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How can anarchists help mobilize mass revolutionary struggle in America?
Socio-political fascism is on the rise again, giving this question fresh urgency. But that rise is the result of the basic structures of neoliberal capital. Fascism is the ruling social class’ attempt to tame a basic contradiction. Capitalism’s ruthless domination of human life and nature drives economic and ecological catastrophes and growing rebellion. To suppress widespread unrest, the establishment mobilizes the white supremacy, patriarchy, xenophobia, and militarism that have always been essential to capital, combining them in a more nakedly and aggressively authoritarian state. Trump is merely the puppet of this dynamic. America is hardly unique. The dynamic plays itself out in different ways and in various degrees in India, Russia, Turkey, Europe, and beyond.
Anarchists are facing a historic opportunity. We are witnessing an unprecedented outpouring of resistance in America, building on long-standing radical struggles. And in recent decades, anarchist ideas and practices have played an essential role in organizing radical resistance—from consensus-based decision-making to affinity groups, horizontal assemblies, and emphasis on decentralized direct action. This influence was obvious in the Global Justice Movement, in Occupy, and in Antifa coalitions today. Moreover, Trump’s brand of state fascism has sparked a crisis within the ruling class itself; it hasn’t fully established itself inside the state.
All of this means anarchists are poised to play a powerful role in helping organize a radical challenge to fascism’s rise and the oppressive society that requires fascism to function. But radical struggle is deeply fractured and reactive. How are anarchists to respond? In recent years, anti-authoritarians have debated a number of organizing possibilities to channel radical energy into mass projects: using insurrectionary methods to assert our freedom and provoke the masses into action; building coalitions of multiple leftist groups, like in Antifa; emphasizing “cadre politics”, entering existing mass movements to push them leftwards; creating and expanding specifically anarchist movements (“especifismo”); organizing workplace, neighborhood, or city councils (as in anarchosyndicalism or, in a different way, in Occupy); and beyond.
“For huge swaths of the radical left, the idea of building a new hierarchical party or group is justly discredited. This is an important part of the growing appeal of anarchism for the radical left today.”
To this debate—and drawing in various ways on all these traditions and beyond—I propose an “insurrectionary councilism.” This proposal is rooted in an analysis of the material conditions anarchists face today. Capital is undergoing an uneven, combined regression into more savage and direct forms of domination. At the same time, the radical left is beginning to congeal into a more radical form but remains deeply divided. In this context, insurrectionary councilism does not focus on either entering existing mass struggles (like in cadre politics) or building a specifically anarchist movement (as in especifismo). Following the lead of Antifa in Michigan and Charlottesville as well as the tradition of anarchosyndicalism, it calls for something else: creating radical, hybrid councils of delegates from the most radical anarchist and non-anarchist groups in a city for the sake of an experimental, federated, direct-action oriented system.
These are the aims of an insurrectionary councilism: to help tap into and share the rich and deep experience of groups too long separated from each other; to use those connections to build revolutionary solidarity and networks of coordinated radical action; and therefore to help congeal the revolutionary power of the radical left—to capitalize on this moment of crisis and danger. The aim is a more vibrant, intersectional, and coordinated federation of revolutionary groups.
This proposal emerges out of my work with the Radical Education Department. RED is a “pan-radical left,” rather than a strictly anarchist, organization. But it contains a strong anarchist current, and it is attempting to put many of these ideas into practice in Philadelphia. Ultimately, this proposal is self-consciously provisional. Arising out of RED’s experiments, it means above all to provoke non-dogmatic strategies, tactics, and ideas to help combine radicals and add to the creation of a powerful, broad, and revolutionary mass movement. It will, of course, need to be challenged, revised, and rethought as these experiments continue.Part I: Conditions of Radical Struggle
The law of uneven, combined regression
To be effective, a revolutionary strategy must be grounded in an analysis of material conditions.
Capitalism in America and beyond has assumed a “neoliberal” form. Neoliberalism was a reaction to two connected stimuli. It was born as a way of coping with the stagnating growth and falling rate of profit that was sending the economy into crisis in the 1970s—a comprehensive, failed project of restoring previous levels of profitability, especially by destroying the power of workers over the production process.
Neoliberalism was also the name given to a capitalist counterrevolution. It is the ruling class’ response to the explosive struggles by workers and students against patriarchy, racism, and class domination in the 60s and 70s, and against the fetters on profit placed on capital by workers since the 1930s. In the aftermath of that explosion in America and beyond, the ruling class and its central committee, the state, mollified some struggles by enacting a series of limited compromises. They were forced to concede important civil rights to women and people of color, and Boltanski and Chiapello chart how capital integrated the New Left’s embrace of “freedom” and “creativity” into capital’s management techniques.
The state resorted to obscene violence for more threatening struggles. The Black Panthers were murdered and arrested while the establishment launched a “war on drugs” to both rebuild white supremacist politics and target communities of color for mass incarceration. Unions were systematically dismantled or defanged to open the way for increased profits. Craters made by federal grenades in Alcatraz are permanent reminders of the savage repression of the American Indian Movement. Reagan in America, like Thatcher in England, consolidated a politics of repression and privatization. Under such pressure and due to internal pressures as well, the radical left splintered. Capital was left without a mass, revolutionary opponent within. With the collapse of the USSR—though it was hardly a radical and liberatory power—capital’s last major external opponent disappeared as well.
Neoliberalism is the form capitalism took when it burst the fetters that struggle placed on it—unleashing its blind, catastrophic drive to extract surplus value and expand.
Neoliberalism is governed by a law of uneven, combined regression. It leaps behind the gains made by radical struggles past. It is rooted in the central and driving mechanisms of social domination that movements weren’t strong enough to destroy: the power of the ruling class over the economy and state; private property; the police; prisons, the hierarchies of work and schools; the patriarchy reproduced by the family unit and by political and management structures; etc. It mobilizes those bases in order to reinstitute earlier levels and kinds of domination. It does this by combining those older structures of domination with the most advanced technologies. The bourgeoisie’s control of wealth and income have reached levels unseen in almost a century, spurred by the most innovative financial tools. The ruling and managerial classes use the most advanced, post-Fordist production processes and the newest means of production, driving working hours well beyond the 40 hour limit that workers once forced upon bosses. Women are placed under more direct and more violent control through government attacks on Roe v. Wade and through laws that require invasive new ultrasound technologies be forced on women prior to abortions. Civil rights protections erode or crumble. Communities of color are more blatantly placed under direct, lethal police control, which offers the most technologically advanced form of lynching. The mass incarceration system targeting Black communities regenerates slave labor in prisons, making the roots of the police in slave patrols increasingly obvious. White supremacy serves once more as an unabashed political plank—as in the current administration—although now it is announced, among other means, via Twitter.
Rolling back the advances of radical struggles and decimating resistance, capital intensifies its extraction of surplus labor and its quest for control—in the home, in prisons, at work, and in the streets.
Capital’s regression is, of course, international. The declining rates of profit that helped spur the neoliberal revolution at home laid the groundwork for a new wave of neocolonial expansion to exploit cheaper labor in the so-called “developing” world. Imperialist wars—including the longest war in American history—open up the Middle East and elsewhere to neoliberal economic expansion, a new colonialism. Trump is positioning America for a new round of imperial military expansion in Iran, a desperate move to relieve social unrest at home and open up new, decimated markets for investment. Conflicts at the “periphery” fuel domination at “home.” The advanced gear outfitting police for increasingly brutal, militarized repression—particularly of immigrants and people of color (as in Ferguson)—is the surplus cast off by war.
In capital’s uneven regression, its apparently “backward” elements serve as reactionary vanguards of capital. Liberals see the KKK and neo-Nazis as bizarre holdovers from the past. These relics have no place in society; they represent no systemic forces; they must be tolerated, even given full police protection. But this liberal fantasy misses the fact that they are foot soldiers empowered by the police and the executive branch to test the limits of liberal tolerance. The Klan and resurgent white supremacists represent the essence of capitalist “law and order.” They are essential to the state as it exerts the fascistic control needed to protect capitalism.
Forces and relations of revolt
But the shattering of radical power was not only a result of external pressure. It was rooted in internal causes as well. In the radical struggles of the 60s and 70s, the forces of revolt ruptured and went far beyond their social relations—the organizational structures that were supposed to house and channel them.
A vast array of radical, socially destabilizing, overlapping struggles exploded onto the scene—revolutionary feminists of color, radical queer movements, the American Indian Movement, student-worker movements, the Black Panthers, revolutionary ecological movements, and well beyond—rejecting classical ways of organizing. Both the Old and New Lefts mimicked the hierarchical party in various ways, reproducing precisely the bureaucratic, white, male, and upper-class domination that new struggles were fighting against. And where the established forms of struggle tended to see domination as monocausal – a problem of class alone – groups like the Combahee River Collective revealed the interconnected nature of domination, calling for intersectional revolution.
The radical left proved unable to create durable, mass revolutionary structures adequate to these developing forces. It fractured from within as it was being repressed from without.
A newly dominant model of mass struggle did emerge—for instance, in the student struggles in the late 60s and in the massive 1971 May Day anti-war protest that shut down Washington, DC. This model addressed the problem of organization through decentralization: the coordination of independent groups, often in reaction to some event (a war or a capitalist summit). Since those years, the reigning “common sense” of radical mass mobilizing on the left (though by no means of all radical groups) has been the horizontal organizing of largely independent groups. But such a model is a fragile one. Reactive, it struggles to survive when its external stimulus (the summit or war) disappears. And since it starts and ends with separated, even “siloed” groups and movements, it tends to fracture and dissipate quickly under state pressure.
Capital’s regression, then, is accompanied by a regression of struggle. Radicals cannot rely on traditional organizational models. The pioneering, essential work of women of color feminists, anarchists, and others has shown how exclusionary and repressive the old top-down modes of organizing are. More than this, the leftist hierarchical parties emerging within neoliberalism—Syriza and Podemos, e.g.—repeat the lessons taught by social democratic parties in the early 20th century. They either bend to the rules of capital, or their apparent radical power quickly evaporates. For huge swaths of the radical left, the idea of building a new hierarchical party or group is justly discredited. This is an important part of the growing appeal of anarchism for the radical left today.
And yet neoliberal capital lays the foundations for mass revolutionary struggle. Unleashed finance and corporate capital are deeply unstable. Riven by contradictions—the chaotic, fragile nature of speculative finance, value accumulation beyond ecosystem limits, and an underlying, declining rate of profit, etc.—capital pushes the social system inevitably towards ecological and economic crises. The aftermath of the 2008 crisis revealed that systemic crisis does not result (as it did in the 1930s and 1940s) in semi-socialist compromises. This is the result of a weak left. The contradictions are not ameliorated but gather strength. At the same time, capital increasingly removes the humane mask it was made to wear by past struggles. The repression by which capital overcame its enemies leads to the increasing polarization and concentration of radical struggle, as in anti-white supremacy explosions in Ferguson and Baltimore; the Global Justice Movement; Occupy; wildcat worker struggles beyond compromised union leadership; and so on.
Our situation resembles much earlier struggles against industrial capital as the working class was only beginning to learn how to create organs of revolutionary power. Then as now, powerful revolutionary forces are emerging and connecting. But we lack the organizational forms we would need to capture and channel those forces in mass, revolutionary, intersectional, and durable struggle.
Neoliberalism, regression, fascism
State fascism is capital’s response to the instability and unrest it generates. The Trump administration’s fascism–its rabid militarism, authoritarian propaganda machine, embrace of extralegal violence, pursuit of a white ethno-state, and its fetish of police and military power–is no aberration. It is rooted in the deep and broad fascistic social forces that characterize neoliberal regression. “Trumpism” is simply a more aggressive and obvious combination of the state structure with neoliberal capital’s class domination, white supremacy, patriarchy, and militarism. it offers a vision of a threatened national, white, masculine identity whose “restoration” in a white ethnostate it pursues via the police and military.
In this way, Trumpism uses the reactionary forces of neoliberalism to rechannel the discontent generated by neoliberalism. Through Trump, the capitalist system responds to the danger of radical struggle. Trump rose to political power after the failure of the two major political parties to manage the mass discontent created by the 2008 crisis, which exploded in the struggles of Ferguson against white supremacist policing and economics and Occupy against the “1%”. We must not forget that Trump ran on a platform of extralegal violence against protesters; that the police were key supporters; and that he ran advocating the kind of police violence that inevitably targets people of color (a direct response to Black Lives Matter). The new American fascism assumes the threat of radical social change and it exists to violently repress it.
