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The surprising origin of Argentina’s brazen pastry names

Wed, 11/22/2017 - 01:49

By Rebecca Treon, from http://www.bbc.com, 2 November 2017

The first time I visited a pastry shop in Buenos Aires, I thought my ears were deceiving me. All around me, porteños (Buenos Aires natives) were ordering their favourite pastries to accompany their morning coffee. But I couldn’t believe what they were requesting: did that person just order six friar’s balls? Along with half a dozen little cannons?

The sugar-topped fritters known as bolas de fraile (friar’s balls) and the puff-pastry cones filled with dulce de leche called cañoncitos (little cannons) are just two examples of Argentina’s oddly named facturas (pastries). There are also bombas (bombs), similar to profiteroles, and libritos (little books), folded pastry layers that resemble pamphlets.

While the pastries themselves are certainly sweet, the origin of their names is more sinister: in the late 1800s, a union of anarchist bakers used their pastries as propaganda.

“The majority of Argentines don’t really know the significance of the pastry names, and why they’re called what they are. They think they’re just quirky, tongue-in-cheek nicknames,” said Vicente Campana, pastry chef and professor at the National University of Entre Rios. “But really, it was the anarchists – who were anti-government, anti-police and anti-church – who gave them those names to draw attention to their political leanings.”
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Blasphemy and gastronomy have long gone hand in hand. Legend has it that in the early 16th Century during the Ottoman attack on Vienna, Austrians created a crescent-shaped puff pastry, similar to a croissant, in reference to the crescent moon and star that are a widely recognised symbol of Islam. Austrians would eat these crescents in front of Turkish soldiers as a way to blaspheme their occupiers. Centuries later when the European pastries made their way to South America; known today in Argentina as medialunas, the pastries are topped with a sticky layer of saccharine syrup.

Even the term ‘facturas’ is loaded. The Latin root of the word is facere, meaning to make or create, but the modern-day Spanish noun means ‘invoice’. The use of the word ‘facturas’ to refer to all pastries (which is unique to Argentine Spanish) was a clever way for members of the baker’s union to subversively call attention to the value of their labour.

Blasphemy and gastronomy have long gone hand in hand. Legend has it that in the early 16th Century during the Ottoman attack on Vienna, Austrians created a crescent-shaped puff pastry, similar to a croissant, in reference to the crescent moon and star that are a widely recognised symbol of Islam. Austrians would eat these crescents in front of Turkish soldiers as a way to blaspheme their occupiers. Centuries later when the European pastries made their way to South America; known today in Argentina as medialunas, the pastries are topped with a sticky layer of saccharine syrup.

Even the term ‘facturas’ is loaded. The Latin root of the word is facere, meaning to make or create, but the modern-day Spanish noun means ‘invoice’. The use of the word ‘facturas’ to refer to all pastries (which is unique to Argentine Spanish) was a clever way for members of the baker’s union to subversively call attention to the value of their labour.

Throughout the mid- to late 19th Century, Buenos Aires welcomed large numbers of European immigrants, predominantly from Spain and Italy, who were looking for a chance at a new life. They brought with them ideas for a society free from sovereign, military or religious rule – one in which everyone was treated equally.

One such anarchist was Italian exile Errico Malatesta, whose anti-government actions included writing socialist publications and organising anarchist rallies. After his revolutionary escapades led him to a prison sentence, he fled the continent by hiding in a shipping box containing a sewing machine that was bound for South America.

Arriving in Buenos Aires in 1885, he quickly fell in with other European anarchists, including fellow Italian Ettore Mattei, who had recently formed a trade union for the city’s bakers – for what societal role could be more important than that of the people who provide the city with its daily bread?

Two years later, in 1887, the Sociedad Cosmopolita de Resistencia y Colocación de Obreros Panaderos (The Cosmopolitan Society of Resistance and Placement of Bakery Workers) went on strike, closing down the city’s bakeries for more than a week. As a part of the movement, union members renamed baked goods with blasphemous monikers targeting the government, the military and the church – the institutions anarchists believed stood in the way of individual freedom. What better way to elevate awareness of a cause than by changing the names of something residents eat on a daily basis?

The coming years brought rolling work stoppages across a variety of industries, from carpentry to mechanics to shoemakers, with Malatesta standing at the forefront of the movement. He left Buenos Aires in 1889, but his legacy of inspiring workers to stand up for their rights was long lasting, with the anarchist movement thriving in Argentina throughout most of the 20th Century.
Today, in glass cases in bakeries across the country, dulce de leche-filled suspiras de monja (nun’s sighs) sit beside vigilantes (vigilantes), straight pastries meant to look like police batons. You can call the pastries cream puffs, profiteroles or croissants, but most Argentines still use the more irreverent names.

Now when I visit my favourite Buenos Aires cake shop and order a bag full of friar’s balls and little cannons, I know I’m not only about to enjoy something sweet with my café con leche, but I’m also honouring a fight for equality.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The text has been modified to clarify that the use of the crescent-shaped pastry by Austrians to blaspheme the Ottomans is a legend.

Tags: pastriesmalatestaanarchist bakingMSMcategory: Other
Categories: News

Freedom Collective Statement on the London Anarchist Bookfair

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 17:09

via Freedom News

Regarding the announcement by the London Bookfair collective that, following events at this year’s gathering, they will not be organising another one in 2018, the Freedom Collective has drafted the following statement:

The Freedom Collective condemns the actions of trans exclusionary radical feminist (Terf) activists at the London Anarchist Bookfair 2017.

Distributing and displaying transphobic literature is an explicit attack on trans people’s existences and the safety of those people at the event. We stand in solidarity with our trans comrades, particularly trans women and other transfeminine folk, and all who were affected by the actions of Terf activists at the bookfair. We recognise that a politics and feminism that excludes the experiences of trans people has no place in the anarchist movement. Terfs regularly employ tactics of harassment, stalking and doxxing of trans people; outing them to their workplaces and families and exposing them to state violence. Again, this has no place in the movement.

Events at the bookfair have highlighted ongoing issues with the exclusion of marginalised groups from the anarchist movement. It is clear that the bookfair had reached a size and scope such that the current organising model needs to change to accommodate new demands and pressures.

