the “worker”—the identitarian place where the oppressed are confined in the lefts imaginary, reduced to class relations. The lefts tend to fetishize these people or even to render them folkloric, giving to these figures turned into caricatures a lot in the official map of democracy, which will only allow access to civil rights. This is the central goal of the lefts resistence: what moves them in this operation is the an urge to promote the “inclusion” of such groups into the existing map, resulting in their submissive adaptation to the hegemonic mode of subjectivation. That is the case, for example, of the lefts approach towards indigenous peoples in Brazil. This focus on mere inclusion suggests us that left-wing not only assumes the dominant mode of existence as its reference, but also considers it as “the” sole and universal reference, denying any alterity. The consequence is that they lose the crucial opportunity to inhabit the relational fabric woven by these different modes of existence and, above all, to sustain its possible shifting effects that could render void the dominant cartography. More worryingly, when such effects happen and new modes of existence emerge within collective life, they are read by the left-wing through the same lens, and tend to be similarly confined to identitarian entities. This is the case, for example, with the current movements that disrupt dominant notions of gender, sexuality, race, etc. The singularization processes underway in these insurrections are ignored, thereby neutralizing their vital impulse for transmuting the dominant modes of subjectivation and the changes of the individual and collective forms of existence this impulse could unleash in such cartograpy. In short, what is ignored and neutralized is their strength for micropolitical resistance. Although some left-wing groups recognize these movements, their readings tend to reduce them to the issue of inequality, narrowing the focus of these uprisings to the class struggle. This persistent reduction of the vision and modes of action of the left to the macropolitical sphere is responsible for the left’s helplessness in the face of the challenges of the present, which keeps it (the left) imprisoned in sterile academic lucubrations on democracy. In such lucubrations the lefts insist on “demo” (people in Greek) in the notion of “democracy”, which they translate as “governement of the people”, denying a fondamental detail of its original sens in Greek which gives it the meaning of “self- governement” of the people. This leads to reduce the discussion on the current crisis of democracy to the question of how to reform the state machine in order to better represent the people.

The dreary fate of left resistance and the repeated frustration it provokes in us, added to the confusion and the fear mobilized by the current state of things, is what leads us today to become aware of the absolute limitations of the macropolitical horizon on the leftist territory. Here and there erupt insurrections with new strategies in response to the violence against life, in all its nuances, for which the pair right/left is no longer a sufficient operator to delineate the forces at stake and to hit the strugle target. Isn’t the presence of micropolitical insurrection what surprises us in the new resistance movements bursting everywhere mainly in the younger generations— especially in the metropolitan suburbs, in particular among the women, black, and LGBTQ people—, as in the indigenous comunities? Isn’t this precisely what fascinates us in these movements, despite the difficulty of deciphering and naming it? It is not exactly such movements that are preventing us from succumbing to the melancholic and fatalistic paralysis that would thrown us into the bleak landscape that surrounds us today? In these territories-in-formation which are gradually being populated, there is an effective change of the politics of subjectivation. Their horizon expands the reach of our vision, allowing us to foresee the micropolitical sphere. How does the violence of colonial capital operates in this sphere?

Tags: insurrectionsubjectivitypoliticalcategory: Essays
Categories: News

Worldwide: Call for a Black December!

Sun, 12/03/2017 - 06:10

Received and translated by Insurrection News

With the anarchist Sebastián Oversluij in our memory, four years since his death in combat in Chile during an attempted bank expropriation in December 2013.

With swollen hearts, remembering the anarchist comrade Alexandros Grigoropoulos, seven years since he was murdered in Exarcheia, Greece by police bullets in the year 2008.

For a Black December!

While democratic and civilized totalitarianism advances, expanding its control and surveillance mechanisms, devastating territories, attacking liberated spaces and hunting down insurgents throughout the world, imposing punishments and long sentences of imprisonment against the enemies of domination.

While in Italy our comrades are launching blasphemous attacks against the judges and reaffirming their anarchist convictions during the trial by the repressive operation Scripta Manent.

While thousands of prisoners in struggle are mobilizing in Greece in response to the attempts of the power to asphyxiate prisoners with a new penitentiary code.

While in Chile the power tries to strike its blow of revenge demanding long sentences in the trial against the anarchists Juan Flores, Nataly Casanova and Enrique Durán.

While in Argentina where you can still feel the rage and pain from the murder of comrade Santiago Maldonado, and then the police murdered the Mapuche warrior Rafael Nahuel while the government militarizes its territories in preparation for the next G20 summit.

While in Brazil, police intelligence tries to halt the anarchist struggle via Operation Erebo, accusing comrades, anarchist spaces and libraries of being behind the beautiful incendiary flashes that in recent years have spread in an intentional way against political party headquarters, police barracks and various power structures.

While all this is happening, in various parts of the globe anarchic minds explore practical and offensive responses to the constant aggression that represents the very existence of power and authority.

From the dignity of the prisoners struggling in the prisons of Bulgaria, to the burning cars in France and the call to action in the Czech Republic. From Belarus to Australia, from Mexico to Belgium and Germany. From Bolivia to the United Kingdom, Finland, Russia, Indonesia, Spain and the whole world, the yearnings for freedom are expressed, shouted, conspired and acted upon without bosses or hierarchies, opening the way to anarchy here and now.

That’s why December continues to be an invitation for insurgent communication via the wild heat of the offensive action against power.

For all our imprisoned and persecuted comrades. For all those that rise up and take action against domination by attacking their structures and their representatives.

May solidarity with our comrades become action. May the memory of Sebastián Oversluij and Alexandros Grigoropoulos ignite barricades and feed fires and explosions against power and their defenders. Let the enemy feel the siege of revolt in every neighbourhood, in every cell and on every corner.