The goal is typical of historical fascism. The project of racial domination is meant to unify, in the wake of economic crisis and social unrest, the petite bourgeoisie threatened by globalizing corporate capital with segments of the squeezed working classes, precisely to rally them behind corporate and financial interests. Trump’s fig leaf nationalism and his lovers’ quarrels with CEOs do not hide the fact that the administration is little more than a puppet of the bourgeoise. It is no surprise, then, that his administration—overwhelmingly made up of millionaires and billionaires—championed a tax plan tailor-made for the ruling class. Even his seemingly nationalist push for tariffs was a play to the base that couldn’t be sustained. Trump quickly abandoned the idea of tariffs for almost any country but China—and this stance itself was an attempt to further open Chinese markets to international competition.
For too long, though, the theory of fascism has seen ideologies of racial and male domination merely as convenient tools capitalism uses to protect itself. Racial and gender domination are not simply means put to cynical use by the ruling class. Capitalism is white supremacist and patriarchal. Its class rule generates and regenerates hyper-exploited and expandable populations through internal and external colonies-—in the home, in prisons, abroad. Capitalism creates the basic conditions through which the white supremacy and patriarchy essential to the American social system can flourish. It is thrown into crisis when these systems are radically challenged; its panic in the face of the Black Panthers and terror at the prospect of women’s autonomy is proof enough of this.
But fascism, like capital, does not develop evenly. A state structure does not become fascist overnight, like turning off a light. Fascism “creeps.”To pursue fascistic policies, the executive branch mostly draws on arms of the state subject to greater executive control and already oriented around white supremacist ideals—like ICE. Other parts of the state are sluggish or resist. The judicial system limited the rollout of Trump’s immigration policies, for instance. Such friction is one reason Trump so often appeals to vigilantism. He “privatizes” fascist violence in order to avoid the complications of state machinery. Intra-state ”resistance” is no cause for hope. That the FBI challenges Trump does not erase its fascistic purpose and history. The state will not save us from the capitalist forces that control it, the very forces that generated fascism.
Radicals face a moment of danger and opportunity, then. Fascism is on the rise, but unevenly; its power hasn’t yet found a firm foothold in the state. It may be that political fascism gains a greater foothold—for example, if it is able to more successfully target activists for extreme punishments (as it means to do in the J20 trials). That hasn’t happened yet. Now is the time to build mass, revolutionary struggle that can attack Trump–and, more importantly, the social forces that spawned him.Part II: Insurrectionary Councilism
How should anarchists respond to this situation? Below I offer one possibility. But organization for a radical mass movement can only be discovered collectively and through continuous dialogue and experiment. I suggest the following model to spur further conversation and experiment as we forge a radical mass movement together.
“Insurrectionary councilism” offers a potentially powerful tool for anarchists to help build a revolutionary, broad-based struggle. It is rooted in a variety of traditions, from anarchosyndicalism’s federative vision of organizing to the powerful coalition work informing Antifa, the Metropolitan Anarchist Coordinating Committee, the Steel City Autonomous Movement, Zapatista encuentros, and beyond.
The following sketches the outlines of this idea.
Insurrectionary councilism calls for councils of members from radical groups—both anarchist and non-anarchist. Councils would aim to coordinate, concentrate, and train radical struggles against multiple fronts of domination. This spokes-model, then, emphasizes connecting delegates from social movements, rather than attempting to enter and influence existing struggles or to work within explicitly anarchist groups. There are several reasons for this.
First: the urgency of the situation—the uneven rise of political fascism—calls for a rapid response before fascism can gain a stronger foothold within the state. Focusing primarily on coordinating those already radicalized, rather than on the important but slower work of base-building, offers a way of addressing this urgency.
Second: the left was shattered by capital, and as a result, many of us have been working in activist “silos.” Connecting groups and movements within radical councils, then, puts powerful new resources at the hands of activists, allowing previously divided struggles to learn from one another’s accumulated experience, theory, and strategy. Says Chris Crass: “I think that when broader left/radical forces come together there is an enormous opportunity for us to share and learn politics and organizing that can take all of our work to the next level.” This strategy has been powerfully illustrated in Antifa. To shut down a Richard Spencer event at the University of Michigan and to counter fascists in Charlottesville, radicals drew upon a wide range of leftist struggles, creating a broad and forceful coalitional base to resist.
Third: members of radical groups are the “leading edge” of the social groups from which they come—that is, the most energized, the most conscious of social domination and its structures, and the most experienced in organizing. Tapping into and connecting delegates of movement groups, then, means building a base among people that are, in turn, already organically connected to various dominated communities. This approach has the potential to help mobilize large and intersectional bases of support out of such communities. An intersectional revolutionary strategy is absolutely essential to counter the broad and intersectional nature of capitalist domination: its simultaneous class, racial, and gender domination.
Among the most important social groups from which to recruit delegates, I suggest, are (though this list is very far from comprehensive):
- Movements of the downwardly mobile lower edge of the petit bourgeoisie—students, recent graduates, etc.—ike Occupy
- Revolution-oriented unions (like the IWW) that stand at a distance from more reformist labor unions; especially important are those organizing precarious service employees, perhaps the largest and potentially among the most politically powerful workers in the United States
- Prison and police abolitionist groups and coalitions, and more broadly, revolutionary struggles against white supremacy (such as the Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement)
- Radical queer and feminist struggles like Nightshade
- Radical anarchist groups and coalitions like Black Rose/Rosa Negra and the Steel City Autonomous Movement
- Radical groups and coalitions against xenophobia like No One Is Illegal
- Radical student groups and coalitions, especially those linking on-campus and off-campus struggle (against gentrification, e.g.)
- Revolutionary ecological groups like Earth First!
Shared revolutionary culture
Because the left is shattered, a key task becomes “congealing” the left, developing a shared revolutionary “culture” of solidarity and connection. Councils are to be places to not only educate ourselves about systems of social domination but also prepare ourselves for the collective task of self-determination.
Similar work in building a radical culture has been essential to Zapatismo, whose encuentros gave birth to the Global Justice Movement, and survived in Occupy in the form of educational working groups. A council of delegates offers a unique opportunity for such work. Since it would mobilize members of the most radical groups in a city, it would allow those movements a venue to forge a collective revolutionary identity together and within “parent” groups, strengthening the radical culture of a city.
Direct action and “emergent strategy”
The left hasn’t yet discovered durable ways to connect the diversity of radical struggles. Insurrectionary councilism is not itself the answer to this problem. But it aims to help create the conditions in which to solve it.
Insurrectionary councilism stresses an experimental method that constantly learns and develops, trying out new theories, tactics, and strategies for how diverse groups can combine. What organizational structures are required and most effective? What tactics and strategies are appropriate given the goals and nature of a radical council? What institutions and problems should be targeted, and in what order? And so on.
I call this an “insurrectionary” councilism to emphasize the need for an active and exploratory—rather than reactive—focus. Again and again, anarchists and anarchosyndicalists have rightly pointed out the central importance of direct actions that are not simply responses to the status quo. Direct action develops self-determination at the same time that it reveals first-hand the possibilities and limits that face radical struggles. In an insurrectionary councilism, councils would embrace the hostile, experimental direct action that tests the powers that be to develop strength and knowledge—a crucial means to radicalize, educate, and connect delegates and member groups.
The goal of insurrectionary councilism, then, is to create the conditions for what adrienne marie brown theorizes as “emergent strategy”. In other words, the aim is to create the conditions for generating the revolutionary theory, strategy, and tactics we lack today. Councils would be laboratories. When actions and projects don’t achieve the desired goal, they nonetheless succeed. The knowledge and experience gained is essential to the next phase of radical work. The goal, then, is to build an organizing structure that contains conduits for gathering and disseminating the experience of radicals.
Insurrectionary councilism is rooted in part in Occupy’s legacy, but it is also a response to the latter’s limits. Occupy, too, was a kind of experimental system of councils, but it was extremely unstable. This was not just a result of violent and direct state repression. Among a long list of other problems, Occupy was a platform for the organization of individuals, not groups; it suffered from an inability to connect and coordinate existing struggles in the cities it emerged in. Moreover, it often became reactionary, directing nearly all of its energies to defending a public space against attack. It failed to create an adequate structure to not only survive its inevitable destruction but also to save and transmit its ideas, practices, and lessons in an orderly way to ensure the struggle could continue elsewhere.
Against this parochialism, insurrectionary councilism calls for a federative system that borrows heavily from the anarchosyndicalist tradition. The aim is not simply the creation of movement councils, but their connection across regions and even nations, via a central (elected, immediately revocable, and purely administrative) body managing large-scale communication and support. Such loose centralization and federation would be a way to disseminate and coordinate the accumulated radical work produced by connecting groups.
A federative model also offers a tool for more durable struggle. We live in a counter-revolutionary rather than a revolutionary moment. While capitalism’s uneven, combined regression is preparing more crises and revolutionary opportunities, conditions are by no means ideal. It is probably not possible to generate truly revolutionary mass struggle now; such attempts will be destroyed or co-opted. The goal is intermediate: to generate mass, revolutionary experiments that can “fail well”—leaving behind a maximum of accumulated strategy, tactics, theory, energy, and organizing infrastructures, ensuring that the next effort will start at a higher level. The federative structure outlined here offers a tool to gather up and transmit our experiments to other councils and groups as well as to the future, laying the groundwork from which a revolutionary movement can again spring at the right moment.
This proposal tends to focus on the national context, but this is the reflection of the weakness of international radical solidarity. The project of building a radical federalism must stretch beyond and challenge national boundaries. Capital is international. Wherever possible it is essential to connect and coordinate radical groups, struggles, movements, coalitions, and councils across borders to challenge capital on its own terrain.
The Global Justice Movement, like Occupy, tried to create a very broad ideological tent to gather opposition to capital, mistaking numbers for strength. This is perhaps a difficult mistake to avoid as the radical left reassembles itself. But as a result, general assemblies and working groups became endless battles between radicals, liberals, and libertarians.
Radical movement councils, to avoid ideological deadlock, should be both open to non-anarchists and closed to non-radicals. One tool for achieving this is already put to use by many radical coalitions: a “minimum radical platform” that serves as a foundation of membership—for example, anti-capitalism; the recognition and rejection of all intersecting forms of domination; and an openness to strategic, radical direct action (if only in the form of an agreement on a “diversity of tactics”) as a key route to radical consciousness and organization. Organizing in this way, the council itself becomes a place to hammer out—in common with a range of radical groups—the theories of domination, resistance, and revolution needed to organize against neoliberal capital. This is not to exclude groups pursuing radical reformism like No One Is Illegal, which works within the legal system to help undocumented workers. But such groups distinguish themselves by refusing to stop at the level of reform, pushing beyond towards more radical social change.Outro
Insurrectionary councilism s designed to be both open and experimental, to help spark “emergent strategies” for a mass, revolutionary, and durable movement. It must be tested through critique, debate, and practice. The goal is preparation for the next revolutionary moment. That moment is already taking shape inside neoliberal capital.Footnotes:
 Andrew Kliman, The Failure of Capitalist Production (London: Pluto Press, 2012), 74.
 Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello, The New Spirit of Capitalism (London: Verso, 2018).
 On neoliberalism’s massive redistribution of wealth upwards, see David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 16.
 For this account I draw heavily on L.A. Kauffmann, Direct Action: Protests and the Reinvention of American Radicalism (London: Verso, 2017).Tags: Insurrectionary AnarchismCouncil decision-makingcategory: Essays
I've been out of jail about two weeks now, enough time to get set back up with a computer to replace the one stolen by the police and to begin sorting out what reflections I'd like to share more widely. I wrote a public letter while in the Barton Jail about a month ago and tried to mail it out, but it seems it didn't survive the prison censors, so a few details will be less timely than they might have been.
First of all, thanks so much for all the gestures of support and solidarity. Dealing with charges and incarceration is hard, but it makes a huge difference to know that people have your back and understand these attacks by the state in the context of larger struggles for freedom and autonomy. As anarchists, we have a long history of facing repression bravely, and when I feel sad or scared, I think of the toothless grin of Bakunin in Siberia, or the defiant tilt of Louise Michel's chin as she confronted her judges, or the countless others since those days who have refused to let the violence of the state force them to abandon their ideas and integrity.
