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Crossword Puzzle #24: AK Press

Sun, 11/05/2017 - 19:03

This weeks crossword puzzle is on AK Press.

Download it here: https://anarchistnews.org/crossword/crossword24.pdf

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From LBC about the book:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tags: beautiful crossmess parzelthis sitepdfDownloadak presscategory: Projects
Categories: News

Other Rojavas: Echoes of the Free Commune of Barbacha

Sun, 11/05/2017 - 17:28

From Crimethinc

The autonomous region of Rojava has gained international visibility as a beacon of struggle against the Islamic State and other forms of autocratic power, an experiment in which many anarchists are currently participating. Yet Rojava is not the only region in which a struggle for self-determination has expanded to open a path towards total liberation. In north Africa, in the region of Kabylia, an ethnic minority oppressed by racism and state oppression has initiated in a series of revolts comparable to what the Kurds have accomplished in Rojava and the Zapatistas in Chiapas. Throughout decades of struggle, they have established zones of autonomy and built bridges to others in revolt, in hopes of bringing about “a genuine emancipatory social revolution.” Read on to learn about this underreported struggle.



Demonstration in Kabylia, April 20, 2014, commemorating the Amazigh Springs of 1980 and 2001.

Translators’ Introduction

By Michael Desnivic and Habiba Dhirem-Kasper.

This translation has allowed us to share a recent resistance movement that, until now, was completely unknown to English-speaking countries and still largely unknown outside of Algeria. The author, a French writer, filmmaker and documentarian, Matouf Tarlacrea, was very happy to see its release into English. In 2014, he traveled to a commune called Barbacha in northern Algeria with some friends for two days and collected personal stories and documents to present “Échos de la Commune libre de Barbacha” as both an article and short documentary video. Matouf’s specialty is primarily in resistance movements around the world. His grandparents are from northern Algeria and he currently lives in Toulouse, France and is active in supporting CREA (Campagne de Réquisition, d’Entraide et d’Autogestion or Requisition Campaign for Mutual Aid and Self-Management), a squatted communal building inhabited by people of various ethnic and cultural backgrounds united under one common banner: the total and complete rejection of all authority.

Kabylia or Kabylie is a region in northern Algeria just east of the country’s capital city Algiers, inhabited primarily by the indigenous Kabyle people. Outside of Belgium and France, Berbers and Kabyles are fairly unknown to Westerners: Algeria and all of North Africa are imagined to be exclusively populated by Arabs. The Kabyle people are an ethnic division of the Berbers, among many other Berber ethnic groups. Most Kabyles and other Berber ethnic groups currently speak Arabic, Algeria’s official language, as well as regional Berber dialects; French, introduced via colonialism, is also common, especially in business and education.

Who are the Berbers? They are the original inhabitants of North Africa (Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia) and parts of West Africa (Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger). But they did not call themselves Berbers: like the names of most indigenous peoples (e.g. “Indians”), this name was given to them by invaders. It comes from the Greek word barbarous and the Latin cognate barbarus; root of “barbarian,” originally denoting a person with a primitive civilization. The original inhabitants of this region called themselves Imazighen, which roughly translates to “free people,” known individually as Amazigh (masculine) and as Tamazight (feminine), who speak the Tamazight language. Their land was known as Tamazgha, renamed the “Maghreb” by the Arabs. In Antiquity, the people of this land had close relations with Ancient Greeks and Romans.

As with many ancient people, contact with outside cultures alternated between friendship and hostility, with the Berbers playing the roles of both conquerors and conquered. Their contribution to the developing cultures of Antiquity and the Middle Ages has left a mark on African and even European culture (for example, historians suspect St. Augustine may have been an ethnic Berber). More recently, Situationist International cofounder Guy Debord noted in his 1955 article “Introduction to a Critique of Urban Geography” that the term “psychogeography” was coined by “an illiterate Kabyle” he and his friends had known.

Algeria has a rich history of revolt against the various forms of oppression and tyranny that have menaced it, including French colonialism and theocratic autocracy. Algerian-born Albert Camus noted the immense racism the Kabyles experienced through socioeconomic exclusion, extreme poverty and famines instigated by the French settler-colonialists in his essay “Misère de la Kabylie.” In We Are Imazighen, Fazia Ailel states, “Berbers were denounced as a creation of France” as a means to intensify discrimination from the dominant Arab ethnic group. Generation after generation has resisted this racism. The struggles against discrimination and colonialism led to struggles against other forms of oppression as well. As is to be expected, throughout history, revolutionary attempts in Algeria to overthrow dictatorial systems of colonization and, later, state bureaucracy have consistently been co-opted by various “liberators” attempting to secure power for themselves via political, economic, military, or religious leadership roles. This is as true on the African continent as it has been in Europe and Asia.

Kabyles in particular have a long, vast history in avoiding authority and hierarchy, rejecting French colonialism and bureaucracy, by implementing local village assemblies; government in itself has mostly been alien to them. In his 1902 book Mutual Aid, Peter Kropotkin noted the rejection of authority that seemed to be imbedded in Kabyle culture.

“The Kabyles know no authority whatever besides that of the djemmâa, or folkmote of the village community. All men of age take part in it, in the open air, or in a special building provided with stone seats. and the decisions of the djemmâa are evidently taken at unanimity: that is, the discussions continue until all present agree to accept, or to submit to, some decision. There being no authority in a village community to impose a decision, this system has been practiced by mankind wherever there have been village communities, and it is practiced still wherever they continue to exist, i.e., by several hundred million men (sic) all over the world.”

He adds:

“Mutual support permeates the life of the Kabyles, and if one of them, during a journey abroad, meets with another Kabyle in need, he is bound to come to his aid, even at the risk of his own fortune and life; if this has not been done, the djemmâa of the man who has suffered from such neglect may lodge a complaint, and the djemmâa of the selfish man will at once make good the loss. We thus come across a custom which is familiar to the students of the mediaeval merchant guilds. Every stranger who enters a Kabyle village has right to housing in the winter, and his horses can always graze on the communal lands for twenty-four hours. But in case of need he can reckon upon an almost unlimited support. Thus, during the famine of 1867-68, the Kabyles received and fed every one who sought refuge in their villages, without distinction of origin. In the district of Dellys, no less than 12,000 people who came from all parts of Algeria, and even from Morocco, were fed in this way. While people died from starvation all over Algeria, there was not one single case of death due to this cause on Kabylian soil. The djemmâas, depriving themselves of necessaries, organized relief, without ever asking any aid from the Government, or uttering the slightest complaint; they considered it as a natural duty. And while among the European settlers all kind of police measures were taken to prevent thefts and disorder resulting from such an influx of strangers, nothing of the kind was required on the Kabyles’ territory: the djemmâas needed neither aid nor protection from without.”


Barbacha’s residents march against repression, Béjaïa, April 9, 2013. The banner reads “Down with repression.”


On July 5, 1962, Algeria was granted independence after nearly 8 years of war and 132 years (exactly to the day) of colonization. The brutal war, depending on the sources, left around 400,000 to 1.5 million dead. Confusion, fear, disillusionment and atrocity seem to be inevitable byproducts of war, and the end of the occupation (as with the end of so many) led to the rise of despotic leadership.

But after the colonial forces left, something unusual happened. Coming to power at the end of the War, the workers and peasants of the country decided to implement autogestion or self-management. Quickly, the working class took over much of the industry and the peasants much of the countryside. Thus the Algerian War of Independence suddenly became the Algerian Revolution.

Algeria’s self-management revolution (1962-65) united the entire working class, Berber and Arab, as well as even ethnic French pieds-noirs1 to build a socialist (some might even say “libertarian socialist”) revolution that shook off the dead weight of political parties, including the Leninism and Stalinism that numerous bureaucrats were struggling to implement in Algeria and throughout most of the freshly decolonized countries. The struggle of the Algerian workers, peasants, and students was consistently hammered and wedged between various ideologies: religious conservatism, Leninism (or “vanguardism”), capitalism, nationalism, ethnic identity. Unsatisfied by each of these, an Algerian proletariat—people who had not read Marx and Engels, brought a communist party to power, or possessed any interest in centralizing power and the means of production in the hands of the State—had successfully done what socialists in the Cold War era were bent on preventing working people from doing: taking power for themselves.

“After independence, the Algerians turned to socialism, which to them meant self-management.” (Autogestion ouvrière et pouvoir politique en Algérie (1962-1965), Monique Laks, 1970.) Revolutionaries in Algeria were quickly superseding Marxism and its apologists. Ukraine, Germany, Russia, France, and especially Spain are historically seen as the bastions of anarchist and libertarian socialist insurrection by means of self-management, especially in the form of workers’ councils. The revolutionary reorganization of society got underway in Algeria along similar lines, with far less influence from Western thinkers, pushing itself to challenge both state control and private ownership of capital.

With an uncertain socio-economic future in post-independence, the new rulers of Algeria appeared inept. After the war, the General Union of Algerian Workers (Union Générale des Travailleurs Algériens or UGTA) issued the following appeal: “…our battle is soon going to take a new form… The resumption of economic activity will allow the workers to take the initiative to be present everywhere, to participate, to direct and control the economy of our country.” The UGTA continued an appeal to the newly-formed government and the French former owners of the farms and factories to reopen them. The UGTA stated that if there is “a negative answer, the government must organize a system of management by the workers.” The request fell on deaf ears at first, but workers’ self-management continued to come into discussion and was granted official status by Ahmed Ben Bella, the first President of Algeria, in September 28, 1962 in his inaugural speech (plausibly, however, to outstrip his bourgeois competitors with his bureaucracy). After Ben Bella was overthrown by Boumédienne in a coup d’état, self-management and the workers’ movement were targeted by the new regime that blended Islamic fundamentalism and technocratic state-planning, destroying self-management in a few years’ time.


Barbacha, February 2014.