For a Black December, long live anarchy!

Tags: Black Decembercategory: International
Categories: News

Avalanche: Anarchist correspondence, November 2017, issue #12 + editorial

Sat, 12/02/2017 - 23:59

From Avalanche

Anarchists always appropriated means to spread anti-authoritarian ideas and struggles to feed the dialogue and subversive action. It is in this sense that this publication is also intended as a tool, more precisely that of providing a space to nourish the international debate between anarchists. That is why these particular pages create space for struggles that spring from anarchist activities; autonomous, direct and self-organized struggles; struggles that go towards the destruction of power in all its forms; struggles happening today, yesterday or that are announcing itself.

For reading and printing (& distribution), the pdf can be found on avalanche.noblogs.org (in english, french and german).
Texts.

[Portugal] Theme park and living laboratory; the future of (two)
cities?
[Italy] Against the TAP, let’s block everything
[USA] A Year Of Making Noise
[Argentina] For the anarchist comrade Santiago Maldonado
[Chile] To have one’s sight on the enemy
[Spain] The nonsense of privacy and the necessity of action
The next issue will be published in February 2018.
The deadline for
contributions is the 1st of February and the texts can be send to
correspondance@riseup.net.

Editorial

To develop our projects, to establish an international correspondence, we need - among other things - persistence. A quality that is often not paid much attention. Like a butterfly, it is common for many to flit about from being interested in one thing today, something else tomorrow, and already move on to something else again the day after tomorrow; what was interesting before is already forgotten. This attitude has nothing to do with what Marxists have always maligned as the revolutionary impatience of the anarchists, which is to insist that attacks on the existing order are possible and necessary, as bad as the “objective” conditions may be.

However, the question remains; in so doing does one develop a projectuality, or does one become a mere victim to the circumstances they find themselves rebelling against, running in all directions like a startled chicken. Let’s not make illusions. The rope around our throats gets tighter and tighter - or, if we prefer this metaphor, we find ourselves increasingly pushed to the margins, along with lots of other people. Will we persist with our ideas? And as a consequence, look for means and ways to attack the digital restructuring of capitalism which is tirelessly pushed forward in universities, parliaments, labs... going forward, attacking, with the goal of destroying it. Or will we find in ourselves a critical but ultimately sympathetic disposition with regards to possibilities of “smart cities” and the internet of things? A similar question can also be posed when considering the rise of the neofascists. Will we persist that fascism is just one modality among others for how to govern a state and administer capital, and consequently not only aim at fascism but also continue attacking democracy and indeed politics itself, with the intention of destroying them? Or will we be content with defending “the best of all possible worlds” or “the lesser evil”, standing together with churches, unions, and liberals?

Maybe I put too much emphasis on persistence when considering these questions. So it goes. Certainly an insurrectionary projectuality must also be capable of recognizing when some paths ought to be abandoned, or when something is no longer worth the effort. It may be because of toughening conditions, but lately I experience more and more erosion of principles: former comrades who proudly tell me that they have been voting and so forth. Suddenly one’s enmeshment in capitalism, one’s contradictions, and the times when one can’t fulfill one’s own claims to coherence all becomes general excuses. Of course one must reflect upon one’s contradictions, but it must also be said that the subversion of the existing order isn’t an easy task that could be realized in the time between today and tomorrow.

Therefore we continue to address all anarchists that have an interest in sharing their projectuality, analysis, reflections, experiences, and proposals for struggle, which recognize themselves as engaged in a combative anarchism that tries to contribute to an informal international without center or hegemony. Because we insist that an international correspondence is necessary to try to overcome one’s limitations and potentize one’s qualities. Starting from local struggles aiming to create rupture, from intervention proposals for an insurrectionary anarchist presence in a social upheaval or from an individual path of scattered attacks, Avalanche is a collective attempt to sharpen our perspectives and practices, by counterposing each of them against the other.

An enemy of the state, mostly somewhere in the territory controlled by the Austrian state.

Tags: Avalanchecorrespondencecategory: International
Categories: News

Brazil: Operation Erebo – The Hunt Against Anarchists in Porto Alegre Continues

Sat, 12/02/2017 - 15:17

via Insurrection News with some editing by this site using the Spanish translation found here - the original Brazilian is here

Received on 02.12.17:

Today, November 30, 2017, Operation Erebo attacked anarchists once again. They invaded some houses, stealing things and destroying everything in their path. At this stage we don't know whether any other homes were invaded. Communication is precarious since we don’t know the levels of police intervention. And this time nothing was broadcast in the media.

Even when the storm seemed to have calmed without any arrests or information about the operation, we are sure they are looking for us. Unlike other incursions, Operation Erabo appears to move slowly but surely.

We remain strong, determined and still [?] in these persecutions, certain that the love of freedom cries stronger.
The shows of support and solidarity are not lacking and the different positions of anarchism have remained firm in their rejection of authority and with their arms extended to their comrades. It strengthens us.

Spread the news

Arms extended to our comrades, clenched fists for our enemies!

Let us live anarchy!