I'm not going to comment on the details of what I'm accused of, other than to say I stand by every word that we wrote in The Tower's statement back in early March. I do, however, think it's important to discuss the primary charge that is being used against me, Conspiracy to Commit Unlawful Assembly While Masked.
This crime was invented by the Harper government back in 2013, following a private member's bill from Blake Richards of Wild Rose. This appears to be the first time this law has been used. The charge of Unlawful Assembly While Masked is a huge escalation in the legal arsenal against people who participate in demonstrations, since it no longer simply criminalizes a person for their acts, but targets an entire group of people for all the acts carried out by people perceived to be part of that group.
There were existing mask laws dealing with committing an offense while masked, and those are bullshit too (and solidarity to the two people who were charged under that law during an antifascist demo in Quebec city this past fall and to P charged with masked with intent in Toronto). However, this new law goes further and allows the state to seek up to ten years in jail for anyone wearing a mask in a demonstration that is deemed “unlawful”, a term that refers to a “reasonable fear” that an offense might be committed in the demonstration.
This is essentially the argument that was used against the original J20 defendants in the States this winter, after over 200 people were charged following a mass arrest at the Trump inauguration. They were accused of participating in a conspiracy by virtue of wearing a mask and showing up at the same time and place. However, they were found not guilty of these charges and the state then dropped them against 129 other defendants, because the judge ruled that being present and masked in a protest does not make you responsible for acts taken by other masked people.
Unlawful Assembly While Masked is already a very broad charge, but adding conspiracy to it makes it downright vague and all the more dangerous for it. With this strange charge, the state is arguing that otherwise legal actions (planning a demo, something I've been involved in probably at least 80 times in Hamilton) can become illegal retroactively based on that demo being deemed unlawful later on.
I don't want to get too caught up on law though, I don't want to ask for some sort of outrage on this latest overreach by the police and the crown attorney. Of course these institutions will use any tool they have to attack anarchists and anyone who threatens the ability of the powerful to control our lives. I do however think it's important to look at the specific tools they are using to do so, in order to defend ourselves against them and to build an analysis of them that can be useful for others who might be similarly targeted. By identifying the strangeness of these charges, I don't want to create some sort of separation between “good” protestors who didn't even do anything and “bad” ones who take offensive action in the street: these conspiracy charges represent a specific threat by the state, but I would oppose any form of repression no matter what pretext it used.
The repression against anarchists in Hamilton didn't begin with the raid on our house. For a month prior, we were treated to the disgusting spectacle of co-ordination between business owners, the police, and the far-right in their attacks on anarchists and those who resist gentrification in the city. Following some broken windows, local businesses loudly set about proclaiming themselves victims and calling for reprisals; the same far-right and fascist groups that have been organizing anti-immigrant demonstrations in the city mobilized to support the business owners, which they did not refuse; and in the face of pressure to do something, police swept in to lay bizarre charges. There have been some good texts (one and another) circulating about this co-ordination between business, fash, and cops in order to defend a certain vision of the city in which the property of the wealthy is the most important thing: here's to more good conversation in the months and years ahead.
I ended up spending about 40 days in the Barton Jail because I was denied bail – my experience in this is extraordinary only in that I later was released. About 2/3 of people locked up in Ontario are in awaiting trial (which takes at least a year), and this includes almost everyone in the Barton Jail, since people are transferred to other facilities upon conviction. Prisoners inside Barton followed the recent inquest into the many deaths there closely, reacting to stories about people they knew and sharing the sadness of the families testifying. Viewed from inside the walls, the assumptions and conclusions of the inquest make it hopelessly flawed, since it ignores one fundamental truth: people who die in jail die because they are in jail.
The physical cause of death might be a drug overdose, but we can't focus simply on the presence of drugs and ignore that three people are locked in cages built for one, stripped of their dignity and any sense of safety. How can we separate drugs from despair and trauma, from the fact that in order to attend court we are repeatedly sexually assaulted by guards (they call them strip searches). And the answer the guards give to these deaths is to demand more power over prisoners' bodies, so now in addition to two strip searches and a pat-down, we also get our pelvises x-rayed and are subjected to a range of other body scanners.
These acts are violent and intensely violating, contributing to depression and acting as a real disincentive to attending court and participating in your own defense while doing almost nothing to prevent deaths. That these forms of violence are so banal among guards shouldn't cause the rest of us to accept them as just the way it needs to be in the name of “justice”. How can we separate drug use from all the violence in the Barton Jail that doesn't result in death? As if the horrible things that it does to people that don't cause a heart to stop can just be ignored...
Prison creates far more problems than it solves and we'd be better off without it. Against prison and the world that needs it and solidarity to all prisoners, especially those in Barton.
Justice moves slow and it will probably be well over a year before the state actually has to present its arguments. In the meantime, I'm on house arrest, banished from Hamilton and from “attending or organizing any protests or rallies”. But nothing stops and nothing changes, all of our shared struggles and priorities still continue. I'm so grateful to all of those who know that in the face of repression, safety comes not by stepping back, but by stepping up – solidarity, having each others' backs, continuing to organize and argue your ideas, keeping projects going, and finding ways to push things forward.
I want to express my solidarity with all the remaining J20 defendants, charged for their actions opposing the Trump inauguration and the institution of the presidency. The trial of four defendants is ongoing now and two more trials are starting in the coming weeks. Whether they're accused of planning the demonstration, participating it, or of specific acts in the street, they are all deserving of our support and solidarity
Solidarity as well with all those in the French territory defending the ZAD of Notre-Dame-Des Landes as a space free of authority and with the anarchists arrested in March in Limoges and Ambert. A thought as well for Krem and for the others held near Paris in the same case.
It's also almost June 11, day of solidarity with long-term anarchist prisoners. Check out https://june11.noblogs.org for a list of prisoners and to find an event near you.
Since I don't believe that ideas or actions need a recognizable name on them to have value, I won't be releasing other statements unless something changes, though updates about this case and others in the region are available at https://hamiltonanarchistsupport.noblogs.org/
Until we're all free,
-cedarTags: hamiltonanarchists in troublesolidaritycategory: Prisoners
From It's Going Down
When It’s Going Down first launched, our column, All the News You Didn’t Even Know Was Going Down, offered a weekly roundup of revolt and headline news from an anarchist perspective. However, as this project has grown, we’ve seen a growth both in the amount of anarchist media produced in so-called North America, but also in the need for more continuous reporting and analysis of daily life in the Trump era and resistance to it.
This is why we are excited to roll out today, This is America, which we hope to produce upwards of three times a week. Each show/podcast will be under 30 minutes and will be radio ready – no cursing.
The goal of This is America comes out of discussion with our comrades at Sub.Media about what it would mean to push both ourselves and our movement in terms of generating media. We see the need to work towards the day when we can compete and ultimately leave in the dust, both the progressive Left exemplified by Democracy Now and the far-Right ala InfoWars. Ultimately we see this project as a step towards what a daily/weekly internet talk show would look like; one that could be streamed on social media, on phones, computers, and the radio. This is a tall drink of drink of water, one which today seems impossible, but then again, so did this project in early 2015.
With this project we hope to push towards:
- Putting out an episodes of This is America throughout the week. We’d are pushing to run episodes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday currently. We hope to put up episodes in the early AM, so those on the East Coast can download and listen to episodes before early work commutes. As a goal, this may take us some time to get to, but we hope that the work becomes more streamlined.
- Each episode will be radio ready and be around 10-15 minutes. This will allow people with access to public and pirate radio the ability to play the show as a form of headline news. This same format is currently in use across the US through the Pacifica Network, and there’s no reason that our forces can’t push to add this project to already existing station lineups.
- Streamline our audio reports into This is America to give those on the ground reporting on unfolding events a larger platform.
- Give listeners a short, fast, and accessible anarchist take on headline news that not only expands our talking points and analysis of capitalist civilization and self-organized revolt against it, but also gives those already within our movement information on daily events that they can use.
- Building up our listener-ship. This is America will be featured on the It’s Going Down podcast page of this website. To add that RSS feed to your phone or computer so you never miss a post and have the show directly downloaded to your device, follow this link, (fyi, a few months ago that link was updated, so you may want to refresh). Follow us on iTunes here. Follow us on Stitcher here. Please rate and leave comments on these platforms if you can to expand our audience.
Welcome to This is America, May 28th, 2018.
The last few days have been rocked by headlines surrounding ICE, a department of the Homeland Security Office which was formed in 2003. Last week, Donald Trump referred to migrants as “animals,” people protested, sabotaged, and blockaded a Georgia Governor candidate’s ‘Deportation Bus‘ and a racist lawyer connected to the Proud Boys was hounded across New York after demanding that employees at a restaurant who were speaking Spanish to a customer be deported. This week however, the news became much more horrific, as it was discovered that upwards of 1,500 children have gone “missing” within ICE detention facilities over the last few months.
As the Huffington Post wrote:
Tens of thousands of children from Central America are apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border each year, straining the government system caring for minors traveling to the U.S. without their parents. Now Donald Trump’s administration is stretching the system even further.
Until recently, families that illegally crossed together generally faced deportation proceedings in civil court. But as of this month, the Trump administration is following a blanket policy of referring for prosecution all people who cross illegally. The change means that authorities send parents to jails run by the U.S. Marshals Services and their children wind up in the same agency as minors who came to the U.S. without their parents ― sometimes without their parents being able to locate them.
White House chief of staff John Kelly told NPR this month that once separated from their parents, children “will be taken care of — put into foster care or whatever.”
By “whatever,” Kelly is supposed to mean programs which find guardians for migrant children, forcibly separated from their parents. Kelly also stated that this policy of ripping families apart was supposed to act as a deterrent to migrants crossing the border. But the system in place is also described by officials as “strained,” and has led to some of the tens of thousands of children which have been picked up in recent years, slipping through the cracks, including into the arms of some human traffickers, according to Think Progress.
The article went on to state:
With limited access to phones and no right to a public defender, parents might not be able to find out where their children are.
The Trump administration itself has also sent mixed messages to why such draconian policies are needed, at a time when more immigrants are leaving the US than entering it, and automation, outsourcing, and the gig economy is destroying more jobs than any undocumented boogeyman dreamed up by the far-Right. At a recent campaign stop, Trump even stated that the US needed migrant workers in order to keep food and basic commodity prices down. Kelly on the other hand stated those coming across the border to work were too ‘rural’ and that, “They don’t speak English. They don’t integrate well. They don’t have skills.”
This reality points to the double fisted narratives presented by the far-Right: lies based on fear and conspiracy theories, and out right racism and white supremacy of ‘the Other.’
The White House and Trump have also doubled down on tough talk on MS-13, a gang that grew out of the El Salvadorian civil war, largely in part due to the US’s colonial and imperialist interventions within the country. Despite the fact that MS-13 is not based in Mexico, where the majority of undocumented people migrate from, the gang with a violence history serves as a useful ISIS like boogeyman. The creation of such enemies that mobilize the imaginations of the proto-fascist Trump base are also being coupled with the strengthening of settler-colonial myths, such as when Trump on Friday talked of taming a savage country and the building of a great and powerful empire. Speaking at a Naval Academy Friday, Trump stated:
“Our ancestors tamed a continent,” adding that “we are not going to apologize for America.”
Also speaking Friday was the aunt of Claudia Patricia Gómez González, Dominga Vicente, who spoke at a news conference in Guatemala, talking about how Claudia, an accountant, had left her country in search of work, but was shot and killed by US border patrol. “Don’t treat us like animals,” Claudia’s aunt stated. One witness to the shooting stated “There was no weapon. They were hiding, [I] didn’t hear any yelling or ‘stop’ or ‘don’t run.’”
We should take both current events and Trump’s comments dehumanizing everyone from migrants to protesting NFL players for what they are, both a call for mass brutality and a justification for the regime’s current actions.
We should all take steps to try and get involved in ongoing resistance to ICE and police terror in general, this means linking up with those organizing rapid response initiatives that block ICE from conducting raids, helping to facilitate the distribution of Know Your Rights information, organizing and standing in solidarity with those demonstrating against ICE detention facilities and prisons, and also giving support to churches and houses of worship which are actively giving sanctuary to migrants as part of a new underground railroad.