In the light of the bookfair collective’s announcement that they will not be doing one next year there are now opportunities for others in the anarchist community to step up and look to organise events in 2018 that are inclusive and responsive to the movement.

We have been thinking about how we can work to show solidarity with the trans community in the aftermath of this, beyond our words and this statement, so put together a resources and suggestions list below. If you have suggestions for other things, let us know. If you’re unsure what all the fuss was about, educate yourself about why those leaflets were so messed up, on the history of Terf politics and of trans-misogyny in order to challenge it and fight it, some articles are provided (CW: some of these articles quote Terfs in order to challenge them, so do include examples of transphobia and trans-misogyny).

Resources

Being active

  • Organise an action, a film night or something else for the next Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20th to remember all of the people that have been killed due to anti-transgender violence (overwhelmingly trans women and other trans feminine people of colour) See https://tdor.info, https://www.glaad.org/tdor and #TDOR for more information.
  • Organise a letter writing night, a benefit or some other event for the Trans Prisoner Day of Action and Solidarity on January 22nd.
  • Support Action for Trans Health who raise money and campaign to improve access to healthcare for trans people. You could become a member with a monthly subscription
  • send a one-off donation or buy a t-shirt on their ebay store.
  • Listen, centre and amplify the voices of trans people, particularly trans women and trans feminine people of colour.
  • if you are on twitter you can start doing the above by checking out: #30DaysofTransResilience, @travisalabanza, @junodawson, @reinagossett, @janetmock, @RaquelWillis_, @audrelorde, @TransActualUK, @TPrideBrighton, @TransMediaWatch, @BlackTransMedia, @act4transhealth, @LDN4TransHealth, @qtipoc_CC, @TransLawCenter, @tgijp, @theMAJORdoc.
  • Challenge the trans-misogyny we see and hear in our everyday lives.stand up if you see someone facing transphobic abuse, including online when people get a torrent of hate from Terfs and other transphobes. e.g.show @travisalabanza some love at the moment who continues to be targeted for demanding they use the changing room of their choice at topshop.

    Freedom Collective (majority view)

Tags: london anarchist bookfairfreedom collectivecategory: International
Categories: News

Freedom Collective Statement on the London Anarchist Bookfair

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 17:09

via Freedom News

Regarding the announcement by the London Bookfair collective that, following events at this year’s gathering, they will not be organising another one in 2018, the Freedom Collective has drafted the following statement:

The Freedom Collective condemns the actions of trans exclusionary radical feminist (Terf) activists at the London Anarchist Bookfair 2017.

Distributing and displaying transphobic literature is an explicit attack on trans people’s existences and the safety of those people at the event. We stand in solidarity with our trans comrades, particularly trans women and other transfeminine folk, and all who were affected by the actions of Terf activists at the bookfair. We recognise that a politics and feminism that excludes the experiences of trans people has no place in the anarchist movement. Terfs regularly employ tactics of harassment, stalking and doxxing of trans people; outing them to their workplaces and families and exposing them to state violence. Again, this has no place in the movement.

Events at the bookfair have highlighted ongoing issues with the exclusion of marginalised groups from the anarchist movement. It is clear that the bookfair had reached a size and scope such that the current organising model needs to change to accommodate new demands and pressures.

In the light of the bookfair collective’s announcement that they will not be doing one next year there are now opportunities for others in the anarchist community to step up and look to organise events in 2018 that are inclusive and responsive to the movement.

We have been thinking about how we can work to show solidarity with the trans community in the aftermath of this, beyond our words and this statement, so put together a resources and suggestions list below. If you have suggestions for other things, let us know. If you’re unsure what all the fuss was about, educate yourself about why those leaflets were so messed up, on the history of Terf politics and of trans-misogyny in order to challenge it and fight it, some articles are provided (CW: some of these articles quote Terfs in order to challenge them, so do include examples of transphobia and trans-misogyny).

Resources

Being active

  • Organise an action, a film night or something else for the next Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20th to remember all of the people that have been killed due to anti-transgender violence (overwhelmingly trans women and other trans feminine people of colour) See https://tdor.info, https://www.glaad.org/tdor and #TDOR for more information.
  • Organise a letter writing night, a benefit or some other event for the Trans Prisoner Day of Action and Solidarity on January 22nd.
  • Support Action for Trans Health who raise money and campaign to improve access to healthcare for trans people. You could become a member with a monthly subscription
  • send a one-off donation or buy a t-shirt on their ebay store.
  • Listen, centre and amplify the voices of trans people, particularly trans women and trans feminine people of colour.
  • if you are on twitter you can start doing the above by checking out: #30DaysofTransResilience, @travisalabanza, @junodawson, @reinagossett, @janetmock, @RaquelWillis_, @audrelorde, @TransActualUK, @TPrideBrighton, @TransMediaWatch, @BlackTransMedia, @act4transhealth, @LDN4TransHealth, @qtipoc_CC, @TransLawCenter, @tgijp, @theMAJORdoc.
  • Challenge the trans-misogyny we see and hear in our everyday lives.stand up if you see someone facing transphobic abuse, including online when people get a torrent of hate from Terfs and other transphobes. e.g.show @travisalabanza some love at the moment who continues to be targeted for demanding they use the changing room of their choice at topshop.

    Freedom Collective (majority view)

Tags: london anarchist bookfairfreedom collectivecategory: International
Categories: News

Commune Against Civilization

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 16:19

via Pudget Sound Anarchists

Dispatch #1 from an uninvited guest on
COAST SALISH TERRITORY,
SQUAXIN AND NISQUALLY LAND–

It’s been one year since the Olympia railroad blockade of 2016 found itself growing for 7 rainy days and nights, prompted by solidarity actions with Standing Rock and eventually culminating in a fierce street fight with the police, while the baleful sound of the train whistle announced the resumption of business as usual. One year after this rupture, one revolution around the sun later, an assortment of the brave and the heartbroken, the tender and the enraged, are at it again. The hot, communal mess splayed across the train tracks has been resurrected, appearing again like a recurrent dream. Immediately, it feels like it never left us. Immediately we know that it never did.