Tags: brazilanarchists in troublecategory: International
Categories: News

Commune Against Civilization #4

Sat, 12/02/2017 - 14:43

submitted anonymously to pudget sound anarchists

Dispatches from an uninvited guest on COAST SALISH TERRITORY,
SQUAXIN AND NISQUALLY LAND–

[what follows is not an official position of the many-headed hydra of the olympia blockade]

All the reasons for making a revolution are there. Not one is lacking. The shipwreck of politics, the arrogance of the powerful, the reign of falsehood, the vulgarity of the wealthy, the cataclysms of industry, galloping misery, naked exploitation, ecological apocalypse– we are spared nothing, not even being informed about it all. “Climate: 2016 breaks a heat record,” Le Monde announces, the same as almost every year now. All the reasons are there together, but it’s not reasons that make revolutions, it’s bodies. And the bodies are in front of screens.”
–Now, by the Invisible Committee

In America in the eighteenth century Cotton Mather and other Puritan ministers preached against wilderness as an insult to the Lord, as a challenge to man to show the proof of his religious conviction by destroying it. Mather, and others, urged the colonists to make of the “howling wilderness” a “fruitful field.” In 1756 John Adams wrote that when the colonists arrived in America, “the whole continent was one continued dismal wilderness, the haunt of wolves and bears and more savage men. Now the forests removed, the land covered with fields of corn, orchards bending with fruit and the magnificent habitations of rational and civilized people.”
– Of Wolves and Men, by Barry Lopez

In Europe people talk a great deal of the wilds of America, but the Americans themselves never think about them; they are insensible to the wonders of inanimate [sic] nature. Their eyes are fired with another sight; they march across these wilds, clearing swamps, turning the course of rivers….
– Democracy in America, by Alexis de Tocqueville

* * *

The Raid Comes Down

ON THE 12TH DAY, the police raid on the Olympia Commune Blockade finally came. For a span of several hours something like martial law was imposed on little downtown Olympia. Like last year’s eviction from the same spot, multiple dozens of police officers from several agencies were deployed in the middle of the night to do their dirt at the hour when most people are in their deepest sleep, and when no throngs of shoppers, tech yuppies, and pacified liberals are around to witness the violence that props up their privileges, the American way of “life.”

Olympia was (and is) crawling with filth from the Olympia Police Department (OPD), Washington State Patrol (WSP), the Union Pacific Railroad police, Thurston County sheriffs, and whatever other ghouls have been summoned for the job. As the communards suited up at 5:00 AM on November 29th for a little game of cat-and-mouse, the streets were covered in marked and unmarked police cruisers and SUVs, snatch squads in mini-vans, multiple detachments of bicycle police, cops on foot in full riot gear, a SWAT team and bomb squad, and an MRAP (an armored military vehicle that looks like a little tank), and about 4 heavy pieces of equipment (backhoes, bulldozers, cranes) for demolishing the encampment. The operation to clean and repair the tracks went on for several hours, and groups of pigs remain in the area.

During last year’s raid, at least a couple officers of OPD were seen to have tears in their eyes and a quiver on their lips as a fierce and venomous black bloc engaged them in the tense pre-dawn moments before the train came through. Superiors on the force were repeatedly seen murmuring reassurances in the ears of the rookies and the conscientious on their side. Whether this was out of fear or out of shame for the things they know they are enabling, these murderers, rapists, and foot soldiers for the foulers of the water knew they’d rather be almost anywhere else on that morning a year ago.

This year, the engagement was of a lower intensity, as the commune elected mainly to vanish from the site ahead of the raid and avoid arrests for now. Among other considerations, the reluctance of OPD to face the formidable rage of members of their own “community” or to clean up the messes of its own making allowed the blockade to last almost twice as long as last year, and we had fun imagining their shaky hands putting on their gear, psyching themselves up only to find an empty camp. All the better to steel ourselves for our next date, at a time and place of our choosing.

Extractive Industry / Struggle for the Land

The blockade is gone, but the blockaders have retained the upper hand. Spirits are high. Next moves are imagined, and then plotted. The energy of the commune is now freed up for diffusion through the social terrain and for further joyous subversion through this holiday season.

It’s easy to imagine such a flagrantly illegal and anarchistic event as the blockade having had the consensus of the broader society arrayed against it, but times change. Consensus in the broader society is far from clear, and among the usual droves of people outwardly hostile to the blockade we find what seems to us a greater-than-usual number of sympathizers, a wearing-off of the anesthetic of capitalist “hope” when it comes to the prospect of going through the usual political channels to achieve anything at all, a proliferation of actions and expressions of solidarity, the potential beginnings of the conditions for a generalized insurrection.

The chimerical abomination known as “technology” is not now, and has never been, “neutral.” How could it be? In fact, the term does not denote one discrete entity but is a code phrase for an entire ensemble of means of mass resource extraction/production/consumption and the social relations and ecological consequences that they engender. Belief in the neutrality of capital’s science and technology is every bit as mystical as the opposition to it could ever hope to be. The popular adherence or loyalty to these overarching concepts is the State religion of our age, and there are more and more people willing to hear out the heretics.

Studies show that even in a best case scenario, alternative energy sources cannot hope to smoothly take over from the fossil fuel economy or supply more than a large fraction of the total energy expended year after year in the current global set-up. Studies show that climate change is unfolding much, much more rapidly than previously revealed by the priests in white coats. Studies show that what the studies of yesteryear showed were embarrassingly optimistic lies and obfuscations. Cascading energy failures will be the echo of the cascading ecological catastrophes.

A different sensibility is beginning to assail the iron trap of civilized decorum, eroding the edges of its illusory social “peace.” There isn’t much time left to stop the establishment of the newest extractive processes and defend the last wild places. To complement the urban insurrections to come, let us consider that the wild and wooded places that remain may represent some of the terrain on which free people can still outmaneuver the tentacles of the Leviathan.

The absurdity of the enemy is laid more and more bare. Olympia Port Commissioner Bill McGregor thinks that the Danse Macabre of the apocalypse commune shouldn’t include mirthful feasts or immodest demands. Eating pizza, dancing, and having a good time is unconscionable to the 21st century Puritans of “left,” “right,” and “center.” Their lineage is plainly that of every extinguisher of festivity who ever counseled forbearance and security over the gambles of life and love. They are praying that their house of cards doesn’t collapse around them.