The movements of the “Arab Spring” were particularly intense in Algeria; but they were proceeded by several Berber Springs. In 1980, a lecture on Kabyle poetry by Moulod Mammeri was banned at the University of Tizi-Ouzo. This sparked the first spontaneous Berber Spring, a series of riots and strikes aimed at demanding status for Tamazight as a national or official language, and culminating in other attempts to change Algerian society. Another Berber Spring broke out in 1988. A civil war erupted in 1991 and lasted until 2002.

On April 18, 2001, an event occurred that again put Algeria and the Kaybles in the international spotlight. Guermah Massinissa, an eighteen-year-old high school student arrested in Tizi-Ouzou, a city in Kabylia, was shot by police while in custody under very mysterious circumstances. Rioting broke out almost immediately, causing what was dubbed the “Black Spring.” As often occurs in uprisings against State-sponsored murder, the entirety of the society and everything it produced was called into question. A movement emerged for an autonomous Kabylia.

This revolt elucidated what the insurrectionaries were ultimately attempting to do and what they wanted to communicate to Algeria and the rest of the world: they refused to be led or dominated by anyone, French, Arab, or Kabyle.

Men, women, and children all over Kabylia participated in this third Berber Spring. The common slogan chanted was “You can’t kill us, we are already dead!” (Somewhat more intimidating than “We are the 99 percent.”) Kabyle women were particularly active in the revolt, voicing their disgust against the possible State-sponsored murder of their brothers, husbands, boyfriends, fathers, and sons.

Government offices, courts, police stations—all repressive infrastructures of the State—were put to the torch. Showing a thoroughgoing critique of all the different things that restricted their liberation, the rioters went after the buildings of political parties and Islamic fundamentalists. The Islamists, whose ideological terror paralleled the State’s autocracy culminating in the deaths of countless Algerians, saw their meeting places turned to ash. By the end of the month, the entire region of Kabylia was in total revolt. Every attempt at negotiation with the Algerian government was rejected by the communities of resistance. Police and Islamic fundamentalists were consistently driven out of villages and cities. Labor unions and left-wing parties were shunned as all attempts to take authority were considered traitorous, including voting in the elections.

The people of the region recreated the aarch (similar to Kropotkin’s aforementioned system of the djemmâa), a method of coordinating the needs of the community with revocable delegates from the village assemblies (see Wolfi Landstreicher’s Autonomous Self-Organization and Anarchist Intervention). Via aarchs, the community runs decisions by consensus and assembly. By rejecting hierarchy, it purges the old Algeria—and the old world itself—that asserted its assault on freedom through the police state and Islamic fundamentalism.



Habiba’s father, an ethnic Kabyle, was married with two daughters during the Algerian War of Independence. He was a harki, something he did not like to talk about. It was a poignant subject in their household. Why would anyone choose to fight against his country and people? Wearing these two badges of shame, a harki and a Kabyle, was not easy.

The word harki has generally come to mean “traitor”: in the Algerian context it refers to an Algerian soldier who fought on the French side of the war—sometimes not by choice. Habiba’s father was told his family would be killed if he did not help the armed forces of France keep Algeria as their colony. In return for fighting at their side against the anti-colonial forces, he was promised asylum in France. He found a new life in France, where Habiba was born. Obviously, the transition wasn’t easy for the family. They would have preferred that their country regain its independence from France, and it did, but they never were able to savor the victory. As a child, Habiba visited Algeria with her mother, but things were not the same as her mother had left it. As for Habiba, the experience was very disappointing. She had hoped for acceptance but instead encountered disdain from children in the village her mother grew up in. Being called a dirty Arab back in France was normal, almost expected, but to be called a dirty French in the land of her ancestors left her disheartened and confused.

It was a few years before she understood what it all meant. She was the daughter of a traitorous harki, a man who had betrayed his country and fled with hundreds of thousands of others. Or at least that was what those kids were told she was.

After that trip she had a better understanding of where she came from and she was never the same again. Everything she thought she was came crumbling down. It was only after decades that she discovered her true background: her parents had been Arabized; they were Kabyles assimilated into the Arabic culture and language, and all her life she was made to believe she was part of a culture that deep down she knew she was never part of. Today she is proud to say that she is part of the Kabyle people, some of the most resilient and courageous people in North Africa. Today she hopes that the people of Kabylie will keep fighting for their rights, for their language and to regain their independence.

In translating this piece and presenting the existence of the movement in Barbacha to the English-speaking public, we strongly felt their struggle needed to be known to a wider audience. We did so not just simply to offer a mere news piece to enlighten the Anglosphere on the zeitgeist in northern Algeria, but to inspire others, to move people out of pessimism and fatalism, to show them resistance and change are not impossible. Furthermore, we do so for the people of Barbacha’s request for support and solidarity outside of Algeria, as they have stated plainly that they wish to unite with everyone across the world who yearn for freedom from oppression. We present this project to serve as outreach in order that their struggle might connect with other struggles against authoritarianism, hierarchy, capitalism, and racism.


Barbacha City Hall, blocked by the residents to prevent the installation of the “shameful alliance,” 2013.


Echoes of the Free Commune of Barbacha

“Échos de la commune libre de Barbacha,” by Matouf Tarlacrea (with the gracious help of Amazigh, Morgane, Da Taïeb, Mabrouk, and Da Elhamid) in Article 11, 2014. Translated from the French by Michael Desnivic and Habiba Dhirem-Kasper.

Barbacha is a small region in Kabylia, made up of 34 villages with 27,000 inhabitants. Since 2012, the people there decided to forego holding the reins of municipal authority to instead develop diverse forms of self-management, notably via their Open General Assembly (OGA). Matouf Tarlacrea was there a few months ago accompanied by friends. He brings with him this collective story.

Echos de la Commune libre de Barbacha.


Barbacha—Iberbacen in Tamazight, the Berber language—is a region in Little Kabylia, Algeria, self-managed by its inhabitants since the end of 2012. “Barbacha is just a small hamlet left aside from all the treasures of Algeria,” says Da Taïeb, an elder of the Commune. “It’s a poor region located in a mountainous area. We have no trails or roads.”

As in other regions, the peasants and workers of Barbacha fight day by day to live a dignified life confronted with all the forms of exploitation and oppression imposed by the State and capitalism. But in Barbacha, something else has also created itself. The 27,000 residents of these 34 villages comprising the population of Iberbacen, effectively self-organized through the Open General Assembly (OGA), established a collectively-occupied building. “In Barbacha, we have created this house to protest against the system that crushes us endlessly. The system that governs us right now is rotten,” says Da Taïeb. He and a few others welcomed us in February 2014 with their story and showed us their archives.

Here are a few sketches of these roads drawn by the people of Barbacha—paths for all those who are fighting for emancipation all over the world.

A Tradition of Insubordination and Autonomy

The region of Barbacha has been a site of Berber resistance against all colonization as well as a place of continuous battles for Tamazight culture and language. This has been imbedded in the long history of the struggles of the Kabyle people for autonomy and independence. The region cultivates this with the methods of practicing mutual aid and solidarity, insubordination and insurrection that are passed down from generation to generation. “It’s a movement that was born in 1979. And this fight for culture, for language, for everything, continues. Because we are not [yet] independent!” says Da Elhamid, a welder in central Barbacha.

Like most parts of Kabylia, the region revolted in 2001. Among what was obtained were cultural rights, and those revolts allowed the inhabitants to eliminate numerous police stations and gendarmeries2 which were opposed to all forms of struggle and any autonomous social life.

On top of the harassment, the racketeering and the systematic brutalities, the Algerian State for a long time applied a strategy of tension based on murder and civilian abductions as a form of permanent counter-insurrection. Faced with an exceptional regime, the people did not give in. In 2001, they expelled the police and military forces in the Barbacha region and burned down their buildings. Mabrouk, an English teacher in the commune, explained that the population was doing without security services for thirteen years: no gendarmerie, no police. During those thirteen years, no crimes or infractions were committed.


Mabrouk, an English teacher.


Amazigh, a youth from the region, has determined that the gendarmerie “is of no use. On the contrary, it oppresses. It’s not there for our security. For twelve years, we organized ourselves in village committees. Each village assures its security by its own residents.” It is in this collective self-defense experiment that new forms of communal self-organization have been created. Mabrouk further explains, “We organized ourselves. Each village has someone responsible. And the people of these villages organize together. If there is an enemy that wishes to enter, we create a security post at night and we organize with everyone to help in teams.” He goes on to explain that after four years, people got in the habit of living without these security teams. “But as soon as there’s a problem, everyone will come together and organize and fight.” In Barbacha, there are not even State-run courts: justice is rendered on the traditional model of the aarchs, the councils of the wise.

The Shutdown of the Daïra3 and Its Replacement by the Open General Assembly

The direct conflict with the Algerian State and its structures grew even more divisive during the preparation of the municipal elections of November 2012. During this time, the Wali (governor) Hemmou Hmed Et-Touhami actually refused to register the PST,4 largely supported by the residents of Barbacha. They decided to fight so that the PST could be registered. And they won this cause. In the elections of November 29, the PST finally got 39% of the vote, with six out of fifteen elected. Clearly their list is the majority.

Except that the four other parties on the list formed an alliance to impose another mayor, Benmeddour Mahmoud, of the RCD. And this occurred despite the existence of a law declaring that a list that has obtained 35% of the vote can nominate the new mayor. The election was held even without the PST member list present, who had not even been notified of this. This “shameful alliance,” as Barbacha’s residents called it, united the RCD,5 the FLN,6 and the FFS,7 parties initially opposed to one another, in their struggle for state power.

The population of Barbacha rose up against this manipulation. They closed the Daïra, then city hall, and collectively requisitioned the local village hall in order to create the Axxam n Caâb8—the House of the People—where, since then, the Open General Assembly (OGA) of Barbacha’s villages meet. A banner hangs there: “Long live the struggle, for only struggle pays off.”