This year, the festivity and rage happened to kick off on Nov.17th, at the same exact moment that the streets of Athens, Greece were erupting 6,000 miles away in fiery combat against the police, as anarchists and their friends observed (with riots) the 44th anniversary of the Athens Polytechnic university uprising that shook the Greek military dictatorship of 1967-1974, further catalyzing its decline. That upheaval, nearly half a century away now, saw a tank crash through the gates of the school, its drivers and their superiors perhaps knowing but not wanting to believe that their time had come. It was this cycle of events launched the Greek anarchist movement– pride and inspiration of anti-capitalist rebels the world over– into the contemporary era, swelling and bursting again in the generalized Greek insurrection of December, 2008 after 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos was murdered in cold blood by police in the Exarchia neighborhood. We send warm greetings to the comrades on Greek territory. These nights still belong to Alexis.

Speaking of territory, this alleged place known as “Olympia” is nothing other than a fictional geopolitical entity. It’s a cover. The spot was taken from its original inhabitants through a combination of lies and brute, genocidal force, its use denied to them or strictly regulated ever after through state machination and cynical capitalist maneuvering. Its non-human inhabitants silenced, exploited, and exterminated to the point of an eradication that is ongoing (while even among the privileged and pale-skinned the rates of cancer continue to climb). Its operations of surplus accumulation were achieved through the imposed grinding misery and racism of immigrant labor and the customs of sundown towns. Like all the cities and towns of the Empire, it is an unliving monster, an aggregate of production and consumption whose perpetuation of its version of life is incidental to the continued mass extraction of resources and profit.

Contrary to the admonitions of those who would much rather see everything return to “normal,” none of this is ancient history. In light of current events, and every new attack on the dispossessed, this past isn’t so very long gone at all. As we learned from Asheville, NC on May Day a few years ago and in innumerable clashes every since, the past doesn’t pass.

Industrial Infrastructure, White Supremacy, and You

Once again, there will be lies uttered on all sides about the anarchists, anti-authoritarians, anti-fascists, queers, and indigenous militants and activists who constitute the blockade, the array of those who love and support it. The liberals (even the “anarchist” ones!), conservatives, fascists, police, port commissioners, local progressive politicians, and shoppers will take turns casting doubts, condemnations, and fretful worries all over the thing. This does not necessarily trouble us, at least not any more than living through the terminal phase of terrestrial life on the earth troubles us, with its profound and rotten malaise in all hearts, its blood on all hands. Just as we don’t necessarily mind having the same debates and discussions year after year in the meetings and general assemblies. After all, even the most intransigent among us started somewhere.

Aside from the cascading catalogue of horrors, what is most troublesome during this– possibly the most critical moment in our own lives so far regarding the prospects for life and freedom in this world– are those who, while calling us “comrade,” would split and mutilate the full social and ecological context of the catastrophe.

Of course, politicians will select the issue of fracking or of “hate groups” or anything else and isolate them from the rest of the nightmare in order to drum up votes for their campaign. And it’s no surprise anymore either when fascists commandeer the increasingly pressing concerns of ecology, community, or autonomy for their own twisted agenda, refracting valid and resonant issues through the prism of their narrow, poisonous, sad, and deeply mistaken answer to the apocalypse. And centrists? Who knows or cares what they even think?

But it’s time (once again) that we make ourselves clear to our would-be accomplices: there are no industrial projects that are any more redeemable than fracking. Fracking, divorced from the greater context, is a side issue.

Civilization itself is the equivalent of an ongoing fracking operation. Every single day that elapses while the industrial infrastructure stands yields an amount of toxifying waste which is the same as an Exxon-Valdez oil spill. And that’s not from “accidents” or “disasters.” That’s the normal, non-disastrous functioning of the system. If the syndicalists and social ecologists among us (some of whom have indeed made valiant contributions to holding down anarchist spaces and bolstering blockades) have the stomach to look– and look deeply– into the basis for any of the structures of capital, be they railroads, ports, mines, factories, solar panels, or co-operative grocery stores… it’s hard to imagine they would like what they would find.

The railroad feeds the Port of Olympia, and moves fracking materials out to the Bakken oil fields. But why don’t we hear more or care more about the fact that it also continuously ships the massified, butchered bodies of old growth trees to far-flung places, all in order to line the pockets of timber barons? Or that it also feeds the enterprises that produce plastic bottles and soda (I invite you to research what plastic is, research the effects of even a miniscule amount of plastic on living bodies. If you do, you might realize that recycling is more a cruel and hilarious con job than a solution).

But it doesn’t stop there. Without railroads and the infantile, Europeanized artifice of a world that needs them, there would have been no impetus for the near-total annihilation of the American Bison. That ruthless, mechanized slaughter was not only undertaken to complete the railroads (with the coerced help of the broken, brutalized bodies of immigrant Asian laborers), but to disrupt the ancient and symbiotic relationship between the grass-eating fauna of this land and its human inhabitants. Go to the Midwest and behold the cracked, dry, desertifying remnants that pass for soil, the once-ecstatic skin of the earth which took thousands of years to build up, inch by inch, but took only a few generations to wipe out utterly. Look at the “corn” that sits in place of the prairie, growing only because of its genetically-modified nature and the millions of gallons of synthetic, oil-based fertilizer dumped on it year after miserable year. Learn for yourself about the “Green Revolution” in agriculture between the 30’s and the 60’s, about it’s furtherance of the iron-fisted subjugation of the so-called Third World, about the prelude to neo-colonialism that it represents, and then see if you can tell the enemies of civilization that they, somehow, are the “genocidists.”

A question: If you, yourself, are not willing to go clear the land of its original inhabitants, dig a mine, forcibly shovel carcinogenic filth down each and every one of their throats, force native children into schools to “learn,” split communal structures into the atomized boxes of private-property-based nuclear families, then why on earth would you feel entitled to the products of a mine? Solar panels?

Probe into the hellish annals of His-story long or far enough and realize: Genocide is inseparable from patriarchy is inseparable from ecocide. Tug on one strand or sinew of the web of domination and watch the others stretch and yawn, before reaching out for you.

