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The russian revolution of 1917: Carlos Taibo

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 19:55

via autonomies

We close our series – without for a moment suggesting that this is the last word – on the russian revolution of 1917 with an interview with Carlos Taibo, author of the recent work, in spanish, Anarquismo y revolución en Rusia (1917-1921). Though the interview focuses on Taibo’s concern with calling attention to the role of anarchists and libertarians in the events of the russian revolution, it takes us beyond the past; the revolution remains a lens through which to think through our political present.

Originally published in Contexto y acción, we present the essay below in translation.

“Paradoxically, the Bolsheviks put an end to the Russian Revolution”

Fermín Grodira, 25th of Octuber of 2017

On the centenary of the Russian Revolution, numerous books have been published analysing the event from the the perspective of the Bolsheviks – criticising or praising them -, but few focus on the defenders of the “third revolution”: the anarchists. Carlos Taibo, professor of political science at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and libertarian intellectual does in Anarquismo y revolución en Rusia(1917-1921), and he does so far from the usual manichaeisms with which this historical period is dealt with, but without occluding his “manifest sympathy for the causes brandished by the Russian libertarians”.

Rosa Luxemburg defined the Russian Revolution as the “mightiest event” of the First World War. What is the significance of the Russian Revolution in your opinion?

It was a truncated revolution that promised more than it gave. If we judge it in terms of the initial event in which an alternative and inspiring model was generated, in my understanding, it was a failure. By contrast, if we judge it in terms of grand strategic traditions, it gave light to a regime that marked indelibly the history of the 20th century and which in some cases brought forth beneficial elements.

The book bears a great deal on the negative aspects of the Russian Revolution, and not so much on the high points.

The book aims to analyse the fours years between 1917 and 1921, somber years marked by war, and my interest focuses on studying the confrontation between the libertarian and Bolshevik worlds. The heart of the work I believe justifies a less than warm reading of what the Bolsheviks did in those years.

The russian Revolution itself refutes one of Marx’s theses, in carrying off a Revolution in a backward agrarian country and not in an industrialised and proletarian one. How does orthodox marxism address this matter?

Marx’s work is vast. There are those who distinguish between a young Marx, a mature Marx and a late Marx. The mature Marx maintained that a socialist Revolution is only imaginable in a country that had reached a certain capitalist development and in which there exists a proletariat as a more or less well-established class. It is evident that russia was not that country and Marx would have probably been a little horrified in 1917 with the ways that many Bolshevik leaders made use of his theorisations. Perhaps the figure of the late Marx is however of greater interest, for he gives greater attention to the singular condition of russian society and the existence of collective structures like the rural communes, from a very different perspective from that embraced by the Bolsheviks.

The world proletarian revolution was another failed prediction, in this case of the Bolsheviks. Could the Russian Revolution have unfolded differently if the Spartacist Revolution had triumphed?

If the Sparticists had been able to realise their project in Germany, one of the principal centres of international capitalism, it is legitimate to conclude that it would have affected the general revolutionary dynamic of these years and that it would have imposed a different direction on what was happening in the nascent Soviet Union. To say anything more would be an exercise in political fiction.

“All power to the soviets” and “All power to the proletariat and the peasants” were the slogans of the Bolsheviks before the Russian Revolution. What did this translate into after they came to power?

Into a manifest forgetfulness of these slogans. In my book, I pay attention to Lenin’s April Theses, which on the basis of a legitimate reading of events, reflect a libertarian inflection of his position, born of an awareness that the soviets exhibited an incipient capacity of transformation and that, as a consequence, it was necessary to support them. When the Bolsheviks took power, they manifestly forgot this position. Their politics, in a very obvious way, sought to cancel the autonomous capacity of the soviets and of the factory committees, with the important addition of inventing a proletariat which did not exist and of attributing to itself the representation of this proletariat at a time when the peasantry was demonised, suggesting thereby that the latter held strictly reactionary positions, something that again was a distortion of reality.

Returning to Rosa Luxemburg, she thought that the “October uprising” meant “not only the actual salvation of the Russian Revolution; it was also the salvation of the honor of international socialism”. By contrast, the conservative historian Richard Pipes is of the opinion that the October Revolution was a coup d’etat. What is your opinion with regard to this?

It is a very complex matter. To simply state that it was a coup d’etat is to ignore that behind it was a clear current of social revolution. It also has to be asked if in Russia at the time there was a State as such. I believe, anyway, that the Bolsheviks, carried by the legitimate desire to save the revolution, paradoxically put an end to it to the extent that they cancelled the grass roots dimension of the social revolution, tied initially to the soviets and the factory committees, and generated a fundamentally political process, hierarchical and hyper-centralised that more obviously recalls a coup d’etat than a genuine social revolution.

In fact, the elections to the Russian Constituent Assembly give to the Socialist-Revolutionary Party the absolute majority and the Bolsheviks dissolve it.

In effect. When it is said that specific measures taken by the Bolsheviks were justified by the dramatic scenario that was the civil war and the invasion of the country by foreign armies, it is forgotten that the earlier world-view of the Bolsheviks already prefigured these measures in the form of a political project marked by an extreme centralisation.

What were the principal differences in the approaches of the Bolsheviks and the anarchists?

It is not an easy question to answer because there were distinct currents within the anarchist world. Yet having said this, I believe that the first difference is that the anarchists wagered on the preservation of the autonomous capacity of the soviets and the factory committees to decide. Furthermore, they defended a plural society, very different from that derived from the annihilation of the other parties by the Bolsheviks. They also rejected the militarisation of the economy, the parallel gestation of a bureaucracy and the emergence of a conventional army. And lastly, they repudiated a repressive order tied to the rise of the Cheka.

What was the situation of the anarchists before and after the Russian revolution?

Beginning with the February revolution, there was a flourishing of anarchist groups, in the city as well as in the countryside. It is not easy to measure objectively their dimension, but the anarchists were clearly present. Many anarchists joined the October revolution at a moment when it was not very clear that this revolution would be exclusively Bolshevik, and they did so because they believed that this revolution would permit the removal of Kerensky’s provisional government and open the way for an open opposition to the foundations of capitalism. The majority of libertarians however immediately understood that the Bolshevik project pointed to horizons very different from those that they defended. After December 1917, an ever more acute confrontation developed between anarchists and Bolsheviks, although it is true that a part of the libertarian movement integrated the Bolshevik power apparatus, the so-called, and following a confusing manifesto, anarcho-Bolsheviks.

In The State and Revolution and the April Theses, Lenin advocated an abolition of the State in stages, but once in power, the actions that followed were quite different. Was it a way of gaining the support of the anarchists?

I believe that it was more the confirmation that there was something very interesting in the soviets and the factory committees, and that the Bolsheviks should not remain to the side as these structures expanded. I try on various occasions in the book to distinguish anarchists and libertarians. The anarchists were people who demonstrated an ideological and doctrinal adherence to a specific worldview, while the libertarians were people who, without such attachment, revealed in their daily practice a project of self-management and direct democracy. And in the Russia and Ukraine of these years, there were many libertarians, while far fewer anarchists.

What role did the anarchists play in the Kronstadt rebellion and the Makhnovshchina, and what aims did they seek?

There were few anarchists in the Kronstadt rebellion, though many libertarians and many people who in fact recuperated the slogan that proclaimed “all power to the Soviets and none to the parties”. The Kronstadt rebellion produced a very powerful shock in Bolshevik power, as the insurgents employed their own slogans of October 1917. Although the presence of anarchists was stronger in the Makhnovshchina – the figure who gives the movement its name, Nestor Makhno, was a well known anarchist -, I believe that the majority of the peasants who gave life to this movement were strictly speaking more libertarians than anarchists. In the Makhnovshchina, there were people with other ideological worldviews, like Revolutionary Socialism, Menshivism, or even Bolshevism. Anyway, the Makhnovshchina saw itself weighed down because it had to always deal with a military confrontation, with the white armies and then with the Bolsheviks, as a consequence of which its task of constructing a self-managed society, though evident in intention, was not particular solid in reality.

In your book, you address the military aspects of Makhno’s revolution, but the society that they constructed or proposed remains unclear.

As far as I know, when the Makhnovists occupied a village, they limited themselves to calling an assembly of the inhabitants and left to their free will the determination of what they wanted to do. There was no principle that served as the basis for imposing structures. They would say: “We believe that you should free yourselves, but the way to do so is for you yourselves to decide”. There was no shortage of initiatives or experiments in self-management. What did happen was that they were trapped by the military dynamic and, also, by the oblivion bestowed by history on the defeated.

You are also the author of Historia de la Unión Soviética: De la revolución bolchevique a Gorbachov. Do you think that real socialism was ever actually reached, at any moment, in the USSR?

If I accept the very rhetoric of the soviet system, the society that it outlined was a society in transition to socialism. It did not even affirm that it was a socialist society. Even less a communist society. I prefer to speak of unreal socialism. I believe that unfortunately the systems of the soviet type were not able to leave behind the historical and social universe of capitalism, even though that was undoubtedly their intention. They succumbed to the logic of salaried labour, commodities, hierarchy and the idolatry of the development of productive forces. And they ended up reproducing many of the terms of the system that on paper they wanted to contest.

Was this due more to external circumstances, such as the civil war and the interventions of foreign powers or to issues proper to Bolshevism?

I believe that the two factors were important. If we were to forget that from the very beginning, the experiment of the Soviet Union was marked by a foreign aggression, we would be leaving aside one very important element to assess why this system took on an authoritarian character and an irrational hierarchy. Yet I earlier referred to the fact that if we were only to consider this first perspective, we would be forgetting the very organic conception of the Bolsheviks, born of a reading of Marx, a Jacobin in many ways, that also led directly to an insalubrious horizon. We cannot forget any of these dimensions.

Do you consider that Leninism was a prelude to Stalinism?

I believe that it was. In a certain sense, Lenin’s last writings point to a recognition of this, not because their author was able to foresee what Stalinism was, but because they glean a self-criticism with regards to measures taken before 1924. Trotsky’s case is more striking. Once he was obliged to abandon the Soviet Union, Trotsky assumed a hypercritical position with respect to Stalin’s rules of power, obviously forgetting what he himself had done when he enjoyed a very notable executive capacity. Trotsky was the most responsible for the militarisation of work and the creation of conventional armed forces, with which then it can be said, I believe, without in any way diverging from the truth, that he played a fundamental role in the foundation of the power of the bureaucracy that he would later criticise.

Trotsky was also involved in the repression of Kronstadt and of the Makhnovshchina.

In effect. And I emphasise that he never said “we made a mistake”, as a consequence of which Lenin’s responsibility, as that of Trotsky’s, for the subsequent drift of the soviet system appears to me evident. This is not to deny that history is obviously very complex. I am not saying that what fed Lenin and Trotsky had inevitably to lead to Stalin, but without them, Stalin would be difficult to explain.

Your book is dedicated to the anarchists and much is said also of the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks, while little space is given over to the Socialist Revolutionaries or the SRs. Who were they and what became of them?

One of the main strands that runs through the book is that linked to Russian populism, the movement of the Narodniks. This movement appeared in the decade of 1870 and had very diverse expressions, some of a clearly libertarian character, others more associated with traditional politics. It was fundamentally a movement of agrarian socialism that defended a Russian path different from Western capitalism and which in many cases was premonitory in terms of an awareness of the problems of women and the environment. Even though according to one view, it died in the very decade of 1870, other readings defend that, with different modulations, it persisted through time until after the Bolshevik revolution in the form of the Socialist Revolutionary Party. This last saw the light in the beginning of the 20th century, and latter gave birth to two distinct organisations: one on the right and another on the left. The right-wing one was in power with the provisional government in 1917 and the left-wing one collaborated incipiently in the initial moments of the October Revolution to then immediately distance itself from the Bolshevik movement and become the object of a crude repression.

Why are these other so important movements in the russia of 1917 not known?

