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Updated: 7 min 17 sec ago

Millennial survivalists share downtown squat, anarchist ideals

Tue, 09/25/2018 - 14:23

via Times Union

David Gunn had just been released from the hospital after trying to kill himself when he met the fallen beauty who changed his life.

It was a downtown Albany townhome painted ivory, abandoned years ago but with its elegant bones and tall glass windows intact. Gunn, 30, climbed the wooden stoop and turned the doorknob. The door was unlocked.

"Like most abandoned buildings are in Albany," Gunn noted.

The two-story walkup had no electricity or running water. But inside was  a wonderland of grace notes: arched doorways, bookcase built-ins, hardwood floors. A huge black A surrounded by an O adorned one wall, the symbol created by 1890s anarchists then made famous by 1970s punk rockers. Since 2016, three to eight self-described anarchists have lived here. They have about two dozen Capital Region supporters who are welcome to drop by and plan protests and vigils.

No county or city official has noticed the squatters. The building gave Gunn a home, true love and a community of friends.

"Anarchist" sounds as quaint and antique as "duel of honor" or "gargoyle sculptor." Here's what it means to Gunn and his friends who are also vehemently vegan: shun all governments, champion the working class, barter and forage rather than use money.

"It's not putting it too strongly to say anarchy saved my life," said Gunn, who has no family. "It gave me purpose. Anarchy showed me that feeling you have nothing to lose can be liberating and positive."

The anarchists don't know who owns the house in a historic neighborhood where Gilded Age barons built second and third city homes. The street's residents are hardworking poor. Gunn's friends acquired enough DIY skills (plumbing, welding, carpentry, baking) to help out their hardworking, low income neighbors and avoid the dreaded soul crushing capitalist bosses. Their dazzling achievement is the bi-monthly Really Free Free Market featuring thousands of donated items from fresh bread and furniture to clothing and toys. The last market drew 20 volunteers and hundreds of attendees.

Given their distrust of government and off-the-grid life, the anarchists resemble wilderness survivalists prepped for America's apocalypse. But instead of hunting, fishing and hiding in an isolated cabin, the anarchists live downtown and dumpster dive after dark and reap unopened boxes of oatmeal, sealed bottles of juice, pallets of sweet potatoes and purple plums.

"Survivalists don't want to be around people. Anarchists are social; we love our neighbors," Gunn said. "We're not nihilists. If the government collapses, we can survive living the way we do. But we'll also help other people, too."

A hunt for shelter, food, love

Garrett McCluskey, 30, is a dreamer. The former electrician brings a battery-powered sound system to local parks so he can play vintage jazz music as a public service. A gifted musician, McCluskey agonizes over charging even modest fees for voice and guitar lessons he teaches. He believes making music should be a free pleasure for everyone.

He bedazzled half the squat's parlor wall with color prints of bosomy nude ladies,  1940s-era pinups. One seems to be carved from gold. The beauties are McCluskey's vision board inspiring his search for true love. His acoustic and electric guitars are propped nearby.

"I would love to have a girlfriend I could sing to," he nodded toward his nearby acoustic and electric guitars, "A companion on adventures — but this lifestyle is definitely not for everyone. We believe all species, animals and humans, are equal. Animals are our friends. It would be almost impossible to fall in love with a non-vegan who's eating my friends."

A lot of friends, female and male, hang out at the squat but can't endure living there.

When McCluskey's housemates had enough money, they called National Grid claiming to be the new building owners. The power came on. There has been no electricity for months. McCluskey and Gunn say they would never endanger the building by starting a fire indoors. They used microwaves in a nearby gas station mini-mart to heat hot water battles for their sleeping bags then wore all their clothes to avoid frostbite. Kind friends with apartments invited them to couch surf when the cold was severe.

Firefighters have never marked the house with the big red X sign that designates a building as structurally unsafe to enter.

"But just because an abandoned house doesn't have the red X doesn't mean it's structurally sound," said city of Albany neighborhood stabilization coordinator Samuel Wells. "Very few abandoned buildings are ready to be inhabited without a lot of work. If a home goes years without basic maintenance, it deteriorates in hazardous ways that might not be visible."

Wells said abandoned house should never be unlocked because thieves can get in and steal the copper wiring and fixtures.

The anarchists insist they would not harm their home although they can be overly confident in their maintenance skills. One former housemate tried to give the flat free running water by removing the pipes' meter with a blowtorch.

They now have what is dubbed the "zero gravity toilet." McCluskey fills a five-gallon bucket, lugs it upstairs then pours it into the bowl to push excrement down into the sewer line.

"The zero gravity toilet is a dealbreaker for a lot of women when it comes to moving in," McCluskey sighed.

On a recent summery afternoon, he shared juicy watermelon and mangoes with anarchist buddies Gunn and University at Albany pre-med major Tobi Warwick — and their girlfriends.

Gunn met sweetheart Alyssa Gallagher at a tofu cooking class. She had an apartment and a job at Capital Roots, a nonprofit that gets fresh produce to low income families. Yet she loved Gunn enough to move into the squat.

"Dave has unique, interesting ideas; he makes an impact on the community," Gallagher said. "I don't mind dumpster diving. The food is normally in clean, tied bags, not just thrown loose into a dumpster."

The group searches dumpsters by groceries, bakeries and restaurants. Only one fish market dumpster was too smelly for anyone to dive. Usually, they find so much clean, edible, healthy food,  McCluskey arranges excess food on the stoop in neat mini-mart rows, with a sign inviting passersby to help themselves.

But I won't go anywhere near that zero gravity toilet," Gallagher said, laughing. "I got a gym membership so Dave and I can use the showers and bathrooms there."

That free market

It may seem odd for guys without conventional day jobs to champion the working class. McCluskey's most recent foray into the work world was his vegan stand-up comedy act.

He was banned from the Albany comedy club the same night he debuted. McCluskey played a video onstage of a pig slaughterhouse.

"Mmmmm bacon. Laughter is one letter from slaughter. Are we laughing yet?" he said as mutilated pigs shrieked onscreen and horrified audience members groaned and shouted for him to stop.

Asked now if he thought the act was funny, McCluskey ponders over the question with earnest sweetness.

"I think I can be funny and that I'm fun. But maybe that was more confrontational than comic," McCluskey replied.

The free market is the anarchists' true workplace. It inspired Warwick, 22, to join Gunn's group. He has an apartment and an Albany Medical Center job.

"He's such a loyal guy that when we planned a protest of the center's treatment of animals, Tobi came and stood with us in his blue scrubs," McCluskey said.

Warwick also allows his address to be displayed on social media promoting the Really Free Free Market so Albany residents can drop off donations at his apartment.

"The market was a transforming experience for me; I wanted to make a commitment to the group's ideals after that," Warwick said. "All ages, including children, all races were at the last marketA man who needed size 10 shoes for a job interview wept when he found a pair."

The anarchists had no idea what a pair of grab bars for handicapped bathtubs were. But a man who uses a wheelchair was thrilled to get them. It reminded Warwick of how a prosaic item can be life altering for someone who can't earn enough money to buy it no matter how hard they work.

Creating their own world

University at Albany sociology professor Richard Lachmann sees an appreciation of anarchy as a sensible reaction to being stuck in a gig economy. His upcoming book about American workers is "First Class Passengers on a Sinking Ship: Elite Politics and the Decline of Great Powers." It's a title the anarchists would relish.

"Millennials are in an economy with a lot of available jobs but mostly they're lousy jobs with no security, no advancement," Lachmann said. "Off-the-grid communities, rural and urban, pop up more often in uncertain economic times."

Historically, anarchists' prickly personalities and unwillingness to compromise made it difficult for them to submit to adjustments most workers make almost without thinking in order to get along with bosses and fit into corporate cultures.

"But if you're young and all the corporate world offers you is endless hopping between unfulfilling jobs, the rewards for those compromises seem less worthwhile," Lachmann said. "It's a risky move to try to create your own world. But if the world you're in now is unattractive and unstable, the risk seems worth taking."

Gunn candidly discusses how his mental health struggles make relationships with traditional workplaces problematic. After his suicide attempt, he said state health officials diagnosed him with depression and post traumatic stress disorder. Gunn says he sees a therapist and gets a disability check too small to live on.

"Honestly, I probably wouldn't fit into a lot of workplaces," Gunn said. "But I've found a way to be a meaningful part of the world."

Editor's note: This story has been updated. The building's stoop is wooden; an earlier version incorrectly identified the material from which it is made. 

Tags: albanynew yorkSquattingMSMcategory: Essays
Categories: News

Troll-hugger, anarchist and activist

Mon, 09/24/2018 - 15:06

From the South China Morning Post

meet the transgender government minister taking on Taiwan’s social problems

As a transgender woman and one-time anarchist revolutionary, Taiwan’s digital minister Audrey Tang has spent her life challenging preconceptions.

Now Tang – the world’s only transgender minister – is bringing her iconoclastic approach to the job, seeking to break down barriers between government and business and help entrepreneurs find solutions to social problems.

She told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that countries could only solve the problems they faced if government, business and the social movements to which she devoted her time before becoming a minister made common cause.

“I think that common value finding is of utmost importance to the governance nowadays when it comes to social entrepreneurship,” Tang, 37, said.

“Because otherwise, we will just have people lobbying for environmental values, for social values, for economic values, and so on without a coherent way to blend those ideas into a common value that everybody can live with.”

Since she became a minister in 2016, Tang has pledged to give social enterprises – businesses that seek to benefit society as well as make a profit – preferential access to government contracts.

The first went to Agoood, which hires people with Down’s syndrome, to design leaflets. Since then, social enterprises have been hired to train disabled people and help them find jobs.

Taiwan recently announced a Social Innovation Action Plan to enlist their help in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals – 17 targets agreed by world leaders aimed at helping everyone live healthier, more prosperous lives on a cleaner planet.

Tang said social enterprises were increasingly filling gaps in the market for services once seen as the exclusive preserve of government – and often doing a better job.

Agoood, for example, has helped street vendors who use wheelchairs boost their trade by offering phone charging and Wi-fi facilities and Fairtrade coffee.