Within this assembly, only alcohol, drugs, and “lack of respect” are prohibited by collective decision. Da Taïeb explains how it operates: “As soon as there is a problem, we meet, we make decisions; our words matter. This is our strength, the law of the people. […] This house, we acquired it with our collective power. No one can shut it down, and here we speak of whatever we wish to speak of, we say whatever we want. Letting anyone step on our toes is out of the question.” The welder Da Elhamid adds, “Everyone has the right to speak. And the people there are there as volunteers. That is democracy, true democracy, because it comes from the people. […] We organize ourselves for marches, for contributions, for everything, everything, everything. We must always fight.”


Da Taïeb.


Mabrouk, the English teacher in his thirties, specifies that, “We fight against corruption, for the dignity of the people.” Faced with the “power of the State” which describes them as “a mafia of young people who spend their nights in a house,” Mabrouk states that the people that come to the Axxam n Caâb are “the peasants, the intellectuals, the artists.” “It is a place of one hundred percent freedom: there are no currents, neither religious nor political, inside this house; there are no ideas of the PST or any alliances with the FFS, only the ideas of the peasants and the inhabitants.”

After each assembly, someone is in charge of writing a communiqué that is dispatched to prisons, to citizens, and posted on all the walls of the commune. It is even sent to the security services, “Because we don’t do this behind closed doors!” says Mabrouk.

An excerpt of the very first bulletin of the OGA, broadcasted and posted in the villages of the commune states:

“We citizens, the men and women of the Commune of Barbacha, organized as an Open General Assembly, strongly reaffirm our rejection of Daho Ould Kablia’s9 instruction which opens the path to clientelism, and we consider the installation of the pseudo-mayor by decree of the Wali of Bgayet (Prefect of Béjaïa) dated December 17, 2012, to be annulled and invalidated. […] Furthermore, we hold the public powers and those elected in the so-called coalition responsible for the decay of this situation (blockading the Daïra and city hall, the treatment of communal workers, etc.). We reserve the right to create large-scale actions. […] LONG LIVE THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE! STAY IN SOLIDARITY! LONG LIVE THE STRUGGLE!”

-Communiqué No. 1 of the Open General Assembly of the Residents of Iberbacen, December 26, 2012.

Little by little, the Open General Assembly of the residents of Barbacha has replaced the centralized and authoritarian management of city hall. At first limiting itself to the struggle against the State, it extends itself, little by little, to different domains of collective life. A path to the basics has anchored in a unique history.

The Autonomy of Struggle and the Struggle for Autonomy

It’s in this battle against the installation of a fraudulent mayor by the State and the big political parties that the Commune of Barbacha creates self-organization. While the swindler mayor tries to settle in the PCA (the People’s Communal Assembly, Assemblée populaire communale, or “city hall”), accompanied by an attorney general, a crowd assembles a first time to prevent access. Resolutely determined to solve the problem, the residents decide to block all access to city hall. Hundreds of them, including activists from the FFS and the RCD, in disagreement with the elected parties, mobilize day and night, occupying and blocking all municipal services (the registry office, etc.) and prohibit the slightest meeting of these elected puppets.

“The interests of the Commune, which is in a state of stagnation, come before all other interests, and our interest today is to place Barbacha back on track; this can only happen by the resignation of all elected officials,” announces the second Communiqué of the OGA (December 30, 2012). Communiqué No. 3 points out the strategies of rottenness exercised by the State against the population to create divisions among those mobilized against them. This text calls for the dissolution of the PCA, the nomination of a temporary leader of the Daïra to manage administrative affairs, and a rally for January 5 at the headquarters of the Wilayah of Béjaïa. The assembly signed off, “To the peoples and populations of the world fighting for real sovereignty: may the year 2013 be a good and happy one of solidarity struggles and all that can be gained from them!”

To get to Béjaïa from Barbacha, it’s about 40 kilometers (25 miles). Not exactly next door. The demonstration of January 5, 2013 nevertheless unites over a thousand people. The protestors block the main road leading to Béjaïa to demand the organization of new elections. This demonstration marks the effective involvement of the residents of other communes in other Wilayahs. A solidarity even more valuable emerges knowing that legal proceedings would be charged against militants accused of blocking city hall.

Communiqué No. 4 shows that in the space of autonomous struggles, there emerge new forms of collective organization:

“In detailing its durations of battles, the General Assembly (GA) made the following propositions:

  • The reinforcement of its self-organization by the integration of more delegates and volunteers of all villages by their distribution into commissions according to the tasks it has accomplished and the demands to stop and take charge;10
  • An improved organization of volunteer actions concerning vigilance and security as well as trash collection, particularly around Suq n Tlata;

-Taking charge of repairs in different sectors: the supply of drinking water, sanitation, public lighting, etc.;

  • Scientific and cultural activity in organizing nightly festivities after the GA’s tasks are completed;
  • Quarantining those elected by the shameful alliance, requiring that they resign within 24 hours, the denunciation of their sponsors and support as well as all participants in the various attempts at manipulation in the instrumentalization and intimidation of high school (and other) students and communal workers;

-The construction of a general strike and other large-scale actions.”

Therefore, the General Assembly is not just an organization for struggle and resistance. It has become an everyday meeting place and takes charge of various aspects in the maintenance of the commune: trash collection, the distribution of fuel for schools, cleaning, etc. Mabrouk spoke also about how the employees of the People’s Communal Assembly (PCA) hadn’t been paid in four months: “These are people who have four, five, or six children. In order to take care of them these past four months, we organized together to find money and food, to respond to their needs… In addition, we help the sick who may be in need of passports to travel to France or Belgium for healthcare, and we take care of that for them. We also do the same for the maintenance of schools, supplying them with fuel and supplying their cafeterias.” Some business owners and residents even contributed to finance certain projects. Mabrouk recounts: “This is how we’ve worked from then until today. We have assemblies all the time, we work in solidarity. We want a PCA of the people, not a PCA of power.”

This collective handling of the organization of the commune leads to a form of revolutionary radicalism. In its “Open Letter to Everyone” dated January 22, 2013, the OGA announces:

“We will spare no effort to build any bridges necessary to expand our movement to all the Algerian people for a genuine emancipatory social revolution to federate our multiple discontents, oh so legitimate, and all of our actions. In Sidi Buzid, it was a suicide. In Barbacha, it was a ray of hope that shined through.”

January 26, 2013: the six legitimately elected members of the PST and the NRD (Rassemblement national démocratique11) resigned and gave their power of attorney to the Assembly to move toward the dissolution of the PCA and to provoke new elections. The Assembly also decided to demand the resignation of the entire prefecture. In its Communiqué No. 6 of January 29, 2013, it calls on the entire population of Barbacha and “every person convinced of the justness of our battle, wherever they may be” to stage a general strike on commune territory on January 31, with “the shutdown of all access from midnight to 4 pm.” The communiqué ends, “Long live the people, organized and conscious. Long live the people’s solidarity. We are moving forward.”

But on January 30, the FLN building is burned down. Claiming their strategy to be “peaceful,” the OGA condemns this action which it sees as provocation from the State to justify its repression. Communiqué No. 7 of January 30, 2013 proclaims:

“We are telling all Hamhamists,12 enemies of the people at the bottom of society, that these kinds of acts will only reinforce our determination to fight you, you and your sponsors, until victory. Our battle is neither tribal nor individualistic. It is a real class struggle that started in Barbacha. It is the will of the people against the will of bourgeois and mafia power that, instead of serving the people at the bottom of society, offer themselves as servants to global and imperialist capitalism.”

The exceptional regime applied for so long in Kabylia and the regimes of repressive terror deployed during the Berber Springs and the 1990’s both left permanent scars on the relationships in Algerians’ movements regarding the use of violence. In Barbacha, the majority of the population—which participated in the burning down of a police station thirteen years earlier [in 2001]—seems to prefer occupations and blockades of buildings, roads, or towns as well as mass marches and general strikes. But in the debate between the residents (which we attended), the partisans of armed insurrection, although in a minority, are not stigmatized or cast aside; they are respected in their perspectives and are integrated into the struggle. It seems there is a predominant will to minimize employing acts of violence the more co-opted they can be by power and the more useful they could be to justify the remilitarization of the territory, while completely undertaking all forms of offensive direct action when the situation necessitates it. For example, a young anarchist in Barbacha who is very involved in the Assembly prefers what he calls “nonviolence,” and says, “even in my interventions within the movement, I defend the idea of sometimes utilizing violence, such as, for example, burning the ballots next April 17 [the date of the presidential elections]. I see all the psychological scars of past movements, like the events of 2001. Just seeing a gendarme makes us want to burn everything down.” In Barbacha, these debates seem to uplift the movement rather than dividing it.

The general strike of January 31, 2013 is a success. During the popular meeting at the end of the day, much of the population decides to organize a march and then a sit-in in front of the Wilayah of Béjaïa on February 3. The OGA adds “a more radical action, namely the blocking of street traffic access to both entrances of Béjaïa.” Both of these actions are massively implemented, but they don’t suffice for the Prefecture to give in. In Communiqué No. 9 of February 4, 2013, the Assembly speaks of the risk of a “fratricidal bloodbath among Barbacha residents” if the demands of the population are not met. Faced with the “masquerades” of a power that’s attempting to criminalize them, they become from then on an organ of people’s self-management.

“Our movement is jealous of its own independence. It is above all parties and all partisan logic. We pronounce our decisions in total democracy (direct, we should say) in an Open General Assembly that we have adopted as a popular commitment to our conscious organization. […] We forbid you to judge our method of struggle. We have already declared that we have passed the stage of rioting. Our movement is highly peaceful and of an exemplary maturity.”