Because history is always written by the victor. And in 1917, the victors were the Bolsheviks and in 1991, when the Soviet Union disappeared, the role was assumed by liberal discourse which invades us from all sides. In between remained the remnants of other movements to which we pay no attention. I could also speak of the Mensheviks. If you go into a bookshop and ask for a work on these last, the book seller will be confused. And yet they played a fundamental role during these years. An explicit knowledge of the political forces that were then very relevant is lacking, of which two major exemples were the Mensheviks and the Socialist Revolutionaries. I don’t add the anarchists because they benefit from the ongoing existence of anarchist movements.

What remains in Russia today of the revolutions of 1917?

The scenario remains very confusing, given that it seems inevitable that any political force or person who wants to intervene in the political debate sees itself obliged to define itself in relation to the events of 1917. This happens particularly with president Putin himself, along with an extremely confusing response, each time Putin tries to gather together disparate elements of the reigning order. The figure most admired by Putin is Peter Stolypin, prime minister of the Tsar. The traces of the movements, such as those I studied in the book, are in any case, in contemporary Russia, limited. Even though there is a historiographical interest and works continue to be published on these movements, let us not forget that the trace is much less than that which ties Spain to the libertarian world, and this for two reasons: the libertarian movement was much more significant numerically than the Russian and the Russian revolution is more distant in time. But still, I have the impression that in Russia there persists to some degree, even though marginal, this original libertarian perspective that had it that in the political culture of the country the institution of the State was not particularly appreciated, that by contrast, a certain admiration showed itself for peasant rebellions and a space was opened for a defense of the rural commune, which in many of its dimensions had a libertarian character.

The State criticised by Bakunin and Kropotkin has little to do with the contemporary State. What validity does anarchism have today?

The libertarian perspective, as with any other, has to be adapted to new scenarios. You are right to say that the State is a different institution to the extent that, even though it still has a good many of its features of a century and a half ago, it has added other elements. This forces us to consider that many of the forms of alienation and exploitation that we know of do not pass through, or don’t necessarily pass through, the institution of the State. Yet I believe that once the corresponding corrections are made, the libertarian perspective continues to be very useful to analyse the intricacies of our societies. In this sense, I predict a revival of libertarian ideas and, above all, practices that already appear to be perceptible in the contemporary world. Even though the movements definable ideologically and by doctrine as anarchist are today weak, the corresponding ideas today have a visible presence in many important spheres, such as those linked to ecology, feminism or pacifism.

One of these movements with a certain libertarian essence, according to some, was 15M, but then came Podemos, a highly hierarchised political party. What remains of 15M?

I think that more things remain than what appears, as I believe that we lack sufficient perspective to evaluate the legacy, in terms of ideological imaginary, of 15M. It is true that if we use the phenomenon of Podemos as the thermometre, then the balance is devastating. Podemos is a conventional political force, integrated in the institutions, increasingly hierarchical, tributary of the dried up social-democratic project and little conscious of what threatens to befall us with the risk of a general collapse of the system that we bear. It is the very opposite of a libertarian perspective. And, nevertheless, if what is happening in many neighbourhoods and villages is analysed, a trace of 15M is discovered that probably translates into a seed that will end up germinating again. We also give far too much attention to the conventional political system and we forget what happens in a periphery that, always with the collapse of the system on the horizon, can provoke surprises.

Is the anarchist label very burdensome?

I have an ambivalent position with respect to this. I have little fondness for those anarchists who arrogantly display their condition, as if they were superior beings and I therefore seek to avoid the term. Yet I also don’t feel comfortable with the permanent demonisation which so much of the media give themselves over to, continuing to think of anarchists as bomb carriers and who throw them haphazardly against the first person to come along. Generally, I am not very fond of labels. I prefer to judge a person by their conduct. There are people who never call themselves anarchists to whom I feel very close and there are anarchists with whom I feel no proximity.

You addressed the environmental question in books such as Colapso: Capitalismo terminal, transición ecosocial, ecofascismo and you defend degrowth in others such as ¿Por qué el decrecimiento? Un ensayo sobre la antesala del colapso. Why is it that despite the environmental disasters of which we are victims, that degrowth is not part of the political discourse?

The everyday discourse of political parties is aberrantly short term. It is obsessively marked by the goal of maximising votes in the next elections. This translates into all discussions addressing the medium and long term, which is what is most important, being permanently discarded. Three years ago, the manifesto Última llamada [Last Call] was signed by many of the main actors of the Spanish left. I think that its principal virtue was to make manifest the enormous contradictions of these people, who are capable of signing a manifesto that takes into account the immediacy of the risk of the collapse of the system, while in their daily lives and in their political organisations, they manifestly forget these types of problems and they do so proudly and obscenely. A Podemos leader could affirm that “degrowth gets you no votes”. Of course, if one outlines their program with an exclusive concern to garner votes, then the best that one could do is join the Popular Party, which appears as the political party that gathers the most votes.

It is political fiction, but what do you believe will be the future of our society with respect to environmental questions and the possibility of a systemic collapse?

I am not in a position to affirm conclusively that a general collapse of the system will take place. I limit myself to indicating that this collapse is very likely. Among those who research these matters, it is affirmed that the risk of the collapse of the system spreads out over a period that extends from 2020 to 2050, and this on the basis of a prognosis that I believe is serious. It fascinates me that this discussion has no echo in a society such as ours. Things being what they are, there are not many motives to be optimistic with respect to the future. The collapse will predictably translate into a general collapse of all institutions, something which does not have to be negative, and of all of the relations sheltered by an extraordinarily delicate economic situation. All of this is a scenario for which we are little prepared. For many years, I understood degrowth as a tool that offered ways to confront the risk of collapse. I no longer say this. Degrowth arrives too late, it seems to me. And if its conceptual tools have any purpose, it will be for the moment after the collapse, and not to avoid it.

To conclude, a question that I always wanted to ask you. You publish between three and five books a year. How do you do it?

I write a great deal, probably too much, but I can explain. It is very rare to find in the media an article by me. Why? Ten years ago, I wrote for four newspapers: El País, La Vanguardia, El Periódico de Catalunya and El Correo. I wrote for these four newspapers because it meant nothing to them and they didn’t care whether I wrote for the competition. I was sacked from these four papers and today I write nowhere. I dedicate the greater part of my time to writing books. I am always working on one. And, on a different level, among these three or four books that I have published over these last years, some are re-editions, something which allows one to construct a less surprising scenario.

Tags: 1917russian revolutioncarlos taibospaincategory: Essays
Categories: News

Anews Podcast – episode 38

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 03:27

https://podcast.anarchistnews.org/index.php/2017/11/20/anews-podcast-epi...

Welcome to the anews podcast. This is episode 38 for November 17. This podcast covers anarchist activity, ideas, and conversations from the previous week.

Editorial: Mass Shootings are on the Rise

TOTW – Public Relations

Question of the Week: What do you think of worker-owned businesses?
this podcast

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

To learn more

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

Tags: public relationsPRrydraAragorn!mass shootingsworker-owned businessescategory: Projects
Categories: News

Audio Player 00:00 00:00 Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume. Podcast: Play in new window | Download Welcome to the anews podcast. This is episode 37 for November 10. This podcast covers anarchist activity, ideas, and conversations

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 03:27

https://podcast.anarchistnews.org/index.php/2017/11/20/anews-podcast-epi...

Welcome to the anews podcast. This is episode 38 for November 17. This podcast covers anarchist activity, ideas, and conversations from the previous week.

Editorial: Mass Shootings are on the Rise

TOTW – Public Relations

Question of the Week: What do you think of worker-owned businesses?
this podcast

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

To learn more

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

Tags: public relationsPRrydraAragorn!mass shootingsworker-owned businessescategory: Projects
Categories: News

Italy: Declaration of Anarchists Claudia and Stefano facing Trial as a result of Operation ”Scripta Manent”

Sun, 11/19/2017 - 22:43

From Act for Freedom now!

We find ourselves facing you in order to be judged. Guilty or innocent? But what are we accused of? In the thousands of pages produced by the prosecutor, over twenty years’ history of anarchist struggle in Italy are covered and not only, specific facts are mentioned to back up suppositions and conjecture, but in fact what do you want to convince yourselves of with all that mountain of paper? You want to convince yourselves that we are anarchists. That we don’t passively accept the system that governs us, the inevitability of man’s domination over man and nature. They are asking you to condemn the love that unites the human beings who share the unstoppable desire for freedom bound by their common contempt for authority. If that’s why we are here let’s put an end to this farce before it begins. We are guilty. We are guilty of being aware that the democratic regime is nothing other than the ruthless supremacy of the strongest over the weakest, which supports itself by spreading particles of power to satisfy the ego of human beings educated to seek privilege, and by flattening individual attitudes, seeking protection in the consensus of the masses. We are guilty of not accepting these conditions, of not wanting to participate in the distribution of those driblets of power, of not wanting to live on the blood and the sweat of those who suffer a less favourable condition than our own. This does not mean that we stay stuck in a corner devoted to sacrifice to live alongside the weakest; we live for ourselves, to fully satisfy our needs without waiting or asking permission, struggling against everything that prevents us. We are not dreaming of a revolution, but we continue to fuel the revolt against all constraint, surpassing our limits and those that are imposed on us.

A few days ago our son was studying something called “civic education”, repeating aloud the principles of the constitution that guarantee freedom of speech and expression, and so on. Even though we consciously threw him into the belly of the beast by confronting him with public education, relying on his intelligence and the critical thinking that he acquire, I could not help butting in to explain to him that this is a lie, that laws are dictated by those who conceive them to maintain their own power and that it is not true that everyone can express their own opinion, because [when they do] it obstructs them, they are crushed, as is happening to his mother and father. For this reason, in order not to perpetuate this lie, we will continue to struggle heads held high so that future generations may have a different vision of reality and won’t remain hostage to biased truth. We have decided to read this document to face you with your responsibility in defending the hypocrisy of the constitution upon which you have sworn. We want you to see the monster’s hand stroking your head like faithful little dogs each time you look in the mirror. We don’t want to give you the chance to hide behind the rotten corrupt principle of justice that elevates you as inquisitors. The fact that our comrades are being denied the right to physically attend the courtroom, that the principle of participation in the defence, which the law that supports the democratic lie guarantees, is thus cancelled, is yet another demonstration of how partisan the use of legality is. Especially for this reason, we will no longer take part in this farce, deserting the hearings and entrusting technical defence to lawyers aiming to bring out as far as possible the contradictions that support this system, without justifying our being and without claiming any crumbs of democracy. So we decided [not] to fight closed within the limits of your law. Outside these boundaries it is always we who decide how and when to fight. The good PM Sparagna, champion of the struggle against the mafias or dog that bites the master’s hand that tosses him a piece of bread, thought he could deal with anarchists as he does with the mafiosi, without realizing that what distinguishes us is something that goes far beyond his miserable conception of existence and solidarity. In a cowardly way he might even try to use the experience of each one of us to look for flaws into which to creep, but he will never succeed. Honour and boundless love to our sisters and brothers hostages of the state. Paladins of justice: what is ours will never be yours, not even after years of spying on and studying our lives. Guilty of loving without conditions Guilty of hating with full cognition ——————- source Translated by Act for freedom now! Tags: italylettersOperation Scripta Manentanarchists in troublecategory: International
Categories: News

Italy: Declaration of Anarchists Claudia and Stefano facing Trial as a result of Operation ”Scripta Manent”

Sun, 11/19/2017 - 22:43

From Act for Freedom now!

We find ourselves facing you in order to be judged. Guilty or innocent? But what are we accused of? In the thousands of pages produced by the prosecutor, over twenty years’ history of anarchist struggle in Italy are covered and not only, specific facts are mentioned to back up suppositions and conjecture, but in fact what do you want to convince yourselves of with all that mountain of paper? You want to convince yourselves that we are anarchists. That we don’t passively accept the system that governs us, the inevitability of man’s domination over man and nature. They are asking you to condemn the love that unites the human beings who share the unstoppable desire for freedom bound by their common contempt for authority. If that’s why we are here let’s put an end to this farce before it begins. We are guilty. We are guilty of being aware that the democratic regime is nothing other than the ruthless supremacy of the strongest over the weakest, which supports itself by spreading particles of power to satisfy the ego of human beings educated to seek privilege, and by flattening individual attitudes, seeking protection in the consensus of the masses. We are guilty of not accepting these conditions, of not wanting to participate in the distribution of those driblets of power, of not wanting to live on the blood and the sweat of those who suffer a less favourable condition than our own. This does not mean that we stay stuck in a corner devoted to sacrifice to live alongside the weakest; we live for ourselves, to fully satisfy our needs without waiting or asking permission, struggling against everything that prevents us. We are not dreaming of a revolution, but we continue to fuel the revolt against all constraint, surpassing our limits and those that are imposed on us.