Tang was among the activists who occupied Taiwan’s parliament building in 2014 to protest against a trade deal with Beijing that they said had been agreed in secret.

Thousands of young supporters, many of them students, rallied on the streets of the capital for weeks in what became known as the “sunflower movement”.

In the tense aftermath, the government offered Tang a ministerial post, hoping she could help them prevent a repeat of the protests.

Her anarchist principles make her an unconventional minister – she refuses to take or give orders and practices “radical transparency”, making details of all her dealings – including a transcript of this interview – publicly available.

Tang, who changed her name and began taking hormones when she was 24 after deciding to transition, has said her brain “knows for sure that I’m a woman”.

Changing her gender identity had informed her politics by giving her a greater understanding of what it was to be vulnerable, she said.

“Both organisational ability and this experience of vulnerability are very important.”

Despite a long working day, Tang makes sure she gets eight hours sleep, saying this is when she comes up with her ideas.

During her free time, she enjoys “troll hugging” – engaging with those who attack her on social media, and sometimes befriending them.

“Once you learn there are some common values there are no enemies any more,” Tang said.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Only transgender minister in world means business

Tags: TaiwanAudrey Tangworking within the systemthe leftChinanot anarchistMSMcategory: International
Categories: News

TOTW: Leftism

Mon, 09/24/2018 - 06:58

Left-wing politics supports social equality and egalitarianism, often in opposition to social hierarchy.[1][2][3][4] It typically involves a concern for those in society whom its adherents perceive as disadvantaged relative to others (prioritarianism) as well as a belief that there are unjustified inequalities that need to be reduced or abolished (by advocating for social justice).[1] The term left-wing can also refer to "the radical, reforming, or socialist section of a political party or system".[5]

-Wikipedia

The reason most anarchists accept the description of leftism is kind of obvious, history. If we draw a line from two points in the history of the left to today most anarchists would understand themselves as within a standard deviation of where that line passes. But why do we accept such gross generalizations? And more pointedly why would any self respecting anarchist associate themselves with a social order the size of thousands or even millions of people?

The topic of this week is the left. Is it a good enough descriptor to both describe a history of our project and an idealized form of our future? To what extent are we still interested in social equality and egalitarianism? If we were what would those fights look like today? How constrained are we by an imagination that simplifies political orientation into right or left? How should we break out of this into a different model?

Tags: the leftleftismsocietytotwcategory: Other
Categories: News

FANTASMA NR. 2 (SEPTEMBER 2018)

Sun, 09/23/2018 - 22:56

From Fantasma

editorial: BLAZE A TRAIL

The ongoing uncertainty resembles a blindfolded free fall. The time seems to pass at cyberspeed and simultaneous standstill. An feeling of grandiose freedom and deep fall at the same time. And before I knew it, suddenly I find myself in the middle of a jungle, sitting on the ground, surrounded by trees, scrubs and branches, which block my view, scratch my arms and legs and inflict here and there deep wounds on me. However I am surrounded by life, by movement and little by little I fit in the rhythm. Deep inside of me I know though that I am still falling. So I am searching for hold and orientation on the outside. I grab a droopy liana to straighten myself up. It feels real, consistent, certain. I hoist myself up on it, hoping to see some other lianas, that can help me to blaze a trail.

In unsteady times, like we are experiencing now, the fantasma embodies this liana, real, consistent, certain. Through it we have created a possibility for us to get in touch with comrades from all-around to exchange notes on the specific issue of clandestinity. About all the different facets, angles of view, consternations and perspectives, which such a situation brings with it. And in the best case scenario this newspaper can open up mental connections, can encourage comrades to deal more intensely with the possibility of going underground, can offer an anonymized platform for speaking about the unspeakable.

In the editorial of the first issue we wrote „[we] hope to be able to contribute with this paper to the anarchist project and to grow with it“. By reading through it again we stumbled upon this sentence, because it didn’t really strike us as precise anymore. The decision to go unterground is not offensive by itself, just as this newspaper project is not subversiv by itself. Rather the questions are how one deals with it, what kind of decisions one makes in that situation and what kind of potential one finds out in particular and therefore is able to implement. Because the anarchist project, the social revolution, needs a relevant social dimension of conflictuality by strong-willed and brave individuals, who don’t shy away from unambiguous words, followed by concrete acts of subversion. We still nourish the strong need to stoke up the social conflictuality on every level. We still want to be more than wandering ghosts on the sidestage of a society, which is not ours.

We still want to be offensive against all kind of authority and oppression in spite of our situation. But how can we intervene
socially? To put ourselves offensively beside the oppressed and to voice our ideas of freedom unambiguously, without handing ourselves to the enemy on a silver platter? It is these questions, which keep us, and we believe many others in similar situations, busy and we want to immerse deeper in the following issues.

Concluding we want to say, that we were very excited about the received articles and the very fast translation of the first issue to german. For security reasons we reserve the right for the following issues, to not specify received articles as such. Except of historical writings or publicly available publications, for example Incognito, which for the purpose of announcement on their part we gladly provide with an indication of source.

Download Fantasma, NR. 2

NEW: ALL ISSUES AND ARTICLES ON https://fantasmamagazine.noblogs.org/

Tags: zinepdfcategory: Projects
Categories: News

How leftist is ANEWS?

Sun, 09/23/2018 - 22:23
Choices mostly tired old leftismo ULTRA post-left Mao we're talking troll bait prole stroll position of the left infoshop dot org society! (other, please leave a comment) CAPTCHAHuman? QEuEMWT Enter the code above * Enter the code without spaces.
Categories: News

Anews Episode 82 – September 21, 2018

Sun, 09/23/2018 - 22:15

From ANEWS PODCAST

http://podcast.anarchistnews.org/episodes/anewse82.mp3

Welcome to the Anews podcast. This is episode 82 for September 21, 2018. This podcast covers anarchist activity, ideas, and conversations from the previous week.

Editorial: What Does Cointelpro Look Like Today?
TOTW: Time

sound edited by Linn O’Mable
the editorial was written by chisel
“What’s New” was written by jackie, read by chisel and dim
Thanks to Ariel and friends for topic of the week discussion
The music is 1) Lorn – FARR
2) Matt Mitchell – Plate Shapes
3) Playboy Carti – No Time

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: podcastthis siteCOINTELPROtimethe newscategory: Projects
Categories: News

Kiev: anarchists attack Interior Ministry training center

Sun, 09/23/2018 - 19:42

From a2day.net

Anarchy Today Note: Ukrainian Media are unwilling to report the fire at the training center, yet the news and the photo are published in the Internet. We received the information by mail on September 20 2018.

2018.09.19. Kiev. Anarchists attacked the training center of the Ministry of Internal Affairs

Repressions and prisons have become part of our lives, as well as of lives of all those recalcitrant comrades who prefer to conduct an offensive struggle against the state and capital, attacking all manifestations of power and destroy the oppressive order. More and more often in the course of this struggle, we hear calls from all corners of the world for solidarity with repressed and imprisoned like-minded people, we hear stories how yet another one of us was put behind bars, beaten, tortured or even killed , and also hear how this or that infrastructure of anarchists was destroyed, plundered, how this or that initiative suffered from raids from punitive groups of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD).

The authorities, like a hundred years ago, are trying to stop us. Today, like yesterday, we are opposed by the guardians of the state structures that were trained and endowed with the “legal right” or in simple words — state dogs loyal to their masters and interested in maintaining the status quo, repressing anarchists and other unruly people.

All these unpleasant moments will occur and accompany us along the way to our liberation. All this is expected and unsurprising. The call from the enemy has long been accepted by us, as soon as we became anarchists, and calls from our comrades became very clear. To us it only means that the struggle against manifestations of power has to be permanent! Therefore, only indefinite solidarity, struggle until the full victory and satisfaction of all our rebel desires! No negotiations with state officials: a constant conflict with the authorities!

Before telling our brothers and sisters about our next act, it’s worth talking and speculating on the chosen aim and the method we used. The method that our rebellious hearts preferred was coordinated with the convictions and ideas of other insurgent anarchists that attacks, arsons, explosions and armed actions against our enemies should be an integral part of the war against them.

Now about the choice of the target. As a target for retaliatory attacks, we consider enemy structures, factions and individuals, as well as any infrastructure connected and serving to commit state terror against anarchists and thinking people. The state continues to torture, break, destroy, arrange trials and throw freedom fighters in jail. Therefore, we attack those who control, arrest and kill us on a daily basis.

Our enemy: starting with the police, judges, prosecutors and prison guards, ending with conscious citizens who form and support this rotten society. In short, every key figure in the system, its every servant, is a target for us, anarchist guerrillas.

Unlike them, we are anarchists, and therefore we do not want to belong to any state and follow their laws. We are not obliged and do not want to obey the laws, because any law is supported by the inevitability of punishment for its violation on the right of vengeance appropriated by the state. In our relationships with other people we are not guided by laws written by officials. Our law is our ethics!

Each target segment requires separate consideration and explanation for their misconduct. Given that at night the fire was initiated in the training center of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, we should pay attention to this organized gang.

In Ukraine after the Maidan in 2014, the new government started the so-called reform of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Its main task was to transform the police into the “national police”, to rehabilitate the image of the power structures and restore the people’s confidence in them. They are trying to convince the people that the new police is not that hateful police that appeared in the Soviet era. This trick is as old as the world itself. Inspite of all the reforms they remain the same cops! More than a hundred years ago the territory of modern Ukraine belonged to the Russian Empire, even then there was the police which was protecting the state and rich people, as it is doing today. Then all the revolutionaries waged war against it until the February revolution of 1917, after which the police department was abolished.

Now, the brainchild of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which was created by the authorities and accountable to them, is completely structured and is aimed at carrying out repressive and punitive functions, protecting the powerful and wealthy citizens from our presence in the streets. Therefore, no old or new government and no state — Ukrainian, Russian, Belarus, Greek, etc., with their police and ministries — can never win our trust. We perfectly know all their intentions and therefore, as long as the repressive apparatus remains, we will continue our struggle!