On February 11, the minority opponents of the OGA try again to enter the PCA to reinstall the “Mafioso” mayor, but they are stopped by the local population blocking access to city hall. In response, the Assembly calls for a new gathering in front of the Wilayah on February 17. The Wilayah’s administrator agrees to meet with the representatives of the OGA and the PST. During this meeting, the decision is made to reopen the Daïra, but without its official leader, and confer limited administrative powers to the General Secretary of the Daïra, Toufik Adnane. He is in charge of the Assembly’s management of the “current affairs of the commune,” meaning mainly administrative records, the payment of municipal employees as well as the deliverance of birth and death certificates (which the population needs to proclaim its rights). In consequence, the representatives of the OGA decide to cancel the rally scheduled for February 17. But they plan a new “peaceful” march and encampment in front of the Wilayah’s headquarters on March 24.

That Sunday, March 24, marks a turning point. Faced with 2000 demonstrators blocking the headquarters of the Wilayah of Béjaïa, the Wali calls on riot police who intervene with extreme brutality, injuring many people—one young demonstrator even has both legs broken.

Twenty-four people are arrested, including Sadeq Akrour, the PST mayor, who is released—with bandages around his head from the beatings—after 24 hours from the pressure and acclamations of hundreds of people that came to wait for his release. On March 25, the OGA announces a new general strike in Barbacha to pick up the comrades that were arrested the day before in Béjaïa.

Emotions run high in Kabylia as they do in the entire country. Especially since during this time news has spread of the government’s use of police force against the demonstrations of unemployed workers in the south. “This is how, while struggling for the unconditional liberation of our six comrades under judicial control, it is now more urgent than ever to find new methods of struggle in order to prevail with the success of the so-called principal demands,” states Communiqué No. 20 of March 26.

The mobilization does not weaken. On Sunday, March 31, hundreds of Barbacha’s residents demonstrate again in front of the court of Béjaïa where six of their own are scheduled to appear for a hearing. They demand all legal proceedings be suspended. They also announce national actions for upcoming days to impose the dissolution of the municipal council and to demand new elections. The OGA calls for a general strike in Barbacha and a gathering in front of Béjaïa’s courthouse on April 9, the trial date of the 24 arrested. More than a thousand demonstrators rally in front of the court to protest and the general strike is massively undertaken.


Axxam n Caâb, House of the People, Barbacha, February 2014. The banner reads, “Long live the struggle for only struggle pays off.”


All this pushes the population to further develop methods of self-organization. Communiqué No. 23 of April 11, 2013 states:

“The path is still long and difficult. Therefore, the reinforcement of the self-organization of the population must be our permanent task: it is necessary to strengthen the current village committees and create new ones in villages and neighborhoods not yet organized. Because the relative return of the maintenance of the Daïra and City Hall constitutes an important step in our fight, the real development of our Commune must be our strategic objective. […] These are our true battles: the Buâmran mine, the mini-dams, town fuel resources, the high school, the CEM of Tibkirt, RN 75, 13 the Commune’s and Wilayah’s roads, telephone and internet services, machines, agriculture and forestry, youth and leisure, etc. A true synergy of the people at the bottom of society is more than indispensable to move forward and succeed with this project.”

April 19 and 20, 2013, the Assembly is in charge of organizing the festivities commemorating the Berber Springs of 1981 and 2001. It is in this context that the idea emerges and gains momentum that a people’s assembly is the best and most legitimate means to solve the problems of the inhabitants and collectively improve their lives. In their Communiqué No. 26 of May 2013, the OGA states that it’s convinced that the nomination of the General Secretary to manage the Daïra does not bring desired solutions for the population. The Assembly also denounces “all tentative desire to rehabilitate the mayor of the alliance and his team in order to put them in command of our glorious commune.” Rightfully, on May 22, Mohamed Benmeddour, his team, and the members of the “alliance” tried once again to enter city hall. But they were again pushed out by the crowd. However, the Assembly decided in favor of a concession: the reopening of city hall. This is as much about managing “current affairs” as much as it is of “the critics.”

During the summer, the Wilayah blocks all power of signature from the General Secretary—the only finances it leaves at his disposable are for “a closure,” destined to protect the Daïra as well as the means to reinstall the gendarmerie. The General Assembly challenges the unwillingness of the Wilayah, stressing the fact that the population has accepted making concessions (notably, the reopening of city hall). In the “Appeal of September 21,” the OGA thus denounces: the reduction of communal services to a strict minimum; the fact that communal workers were receiving their payments bit by bit, and, if they’re lucky enough to receive them, months late; the refusal of the Wilayah to approve the budget of 2013 (which stifles the communal treasury); the shutdown of all construction sites, especially of the local high school; the end of the school bus service (the bus drivers have not been paid and neither have any of the suppliers for the school’s cafeteria) and the “squatting of the local commune by the gendarmerie.”

Finally, after a long wait, on October 1, the General Secretary is authorized by the Minister of Interior to divide the budget and pay the commune’s employees. But during the entire fall of 2013, the “shameful alliance” tries many times to get back into city hall. Each time, the people of Barbacha, united and determined, prevent them. To present their discontent about the installation of the mayor, a large popular meeting is organized on November 29, 2013. A thousand residents participated, voting by a show of hands against the shameful alliance. “Of the more than one thousand people responding to our call, only three hands were raised (one ironically) in approval of the installation of the infamous mayor of the RCD-FLN-FFS shameful alliance, Mohammed ‘Mahmoud’ Benmeddour, whom we had generously invited to speak. It was an authentic referendum worthy of a real people’s direct democracy, unknown anywhere else,” stated Communiqué No. 32 of December 6, 2013.

The struggle doesn’t budge. However, the demands directed to the State and public powers for the shutting down of judiciary pursuits, the dissolution of the PCA, and the funds destined to develop the commune are all unsuccessful. More radical perspectives emerge among the population.


Da Elhamid.


And What if the People’s Assembly Completely Replaced City Hall?

The battle for new elections and to establish a “legitimate” city hall comes with numerous concessions. It begins with the return of the gendarmerie, although it would be kept out of the commune and will avoid all conflict. Mabrouk says that the State justifies the reinstallation of the gendarmerie as a measure to protect the population against “terrorism.” Additionally, Da Elhamid tells us that not very long ago, the gendarmes would have arrested us for having our discussion. “Nothing has changed, it’s still the same system. Because even the gendarmes [might as well be] colonial gendarmes,” he says.

The reinstallation of the gendarmerie is not the only concession. The residents that are in favor of having new elections plan also to give the House of the People back to the PCA as a measure of goodwill. This is summarized in Communiqué No. 30:

“If the logic of appeasement and advancement moves toward the final unblocking of this conflict, and the return of the meeting place (the Axxam n Caâb) to the Commune (nobody questions its character as a communal good) can help reinforce this dynamic, we are ready for this. However, the public powers must know that it’s because of this meeting place that the movement has remained peaceful and refined in wise judgment. In any case, the General Secretary was allowed to use it whenever the necessity arose. By default, each one of us will assume responsibilities. […] We are neither terrorists nor are we cowards. We are the planners of adventures and are consciously organized with the single goal of allowing our commune to have its part in development and that our proud people have the means to assume their full duty to contribute to the veritable liberation of our dear country, Algeria, and so that it can contribute to the construction of a universal project that can liberate all of humanity.”

A city hall, even if it’s far-left and sincerely engaged with its residents, cannot do anything that can radically change the lives of people. It would remain a manager, a hierarchy, a link in the network of the powers of the state and capital. It may represent the people, but it is not the people. Mayor Saddek Akrour summarized the role attributed by the state to the PST while in office during the preceding mandate: “We suddenly found ourselves in a feedback loop of public finances between oil profits and private enterprises.”14 In this context, and since the basic demands for the economic development of the commune were not carried out, a growing number of the residents are conscious of the fact that the Assembly should not just be reduced to a tool only for struggle, but that it could become a structure of political, economic, and permanent social self-organization.

By the end of the month of December 2013, the state still had not satisfied the demands that the OGA had presented in exchange for the return of the leader of the Daïra. Those in the camp that think that the People’s Assembly should completely replace all forms of State power are again reassured. Da Taïeb, whom we meet in February 2014, sums up his strategy. “We have to completely destroy the Algerian system. It’s not just about Bouteflika,15 his ministers or his walis: the state must be completely destroyed. Only generals live well in Algeria, the people have nothing. Rich state, poor people! This is why the people revolt. To take back our rights. Because there is a way! This is hoggra.16 Look! A Member of Parliament gets 35 million dinars per month or more, plus an international passport, while any other employee in the commune makes only 15,000 dinars! […] We are protestors and we wish for other marginalized people like us come to our aid, that we all unite, that we help one another.”

He is interrupted by a friend, “What interests us is not the elections, but in assembling together […] to struggle against this system.”

The reflection on the elections and the political parties has effectively evolved amongst the residents of Barbacha who have invented a way to manage themselves and their own lives. The position of the welder we met is clear: “The political parties, I don’t like them. Because with parties, you raise a person up, and once they’re at the top, ‘the king is dead, long live the king’—it’s always been like that. Because I have spent a long time in political parties, they don’t interest me anymore. Because as soon as someone is at the top as a Member of Parliament or a mayor, once he goes up, that’s it, you never hear from him again, and then the day he needs the people, he comes back, he whines. ‘We’re going to do this, we’re going to do that…’ and at the end there’s nothing. These people are only interested in power and money.”

Confronting the state and capitalism that are ravaging its territory and very existence, the people of Barbacha lead a continuous struggle for a dignified life. Through the practices of mutual aid and collective resistance, they invent an emancipated society on an everyday basis. Like others before them, notably in Chiapas, they do not attempt to take state power but to dissolve it, along with capitalism, via federated self-organization in communes. Like the Zapatistas, they know that solidarity is a weapon when coordinated struggles come together.

This is the welder’s conclusion: “We have to fight where we are. If everybody fights together, in France, in Morocco, here… we can improve things.” And as the elderly Da Taïeb tells us, “Alone, the residents of Barbacha won’t be able to throw this out. So we are trying to create a great movement, a bulldozer, to destroy it.”