The technologies dreamt up, designed, bought and paid for by millionaires, military scientists, and white supremacist techie gentrifiers cannot but do what they have been brought into existence to do. Text groups are not a community. Our “communities” are not even communities. Until the machinery grinds to a halt and we really decide who feels entitled to its fruits, until we determine whether or not everyone (near and far, human and otherwise) affected by them can live and die in a dignified manner with their operation, we are not a community. As long as a single cop shop remains, as long as they lock food up in stores and charge us ransom to get it out of there, then we will not have realized even a paltry vision of freedom.

The Beginning of the End

A walk through camp this morning yielded these primary sounds: laughter, song, a few puppies at play giving out the occasional slight growl or yip followed by the coos or the gentle reproaches of the doting people at their side, old friends catching up, new friends being made, the rustling of food containers and some chomping from the kitchen, the crackle of wood coals in the metal drum mingling with the smell of wood smoke in my nostrils, reminding me of the aroma of my grandmother’s hearth in the earliest days I can remember on the other side of this Turtle Island, on the other side of a life that, for all its pain and failure, has been worth the living.

In camp, even those few who have little affinity or liking for each other begin to cooperate, the notes sounded between them soften. Arguments occasionally boil or simmer, tempers flare, but when they cool again understanding has deepened. Relationships take effort, but also time and space. Healing and truth sink into us only gradually, but our patience is rewarded. At long last, we let that which is petty truly slide. There is not much else to do in the face of our shared goal as it finally shimmers momentarily on the horizon: life in common.

Who cares that we must neutralize yet another troll this morning, or initiate more accountability proceedings for those lost in a cycle of abusiveness, or even eject the incorrigible? What matter that there are apparently napalm-wielding fascists who live in that tunnel over there? So what if the climax of this chapter is another pitched battle? Chances are that everyone you know is having a hard time. We are all hurt, scared, fed up, anxious to the point of despair and rage. This way of life suits not one of us, and we don’t want to perpetuate it anymore.

Most everyone can feel it, but I will give it a name for you: Life in the blockade is a small step away from the life of civilization. Let the most aghast and scandalized of the Leftists riot and curse our names if they don’t want to come to grips with this fact. But just think, if we all leave our “homes” in the cold, rainy nights of November in order to go live together outside, to split up responsibilities in an egalitarian fashion and share in our joys and pains in the open air, if we develop autonomous and effective communal structures and customs of communication, decision-making, and conflict resolution, if we care for the young and vulnerable together and blur lines of ownership, if the goal increasingly being enunciated by the communards is not the attainment of this or that concession from those in power but instead for this to never end… if we stop this fucking train in favor of a life where we only take from the land that which we can eventually give back, in a continuation of the dance that has existed since time immemorial… then why shy away from the implications of our project? Why recoil from the next steps? This is objectively a de-civilizing trajectory, and we couldn’t be more pleased.

The continued existence of the Port of Olympia offers us next to nothing. It’s abuses and injuries far, far outweigh any potential benefit. The furred, feathered, and scale-clad denizens of our only home, the plants and mountains and seas, have never needed infrastructure such as this, and human people are no different. Those who insist that we are– that without the structures of bosses, cops, scientists, and rapists that we would collapse into a heap– have a particularly deep-seated case of Stockholm Syndrome. They are in love with their captors.

We must hurry to wipe the port off the map before another manipulator convinces us that to do so is madness. We must do the same with all the rest of the colonizer’s fictions. Finally, we must tear the map itself to ribbons and scatter it to the four winds. There is a world whose heart still beats, however faintly, waiting for us to live inside it.

Others have said it before us: expand the terrain of struggle, communize everything, demand nothing. If those in power don’t know what they can possibly do to placate you, then power will begin to slip like sand through their fingers and flow to you and yours. Give nothing and expect even less from the aspiring managers of social struggle. Mercilessly mock and cut down those who would assume a leadership based on anything other than the confidence and consent of their peers, or who would pacify the legitimate rage of the exploited.

FRIENDS, NEAR AND FAR, hear the cries of the comrades of the Grey Coast cluster: We are not going back to normal. Solidarity actions must proliferate everywhere. Autonomous blockades and actions (unconnected with any government, political party, trade union, top-down federation, or advocacy group) must roar into life. Form affinity groups or act alone and spread the revolt horizontally (by the multiplication of easy reproducibility, not by the addition of membership lists).

If we can do it, so can you. Strike, occupy, sabotage, disrupt, take over. Sever the tentacles of the unliving beast and open up space for the holiday without end.

It was true back then and it’s true now: we are an image from the future. Get going.

With love and free shit for the comrades,
With egalitarian desire gone feral,

From the weirdest little town in “the West,”
/// some catastrophic commune kids
P.S. DROP J20 OR WE’LL DROP MORE ON YOU

NO PEACE WHILE THE BLACK SNAKE STILL WRITHES

EXQUISITE VENOM IN DARK ALLEYWAYS FOR ABE CABRERA, THE “ECO-EXTREMISTS,” AND THE PRO-RAPE ALT-RIGHTERS-IN-WAITING AT LBC

SHOUT OUT OTHERWORLDS

Tags: olympiaanti-civfrackingcategory: Essays
Categories: News

Commune Against Civilization

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 16:19

via Pudget Sound Anarchists

Dispatch #1 from an uninvited guest on
COAST SALISH TERRITORY,
SQUAXIN AND NISQUALLY LAND–

It’s been one year since the Olympia railroad blockade of 2016 found itself growing for 7 rainy days and nights, prompted by solidarity actions with Standing Rock and eventually culminating in a fierce street fight with the police, while the baleful sound of the train whistle announced the resumption of business as usual. One year after this rupture, one revolution around the sun later, an assortment of the brave and the heartbroken, the tender and the enraged, are at it again. The hot, communal mess splayed across the train tracks has been resurrected, appearing again like a recurrent dream. Immediately, it feels like it never left us. Immediately we know that it never did.