An ordinary police patrol, operatives or a special-purpose group are in a state of readiness and, by the signal of the higher authorities, they will detain anyone, and then apply measures of restraint and punishment to him. All according to the instructions and laws that protect the state and capital. Before we get into jail and are handed over to the prison guards, our brother and sister will have to deal with representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. So, the Interior Ministry and everything connected with it is viewed by us as an instrument to break the spirit and will of an insurgent anarchist, energetically moving forward.

From the point of view of the revolutionary perspective, one can also safely say that the existence of such a professional institution as the Interior Ministry harms not only us, anarchists, but also the rest of society, destabilizing and weakening its opportunities for self-defense — thereby leaving people without the right to self-defense, making them feel helpless. The population, being unable to solve problems independently, transfers these powers to the system, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, in turn, like any other state institution, relies and thrives on fear, inability of people to realize their internal potential, without external constraints.

So, at night, on September 19, 2018, the center for training of the Ministry of Internal Affairs employees became the object of our attack. It is here, in the training center, that they are trained in order to successfully detain us, shoot at us, practice the seizures and assaults of our apartments in full arms, which ordinary people are not allowed to possess.

The training center is located 500 meters from Boryspilskaya Street, in the forest, in the Darnytskyi district of the city of Kiev. In the center there are pistol and automatic shooting galleries, an obstacle course, a tennis court, a volleyball court, a field for mini-football, training rooms, as well as a structure where groups of capture are practiced. It was in such a structure that we launched a red cock! For more than four months we had been looking after this object. Just during this time, in the above mentioned building, expensive repairs were carried out and electrical equipment was purchased. For arson, we needed 17 liters of incendiary mix, 10 car tires and old things found on the street. We made 2 fire areas in different places. Also on the wall we left a message: Destroy the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The guard and two dogs did not suspect anything …

Although our attack is symbolic, but still it points to the enemy and the direction in which resistance must develop.

Our warm greetings and solidarity to the anarchists in Russian and Belarussian prisons and prison camps: Ilya Romanov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Sergey Romanov, Yevgeny Karakashev, Ilya Shakursky, Vasily Kuksov, Dmitry Pchelintsev, Victor Filinkov, Andrei Chernov, Arman Sagynbaev, Mikhail Kulkov, Maxim Ivankin , July Boyarshinov and others.

This fire is for you. It does not matter to us whether you are guilty or not, whether or not you are involved in what you are accused of. The fact is that in the struggle against the state we are all guilty. Therefore, know that: if the “innocent” once deserved our solidarity, then the “guilty” will deserve it a thousand times …

We also want to say words of solidarity to the anarchists operating in the Chile, Greece, Italy and all the other comrades who fight both outside and inside the prisons! Know that your actions and struggle are important for us!

Long live Anarchy!

Destroy the Ministry of Internal Affairs! Destroy the state!

Ilya Romanov anarchist cell / FAI–IRF

Tags: kievRussiaactionIlya RomanovOleksandr KolchenkoSergey RomanovYevgeny KarakashevIlya ShakurskyVasily KuksovDmitry PchelintsevVictor FilinkovAndrei ChernovArman SagynbaevMikhail KulkovMaxim IvankinJuly Boyarshinovvideocategory: Actions
Categories: News

Hambach Forest: Two anarchists, evicted from the Hambach Forest, imprisoned

Sun, 09/23/2018 - 17:29

From contra info

source ABC Rhineland

For two weeks RWE, with the assistance of a large police-deployment from all over the country, has been evicting the Hambach Forest-occupation, near the city of Cologne. Since Sunday 9/16 further two people are in custody jail. This means that all in all five activists are imprisoned in custody jail.

The police arrested the two anarchists on Saturday. They are not officially known by the police. They allegedly locked-on together in a tree-house, in the occupation “The North”. The state prosecutor and the judge are accusing them both of “Strong case of resistance towards enforcement officials (Vollstreckungsbeamte)”, §113 Abs. 2 StGB.

The imprisoned activist Winter, became an internet-sensation, as a moving speech directly after the arrested was shared on social media. “They are probably thinking that they have won, but they can’t win, because they need the forest just as much as we do. They also can’t win the fight, because so many people out there stand behind us. And they just don’t understand, that we don’t fight for just us, but for all of us,” said Winter at the arrest.

Landing in custody jail on the background of these allegations, is only possible through the law-change of the “Penal code (StGB)” from the end of May 2017, where the minimum sentence for “Resistance against enforcement officials” was raised to 6 months. Furthermore, there was the decision by the Higher Regional Stuttgart, in the context of the “Stuttgart 21 Protests”, in which locking-on “in anticipation of police-deployment” was valued as equal to “violent resistance”. Both of these are sharpenings of the law, that particularly are directed towards leftist activists.

For three days the accused were not given the possibilty of contact with their lawyer – also in front of the judge & magistrate. Jazzy said, that she throughout the days clearly had demanded to see her lawyer, and stuck to her right to legal defense. In her speech, Winter talked about not identifying yourself: “They will never understand, how it is to live with people, for whom it doesn’t matter what your name is.”

The Anarchist Black Cross, in its role as prisoner-support, gives the advice: “No person must assist in their own legal prosecution. On this question we point to §136 StPO, which gives the elementary right not to give your identity, even though this is often misused or forgotten in trials. We are asking all people close to the imprisoned people, to accept and support the wish of Winter.”

More information about the Hambacher Forst prisoners under: abcrhineland.blackblogs.org

in German  l Portuguese

Tags: germanyhambach forestanarchists in troublecontra infotranslationcategory: Actions
Categories: News

Plain Words #6

Sun, 09/23/2018 - 14:27

From Plain Words

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

After a summer vacation, Plain Words is back! The autumn issue features discussions on activism, accountability, art, Christianity, court support, elections, and more.

CONTENTS
– Thoughts on accountability
– Some notes on populism & activism
– “The Finest Art: Contributions to a Dialogue”
– Thoughts on paint & walls
– “Anarchism & Christianity: Fruits of the Spirit”
– Anarchist Portraits: Renzo Novatore
– What is court support?
– “The Electoral Circus”

Tags: plain wordszinepdfbloomingtoncategory: Projects
Categories: News

Solecast: Black Rose Federation Building Grassroots Working Class Power

Sat, 09/22/2018 - 12:18

From Solecast

On today’s episode of the Solecast, I speak with a member of the Black Rose Federation. Black Rose Federation has chapters across North America and utilizes an anarcho-communist tendency called “Specifismo:” which (according to wikipedia) has been summarized as:

Listen and Download HERE

  • The need for a specifically anarchist organization built around a unity of ideas and praxis.
  • The use of the specifically anarchist organization to theorize and develop strategic political and organizing work.
  • Active involvement in and building of autonomous and popular social movements via social insertion.

In this interview we discuss:
-Their organizing principles
-Their approach to building working class power from below
-Grass roots power vs local politics vs electoral politics
-The need for a rigorous educational program within movements
-Discussions on anarchist infrastructure projects
-Thoughts on “protest,” their limitations and what they are good for
-The life of Bakunin much more

Fore more information… visit Blackrosefed.org and sign up to their newsletter.

Tags: solecastBlack Rose Anarchist Federationpodcastthe platformInterviewcategory: Projects
Categories: News

In Defense Of A/S: Is Anarcho-syndicalism Outdated?

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 18:54

via Libcom

This article will be the first in a consistent series on this blog that will be updated as ideas come to the author. It’s title is “In Defense Of A/S”. The aim will be to evaluate counter-arguments to Anarcho-syndicalism and sufficiently defend Anarcho-syndicalism against these arguments. One can think of it as a sort of frequently asked questions pertaining specifically to criticisms of Anarcho-syndicalism. In this vein some criticisms addressed in this series will be commonly made criticisms of Anarcho-syndicalism. Some criticisms will be less commonly made and may only come from a specific individual, or group of individuals. The ambition is to provide a hefty counter-weight to theories and practices opposed to Anarcho-syndicalism that acts as a resource which Anarcho-syndicalists can draw from in making convincing arguments for our cause. The argument addressed in this addition of In Defense is the argument that Anarcho-syndicalism is outdated.

This was all prompted by a comment that was left on my recent article about Noam Chomsky. I will quote the comment in full:

“As much as I agree with the author here, isn’t calling someone or oneself nowadays an ‘Anarcho-syndicalist’ somewhat like wearing a bowler hat? Just like ‘capitalism’ is so dramatically changed from that era that one really should use a different word (though we keep using the same one). Syndicalism is highly relevant historically, but today consider the diminution of actual (human) production jobs, rise in bullshit jobs, along with the exponential debt enslavement, acute wealth extraction, and annihilation of the planet – problems that were slight back then. The article author keeps rolling back to reference the 1930s as if it is the handbook for 2018. I get it, but I also feel like it is spinning the tires a bit. Perhaps the idea of scaling down productivity and abandoning it altogether is a strategy for saving the earth. Maybe this would mean less emphasis on traditional unionization and syndicalism and more on general assemblies based around job obsolescence, debt, and climate crises.”