Further Reading

“Carry on Kabylia!”—An article about the 2001 uprising from the eco-defense journal Do or Die

  1. European supporters of and participants in the Algerian Revolution were referred to later as pieds-rouges.

  2. Generally unknown in English-speaking countries, a “gendarmerie” is a French word (and French invention) for a military police force involved in the law enforcement of rural regions. In Algeria, they are substantially militarized and brutal, thus particularly despised. —Trans.

  3. Subdivision of a Wilayah (prefecture), that is to say, a sub-prefecture. [A Wilayah (an Arabic word) might be better understood in English as “region,” “province,” “county,” etc. A Daïra, unique to Algeria and the Western Sahara, can be best translated as “district.” —Trans.]

  4. PST: Parti Socialiste des Travailleurs (Socialist Workers Party), an anticapitalist and internationalist party founded in 1989, a member of the Fourth International.

  5. RCD: Rassemblement pour la Culture et la Démocratie (Rally for Culture and Democracy), social democratic party created in 1989 founded after the formation of the Mouvement culturel berbère.

  6. FLN: Front de Libération Nationale (National Liberation Front), current party of the State under the ruling military junta.

  7. FFS: Front des Forces Socialistes (Socialist Forces Front), social democratic party founded in 1963.

  8. Axxam n Caâb: this is Tamazight, not Arabic. —Trans.

  9. Daho Ould Kablia (born 1933), former Interior Minister of Algeria in charge of Algeria’s gendarmerie, among other bureaucratic affairs. —Trans.

  10. This peculiar phrasing at the end of the sentence is in the original French. —Trans.

  11. National Rally for Democracy, liberal party founded in 1997. —Trans.

  12. Opportunists that only act to fill their bellies.

  13. RN: Route National. A highway. —Trans.

  14. Interview in Paris, 2008.

  15. Abdelaziz Bouteflika, current President of Algeria, in power since 1999. —Trans.

  16. In the Algerian Arabic dialect, the word hoggra (also spelled hogra), often translated as “oppression,” means having one’s rights denied to them, being cheated, exploited, humiliated, or scammed by a ruler, authority figure, or government. The term was used frequently during the Arab Spring in Algeria. One conducting hoggra is known as a haggar. —Trans.

Tags: Crimethinc.Rojavacurrent strugglescategory: International
Categories: News

Yes, this $375 ‘antifa’ jacket from Barneys is actually real

Sun, 11/05/2017 - 17:13

From The Daily Dot

Those who identify with the antifa movement are against fascism and, usually, capitalism. So, naturally, Barneys is selling an ‘anarchy jacket’ for $375. The military-style field jacket is adorned with an anarchist symbol and various on-brand statements. The front says “REVOLUTION” across the chest with a couple of backwards letters to evoke just the right amount of edge, and the back says “Seek Truth” and “The Devil Made Me Do it,” complete with a small illustration of a devil’s tail. The jacket looks like something that teens have been making themselves for years with sharpies and patches.

After photos of the jacket surfaced online, people began ridiculing it on Twitter.

Lmao pic.twitter.com/uu6ZY5psQ4

— Ben Shapiro is 5'4" (@viperwave) November 3, 2017

Alpha Industries, the manufacturer of the jacket, started off as a contractor for the U.S. military and has a long history of making field jackets and bomber jackets. Angelyn Fernandez, VP of Product at Alpha Industries, said in an e-mailed statement to the Daily Dot said that the inspiration behind the jacket is “self-expression.”

“We have seen resistance to power and authority become a trend in our current pop culture and society, often expressed through fashion,” she said. “Since 1965 the M65 field jackets have been a favored method to graphically express one’s opinion. We developed the Barneys M65 anarchy jacket to encompass the artistic and graphic expressions of individuality.”

But the internet did not appreciate the manufacturer’s effort to try to sell a political movement on a jacket.

*swipes platinum Amex card *
"Welcome to the resistance"

— panamaorange (@panamaorange) November 3, 2017

The Official Clothing Partner of Antifa Ltd

— Max Awfuls (@MaxAwfuls) November 3, 2017

1. Go to the army surplus store
2. Buy a jacket for $17
3. Tell a high school sophomore to write his #edgy thoughts on it
4. Profit

— The Real J Roberts (@NotThatJRoberts) November 3, 2017

Anarchy™ https://t.co/Ghbh2j46hd

— Dr. Pepper 2 (@VirtualPlazaMax) November 3, 2017

FIGHT THE POWER! ANARCHY! (Only $375 from Barneys department store) https://t.co/vycutNHqAv

— Nooruddean (@BeardedGenius) November 3, 2017

It'll go great with my pre-ripped, pre-paint-spattered, pre-patched jeans and artisanally-soil-rubbed professionally-scuffed sneaks https://t.co/paiu8tiv6U

— Iron Spike (@Iron_Spike) November 3, 2017

they didn't include the saying 'when the people have nothing to eat, they will eat the rich' wonder why https://t.co/DIyWmpaA4j

— Asia Murphy (@am_anatiala) November 3, 2017

“Anarchy cotton blend” is my favorite intentional arrangement of English words since “Sex Pistols MasterCard." https://t.co/K0ElR0wt5n

— T. Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) November 3, 2017

Here’s the kicker:

I'm dying: "Dry Clean Only." https://t.co/pJaemFNYL3

— Maria Chong (@mariachong) November 3, 2017

The revolution will be dry clean only. https://t.co/YcCMwJ2Mst

— Dan Lactose (@DanLactose) November 3, 2017

The jacket is dry clean only.

Tags: fashionconsumerismthe spectacleMSMcategory: Other
Categories: News

Statement on events at (London) Anarchist Bookfair 2017

Sat, 11/04/2017 - 16:53

From - By Helen Steel

I was in the process of writing a longer article around the events at the Anarchist Bookfair on Saturday, but I am also trying to stay on top of the rest of my life while dealing with the horrendous bullying of people around me which is underway by some trans activists and allies. I have been traumatised by my experiences on Saturday and by events since, resulting in a lack of sleep and inability to concentrate. I wanted to complete the longer article, but as lies are being circulated by those who attacked me, I feel I have to put out a shorter statement now.

When I refer to trans activists in this statement I mean people who are activists on trans issues, I do not mean that all of them were trans, nor that they represent the views of all trans identifying people. For those who don’t know what TERF means, it is an acronym for Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist, but whatever its origins it is currently used as a term of abuse to dehumanise women and so excuse violence and bullying against them.

I thank everyone who is taking a stand against bullying and I urge more people to stand in solidarity too. Those trans activists and allies who are carrying out the bullying can be defeated by growing numbers of people resisting that bullying. This will facilitate a proper space for the concerns of women and trans identifying people to be discussed.

Short statement on the facts:

  • The Tories are planning to amend the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) to include Gender Identity as a protected characteristic in law. This does affect women and as such, women have a right to express their views on this issue.
  • I am aware of three leaflets which were distributed at the Bookfair. I did not actually write or distribute any of them, but I supported other women’s rights to distribute them.
  • The three leaflets that were distributed can be found below
  • None of them call for violence against trans identifying people, obviously I would not have supported them if they had.
  • Refusing to validate other people’s belief systems is not the same as threatening to harm them.
  • Bullying people to force them to accept your views does harm people.
  • If you think that other people should not be allowed to question your ideology, it makes you an authoritarian NOT an anarchist.
  • Women are oppressed in our society on the basis of our sex, those who deny this perpetuate that sexism.
  • It is a basic concept of progressive politics that oppressed groups have the right to self organisation and autonomy in their fight against their oppression.
  • I intervened to stop the bullying of two women who had been distributing leaflets about the GRA at the Bookfair and who were surrounded and being threatened by trans activists. Women’s voices have been silenced throughout history, which is why so many people have internalised misogyny and the assumption that women’s concerns are unimportant.
  • Half an hour later, I was surrounded for over an hour by a baying mob of around 30 trans activists who shouted misogynistic abuse in my face and at others, and who would not leave me alone. This included: ugly Terf, fucking Terf scum, bitch, fascist and more. That kind of behaviour should have no place in anarchism or any other progressive politics.
  • Despite that provocation, I did not at any time threaten or assault anyone. No trans activists were threatened by anyone else in my sight or hearing.
  • While I was surrounded, I saw a man’s hand moving towards my face and when it was within inches of my face I blocked it and pushed his arm away. He then started shouting that I had assaulted him and I should be thrown out.
  • Some of those in the baying mob tried to stoke anger and division by calling me a snitch, making false claims that I had filmed them assaulting a feminist at Speakers Corner and had handed that footage to the police. Footage of the incident is available and actually shows me intervening to protect the victim of the assault, not filming it. The videos embedded in this article show what actually happened, please do watch them and see the truth for yourself.
  • Their claim of ‘snitch’ in the circumstances is obscene in any event – when you assault women you do not get to claim the moral high ground by complaining that they have reported your behaviour to the police.
  • Those in the mob asserted that the leaflets setting out women’s concerns about the GRA should not be handed out because they amount to violence against trans people. They then used this to justify actual physical violence and intimidation. They didn’t care about the distress caused to others in close proximity, including children. Nor did they care about the trauma they cause to women by surrounding us, threatening us and using violence to silence women’s voices, repeating the patterns women face throughout our lives when reporting sexual harassment or assault or other sexist behaviour.
  • Women’s experiences are always erased – we are asked what were we wearing at the time, what did we say and do. Always the message is; as a woman it’s your fault, shut up. So what’s new here?
  • It is absolutely ludicrous that anyone could think that the behaviour of the mob was justified in any way by my actions or those of other women. That is victim blaming. People need to take a reality check.
  • Progressive people need to call out sexism, male dominance and violence and stop protecting sexist behaviour. Those offering support to bullies need to stop appeasing sexist behaviour.
  • Nonsense claims equating feminism to fascism are an insult both to feminists and to those who have endured racist and state violence under fascist regimes.