A few days ago our son was studying something called “civic education”, repeating aloud the principles of the constitution that guarantee freedom of speech and expression, and so on. Even though we consciously threw him into the belly of the beast by confronting him with public education, relying on his intelligence and the critical thinking that he acquire, I could not help butting in to explain to him that this is a lie, that laws are dictated by those who conceive them to maintain their own power and that it is not true that everyone can express their own opinion, because [when they do] it obstructs them, they are crushed, as is happening to his mother and father. For this reason, in order not to perpetuate this lie, we will continue to struggle heads held high so that future generations may have a different vision of reality and won’t remain hostage to biased truth. We have decided to read this document to face you with your responsibility in defending the hypocrisy of the constitution upon which you have sworn. We want you to see the monster’s hand stroking your head like faithful little dogs each time you look in the mirror. We don’t want to give you the chance to hide behind the rotten corrupt principle of justice that elevates you as inquisitors. The fact that our comrades are being denied the right to physically attend the courtroom, that the principle of participation in the defence, which the law that supports the democratic lie guarantees, is thus cancelled, is yet another demonstration of how partisan the use of legality is. Especially for this reason, we will no longer take part in this farce, deserting the hearings and entrusting technical defence to lawyers aiming to bring out as far as possible the contradictions that support this system, without justifying our being and without claiming any crumbs of democracy. So we decided [not] to fight closed within the limits of your law. Outside these boundaries it is always we who decide how and when to fight. The good PM Sparagna, champion of the struggle against the mafias or dog that bites the master’s hand that tosses him a piece of bread, thought he could deal with anarchists as he does with the mafiosi, without realizing that what distinguishes us is something that goes far beyond his miserable conception of existence and solidarity. In a cowardly way he might even try to use the experience of each one of us to look for flaws into which to creep, but he will never succeed. Honour and boundless love to our sisters and brothers hostages of the state. Paladins of justice: what is ours will never be yours, not even after years of spying on and studying our lives. Guilty of loving without conditions Guilty of hating with full cognition ——————- source Translated by Act for freedom now! Tags: italylettersOperation Scripta Manentanarchists in troublecategory: International
Categories: News

TFSRadio: A Refugee on Manus Island & the 2018 Certain Days Calendar

Sun, 11/19/2017 - 22:41

Airs on WSFM-LP 103.3 in Asheville / streaming at AshevilleFM from 3am EST on November 20th through November 26th, 2017 and podcasting on libsyn.com.

For a 59 minute long, radio clean version for syndication purposes, please visit the archive.org collection.

This week on the Final Straw we feature 2 interviews.
Walid, an asylum seeker held at the Manus Regional Process Center, Papua New Guinea
First up, you'll hear a conversation that Bursts had with a refugee seeking asylum in Australia. His name is Walid, he is 24 years old and from Afghanistan. Manus Regional Processing Centre, where Walid is being held alongside nearly 450 other men, is a facility on Papua New Guinea on the PNG Lombrum Naval Base. The processing center, from here out called Manus for short or MRPC, was run up until October 31st by the Spanish multinational company Grupo Ferrovial on behalf of the Australian Government as a way of off-shoring the housing of people seeking asylum. The center was closed October 31st after the Papuan Supreme Court determined the facility unconstitutional in breech of the promise of personal liberty.

So, the Australian government withdrew it's medical workers, shut off electricity and water and food shipments. However, the residents of MRPC have refused to be resettled into other facilities in PNG due to fears of physical harm by members of the PNG Defence Forces, as is alleged to have happened in April of this year, as well as violence coming from local gangs wielding machetes and other weapons. The population of the island is just short of 6,000 people and locals have expressed concern that resettlement would affect their economy greatly. In the conversation, Walid mentions two fellows from the MRPC who were found recently hung by their necks in the jungle near the Processing Centre as a proof of danger the refugees face if they leave the premises.

The Obama administration had agreed in 2016 to resettle many of Australia's asylum seekers. However, do you remember that first presidential phone call that Trump made, where he ended by saying it was a stupid deal and it was the worst conversation ever? That was #45 chatting with Australia's Prime Minister Turnbull about the resettlement deal for refugees on Nauru and Manus Islands. Cancelling that at the time fed into the issues in PNG & Australia's national politics with the refugees being caught in the middle as pawns. The U.S. has now apparently changed it's tune about the Asylum seekers, having applied for whatever "extreme vetting" it was seeking and has taken in 24 of the men and resettling them.

I will admit to being a bit ignorant of the situation in Manus that people like Walid are facing, but what I do understand is this: borders are imprisoning some of the most marginalized people fleeing dangerous situations and holding them in dire circumstances. The men at the Manus Regional Processing Centre are refusing to leave for fear of their lives and in hopes of reaching a safer space and are being starved by bureaucracy. And many Australians are voicing a desire to resettle these people on the mainland.

We at the Final Straw wish the residents of MRPC the best of luck and solidarity and will continue to air their words as we receive them.

Aaaaalso, a big big big thanks to Linda from Subversion1312 podcast for helping us make this contact with Walid and with some pointers on the questions. Definitely check out their work, it's (under various names) one of the longer running English-language anarchist radio shows and is jam packed
Sara Falconer and Daniel McGowan on the 2018 Certain Days Calendar for Political Prisoners
Secondly, we are airing an interview presented recently by the Which Side media collective with Sara Falconer and Daniel McGowan about the 2018 Certain Days Calendar for Political Prisoners. Jordan Halliday and Jeremy Parkin host the interview, and range along a wide array of ideas and topics.

From the show notes "The calendar is a joint fundraising and educational project between outside organizers in Montreal and Toronto, and three political prisoners being held in maximum-security prisons in New York State: David Gilbert, Robert Seth Hayes and Herman Bell. The initial project was suggested by Herman, and has been shaped throughout the process by all of our ideas, discussions, and analysis. All of the members of the outside collective are involved in day-to-day organizing work other than the calendar, on issues ranging from refugee and immigrant solidarity to community media to prisoner justice. We work from an anti-imperialist, anti-racist, anti-capitalist, feminist, queer and trans positive position."

You can check out the Which Side online store to see some giveaway deals regarding the Certain Days calendar by visiting http://www.whichsidecollective.org/ and see more from this project at http://whichsidepodcast.com

If you'd like to hear The Final Straw's conversation with Herman Bell's daughter in law Dr Kihana Ross which details the incident mentioned in the interview plus some more about his case, you can visit our website.

Whichside Podcast is a member of the Channel Zero Network of anarchist podcasts, of which we are as well. Check out our website for a steady stream of up to date anarchist audios and keep an eye out for our mobile app coming soon.
Audios of Interest:
Just a heads up, if you missed it. we launched our occasionally weekly intro to tech security podcast series, Error451 this week with a conversation on safer approaches to burner phones. Check it out and keep an ear out for more!

Also, the Anarchist Radio Network just released the November episode of B(A)DNews: Angry Voices From Around The World, which is up on the new A-Radio Network website. Keep up on episodes there.

Tags: tfsradioThe Final Strawweekly podcastrefugeesAustraliacategory: Projects
Categories: News

Bra$il – “Operation Érebo” the earth moves. Agitations and anarchic reflections the wind blows.”

Sun, 11/19/2017 - 22:33

From Tormentas de Fogo

via e-mail tormentasdefogo@riseup.net

17/11/2017

Operation Érebo” the earth moves.

Agitations and anarchic reflections the wind blows.”

At dawn on October 25, 2017 the weather darkened for the anarchists of Porto Alegre. The Civil Police with the so called “Operation Érebo [Erebus]” launched raids and assaults televised by the local media and transmitted by the speakers of the system in maximum volume.

From this police reaction, from the show and media scrape, and from the agitation in the anarchist orbit a thousand and one needs, urgencies, ideas, impulses and feelings have crossed us. From this reflection was born this will to communicate. We point our determination against the enemy and we strengthen our pace with those who live anarchy in its positions and practices.

Our natural tendency to chaos.

We are, we exist and we act beyond the state, the laws and democracy. We seek and spread autonomy, but we know that we can’t achieve it through negotiation with power1.

Heirs of the struggles for freedom and land, of the warriors who still teach us that we can exist in many ways beyond the society imposed against us. We feel an inconformity that persists and insists.

Looking from this side of the river, democracy is just another form (the current) in which civilization dominates, kills and tries to erase forms of existence that leaked from the military order and blind obedience. Even more, this democracy that presents itself as the one value of fashion. And many fall blindly, or dazzle their eyes with democracy’s brightness. But those who love to be free know that this is only a way of governing and life is ungovernable, like the rivers that change its paths, like the animals that attack its tamers, like the people who do not “sell” themselves to the slave labor of the western society. Thus democracy is an ideal incompatible with those who do not let themselves be governed.

Its axioms, the rights, are tools of colonization and a form of humanism that still distinguishes humans from first, second, third, and more categories. Can anyone argue that?

Their punishments, the laws, are chains that some love, but that punish and mark those who starve and therefore steal what they need instead of begging for it.

Negotiation with this world is impossible, our relationship with it can only be antagonism2.

They try to dominate and we can not stop fighting this, without respite. In this instinctive tendency to freedom without rules and order, we recognize ourselves in the chaos of anarchy.

The search for anarchy is itself a challenge to power. All the prospects of anarchy are aimed at dismantling the institutions of power. We may have among us some misunderstandings about how to do it, but every anarchist wants states, corporations, their institutions and values in ruins. We believe we are not mistaken on that. In this way the desire for anarchy in democracy is in itself criminal.

Not being in the penal code, anarchism and affinity with it are not really crimes. Which gives us a margin of action and leaves more freedom to identify with it. But the rope of this freedom is not very long.

The key that undid the mystery. Exotic plants and anarchic agitation.

The idea that alien beings bring “evil” in is an old mechanism of control and repression. From Europe, several anarchist comrades, expelled or fugitives, arrived in this continent. Here they have been detected and cataloged as exotic plants [translation note: literally, this was how the government called anarchists in their “first appearance” in the brazilian territory by the year of 1890], trigger of dangerous ideas and actions.

In the last decade of the nineteenth century, the masters of power already expelled anarchists considered to be harmful to “social peace”. That is, indomitable beings, beasts who did not submit to the laws and order that guarantee exploitation. We remind Giuseppe Gallini that along with other agitators comrades in the city of São Paulo were arrested and expelled. We also remember José Saul, who was expelled from the city of Pelotas for being an anarchist agitator. Other anarchic comrades had the same fate.

In 1907, in response to growing social agitation (revolts, strikes, autonomous workers’ organizations) and the growing anarchist presence, the Brazilian government tightens its policies of expulsion against the undesirable. Then “Adolpho Gordo law” [translation note: A. Gordo was the name of the senator who came up with this law, which mainly aims to expell any “foreigner who, for any reason, compromises national security or public tranquility, from part or all of the national territory”] this law was made, stitching a new legal fantasy for the repressive dances.

When rulers, judges and police say from 1800 to now that anarchists are “exotic plants”, they harbor feelings of xenophobia, and they also construct the image of a supposed native “passivity.”

The policies of expulsion and rejection against those who bring the “chaos theory”3 was and continues to be a mechanism for dispersing combative meetings. According to these, the anarchic agitation would be exotic and could be torn away by throwing it out of the Garden.

One thing is for sure, the anarchists arrived by boat and continue to come across several trails; however, the anarchic impulse and the fight against domination4 have been in these lands since immemorial times. The desire for freedom has no epoch, homeland or frontiers, and, anarchic as we are, we do not recognize the division of the world into countries, into states. The weakness we would have in thinking the world divided into artificial lines make us sick, without the ability to recognize the land with its own changing borders, mountains, rivers, forests, cribs.