This is a common criticism made of Anarcho-syndicalism. Since traditional Marxism and Anarcho-syndicalism first developed at a relatively early stage of capitalism’s existence which is depending on how you chart the development of these ideas, between one and two centuries ago, both are viewed as fossils of bygone leftist politics. When comrades from my organization, Workers’ Solidarity Alliance, published a critique of Center For A Stateless Society one of it’s major figures, Kevin Carson, argued in turn that Anarcho-syndicalism is a “dinosaur”. To quote Corson; “It’s ironic that they describe my practical vision as “far removed from reality” — and use the term “fantasy” in their title — because those are exactly the terms I’d use for the anarcho-syndicalist model they advocate. This is a heroic Old Left fantasy based on an obsolete mass-production technological model that resembles the real world less and less every day. And the authors ignore left-wing currents around the world that have developed specifically in response to the obsolescence of their model.” Ecologist Murray Bookchin made very similar arguments in 1992. According to Bookchin Anarchist proximity to Marxists in the first International Workingmen’s Association lead Anarcho-syndicalism to develop out of Marx’s preoccupation with an industrial proletariat concentrated in European factories in the 19th century. “Marx and Engels personally eschewed terms like “workers,” “toilers,” and “laborers,” although they were quite prepared to use these words in their popular works. They preferred to characterize industrial workers by the “scientifically” precise name of “proletarians” — that is, people who had nothing to sell but their labor power, and even more, who were the authentic producers of surplus value on production lines (an attribute that even Marxists tend to ignore these days). Insofar as the European proletariat as a class evolved from displaced preindustrial strata like landless peasants who had drifted toward the cities, the factory system became their economic home, a place that — presumably unlike the dispersed farmsteads and villages of agrarian folk — “organized” them into a cohesive whole. Driven to immiseration by capitalist accumulation and competition, this increasingly (and hopefully) class-conscious proletariat would be inexorably forced to lock horns with the capitalist order as a “hegemonic” revolutionary class and eventually overthrow bourgeois society, laying the foundations for socialism and ultimately communism. However compelling this Marxian analysis seemed from the 1840s onward, its attempt to reason out the proletariat’s “hegemonic” role in a future revolution by analogy with the seemingly revolutionary role of the bourgeoisie in feudal society was as specious as the latter was itself historically erroneous (see Bookchin, 1971, pp. 181–92). It is not my intention here to critically examine this fallacious historical scenario, which carries considerable weight among many historians to this very day. Suffice it to say that it was a very catchy thesis — and attracted not only a great variety of socialists but also many anarchists. For anarchists, Marx’s analysis provided a precise argument for why they should focus their attention on industrial workers, adopt a largely economistic approach to social development, and single out the factory as a model for a future society, more recently in particular, based on some form of “workers’ control” and “federal” form of industrial organization.”

The chestnut is that since Anarcho-syndicalism was developed first in the late 19th century and was carried forth in major ways in the early 20th century that it is only suited to deal with the economic and social reality of that time. If this were true then Anarcho-syndicalists all around the world might as well pack it in. If our ideas can’t be applied to the modern world, then what’s the point? Luckily for us just because a school of thought and practice was developed a long time ago, doesn’t mean it stopped developing since then. If one can seriously, and in good faith, claim that Anarcho-syndicalism is “outdated” and not significantly developed since the Spanish Civil War, then one clearly has not familiarized oneself with modern Anarcho-syndicalism.

International Anarcho-syndicalism was destroyed by the second world war. Fascist governments repressed Anarcho-syndicalist organizations, the war destroyed their homelands, and the International Workers’ Association which organized the Anarcho-syndicalist movement into one international organization essentially fell apart. After World War Two the international re-organized itself and it’s member organizations got back on their feet with new organizations sprouting up. Throughout much of the 20tth century since the Spanish Civil War Anarchism had been marginalized by State Socialism, War, and Fascism to a few small groups in different corners of the world. In the 1980s Anarchism sprouted up once again as a popular alternative to State Socialism and neoliberal capitalism.

In the new era Anarcho-syndicalism adapted to questions of racism, patriarchy, and the environment. The aforementioned international used to be called the “International Workingmen’s Association” as a nod to the first international of Marx, Engels, Proudhon, and Bakunin, but changed the name out of consideration for gender equality. A variety of Anarcho-syndicalism has cropped up called “green syndicalism” which puts defense of the environment from capitalism on the agenda of the revolutionary libertarian workers’ movement. Anarcho-syndicalist environmental activist Judi Bari worked to synthesize defense of the earth with working class organization working with workers to help them see their exploitation as workers and the exploitation of the earth as intertwined. The International Workers’ Association is still thriving today despite recently going through a major split. It regularly puts out statements arguing against racist anti-immigrant sentiment and for international solidarity among workers. Recently, in Bangladesh, an Anarcho-syndicalist federation has been organized. The polish revolutionary union, ZSP, has been organizing postal and supermarket workers against attacks by bosses. With the help of Anarcho-syndicalists in Indonesia of PPAS a militant union called “Kumon” was set up for Uber drivers and a large scale Uber strike took place. We could go on.

The reason that the Anarcho-syndicalist movement has carried forth into the 21st century is because the relevance of Anarcho-syndicalism is not dependent on the particular stage capitalism finds itself in. It is only dependent on the existence of capitalism itself. Bookchin claims that Marx’s argument about the proletariat is based on workers being congealed into large factories during the industrial revolution. This is a misreading of Marx. Though Marx and Marxists after him would underestimate the role of the peasantry in revolution, Marx’s argument for the working class as the “revolutionary subject” was far more fundamental than the specific conditions of the time he conjured up his theories in. Marx’s argument was that the working class is deprived of all means of subsistence in capitalist society. They have no control over the tools of production and must rent out their time to those who own production as private property in order receive an income that allows them (workers) to live. This means workers have every interest in organizing together to abolish capitalism and take control of and then run production themselves. Volume 1 of Marx’s capital states “The transformation of scattered private property, arising from individual labor, into capitalist private property is, naturally, a process incomparably more protracted, violent, and difficult than the transformation capitalistic private property, already practically resting on socialized production, into socialized property”. He goes on; “In the former case, we had the expropriation of the mass of people by a few usurpers; in the latter, we have the expropriation of a few usurpers by the mass of people”.

The relevance of Anarcho-syndicalism lies in the fact that workers would do much better to organize in their own self-managed associations to struggle against capitalism and institute a world where they collectively control the means of living then continue to suffer the exploitation and domination of capitalist relations of production. This will be the case as long as capitalism exists.

Bibliography:

https://c4ss.org/content/46875

The Ghost of Anarcho-syndicalism, Murray Bookchin

1860-Today: The International Workers’ Association

Green Syndicalism – An Alternative Red-Green Vision, Jeff Shantz

http://www.iwa-ait.org/content/police-and-state-lnstrument-class-war-and-oppression

http://www.iwa-ait.org/content/may-day-and-libertarian-workers-movement

http://www.ainfos.ca/en/ainfos35596.html

http://www.bangladeshasf.org/

Capital, Volume 1, p.296

Tags: Anarcho-Syndicalismcategory: Essays
Categories: News

Lecce, Italy: Anarchist Publishing Fair

Thu, 09/20/2018 - 14:32

via act for freedom now!

Anarchist Publishing Fair

Two days of circulation and propaganda of anarchist ideas

Two days of books, meetings, presentations and discussions to talk about the history and topicality of anarchist ideas and action, of the indissoluble link that unites them and their ability to bear on the world in the perspective of changing it.

Lecce – Anarchist Publishing Fair

Saturday 22nd September 

3pm: Opening of the fair and anarchist publishing stands and aperitifs

5pm: Anarchists of Bialystok 1903-1908, ed. Bandiera Nera, 2018.

Presentation of the book by the editors and discussion

7pm: Daring ones, not gendarmes! From the trenches to the barricades: ardour of war and the people’s daring ones (1917-1922), by Marco Rossi, ed. BFS, 2011.

Presentation of the book by the author and discussion

9:30pm: Benefit dinner

Sunday 23rd September

11pm: Opening of the fair and of anarchist publishing stands

1:30pm: Benefit lunch

5pm: (Minimal) counter-investigation on the ‘incurable disease’ by one who has it. On social pathogenesis and political aetiology of the cancer-demon, by Franco Cantù, ed. Nautilus, 2017.

Presentation of the book by the author.

To vaccinate our children? Three doctors’ points of view, by doctor Françoise Berthoud, ed. La Tana, 2018. Presentation of the book with the editors.

Discussion on medicalization and the control of the body perpetrated by the institutions and scientific authority as a form of social control and repression of individual freedom.

7pm: On DNA sample-taking and codification of existence.

An analysis of forced DNA sample-taking in prisons and the project of mass filing of individuals, by Anarchists against genetic filing.

9:30pm: Benefit dinner.

Occupied Anarchist Library ‘Disordine’

Via delle Giravolte, 19/a – Lecce

disordine@riseup.net

———–

Translated by act for freedom now!

roundrobin.info

Tags: leccheitalypublishing faircategory: International
Categories: News

Book Extract: World War, and Freedom’s nadir

Thu, 09/20/2018 - 14:20

via Freedom News

When the Great War broke out in 1914 most anarchists took their customary anti-militarist position, but the conflict also led to two of its heaviest hitters, Errico Malatesta and Peter Kropotkin, throwing down in the pages of anarchist journal Freedom. In the following extract from A Beautiful Idea: History of the Freedom Press Anarchists, Rob Ray outlines how the founding father of anarcho-communism was rebuked over his pro-war stance, and eventually sidelined from the movement he helped build.

Freedom had, from its earliest days, been strongly anti-nationalist and heavily critical of imperialist conflicts — it courted significant unpopularity by denouncing the Second Boer War in 1899 as an imperial scam. In an 1896 article, ‘War’ the paper was explicit in arguing that State conflicts have repeatedly been used to distract the fighting spirit of the workers from the class struggle and the growing revolutionary ferment. Further, it published many articles along the lines proposed by Elisée Reclus, including a translated piece by the renowned French writer in 1898 suggesting that in order for war to stop, it would be necessary to prioritise the resolution of the social question — abolishing the need to fight over private property. As of October 1911, in ‘An Open Letter to a Soldier’ the paper was urging desertion in the ranks of armies everywhere.

So when war broke out in 1914 the lead article Freedom carried in September was a predictable one, and in theory not at all problematic. ‘Blood and Iron’ cast curses on both houses, Allies and Central Powers, thundering to workers:

The same powers that deprived you of the fruits of your labour, and compelled you by hunger and starvation to create riches for a minority of privileged thieves and idlers — the same powers will now take away the lives of your sons and brothers, and force you with their guns to die for their interests.

It was rendered controversial in short order however by Kropotkin’s sudden announcement that Germany must be defeated at all costs. This must have been something of a surprise to then-editor Tom Keell, as on the back page of that very September issue was an advert for a new pamphlet written by Kropotkin, Wars and Capitalism, which was unequivocal in suggesting the masses must not be distracted from social revolution by the belligerent maneuvering of States, colonialists, financiers and business tycoons. Jotting down his memories of the time, Keell described meeting Kropotkin “in a noisy Lyons cafe in Oxford Street” where the old soldier was drawing up military movement maps, supported by the (very ill) Freedom stalwart Alfred Marsh. Keell refused point blank to run Kropotkin’s pro-war essay, and instead a bodged article on communal kitchens appeared.