On the other hand, we have less and less to lose. And we really want to see “city manager” Steve Hall fight a bear.

We Must Make Their Attempts at Repression into Their Undoing

Solidarity lies in action. Action that sinks its roots in one’s own project that is carried on coherently and proudly too, especially in times when it might be dangerous even to express one’s ideas publicly. A project that expresses solidarity with joy in the game of life that above all makes us free ourselves, destroys alienation, exploitation, mental poverty, opening up infinite spaces devoted to experimentation and the continual activity of one’s mind in a project aimed at realising itself in insurrection.
– introduction to the pamphlet Revolutionary Solidarity, by Daniela Carmignani

The blockade, and then the raid, unfolded amidst the story of Cyntoia Brown– who has been imprisoned for more than 10 years– going viral on social media. Cyntoia is locked up for the 2004 self-defense killing of 43-year-old man who purchased her services as a sex slave when she was 16. Cyntoia had been drugged and repeatedly raped at the behest of her pimp, before being bought by the man who she would end up killing. Cyntoia is serving a life sentence. This case is just one travesty among the myriad upon which this culture is based.

Simultaneously, a grand jury has been convened in the state of Virginia and at least 2 people subpoenaed to investigate the events surrounding August 12th in Charlottesville, where anti-racist and anti-fascist activist Heather Heyer was murdered by white supremacists at a demonstration. As if the death of Heather, the serious injuries of many others, and the mere existence of white supremacists were not enough, you can bet that grand jury is not being used to repress the murderers, but to increase the costs of taking a stand against them. Pacific Northwest anarchists are no strangers to the repressive tool of the grand jury, nor the need for solidarity against its implementation. Jenny Durkan, the attorney who oversaw the federal investigation into the May Day 2012 protest and who is responsible, among many other things, for putting several anarchists behind bars for 4 – 6 months, recently won the mayoral election of Seattle. Oh, what’s that? I’m receiving word that she was just now ambushed by protesters at an otherwise well-scripted news conference.

Meanwhile, J20 prosecutor Jennifer KerkHoff is hoping to send 197 anti-inauguration protesters to prison for 60 years, and yet has seen fit to admit, “I’ll be very clear. We don’t believe any of the defendants personally engaged in property destruction.” Such brazen swine, these. So confident that their enemies will never look down their snout.

The borders continue their disgusting operations and the bombs continue to fall. Untold masses of people are confined in the panoptical tombs of Power’s most brutal expression– the prisons and detention centers– while in this very moment millions of children face the smiley-faced repression of their pedagogical training– being filtered and sorted, admonished and punished, rewarded and molded– funneled into the appropriate boxes for their future roles as prisoners, workers, and vagrants… or else managers, slave catchers, and owners.

For our own lives and those of our contemporaries, the stakes are as high as they have ever been. No arrests for the Olympia blockaders yesterday doesn’t mean that we have nothing to worry about or fight for. Our comrades face charges or are locked up. We ourselves will face the same. The very nature and consequences of dissent, assembly, expression, and association are being renegotiated as you read this.

There is nothing for it but to increase the stakes for our enemies, to extend to them the courtesies they lavish so readily upon us. To take the initiative, with the full knowledge of what they have in store.

Peace Police ARE the Police… and the Police are the Absolute Enemy

Right now, the FBI is keeping an eye on what websites you browse, on what your neighbors are saying in chat rooms. Right now, folks are sitting in prison for talking about Illegal acts. Right now, the military is restructuring for domestic deployment. Right now, a million people are plotting the overthrow of the United States government, and these people may one day become your best friends and greatest allies.

We want to explain why.
– The People Vs. The United States, by The Conspiracy to Incite a Riot

In the face of the resounding social defeat that is our increasingly common condition, the waves of resistance indicated by things like the Olympia blockade are bound not only to be fierce but also fumbling, serving as they do as conduits for all the marvel, courage, and adeptness denied expression and circulation in daily life. The return of the repressed will not always prove graceful, especially in sudden, public, and high-pressure situations. On the ground, we will have as much to learn as we have to unlearn.

In this context, as surely as we can count on the need to examine our own behaviors and assumptions, we can count on the continual re-appearance of capitalism’s first– and often best– line of defense. Liberals, pacifists, self-appointed “community leaders” claiming to speak for monolithic identity blocks, and their good little “allies” will claim to share in our desire for liberation while tirelessly working for its utter defeat or neutralization.

Power lies in the infrastructure of this world, and when confronted with threats to that infrastructure, those with their hands on the reins of government can be counted upon to come at us with their own “diversity of tactics.” In this light, we may discern the reason that schools, colleges, and universities are funded by the enemy. The institutional Left, its academic settings and sensibilities, is bottom lined by capitalists and managed by the State so that they may, in turn, define and circumscribe their own potential enemies, turning them into little helpers instead. These helpers can plausibly see themselves and their refinements of speech and ideology as the foils to the “backward” and “ignorant” expressions of the uneducated, and certainly as the dead opposite of reaction and Trumpism. But propose the burning– or even the immediate and total autonomous takeover– of all the educational institutions of this sick and abusive culture, and see which of the dogs snap at you, loyal to the master.

The collegiate and middle class “opposition” to this culture will exploit every insecurity and every intra-movement tension/conflict to defuse social tension/conflict as a whole. History has shown that any and all effective activity against the State and Capital is beset on all sides by the deluded scum who would smother its appeal before it ignites.

Those who come forth in bad faith, first with salutations, then with doubts and hand-wringing, next with the moral certitude and shame-mongering befitting spokespeople, and finally with the shrill insistence on the return to normality and the full force of the law behind them, deserve the very worst. This is something we are not always willing or able to give to them, given the precise vicissitudes of particular situations. But their agenda must be unmasked and ridiculed at the every opportunity. Our crews, cliques, and affinity groups must continue the work of inoculating ourselves to their deceptions represented by texts like “With Allies like These: reflections on privilege reductionism,” and “Revolutionary Solidarity: a critical reader for accomplices.”