So, therefore, we do not recognize that our comrades belong to one or another country, we are anarchists and comrades because of the affinity we have in opposition to control and domination. We have no homelands or flags and we are far from being guided by nationalist feelings that only flirt with fascism. The world is ours because we are with it, and by the land we inhabit we feel disgusted with progress.

Moreover, the actions taken in the “ Cronologias da Confrontação Anárquica [Chronologies of Anarchic Confrontation]”5 are far from being alien or disoriented within the current context of the territory controlled by the Brazilian State, as we can see.

Political parties PSDB [Social Democrats], PSB [Socialist Party], PSD [Social Democrats], DEM [Democrats] received anarchic visits6. Agribusiness, devastating to the land and people, was attacked with the fire against Bradesco Bank, the destruction of eucalyptus seedlings, as well as incendiary barricades and road blockades in territory struggling against civilization.

Also the militarization of life was clearly rejected with the attack by the “Galera do Pixo do Triangulo CAV do Terror” graffiti group to the monument of the war praise in the arches of the Redemption with the partial destruction by the “Group of Hostilities Against Domination” of the monument of the Battalion of Suez/ONU grandfathers of those who militarize Haiti today, and the attack of the “Anti-authoritarian Wild Vandals” that contributed to the withdrawal of the war tank exposed as a monument on Ipiranga Avenue.

Several of these actions were, we think, incomprehensible to the logic of competition for power. They were actions that neither ask for something nor demanded. They only attacked domination. Until the key appeared that undid the mystery (according to the “Fantastic TV show” news), the “Chronologies of Anarchic Confrontation” and the publication “Welcome to Hell”.

Damned anarchist literature!

The books that are in the sights of cops, besides spreading an idea, speak of real actions. It collect and present various adventures and dares of some indomitable. Several bands that beat against what they felt it oppressed them. Books that a lover of control and submission would never like to see diffused. That is why these books are abominable to the authorities, but also because of this, they are books of high consistency insubmission.

Walking through the anarchic path, several examples of this kind of literary persecution within democracies have taught us that writing about confrontation is considered as an affront to power. The publication “Armed Joy” written by Alfredo Maria Bonanno provoked his arrest in Italy and years later his edition and printing was one of the “evidence” of an accusation against the anarchist comrade Spyros Mandylas and Nadir squat in Greece. On the same continent in Spain, the book “Against Democracy” was used as evidence of a supposed participation in an organization cataloged as a terrorist by the Spanish State, which resulted in several raids, arrests and operations against comrades, which allowed us to join forces with them, to come closer to them and to gain more strength in the search for freedom and in the certainty that we are in antagonistic plans of life; those who love freedom and those who are able to lock up, isolate, control the hours to see the sun and forms of contact.

Yesterday as today, the search for anarchy printed in words on paper has its power of diffusion and inspiration. Panic for the authorities on duty who react with assault, raids and kidnappings.

In 1969, in Rio de Janeiro, the military destroyed and assaulted the space of anarchist agitation, the CEPJO (Center for Studies Professor José Oiticica [note: famous anarchist from the XX century in the territory dominated by the brazilian state]), yet robbing a vast library in the residence of the anarchist Ideal Perez. In addition to stealing the original writings of the book “Nationalism and Culture” that was about to be edited by the anarchist Edgar Rodrigues, who to recover it bought it back from the repression agents.

In 1973, in Porto Alegre, the DOPS (Department of Political and Social Order [note: main organism of repression against the opposition to the military dictatorship]) headed by the deputee Pedro Seelig invaded the Gráfica Trevo [Graphic Trevo], a graphic led by anarchists who, in addition to commercial prints, printed the anarchist newspapers that circulated at the time: The Protest, sold in the newsstands of Porto Alegre and the newspaper Dealbar, edited by the anarchist Pedro Catalo, spread in São Paulo. They also printed books edited by their distro called Proa [Prow]. On this occasion, the police assault destroyed almost the whole impression of the book “The future belongs to libertarian socialism” and confiscated copies of future editions. In this storm, houses were destroyed and lives were sadistically beaten.

Damned are our books, newspapers, writings. Damned we, the ones who have the courage and daring to write them, edit them, translate them, print them, spread them.

The state, the police, democracy…

Do not need proof to persecute anarchists.

It is well known that in persecution of anarchists no proof is needed. The books were the only thread they were able to handle to point some people that the bothered from their agitation and propaganda.

Without proof but not without justification, yes, the reaction of power has its justification. And that justification is paradoxically our biggest smile. Knowing that some anarchic gangs have hit power can only value our position since it manifests antagonism. Knowing that some anarchic bands have hit power can only value our position of manifested antagonism. If we call ourselves anarchists it is because we do not admit authority in our lives or on earth, so antagonism to the ruling order is a basic indicator of following the path we say we follow.

“Operation Érebo” “seeks to deal with the perpetrators of the attacks”, that is to say, pursues actions but seems to go after ideas. Sniffing at the Achaic literature and taking samples of the various trends of anarchy. Confusing the written propaganda with the propaganda by deed.

Written propaganda shows something that they seem to want to keep as a secret: that power can be beaten by anarchists.

It is clear for us that if one pursues the anti-authoritarian positions, it is because the banks, cars and churches were not burned for pyromania but for the active and combative rejection of the mercantilization of life and the punishment and control. And when we talk about it, it is not a complaint but a cry of joy. That is where ideas and affinities “weigh”. We are several, all, targets in the repressive sight. Then in the storm, in the eye of the hurricane, or we flirt with systemic passivity in the makeup of laws and rights, or we get louder by shouting LONG LIVE ANARCHY against all forms of power.

Light, camera, action. The media show.

Television has overwhelming force in Bra$il. It is a reference in people’s lives to understand their surroundings, to create priorities, to have a position. It is no exaggeration to say that TV trains people, manipulates lives, openly realizes experiences in people’s behavior from the stimuli emitting their waves, in their news advertisements and soap operas.

When we talk about the TV, we line up together their printed newspapers, faces of the same body, like: Zero Hora-RBS.TV/Globo7. These next to the Correio do Povo and SBT8 protagonized lawfully association with the police during the revenge of power against the anarchists.

If TV is the remote control for citizens to know who are the “new enemies of social peace”… For its enemies, that is, to us anarchists, the show pretends to be the fan that spreads the fear. Dumbly created scenes like the hooded guy reading the Chronology or pet bottle molotovs and the police breaking doors shouting “police!”, they want to send the message of the persecution, they want to provoke the fear in our band and still in an investigation that claims to be “top secret”, they slander and expose the “suspects”.

It is a media lynching and certainly for those who do not seek dialogue with the social order this has a weight. Comments abound in addition to the lynching that ask for photos of the suspects or complain about untying their lives from something that once portrayed as “evil” so then it has to be banished and thrown away to not pollute their impeccable citizen life.

Political analysts and jurists gave the illustrated touch to spread fear with “fundament.” Can anarchists be judged by the anti-terrorist law? This was the debate presented by them on the show. In addition to the useful lessons they gave on the subject in the “Fantastic TV show”, they showed that along with the repressive forces, the sages of society also collaborate with the creation of the new social fear. It is no longer a police note, it is now a social, legal, political, philosophical issue.

The scope of this fable may be greater, fear can silence all kinds of dissent. Thus, the show serves to calm possible protests and nonconformities with the genocidal way of governing democracy.

We know that anarchists and peoples outside of civilization and marginals have an antagonism that remained after the show. But did the other dissidents rush into whitening as obedient citizens? Has fear penetrated to the bones of those who call themselves rebels?

Not among us. This text as well as other manifestations seem to affirm the rejection against the domination and not letting ourselves down by fear.

The show sells and buys. It bought the premise in the police auction of “Operation Érebo”. And it sells. We know that the news have a purpose, they are elaborated and played on the board of domination, for specific purposes. Of course, they will tell us they are impartial, bearers of the just view of facts, of truth.

There is no media of “free expression”. The association between the media, police and justice are deep to punish everyone who does not dance to their music.

Anarchists.

November 2017.

Our salutes to those who do not let the wind pass without the breath of solidarity:

To those beings who made a solidarity demonstration on the great island of the Pacific

To the comrades who sent solidarity from across the Andes mountain.

The comrade who sent poetry to the persecuted since Rebelion De las Palabras.

To all who did not keep quiet.

All these actions were felt.

1. We distance ourselves from the idea that power is good or bad depending on who exercises it. We toast with Bakunin “All power corrupts”.

2. We use the word antagonism to express the incompatibility of anarchy with power and domination.

3. Words of the deputee Jardim to the news on the morning of October 25, 2017, trying to define the anarchists investigated.

4. We take as reference the positions against the domination from some of the communiques that claim responsibility for the attacks that detonated “Operation Érebo”. The struggle against domination, according to these actions, is not an antagonism that prioritizes a line (class, race, gender, defense of the earth), but of an antagonism in conflict with all this and more, against the subtle and complex forms of control and domination.

5. The “Chronologies of Anarchic Confrontation” are two of the three books that are in the focus of “Operation Érebo”.

6. According to the “Chronologies of Anarchic Confrontation” actions of attack claimed as those not claimed (known only by the news) present the anarchic principle if they act in antagonism with the institutions of control and domination. The parties, in this case, are the main contenders in the aim to govern, control and rule over population and territory.

7. The company “Zero Hora-RBS.TV/Globo” in the prosecution against the so called “Block of Struggles [group of several autonomous collectives and individualities]” in the uprisings of 2013 disposed of reporter as a witness during the trials.

8. On the morning of 10/25/2017, SBT reporter Thiago Zahreddine presented the aberrant mix of anarchists investigated as neo-Nazis, adding: “They define themselves as vandals of neo-Nazi ideology in order to face everything type of authority “. Given the receptiveness of people to what TV tells them, that aberration goes beyond the stupidity of the reporter.

Tags: BrasilOperation Éreboanarchists in troublecategory: International
Categories: News

Ferrara Prison, Italy: New Text from Anarchist Comrade Alfredo Cospito

Sun, 11/19/2017 - 22:27

From Insurrection News

Originally published in Vetriolo, anarchist journal, number 1 / Autumn 2017 (this text is also online here).

Note from Insurrection News: This English version of Alfredo’s text was translated by us from the French language translation by the comrades from Attaque.

Note from Vetriolo: Alfredo wrote this text of salutation for the number zero edition of Vetriolo, in November-December 2016. This letter, as is well known, was blocked by the prisoncensorship. Now we can publish it. We recall that in recent months the censorship has increased a lot, a tightening vise obviously ordered by the Prosecutor Sparagna, and not just the simple zeal of the prison guards. Apparently there are definite orders about what can and cannot be sent or received (Vetriolo, for example, was not received by anybody) [comrades imprisoned for Operation Scripta Manent]. To protest the censorship,
Alfredo went on a hunger strike from May 3 to 13.

Break the isolation!

******

With charges that could lead to 30 years of prison time hanging over my head like a sword of Damocles, the need to communicate projects and reflections may seem absurd. Under the influence of censorship, which modifies all that I write and say, the fact
that I am continuing imperturbably to communicate and write reflections that inevitably lend themselves to repression, may seem stupid and insane. It is stupidity and madness that I cannot do without, to feel alive and active.
One choice, back against the wall: continue the fight. Continue with all means at my disposal.

The inspiration for writing this article was given to me by the inquisitor Sparagna, who during his ‘monologue-interrogation’, maintained, with barely concealed embarrassment, that he would have broken us [the 22 comrades under investigation from Operation Scripta Manent] by isolation, thanks to the ‘scorched earth’ that the anarchist movement would have made around us in Italy. Is it possible that the anarchist movement has fallen so low in Italy, feeling no empathy for comrades who have fallen
into the net of repression, even to consider us as a foreign body?
The truth cannot be found in the instrumental and insane ‘logic’ of a Prosecutor from Turin. The truth is hidden in the folds, in the different expressions of solidarity that have been addressed to us, in the opportunity that can be given to us, even by a wave of repression like this one. To demonstrate this, there have been many actions of solidarity with us, all over the world; there are a few, but significant communiques of solidarity
that have reached us. At first glance, these communiques seem to be the usual facade of solidarity, but in reality they take on a great importance to me.
Perhaps, because of their origins, comrades with different projects between them but who, despite everything, felt moved inside themselves. Perhaps because all these comrades participate one way or another in this anarchism of praxis that keep alive, vivacious and reactive anarchy in this world. For these reasons and many more, these words of solidarity are not small things and can become an opportunity, especially it they manage to go beyond the repression.