He could not keep the Russian’s new leanings quiet for long though, and in a letter to Swedish professor Gustaf Steffen, published by the paper in October, Freedom’s core theorist plumped publicly for the Allies, writing: “The territories of both France and Belgium MUST be freed of the invaders. The German invasion must be repulsed — no matter how difficult this may be. All efforts must be that way.” Rejecting the possibility of using labour stoppages to deter the onset of the conflict, he argued that the anti-militarist’s duty must therefore be to support the invaded nation, or risk through inaction supporting the invader. In particular, he voiced his fears that a victorious Germany would impose a hardline “Bismarkian imperialism” which would cause irreparable damage to workers’ power. He noted:

The last 43 years were a confirmation of what Bakunin wrote in 1871, namely, that if French influence disappeared from Europe, Europe would be thrown back in her development for half a century. And now it is self-evident that if the present invasion of Belgium and France is not beaten back by the common effort of all national of Europe, we shall have another half-century or more of general reaction.

Writing later, historian Max Nettlau would argue it was inevitable that even among the anarchist movement many would take sides on the Allies vs Central Powers question. Kropotkin’s love for French enlightenment and fear of Germanic aggression pushed him into precisely that mode.

As editor Keell was left in a difficult position. Anti-war in his own views, he initially went to some pains to provide impartiality and carried Kropotkin’s articles verbatim, along with criticism from many other writers, but would ultimately place himself squarely against the “secular saints” who were advocating getting behind the Allies.

One of the most significant essays published under Keell’s editorship was to arrive that November from Errico Malatesta. ‘Anarchists Have Forgotten Their Principles’ was a powerful reiteration of the case against support for State militarism and a scorching, prescient riposte to Kropotkin’s position:

I have no greater confidence in the bloody Tsar, nor in the English diplomats who oppress India, who betrayed Persia, who crushed the Boer republics; nor in the French Bourgeoisie, who massacred the natives of Morocco; nor in those of Belgium, who have allowed the Congo atrocities and largely profited by them — and I only recall some of their misdeeds, taken at random, not to mention what all governments and capitalist classes do against the workers and the rebels in their own countries …

Besides, in my opinion, it is most probable there will be no definite victory on either side. After a long war, an enormous loss of life and wealth, both sides being exhausted, some kind of peace will be patched up, leaving all questions open, this preparing for a new war more murderous than the present.

Keell was denounced as “unworthy” of his editorial role by Kropotkin for his troubles and effectively asked to resign. He was backed primarily by the Freedom-linked Voice of Labour publishing collective, including George Barrett, Fred Dunn, Mabel Hope, Elizabeth Archer, Tom Sweetlove, W Fanner, and Lilian Wolfe, but would not be exonerated of accusations that he was disgracing his office until the next national anarchist gathering in April 1915 at Hazel Grove, Stockport. There he would face off against George Cores, speaking on behalf of Tcherkesoff, former Freedom publisher John Turner and others to denounce what they regarded as a unilateral bid for total control over the paper. The delegates however, including influential Irish Liverpudlian Mat Kavanagh, took Keell’s side, approving his actions in keeping the paper on an anti-war path.

Following this Kropotkin and others in the pro-Allies camp, notably Jean Grave, became thoroughly hostile to Keell’s Freedom, and they would go on to write the Manifesto of the Sixteen in 1916. The manifesto, eventually signed by a little over 100 anarchists including a number of leading international figures, but denounced across the rest of the movement, notes:

To speak of peace while the party [Germany] who, for 45 years, have made Europe a vast, entrenched camp, is able to dictate its conditions, would be the most disastrous error that we could commit. To resist and to bring down its plans, is to prepare the way for the German population which remains sane and to give it the means to rid itself of that party. Let our German comrades understand that this is the only outcome advantageous to both sides and we are ready to collaborate with them.

They would again be rebuked by Malatesta, marking a permanent rift between him and Kropotkin, never healed, marking “one of the most painful, tragic moments” of his life.

And with that, Kropotkin largely left the stage of Freedom’s story, though Freedom Press would continue to republish his old works for years to come (and still does). Isolated from the living movement, the father of anarchist-communism nevertheless retained many friends and would go on to live in France before returning to Russia at Lenin’s invitation towards the end of his life.

Tags: Peter KropotkinWorld War Icategory: Other
Categories: News

Maximum Potential

Thu, 09/20/2018 - 02:08

via The Anarchist Library
by Max Res

      strength

      solidarity

      autonomy

      maximum potential

I started this essay with a dilemma – though my intent was to write about anarchists doing fitness, it didn’t seem like there were any. Searching yielded very little, and despite going to the gym myself my motivations are less political praxis and more trying to minimize some of the negative health impacts of late capitalism on my body. Yes, I lacked anything particularly profound to say on the subject matter, but surely in this age of people clamoring for physical conflict in the form of antifascism there was someone writing or doing something relevant.

Maybe the problem is our aversion to the markers of fitness culture? Jocks, hypermasculity, competition, vanity, perhaps the lingering trauma of being pushed into a locker in high school all combine to make fitness potentially unattractive to anarchists. And yet there were other, not-anarchist nerds who were engaging with working out in ways that I found relevant to this essay. The first is from the website Ultra, which describes its contributors as “...those who have been transformed by the recent crises and the sequence of riots, blockades, occupations and strikes that followed” and includes “life weights” on its list of central tenants[1]. In it, Kyle Kubler’s “Auto Body” gives us a fascinating genealogy of fitness culture in the US rooted in the impromptu bodybuilding culture of Santa Monica’s Muscle Beach in the 40’s and 50’s to the development of its commodified, yuppy heir CrossFit today. The second is also a history, this one written by Adam Curtis, and if you’re familiar with his work at all you’ll be hearing his voice as you read it as it comes though quite clear. In his signature style, he uses “Bodybuilding and Nation-Building” to connect the seemingly disparate elements of yoga and the roots of the 2003 invasion of Iraq and in doing so looks at a culture (one of the body, the other of imperial fantasy) that was obsessed with the fantasy of a purer, stronger way of being. Both of these pieces are great and I would encourage the reader to seek them out, but neither of these are written by anarchists and I wanted to say a little about what we’re thinking and doing for us, today.

This proved more easily said than done. Given the spirit of our era, the little discussion about anarchists doing fitness that I could find was so steeped in the language and goals of anti-fascism that the a-word was hardly present. Which, if you consider anarchy and antifa the same thing (or if you’re into lifting weights next to statists) isn’t much of a problem, but this is all to say that there isn’t a whole lot of stuff out there that puts “anarchist” and “going to the gym” in the same sentence without completing it with “to get better at punching Nazis”. But for a look at how some anarchists are doing fitness, this essay will consider Haymaker, which describes itself as a “popular fitness & self-defense gym”[2] located in Chicago. In examining Haymaker’s attempt to create a radical culture of fitness and self-defense we’ll see how they challenge the practices of mainstream fitness presented to us by Kubler and Curtis while also resembling them in its desire to shape and mobilize bodies. To do this, we’ll consider the three points listed on their homepage around which they organize themselves: strength, solidarity, and autonomy.

strength

People associated with Haymaker frequently cite the desire to remove oneself from a culture of fitness defined by machoness and normative body types as incentive for starting a different kind of space. This culture of getting big and the celebration of the ideal body is explored in both the Ultra and Curtis essays, and the latter’s exploration of the weird history of yoga in particular is filled with all sorts of priceless overblown advertisements from the turn of the last century filled with shockingly muscled men in loincloths promising to return the reader’s body to some sort of perfection lost in corrupt modernity. Set decades later, Kubler profiles CrossFit gym-goers as solidly upper-middle class and ranks the popularization of the exercise routine alongside “beards, tattoos, “work” boots, and lumbersexuality” in the culture of late capitalism.

In opposition to this, Haymaker gives us a different interpretation of strength:

“Strength is not primarily being able to resist or overcome forces outside of us. To us, strength means overcoming our own weaknesses – it means changing ourselves, together. Such strength is necessary if we are to become a force capable not only of self-defense, but of social transformation.”[3]

Expanding on this, in their promotional video they also express the intent to create their “own ideas of fitness that don’t mean fitting in with status quo body norms”[4]. Here and elsewhere we can see an array of people who are just that—different body types, differing gender presentations, and differing cultural practices (including a prominent selection of clips showing people in hijab). A look at their calendar of events also shows a number of “liberatory mixed martial arts” sessions specifically for “trans, queer, and women-aligned folx”[5]. And while they place themselves firmly in the world of anti-fascist physical training, this concept of a radical gym space is also conceived of as an alternative to a macho European antifa culture as mentioned in their Final Straw interview.

This critique of strength as muscle mass and the culture of machoness which can surround it isn’t all that novel – “Auto Body” shows us a history of fitness in the US that moved away from the rougher, bigger bodies of Muscle Beach and the first Gold’s Gym towards something more accessible to the masses in which “you can get strong, but not too big”. This is manifest in Planet Fitness’s “Judgment Free Zone,” which even comes with a “lunk alarm” to shame people if they’re throwing weights and is accompanied by a description of a “lunk” which could easily describe any of the average denizens of these earlier spaces who, in additional to slamming weights, is wearing a bodybuilding tanktop and drinking out of a gallon jug of water. It is also manifest in the mantra “strong is the new skinny” which calls for a more holistic and personalized concept of strength[6]. With a nod to the fact that the “inclusivity” of these mentalities and spaces often falls short of even their own modest advertised goals, nevermind what one might consider desirable in an anarchist space, what makes Haymaker’s critique different is the emphasis on getting strong together, which brings us to our second point.

solidarity

No less important to Haymaker’s critique is the alienation embodied in much of commercial fitness culture, something which is reflected in my own experience of going to the gym. Planet Fitness is about as far from macho gym culture as you can get – surrounded by mottoes like “You Belong” and “Judgment Free Zone,” much of the crowd when I go is older people and especially older women. However, it and similar chains are an embodiment of the shift identified by Kubler away from the DIY community at Muscle Beach (where bodybuilders were improvising training routines and some even living together) and the first iteration of Gold’s Gym (where the front door was locked to keep out those who weren’t in the know) and towards a mass product dominated by machines with operating instructions and populated by consumers and staff members. A typical workout consists of me talking to one person – the employee at the desk who checks my card and says goodbye when I leave – with the rest of my routine spent listening to music and working out alone in a room of people, most of whom are doing the same (though you do see a regular gathering of old men around the stationary bikes – clearly some of us are more alienated than others).