There is literally no time to wait, those in power have already spelled out their intentions.Neoliberalism Leaves Millions Behind and Makes Billionaires Richer
Despite both cheerleaders from the Democratic faithful; such shows like Saturday Night Live, or Trump stating that the economy has made a complete rebound, a new study entitled Wealth X, documents that while 51 million US households cannot afford or gain access to basic needs such as rent, healthcare, and food, the number of billionaires has grown while the wealth gap has only increased. Currently, 2/3 of US jobs are low-income, while 4 in 10 US adults are unable to cover a potential emergency expense of $400. Millennials, born in the 1980s are also the greatest at risk of becoming a “lost generation,” as they are the most likely to be crippled with massive amounts of debt.Despite Breaking Apart of Alt-Right, Attacks and Influence Continue
A 34 year old man is under arrest after spray painting swastikas over the graves of hundreds in Illinois.
Leaked emails show that Proud Boys leader, Gavin McInness directed and encouraged members of his ‘Alt-Lite’ group, which includes many who are sympathetic to and work closely with members of the Alt-Right and white nationalists, to harass progressive humorist Vic Berger. Berger, who is part of a duo behind Super Delux, is best known for making videos mocking Alex Jones and other far-Right figures. Recently, Berger posted a montage video of McInness shouting racial slurs including the N-word on his pay-per-view show, Get Off My Lawn. Angry that the video was hurting his reputation, McInness encouraged Proud Boys to harass Berger.
Soon after the email was sent, a member of the Proud Boys showed up at Berger’s house. According to an article in the Huffington Post:
“When I answered the door, he seemed nervous, like he wasn’t expecting me. It was the middle of the day, and my wife was home,” Berger told HuffPost. “He said, ‘Are you Vic? Your videos are hurting a lot of people. You’re really hurting the Proud Boys. You need to stop making these videos.’”
The targeting of Berger should be seen as the escalation that it is. Many on the far-Right are feeling the heat post-Charlottesville and are turning more and more against not just antifa, but journalists who are exposing them. The threats directed against Berger bring to mind the murder of Jewish radio host Alan Berg in Denver, who was killed by the neo-Nazi group the Order at his home. Berg was known for openly talking about and attacking far-Right, KKK, and neo-Nazi groups on this radio show, which gained him the attention of the Order, which was based in the Pacific Northwest.
Also, late last week, Trump nominated Ronald W. Mortensen, a fellow with the anti-immigrant hate group Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), for Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Mortensen marks the fourth individual from an anti-immigrant hate group to find a home in the Trump government. According to the SPLC:
CIS was founded by white nationalist John Tanton who wrote in 1993, “I’ve come to the point of view that for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority, and a clear one at that.”
Meanwhile Republican Senate hopeful in Oregon, Joey Gibson (leader of ‘Patriot Prayer’) conducted a campaign event recently where he complained that the neo-Nazi ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville was a “set up” to get “conservatives” to look bad. He stated that attendance at “Free Speech” events were down, as people did not want to be seen with Nazi flags flying.
So today Joey was streaming with a FOAK shield watermark in the corner. At one point, he says that Charlottesville was a setup by the enemy to try to bring an end to free speech rallies. I’m real curious about this mens’ group he was speaking to. pic.twitter.com/D2eQhXkGov
— zerf /// nerfer (@hfricken) May 26, 2018
Ironically, Gibson livestreamed his event with the symbol of “FOAK” or the Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights, the ‘para-military’ division of the Proud Boys, stamped on the bottom of the feed. Both Proud Boys and members of FOAK attended Unite the Right, and Augustus Invictus, a FOAK leader, was also scheduled to speak. Baked Alaska, a long time neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic social media personality also attended many of Gibson’s events before Unite the Right despite his open embrace of neo-Nazi politics. Kyle Chapman, who has a long history of working with Gibson, also had originally planned on attending Unite the Right, but in the end backed out of the event. As leader of FOAK, he was still named in the initial lawsuit following the death of Heather Heyer, however.“Every Day is Social War”
Sunday marked eight months since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, and about 14,500 people there still don’t have electricity according to ABC News, let alone clean drinking water. Meanwhile, officially hurricane season is set to start next week.
The city government of Flint is considering suing the Republican governor, who has stated that the tap water is now safe to drink, and currently various groups are attempting to organize new water distribution programs after governor Snyder announced that the free bottled water program would conclude, at the same time as Nestle announced the opening of a new bottled water plant.
According to Killed by Police, 512 people have been killed by US law enforcement since the start of 2018, making for an average of 3.5 people killed by US law enforcement per day.The Frontline is Everywhere
Across the US and Canada, tenants are getting organized and launching rent strikes. In LA’s South Central, tenants have launched a rent strike and organized several marches and home demonstrations against their slumlord, demanding that they meet tenants demands. Follow @LATenantsUnion for more info. Also in Southern California, people are taking to social media to film themselves tearing down “House Flipper” signs, noting their connection to gentrification.
— james bigelow (@horizontaljames) May 27, 2018
Meanwhile in Chicago, the Autonomous Tenants Union continues to organize and bring people together against some of the largest real estate corporations in the windy city. Check them out on Twitter and get inspired @AutonomousUnion.
In Los Angeles, a new group called Mutual Aid Organizing Committee put on an anti-gentrification free store event at Leimert Park yesterday.
At the Anti-Gentrification Free Store in Leimert Park today (May 27). One step to fighting gentrification is to build new social relations in the community based upon mutual aid and solidarity. pic.twitter.com/MdTvd8OHTK
— Mutual Aid Organizing Committee (@leimertparkMAOC) May 28, 2018
Cities across the US continue to mobilize against Amazon.com seeking to build it’s HQ building in a major city. Most recently, DC residents held a mass meeting about organizing against the facility. As DC Direct Action News wrote:
On the 22nd of May, a wide spectrum of community organizations held a town hall meeting at St Stephens Church to begin organizing strong opposition to proposals to locate Amazon.com’s “HQ2” in DC, Montgomery County, MD, or in Northern VA. One of the speakers revealed that the sudden push to close the homeless shelter at DC General may be to clear the site for Amazon to build there.
In Louisiana, support is building for a teacher’s strike, however union officials are fighting to keep class combat from breaking out in opposition to bureaucrats in the Democratic Party. Meanwhile outside of Atlanta, actions by bus drivers continue to fight for several drivers to be rehired for participating in a sick-out strike. Meanwhile in Minnesota, Teamsters declared victory and signed a new contract, after a 6 week strike with beer giants.
In so-called British Columbia, resistance continues against the Kinder Morgan pipeline, which faces a hard May 31st deadline to see if it will continue forward. Meanwhile in Montreal, people demonstrated in solidarity against the pipeline as Kinder Morgan faced embarrassment as section of the pipeline broke and spilled.
— IWOC (@IWW_IWOC) May 27, 2018
Resistance to the Bayou Bridge Pipeline continues, as Energy Transfer Partners continues to build in Louisiana despite being told legally to halt construction. For action updates, check the No Bayou Bridge Pipeline resistance Facebook page.
Meanwhile in the Hellbender Autonomous Zone of the Virginias, tree sitters who have been on Peter’s Mountain for three months issued the following statement:
We must not lose the forest for the trees.
It is by overwhelming their resources with a superior show of numbers and will, with an unyielding resilience and long-term commitment, and a stubborn rejection of compromise, that the tides change.
It is with a smile that great violence is committed against the planet. With the swing of a gavel that the rights of profit are enshrined and the rights of the individual dismissed. With the cold press of a rubber stamp, wholesale destruction sanctioned. It is the system against us. Its institutions aligned in opposition.
Fortunately, the lines are clear. They have carved them into stone. The forces of greed, power, exploitation, and extraction stand where they’ve always stood. Now as the banner erected alongside fern’s blockade demands, “Which side are you on?”
From the first season of Hellbender, to a perennial presence. And as always, my profound thanks to all those in the good fight!
Meanwhile, at nearby Little Teel Crossing, repression of tree sitters fighting to save homes and land impacted by the Mountain Valley Pipeline continues, with issues to appear in court being brought against tree sitters. For more info, check itsgoingdown.org for the latest press releases.
The Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee conference just wrapped up, complete with a demonstration outside of a Florida work camp. IWOCers, anarchists, and prison abolitionists are both sides of the prison walls are gearing up for a national prison strike on August 21st to September 9th. Check itsgoingdown.org in the coming weeks for more info.
— Conflict MN (@conflictMN) May 27, 2018
Actions in solidarity comrades who have passed on continues. Check Conflict MN for a roundup of graffiti in memory of Toor, and Philly Anti-Capitalist for a militant remembrance of Pablo Avendano, who died while working his gig economy job.
Lastly, this week will be big in terms of the J20 trial. Last week, it was found that the prosecution knowingly used selectively edited footage from the far-Right media group, Project Veritas, known for often manipulating their footage to attack protesters and Leftists. While the judge didn’t declare a mistrial, the implications and repercussions of Kerkhoff and friends lying for over a year about the footage doesn’t look good for the State. As friends told IGD who heard Kerkhoff mutter under her breath in the elevator, “This is a crisis.”
Be sure to watch It’s Going Down, Defend J20, and Unicorn Riot for future updates, as this Thursday the judge is supposed to rule on the matter.it's going downthis is americapodcastcategory: Projects
In April Hennepin County ran the latest demonstration of the EasyMile EZ10, which is not an overpriced treadmill as the name suggests but rather a self-driving shuttle, on the greenway in Uptown. This followed a run of demonstrations along Nicollet Mall that took place during the lead-up to the Super Bowl earlier this year. However, before the test run/photo op could begin a banner was affixed to a bridge directly over the test site reading “Against The Smart City!”
This action resonates strongly with us, so we’re using it as a starting point to elaborate this rallying cry, against the smart city. In the words of the anonymous communique, originally submitted to Conflict MN:
“While touted as progress, there are still those of us who see these projects as only the further deepening of the desert. As our cities become increasingly automated, this process attempts to eclipse not only the possibilities of revolt, but even that of a life of anything but its perpetual (re)production. These automated shuttles will be yet another vehicle for funneling citizens between where they work, shop, and sleep, as mindlessly as the shuttle which carries them.”
The ones who dropped the banner identify these automated shuttles as a new piece in a mosaic of projects designed to smooth the flow of people and capital within the metropolis. In other words, the city is designed to make sure that the only possible forms that life can take are that of producing or reproducing the capitalist, white supremacist, patriarchal reality. Although there are not yet plans to permanently deploy the shuttles locally, these tests give us a glimpse of the future form cities will take if no one intervenes.
Most often, these projects are criticized for their role as harbingers of gentrification. And there is no doubt that these shuttles were never meant for the poor. However, we feel the need to expand our critiques. We aren’t opposed to these projects only because they cause displacement, but because they create a way of life we refuse to live.
The smart city is not only the way in which bodies are transported throughout the metropolis. As the name implies, the premise of the smart city can be boiled down to the logic of the smart phone applied at the municipal level. In their 2014 book To Our Friends, the Invisible Committee sketch out a broader picture:
“Behind the futuristic promise of a world of fully linked people and objects, when cars, fridges, watches, vacuums, and dildos are directly connected to each other and to the Internet, there is what is already here: the fact that the most polyvalent of sensors is already in operation: myself. “I” share my geolocation, my mood, my opinions, my account of what I saw today that was awesome or awesomely banal. I ran, so I immediately shared my route, my time, my performance numbers and their self-evaluation. I always post photos of my vacations, my evenings, my riots, my colleagues, of what I’m going to eat and who I’m going to fuck. I appear not to do much and yet I produce a steady stream of data. Whether I work or not, my everyday life, as a stock of information, can always be mined. I am constantly improving the algorithm.”
The automated shuttle was, of course, not the only thing tested during the Super Bowl. Local law enforcement began using FieldWatch, an app that allows police officers to stream video directly from their phones to the command center, at the time staffed by nearly one hundred people. Along with newly installed surveillance cameras, this gave law enforcement a real time view of virtually the entire downtown terrain. While the Super Bowl festivities have left, the police continue to take advantage of their new tools, and have even requested the installation of another thousand cameras.
Looking at these shuttles and cameras alongside the proliferation of new light fixtures such as on Lake Street underneath Hiawatha (as we wrote about in Issue 9), we start to see what the pieces in the mosaic form. Not only a city devoted to the total surveillance of public space, but also the shaping of that space to eliminate the possibility of any disturbances. In other words, “a terrain where all that can happen is what has already been predicted and planned” to quote from this latest communique. Or, as the Invisible Committee wrote:
“The stated ambition of cybernetics is to manage the unforeseeable, and to govern the ungovernable instead of trying to destroy it. The question of cybernetic government is not only, as in the era of political economy, to anticipate in order to plan the action to take, but also to act directly upon the virtual, to structure the possibilities. […] In this vision, the metropolis doesn’t become smart through the decision-making and action of a central government, but appears, as a ‘spontaneous order,’ when its inhabitants ‘find new ways of producing, connecting, and giving meaning to their own data.’”