As we take steps onto the unknown terrain of terrible freedom, or maybe just our last stands, the experimentation and learning curves which are the co-terms of our departure must not be halted, but continually reassessed and reconstituted in a broadening and deepening perspective of liberation.

All the rest is living death.

With love and rage, // a few communards against the nightmare

Incendiary Greetings to Cyntoia Brown, the targets of the Charlottesville grand jury, and the J20 defendants!

Love to all anarchist, anti-fascist, and anti-development prisoners worldwide!

Freedom for all Indigenous, Black, Brown, Queer, and Trans liberation prisoners!

Shout out the Anarchist Black Cross. Solidarity Means Attack. Fire to the Prisons. NOTHING IS OVER.

I repeat here: as Anarchists, we cannot and we do not desire to employ violence, except in the defence of ourselves and others against oppression. But we claim this right of defence – entire, real, and efficacious. That is, we wish to be able to go behind the material instrument which wounds us, and to attack the hand which wields the instrument, and the head which directs it. And we wish to choose our own hour and field of battle, so as to attack the enemy under conditions as favourable as possible: whether it be when he is actually attacking and provoking us, or at times when he slumbers, and relaxes his hand, counting on popular submission. For as a fact, the bourgeoisie is in a permanent state of war against the proletariat, since it never for one moment ceases to exploit the latter, and grind it down.
– Anarchy and Violence, by Errico Malatesta

Next issue to include a dialogue about the potentials and limitations of the insurrectionary approach laid out in the issue #3.

Send correspondence/letters to noloveallowed@riseup.net for possible inclusion in future issues/re-launch.

Check the following for news and updates:
www.pugetsoundanarchists.org
www.itsgoingdown.org

Some topical readings:

-Land and Liberty, and Of Martial Traditions and the Art of Rebellion, by Seaweed

-Revolutionary Solidarity, by Pierleone Porcu, Daniela Carmignani, Wolfi Landstreicher, and Killing King Abacus

-Revolutionary Solidarity: a critical reader for accomplices

-With Allies Like These: reflections on privilege reductionism, by Common Cause Ottawa

-Who Is Oakland: Anti-Oppression Activism, the Politics of Safety, and State Co-optation, by CROATOAN

-Gone to Croatan: origins of north american dropout culture, edited by Ron Sakolsky and James Koehnline

-Against the Megamachine: essays on empire and its enemies, by David Watson

-A Crime Called Freedom, by Os Cangaceiros

Tags: olympiaoympia communecategory: Essays
Categories: News

The Hotwire #15: November 29, 2017

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 22:26
No thanks given for #ThingsTaken—Olympia blockade reveals their demands—#DropJ20

Rate us on iTunes and let us know what you think, or send us an email to podcast@crimethinc.com.

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Summary

The Rebel Girl goes over the last week of anti-colonial, anti-#ThingsTaken actions across Turtle Island. The anti-fracking blockade in Olympia is going strong, opening up space for struggle and churning out innumerable demands. Anarchists in Chile demonstrate what anti-electoral action looks like, and decentralized mutual aid is spreading across Puerto Rico. Stay tuned until the end for updates on the first J20 trial and a new guide to supporting the defendants. We also have announcements for anarchist book fairs, marches, and other calls to action.

Notes and Links Tags: Crimethinc.the hotwirecategory: Projects
Categories: News

New Book 'Setting Sights: Histories and Reflections on Community Armed Self Defense'

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 22:20

Promo video for book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nsl8MDreetE&feature=youtu.be

Anthology collected and edited by scott crow
Foreword by Ward Churchill

This wide-ranging anthology uncovers the hidden histories and ideas of community armed self-defense, exploring how it has been used by marginalized and oppressed communities as well as anarchists and radicals within significant social movements of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Far from a call to arms, or a “how-to” manual for warfare, this volume offers histories, reflections, and questions about the role of firearms in small collective defense efforts and its place in larger efforts toward the creation of autonomy and liberation.

Featuring diverse perspectives from movements across the globe, Setting Sights includes vivid histories and personal reflections from both researchers and those who participated in community armed self-defense.

Contributors include:
Dennis Banks (former leader of the American Indian Movement), Kathleen Cleaver (former leader Black Panther Party), Ward Churchill (author), Subcomandante Marcos (Spokesperson for the Zapatistas), Mable Williams (former Civil Rights NAACP leader), Ashanti Alston (former member Black Panther Party, Black Liberation Army), Antifascist Action UK, Paul Avrich, Kalika Baruti, Lamont Carter, David Cecelski, Nikki Craft, J. Clark, Helge Döhring, Laura Gallery, Gord Hill, Mo Karnage, Chad Kautzer, Erick Khafre, Gabriel Kuhn, Ian Lavelle, Peter Little, George Ciccariello-Maher, North Carolina Piece Corp, Leslie James Pickering, Gustavo Rodriguez, Alexander Reid Ross, Simón Sedillo, Suncere Shakur, Neal Shirley, Shawn Stevenson, Redneck Revolt, Dr. Akineyele Omowale Umoja, Michele Rene Weston, Western Unit Tactical Defense Caucus, Kristian Williams

Tags: anarchyCommunity Self-Defensearmed groupsArmed Struggleautonomyanarchist solidaritycategory: Other
Categories: News

Greece: Revolutionary Struggle Prisoners Pola Roupa & Nikos Maziotis Refuse Hospital Transfer on Day 20 of Hunger Strike

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 18:00

from insurrection news.