The opportunity that presents itself to us is the real possibility that routes that are different, but are all determined and aggressive, may, at times, intersect. It’s not for nothing that power tends to separate anarchists between good and bad.
And there Vetriolo comes in. I cannot help myself. When realism and logic tell me to shut up and wait, I rise. Vetriolo, an anarchist periodical of a deepness where one can confront in a clear and fair way, without false pretences, different positions and ideas: ‘social’ and ‘antisocial’, ‘organizing’ and ‘anti-organizing’ attitudes, partisans of anonymity or not.
I am convinced that until some knots are undone, we will continue to be tangled. I am not interested in the sterile, mathematical, quantitative unity; but in the real possibility
that comrades with different perspectives can collaborate without reciprocal conditioning, without yielding anything and without distorting their own projectuality. It’s a simple question of method. In my head I have a thousand questions and some answers to which a journal of theoretical deepening like Vetriolo should face. Like all of those who try and put into practice what they say, I have many more doubts than certainties.
On a theoretical sphere, new suggestions could come out of confrontations between different ideas, offering us more possibilities and instruments.

Affinity groups, individual actions, organizations. Simple techniques to use according to the opportunities that are presented in turn, or something deeper to put into practice
according ones own predispositions of character and their individual aspirations?
Simple techniques, to use coldly, with calculation and determination according to the social situation, to trigger a revolutionary process that will turn us into revolutionaries,
projecting ourselves into the future?
Or are these existential choices that are invested by our deepest being and make us live our own anarchy now, right now, in a continual confrontation with the existing?
Affinity groups, individual actions, organizations. Techniques, instruments, weapons to strike, each of them has defects and qualities. The only ‘unit of measure’ that we have, to know how we can act in the way most suitable for us, is the natural disposition that each individual carries within themselves.
It is an ‘exchange’ between the freedom we lose and the new possibilities we obtain. For some, limiting their freedom (by giving themselves rules) in exchange for a stronger impact may be worth it, for others not. It is also a character element, the factors are numerous, and all touch our freedom, our sensitivity.

The hatred we feel for the system is sometimes so strong that it can make us lose our supposed freedoms in exchange for greater virulence, greater strength and greater capacity. The important thing to know is that organizations, individual actions and affinity groups are all an equal part of those ‘instruments’ that anarchists have always used throughout history. It is ridiculous to cry scandal if an anarchist chooses to use an organization as an instrument for themselves, be it ‘informal’ or ‘specific’, it is useless to be indignant, everyone makes their own choices.
The problem, in my opinion, is quite different: how to succeed in ‘communicating’, at given moments, between comrades who do not know each other, who have different ways of acting, without negating each other, without stepping on each other, without the hegemonic coordination and superstructures that pass over organizations, individuals and affinity groups without ever coming into contact with each other. But who must join forces by giving themselves common temporalities of action. I believe that this is the real challenge that lies ahead, the main knot to undo.

Alfredo Cospito

Tags: italyOperation Scripta Manentlettersanarchists in troublecategory: International
Categories: News

TOTW: Fundaisers

Sun, 11/19/2017 - 21:57

With the increasing popularity of crowdfunding, @s in some cases have lost the capacity to organize a good fundraiser, and forgotten that the point of the fundraiser is not only to raise the maximum amount of money, but also to create a space where supporters of a project or comrade can come together, socialize and renew their commitments to one another as a community/scene/movement/etc.

We are also seeing a rising backlash from far-right trolls who in some cases successfully campaigned to have tech sites to shut down crowdfunding drives for anarchists on vague violations of "terms of use" or "community guidelines." Many anarchists are keeping it IRL with regular creative fundraisers ranging from sports tournaments to stand-up comedy benefits to scamming yuppies.

What are some of your ideas for a good fundraiser?

(Ed. this TOTW came via email, thank you! Please feel free to email thecollective@anarchistnews.org if you have ideas for a future TOTW as well)

Tags: totwfundraisercategory: Projects
Categories: News

Crossword Puzzle #26: Lifestylism

Sun, 11/19/2017 - 21:47

This weeks crossword puzzle is on Lifestylism.

Download it here: https://anarchistnews.org/crossword/crossword26.pdf

***

From LBC about the book:

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

Tags: beautiful crossmess parzelthis sitepdfDownloadlifestylismcategory: Projects
Categories: News

The Hotwire #13: November 15, 2017

Sat, 11/18/2017 - 15:06

From CrimethInc.

J20 trials begin, worldwide anti-fascism, squatting for the win in Chicago

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

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Full Episode Transcript

Summary

Today is the beginning of the J20 inauguration protester trials in DC. There are some important developments in the case, so we interview Sam from DC Legal Posse about what’s going on and how to support the defendants. We also interview a Polish anti-fascist from Warsaw about this weekend’s 60,000 person far-right march that was littered with Nazi slogans. The folks at the IRL squat in Chicago called us to talk about resisting their eviction and squatting as a window to a world outside of capitalism. Stay tuned until the end for exciting calls for upcoming action camps and decentralized days of action.

Notes and Links Tags: the hotwireCrimethinc.#disruptJ20podcastcategory: Projects
Categories: News

Chile: Update on the Bombs Case 2 Trial and a New Letter from Nataly, Juan and Enrique

Sat, 11/18/2017 - 14:10

From Insurrection News

Control de detención a los tres detenidos por su presunta colocación de artefactos explosivos

The End of the Bombs Case 2 Trial is Approaching

During the last fortnight of November it is expected that the huge trial initiated under the anti-terrorist law for the attacks against the Subcentro shopping centre, Los Dominicos metro station and two police stations in Santiago will come to an end.

The so-called Bombs Case 2 started more than two years ago against the comrades Enrique Guzman, Nataly Casanova and Juan Flores. They have been on trial under the anti-terrorist law for the past seven months and it is finally coming to an end. After the closing arguments, it is expected that the court will decide whether they are innocent or guilty of each charge and if they are found guilty, the court will dictate their sentence.

It is worth remembering that after this instance, both the defense and the prosectuion can appeal the decision, so that although this is another twist of the judicial apparatus against the comrades, it is not the last.

Here are the accusations and penalties that the power are requesting against Enrique, Nataly and Juan:

*Enrique Guzmán: Accused of preparing the explosive device that was used at Police Station 1 in Santiago Centro (downtown Santiago). Charged under the anti-terrorist law, the prosecution are requesting 10 years imprisonment.

*Nataly Casanova: Accused of construction of the explosive device used at Police Station 1 in Santiago Centro, of placing the explosive device in the subway car at Los Dominicos metro station and possession of material for the manufacturing of explosive devices. Charged under the anti-terrorist law, the prosecution are requesting 20 years imprisonment.

*Juan Flores: Accused of placing the explosive device at Police Station 1 in Santiago Centro, placing the explosive device in the subway car at Los Dominicos metro station and placing the explosive device at the Subcentro shopping centre. Charged under the anti-terrorist law, the prosection are requesting life imprisonment.

Combative solidarity against the democratic inquisition!

(via Publicacion Refractario, translated by Insurrection News)

******

Letter from Nataly Casanova, Enrique Guzmán and Juan Flores

Translation note: the following letter written by the imprisoned anarchist comrades Nataly, Enrique and Juan, was written for the SOLIDARIDAD A FLOR DE PIEL tattoo and body art convention that was held in solidarity with the prisoners of the social war in Santiago on November 4th.

These words were born and flew from the prison cells of San Miguel, the special high security unit and the former pententiary, to send a greeting of complicity that we dedicate to the comrades who have organized and given life to the SOLIDARIDAD A FLOR DE PIEL tattoo and body art convention…

With these first words from within the torture centres, we would like to send fraternal and complicit greetings to those who, at the intersection of rebellion and insubordinate creativity, organized and participated in this anti-prison initiative…a solidarity initiative for those who feel the bitter taste of prison every day – the anger, the frustration and the indignation of not being able to materialise the war because they are surrounded by bars, cameras and guards…

In this sense, we share the same anger, frustration and indignation, against the bastards that maintain and perpetuate this society, that imprisons our lives and the lives of our brothers and sisters…that is why we send our respect and fraternal love to those conscious minds that do not give space to inaction and indifference.

Approximately 7 and a half months ago we found ourselves at the mercy of the prison police with daily searches and transfers to the courts of the Chilean state, who judge our desire to confront the Dominion, a trial that discusses our supposed participation in the detonation of bombs at the Los Dominicos metro station, Police Stations 1 and 39 in Santiago and against the Escuela Militar Subcentro (actions that were claimed by the comrades from the Conspiracy of Cells of Fire and the International Conspiracy for Revenge). The trial is in its final stage, following the legal / fiscal arsenal and the entry of more than 150 testimonies, 80 experts, 230 documents and 640 pieces of expert evidence. This Monday they will discuss the days required (which can be no more than 4) to prepare the closing arguments…

With a signal of complicity with the comrades in the prisons of Korydallos (Greece), those in Ferrara (Italy) and the immense number of brothers and sisters who have been imprisoned or fallen in this war, we say goodbye, nourished with the pleasant taste of solidarity that you have shared with us!!!

Nataly Casanova (San Miguel Prison)

Enrique Guzmán (Maximum Security / High Security Prison)

Juan Flores (Former Penitentiary)

(via Publicacion Refractario, translated by Insurrection News)

 

 

Tags: Chileanarchists in troublepropaganda of the deedletterscategory: International
Categories: News

The Tangled Paths of State Formation and Resistance

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 21:52

source: human iterations

The dearth of anarchist theory in print is sometimes pretty embarrassing. Our discourse is rich, but it can also be maddeningly ephemeral and inaccessible, lost to zines and interpersonal conversations. While illegibility can be a defensive weapon against outside authorities, it also frequently reinforces power relations by increasing barriers to access.

It’s painful to have to tell another bright-eyed and bushy-tailed new anarchist looking to read up on a subject that “You just have to talk to people or read around and fill in the gaps.” Anarchism is sadly filled to the brim with things we expect people to know but never write down. “Mainstream opinion” in anarchist circles is thus often something spread across piles of texts written by non-anarchists that we synthesize and share with our close friends, never bothering to write down a summary. Anthropology, gender studies, economics, at al… we remain parasitical on other discursive worlds, hashing out a shared analysis between close comrades but rarely providing a 101.

Peter Gelderloos has long been one of the rare exceptions — an anarchist committed to making anarchist theory accessible. It helps that Gelderloos is about as plumb-line of an anarchist as one could conceive, unassailably at the dead center of our myriad internal political spectra — or at least the center of mass. “Anarchy Works” and “How Nonviolence Protects The State” were agreeable and unoffensive to not only the mainstream of anarchism but to partisans of nearly every stripe. Within our movement Gelderloos is probably the least controversial anarchist writer alive — a truly stupendous accomplishment.

Worshiping Power: An Anarchist View of Early State Formation is a great book, the sort of text that should be part of the obligatory canon for all anarchists. An accessible summary and nuanced analysis of why and how states form. I’m delighted we now have it on hand. Gelderloos sets out a clear and potent anarchist analysis that knocks down primitivist, Marxist, and Hobbesian accounts while shellacking the academics that are too conservative to openly recognize what’s in front of their face.

Gelderloos’ central thesis is that while there are many paths and pressures societies face, we nevertheless have some agency in how we navigate them. No technology, no material condition, no social condition is a prison sentence. It is our common values that play a huge role in determining whether a society can handle something like agriculture, cities, writing, or markets without turning to tyranny. The fight between authoritarianism and anti-authoritarianism is ultimately a fight over values far more than it is a fight over particular conditions or tools.