This “spontaneous order” occurs because the potential for disorder has been foreclosed on by the very structure of the city. Not only do these surveillance projects allow the police to track those they designate potential criminals, they psychologically impact our behaviors and encounters—this is the real panopticon effect. While disorder can never be completely eliminated, the smart city is designed for its maximum attenuation. And to put our cards on the table, we greatly prefer disorder over the world as it exists.
How could we not? It’s clear to everyone that there is something deeply wrong with the state of affairs today. We are told that there are proper, legal channels through which reform will happen—but these channels are only yet another way to structure our possibilities.
The Against The Smart City communique offers a few words of encouragement, with which we’ll close:
“While their fantasy is to build a terrain where all that can happen is what has already been predicted and planned, we know that fundamentally life cannot be reduced to data and in its flux escapes prediction and control. Don’t wait for others to take action for you. Take it yourselves.”Tags: cyberneticstechnologycategory: Essays
By George Eaton, via The New Statesmen
In 2013, the American anthropologist David Graeber began to notice a strange phenomenon. “I kept running into people at parties who didn’t want to tell you what they did [for work],” he recalled when we met. Others would say “we just make up the numbers” or “I can do my job in two hours a week – don’t tell my boss!” This wasn’t mere self-effacement – “they were really doing nothing”.
To test his thesis, Graeber wrote an essay that year for the radical magazine Strike!: “On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs”. The response was remarkable. Thousands of workers contacted him, the publication’s website crashed and the piece was swiftly translated into more than a dozen languages.
Graeber had assumed only around 15-20 per cent of the UK population had a “bullshit job”, which he defines as “one so pointless that even the person doing it can’t justify it”. But a 2015 YouGov poll, inspired by his piece, found that 37 per cent of British workers did not believe their job made a “meaningful contribution” to the world (a further 13 per cent were unsure).
The anarchist author, whose previous books include Debt: The First 5,000 Years and The Utopia of Rules, has now expanded his piece into a book: Bullshit Jobs. I met Graeber, 57 – rumpled in mustard trousers and battered brogues – at his office at the London School of Economics, where he is professor of anthropology. Though recovering from a stomach bug, he spoke animatedly of his recent visit to Rojava, the autonomous Kurdish region of Syria. As one of the “anti-leaders” of the Occupy Wall Street movement, Graeber was impressed by the “intentional” absence of state structures. “What the Kurds are worried about is an invasion from Turkey,” he added. “They feel very betrayed because they did all the fighting [against Islamic State].”
Graeber divides “bullshit jobs” into five categories: “flunkies” (those who exist to make others feel important such as door attendants and admin assistants), “goons” (those who agitate on behalf of their employers such as lobbyists and telemarketers), “duct tapers” (those who undo damage by lax or incompetent superiors), “box tickers” (such as performance managers) and “taskmasters” (such as middle managers).
How many “bullshit jobs”, I felt compelled to ask, are there at LSE? “Oh God, I don’t know, and I’ve been intentionally not studying it,” Graeber said. “But I’ve been told that this university tops the UK, or did a few years ago, in terms of time spent assessing your work as opposed to actually doing it.”
For Graeber, “bullshit jobs” and the “bullshitisation” of others are “a scar across our collective soul”. He attributes their existence to the puritanical glorification of work, “managerial feudalism” (under which subordinates are continually added to enhance status) and political convenience. As George Orwell wrote in Down and Out in Paris and London: “I believe that this instinct to perpetuate useless work is, at bottom, simply fear of the mob… It is safer to keep them too busy to think.”
Graeber, the son of working-class autodidacts, was born in New York in 1961. His father, Kenneth, was a plate stripper who fought in the Spanish Civil War (“while Barcelona was being organised along anarchist lines”) and his mother, Ruth, was a garment worker who played the lead role in Pins and Needles, a 1930s musical revue staged by the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union. “I always say that the reason I ended up being an anarchist is because most people don’t think anarchism is a bad idea – they think it’s insane,” Graeber told me. “But if you grow up in an environment where it’s not seen as insane, and you know that’s not the case, what reason is there not to be an anarchist?”
The one point on which the left and the right appeared to agree, he observed, is that “more jobs is the solution to any problem. How about fewer jobs?” He sardonically remarked: “The one thing that seemed to slow down global warming for a little while was the 2008 economic crisis – because so many people were unemployed.”
Graeber is sympathetic to the idea of a shorter working week (melancholically recalling John Maynard Keynes’s 1930 prophecy of a 15-hour working week by the century’s end). But as an anarchist, he is more attracted to a universal basic income (a guaranteed minimum salary for all citizens) to “detach livelihood from work”. He explained: “UBI is basically about freedom. What would happen if you said to people: ‘I trust you to decide for yourself what you want to contribute to society?’”
What of those who argue the left’s true challenge is to create more fulfilling work? “UBI would be a profound moral transformation about what people think is valuable,” Graeber replied. “Now, if you don’t think you can do that, why are you on the left at all?”
Have any politicians engaged with his vision? “John McDonnell has talked to me about it, he’s very interesting and open-minded… Who’d have thought that of all the countries in the world, Britain is the one globally providing hope for leftist renewal?”
Graeber described himself as a “professional optimist”. In 50 years, he predicted, “we’ll definitely have a system that is not capitalist”. But he warned: “It could be something even worse. It’s therefore imperative that we end this taboo around trying to figure out something that might be better. If we don’t get something better, it will be something worse – it won’t be the same.”
“Bullshit Jobs: A Theory” is published by Allen LaneTags: David GraeberworkMSMcategory: Other
Vandalism, in the form of graffiti scrawled on the fountain stones at Gage Park on Wednesday, are reviving speculation about the possibility of some kind of anarchist insurgency in the city.
The graffiti, in black, says: "Still hate: Capitalism Colonization Police." The scrawl also includes the anarchist symbol, a circle with an A in it and the crosspiece of the A going through the letter and the circle.
The incident, which has set off a chain of remarks on the social news aggregator Reddit and on other social media, comes not quite three months after the early March smashing of windows and setting off of firecrackers on Locke Street South, attributed to a group of black-clad, masked anti-gentrification protesters. They held a "We Are The Ungovernable" sign and were subsequently investigated for possible links to anarchism and anarchist groups.
Hamilton police were at Gage Park on Wednesday morning after getting a call from city staff about the "anarchist-themed" graffiti, said media relations officer Lorraine Edwards.
Edwards said two areas of the park were affected — one being the central fountain stairs, which had been spray-painted with the words, and two anarchist symbols.
Washrooms nearby also had an anarchist symbol and graffiti that said "Stoney Creek Rent Strike" and some profanity, added Edwards.
"We took pictures," she said. "We don't have suspects or witnesses.
"It's in a concealed area of trees and bushes ... (the culprits) would have been able to approach under the cover of trees, darkness and bushes."
However, the matter has been forwarded to the police hate crime unit for review, Edwards said.
Jasmine Graham, communications officer with the city's public works department, said the city would clean up the graffiti within 24 hours but did not say how much it would cost.Tags: hamiltoncanadaMSMvandalismcategory: International
from Act for Freedom Now!
Ukraine: In Kiev, Anarchist cell “Fedos Shchus” / FAI, set fire to a Lexus belonging to Grachov, EPU vice chair
Since some anarcho-cells in Kiev have started burning cars, we decided to join this activity.
On May 21, 2018, we set off the mid-size Lexus RX crossover. It stood near a multi-storey building at the address: Kiev, Artillery Lane, 9a. The fire also damaged the nearby SUV Mitsubishi Pajero.
As it turned out, Lexus belonged to the Deputy Chairman of the European Party of Ukraine, Sergei Grachev. On the official website of the EPU there was a statement (1, 2) about the arson of the car. This is bingo!
Sergei Grachev – a politician, a liberal and just a scoundrel, to put it mildly. We dislike his way of life and his party. As anarchists we stand on the positions of self-government and social equality. We do not divide politicians on the pro-government and the opposition. For us, they are all enemies and traitors. Each of them deserves absolutely fair hatred and retribution.
According to the owner of Lexus, his neighbors woke him up and reported that his car was burning. He tried to extinguish the car on own with the help of a fire extinguisher, but to no avail. It’s nice to realize that fire extinguishers cannot extinguish take anarchist napalm.
As reported by the State Emergency Service, the call for fire came at 2:19, and the fire was extinguished at 2:43. This time the firemen worked extremely quickly.
About the arson itself we will not talk much – everything can be seen on the video and photos. We can only advise you to use thick napalm without gasoline for arson on protected sites or near large residential complexes. The liquid starts burning gradually, without clapping or flashing, without disturbing sleeping guards, dogs, tenants and your eyesight.
PS. Recently, on the Lysaya Hill in Kiev, nationalists burned the tents of the Roma. You have to be an absolute scum to destroy the huts of beggars and vagabonds! We call upon the young radicals, who have not completely lost their mind, to join the arson of the property of the rich and powerful.
Until the new arson, comrades!
Anarchist cell “Fedos Shchus” / FAITags: internationalactionkievFAIcategory: International
From Void Network Indonesia (facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=242169973002122&id=239... )
As I wrote this letter, I've been arrested for 21 days in Mapolda D.I.Y prison cell. I'm arrested for my involvement in May Day riot few weeks before. There's some difficulties that I can't really explained it here one by one, but I know for sure that this cells aimed to limit our access to communicate and therefore our further works for the network, a work that was meant to revive the spirit and consciousness to undermine every forms of obedience and submission. I believe we've agreed that it is not intellectual or academic potential that coul raise the consciousness of our surrounding that is rapidly destroyed.
I wanted to give thanks to the comrades out there, those who keep their spirit high for rebellion and struggle and also their solidarity even the remote places.
Tak banyak yang bisa kutiliskan dalam surat ini, sehubungan dengan situasi yang cacat intervensi di tempat ini.
There's not much I can write in this letter as the condition is quite impossible.
But one of the main purpose of this open letter is to warned all the comrades that the situation had escalated and it is urgent to act as more and more of our friends being arrested for participating in the May Day action.
All in all, I urged to all the comrades to increase awareness and planning, so that the future struggle would be more bigger, concentrated, and not easily defeated.
Because we know that revolution doesn't come from discusson to discussion.
I am very thankful for all the help from the comrades, especially for the legal aid that would give me choices in the front of the court.
Considering: The trial have been politicized by the rulling classes and the assumption that one of the political institution who are controlling public opinion. Thus, I give you this letter as an aask for help in the trial process.
Long Live the Resistance
Long live Insurrection
Sebagaimana surat ini terlampir, keberadaan kita telah masuk hari ke-21 dalam sel tahanan Mapolda D.I.Y terkait kasus May Day pada tanggal 1 Mei kemarin. Adapun beberapa kesulitan-kesulitan yang bukan tanpa arti yang tak bisa kuuraikan satu persatu, tapi bahwasanya jelas kerangkang ini mempersempit komunikasi serta segala rencana-rencana jaringan kerja yang telah dibangun berazaskan semangat untuk membangkitkan kembali semangat dan kesadaran untuk menolak kepatuhan dan proses hidup dalam ketertundukan. Kita telah sepakat bahwa tidak butuh kepintaran untuk mengerti dan sadar akan keadaan kita saat ini yang tidak sedang baik-baik saja.
Saya sangat berterima kasih kepada kawan-kawan di luar sana yang masih terus menggelorakan semangat perjuangan serta membangun segala bentuk solidaritas bahkan sampai dari pelosok-pelosok daerah.
Tak banyak yang bisa kutiliskan dalam surat ini, sehubungan dengan situasi yang cacat intervensi di tempat ini.
Adapun surat ini sekedar memberi gambaran bahwa kondisi kita lebih sangat URGENT seiring dengan penangkapan-penangkapan lanjutan para aktivis yang terlibat dalam aksi May Day tanggal 1 Mei di Yogyakarta.
Selebihnya saya hanya berharap kecerdasan yang lebih dan perencanaan yang mumpuni untuk suatu arah pergerakan selanjutnya yang lebih besar dan terkonsentrasi!!!
Karena Revolusi tidak tercipta dengan hanya sekedar berdiskusi!!!