STATEMENT OF POLA ROUSA AND NIKOS MAZIOTIS, MEMBERS OF REVOLUTIONARY STRUGGLE IN RELATION TO HOSPITAL TRANSFER

On the 20th day of our hunger strike, the prison doctors have referred us to an external hospital.

Over the last few days, we have stated that in order for us to be transferred to a hospital, the prison authorities must allow us to have telephone communication at the hospital with our child, since on previous occassions when we were hospitalized we were denied communication.

Since the prison authorites have not replied to our request, we refuse to be transferred to hospital.

It should also be noted that the Justice Department have so far ignored our request for them to withdraw Article 11 from the new prison code, which basically reintroduces Type C Prisons. The prison authorites also refuse to reply to our demands regarding the right to have visits with our child for 3 hours and visits between us for 2 hours when we have no other visitors and for Nikos to be moved from isolation.

Pola Roupa – Nikos Maziotis

members of Revolutionary Struggle

(via Athens Indymedia, translated by Insurrection News)

Tags: anarchist prisonerscommuniqueathensinternationalcategory: Prisoners
Categories: News

Twenty-Five Theses on Fascism

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 16:55

From IAS - by Shane Burley

With the growth of the Alt-Right and the Trumpist movement in the US, the Left has grappled with how to understand and define fascism in the 21st century context. The conditions, players, and tactics are fundamentally different than its first manifestations, and so many antiquated studies have left inarticulate descriptions or inadequate culprits as roadmaps for understanding fascism today. Instead, these twenty-five statements are a proposal for how to understand the essential core of fascism–what binds it together as a modern impulse despite its different manifestations across cultures and time.

170120_FAS_mussolini.jpg.CROP.promo-xlarge2

-1-

Fascism in the 21st century has direct continuity to the insurgent movements that tore apart Europe, culminating in the Second World War. The methods, tactics, and strategies have changed, but the potential of the genocidal-racialist machine remains, and the ideologies are linked through history.

-2-

Fascism does not necessitate a specific type of statecraft (or a state at all), nor does it require a particular party apparatus, a fixed demographic of finance capital, or economic depression. What it does require is mass politics, popular support, and the ongoing destructive upheaval of class society.

-3-

When inequality is sanctified, identities made to be fixed and essential, and a mythic past is demanded in a distinctly post-industrial, modern world, fascism is the manifestation of the “True Right,” a distinct political identity revolting against democracy and equality. This real right wing exists throughout history, with fascism acting as the “reactionary modernist” version of the tendency towards violent inequality and essentialized identity. Fascism represents the iconic manifestation of the “True Right,” which then presents itself as a repudiation of the founding principles of liberal democracy.

-4-

Nihilism, as an apolitical destructive force, is a part of the fascist process, one that requires a destruction of the old infrastructure of morality so that a new mythic one can be built. Fascism often tries to colonize methods used on the Left/post-Left to achieve this creative destruction, disingenuously adopting revolutionary deconstruction.

-5-

The impulsive nature of reactionary violence is stoked by fascist ideology and ideologues in an effort to center an irrationalist response to the unbinding rage of modernity. In a culture that trains the working class in systems of bigotry, energy is forced toward scapegoating rather than directing that alienation at the oppressive institutions that birth it.

-6-

Today, fascism is largely built on metapolitics rather than explicit politics. Fascist projects attempt to influence culture, perspectives, and morality as precursors to politics. This puts much of their work into the realm of art and music, philosophy and lectures, counter-institutions and counterpower. This is the development of a fascist value and aesthetic set, not simply a fascist political program.

-7-

The values set by fascists enable them to use methodologies traditionally associated with the Left, including mass politics, postcolonialism, anti-imperialism, and anti-capitalism. Fascists employ the power of the marginalized classes and redirect their anger against systemic inequality and alienation against other marginalized people, thus reframing the source of the crisis.

-8-

Because of their strategic and revolutionary orientation, fascists have historically been able to draw on disaffected areas of the Left. There is no revolutionary tradition that is free from far-right entry, wherein the flaws in radical Left analysis and practice allow for fascists to present an alternative and recruit.

-9-

Nationalism is itself considered the core motivating vision in fascism, yet it is actually only a subset of the larger identitarian trend. Tribalism, of which nationalism is only one type, is the key component of this assertion of essential identity. Nationalism is a version of this that will always be tied to the nation state, and therefore tribalism placed in a modern context necessitates itself through nationalism, but this is not universal. The modern fascist movement redefines itself consistently in praxis, and reimagining that tribalism means that how they divide up tribe, and the social authorities that reinforce the boundaries of that tribe, can change.

-10-

Ethnic nationalism is a foundational principle of fascism today, a type of racial tribalism, which is not relegated only to white nationalism or the civic nationalism of Western nations. This draws on an ethnopluralist ethic of “nationalism for all peoples,” which attempts to ally with nationalist components of Third World national liberation movements, minority nationalist movements, and those resisting Western imperialist powers. When racial nationalism is used as a component solution to confronting oppressive powers, it makes itself the potential ally of a fascist logic that sees the answer to capitalism and imperialism in authoritarian forms of identitarianism.

-11-

Fascism’s focus on immigration, founded on the desire for monoracial countries, draws on the anxieties that are often tied to Left organizing. The “offshoring” of jobs due to neoliberal globalization, isolationist rhetoric in the anti-war movement, labor institutions’ fears of immigrant workers driving down wages, environmental fears associated with population growth, the scapegoating of Islamic immigrants for supposedly repudiating liberal norms, and the smug liberal secularism of the US coasts, are all well mobilized by fascist movements attempting to use liberal modes of thought for their own anti-immigrant populism.