As in other regions we see a relatively stable stateless period persisting for a long time after the development of agriculture and sedentary living, and a relatively rapid increase in hierarchy stratification, and the centralization of power once an organized religious cult perfects the ability to shape the spiritual beliefs of the broader society. (p. 214)

Unfortunately, Worshiping Power has two1 minor problems: It focuses in on a definition of “states” far more pertinent to academics than anarchists, and at the same time, Gelderloos’ analysis leans into a hostility towards “worldview shapers” that builds some worrying momentum. Gelderloos is clearly chafing under academia and so he yin-yangs between a deferential, if tense, respect for it and outright heads-on-pikes insurrection against it.

The choice to stick with an established academic frame around “states” in technical and overly specific terms is useful in that it allows a more fine-grained analysis of the various hierarchical social systems at play in the last ten thousand years. But it’s also a deeply dangerous choice because it risks minimizing the full extent of what anarchists oppose. It’s clearly not enough to avoid having a centralized administrative hierarchy with at least three tiers of organization. Anarchists oppose rulership wholesale — from tribal chiefs to diffuse games of social capital and interpersonal abuse. There’s a noxious history of anthropologists collapsing ‘anarchism’ down to whatever mere anti-statism is necessary to valorize the society they’re currently taken with. This sort of shit is how we get people venerating warrior honor societies with literal slaves and calling them “anarchist” or thinking they’re anywhere near the vicinity of a liberated world. Gelderloos himself obviously knows better, but I’m not sure his few caveats are strong enough to correct errant readers.

This focus on a very specific subsection of power structures is interesting but it leads to a conclusion a little far afield from anarchism’s concerns. What’s the most critical element to starting multi-tier coercive administrations? The creation of values that enable universal centralization. This is certainly true as far as it goes, but the more interesting and anarchist question is what leads to domination at all, in any flavor or organizational structure? Such is of course less a question for anthropology or sociology and more one of game theory, philosophy, psychology, and the like. The danger with something as obtuse and macroscopic as the anthropological lens is that you’ll start viewing things in similarly sweeping terms.

What falls out of Gelderloos’ account is a enmity towards elite worldview-shapers that he repeatedly identifies in personal asides with scientists and modern academics. It’s a compelling argument and certainly no anarchist worth their salt would defend elites of any sort. Further — ever intellectually honest — Gelderloos does note the potential for such figures to be potent sources of anti-authoritarian rebellion.

Still this framing leads Gelderloos to paint a split between ‘pragmatic’ and ‘non-pragmatic,’ that he spins as the critical difference between the sort of invention, writing, engineering, trade, etc, that can be perfectly harmless and the sort that ends up feeding the state. This is a flavor of anarchist morality that would collapse all our values down to merely resistance to social authority. Casting the inquiry and creativity that underpins science and technology as only tolerable if they are made merely instrumental.

Learning is only worthwhile if it helps us fight, to live healthy, to live free. (p. 235)

What a terribly impoverished notion of “living free”! Surely inquiry and creativity are themselves part and parcel of freedom, not merely servants or tools. Is freedom just some passive state of being we’re trying to retreat to? Or is it an active, striving, reaching sort of thing, that necessarily includes learning for its own sake, exploring for its own sake, dreaming for its own sake?

To say that I recoil in horror at the prescription that science be enslaved to serve some kind of social order would be a severe understatement. A world where we must interrogate every flight of investigation and demand to know its pragmatic utility for the social order is a world far away from any notion of freedom I value. If anything I’d say the goal of anarchy is to finally unleash science from the shackles that social hierarchies have kept it in. Don’t hate academics for being “unpractical,” hate the system that gives them that privilege and denies the rest of us it.

While it’s certainly an occasionally valid lens to look at “science” from the outside, in sociological terms as an existing institution, community, and practice situated in a specific social and historical context, it’s at least as valid to view “science” from the inside, in cognitive or philosophical terms as an approach to pattern-finding, as diligent root-seeking or radicalism, an approach that is present in all conscious minds — yes even isolated ones — and certainly in all societies. “Science as radicalism” obviously in no remote way obliges a priest class. It can lead to universalizing values or perspectives, but when rooted in the people, emergent from the ground up rather than from an elite, actual truths ultimately aren’t easily manipulable to serve power, instead they provide greater agency to all. Our capacity for choice is dependent upon the accuracy of our maps of reality. And freedom would certainly be meaningless without the inclination to grapple with, to feel out, connect, and engage with our environments.

Yet it must be said that at points Gelderloos talks in ways that conflict with said enshrinement of pragmatism and instrumentalism, for instance characterizing a critical stage in the devolution to statism with, “Authoritarian orders within the network would unite, since their logic favored the accumulation of power over the unimpeded search for truth, meaning, and ecstasy.” I couldn’t have put it better.

This tension with his other framings is indicative of Worshiping Power’s greatest strength, its honest complexity. While I love rhetorically potent Gelderloos, and he certainly pokes his head out at points to call forth fire and brimstone, he is mostly at his best when he embraces nuance, tracing the complex and varied paths of state formation and resistance.

Gelderloos absolutely eviscerates Marxist and primitivist claims about state formation by simply bringing to the fore the immense contingency and differences in the record. The only reasonable takeaway is that a society’s internal meta-structures of culture, religion, ethics, etc. guide them at least as much as material conditions. Honest nuance comprises a vicious denial of any sort of simplistic deterministic prescriptions.

In particular Gelderloos is very honest about markets not obliging inequality, hierarchy or states:

States can organize trade networks, but trade networks do not generate states. The Indus Valley civilization, one of the oldest in the world, is an interesting example. At its height (between 2600 and 1900 BCE), the civilization had a population of some five million people living in half a dozen cities — such as Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro — and over a thousand towns and villages. It made up a world system together with its trading partners, ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. Of these, the Indus Valley civilization was the largest. and in contrast to the other two, it was probably stateless. No solid evidence has been found of kings, priests, armies, temples, or palaces. Some of the largest buildings in the urban centers were public baths; the urban planning, sewage, and hygiene systems were the best in the ancient world; and the relative equality of housing size suggests an egalitarian, non-stratified society. …the lack of military structures suggests that the rural population traded their surplus more or less voluntarily with the artisans of the towns and cities. (p. 142)

Stateless societies also existed at the heart of one of the most intensive, high-value trade networks in world history, in the Banda islands of the Maluku archipelago. The islanders participated in the spice trade for centuries, occupying an essential productive niche, while preserving their statelessness. Social organization throughout the Maluku archipelago was localized and largely horizontal. (p. 144)

The Cucuteni-Trypillian culture existed from 4800 to 3000 BCE in the area that is now western Ukraine, Moldova and eastern Romania. They practiced agriculture … invented the oldest known proto-writing system in the world, manufactured and traded. … Contrary to assumptions about the state being a more advanced form of political organization, the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture was stateless, egalitarian, peaceful and non-patriarchal.

The Cretan civilization were in all probability a stateless people who organized an important trade network spanning the Mediterranean over more than a thousand years. They were a peaceful society with a minimum of defensive infrastructure and no record of involvement in offensive warfare. …there is no evidence of such rulers. The palaces served as warehouses, redistribution centers, collective housing for priestesses and administrators, archices and religious sites. … The Creten diet was too rich, too diversified, to suggest a hyper-exploited, enslaved lower class. … Nor is their evidence of a Cretan army or other mechanisms capable of imposing the sort of work-or-starve, blackmail economy so common in other city states. The very diversity of Cretan food production (spanning multicrop agriculture, apiculture, silvaculture, aquaculture, fishing, and hunting, a diversity that would be impossible for a weak state to surveil and control), paired with a lack of evidence of a police or military structure makes the proposal of a coerced or dependent peasant population ludicrous. In the worst case the merchant-priests controlling the palaces might have been able to impose an unfavorable exchange rate making it difficult or impossible for the peasants to aquire luxury goods, but the peasants would still have been more or less self-sufficient, autonomous, and healthy.

The Cretan civilization did have a written language, at the time a common sign of state authority, although nearly all the decoded fragments of Linear B are simple trade records and lists of resources, with a few religious references thrown in. Universally, early states with written languages used the written record to preserve laws, chronicles, and accounts of the power and grandeur of their supreme leaders.

In practice, the palace economy was probably a network of religious centers where farmers, artisans, and merchants bought their produce or their trade goods, sometimes in the spirit of a gift, an offering to the gods that would be redistributed, and sometimes in the spirit of exchange. Mask-wearing priestesses represented the gods in important ceremonies, anonymizing spiritual power rather than concentrating it in any individual or family. They also specialized in the occult knowledge, like math and writing, which allowed them to administer a large trade network. (p. 149)

There are numerous other examples throughout Worshiping Power as Gelderloos drags to light just how systematic the bias in the historical record is towards states, and how good of reasons we have to assume all the holes in the map were anarchistic or at the very least stateless.

Too often, historians and archaeologists fabricate cheap mysteries, “Why did this great civilization suddenly collapse?,” because they refuse to accept the obvious: that states are odious structures that their populations destroy whenever they get the opportunity, and sometimes even when they face impossible odds.

Words cannot do justice to the relief one feels at finally having a book that makes this longstanding anarchist argument in direct terms and extensive examples. I hope that Worshiping Power‘s longest lasting contribution will be to open our eyes not just to the complex trajectories that power structures can take but to the immensity of anti-authoritarian currents and forces throughout history that resist and suppress them.

This is the first major step in fleshing out and normalizing an anarchist narrative of world history where the giant gaping holes in the conventional histories are centered and given their rightful place as the real agents and heroes.

Gelderloos tries his hardest for a certain academic equanimity throughout Worshiping Power but you can sense the white knuckling going on until the end when he can finally let loose the anarchist howl, we are still here.

We have not disappeared. We are still here. …No matter what continent we are from, those who choose to align ourselves with an anti-authoritarian history can be proud: we are the ones who have killed kings.

Worshiping Power is an excellent and potent reminder of the expanse of the possible. All the possible ways we can shoot ourselves in the foot and allow the rot of domination to spread, but also all the ways we can resist, all those that have, and all those that have succeeded at living freer than we can sometimes imagine.

  1. Gelderloos does make one factual mistake or omission, he dates the earliest domesticated plant species to 10,500 years ago, but evidence in Palestine has revealed that humans domesticated first started farming grains 23,000 years ago. Who knows what else has been covered up, sunken around the edge of the Mediterranean?
Tags: anarchy 101the stateresistance
Categories: News

Brazil: Neoliberal drift and repression of popular movements

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 21:29

source: freedomnews.org

Brazil: Neoliberal drift and repression of popular movements

The social and political situation in Brazil is increasingly compromised. Since Michel Temer's ascent to power through an institutional and palatial coup the main BRICS representative in Latin America has seen a neoliberal economic drift and a fascistic shift in civil rights.

The emerging economic giant has initiated an increasingly authoritarian process of confronting social movements in the wake of the deployment of a whole host of adjustment measures and "flexibility reforms" of Brazil's labour and pension regulations. And the libertarian movement has also suffered in its claws.

The key man in the "tasks of government fear" is finance minister Henrique Meirelles who maintains an aggressive neoliberal policy. Without reform of the pensions, he says, one can not comply with the Constitutional Amendment 95 approved a year ago (which limits increases of public spending for 20 years). Without new privatisations and outsourcing (which would begin shortly with electric power utility Eletrobras) there will be no extended benefits for the elites. Without deregulation of extractive activities, investment will not increase (and hence regulations are in the making to enable mining in a strategic area of ​​the Amazon). Without labour reform the pipes of a labour market based on hyper-exploitation and flexibility will not be greased (a reform that even proposes to modify the legal meaning of slave labor). All part of a recipe book for hard neoliberal adjustment of the major economy of Latin America.

In addition, from a geostrategic point of view, the line of the new Brazilian government is also clear — subordination to the economic and military interests of the United States, and an express desire to become a military platform for the imperial North, with worrying effects on the political balance in neighbouring countries like Venezuela. In fact, from November 6th-12th, a joint military exercise sponsored by the Brazilian Armed Forces took place on the triple border between Brazil, Colombia and Peru with the participation of the United States. The exercise has been called "Operation United America" ​​or "Amazonlog 17."