Community is an attractive commodity in a world where alienation is the norm, and this is no less true in the world of fitness. Beyond Planet Fitness’s “You Belong” and halfhearted monthly pizza nights and bagel breakfasts, Kubler shows us how CrossFit sells the experience of an intense camaraderie through working the body which acts as a commodified version of the long since extinguished days of Muscle Beach (extinguished, by the way, by the long, flabby arm of the law). Compare this to Haymaker’s concept of solidarity:

We believe in solidarity because we know our personal transformation is also a collective transformation and, as the saying goes, an injury to one is an injury to all. We vow to care for each other in times of vulnerability and to keep each other safe as we become dangerous together. [7]

The sell here is an attempt at constructing a community very different from the examples given above – access is free, classes include a section where participants improvise exercises together rather than learning from an instructor, and their promotional video even includes the promise of a juice bar and donation-based food pantry. Haymaker is conceived of as the convergence of a “multitude of different bodies” in a gym that will “cut across social divisions”[8] that they claim are being worsened under the Trump presidency, and a place where, as they put it in their promotional video, “leaving wouldn’t mean leaving alone”[9].

But the primary way that solidarity and mutual aid are expressed at Haymaker is in the form of self-defense training, something that’s emphasized again and again in their interviews and promotional materials to the point where they refer to themselves as a “popular fitness and self-defense gym”. Self-defense here is a physical response to “a political climate that’s increasingly violent, especially towards marginalized peoples”[10], language which mirrors the general antifascist stance since the election of Donald Trump and a practice to which the gym traces a lineage going back to physical defense training among Jews during the second world war and Indian nationalist physical culture gyms under British colonialism[11]. Training at Haymaker is advertised on the premise of reactive violence which is intended to protect people endangered by racists and abusers and those entering into street fights at antifa demos. It is through this violence and the community which it’s suggested emerges from training for it that community is formed. It’s this vision of community that leads to the third point.

autonomy

It’s easy to see how practical this all is, at least to a certain social set. If you’re concerned about physical conflict and feel unprepared, training to respond physically gives you another tool to deal with an attacker. If you’re in a protest situation where you may end up in a fight, knowing how to fight better than the person you’re in conflict with is to your advantage. Having a space to learn those skills or just work out that’s free and maybe make some friends sounds great, although this seems like it may be the kind of space where friendship is mandatory, and the juice at the juice bar in the promotional video looks… well, you’d have to watch it and decide for yourself.

But all that said, the point of Haymaker isn’t the juice or even the self-defense and strength training. At its heart is the concept of “social transformation” that’s come up in each of the previous points, and which they put forward clearly in their third organizing point:

We believe in autonomy because strength and care cannot grow amidst institutions that disempower us. In this precarious world, we don’t expect anyone to come and save us. We have to fight for ourselves and each other, because we’re all we’ve got.

This definition is a little complicated, in part because, like the concept of “social transformation” mentioned in their point about strength it implies a lot without stating anything clearly. Or to put it another way, its use of simple-sounding language and concepts muddies the radical implications of the ideas driving the establishment of such a space. While this makes a good talking point if you’re trying to hook a socially-minded outsider, this essay is for grown-ups and therefore we’ll use the gym’s interview with Final Straw Radio to draw out a more substantial definition of this term.

The interview with Final Straw is important for a number of reasons – it’s one of two places I could find where, as opposed to the vague, popular language used in interviews with people like Buzzfeed or their website, Haymaker is identified as an anarchist project (the other being the promotion on It’s Going Down)[12]. It’s also during this interview that we’re told the deeper intentions of their project – where, despite all the emphasis placed upon antifa tactics and self-defense in response to violence under Trump in other interviews and promotional material, antifascism is described as “a practical way to make ourselves visible to others” and “an important and significant framework but also to a certain extent quite limited for what we want to try to achieve”[13].

A fair bit of this interview is spent discussing the concept of autonomy, and the guests provide us with a couple of definitions. In the face of a state by which we have become dispossessed and helpless and which perpetuates violence against people though police killings, “autonomy through collective organizing shifts our focus to what we can control and prepare for and builds a politics of our own values” — these values being communization, sharing, and care for each other. Autonomy is also considered as a more precise term for anarchy, in which they’re “creating the conditions of living together that capitalism doesn’t provide”. The gym here acts as one of those conditions, a material grounds for establishing this autonomy as part of a greater project to “reclaim and reappropriate territory” that we’ve been dispossessed of and a “nodal point” at which friendship is supposed to turn into a culture of resistance.

All of this is a far cry from the limited scope of confrontational violence through antifa tactics that characterizes much of the public face of the gym. It’s also refreshing to hear some critique of antifa coming from people who are still located very close to that milieu! But I’m also left somewhat confused, because even in this interview the concept of violence is still framed as defensive, something that appears at odds with the stated goals of the project. If we imagine a group of people starting a gym and attempting to reclaim something that they’ve been dispossessed of by the state and capitalism, what kind of resistance might they run into? Things like gym spaces and equipment or food to make juice for the juice bar – attempting to reappropriate these (that is, without someone paying for them or picking them out of the garbage) will almost inevitably lead to some resistance in which violence will end up being used, most likely the violence of the state as the police are called by one’s landlord or some unhappy store manager. What does it look like to face physical conflict with the state rather than, as Los hijos del Mencho put it, “live-action role playing in the streets and hitting each other with sticks”[14]?

This kind of interaction is described to us by one of its members in an interview with a media outlet for Dick’s Sporting Goods of all places, where he talks about how physical self-defense training didn’t help him when he was brutalized by the police except that he felt more prepared to “mentally react”[15] to the assault. This is something I again can see the usefulness of, though it probably doesn’t make getting beaten up by a cop at a protest any less unpleasant. More, mental preparedness for getting beaten or tortured isn’t going to bring down the institutions that disempower us any more than training to fight as a Jew in the Roman Ghetto ended the functioning of that ghetto, never mind the machinery of the Holocaust as a whole. While it may feel good to claim that “strong people are harder to kill” — a slogan, by the way, that’s also present on the Ultra website – our present reality is one in which that’s just not the case when it comes to the state exercising power over our bodies, and to think otherwise is to risk falling into the posivist self-improvement mentality that characterizes so many dietary regimens and workout routines.

But let’s assume that the people around Haymaker understand this, aren’t looking for direct conflict with the state (at least not yet), and that, despite the fact that it characterizes this project so thoroughly in its public image, antifascism and training around defensive violence is just an opportunity to pull a wide swath of potential allies to get involved in the deeper project of building an autonomy that doesn’t (yet!) mean taking over buildings or driving the cops out of neighborhoods. Let’s also assume that the statement of autonomy isn’t a description of a lived reality but rather a goal towards which establishing a gym is one part of a many-linked chain. After all, the Breakaway Social Center with which the gym is affiliated stresses patience in the process of realizing a “strategy of giving ourselves the means to be more powerful and to face up to the need for another way of life”[16]. Still, it’s hard to look forward to the day when Haymaker and its cousins stop paying rent or needing to collect donations when that day seems so far away, and I’m also not sure who will defend those spaces when the state objects. I’m also somewhat curious about how many people who get pulled in because of the antifa sales pitch and increasing violence under the current president (rhetoric or reality) will stick around when the wind goes out of those sails.

maximum potential

To repeat the point, I like Haymaker as a response to the dominant culture of fitness. Even in this critique I hope that the reader is able to pull some of their strong points about redefining strength and offer a space which is free, lacks some of the hierarchies of typical training spaces, and open to all sorts of people while also not open to cops or the extreme right. Beyond the criticisms already mentioned in this essay, though, there is an underlying presumption about bodies and their potential to save us that overlaps with Adam Curtis’s look at the history of yoga.

In “Bodybuilding and Nation-Building,” Curtis observes that the physical cultures of both Britain and colonized India arose as a reaction to an undesired present – for Britain, an escape from a waning empire filled with factories and slums, for Indian nationalists an escape from what they perceived to be a weak, decadent body that characterized its colonial past. For both Britains and Indians, the body formed a site at which revolution could be affected. And while Haymaker’s approach to fitness isn’t in search of some mythic past, it too looks to the body – which they’ve referred to as “the most intimate of material forces”[17] — as a tool for revolution, and strength as a means by which to change the world.

I also wonder at this celebration of the material – the terms “material force” and “material resistance” can be found in many of their interviews and promotions. Can we draw a line between this and the Indian physical culture described by Curtis as trying to escape what they perceived as the weakness of their past? Out of physical culture came revolution in yoga that transformed it from a practice which centered around a limited set of poses and emphasized spiritual development to a yoga that showcased muscular bodies and feats of strength – a change considered necessary to end British colonial rule and escape the burden of the past. In Haymaker’s description of the material, they make some explicit attempts at differentiating themselves from both ““critical” posturing that puts one on the sidelines of every situation”[18] and what they observe as an anarchist fetish for form and process rather than the material conditions which shape interactions in a space. While the former is likely a shot at their critics within anarchist discourse who aren’t interested in getting organized, there’s also a sense of self-criticism here – looking back with a critical eye upon the wave of insurrectionary anarchist activity in the US towards the end of the last decade which emphasized movement, discreet, temporary projects, anonymity, and the riot as a point in which people are changed and community is formed. This wave crashed around Occupy, and it’s telling that in their interview with Final Straw Occupy is singled out as an example of anarchists favoring form over substance. It’s not much a stretch to consider Haymaker and related projects as offering a vision of winning, muscular anarchy which provides the substance which its own weak past (or querulous cousins in the present) do not, one which is necessary to change the world.