Sehubungan dengan hal tersebut, saya sangat menghargai segala bentuk bantuan dari kawan-kawan, terlebih sangat mengharapkan pendampingan kuasa hukum untuk proses peradilan yang sudah masuk ke tahapan pelimpahan berkas ke tingkat kejaksaan.
Mempertimbangkan : Kondisi kasus persidangan yang notabenenya ditunggangi kepentingan politik dan asumsi keberpihakan kepada salah satu lembaga politis yang saya rasa sangat kontras tujuan gerakannya telah distrigmakan dari opini publik untuk kasus ini. Maka dengan itu saya lampirkan surat ini sebagai permintaan bantuan dalam proses keadilan yang dalam waktu tidak sampai satu bulan akan masuk ke tahap persidangan.
Panjang umur perlawanan!
Panjang umur Insureksi!
Review of May Made Me: An Oral History of the 1968 Uprising in France by Mitchell Abidor. AK Press, 2018.
By Sarah Miller, Philadelphia BRRN
From March through May 1968, as the world faced a global upheaval, France experienced a near revolution that is still a living memory. What began as an anti-Vietnam War protest eventually led to country-wide general strikes. But what was May 1968? Was it a revolution? A revolt? A natural part of the progression toward the social and sexual liberation of the late 1960s in Western Europe? Or was it nothing? It depends on who you ask. Fifty years after the events, author Mitchell Abidor sat down and listened to the stories of over twenty people who were there. He explores the emotional and political impact of May’s events, looks at both gains and losses, and asks the question: How did the events of May 1968 change France?Rebellion in Post-War Prosperity
Many of the students describe their hope for a replay of the 1917 Russian Revolution or, at the very least, it’s prequel in 1905. They wanted a worker’s revolution and to fulfill the prophecy of their Marxist tomes. Abidor clearly illustrates that, although students had the desire to challenge the current capitalist system, they lacked the necessary strategy and organic connections to workers. Often insulated in the university groups students failed to engage the working class. It also turned out that the workers were not as revolutionary as the students had hoped. While the British workers were still dealing with rationing and unemployment, France recovered well from the war. The two decades of prosperity following World War II left the industrial working class of France with few complaints as their basic needs were met. The desperation and suffering was not there.“May Made Me”
Despite this failing, the author points out the individual impact of the three months of revolutionary fervour. To paraphrase the title-inspiring participant, “I did not make May. May made me.” Reflecting back on May 1968, several people, particularly women, noted that they found their voice and continued to be politically active throughout their lives. Quiet young women raised in conservative, middle class society found themselves making impassioned impromptu speeches in student-occupied buildings while sons of wealthy families were barricading streets and confronting police. Compliant university students left their classes and exams to pull up the paving bricks that lined the streets of paris at the time and throw them at police. Of course, with the social connections of some participants and the threat of negative press, the police were given orders not to shoot. Given the scale of the three months of protest and barricades in the streets and occupation of universities and workplaces the death toll was surprisingly low.
Students took their growing fervor and reached out to the working class with the goal of expanding the rebellion. The workers were enthusiastic for the support but the trust was not there. There were unions but not radical unions despite the ambitions of the students. Up till that point the mainstream communist party in France, the PCF (Parti Communiste Francais), held a strong hegemony of support from workers and within the unions. However, PCF was more interested in reforms than revolution and Abidor describes their role as actively working to discourage a worker’s revolution or contact with the student radicals. The student radicals and farther left groups on the other hand had little in the way of a concrete alternative or working class base to push back against the counter-revolutionary machinations of the PCF.Divergent Goals and Impact of May 1968
As word spread of the demonstrations in Paris people from across the country flooded the capital to join. Several participants spoke of the palpable cultural impact. Citizens who would normally pass each other in the streets were now stopping and talking to each other and beyond Paris, demonstrations and strikes grew though on a smaller scale. Again, Abidor focuses on the disparity between students and the workers and asks about the true impact of May 1968 on France as a whole.
Workers and students marched together but their goals were very different. Often union members were off-put by talk of politics. For them, it was more about small gains than sweeping change. When demands were met, it was time to go back to work. This is where the May rebellion lost its momentum. Yet society continued to evolve after the protests were over. Some say it was inevitable and others describe May 1968 as a catalyst for the women’s movement, gay rights and other social freedoms that came in the late 60s and early 70s. But all agree that capitalism came out of May 1968 unscathed. While the workers revolted, the bosses reorganized. Concessions are often made regarding individual freedoms as long as capital was not threatened.
May Made Me ends with no conclusion, no tying together of loose ends. The author ends with a few final interviews with anarchists who mostly played individual roles in the events. There were no formal anarchist groups to speak of during the demonstrations and marches and, in fact, few in the way of formal organizations. Abidor leaves the reader to draw their own verdicts on May, to listen to first hand stories and figure out the gains, the losses, the victories and the failures. Perhaps the most poignant insight from a May 1968 participant is that despite the categorizations, the societal imprint, the impact on the workers and French society in general, May was important simply because it happened. As one interviewee said, “You have to rebel, even if it failed.”
If you enjoyed this review we encourage you to read our other books and films reviews here, including “Land and Liberty: A Review of Anarchism in Latin America” and “Top 10 Films on Women Fighting Capitalism and Fascism.”
Tags: Black Rose Anarchist Federationreview1968Francecategory: Essays
From srsly wrong
The Wrong boys speak with David Graeber about his new book ‘Bullshit Jobs’, exploring the ever multiplicating ways our society makes up stuff for people to do. They also discuss the puritan work ethic, and even discover how to solve global poverty in just three steps.
Visit David’s new website at http://DavidGraeber.industries, and ‘Bullshit Jobs’ is available now everywhere for sale.
Theme song by Punkerslut
Consider donating to our Patreon:
A group of Minsk anarchists have issued a postcards in support of Sam Faulder – an anarchist prisoner, who is serving her life sentence in Britain.
Sam Faulder were an anarchist for whole her life. In 2007 she were detained by suspicion of murdering her best friend. After almost 2 years spent in investigation facility, she was sentenced to life imprisonment. Police abuses influenced the sentence, and the lawyer refused to defend her three weeks before the trial. Because of absence of a legal support she was unable to appeal to a Higher court. By now she is imprisoned for more then 11 years.
In 2016 it was revealed that Sam has a cancer. Almost for two years she was not having a treatment because of bureaucratic obstacles and intentional sabotage of a help from an administration of a prison. With different reasons she was refused to checkup, make medical analysis, and hospitalizing. Because of this the cancer have progressed and Sam got a number of following diseases. Thanks to support of comrades and human right activists after two years she finally had a treatment. Now she is getting a course of chemioradiotherapy. You can read her treatment timeline here.
You can support Sam by writing her on address: Samantha Faulder A1209CF, HMP Foston Hall, Foston, Derby, Derbyshire, DE65 5DN
To get a postcards, made by Minsk anarchists (for free), you can write on firstname.lastname@example.org
Also you can donate to her support fund.Tags: anarchists in troubleBritainMinsksolidaritylong term prisoner supportcategory: Prisoners
One of my arguments for anonymous commenting is the tendency of people to avoid giving honest negative feedback unless they can do it without negative social consequences to themselves. (Okay, that's my guess about why people don't want to say negative things to their friends. Maybe there are other things going on instead or in addition. Moving on...) As someone who really appreciates feedback about what I could be doing differently and/or better, I want to provide people with ways to get me that information. That's not the only positive thing about commenting anonymously, but I think it's the most significant one, and it's the one I want to talk about here.
There is a difference between getting feedback from people we know, and from people we don't know. It is possible to take seriously anonymous feedback, but it is definitely more challenging, and it gets harder and harder, the more it is surrounded by anonymous criticism that is repetitive and thoughtless, as is the vast majority of anonymous criticism. So there are a variety of questions I'd like people to speak to here.
How do YOU determine whether to take criticism seriously? How is it different for you when the criticizer is a known known vs anonymous? What do you intend when you post something negative that you've said (all anons are the same) a dozen or more times before? When is it better to be anonymous, to name yourself, or to take a fake but consistent other name? What makes criticism valuable or stupid? As someone connected to projects that get criticized a lot (a lot is two words, just fyi), how often should I try to explain something that has been explained many times in the past (ie where is the responsibility of the criticizer vs the criticized to get the information in contention)?Tags: totwanonymousanonymitycriticismfeedbackcategory: Other
Over the course of the last few months The Tower has faced a fair number of challenges, to say the least! Today however, we are excited to announce that we are moving. We will be moving to a new larger location in order to continue to grow and expand our project of supporting organizing efforts in Hamilton and spreading anarchy.
Why are we leaving the space on Cannon St. that has served us so well? In the wake of a successful and well-attended Hamilton Anarchist Bookfair – that featured a full lineup of workshops, literature, discussion, art, movies, a community dinner, and kid’s activities (many things took place that weekend aside from the so-called Locke St. Riot) – we have had to deal with ongoing targeting by the far right, state repression, community backlash, sensationalist media coverage, and a flood.
We’ve been targeted online, in person, and pretty much everywhere in between. Our space, as well as our homes, have been attacked, and we have faced a barrage of physical and sexual violence threats. We’ve had our windows smashed and our doors broken in. We’ve been called terrorists and referred to as a gang, and anarchism was talked about as a hate crime. We’ve dealt with physical confrontations with local fascists, and the arrest and imprisonment of a comrade and member of The Tower Collective. Following a particularly bad storm, the walls of our space literally began to crumble.
Political struggle is rarely easy and part of being anarchist means embracing conflict and uncertainty. And while these have been trying times, we have been repeatedly moved by all of the people defending the project online and in person, offering support, donating money, and helping us to hold-down the space. Without this kind of committed support and solidarity, autonomous projects like The Tower would not be possible.
During this period, we received an eviction notice from the landlord at our current location. He was concerned about the far right attacks on the space and wanted us out. We had put a lot of time and energy into improving and defending that space, and under no circumstances did we want to leave. We will never be intimidated or willingly pushed around by fascists. However, this situation was not just a matter of contending with the far right, but also with the police and the realities of capitalism. Our landlord made the decision to evict us at the urging of the Hamilton Police – they took the attacks on our space as an opportunity to reach out and strike fear into our landlord, telling him stories of nazi threats against The Tower and suggesting that no one in the building (including the residential tenants above us) would be safe as long as we were there. They explained that although they were not investigating any of the threats further (and thus were not taking them seriously), it would be best if the landlord took them seriously.
Time and time again (remember the Patriot March on Locke St.), it is demonstrated that forces and interests of businesses, fascists, and the police go hand-in-hand. We want to make it clear, our eviction is the result of far-right reactionaries and the police working in parallel, to target and demobilize our efforts to build power in the community and encourage decentralized resistance.
We remain as committed and uncompromising as ever, and are looking forward to starting a new chapter of the project.
The circumstances may not be of our choosing, but we are making the best of it! Effective immediately, we will be closing the doors at the Cannon St. location to allow us to move. Our new space (whose address will be officially announced at the end of the month) will open for June 1st, and boasts features like a barrier-free entrance to the main space, expanded print shop, several rooms, and more than 3X the space, among other things.
To everyone who contributed time and money to our renovation and repair efforts, we are so grateful for your contributions and want to assure you that the majority of additions we made to our space can and will be moved to the new location to provide a secure place to organize and grow. If you donated $50+ to our recent Tower repairs funding drive, we will be organizing the shipping of poster rewards to all of you. We are sorry to keep you waiting, we have had a lot on our plate and appreciate all your patience.
Keep a look out for moving updates and a planned launch party for our new location. We look forward to seeing you all face to face soon!Tags: hamiltonThe TowerRepressioncategory: Projects
Welcome to the anews podcast. This is episode 65 for May 25, 2018. This podcast covers anarchist activity, ideas, and conversations from the previous week.
Editorial by Rocinante: Cuba II
TOTW: Clear Thinking
This podcast is the effort of many people. This episode was
* sound edited by Dim
* written by jackie
* narrated by chisel and Dim
* the music is 1. El Comandante by Porno Para Ricardo, 2. If I Knew You Were Comin' I'd've Baked A Cake by Eileen Barton, 3. Space Orgy by Lungfish
*the editorial was written by Rocinante
* Thanks to Aragorn! and Ariel for the topic of the week
* Contact us at email@example.com
From: Puget Sound Anarchists
Joey Gibson and his cohorts in Patriot Prayer have yet again called for another rally at a Planned Parenthood in Kent, WA. The facebook event calls for defunding Planned Parenthood, linking the rally to Joey Gibson’s bid for a seat in the US Senate. They also cite a news article that claimed that Washington State politicians were involved in harvesting aborted fetuses and selling them, which has been widely debunked and proved to be a doctored recording. Regardless of the rhetoric, what is most important is that Joey Gibson and Patriot Prayer organize their politics around patriarchal violence, misogyny and attacks on freedom of choice. At previous rallies at a Planned Parenthood in Olympia, WA, members of Patriot Prayer along with local Proud Boys initiated violent scuffles with anarchists who had showed up to distract these bigots. Their presence outside Planned Parenthood is part of their larger intention to create a climate of fear around gender, the subservience of women and their own chauvinism.