For the first time in decades, a temporary international military base has been installed in the city of Tabatinga (Amazonas, Brazil) on the border with Colombia and Peru. The exercise has had the "official" objective of preparing for a situation of "humanitarian character."

The real background of the US military participation in these maneuvers is clearer however if we look at the words of US Southern Command chief Kurt Tidd, in his report to US Congress this year: " The growing humanitarian crisis in Venezuela could force a regional response."

A new wave of repression
All these measures have been accompanied by a drastic increase in the repression of social movements and an expansion of organisations and the public influence for the extreme right. Declarations by deputies, such as Bolsonaro, have attempted to vindicate the last military dictatorship and torture. Violent actions by hard right groups such as the Movimiento Livre Brasil (MBL) have prevented the development of artistic countercultures (as in the Santander Cultural of Porto Alegre). And then there is generalised criminalising, sexist, conservative, anti-popular and racist discourses being pushed by public figures or organisations such as Vem pra Rua, Aliança Brasil etc.

This process, of course, has been answered with determination by Brazilian social movements, through mass mobilisations and through increased activity by organisations of settlers, landless peasants, precarious workers, women and excluded peoples of all kinds. It is in this context that aggressions against the libertarian movement and the rest of the popular movements have been ramped up by a state power which is totally delegitimised and increasingly authoritarian.

Cases of this repression have precipitated at an enormous speed, such as the incrimination of 18 students and a teacher in the State of Goiás (which finally ended with an agreement before the court) for their participation in the occupation of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports (Seduce) and at least 27 schools as part of a wave of student struggles against school closures between December 2015 and January 2016.

But the most serious aggression against the libertarian movement in Brazil took place on October 25th, when Rio Grande do Sul police began Operation Erebus, whose main objective was to criminalise the Gaucho Anarchist Federation (FAG), a popular organisation with a long history in the South of Brazil.

Within the framework of this operation the headquarters of the FAG was raided, along with the Parhesia cultural space and the Pandorga urban occupation. Computers, USB drives and hard drives were confiscated, as well as plastic bottles which the police claim were going to be used to make homemade explosives. Books and materials of anarchist theory and propaganda were also confiscated (illegal under Brazilian law). Thirty activists were accused in a gigantic criminalisation campaign in which the Rede Globo, the main Brazilian media group, in its flagship program "El Fantástico", presented a decontextualised parody of FAG militancy, while supposed experts debated about the criminal types that could theoretically be applied. The SBT television network also jumped on the bandwagon, describing a longstanding anarchist group to be "neo-Nazis." FAG has worked for decades with the most excluded and racially discriminated sectors of society.

Fascist upsurge
Meanwhile, the popular movements of Rio Grande do Sul we warning that fascist proto-militias and a broad increase of hate crimes have been developing with impunity. Meeting as "support groups" for deputy Bolsonaro, the militants of the extreme right have been highly active on social networks, teaching firearms and encouraging "good citizens" to attack the "leftists."

In fact, at a rally by municipal officials of Porto Alegre (capital of Rio Grande do Sul) a teacher was hit with a retractable bat by a thug known from youtube, supposedly linked to the MBL – an organisation which was received with great cordiality by the mayor the very next day. And in the nearby university, an academic whose work related to the centenary of the Russian Revolution was attacked, with the cry of "military intervention, now!"

We could continue indefinitely with this narrative of the growing fascist tint to the exercising of power by Brazil's ruling class, linked to the forces that sustain the government of Michel Temer. Social tensions are accumulating in Brazil and In the words of Emir Sader, Brazil today constitutes, due to the lack of legitimacy of the neoliberal government and growing activity of social movements, a weak link in the neoliberal chain in Latin America.

The process of "righting" the continent, after electoral victories such as that of Mauricio Macri in Argentina, or palace blows like that developed in Rio de Janeiro, can still be stopped and reversed by the mobilisation of popular organisations, which are therefore the object of an increased repression. Solidarity and mutual support are a virtuous circle, the chain of tenderness and friendship that runs and makes strong the red thread of rebellion that extends throughout the world. To pull that thread, to feed it, to support those who build tomorrow, is also to work for our most precious horizon.

This is an edited machine translation of an article from alasbarricadas.

Categories: News

Long live anarchy: Hong Kong’s first Black Book Fair

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 20:21

ed. note: The Black Bookfair is underway this weekend. Find more information on their website here

by Karen Cheung, via Still/Loud

When Ahkok attended London’s anarchist book fair last year, he was stunned by the scale of it all: some 60 booths and 50 forums, from heated discussions—one was cut short by a fight—to emotional healing workshops for social activists. There was even a section for kids, because “Why can’t there be more play facilities for children at protest sites?”

Ahkok and his friends soon decided that Hong Kong, too, needs an anarchist book fair. This weekend—34 years after London held its first anarchist book fair—their plan will become a reality, in the form of Black Book Fair. (The facilitators chose “Black” instead of “Anarchist” for safety reasons.) The Fair promises artists and activists, zines and poetry, and a special appearance by radical thinker Stevphen Shukaitis. No restrictions on entry, no one to tell you what you can or cannot do—and, Ahkok confesses, “no idea how the police are gonna react.” Will it work? We interviewed Ahkok via email to find out.

Still / Loud: What is anarchy to you? And what does it mean for Hong Kong?

Ahkok: I guess it has to do with my experience in DIY/DIT (do it together) culture in Kwun Tong industrial zone—you know, self-organising, mutual-aiding. We were basically all non-governed autonomists, and we created the biggest indie scene in Hong Kong. In a way, there’s an anarchism revival in many countries, including Hong Kong, in which people are extremely disappointed towards centralised government bodies. While most Hong Kong people demand universal suffrage, I’d say it’s a good time to ask ourselves: why should we choose someone to govern us? Can we aim for something more liberating?

Why did you choose anarchy (as opposed to other ideologies) to gather people for an exchange of ideas?

It just makes sense to me. Like I said, I experienced it first-hand where I grew up. We created something beautiful because both the government and the super-rich had no idea what to do with those old factory buildings, so it was autonomous during that period of time, before the revitalisation shit struck the place.
black book fair poster
Photo courtesy of Ahkok.

And I’m not really “opposing” other ideologies; some of my good friends are social democrats, some are in the Legislative Council. I have massive respect for them, but it’s just not me, I don’t like to climb into a certain position in order to help others.

Should anarchy be “fun”?

This is a timely question. For me, I’m just happy to participate an event where I can meet my comrades, feel safe, have a laugh, take time off from all the suffocating bullshit. Radical thoughts and knowledge are important, I’m not downplaying that, but I would hope we can all treat each other better, create a better environment of solidarity.

There’s a massive fallout from London’s Anarchist Book Fair this year—quite an emotional one—and there might not be another book fair next year. I often remind myself, don’t pick your enemy, pick your fight, and fight it right. That’s pretty much the opposite of what happened to a few people this year. Some people like to pick on those who are supposed to be on their side, you know? I’m sick of that.

People in Hong Kong may lack reference points when it comes to anarchism. Do you think anarchy is a “western” ideology or concept?

Anarchism to me is about two things: first, being against nationalism. Nationalism is the ugliest shit ever invented. Maybe it’s that I grew up as a musician, and we identify ourselves as punks, metalheads, shoegazers so on and so forth—never “I’m Chinese” or “I’m a Hong Konger”. That’s just fucking lame. The only reason why I’m a Hong Konger is that my mum gave birth to me in Hong Kong, that’s not even my choice, why should I be proud of something I have no control over? And as a species just how much stupid shit have we done because of nationalism?
London-Anarchist-Bookfair-2016
London Anarchist Book Fair 2016

More and more people are realising that nationalism only leads to conflicts and war, and elections only lead to disappointments. So, [anarchism] is not only enduring, it’s also reviving.

Secondly, I would say anarchism is about trusting humanity. If you think that we are all selfish and evil from birth, then fuck it, we have to be governed. But if you think not, if selfishness and evil are socially conditioned, then perhaps you are an anarchist too. I agree historically and philosophically it’s from the west, especially from Spanish and French history, but humanity existed long before we invented the idea of government. I think anarchism is a cosmopolitan ideology in which we all experience a pre-government era.

Would you say anarchism has not yet gained mainstream popularity in Hong Kong?

I have no idea what is the Hong Kong mainstream’s choice, to be honest. Fuck mainstream.

What about social movements in Hong Kong? Do any come close to expressing anarchic ideals, e.g. no overarching government, spontaneous organisation, and communal property?

I think [poet and narrator] Uncle Hung said it beautifully. He was walking around through the camps in Admiralty in 2014, and suddenly he realised: “Anarchism is possible! All these tents, how people lived here for 70 days, this is anarchy.”

I would say don’t look up to leaders, rather, look around you. I remember one day I was having late lunch in a 茶餐廳, and out of the blue, the boss shouted “抄牌”, and several people put down their chopsticks, ran out, drove their car around and came back after the traffic warden was gone. I was thinking, as an activist, this kind of grey area is far more interesting than say, legalising parking. I’m not saying 茶餐廳 is the anarchy utopia, but this kind of grassroots interaction always inspires me, that people can cooperate to work things out. We all have agency.

What is your perspective on whether anarchy can ever be realised?

I’m not a realist, I don’t really go around picking something that can be easily realised before my death to believe in. I believe everyone should be able to travel to wherever they want, I believe we should abandon borders. I don’t think it’ll be realised anytime soon, but that’s okay.

Black Book Fair will take place 17-19 November at Lecture Hall, VAC Centre on 7 Kennedy Road, Central, Hong Kong. The interview has been edited for length and flow.

Tags: hong kongAnarchist bookfairblack bookfaircategory: Essays
Categories: News

Error451 #2: Burner Phones

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 15:58

Download This Episode

This is the first standalone episode of Error451, The Final Straw’s occasionally weekly podcast featuring a conversation between Bursts and William Budington about tech, security and safer practices. Upcoming episodes include how to avoid leaking info while using maps on your device and safer practices at borders. If you have other topics you’d like to see covered, drop us a line at thefinalstrawradio@riseup.net

In this episode, we have a brief conversation about the idea of burner phones, mobile devices kept insulated from the users personal information and which can just be dumped when no longer useful. We talk about reasons one might use them, approaches to getting them and using them and how to dispose of them after usefulness has ceased.

Hopefully you’ll find this helpful in your endeavors!

Tags: The Final Strawpodcasttechsecurity#Error451category: Projects
Categories: News

January 20, 2018: Build the Base, Take the Initiative

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 15:55

via crimethinc.

A Call to Expand Our Capacity

On January 20, 2018, we invite you to join us in organizing events and gatherings in autonomous spaces, building capacity and community to sustain our movements and prepare for the year ahead.

This call is endorsed by the Channel Zero Anarchist Podcast Network, subMedia, It’s Going Down, and CrimethInc.. If you want to endorse this call, pass it on to others, organize something for January 20, 2018, and email us at rollingthunder@crimethinc.com to have your name added here.

Last year, thousands gathered in Washington, DC and elsewhere around the US to start the Trump regime off with an inspiring display of defiance. Since that historic mobilization, many of us have been in action almost continuously, responding to one threat after another from the regime and its supporters.

We’ve participated in airport blockades opposing the Muslim Ban, mass mobilizations against the Alt-Right and other racists, weeks of action in solidarity with J20 defendants and Standing Rock arrestees, ongoing anti-colonial action against pipelines, and broad disaster relief efforts in the South and Puerto Rico. As a new year opens up before us, let’s come together to think about where we want to go from here.

We live in dynamic and dangerous times. The state is ramping up repression just as fewer and fewer people perceive the government to be legitimate. Many comrades are facing decades in prison, but many more are looking to get involved.

For this reason, we’re calling for people to gather in anarchist and autonomous spaces on the week of January 20, 2018 in order to reconnect to the roots from which our movements draw strength, discuss the path ahead, and gather resources for prisoners, relief efforts, and ongoing struggles.