This year, the festivity and rage happened to kick off on Nov.17th, at the same exact moment that the streets of Athens, Greece were erupting 6,000 miles away in fiery combat against the police, as anarchists and their friends observed (with riots) the 44th anniversary of the Athens Polytechnic university uprising that shook the Greek military dictatorship of 1967-1974, further catalyzing its decline. That upheaval, nearly half a century away now, saw a tank crash through the gates of the school, its drivers and their superiors perhaps knowing but not wanting to believe that their time had come. It was this cycle of events launched the Greek anarchist movement– pride and inspiration of anti-capitalist rebels the world over– into the contemporary era, swelling and bursting again in the generalized Greek insurrection of December, 2008 after 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos was murdered in cold blood by police in the Exarchia neighborhood. We send warm greetings to the comrades on Greek territory. These nights still belong to Alexis.

Speaking of territory, this alleged place known as “Olympia” is nothing other than a fictional geopolitical entity. It’s a cover. The spot was taken from its original inhabitants through a combination of lies and brute, genocidal force, its use denied to them or strictly regulated ever after through state machination and cynical capitalist maneuvering. Its non-human inhabitants silenced, exploited, and exterminated to the point of an eradication that is ongoing (while even among the privileged and pale-skinned the rates of cancer continue to climb). Its operations of surplus accumulation were achieved through the imposed grinding misery and racism of immigrant labor and the customs of sundown towns. Like all the cities and towns of the Empire, it is an unliving monster, an aggregate of production and consumption whose perpetuation of its version of life is incidental to the continued mass extraction of resources and profit.

Contrary to the admonitions of those who would much rather see everything return to “normal,” none of this is ancient history. In light of current events, and every new attack on the dispossessed, this past isn’t so very long gone at all. As we learned from Asheville, NC on May Day a few years ago and in innumerable clashes every since, the past doesn’t pass.

Industrial Infrastructure, White Supremacy, and You

Once again, there will be lies uttered on all sides about the anarchists, anti-authoritarians, anti-fascists, queers, and indigenous militants and activists who constitute the blockade, the array of those who love and support it. The liberals (even the “anarchist” ones!), conservatives, fascists, police, port commissioners, local progressive politicians, and shoppers will take turns casting doubts, condemnations, and fretful worries all over the thing. This does not necessarily trouble us, at least not any more than living through the terminal phase of terrestrial life on the earth troubles us, with its profound and rotten malaise in all hearts, its blood on all hands. Just as we don’t necessarily mind having the same debates and discussions year after year in the meetings and general assemblies. After all, even the most intransigent among us started somewhere.

Aside from the cascading catalogue of horrors, what is most troublesome during this– possibly the most critical moment in our own lives so far regarding the prospects for life and freedom in this world– are those who, while calling us “comrade,” would split and mutilate the full social and ecological context of the catastrophe.

Of course, politicians will select the issue of fracking or of “hate groups” or anything else and isolate them from the rest of the nightmare in order to drum up votes for their campaign. And it’s no surprise anymore either when fascists commandeer the increasingly pressing concerns of ecology, community, or autonomy for their own twisted agenda, refracting valid and resonant issues through the prism of their narrow, poisonous, sad, and deeply mistaken answer to the apocalypse. And centrists? Who knows or cares what they even think?

But it’s time (once again) that we make ourselves clear to our would-be accomplices: there are no industrial projects that are any more redeemable than fracking. Fracking, divorced from the greater context, is a side issue.

Civilization itself is the equivalent of an ongoing fracking operation. Every single day that elapses while the industrial infrastructure stands yields an amount of toxifying waste which is the same as an Exxon-Valdez oil spill. And that’s not from “accidents” or “disasters.” That’s the normal, non-disastrous functioning of the system. If the syndicalists and social ecologists among us (some of whom have indeed made valiant contributions to holding down anarchist spaces and bolstering blockades) have the stomach to look– and look deeply– into the basis for any of the structures of capital, be they railroads, ports, mines, factories, solar panels, or co-operative grocery stores… it’s hard to imagine they would like what they would find.

The railroad feeds the Port of Olympia, and moves fracking materials out to the Bakken oil fields. But why don’t we hear more or care more about the fact that it also continuously ships the massified, butchered bodies of old growth trees to far-flung places, all in order to line the pockets of timber barons? Or that it also feeds the enterprises that produce plastic bottles and soda (I invite you to research what plastic is, research the effects of even a miniscule amount of plastic on living bodies. If you do, you might realize that recycling is more a cruel and hilarious con job than a solution).

But it doesn’t stop there. Without railroads and the infantile, Europeanized artifice of a world that needs them, there would have been no impetus for the near-total annihilation of the American Bison. That ruthless, mechanized slaughter was not only undertaken to complete the railroads (with the coerced help of the broken, brutalized bodies of immigrant Asian laborers), but to disrupt the ancient and symbiotic relationship between the grass-eating fauna of this land and its human inhabitants. Go to the Midwest and behold the cracked, dry, desertifying remnants that pass for soil, the once-ecstatic skin of the earth which took thousands of years to build up, inch by inch, but took only a few generations to wipe out utterly. Look at the “corn” that sits in place of the prairie, growing only because of its genetically-modified nature and the millions of gallons of synthetic, oil-based fertilizer dumped on it year after miserable year. Learn for yourself about the “Green Revolution” in agriculture between the 30’s and the 60’s, about it’s furtherance of the iron-fisted subjugation of the so-called Third World, about the prelude to neo-colonialism that it represents, and then see if you can tell the enemies of civilization that they, somehow, are the “genocidists.”

A question: If you, yourself, are not willing to go clear the land of its original inhabitants, dig a mine, forcibly shovel carcinogenic filth down each and every one of their throats, force native children into schools to “learn,” split communal structures into the atomized boxes of private-property-based nuclear families, then why on earth would you feel entitled to the products of a mine? Solar panels?

Probe into the hellish annals of His-story long or far enough and realize: Genocide is inseparable from patriarchy is inseparable from ecocide. Tug on one strand or sinew of the web of domination and watch the others stretch and yawn, before reaching out for you.

The technologies dreamt up, designed, bought and paid for by millionaires, military scientists, and white supremacist techie gentrifiers cannot but do what they have been brought into existence to do. Text groups are not a community. Our “communities” are not even communities. Until the machinery grinds to a halt and we really decide who feels entitled to its fruits, until we determine whether or not everyone (near and far, human and otherwise) affected by them can live and die in a dignified manner with their operation, we are not a community. As long as a single cop shop remains, as long as they lock food up in stores and charge us ransom to get it out of there, then we will not have realized even a paltry vision of freedom.