Planned Parenthood has a policy in place for supporters to ignore protesters at their sites. As anarchists, we know this is impossible and “avoidance politics” is a particular brand of leftist cowardice. This is a call to crew up, roll tight and organize to obstruct yet another targeted attack by Joey Gibson and his rabble of misogynist frat-boys. If we are to continue to call ourselves anti-fascists, these kinds of gendered attacks must be met with the same force as a nazi rally or a white power gathering.
Anarchists and anti-fascists in the Pacific Northwest have learned over the last year that the broader coalition of liberals and socialists who tend to show up to oppose public gathering of the Right are not friendly to tactics of direct action that stray out of the confines of “non-violence.” They will provide no safe space or harbor for those of us willing to carry out direct action against this mob of pond scum, so it is imperative that anarchists and anti-fascists alike organize to keep ourselves safe and protected.
This is a call for anti-fascists region-wide to converge at Planned Parenthood in Kent, WA on Saturday, June 9th to once again oppose Joey Gibson, Patriot Prayer, the Proud Boys, and the nazis and fascists alike who flock to his events.Tags: PSAantifafeministFREEDOM OF CHOICEgenderPLANNED PARENTHOODcategory: Other
May 24, 2018
In view of the presence in solidarity at the court on 31 March, we are writing these few lines to reaffirm a few fundamental concepts regarding this trial and the court carrying it out. First of all, we reaffirm our closeness to the arrested comrades: for us they are brothers and the pride with which they are confronting this little theatre makes us proud.
We also reaffirm our attachment, stronger than ever, to the anarchist ideal and our hatred of this society that thrives on death and exploitation. We are anarchists, it is normal for the State to attack us, we do not expect anything else from you and this is why your repression does not surprise us except for its clumsiness and scares us even less. In fact, after a year and a half you find us with the same positions of attack on this system. We are accused of terrorism, but we continue to point the finger at the State and its laws that you administer which legitimize the exploitation, exclusion and death of millions of people throughout the world every day, to protect the interests of those who profit from all this. It is you who are under accusation: the dead in the wars in the Middle East and Africa, those who drown while fleeing poverty, the increasingly fierce exploitation of labour, the plundering of resources and the destruction of ecosystems, living conditions more and more like survival and the ever deeper interference in our lives by the State. The law would like to treat the dissent that all this generates with jail, branding it as a crime, but it takes a lot more to shut us up.
War to the State, for Anarchy.
Nothing is finished, everything continues.
Lello The One in the Wheelchair
Translated by Act for freedom now!Tags: italysabotageanarchist solidaritycategory: International
On May 15, 2018, at half-past midnight, we set fire to a SUV Toyota Land Cruiser 200, located near House 3 on Heroes of Defense street.
A luxurious white car was parked near a 5-story building and was away from budget cars, so that pouring out 3 liters of a fuel mixture between the windshield and the hood, we were not at all worried that our actions could cause inconvenience to innocent people. Probably, the owner-bourgeois was pleased to contemplate his wheelbarrow, standing at a distance from inexpensive cars of ordinary honest citizens. Well, to tell the truth, we were also pleased to contemplate the column of flame and smoke instantly ascending to a height of about two meters above the top of this very car. We would like to remind you that the price of the new Toyota Land Cruiser 200 in the budget package is $ 61,000, and therefore we hope that our night visit has been appreciated not only by ourselves, but also by the employees of the nearest ambulance that are so often confronted with rudeness of those in power on the roads and whose salary is 7000 – 8000 UAH.
As reported by the State Emergency Service, the fire alarm was received at 00:43, and the fire was eliminated at 01:16, according to the official report, as a result of the fire, the engine compartment, windshield and bumper were damaged. The property of bourgeois should better be completely be destroyed and not subject to further restoration or be expropriated. It is necessary to fight the oppressors by all available means.
Against officials, bourgeois and their henchmen!
For self-management, social equality and spiritual freedom!
And remember, “retribution is not at all difficult, the main thing is just to want it”.
Anarchist cell “Dawn of Freedom”Tags: internationalactionkievcategory: Actions
From It's Going Down
by Unicorn Riot
Unicorn Riot reports on a major turning point in the J20 case. In short, the State has been caught hiding evidence from the defense, as well as knowingly using doctored footage from long disgraced far-Right outfit, Project Veritas.
The United States government has officially been put “on notice” for violating the constitutional rights of anti-Trump protesters. While the second trial of people mass-arrested at an “anti-capitalist, antifascist” protest march during President Trump’s inauguration in DC began last week, hearings for other protest trial groups have also been underway. At a trial readiness hearing today for the June 4 trial group, DC Superior Court Chief Judge Robert Morin delivered a major blow to the prosecution’s case, officially ruling that the US Attorney had illegally withheld evidence from protester defendants.
(As Chief Judge, Judge Morin oversees motions in the inauguration protest cases but has been delegating the actual trials to other DC Superior Court judges who work under him.)
A motion filed last night by the defense counsel argued that the prosecution had committed a ‘Brady‘ violation by withholding portions of a video that has already been used in two trials related to the case.
‘Brady’ refers to case law which requires the government to immediately share with the defense any exculpatory information they come across which might aid in a defendant’s case:
“UNDER WHAT IS COMMONLY KNOWN AS THE BRADY RULE, IT IS A VIOLATION OF A DEFENDANT’S CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS FOR THE PROSECUTION TO BE AWARE OF SUCH EVIDENCE AND NOT TURN IT OVER TO THE DEFENSE.” – DEFENDING RIGHTS AND DISSENT
Several defense attorneys had previously accused the government of repeatedly failing to meet their obligations under ‘Brady’. The ‘Motions for Sanctions and Dismissal’ filed by defense counsel this week stated, in part, that,
“THE GOVERNMENT HAS ABUSED ITS POWER BY HIDING DISCOVERY FROM ALL DEFENDANTS, PURPOSEFULLY CHOOSING NOT TO DISCLOSE BRADY INFORMATION, AND CALLING INTO QUESTION THE INTEGRITY OF ALL ITS THIRD-PARTY VIDEO EVIDENCE AND PROFFERS IN OPEN COURT.” – MOTION FOR SANCTIONS AND DISMISSAL
In previous motions hearings, defense counsel had submitted a motion to compel the government to share all unedited copies of videos that had been introduced as evidence in edited and/or redacted form.
In April 2018, the government provided the defense with several additional files they had previously withheld. Included in these files was the larger, ‘unedited’ version of a video taken by operatives of Project Veritas at a January 8, 2017 planning meeting for protests opposing Trump’s inauguration as president later that month.
Prosecutors claimed they had edited the undercover video, but only with two small redactions made to protect the Project Veritas operative and to hide the face of an undercover police officer who was also present at the meeting. In fact, an additional portion of the undercover Project Veritas video had been edited out of previous copies of the video, and was only discovered by the defense just this week. The clip, previously redacted by the government, shows the source of the Project Veritas video, after the meeting is over, stating: “I was talking with one of the organizers from the IWW and I don’t think they know anything about any of the upper echelon stuff”.
Defense counsel for Dylan Petrohilos, who is charged based on his role in facilitating the January 8 planning meeting, wrote in their motion about the significance of this new information for their case:
“THIS IS EXCULPATORY EVIDENCE TO THE DEFENSE. THE GOVERNMENT PLANS TO ARGUE THAT MR. PETROHILOS AND EVERYONE ELSE AT THAT MEETING WERE INTENDING TO PLAN A VIOLENT PROTEST. WHAT BETTER EXCULPATORY EVIDENCE FOR THE DEFENSE THAN THE WORDS FROM THE PERSON SENT TO CAPTURE A NEFARIOUS MEETING STATING RIGHT AFTER THE MEETING, “I DON’T THINK THEY KNOW ANYTHING”. THIS EVIDENCE IS CLEARLY EXCULPATORY AND BUT FOR THE COURT COMPELLING ITS PRODUCTION, DEFENSE WOULD HAVE NEVER RECEIVED IT.” – MOTION FOR SANCTIONS AND DISMISSAL
The defense motion describes other instances of the government allegedly withholding evidence from defendants. The legal filing claims that prosecutors had also withheld, until April of this year, another video taken by a Project Veritas operative showing other breakout groups meeting in the same room.
Judge Morin declared that he largely shared the defense’s findings, ruling that the government had in fact failed to point out evidence prosecutors knew could be exculpatory for defendants. Morin stated that while he had decided to sanction the prosecution, he was reserving judgement on what exact forms sanctions might take until a hearing on Thursday, May 31.
The Chief Judge said it was highly likely he would sanction the prosecution by excluding any use of any video of the January 8, 2017 planning meeting in any trial. Morin also hinted at the possibility of Project Veritas being subpoenaed to testify about the video.
Assistant US Attorney Ahmed Basset seemed unprepared to handle the matter without his supervisor, Jennifer Kerkhoff, present. At one point, Judge Morin asked Assistant US Attorney Basset, “Are you really saying that?” when Basset claimed the failure to notify the defense of the exculpatory video material wasn’t a ‘Brady’ violation.
Morin had also asked other similar questions such as: “you don’t think the defense was entitled to that video?” and “why are we saying this is not a Brady issue?”
Most of the courtroom laughed when Judge Morin asked Assistant US Attorney Ahmed Basset “do you want me to rule on the sanction right now?”, and Basset answered “No.” Basset also asked Judge Morin if the court sanctions were against him personally or just the US Attorney’s office in general. Judge Morin clarified the sanctions weren’t directed at him personally, at which point Basset appeared to be extremely relieved.
Downstairs in DC Superior Court, as Judge Knowles continued to preside over the second ongoing inauguration protest trial, lawyers for the current trial defendants argued that the new developments meant the case should be dismissed outright. Knowles declined to make a ruling until all parties had a chance to file new motions.
The current trial is expected to be significantly impacted by Judge Morin finding the prosecution committed a ‘Brady’ violation. The key witness in the case is Detective Greggory Pemberton, who is now implicated in the legal quagmire surrounding the editing of the Project Veritas video.
“These entire proceedings have been tainted,” one attorney told Judge Morin, referring to the central role of the Project Veritas video in past, present, and future trials. The video was played in the first inauguration protest trial, which ended in full acquittals last year, and was also played for the current jury in the second trial last week, casting doubts on just exactly how the case will proceed while Judge Morin decides on sanctions for the prosecution.
All remaining Trump inauguration protest defendants are still charged with six felonies and two misdemeanors and each face up to 60 years in prison if convicted.
Read the full Motion for Sanctions and Dismissal filed by the defense below.Tags: #J20defendj20Unicorn RiotIGD
From Anarchist Writers - by Anarcho
Murray Bookchin (1921-2006) was for four decades a leading anarchist thinker and writer. His many articles and books – Post-Scarcity Anarchism, Toward an Ecological Society, The Ecology of Freedom and a host of others – are libertarian classics and influential in the wider green movement. However, in 1995 he became involved in a vicious polemic over various negative aspects of (primarily American) anarchism with the publication of his Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism which, in 1999, saw him break with anarchism completely, denouncing it as inherently individualist. Still considering himself a libertarian socialist, he now called his politics “Communalism” rather than “Social Ecology” or “Social Anarchism.”
This context is important in order to understand this often contradictory collection of essays, for the work combines articles written between 1992 and 2002 and so ones before and after his break with anarchism. This means he indicates the anarchist pedigree of his “Commune of communes” in some chapters (63, 95) while proclaiming anarchism as being against organisation in others. So following a preface by the late, great, Ursula Le Guin and an introduction by Debbie Bookchin and Blair Taylor, we have nine chapters by Bookchin on a range of subjects written over a range of times and this produces the key flaw in the work: denunciations of anarchism sit next to praise for it.