Expand Networks, Strengthen Spaces

We propose to use the week of J20 2018 to reconnect with our networks, revitalize our spaces, organize new projects, hold special events, and bring people together to build our movements.

Autonomous spaces include infoshops, community centers, and bookstores. But an autonomous space can also be a public place you make a habit of gathering in or a territory you share and defend. Open spaces offer a way for people who are freshly curious about our movements to plug in, pick up literature, and begin fostering relationships.

Towards this end, we are encouraging people to organize on the week of J20:

  • Community events involving putting in work at autonomous spaces. This could mean fixing the bathroom or repainting the walls, or it could mean soliciting people to bring supplies, books, and other materials to add to the space. Let this be an opportunity for the community surrounding the space to strengthen and expand the physical infrastructure.
  • Block parties and celebrations around the space, reconnecting the wider community that uses and interacts with it and bringing in new people.
  • Fundraising events to support the space—this could include speaking events, film showings, and more.
Maintain Solidarity, Build Capacity

Let’s also use the week of J20 to organize events to raise money for J20 arrestees, gather supplies for disaster relief efforts, and prepare for ongoing struggles we are already engaged in such as antifascist action, supporting prison rebels, and the fight against pipelines.

This could include:

  • Fundraising events to support the J20 defendants. Host an open mic, show an episode of Trouble, bring a speaker to address an audience.
  • Letter writing events for political prisoners, community dinners and potlucks, and raffles.
  • Events to gather supplies and resources for disaster relief or to support a particular struggle.
Go on the Offensive

Finally, let’s use the week of J20 to look back on the past year of action and discuss what we want to accomplish in 2018—to evaluate our accomplishments with a critical eye and think strategically about where we want to go from here.

For example:

  • Presentations on struggles that have taken place over the past year.
  • Open salon discussions about the previous year and the path ahead.
  • Panel discussions featuring representatives from different organizations, struggles, and crews in the local area.

Conclude by identifying new issues that people in your neighborhood, city, or region are facing, and start an organizing project to address them in a way that puts our politics into practice. It’s time to find new ways to seize the initiative.

The path ahead won’t be easy, but it will offer us many opportunities. Let’s start 2018 strategically, on our own terms, and together.

Tags: crimethinccategory: Projects
Categories: News

Modesto, CA: Autonomists and Anarchists Organize Clothes Drive

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 15:34

via It's Going Down

Last weekend, autonomists and anarchists organized a coat and clothes drive in the Downtown Modesto area, with hundreds of free items. The event was the the end result of several days of organizing and collecting donations from the community including warm clothing as well as fresh apples, toothbrushes, and other free dental supplies.

The event itself was attended by over 50 people, and during the event we had numerous positive interactions with individuals who discussed everything from job loss to how to get involved in the future with upcoming events. We also put up a banner that read: “Free Clothes” in Spanish and in English, as well as the slogan, “Community Mutual Aid” with a circle (A). We also flew a red and black flag. We did this to make clear that this event was not simply carried out as an act of charity, but instead to put forward a set of anti-capitalist and anti-authoritarian ideas, reclaim public space, have fun, and also meet people in our community. Police drove by, but did not fuck with us.

In the past several years, attempts by the city, police, and developers to remake the Downtown core by driving out poor, homeless, youth, and the working class, have largely backfired. Many businesses have shut down, including the one grocery store in the Downtown area, cutting off access to a main supply of food for many elderly and impoverished people. But, there are signs that the gentrification machine will attempt to continue on the path ahead, especially in the wake of many stores shuttering, with new hip and swanky stores and bars openly in the Downtown. We can only assume that developers are hoping to accommodate displaced people from the bay area, while at the same time displacing us in turn.



Remembering the life of Nick Pimentel, murdered by police in South Modesto

While we enjoy helping provide resources for those without, we also know that class society and the State will not collapse through an accumulation of either negative or ‘positive’ acts – or posts on anarchist websites. Instead, in the coming together and building of actual relationships, we can attempt to create new forms of power for the battles to come. Only several weeks ago, we found ourselves alongside over 100 others, remembering the life and death of Nick Pimentel, who was murdered by local police in South Side Modesto. Also, on the same day as our coat drive, a march was organized to protest attacks on DACA, and down the road from the giveaway, residents have been protesting harmful waste covered up by the city near their homes.

All of these struggles are connected, and across the divisions placed upon by by geography, neighborhood, gender, and race, we hope to build something that can overcome the systems of control and domination, and usher into being an existence worthy of the name ‘humanity.’

-someone who gave away a coat

Tags: mutual aidmodestocaliforniacategory: Actions
Categories: News

B(A)D NEWS – Angry voices from around the world – Episode 6 (11/2017)

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 15:06

via a-radio network, where you can listen to the episode

This is episode number 6 of “B(A)D NEWS – Angry voices from around the world”, a news program from the international network of anarchist and antiauthoritarian radios, consisting of short news segments from different parts of the world.

Content:

– Infolora, Switzerland: the struggle against the expansion of the deportation prison Bässlergut, in Basel
Radio Fragmata, Thesalonika: the case of 2 Political Prisoners
1431 am, Thesalonika: workers issues
Dissident Island, UK: news about arms trade campaigners and the general legal context in the UK
A-Radio Berlín: comment about Santiago Maldonado, an anarchist murder in Argentina because of the Mapuche struggles
Radio Kurruf, Chile: news about the trials against the Mapuche struggle

(episode in total 46:53)

You can also download the episode from archive.org here

Tags: b(a)d newspodcastcategory: Projects
Categories: News

Lucy Parsons bio reveals new facts about the birth, ethnicity of the 'Goddess of Anarchy'

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 17:04

From the Chicago Tribune

By Mark Jacob

Lucy Parsons, an anarchist firebrand who was one of the most enigmatic Chicagoans ever, might fit in better today than she did during her own time a century ago.

She was a black woman married to a white man. Scandalous then, no big thing now.

She favored an eight-hour workday and a social safety net, positions that made her a radical in the late 1800s but would qualify her for Congress today.

And Parsons had another trait of today’s politicians: She was a merchant of misinformation.

Goddess of Anarchy: The Life and Times of Lucy Parsons, American Radical” is an important new biography by University of Texas historian Jacqueline Jones that fact-checks Parsons’ made-up details about her own background, correcting errors existing in virtually every biographical sketch ever written about this amazing woman.

Leftists who have celebrated Parsons as the quintessential multiethnic class warrior — of African-American, Latina and Native American descent — may be disappointed to learn that Jones’ book debunks the claim that she had any Mexican or Native American blood. Parsons always denied that she was black — or “mulatto,” as some put it — and promoted the myth that she was a “Spanish-Indian maiden” to explain her exotic looks while denying her African-American roots.

Parsons also claimed that she was born in Texas — an assertion accepted by almost everyone but disproved by Jones’ research. In fact, Parsons was born into slavery in Virginia and was taken as a teenager to Texas. Once there, she gave birth to a child who died in infancy — another biographical fact unknown until Jones’ book.

But before we go further about “Goddess of Anarchy,” the author of this article must confess that he’s not an objective observer. As the Tribune’s metro editor and a book author in my spare time, I spent more than a year conducting research for my own proposed biography of Lucy Parsons. But then I learned that Jones, whom I had never met, was two years ahead of me in developing her Lucy bio. And she happened to be a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist. I, on the other hand, am a six-time Pulitzer nonfinalist. When I found out that Jones had made major new discoveries about Parsons (which I had not), I put aside my own project, shared research materials with her, read a draft of her manuscript and offered advice. I am in the book’s acknowledgments; obviously, I cannot write an objective review.

But I can tell you a bit about Parsons, and why a new biography of her is so welcome.

Lucy Parsons was a “Haymarket widow” whose husband, Albert, was among four men hanged after the 1886 bombing in Chicago’s Haymarket Square, despite a lack of evidence of their guilt. At the time, Lucy may have been even more radical than her husband. Two years earlier she had written an essay urging the homeless to blow up the mansions of the rich, declaring: “Learn the use of explosives!” Some people in law enforcement thought Lucy should have been executed along with her husband. But because she was a woman, she wasn't even charged.

What followed from Haymarket was a life of determined activism in which Lucy Parsons became a leading “Red,” campaigning against capitalism from coast to coast and also in England. She was a founder of the Industrial Workers of the World, the “one big union” also known as the Wobblies. She was a dogged campaigner for First Amendment rights and was often a loser in those battles, with police officers preventing her from speaking and throwing her in jail. But Parsons never, ever gave up.

“For her part, Lucy proved herself a rhetorical provocateur of the first order, a distinction that would garner her a rapt audience of friends and foes alike,” Jones writes.

But while the author recognizes the power of Parsons’ personality, this portrait is unvarnished and rarely sympathetic. The former slave’s emergence as a leading socialist intellectual is impressive, but her worldview was diminished by many blind spots. Parsons’ treatment of her son after he threatened to join the Army was deplorable. And her denial of her African ancestry extended to an avoidance of the unique ordeal of blacks in the South. Parsons lumped them into the general class struggle when she wrote about African-Americans, which she rarely did.

What’s fair to say is that Jones’ new biography will awaken interest in Parsons, who is not as famous as she deserves to be.

There are reasons for her relative obscurity. For one thing, the goals that she thought were visionary — such as an economic system managed by the workers themselves — are now considered by many to be fantasy.

For another, the authorities seized her books and papers after her death, depriving historians of vital resources. Parsons’ enemies tried to disappear her, and they almost succeeded.

For another, Parsons loathed cults of personality. “In effect,” Jones writes, “she rejected a personal historical or ethnic identity in favor of presenting herself as the champion of the laboring classes; that, she thought, was all that people needed to know about her.”

In her time, Lucy was one of the most prominent black women in America. But, unfortunately, that’s not saying much, since the contributions of women and African-Americans were systematically undervalued.

Even among feminists, Lucy wasn’t widely embraced because her interests were wider — and more radical — than the mainstream push for women’s rights. While suffragists were demanding the right to vote, Parsons was dismissing elections as a capitalist fraud.

Parsons has gone largely uncelebrated by her fellow African-Americans, perhaps in part because she denied being black. Decades after her death, when luminaries such as Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth became mainstays of Black History Month, the woman known as “the dusky goddess of anarchy” was not the sort of person to be featured on school bulletin boards.

Yet Parsons’ image as a radical crusader has survived. A Chicago anti-fascist group called Black Rose uses a drawing of Parsons as its symbol. In Boston, there’s the Lucy Parsons Center, a radical bookstore and meeting place. A Chicago-based group called Lucy Parsons Labs is campaigning for digital rights and is harnessing data to examine issues such as police conduct.

A Chicago park was named after Parsons in 2004, though it’s safe to say that Mayor Richard M. Daley didn’t fully understand her biography at the time. When the police union complained about the honor, the mayor said it was unfair to blame Parsons for the actions of her husband, missing the point that she was an anti-police extremist in her own right.

Now, Jones has given us a clear sense of who this remarkable woman was, moving well beyond the only previous biography of Parsons, Carolyn Ashbaugh’s 1976 “Lucy Parsons, American Revolutionary.” In countless articles based on Ashbaugh’s findings, writers have complained that “little is known about Parsons’ early years.” Now, thanks to Jones, a lot is known.

“Goddess of Anarchy” displays the powers of a master historian, taking the reader to both post-Civil War Texas and to Gilded Age Chicago. While many readers will disagree with Parsons’ politics, they may find themselves admiring her determination and idealism, which were quintessentially American. Parsons liked to quote Founding Fathers such as Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine. And while she had no love for American government, she had an extraordinary love of American liberty.

In that sense, Lucy was not just a Red. She was red, white and blue.

Mark Jacob is the Tribune’s associate managing editor for metropolitan news. An updated version of his book with Stephan Benzkofer, “10 Things You Might Not Know About Nearly Everything,” came out this fall.

‘Goddess of Anarchy’

By Jacqueline Jones, Basic, 480 pages, $32

Tags: Lucy Parsonsbiographychicagocategory: Essays
Categories: News

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