As opposed to this, I would offer that strong bodies can’t necessarily change the world in the way Haymaker wishes. As mentioned earlier, the goal of becoming a “material force” which establishes itself as autonomous from the institutions that rule us doesn’t really follow from the practices of defensive violence or strength training at Haymaker. Even if they were doing combat training, there’s no amount of physical strength or confidence that’s going to create the kind of “collective transformation” they’re interested in. The kind of potential they see in the body runs into the trap of futurity – where they see progress we could consider it akin to running on a treadmill, the body getting stronger but tiring over time, the great goal of autonomy from the institutions that oppress us always out of reach.

I’ll end this essay with some open thoughts – I don’t know if there’s a better way to run an anarchist gym, but it’s worth further considering what anarchist fitness could look like when not motivated by revolutionary goals or a defense mentality.

— What if training focused on training the body for avoidance and stealth rather than face-to-face confrontation? What does training to avoid security cameras or act casual when questioned by airport security look like? After all, blending into a crowd while one’s adrenaline is rushing after doing something dangerous and highly illegal is also a study in bodily movement and mindset all of its own.

— That said, I feel like a lot of skill training ends up being less about immediate ends and more about making the person who’s training feel like they’re accomplishing something and giving them the comfort that they’re in control of their lives. Fitness consciously motivated by totally mundane incentives (confidence in one’s body, avoiding some of the unpleasant health impacts of living in Society, etc.) in some ways feels more honest.

— I feel a reflexive unease at the concept of my body as a tool or weapon for struggle. If we want to call it my most intimate material, I don’t find the idea of making it serve “the struggle” very attractive. I also think that the body can be undependable, when it can appear as a stranger to me. While strength can be a nice idea, I think understanding the world through weakness (that is, my limitations, where my strength and the strength of others fails) is more informative.

— While I appreciate the potential usefulness of violence in response to the violence of a friend, partner or stranger, I also think it has an attraction that can be misleading. This attraction comes in part from the sense of having a simple answer to a complicated problem, one which anarchists (along with the rest of society) often handle badly. I think that violence used against an abusive partner or friend who has hurt us can achieve some desired outcomes, but can also complicate things and produce undesired outcomes which are neither simplifying nor worth celebrating.

[1] Ultra (n.d.). Retrieved from www.ultra-com.org.

[2] Haymaker Gym (n.d.). Retrieved from haymakergym.org/.

[3] Ibid.

[4] [Haymaker Gym]. (July 12th 2017). Haymaker Official Video [Video File]. Retrieved from vimeo.com.

[5] Haymaker Gym April 2018 calendar (n.d.). Retrieved from haymakergym.org.

[6] See for example Amy K. Mitchell’s “Why Strong is the New Skinny, and Why That’s a Good Thing” in The Huffington Post:: “The bottom line is, weight aside and skinny aside, you won’t be happy unless you are holistically strong: Strong in body, mind, and spirit”. Retrieved from www.huffingtonpost.com.

[7] Haymaker Gym (n.d.).

[8] viiiHaymaker Official Video.

[9] ixIbid.

[10] [Mong Phu]. (July 3rd 2017). Original Haymaker Collective Video from Unicorn Riot [Video File]. Retrieved from www.youtube.com – note that this is not a friendly source, the original has been deleted from the Unicorn Riot website and this video now lives through circulation by alt-right-ish people. Why this was deleted is unclear (it’s nowhere in Haymaker’s promotional material either), but the quote and sentiments expressed in it are reflected other interviews with members as well. The (now dead) source URL is here: www.unicornriot.ninja.

[11] Anonymous contributor. “Announcing Haymaker: Popular Fitness and Self-Defense in Chicago.” It’s Going Down, April 11th 2017. Retrieved from itsgoingdown.org.

[12] During this interview we’re told that not everyone associated with Haymaker is an anarchist so perhaps this is part of the term’s absence, but the fact that neither it nor autonomist, appelista, etc. appear on their site or in most other interviews or promotional material where they’re describing themselves makes this decision appear to be more about salesmanship rather than inclusivity.

[13] The Final Straw Radio. (June 4th 2017). Podcast special: Haymaker Gym in Chicago [Audio Podcast]. Retrieved from thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org. Of interest is the fact that this critique of antifa also occurs in one of the few interviews they have with an anarchist source (though not on IGD, for obvious reasons).

[14] Los hijos del Mencho. “Against the World-Builders: Eco-extremists respond to critics.” Anarchist News, January 14th 2018. Retrieved from anarchistnews.org.

[15] Sarit Luban. “The Chicago Gym Using Fitness As Political Resistance.” Good Sports, September 19th 2017. Retrieved from sports.good.is.

[16] Breakaway Autonomous Social Center (n.d.). “Who we are.” Retrieved from breakaway.center.

[17] Antifascistfront. “Introducing Haymaker, Chicago’s New Anti-Fascist Gym.” Anti-Fascist News, April 19th 2017. Retrieved from antifascistnews.net. See also their interview with Final Straw where similar language is used.

[18] Breakaway Autonomous Social Center. “Who we are.”

This essay is part of a pamphlet by the same name published by Viscera Print Goods and Ephemera in Rhode Island. For inquiries, feedback, or discussion you can contact viscerapvd@gmail.com or their website, viscerapvd.wordpress.com The other essays referenced in this article can be found here: Auto Body by Kyle Kubler (www.ultra-com.org) and Bodybuilding and Nation-Building by Adam Curtis (www.bbc.co.uk)

Tags: fitnessantifahaymakerself-defensecategory: Essays
Categories: News

The Hotwire #37: September 19, 2018

Thu, 09/20/2018 - 01:19

From CrimethInc.

Evictions in Hambach—Aid & Disaster Relief after Florence—Strikes!

Evictions in Hambach—Aid & Disaster Relief after Florence—Strikes!

The Hotwire

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Summary

The world is a dangerous place in 2018-Botham Jean is murdered in his own home by a Dallas cop and police are actively raiding the rebel encampment in the Hambach Forest. There’s inspiring strike resistance in Central and South America where striking dockworkers in Chile caused thousands of dollars in damage and a general strike in taking place in Costa Rica. Hurricane Florence took Wilmington by storm and we interview anarchists on the ground doing disaster relief. There are quite a few prisoners who need support and we read excerpts from a heartfelt statement issued by prisoners at the Burnside Prison in Halifax who are ending their strike. Anarchists in London are trying something new! And there’s lots of events coming up! Send us news, events, or ideas on how our show can better serve anarchist activity in your town by emailing us at podcast@crimethinc.com.

Notes and Links

Tags: Crimethinc.podcastthe hotwirecategory: Projects
Categories: News

Communiqué for September 9th Burnside Jail Noise Demo

Wed, 09/19/2018 - 20:12

from it's going down

Anarchists in so-called Nova Scotia detail a noise demonstration in solidarity with the prison strike on September 9th.

On the evening of Sunday, September 9, 2018, a group of anarchists and prison abolitionists marched onto the premises of the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility (more commonly known as the Burnside jail) to communicate a message of love and solidarity to the prisoners inside. September 9th was the last day of the Black August North prisoner strike organized by people on the inside, which had started three weeks earlier. The initial prisoner statement and strike demands are outlined here. Their statement at the end of the strike is found here.

The strike started on August 21, the 47th anniversary of George Jackson’s death in 1971, and ended on September 9, the anniversary of the Attica prison uprising in the same year.

Our group first approached the women’s wing, which is where we turned on our sound system, unfurled our banners, started lighting fireworks, and began chanting as loud as we could. They responded by banging on the windows. We did not stay too long before we marched further to the men’s wing where strike organizers were locked up. We were there for about twenty minutes. We showed them a grand fireworks display, and some participants climbed up the fence, either to wave to people inside or tie flowers to the uppermost chain links.

Here are some of the things we chanted:

“Burnside Jail to Collins Bay, fighting back is the only way.”

“They can take our lives away, but not our dignity! Our hearts will pound against these walls until we all are free!”

“Our passion for freedom is stronger than their prisons!”

Our banners read: “Prison is Revolting” and “Against Prison”

At moments when we stopped making noise, we were able to hear rhythmic banging on the windows. Some prisoners waved, and others flicked the lights on and off in their cells. At one point, the chant of “You are not alone” was taken up spontaneously in our group (it wasn’t on our chant sheet), and that turned into an especially powerful moment of connection and tears. Eventually, we ran out of fireworks, and so we waved goodbye and left the way we came in.

It was as we were approaching the women’s wing again, with the intention of communicating to those prisoners for a little while longer before calling it a night, that a Halifax PD paddy wagon arrived. The vehicle screeched to a halt 20 or so feet from us, and two cops came out and charged us. What followed was a short scuffle in which the cops laid hands on several people, many people were pepper sprayed, and one person was brought to the ground and put in handcuffs. A third cop jumped out of the back of the van with a dog, which was used to intimidate and clear away the crowd. Though the presence of a trained-to-be-vicious and unpredictable-seeming police dog did cause our group to back up, we continued to yell at the pigs together and stayed tight. It was clear to us that the cops were intimidated by our collective rage and defiance.

What we were doing on September 9th was, of course, an effort to confront prison by connecting with the prisoners inside and showing our solidarity with their struggle. It was not planned as a combative action, we were not prepared for a fight. Based on our collective experience of attending dozens of previous noise demos outside jails in so-called canada, we did not predict such an immediately escalated response from the police. At the very least, we expected to be told to leave before being attacked and having a friend put in handcuffs. It’s not at all surprising, though, that Halifax cops would respond to our demonstration with aggression. That’s what cops do.

In the words of the Burnside jail prisoners, from their statement at the end of the strike:

“To the protestors who came right down through the woods to the back of the jail, risking their freedom to stand in solidarity with us, you gave us the most liberating feeling. We want you to know, we could hear you, and we believe you: we are not alone. Thank you. We love you, and are grateful to have you by our sides.”