What of these denunciations? It is hard to take them seriously. It is depressing to read someone who has actually read anarchist thinkers come out with the same sort of nonsense as a hack of a Marxist party parroting claims made by others about people they have obviously never read. Just as sad is that every one of his claims against anarchism can be refuted by quoting from his early works. For his list of anarchist flaws – individualism, primitivism, etc. – were once directed at his own ideas by Marxists and he refuted them with flair.
Space precludes using Bookchin to refute Bookchin, so I will concentrate on a few issues.
Sadly, post-break Bookchin is not above selective quoting when it comes to anarchism – for example, he quotes Kropotkin on rejecting majority rule (10) when he surely knew that on the page in question Kropotkin was discussing “parliamentary rule, and representative government altogether.” Also, after decades of denouncing syndicalism for impoverishing anarchism, he turned around and proclaimed the superiority of the former as regards the latter – while also ignoring how he had shown that the first of the revolutionary anarchists had advocated syndicalism as a tactic. Likewise, Bookchin asserted post-break that “anarchists conceive of power essentially as a malignant evil that must be destroyed” (139) yet also quotes Bakunin on the need for the “development and organization of the nonpolitical or antipolitical social power of the working class in city and country.” (12) As he himself noted long ago, “power” can mean two things, power to do and power over, and for the former to flourish, it needs the latter to be destroyed. So power over – hierarchy – can be destroyed if we want power to manage our own lives.
Bookchin points to the Spanish Revolution as evidence of Anarchism’s failure here. Yet his discussion of this (“Anarchism and Power in the Spanish Revolution”) ignores the circumstances in which the CNT decided to postpone the social revolution in favour of caricatures on anarchist theory. He position is that anarchism is blind to the need for institutions to replace the State and this blindness lead the CNT not to “seize power.” Yet anarchism has anyways been clear on what to do in a revolution – replace the State by federations of workers’ organisations. The CNT obviously failed to do so in July 1936 with obvious negative results – but the question, as Bookchin surely knew, is why they failed to apply anarchist ideas. To understand that needs context – essentially fear of isolation and the real possibility of having to fight both the Republic and the Fascists if social revolution was pursued – which Bookchin fails to provide.
Instead, we get the same superficial analysis that embarrasses Marxist journals. The only difference is that Bookchin calls this new system a “government” rather than “state.” So Bookchin post-break was against the State but for government – “government” being used to describe collective decision making. Just as Engels equated agreement with authority, Bookchin came to equate governance with government. This is hardly convincing.
So the post-break articles present a travesty of anarchism by someone who knew better. Given Bookchin’s revisionism, it is unsurprising that the authors of the introduction assert that popular assemblies were “viewed with suspicion by anarchists.” (xviii) This in spite of Proudhon praising the popular clubs of the 1848 revolution, Bakunin urging federation by quartier (neighbourhood) and Kropotkin pointing to the popular assemblies of the Great French Revolution -- just as Bookchin did!
Ironically, many of the traits of “anarchism” Bookchin came to deplore and which caused his break with anarchism could be traced to certain elements of his 1960s works – even if these were selectively used and exaggerated to the point of travesty by others, they were there as his critics in the 1990s reminded Bookchin in their polemics against him. Bookchin seems like someone who found it hard to admit being wrong – and so broke with anarchism rather than admit this. Yes, some self-proclaimed anarchists have silly notions (primitivism obviously springs to mind) and some tendencies can have little in common with the main current of social anarchism. Likewise, some anarchist have little time for long term strategy and involve themselves in small-scale, insular projects. Yet this is not anarchism as such. Rather than expect all anarchists to come together it is far better to organise with like-minded people and ignore those whose politics and activities are a dead-end. Instead, Bookchin rejected anarchism – talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face!
So what of any substantive points between his new politics and anarchism? This are just a few. One is the question of “majority rule.” As he put it in a particularly overheated passage:
‘It is primarily by giving priority to an ideologically petrified notion of an “autonomous individual” that anarchists justify their opposition not only to the state but to any form of constraint, law, and often organization and democratic decision-making based on majority voting. All such constraints are dismissed in principle as forms of “coercion,” “domination,” “government,” and even “tyranny”—often as though these terms were coequal and interchangeable.’ (160-1)
Ignoring the awkward fact – which Bookchin was once aware – that the likes of Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Malatesta, etc. not only did not speak in those terms but also explicitly attacked such notions, we should note that majority decision making within freely joined associations is hardly the same as majority rule. In addition, anyone acting in the manner Bookchin describes within an anarchist group would be asked to leave, and rightly so. Nor, for that matter, is “consensus” an “authentic” anarchist principle (25) – you would be hard pressed to find any classical anarchist thinker – “authentic” or otherwise! – discussing it. Kropotkin mentions it in passing, when discussing the Russian mir and that is about it.
Why are anarchists concerned about talk of majority rule? It is quite simple: majorities have often oppressed minorities – we need only think of sectarianism, sexism, racism, homophobia and such like to see that the majority need not always be right. Ironically, Bookchin admits this (94) but does not attempt to square it with his fetishization of “majority rule.” And this is an issue. For example, he proclaims that a community which joins a confederation “may withdraw only with the approval of the confederation as a whole.” (15) So Bookchin’s “libertarian” confederation provides less rights than the UK (with regards the referendum on Scottish independence) and the European Union (with regards Brexit). Yet why is it just at a confederal level? If this is a good and democratic principle, why does it not apply to every association? So a worker can only leave their job if the majority of the workplace agrees? So a family can only leave a community if the majority of the local citizenry approve? A wife or husband from a family? Simple: for it would clearly be unfree.
Similarly, his “libertarian” democracy appears less than that guaranteed by our statist ones for he argues that after losing the debate “the minority must have patience and allow a majority decision to be put into practice” (61) and there would be “the commitment of municipal minorities to defer to the majority wishes of participating communities.” (88) Yet, today, the right of minorities to protest exists (if always under threat by the State, always ready to proclaim its “undemocratic” nature). Would libertarian municipalism really not allow minorities to protest, to use direct action, when the majority acts in ways which we cannot wait addressing or simply cannot be undone?
A more flexible perspective is needed, particularly given Bookchin admits that there is no “guarantee” that “a majority decision will be a correct one.” (88) What if the majority make racist, sexist, homophobic or ecologically destructive decisions? Can an “unswerving opposition to racism, gender oppression, and domination as such” (135) be limited to mere words or can minorities protest against them by direct action? If so, then his fetishisation of majority rule needs to be reviewed. True, Bookchin stressed the importance of minority rights (25) – but to do so automatically means admitting (implicitly at least) the flaws of his position and the validity of anarchist concerns over terms like “majority rule.”
Still, this has little bearing on the day-to-day decisions of freely joined associations in which majority-decision making will, undoubtedly, be the norm – with even a written constitution, when appropriate – in the struggle against oppression today and any future free society. Those who fetishise consensus (and there are a few, I am sure) can associate with those who feel the same -- and leave the others to get on with changing the world rather than just discussing.
Yet does Bookchin actually advocate majority rule? The answer is no, for he indicates (52-3) that all revolutions are the work of active minorities and that he does not expect the majority of a population to take part in his neighbourhood assemblies. So we have decisions being made by a majority of a minority, in other words minority rule. So for all his bluster, his “democratic” politics ends up recognising the key role minorities play in social change and that they often have to push forward in the face of the indifference of the majority: as Kropotkin, Goldman and many other anarchists indicated.
So we are left with Bookchin agreeing that the majority cannot, say, ban women from leaving the house without being accompanied by a man nor that neighbourhood assembly decisions are invalid unless a majority of people in the community attend. Which makes you wonder why he was so focused on majority rule to the extent of destroying his own legacy.
As for “libertarian municipalism,” it is clear why few anarchists embraced it: “Communalists do not hesitate to run candidates in municipal elections who, if elected, would use what real power their offices confer to legislate popular assemblies into existence.” (30) The notion of standing in local elections as a means of creating popular assemblies and then federating them was always unconvincing. Particularly given the all-to-correct predictions of anarchists on the effects of electioneering. Indeed, Bookchin himself repeats these and provides examples of it (83-4) – but seems to think this only happens at a national level. He also seems unaware that the national State can and does control the autonomy of local municipal councils and this strategy could easily mutate into national electioneering in the mistaken view of ensuring needed reforms for the local strategy. Electioneering is indeed a slippery slope which even the repeated experience of history does not seem to affect.
Anarchists, regardless of Bookchin’s revisionism, are well aware of the need for federations of community assemblies in both the struggle for liberation and as part of the structure for the post-capitalist society. Kropotkin, for example, discussed their role in his book The Great French Revolution and indicated that “the libertarians would no doubt do the same today.” However, these were viewed as a genuine dual-power created in opposition to the State – a community syndicalism, as it were – rather than something bestowed by a suitably enlightened local municipal council. Nor was this considered the only means – Kropotkin also advocated a syndicalist strategy as both a means of winning reforms now and for providing the framework of managing workplaces during and after a social revolution. Bookchin knew all this and so it is depressing to read him pretend otherwise.
Rejecting Bookchin’s electioneering does not mean rejecting building federations of community assemblies, especially within the context of building other federations of associations (such as radical unions). Likewise, his notion of dissolving all associations into a single communal one does not take into account the complexities of modern life. Such community assemblies would be the forum for overseeing the others – to protect against, say, workplaces becoming proprietary as Bookchin rightly warns (19, 72) – but they can hardly be called upon to actually manage them on a day-to-day basis.
Kropotkin and other anarchists bemoaned the State and its attempts to centralise all aspects of social life and place them in the hands of a few representatives who had no real notion of what they were deciding upon. Doing the same but at the base of society may not be as problematic but it does have issues – not least, the volume of issues that would need to be discussed. So there is a pressing need for a functional federalism as well as a communal federalism. This suggests a diverse associational life embracing all aspects of the world – so if Kropotkin and Malatesta argued that syndicalists focused on one aspect of society (the economic) and ignored the other two (community and leisure), Bookchin likewise focused on one (the community) at the expense of the others.
So, to conclude. This is a mixed selection of articles – with the pre-break ones being by far the best. The post-break ones often just repeat what Bookchin previously – rightly! – called anarchism but with snide anti-anarchist remarks added.
Where does that leave Bookchin’s legacy?
I still remember the joy I experienced reading Post-Scarcity Anarchism thirty years ago – here was someone who both understood anarchism and built upon it. Yet in the last decade of his life he produced works which were marred by anti-anarchist tirades which he surely knew were nonsense. Which leaves us with a conundrum: if you utilise his earlier works, could not his later works be quoted to show that even a leading anarchist eventually saw its deep flaws? If you embrace his later anti-anarchist works, how could you reference in good-faith his earlier contributions?
Yes, Bookchin did do the latter but then he also sought to rewrite his past to suggest he had seen through anarchism at a very early stage or had never “really” been an anarchist at all. This was all very unbecoming – particularly given the numerous quotes from the early 1990s proclaiming his long-standing and continuing commitment to anarchism.
Ultimately, Bookchin left a wealth of books and articles between the 1960s and 1990s which anarchists today can draw upon, even if his strategy of “libertarian municipalism” is deeply flawed. So while The Next Revolution does contain important pieces which activists today would benefit from reading, it pales against his earlier works. These should be read first, simply to ensure that when reading the anti-anarchist remarks in this book the pre-break Bookchin will be fresh in your memory to refute them.
The Next Revolution: Popular Assemblies and the Promise of Direct Democracy
Edited by Debbie Bookchin and Blair Taylor
Preface by Ursula K. Le Guin
December 2014Tags: anarchobookchinsocietybook reviewcategory: Essays
This union is a free and voluntary agreement, and each individual or group will continue to operate independently in addition to being in the union
In the union, all anarchist tendencies, except for religious, pacifist and so called capitalist anarchists, have the potential to be volunteered
All persons and groups are required to sign any call or announcement with the name of the union. If no collective agreement is reached, each individual or group can independently and with the name or group itself sign the item
At the beginning of the formation of the union, the highest level of cooperation will be in the joint signing of the Union of Anarchists. Over time, with more familiarity with individuals and groups, there will be a possibility to expand the level of cooperation
Anarchist Union of Afghanistan and Iran include the following anarchist groups
The collection of the anarchist era (it’s a community of anarchists of Iran and Afghanistan both inside and outside the country.)
Anarchist group “Aleyh” (who are based in Afghanistan)
The revolutionary radical anarchist front (who are present in Iran)
P.S:The possibility of joining new people and groups of anarchists will be permanent
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