Of course I believe that all trans identifying people have the right to live their lives free from harassment and abuse, as does everyone. But I note the double standards that while women are repeatedly told to explicitly affirm that right, there is never a requirement on those advocating for trans issues to acknowledge the level of violence and harassment that women face or to state their opposition to sexist abuse, or to challenge the outrageous statements made by some trans advocates which repeatedly deny women’s experiences and silence women’s voices. This is a power imbalance based on the long held expectation in society that women should be subservient.

It is notable that a statement issued a few days ago calling for groups to boycott the Bookfair in future, makes no mention of sexism or of women’s rights or for the provision of women only meeting spaces. There is no acknowledgement at all that women are subject to oppression, sexual violence and harassment on the basis of our sex. It appears that those who have signed the statement are in denial about women’s experiences in much the same way that the rest of society is. Only the recent and snowballing reports of sexual harassment and assault in Hollywood, Parliament and via #MeToo have started to awaken people to reality. It is time those who signed up acknowledged that reality too.

The Anarchist Bookfair organisers do a huge amount of work to facilitate an amazing event which allows thousands of people to learn about alternative views and experiences of oppression and to discuss ways to improve society for the benefit of all. The self entitled mob attacking women for leafleting thought they had the right to dictate who could say what in that space rather than arguing their views and listening to the counter arguments to develop critical thinking. They need to think again.

I am lucky to have so many friends and comrades who put themselves in the line of fire to protect me, I thank them for this, especially those who were assaulted and abused. I also thank everyone who has sent messages of solidarity and support which are enabling me to get through this horrendous experience. I include in my thanks those trans identifying people and supporters who may not agree with my views but who recognise the importance of women being able to speak too and are resisting the intimidation they face from people claiming to act in their name.

I want to add that a couple of people have commented that while they agree with women being able to speak on these issues, they feel that in a few places the wording used is not helpful. The problem with requiring leaflets to be perfectly worded before they can be distributed is that it excludes very many people from being able to express their opinions. Only the confident will feel able to speak. It particularly excludes those born female who are generally socialised from a young age to keep quiet about their views and so who are less confident about expressing them. Perfection is certainly not a qualification used to prevent men from speaking. And ultimately, who decides what is right? That is the purpose of having debate, so we can all clarify our thinking.

-Helen Steel

 

Leaflets distributed at the bookfair about the Gender Recognition Act

I am attaching the leaflets so people can read for themselves rather than speculating about what they said. Before people jump to conclusions about the leaflets, I would like them to understand the violent misogynistic bullying and death threats that women are being subjected to by a really vile subset of trans activists, so that they are aware of some of the context of women’s concerns. This abuse has been going on for a long time now. People need to understand just how frightening and intimidating it is for women, and why women are fighting back and need allies to stop this abuse and create the space for discussion on these issues. Here are a few examples, there are plenty more on https://terfisaslur.com/

Screen Shot 2017-11-03 at 07.55.57————————————————————————————————————————————–

Quick-facts-Sex-gender-and-equal-rights-SAGES-2017(1)quick-facts-sex-gender-and-equal-rights-sages-20171ABF FLIER SIDE1maydayside2erases

Tags: ukLondonTERFtranssocietycategory: Actions
Categories: News

Call for an Anarchist Bloc in #Portland on November 4

Sat, 11/04/2017 - 00:08

From Puget Sound Anarchists

This is a call out to anarchists and anti-capitalists to converge on the Refuse Fascism rally & march at Jamison Square, in Portland, OR at 2PM this Saturday, November 4th.

With full acknowledgement that the RF call to action was published by the Revolutionary Communist Party, we know the local organizers to be unaffiliated with RCP and a mixed bag of people ranging from liberal to radical politics. These are people from our community who bravely endeavor to take an offensive stance against fascism in their city. There have been threats from the far right of violence at these rallies nation wide including threats made to organizers locally and in the past few weeks there has been white supremacist graffiti found on the PSU campus in downtown. We call on our comrades to join in solidarity and community self defense.

If we do not have a presence in these moments, we leave a vacuum for the RCP and other authoritarian politics to spread uncontested. It is important to remember that events such as this are perfect opportunities to spread anarchist and anti-capitalist propaganda and anti-state sentiment to the newly radicalized.

Join us in an anarchist bloc on the 4th!

Let us not sit out the fight against fascism because of who is calling for it, and let us not surrender the antifascist struggle to organizations like the RCP.
ACAB

Tags: portlandantifablack bloccategory: Projects
Categories: News

Benjamin Tucker American Mutualist: Mutual Banking Part 3 and Final Conclusion Part 4

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 18:47
Benjamin Tucker Individualist Anarchist Mutualist

Benjamin Tucker American Mutualist: Mutual Banking Part 3 and Final Conclusion Part 4
By Nicholas Evans

In the previous article Benjamin Tucker Part 2: Brief Introduction to the Freedoms in the Individualist Society, it was noted Tucker’s society would have government (in whatever shape or form), but the government would exist through voluntary taxation and without economic exploitation. Therefore Tucker advocated a society of voluntary taxation of government and with employers that pay their employees the full value of their labor (their natural wage), land owners owning land that only they occupy, non-exploitive landlords that are paid only for the work they do on the land they own, and interest charged at one percent or by Mutual Banks for their customers. The one percent of the mutual bank is charged to cover the cost of overhead and wages at the mutual bank. Regarding Tucker’s overall society James Martin states:

"The abolition of compulsory taxation would mean the abolition of the state as well, Tucker asserted, and the form of society succeeding it would be on the line of a voluntary defensive institution... There were two methods of government...The other was the anarchist method of 'leadership', inducing the individual to the 'goal of an ideal civilization' through persuasion and 'attraction'...Two aims of anarchist activity, the abolition of compulsory taxation and the abolition of legally-protected money and land monopolies, form the main theme of his critical writing..." 1.

In this article is a brief introduction to William Greene’s mutual banking theory which Tucker supported. James Martin states that Greene’s mutual banking “…resulted in one of the few real additions to Warrenite mutualism.” 2.

Greene was involved in Unitarian ministry and Transcendentalism*, was a military officer, and Individualist Mutualist. 3. **
Greene with his Libertarian Mutualism believed a bank had only one reason to exist and that reason is for being a place where borrowers and lenders can come together. 4. He believed because banks did not follow the labor theory of value hence banks were charging much higher rates of interest to the loss of the customers. Greene noted “On the side of the bank there is a small army, well equipped, well officered, and well disciplined; on the side of the community, there is a large undisciplined crowd, without arms, and without leaders.” 5.

Governments have helped the banks charge high interest through legislation. The exchangeable value of a commodity is determined by both its utility (usefulness) as well as its scarcity. However after government legislation regarding banks as gold and silver as the only legal tender allowed “…those who managed to obtain a monopoly of the supply of these metals to similarly control the business of the area using them as the sole legal tender, and thereby secure a premium for their use by all others engaged in commerce.” 6.

Greene believed high interest rates charged from banks kept many people in poverty as they were forced to work for others and be paid less than the full value of their labor because they could not afford the high interest rates to go into business for themselves or create co-operatives . 7.

What is the solution according to Greene?

Greene’s solution was the Mutual Bank.

Any person could become a member of the bank by pledging mortgages to the bank on actual property where he stated bills of exchange amounting to one-half of the total value of the mortgaged property would be issued. No money would be loaned to persons not people not members of the banking company. All members of the bank would enter into a voluntary agreement to accept paper money of the bank in all payments when presented by fellow members. Members could be released from their pledge when their mortgage had been redeemed and a declaration stating perpetual non-redemption in specie (coin money) of the bills of the bank. *** 8.

Greene suggested that 10,000 people sign up before starting the mutual bank. This Greene believed would insure a feeling of security with the mutual bank members because all could inspect the books and therefore observe see on what basis all others were having money issued. In addition, with 10,000 local people as members people would be able to use the mutual money in everyday local life in member stores, hotels, theaters, shops, restaurants ect, ect. 9.

The mutual bank is a producer bank. Its currency was non-interest-bearing. The monetization of commodities other than gold and silver (though Tucker mentioned people could use gold or silver if they wished) would enable a person with only his work skills to easily borrow capital to engage in productive work and thus create capital goods of their own. 10.

Greene’s Mutual Banks were not like the “Wildcat money” because the wildcat money were based on specie that did not exist because they were not backed by any actual existing commodities. Mutual bank money on the other hand, is not redeemable in specie but in actual existing commodities. Mutual money is issued against actual values and is utilized by all who insured it and the mutual money has no effect upon the precious metals than upon any other commodities. 11.

Like Proudhon, Greene encouraged co-operatives and democratically run business. Greene encouraged Associated Workshops, Protective Union Stores, and his Mutual Banks which he called the “…Triple Formula of Mutualism.” 12. This triple formula is similar to Proudhon’s Agro-Industrial Federation. 13. in the belief that the Associated Workshops, Protective Union Stores and the Mutual Banks would protect from companies interested in entering the market with the intent of creating usury (un-worked income). Greene believed the mutual bank was best adapted to the local community level. In times of economic troubles, the mutual money would prove to protect against inflationary or deflationary pressures as the local town cannot fail disastrously because they have real property backed by their money literally in the local community. 14

Like Tucker, Greene believed people should be free to live any way they wished. 15.

He believed Mutual Banking would eventually lead to a free mutualist society:

“Mutualism operates, by its very nature, to render political government, founded on arbitrary force, superfluous; that is, it operates to the decentralization of political power, and to the transformation of the State by substituting self-government instead of government ab extra.” 16.