The Beginning of the End

A walk through camp this morning yielded these primary sounds: laughter, song, a few puppies at play giving out the occasional slight growl or yip followed by the coos or the gentle reproaches of the doting people at their side, old friends catching up, new friends being made, the rustling of food containers and some chomping from the kitchen, the crackle of wood coals in the metal drum mingling with the smell of wood smoke in my nostrils, reminding me of the aroma of my grandmother’s hearth in the earliest days I can remember on the other side of this Turtle Island, on the other side of a life that, for all its pain and failure, has been worth the living.

In camp, even those few who have little affinity or liking for each other begin to cooperate, the notes sounded between them soften. Arguments occasionally boil or simmer, tempers flare, but when they cool again understanding has deepened. Relationships take effort, but also time and space. Healing and truth sink into us only gradually, but our patience is rewarded. At long last, we let that which is petty truly slide. There is not much else to do in the face of our shared goal as it finally shimmers momentarily on the horizon: life in common.

Who cares that we must neutralize yet another troll this morning, or initiate more accountability proceedings for those lost in a cycle of abusiveness, or even eject the incorrigible? What matter that there are apparently napalm-wielding fascists who live in that tunnel over there? So what if the climax of this chapter is another pitched battle? Chances are that everyone you know is having a hard time. We are all hurt, scared, fed up, anxious to the point of despair and rage. This way of life suits not one of us, and we don’t want to perpetuate it anymore.

Most everyone can feel it, but I will give it a name for you: Life in the blockade is a small step away from the life of civilization. Let the most aghast and scandalized of the Leftists riot and curse our names if they don’t want to come to grips with this fact. But just think, if we all leave our “homes” in the cold, rainy nights of November in order to go live together outside, to split up responsibilities in an egalitarian fashion and share in our joys and pains in the open air, if we develop autonomous and effective communal structures and customs of communication, decision-making, and conflict resolution, if we care for the young and vulnerable together and blur lines of ownership, if the goal increasingly being enunciated by the communards is not the attainment of this or that concession from those in power but instead for this to never end… if we stop this fucking train in favor of a life where we only take from the land that which we can eventually give back, in a continuation of the dance that has existed since time immemorial… then why shy away from the implications of our project? Why recoil from the next steps? This is objectively a de-civilizing trajectory, and we couldn’t be more pleased.

The continued existence of the Port of Olympia offers us next to nothing. It’s abuses and injuries far, far outweigh any potential benefit. The furred, feathered, and scale-clad denizens of our only home, the plants and mountains and seas, have never needed infrastructure such as this, and human people are no different. Those who insist that we are– that without the structures of bosses, cops, scientists, and rapists that we would collapse into a heap– have a particularly deep-seated case of Stockholm Syndrome. They are in love with their captors.

We must hurry to wipe the port off the map before another manipulator convinces us that to do so is madness. We must do the same with all the rest of the colonizer’s fictions. Finally, we must tear the map itself to ribbons and scatter it to the four winds. There is a world whose heart still beats, however faintly, waiting for us to live inside it.

Others have said it before us: expand the terrain of struggle, communize everything, demand nothing. If those in power don’t know what they can possibly do to placate you, then power will begin to slip like sand through their fingers and flow to you and yours. Give nothing and expect even less from the aspiring managers of social struggle. Mercilessly mock and cut down those who would assume a leadership based on anything other than the confidence and consent of their peers, or who would pacify the legitimate rage of the exploited.

FRIENDS, NEAR AND FAR, hear the cries of the comrades of the Grey Coast cluster: We are not going back to normal. Solidarity actions must proliferate everywhere. Autonomous blockades and actions (unconnected with any government, political party, trade union, top-down federation, or advocacy group) must roar into life. Form affinity groups or act alone and spread the revolt horizontally (by the multiplication of easy reproducibility, not by the addition of membership lists).

If we can do it, so can you. Strike, occupy, sabotage, disrupt, take over. Sever the tentacles of the unliving beast and open up space for the holiday without end.

It was true back then and it’s true now: we are an image from the future. Get going.

With love and free shit for the comrades,
With egalitarian desire gone feral,

From the weirdest little town in “the West,”
/// some catastrophic commune kids
P.S. DROP J20 OR WE’LL DROP MORE ON YOU

NO PEACE WHILE THE BLACK SNAKE STILL WRITHES

EXQUISITE VENOM IN DARK ALLEYWAYS FOR ABE CABRERA, THE “ECO-EXTREMISTS,” AND THE PRO-RAPE ALT-RIGHTERS-IN-WAITING AT LBC

SHOUT OUT OTHERWORLDS

Tags: olympiaanti-civfrackingcategory: Essays
Categories: News

How do We turn Olympia Stand into the Olympia Commune?

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 16:02

via itsgoingdown, original source here

This editorial from Puget Sound Anarchist, a counter-information site in the Pacific Northwest, writes about the ongoing anti-fracking blockade of #OlympiaStand, and how it could manifest into a growing epicenter of autonomous power.

Photo from @DemandUtopia

It is worthwhile to consider the desired goals of the blockade, in order to give some clarity and direction to our activity at the camp. Is the goal to stop fracking and military equipment from moving through the port? Is the goal to clog an artery of a global regime of resource extraction and exploitation? Is the goal to create an autonomous power base, to enable us to seize control over our own lives and communities? For those interested in truly stopping the world that needs fracking, the answer is: all of the above and more. And as the Earth is being murdered in the name of profit, nothing short of a fundamental transformation in how society is organized is worthy of being taken seriously.

And so how do we grow the blockade into a model for how we want to live, how we want to treat each other, and how we want society to be organized? To a large extent this work has already begun in the camp. In order to build our collective power to resist the exploitation and ecocide of this world, we have to build the alternatives to sustain us. This is why the blockade has largely been recognized to have taken on the form and function of a commune. It is the natural structure that arises from a zone of collective care, which departs from the laws and logic of capitalism and the state. If the commune is the form that our transformative social organizations take, then we should ask ourselves in earnest: how do we expand the commune?