-12-

The Alt-Right is the most coherent and fully formed fascist movement in several decades. The mislabeling of all Trump supporters as true Alt-Right adherents, whether those in Patriot or militia organizations, or those in New Right or Alt-Lite projects of right populism, has created a fuzzy media spectacle that misses the Alt-Right’s true motivations. The belief in human inequality, social traditionalism, racial nationalism, and an authoritarian vision founded in the resurrection of heroic mythologies are what distinguish the Alt-Right as a self-conscious fascist movement.

-13-

Third Positionism, which draws Left ideas into fascist politics, is the dominant form of open fascism today. True fascist ideologues, the “idea makers” in these movements who currently make up the most radical element, necessarily consider themselves anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist, and opposed to current Western governments.

-14-

Fascism has often been described as a process of multiple stages, in the way that it starts from a radical cadre and develops to the point of acquiring political power. But this is a description of a particular historical moment of fascism, rather than a universal description of its operational trajectory. This understanding should be revised for different periods and countries where power, influence, and social cohesion appear differently. For instance, in interwar Europe, party politics developed coalitions for state power, but in other times and places power could also involve the church, the media, or cultural centers. In modern America, fascists are allying with an online culture that helped the Alt-Right grow and take over influential cultural spaces with the ability to influence essential parts of the larger society. In the 21st century US, party politicians have waning influence while internet celebrities are more influential than anyone could have ever dreamed.

-15-

While “The Five Stages of Fascism” described by scholar Robert O. Paxton outline the process by which fascism took power, and then went into decline in Europe before and during the Second World War, both the conditions and movements are fundamentally different now.[1] Predicting the process for power acquisition and possible failure in a period when fascism remains primarily influential in culture and insurgent movements is impossible to predict fully in advance.

-16-

The crisis for fascists today comes from the contradictions in their approach to their own growth. Fascism of the interwar period relied first on political organizing, which then had to consider media representation. The Alt-Right of the 21st century developed almost entirely online through a culture of memes and hashtags. While this has given them a huge jump in the expanse of their messaging, they have since had trouble translating this into real-world engagement and subsequent organizing. The vulgarity of their language, the style of their approach, and the demographics of their retweeters does not necessarily extend to radical organization and organizing.

-17-

If fascists see cultural spaces as premeditating political ones, then the movement of fascists into cultural spaces is effectively political. If fascist public speech is intended to recruit and organize, then fascist public expression is indistinguishable from fascist organizing. If fascist organizing results in violence, whether explosions of “seemingly random” street violence, or genocide if they were to take power, then fascist organizing is fascist violence. Unlike other forms of revolutionary politics, fascism seeks to sanctify violence, built directly into their conception of identity and a correctly hierarchical society. Therefore, even the most muted fascist ideologue holds the kernels of brutality.

-18-

Fascism can only hide its violence for so long. The history of white nationalism has been the history of bloodthirsty terrorism, a point which marks all fascist parties and organizations in all countries in all times. While fascist intellectuals and movement leaders desperately want to decouple the image of identitarian nationalist ideas from street and state violence, this is impossible in the real world. Within a long enough time frame there will always be killing.

-19-

Fascism could not exist in a period before mass politics. While it is decidedly elitist–it believes that society should be run, in part, by an elite caste–it also requires the mass participation of the public. This means recruiting from large segments of the working class, requiring their complicity in increased oppression. Hannah Arendt described the way this works as the “banality of evil,” to characterize the casual complicity and bureaucratic malaise of the German people in the events of World War II and the Holocaust. This banality is a requirement for fascism to take power, for a mass to believe its benefits worth its cost. This is the unity of populism with elitism, resetting the mentality of the masses so that they can walk themselves to destruction.

-20-

The conditions that breed fascism, the unfinished equation of late capitalism, are only likely to become more ingrained and dramatic. Crisis is essential to capitalism and will increase as global economic markets continue to shake with instability. That penchant for crisis, mixed with the stratification built into capitalism and the state’s reliance on bigotry, makes fascist explosions inevitable.

-21-

The Left’s inability to provide a real and viable alternative to the current system, and its capitulation to institutions of power, are what give fascism its strongest rhetorical appeal. An effective anti-fascist movement would do more than simply oppose the fascists in order to then return society to its previous order. Instead, the Left should present a radically different vision that answers the same feelings of alienation and misery to which fascism presents itself as a solution.

-22-

Fascism’s ability to adapt to changes in technology, social systems, values, ethics, and the politics and practices of the Left is profound. As progress is made in Left circles toward confronting legacies of colonialism, white supremacy, patriarchy, heteronormativity, and other systems of oppression, fascist ideologues will find ways of manipulating those projects for their own advancement. Preventing this cooptation requires understanding the core ideology and methodologies of fascism while being consistent about the motivating ideas of Left organizing, always striving towards greater freedom and equality.

-23-

Donald Trump rode into the White House on the same kind of right populism that led to Brexit, the UK’s exit from the European Union, emboldened Marine Le Pen and the National Front in France, and allowed the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany party to enter the state. This creates the possible bridge between the mass populace and fascist or proto-fascist ideologues, who want to see a society of enforced inequality and essentialized identity. This bridging is a necessary precondition for a mass fascist societal shift, and should be seen as a part of the concentric circles that give fascism its ability to enact mass violence.

-24-

Resistance to fascism must then take on the form of mass politics as well, going after the macropolitics of right populism that bridge mainstream conservatism to the fascist cadre. This cannot be done only by a radical fringe, but should be done by mobilizing both the base that fascism recruits from and the mass marginalized communities that it targets (which make up the vast majority of the working class). The most effective counter to fascist recruitment is Left mobilization, and the only thing that stops mass violence is mass refusal.