Benjamin Tucker American Mutualist: Final Conclusion Part 4

As noted in Part 3 Benjamin Tucker advocated for a society with voluntary taxation for government and private businesses would exist with either self-employed individuals, non-exploitive employers who pay their employees the full product of their labor, as well as land-owners who own only the land they live on, non-exploitive land lords**** and interest at low rates to cover only the cost and wages of running a mutual bank. The mutual banks would offer low interest to insure anyone who can work would be able to become self-employed as an alternative option to employers who pay their employees less than the full value of their labor. Given this option employers would be looking for employees and therefore raise the wage to the full product or the natural wage. Tucker followed the Labor Theory of Value and opposed unearned income which is why he is a market socialist or Mutualist. In other words, Tucker wanted voluntary taxation with equality of opportunity on the competitive market.

As stated by James Martin:

"The abolition of compulsory taxation would mean the abolition of the state as well, Tucker asserted, and the form of society succeeding it would be on the line of a voluntary defensive institution... There were two methods of government...The other was the anarchist method of 'leadership', inducing the individual to the 'goal of an ideal civilization' through persuasion and 'attraction'...Two aims of anarchist activity, the abolition of compulsory taxation and the abolition of legally-protected money and land monopolies, form the main theme of his critical writing..." 17. People who do not accept the Individualist Society can move to another society that more fits their preferences and they will have an easier time to move because they will be paid their full value of their labor.

Proudhon, an influence on Tucker and his contract theory (See Tucker’s Instead of a Book) stated in the Epilogue of his General Idea of Revolution in the Nineteenth Century (1923):

“Will you join the compact, and form a part of their society?
Do you promise to respect the honor, the liberty and the property of your brothers?
Do you promise never to appropriate for yourself by violence, nor by fraud, nor by usury, nor by interest, the products or possessions of another?
Do you promise never to lie nor deceive in commerce, or in any part of your transactions?
You are free to accept or refuse.”

The society by contact through voluntary taxation and non-exploitive wage labor on a free market with equality of opportunity was Tucker’s goal.

How can the Individualist society of Tucker be created?

Mutual banking may no longer be able to have the intended impact it once could have potentially had. Tucker later stated in his 1926 post script:

“…Today the way is not so clear. The four monopolies, unhindered, have made possible the modern development of the trust, and the trust is now a monster which I fear, even the freest banking, could it be instituted, would be unable to destroy. ... If this be true, then monopoly, which can be controlled permanently only for economic forces, has passed for the moment beyond their reach, and must be grappled with for a time solely by forces political or revolutionary. Until measures of forcible confiscation, through the State or in defiance of it, shall have abolished the concentrations that monopoly has created, the economic solution proposed by Anarchism and outlined in the forgoing pages – and there is no other solution... [It] will remain a thing to be taught to the rising generation, that conditions may be favorable to its application after the great leveling. But education is a slow process, and may not come too quickly. Anarchists who endeavor to hasten it by joining in the propaganda of State Socialism or revolution make a sad mistake indeed. They help to so force the march of events that the people will not have time to find out, by the study of their experience, that their troubles have been due to the rejection of competition...” 18.

So gradual peaceful change through education is the main key to creating an Individualist Mutualist society according to Tucker.

While peaceful gradual education is key, creating Individualist mutual banks and Individualist run businesses can still be helpful. Although we are living in a system without equality of opportunity on the market, another small way to help to create the Individualist Libertarian***** society is by creating mutual banks or by applying the Individualist way of operating a business (any type of business) by having everyone in the company (both employers and employees) vote on wages of both the wages of the employees and the wages of the employers. The jobs within the company that are the most stressful mentally or physically would be paid the most. This is the Labor Theory of Value or the 'Cost Principle' (which includes the mental and physical stress) of the theory of Josiah Warren. The only difference between the individualist model with employers and co-ops (ie Proudhon) is in the Individualist anarchist model the employers are not voted in or out like in the model of Proudhon. In either model there is no surplus value because the wage is decided by how difficult the work is and only people who work (add value) are paid and the employees being the majority in the company decide their wages themselves through voting (rather than letting the market do it with equality of opportunity on the market if they were in an individualist anarchist market which we are not at this time of 2017) are by both the employer and employees voting on wages and by both actually doing their work they are being paid for; they have equality of opportunity to decide their whole wages depending on the physical and mental intensity and thus receive their entire product. Also encouraging the Individualist Anarchist attitudes of freedom, tolerance, and respect for all others views are what someone can do to help create an Individualist society based on Tucker, Warren, and Andrews views.

*This author finds the Christian and Transcendentalism beliefs of Greene as well as the methods of the Sedona Method more helpful over Tucker’s egoism. While most interested in the Individualist Libertarians, this author also likes all forms of libertarianism (ie. Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin)

**Lysander Spooner previously stated the free money decentralist views in his Constitutional /law Relative to Credit, Currency and Banking in 1843. Spooner is a Libertarian Mutualist because although he supported absentee landlords (see: Spooner. The Law of Intellectual Property. 1855. “The principle of property is directly the reverse of this. The principle of property is, that the owner of a thing has absolute dominion over it, whether he have it in actual possession or not, and whether he himself wish to use it or not; that no one has a right to take possession of it, or use it, without his consent; and that he has a perfect right to withhold both the possession and use of it from others, from no other motive than to induce them, or make it necessary for them, to buy it, or rent it, and pay him an equivalent for it, or for its use,…” From section XI Objection Eleventh) he opposed economic exploitation in the workplace and unlike Tucker who preferred employers who pay their employees their full value or natural wage on the market, Spooner preferred co-operative businesses. It is Spooner’s opposition to economic exploitation as the reason why Spooner along with Greene were invited to the International Workingman’s Association. (See: Woodcock, George. Anarchism: A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements. Pg. 460. Available at: https://libcom.org/files/Woodcock,%20George%20-%20Anarchism,%20A%20Histo...) Economic exploitation in the workplace is when an employer pays their employees a wage less than the full value of their labor on the competitive market. Capitalism is a market system that does not factor the labor into the cost of the product. Economic exploitation follows the labor theory of value theory which factors labor (mental and physical) into the price of a product. Spooner, Tucker, Greene and the other Individualists followed the Labor Theory of Value which is why they are market socialists. (see: Capital Volume 1 by Marx) The full price of a product is the natural wage which is the average going rate for a job on the market that includes the physical and mental labor into the price of the wage or product. Economic exploitation happens when employees are paid less than the going rate on the market. However the Labor Theory of Value can only work in large scale if there is equal opportunity on the market by means of Mutual Banks or if everyone owned a house because people would settle for lower wages simply to survive on a market without equality of opportunity and hence not receive their natural wage.

***In today’s society and especially in the future it may be more efficient to use cashless ways of payment through things like debit cards to represent different types of money from different banks (ie. Government backed money, mutual money ect. ect.).

****Tucker agreed with Josiah Warren on equitable non-exploitive landlord rent though Tucker did not call non-exploitive rent 'rent' but sale. Warren states “The equitable rent of either would be the wear, insurance, ect., and the labor of making contracts and receiving the rents, all of which are different items of cost.” Warren, Josiah. Equitable Commerce. ULAN Press. USA 2017. Pp 46. By ‘cost’ Warren means the physical and mental labor along with the material costs in addition to the average going rate on the market are all factored into price. Tucker states that he considers the term rent to mean usury or unearned income by a landlord. However if a landlord worked on their own land, then the tenant pays the landlord (a money amount covering the physical and mental labor as well as material costs according to the work done by the landlord) due to the damage and wear the tenant does on the land owned by the landlord that was worked on by the landlord then that is non-exploitive and thus not rent but sale. Tucker states: "If Edgeworth performs preparatory labor on a cotton field, the result of which would remain intact if the field lay idle, and that result is damaged by a tenant, the tenant ought to pay him for it on the basis of reward defined above...the transaction, nevertheless, is in the nature of a sale, and not a payment for a loan. Every sale is an exchange of labor, and the tenant simply pays money representing his own labor for the result of Edgeworth's labor which he (the tenant) has destroyed in appropriating it to his own use. If the tenant does not damage the result of Edgeworth's preparatory labor, then,.... this money, paid over and above all damage, if it does not bring equivalent ownership, is payment for use, usury, and in my terminology, rent... The difference between us is just this. Edgeworth says that from tenant to landlord there is payment for damage, and this is just rent; and there is payment for use, and this is unjust rent. I say there is payment for damage, and this is indemnification or sale, and is just; and there is payment for use, and that is rent, and is unjust." Tucker, Benjamin. Instead of A Book. Forgotten Books. 2012. Pg 303.

***** With the exception of the Individualists Libertarians like Tucker, Warren, and Andrews the vast majority of Libertarians want a society of democratically run businesses or workplaces. Please see works by Greene, Proudhon, Bakunin, and Kropotkin. Tucker and the other individualists are still libertarians due to their belief in the labor theory of value which is a preference for a society free from economic exploitation. Most all libertarians want a society free of the state and democratic control of the workplace with the exception of Tucker and other individualists who want voluntary taxation and non-exploitive wage labor. Libertarianism that I am referring too is the original term dating back to the 1800’s. Please see Iain Mackay’s excellent AFAQ Blog. 150 Years of Libertarian. Anarchist Writers: AFAQ’s Blog (12/11/2008) Retrieved Nov 2, 2017 from: http://anarchism.pageabode.com/afaq/150-years-of-libertarian The AFAQ has been regarded as “…very comprehensive…” by Graham, Paul; Hoffman, John. Introduction to Political Ideologies London: Pearson/Longman. (2006) pp 109

Notes:
1. James J. Martin. Men Against the State. Ralph Myles Publisher Inc., Colorado Springs. 1970. Pg.216-218
2. Ibid. 126
3. Ibid.126
4. Ibid. 128
5. Ibid. 128
6. Ibid. 129
7. Please see: Mutual Banking 1850 Edition by William Greene. (Although Greene opposed wage he did believe it was necessary for landless bank members to have non-exploitive wage labor as a transition period until they can get enough money to buy land of their own to pledge to the mutual banks in order to become self-employed or join co-operatives)
8. James J. Martin. Men Against the State. Ralph Myles Publisher Inc., Colorado Springs. 1970. Pg. 131
9. Ibid. 131
10. Ibid. 132
11. Ibid. 132
12. Ibid. 135
13. Proudhon, Pierre Joseph. Translated by Richard Vernon. The Principle of Federation. University of Toronto Press. Canada. 1979.
14. James J. Martin. Men Against the State. Ralph Myles Publisher Inc., Colorado Springs. 1970. Pg. 135
15. Ibid. 135
16. Ibid. 133
17. Ibid. 216-218
18. Please see the post script at: https://archive.org/details/statesocialisman00tuck

Tags: Benjamin TuckerIndividualist AnarchistFree Market MutualismmutualismBenjamin Tucker Free Market Libertarian Socialistcategory: Essays
Categories: News

The Brilliant on exclusion

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 16:40

From The Brilliant

We present to you a series of four conversations on anarchist exclusion and how the most complex and compelling anarchists (IMO) are also ones who have been excluded from anarchist social cliques. Here is an except from my workshop on this topic from the 2017 BASTARD conference.