This demonstration fully achieved what we set out to do – express our love and solidarity with those locked up, connecting despite the seemingly impenetrable prison walls. Our experiences strengthen our resolve to act in solidarity with those struggling against the cruelty of prison. The police response strengthens our rage against them, and against all State institutions of social control and criminalization.

– some anarchists

(because nothing ever happens in Halifax and it's news-worthy, plz share)

Tags: halifaxmaritimescanadaprisonnoise democategory: Actions
Categories: News

Fire Ant: Anarchist Prisoner Solidarity #1

Wed, 09/19/2018 - 15:36

[PDF for Printing]
[PDF for Reading]

Fire Ant is a new publication focused on spreading the words of anarchist prisoners and generating material solidarity for our imprisoned friends. Begun as a collaboration between anarchist prisoners and anarchists in Maine, Fire Ant seeks to raise material aid for anarchist prisoners while fostering communication between anarchists on both sides of the walls.

Issue #1 contains writings by Michael Kimble, Jennifer Gann, Eric King, and Sean Swain, as well as a text in solidarity with Marius Mason.

If you would like to support Fire Ant and wider efforts in solidarity with anarchist prisoners, please print and distribute this publication or donate to Bloomington ABC’s Anarchist Prisoner War Fund.

The Fire Ant collective can be contacted at
Fire Ant
PO Box 164
Harmony, ME 04942

Tags: anarchist prisonerscategory: Prisoners
Categories: News

Anarchy Radio 09-18-2018

Wed, 09/19/2018 - 03:51

LISTEN HERE: http://archive.org/details/AnarchyRadio09182018

e-sex doll brothel in Toronto closed! Super storms, gunfire (pig and otherwise). Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair, BASTARD conference: almost dead? Horrific impacts of air pollution, obesity. Read from superb BAGR submission "Wolf Encounters." Black and Green podcast now at primalanarchy.org.
Action briefs.

Tags: jzKarlpassive aggressivewhere's the anarchy?category: Projects
Categories: News

It's a Sin to Kill a Mockingbird: writings on Scout Schultz, Queer Anarchist Killed by Georgia Tech Police

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 23:59

On Friday, September 16 2017, 21-year old Scout Schultz was shot and killed by police at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Scout was active in campus LGBT groups and identified as intersex. Scout was a part of local organized antifascist initiatives and was an anarchist. When news spread of their death, friends, family, and classmates near and far began scrambling to understand the events. In video surfacing online, it is possible to watch Scout scream at officers to “shoot me,” which they thoughtlessly do. In the coming days, a flurry of statements, rationalizations, and arrests are unleashed after mourners set fire to a police cruiser and clash with cops following a vigil on campus.

In the wake of the repression as well as the suffocating culture on campus, wherein students, faculty, and cowards of all stripes came out to defend the shooting, or to oppose those who sought proportional response to it, Scout’s former partner Dallas took their own life. Following a series of arrests and detentions, a friend and comrade of Scout’s, Kirby Jackson, took their own life as well.

As of this publication, the arrestees from the night of the riot have either had charges reduced or dropped and none are set to serve jail time. No one has been convicted for vandalizing squad cars or burning the police cruiser. The officer who killed Scout, Tyler Beck, is still on duty.

The legacy of this tragic sequence is in your hands now, dear reader. For Scout, for Dallas, for Kirby, and for the rest of us: be fierce, be swift, be cruel.

The Contemporaries Project is an organ of the Atlanta commune. Under other names, and sometimes under none at all, we have produced posters, leaflets, reports, and a newsletter. We operate in the autonomous areas of life and revolt, where control breaks down, where representation is routed, and where worlds are in formation. This pamphlet has been produced to respond to a general need among many comrades for greater historical perspective. As the global sequence of events have rushed forward with greater and greater frequency since the late 90s, and especially since 2011 - from the riots against globalization in Seattle and Genoa to the explosions in Ferguson, Istanbul and beyond - it has become difficult to transmit historical lessons to the newer comrades at a time when it is most desperately needed. This pamphlet is one of many contributions to the situation, responding to sensible needs and not to ideological reflex.

Source: https://thecontemporariesproject.tumblr.com

Read: https://thecontemporariesproject.blackblogs.org/wp-content/uploads/sites...

Print: https://thecontemporariesproject.blackblogs.org/wp-content/uploads/sites...

Tags: atlantaLGBTAmericaKiller copspolicegeorgiamental healthcategory: Essays
Categories: News

Addendum: Benjamin Tucker American Mutualist: Tucker Did Not Advocate Voting in Businesses

Mon, 09/17/2018 - 22:02
Benjamin Tucker Individualist Anarchist Mutualist

Addendum: Benjamin Tucker American Mutualist: Tucker Did Not Advocate Voting in Businesses by Nicholas Evans

In the articles Benjamin Tucker American Mutualist Part 1 and 4 it was suggested that voting between employers and employees in a business could be one way to retain the labor theory of value within the Capitalist system. It was just one potential option as a temporary measure to have non-exploitive employers in a business within a Capitalist economy. As alluded too in the previous articles, if the business was in an individualist anarchist market rather than a capitalist economy, the voting for people to receive their full value would no longer be needed as the market itself would decide the wages. 1. This series is supposed to present the ideas of Tucker in an accurate fashion. So this article will focus on how Tucker himself intended businesses to be operated.

Within the American Mutualist economic system of Tucker, voting would not be needed as the market itself would decide the average wages for a particular job. 2.

This goes back to the days of Josiah Warren. In Men Against the State by James Martin, it is noted that the people living in the American Mutualist town of Utopia traded labor for labor upon the 'cost principle' by letting the market itself decide the wages and prices of goods without capitalist rent, interest, or profit. 3.

Tucker himself stated their labor theory of value (the cost principle) would not need to be voted upon as the competitive market itself would decide the average labor time and prices of occupations and goods.

Tucker states regarding the Cost Principle:

“For my part, I do not believe that it is possible or highly important to realize it absolutely and completely. But it is both possible and highly important to effect its approximate realization. So much can be effected without compulsion,—in fact, can only be effected by at least partial abolition of compulsion,—and so much will be sufficient.”4.

Therefore while Tucker was not opposed to voting in businesses (ie. co-ops of Proudhon) Tucker himself preferred a business with employers and employees where both received their wage amounts depending on the going wage rate at the time on the competitive market. 5.

Tucker opposed capitalist rent, interest, and profits which he believed to be a result of state intervention within the market which allowed one class of people to live without working while another class of people had to work for wages less than their full value. 6.

Tucker believed state privilege allowed employers to extract a portion of the employees pay that would have been the employees had their been equality of opportunity on the market. The lack of equality of opportunity on the market leads employees to accept lower wages just to live and hence employers can pay lower wages to their employees and they receive a wage less than the full value of their labor. 7.

Tucker believed the solution would be Mutual Banks. With Mutual banks that offered interest less than one percent anyone could go into business for themselves and hence make employers would raise their wages to their full value on the market to entice workers to work for them therefore the class of people that made money without working for it (Capitalist class) would disappear and therefore employers would pay their employees the full value of their labor. 8.

Capitalism is an economic system where a class of employers make money without working for it while another class of people (employees) are paid less than their full value. Marx states:

"The working day of 12 hours is represented in a monetary value of, for example, 6 shillings. There are two alternatives. Either equivalents are exchanged, and then the worker receives 6 shillings for 12 hours of labour; the price of his labour would be equal to the price of his product. In that case he produces no surplus-value for the buyer of his labour, the 6 shillings are not transformed in to capital, and the basis of capitalist production vanishes."

The unearned income is called Surplus Value. Markets do not equate capitalism which is why different market systems like market socialism and mutualism exist. 9.

Tucker's way of organizing business would be similar to a capitalist business with employers and employees however the difference between a capitalist business and Tucker's Individualist Anarchist business would be that in the Individualist Anarchist way of business of Tucker, employers and employees would be paid the full value of their labor depending on the going rate of the occupation on the Individualist Anarchist market at the time and the Individualist Anarchist market would have equality of opportunity on the market due to the Mutual Banks. 10.

Tucker agreed with Marx on his theory of surplus value which can be seen in his article ‘Karl Marx Friend and Foe’: 11.

It is Tucker’s opposition to economic exploitation that lead Tucker to call his system Anarchistic Socialism. 12. For more information please see Tucker's article State Socialism and Anarchism How Far They Agree And Wherein Where They Differ.

Footnotes:

1. Evans, Nicholas. ‘Benjamin Tucker American Mutualist Part 1’. Anarchistnews.org. 2017. Available online at: https://anarchistnews.org/content/benjamin-tucker-american-mutualist
Evans, Nicholas. ‘Benjamin Tucker American Mutualist: Mutual Banking Part 3 and Final Conclusion Part 4’. Anarchistnews.org. 2017 Available online at: https://anarchistnews.org/content/benjamin-tucker-american-mutualist-mut...
2. Tucker, Benjamin. Instead of a Book. Forgotten Books. 2012. pp 3-18.
3. James J. Martin. Men Against the State. Ralph Myles Publisher Inc., Colorado Springs. 1970. Pp 57-64.
4. Tucker, Benjamin. Instead of a Book. Forgotten Books. 2012 pp 332.
5. Tucker, Benjamin. Instead of a Book. Forgotten Books. 2012 pp 3-18.
6. Ibid.
7. Ibid.
8. Ibid.
9. Please see: Edwards, Stewart (Editor) Selected Writings of P.-J. Proudhon. Garden City, New York: Anchor Books., 1969 pp 64 and Marx, Karl. Capital Volume 1 England: Penguin Classics (reprint) 1990 pp. 676. And please also see the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx.
10. Tucker, Benjamin. Instead of a Book. Forgotten Books. 2012. pp 3-18.
11. Tucker, Benjamin. Instead of a Book. Forgotten Books. 2012 pp 477.
12. Tucker, Benjamin. Instead of a Book. Forgotten Books. 2012.

Tags: Benjamin TuckersocialismmutualismAmericaproudhonindividualistMarxMarket SocialismJosiah Warrencategory: Essays
Categories: News

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