The question of sustaining and expanding the commune inevitably leads us to the issue of dealing with those who would crush this project before it begins.

How should we interact with the police?

Dialog with the police is not desirable or possible. The police have institutional power and we do not. Within the structure of this relationship, there is an inherent threat of violence that maintains this power imbalance. To put it bluntly, it is state violence that keeps us powerless. When the police come to “talk” with us, it is always with the end goal of neutralizing our resistance, with deadly violence if necessary. There can be no dialog when one party is pointing guns at the other. What is actually taking place when conversation is opened with the police is the beginning of our surrender.

If a fundamentally different world is what we desire, then we need a world free of the violent enforcers of the current social order. If we want the power to make the decisions which effect our lives, then we must confront state power. We must defeat the power of the police, to realize our desires for an autonomous and egalitarian world. To be against fracking necessarily means to be against the police. To believe that another world is possible is to believe that the police can be defeated.

With the question of establishing roles for police liaisons there lies a tension. The core of this tension seems to be whether we want specialized roles of potential de-escalation, or generalized roles of potential escalation. Of course there will likely not be consensus reached on this issue and so perhaps a better question is, how do we develop the nuance and collective intelligence capable of performing both of these roles in a decentralized and complementary manner?

These are only some of many questions that we will have to answer together but starting this dialog is worth the effort. We are attempting to build a new world.

Let’s care for each other! Let’s grow the commune! Let’s abolish the police!

Tags: olympiafrackingcategory: Essays
Categories: News

How do We turn Olympia Stand into the Olympia Commune?

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 16:02

via itsgoingdown, original source here

This editorial from Puget Sound Anarchist, a counter-information site in the Pacific Northwest, writes about the ongoing anti-fracking blockade of #OlympiaStand, and how it could manifest into a growing epicenter of autonomous power.

Photo from @DemandUtopia

It is worthwhile to consider the desired goals of the blockade, in order to give some clarity and direction to our activity at the camp. Is the goal to stop fracking and military equipment from moving through the port? Is the goal to clog an artery of a global regime of resource extraction and exploitation? Is the goal to create an autonomous power base, to enable us to seize control over our own lives and communities? For those interested in truly stopping the world that needs fracking, the answer is: all of the above and more. And as the Earth is being murdered in the name of profit, nothing short of a fundamental transformation in how society is organized is worthy of being taken seriously.

And so how do we grow the blockade into a model for how we want to live, how we want to treat each other, and how we want society to be organized? To a large extent this work has already begun in the camp. In order to build our collective power to resist the exploitation and ecocide of this world, we have to build the alternatives to sustain us. This is why the blockade has largely been recognized to have taken on the form and function of a commune. It is the natural structure that arises from a zone of collective care, which departs from the laws and logic of capitalism and the state. If the commune is the form that our transformative social organizations take, then we should ask ourselves in earnest: how do we expand the commune?

The question of sustaining and expanding the commune inevitably leads us to the issue of dealing with those who would crush this project before it begins.

How should we interact with the police?

Dialog with the police is not desirable or possible. The police have institutional power and we do not. Within the structure of this relationship, there is an inherent threat of violence that maintains this power imbalance. To put it bluntly, it is state violence that keeps us powerless. When the police come to “talk” with us, it is always with the end goal of neutralizing our resistance, with deadly violence if necessary. There can be no dialog when one party is pointing guns at the other. What is actually taking place when conversation is opened with the police is the beginning of our surrender.

If a fundamentally different world is what we desire, then we need a world free of the violent enforcers of the current social order. If we want the power to make the decisions which effect our lives, then we must confront state power. We must defeat the power of the police, to realize our desires for an autonomous and egalitarian world. To be against fracking necessarily means to be against the police. To believe that another world is possible is to believe that the police can be defeated.

With the question of establishing roles for police liaisons there lies a tension. The core of this tension seems to be whether we want specialized roles of potential de-escalation, or generalized roles of potential escalation. Of course there will likely not be consensus reached on this issue and so perhaps a better question is, how do we develop the nuance and collective intelligence capable of performing both of these roles in a decentralized and complementary manner?

These are only some of many questions that we will have to answer together but starting this dialog is worth the effort. We are attempting to build a new world.

Let’s care for each other! Let’s grow the commune! Let’s abolish the police!

Tags: olympiafrackingcategory: Essays
Categories: News

Start of the "Scripta Manent" Trial 16/11/2017 – Italy

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 15:49

via act for freedom now!, original source in Italian here

STATEMENT OF ANARCHIST GIOACCHINO SUMA

To the Court of Turin

Today, as well as for all the future hearings of this trial that sees me accused along with my brothers, sisters, but above all anarchist comrades, I will not give you the satisfaction of seeing my face in a courtroom of this tribunal.

I have never gone to the courtrooms where my funeral was being prepared in the past and I will not do so now!

I am anarchist, individualist, anti-authoritarian and above all I am for the insurrection, which has as one of its primary goals that of destroying places of death like this one and the prisons.

I will not be part of the spectacle set up by a judge who, suffering from hunger cramps, has put himself the payroll of a State that I do not recognize, being a citizen of the world in flight from its borders; I will not be there to listen to his delusions nor wait for the end to hear someone judge me “guilty or innocent.”

For any authoritarian State I will always be “guilty” because in the society I want there will be no room for you, your buildings and your institutions.

I have no desire to hear the history of anarchism by a servant of the State who has the aim of emphasizing the existence of “good” and “bad”, just because his democracy demands it.

Today he is asking for us to be condemned, tomorrow when his salary goes down he will ask for those he considers the “good” ones to be condemned.

But the truth is one: no anarchist can ever be “good” for an authoritarian State.

Otherwise, I have to think that in the years wasted for your fucking degree in law you never learned the meaning of the terms you use.

In a world where the morality of its inhabitants is formed on the one hand by religions and on the other by the “information” jackals in the pay of the judiciary, the police and the barracks, I found it opportune to carve out a space in the web for “counterinformation”.

I did so fully aware that I was using your means.