-25-

White supremacy and social hierarchy are implicit in class society, but fascism seeks to make it explicit. The Left’s counter to this can also be to make that oppression explicit, to spell out the underlying hierarchies of civilization so as to undermine the fascist progression. The only thing that will end fascism in perpetuity is to destroy the mechanisms that allow it to arise in the first place. Destroying the impulses of authoritarianism and intrinsic inequality is a requirement for eradicating fascism from collective consciousness. The only thing that can do this is a revolutionary movement that goes far beyond simple reactions to the brutal movements of fascists.

~~~~

[1] Robert O. Paxton, “The Five Stages of Fascism,” The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 70, No. 1. (Mar., 1998), pp. 1-23.

***********************************************************************************

Shane Burley is the author of Fascism Today: What It Is and How to End It (AK Press, 2017). His work has appeared in places like Jacobin, In These Times, Waging Nonviolence, Roar Magazine, and Upping the Anti. You can find him at ShaneBurley.net and on Twitter @Shane_Burley1

 

Tags: fascismconsocietycategory: Essays
Categories: News

Dublin Book Launch of the Worms that Changed the World

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 14:28

via WSM

The Dublin launch of the book, The Worms that Saved the World takes place on the on the 2nd of December, in the Teachers Club, 36 Parnell Square, Dublin 1 at 4.00pm.

In The Worms That Saved The World a group of earthworms living on an imaginary headland begin to suffer when a golf course takes up residence around their home. The worms attempt to tell the new owners about their concerns but they are dismissed. In response they organise and join with the other birds and animals on the headland. Eventually they reclaim the headland for everyone.

The book follows a real battle which occured between local people supported by others to maintain access to a right of way at the Old Head of Kinsale after the land was acquired to build a golf course on. This campaign which took place around 2001-2003, was to maintain that access for the people. It was a campaign that signified all that was going wrong in Ireland in the midst of the boom. Selling off parts of Ireland to leave us but strangers in it - taking what was held in common and putting up walls with razor wire and no tresspass signs. Anarchists and other activists formed part of a broad movement, along with the locals to campaign on the issue.

“The book was inspired by the Free The Old Head campaign,’ said Kevin Doyle, ‘but it is about a lot more than just that. It is also about the environment and the need to stand up for your rights while celebrating community and solidarity in our lives. It’s a feel-good book that kids and parents together can enjoy and learn from.”

As with all childrens books, it is the illustrations which really lift the story into the imagination of the readers, and Spark Deely has created beautiful art to accompany this story of the rebellious worms who saved the day.

Tags: irelandcategory: International
Categories: News

Chile: In Memory of Renzo Novatore – Inconoclast, Anti-Dogmatic, Individualist, Nihilist & above all, Anarchist

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 14:16

Received and translated by Insurrection News on 01.12.17:

“The world is a pestilent, filthy, slimy church where everyone has an idol to worship as a fetish and an altar on which to sacrifice themselves” – In the Realm of Phantoms, R. Novatore

The comrade Renzo Novatore, pseudonym of Abele Rizieri Ferrari, was born on May 12th, 1890 in Arcola, an Italian town located in the province of La Spezia. Representative of ‘iconoclastic anarchism’, he fought with ideas and weapons against power until he was shot down by the carabinieri in an ambush that took place on November 29th, 1922.

When reading and analyzing the ideas and actions of Renzo Novatore in the present we can interpret them from several perspectives, but viewed through an anarcho-nihilist lens we can recognize his great contribution in giving strength to the entire framework of iconoclastic discourse and praxis – individualism – nihilism – anarchism.

Among them is the critique of society (wherever that is) as the point of origin for vices of humanity. Additionally, the interpretations by the comrade in his writings about life itself as something to be loved as a whole with all its contradictions, not as a mere exercise of egocentrism or contempt towards the other, but rather as the construction of the Ego, which can be more simply explained as the idea that we know of today as ‘being yourself’, the love for nature, the pleasure of destruction, the rejection of all moral values, and pleasure, yes, the purest pleasure that gives us the desire to launch ourselves into the nothingness.

Because there is a direct relationship between dependence and individuality, the more dependent, the less individual and vice versa. So that the last bastion of freedom is in each one of us, above and beyond any majority or agreement.

“But under the false splendor of democratic civilization, higher spiritual values have fallen, shattered. Willful strength, barbarous individuality, free art, heroism, genius, poetry have been scorned, mocked, slandered. And not in the name of ‘I’, but of the ‘collective’. Not in the name of ‘the unique one’, but of society” – Toward the Creative Nothing, R. Novatore

These, without doubt, are a set of ideas that we can recognize as great contributions and influences on the path by which some – always few – travel.

Novatore wasn’t just the author of various theoretical and agitative writings, but also the author of numerous actions and expropriations in his unstoppable fight against all forms of authority. So recognizing Novatore as part of the history of combative struggle against power, is to recognize ourselves as part of this story. And to see ourselves as participants in the war against all authority and domination via the destruction of all moral values and the understanding of the individual as the fundamental part of the development of our lives and the beginning of all our negations and contradictions.

Because nothing and everything is no longer a nice play on words to make slogans and fill leaflets, because the slogans and the leaflets need to be accompanied by actions to be coherent, let’s put our ideas into practice.

Empty and passive nihilism is useless, let’s destroy this tendency with anarchic nihilistic praxis like a collision of stars on a dark night that chaotically fuels the conspiracy.

Today there are many who have been inspired by Bruno Filippi and Renzo Novatore and dedicate themselves to the evolution of antisocial tendencies, from Chile to Greece and in all corners of the world the war continues…

Until everything in existence is destroyed…by the triumph of the self and the defeat of power!

!Renzo Novatore, presente!

Tags: renzo novatorecategory: Essays
Categories: News

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