RadioAzione, of which I am the sole founder and curator, threw in your face what you never wanted to hear.

It was your intention to democratically leave the space alone to use it as bait and catch the fish but I sat in that space and overturned your “nice” tables back at you.

If the RadioAzione site really annoyed you, you could have issued one of your “nice” censorships but you didn’t; perhaps because someone needed to write pages and pages of court records to earn themselves their bread and butter for a few years?

Or because for six years you’ve been there listening to or reading my thoughts through a fucking key-logger that you’ve even given a name to, “Agent Elena”, who with her inflated bills has fed some other servant of the State?

But that’s another story … your cunning tricks don’t interest me…

To conclude, because I have already given you too much space for my liking:

I claim RadioAzione as a project that is mine, and mine alone.

A project in which, since it began until I decided to close it, I have always published my personal and individual “reflections”, or those of other comrades in the world that I felt affinity with.

I made all this readable through the site and listenable through the radio; by that I’m not saying that I did things “in the light of day” but because I was aware that, in addition to the comrades, you were also there listening and reading, and when you couldn’t take any more of it, you even got to the point of sabotaging my phone line by cutting the cables.

It is not these little games of the frustrated that annoy me but your miserable existence!

Over the years, you have tried in every way to stop me: jail, carpet controls under house arrest, threats, secret services, infiltration, etc …

I’m still here! Not a step back!

Unlike you, I have given meaning and purpose to my existence: the total destruction of the State!

I believe that the Anarchist Black Cross project is a valid one carried out by comrades with whom I feel affinity, and I did not have any problem about organizing the presentation of their newspaper in Naples, and even less in collaborating by translating or updating the site for a while.

It won’t be the useless scarecrow of this trial to silence me, to convince me not to give Solidarity, Complicity and economic support to my comrades, brothers and sisters, who today you are depriving me of having alongside me because they are kidnapped in your lagers and in those around the world.

It won’t be the threat of your lager to make me step back one millimetre or erase the conviction that is growing in me more and more year after year, to be your total enemy, that of your fetid opulent existence and of the whole of the State – Capital!

For anarchy, for insurrection

Gioacchino Somma

Tags: Operation Scripta ManentGioacchino Sommaanarchists in troublecategory: International
Categories: News

Start of the "Scripta Manent" Trial 16/11/2017 – Italy

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 15:49

via act for freedom now!, original source in Italian here

STATEMENT OF ANARCHIST GIOACCHINO SUMA

To the Court of Turin

Today, as well as for all the future hearings of this trial that sees me accused along with my brothers, sisters, but above all anarchist comrades, I will not give you the satisfaction of seeing my face in a courtroom of this tribunal.

I have never gone to the courtrooms where my funeral was being prepared in the past and I will not do so now!

I am anarchist, individualist, anti-authoritarian and above all I am for the insurrection, which has as one of its primary goals that of destroying places of death like this one and the prisons.

I will not be part of the spectacle set up by a judge who, suffering from hunger cramps, has put himself the payroll of a State that I do not recognize, being a citizen of the world in flight from its borders; I will not be there to listen to his delusions nor wait for the end to hear someone judge me “guilty or innocent.”

For any authoritarian State I will always be “guilty” because in the society I want there will be no room for you, your buildings and your institutions.

I have no desire to hear the history of anarchism by a servant of the State who has the aim of emphasizing the existence of “good” and “bad”, just because his democracy demands it.

Today he is asking for us to be condemned, tomorrow when his salary goes down he will ask for those he considers the “good” ones to be condemned.

But the truth is one: no anarchist can ever be “good” for an authoritarian State.

Otherwise, I have to think that in the years wasted for your fucking degree in law you never learned the meaning of the terms you use.

In a world where the morality of its inhabitants is formed on the one hand by religions and on the other by the “information” jackals in the pay of the judiciary, the police and the barracks, I found it opportune to carve out a space in the web for “counterinformation”.

I did so fully aware that I was using your means.

RadioAzione, of which I am the sole founder and curator, threw in your face what you never wanted to hear.

It was your intention to democratically leave the space alone to use it as bait and catch the fish but I sat in that space and overturned your “nice” tables back at you.

If the RadioAzione site really annoyed you, you could have issued one of your “nice” censorships but you didn’t; perhaps because someone needed to write pages and pages of court records to earn themselves their bread and butter for a few years?

Or because for six years you’ve been there listening to or reading my thoughts through a fucking key-logger that you’ve even given a name to, “Agent Elena”, who with her inflated bills has fed some other servant of the State?

But that’s another story … your cunning tricks don’t interest me…

To conclude, because I have already given you too much space for my liking:

I claim RadioAzione as a project that is mine, and mine alone.

A project in which, since it began until I decided to close it, I have always published my personal and individual “reflections”, or those of other comrades in the world that I felt affinity with.

I made all this readable through the site and listenable through the radio; by that I’m not saying that I did things “in the light of day” but because I was aware that, in addition to the comrades, you were also there listening and reading, and when you couldn’t take any more of it, you even got to the point of sabotaging my phone line by cutting the cables.

It is not these little games of the frustrated that annoy me but your miserable existence!

Over the years, you have tried in every way to stop me: jail, carpet controls under house arrest, threats, secret services, infiltration, etc …

I’m still here! Not a step back!

Unlike you, I have given meaning and purpose to my existence: the total destruction of the State!

I believe that the Anarchist Black Cross project is a valid one carried out by comrades with whom I feel affinity, and I did not have any problem about organizing the presentation of their newspaper in Naples, and even less in collaborating by translating or updating the site for a while.

It won’t be the useless scarecrow of this trial to silence me, to convince me not to give Solidarity, Complicity and economic support to my comrades, brothers and sisters, who today you are depriving me of having alongside me because they are kidnapped in your lagers and in those around the world.

It won’t be the threat of your lager to make me step back one millimetre or erase the conviction that is growing in me more and more year after year, to be your total enemy, that of your fetid opulent existence and of the whole of the State – Capital!

For anarchy, for insurrection

Gioacchino Somma

Tags: Operation Scripta ManentGioacchino Sommaanarchists in troublecategory: International
Categories: News

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

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

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