This is a basic conversation that, if successful, will question a basic anarchist principle and point a way torward thinking about how to form pods of human activity in a possible, viable future. We will discuss what is social, society, and at what numerical breaks are different kinds of organizations possible and impossible. Mostly we’d like to talk about exclusion as a consequence of how this society is ordered but also how utopia planning is largely a reactionary and conservative process. We are against it.

Exclusion I - Episode 55 a discussion with Ben. Primarily about Occupy.
Exclusion II - Episode 56 a discussion with Soren and Dominique. This episode is primarily about the Oakland group house scene.
Exclusion III - Episode 57 a discussion with Mitchell Halberstadt a local anarchist pariah. This is largely a conversation about aging gay and anarchist in NYC and the Bay
Exclusion IV - Episode 58 a discussion with Andy Robinson. This is a theoretical conversation about the origins of exclusion and questions about what it means to be an anarchist, all the way down.

The third part of this project (workshop and discussions being part one and two) is building some sort of textual engagement with this issue. The first part of this will be a version of my workshop in the upcoming BASTARD Chronicles but my question to you would be what would be a useful way to expand this conversation. How do the excluded organize? Insofar as some anarchists believe that our project is to free the human race, what does that look like when we largely experience ourselves to be unfree even amongst our own? What should we say about anarchists that exclude?

Tags: The BrilliantAragorn!exclusionsocietycategory: Projects
Categories: News

[Porto Alegre, Bra$il] “When anarchy disturbs” Library Kaos statement about the prosecution against anarchists

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 15:20

November 2, 2017 | by actforfreedom

via A_N_A
translated by tormentasdefogo

There are many things to say, but we will start with the most urgent. In the 25 of October began an anti-anarchist persecution against FAG [Gaucho Anarchist Federation] Parhesia institute, Pandorga squat and some individuals who had their spaces and houses raided by cops. If not all, probably a good part of the anarchist diversity was reached and several of them spoke firmly from their agreement against repression. And this is a fresh air that strengthens every one who feels sedition.

It is evident that the aim of the agents of repression also points against us, against the publications we have made or in which we participate. And that is what we are going to say. “The chronology of the Anarchic Confrontation”, the one that collects information from 2000 to 2015, and the one that collects the anarchic trigger of 2016, both are the books that are being exhibited as “evidence” of vandalism, attacks, and criminal acts. Among the many ways anarchism has to search for freedom, these books speak of anarchic informality as an option according to the current domination’s face. Further, we clarify that these books speak of actions but not only anarchists ones. The focus of the books is the diffusion of anarchic actions. To be more precise, it spread actions in which we feel the aroma of anarchy. And between anarchism and anarchy there are differences that may be delicate but which are important.

The anarchic instinct is that anti-dominating impulse that can be present in any individuality or collectivity, beyond the ideological belongings and political militancy. That is why in the chronologies we include conflicts of non-Western populations, street conflict within larger protests and diverse motivations, actions against the State and Capital, and more. Far from going by the theory, we clarify this since the persecution against the anarchists does not consider these differences in order to find a scapegoat for multiple events that bothered the cops and the powerful of always. It is surprising that the police, deputy Jardim, and the media, show as the great news some facts that were already headlines at the time and have already been searched by cops, just because all these facts are condensed in our publications. None of the books is a claim. They are books of an anarchic memory, with actions and conflicts long before the existence of the Kaos Library, which will surely continue beyond us. The publication shows with joy and yes, with head held high, the existence of an anarchic confrontation that respond to the domination, the devastation of the earth and the attack against all forms of freedom, but it does not claim responsibility of these facts that can be collected, as we have done from various internet pages and local newspapers. And if we have made these publications aware of the risk they presented, it is because insubmission deserves to be defended, howled, celebrated and shouted by all possible means. We will never believe or respect the obedience they intend to impose, the submission and the fear they want to inoculate in people from the moment they are born.

Therefore, the actions printed in the chronologies are attacks against the materiality of domination. That is against buildings, cars, machines, roads, windows. Stuff. Objects. Symbols. Cops in the territory controlled by the Brazilian state are internationally famous for being a murderous police force. The so-called “pacification operations” are massacres, authentic massacres, such as Candelária and Carandiru, as well as the murder of Eltom Brum from behind his back that even had a police crowd receiving the murderer. And are they the ones who talk about terror, about evil gangs, about attempted murder? They show a sling and ecological bricks as weapons while they’re holding guns. They speak of terrorism and evil gangs while preparing the next invasion against a village or favela, where the dead will not even be mentioned by the media. That insignificant they are to them. We would like to believe that everyone feels insulted by the evidence of the Garden Delegate. In a context where weapons are commonplace, ecological bricks presented as explosives are an insult to anyone. However, we do not forget when Pinho Sol [famous deodorizer label] was considered a weapon and used “evidence” against Rafael Braga* whom they held behind bars until he got tuberculosis, that is, until they felt they had done everything to kill him.

The repression against anarchists show two things. First, to present “terrorists” on screen serves as a TV show to turn the spotlight away from issues such as corruption, political-police discredit and slow genocide throughout economic reforms. That they now try to solve the facts of 2013* and chase a book and literature, clearly shows a spectacular attempt to hide the growing attack on the population, to depoliticize through threats and spread fear even to read (evidently democratic practices). The second thing that presents an anti-anarchist persecution is that anarchy disturbs. When we speak of anarchy that disturbs, we are clearly not talking about well behaved boys and girls acting within the limits imposed by power, we do not speak of people who have laws in their bodies and hearts drawing their limits of action. When we speak of anarchy that disturbs, we speak of such a strong insubordination of people and groups that have been able to interrupt the normality of the power square, to paralyze the city, to break the symbols of militarization in Haiti**, to burn the vehicles that seize, and they kill dragging like horses of the inquisition (Claudia we do not forget your death).

The Kaos Library books spread this anarchy. The one that disturbs. The one that answers the clash of agribusiness, colonization civilization, militarization, ecocide, prison society… In simpler words, while domination tries to destroy the planet and all that they find undesirable, we spread what attacks the domination.

And when anarchy bothers, the reaction of the powerful threatens and wants to sniff the fear. The anarchic response to this persecution will remain in our hearts and actions. How we face this crossroads will mark the moment of our passage through the path of rebellious life.
Strength and solidarity with those prosecuted by “Operation Érebo”

Kaos Anarchic Library
October 2017

Translation notes:

* Rafael Braga was arrested during 2013 protests. At the time, he was homeless and was simply removed from his place while cops repressed the demo.
** 2013 is remembered as a year of street uprising against transportation fairs in great part of the territory under domain of the bra$ilian state. As in other territories in the world, there were a lot of insurgent protests mostly self organized.
*** Bra$ilian army is responsible for the militarization of Haiti.

Tags: brazilPorto AlegroRepressionKaoscategory: Essays
Categories: News

Recapitulating Alterity,: Hellas as subaltern crossroads

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 14:08
a.bradley

reproduced from extinction.global

[PDF] An iterative process of territorial conquest, political and cultural exchange engenders a singular phenomenon wherein the Greek national consciousness and political economy remains in perpetual polar flux: Greece, Urheimat of Eurocentricity–aptly lionized type specimen of democracy (isomorphic with its self-proclaimed [post]modern heir liberal nation-states in the hierarchization of participation and access along a gendered and ethnocentric stratigraphy), now faces again the predicament of those three alternatives to political subjugation by external empire(s) presented by Lord Byron in his letters from Missolonghi of 1824.

To wit:
[Lord Byron] says he must frankly confess, that unless order and union are consolidated, all hopes of a loan, and of any succour which Greece might expect from foreigners, will be suspended and checked; and what is more, the great Powers of Europe, none of which was an enemy to Greece, and seemed inclined to favour the establishment of an independent power in Greece, will be persuaded that the Greeks are unfit of govern themselves, and will take some measures to put an end to your disorders, which will destroy at once all your hopes. “Allow me to add,” he says, “once and for all, I desire the welfare of Greece, and nothing else. I will do my utmost to secure it, but I will never consent that the public or individuals in England shall be deceived with respect to the real state of Greece.”

[…] “Greece now has three ways to choose–to re-conquer its liberty; to become a dependent on the sovereigns of Europe; or to be again a Turkish province. There is no alternative between these three; but civil war seems to lead only to the two last. If you envy the fate of Walachia or the Crimea, you may have it tomorrow [emphasis added]; if that of Italy, the day after to-morrow; but if Greece will become free and independent, she must decide now or it will be too late.”

The contemporary Greek scenario, now seven years into crushing austerity imposed by external powers in Brussels (read: Frankfurt [ECB], Berlin [Wolfgang Schäuble {Finance Minister, Germany (CDU)}], Washington [IMF]) chillingly recapitulates those prior interactions characteristic of relations of late Hellenic civilization with neighboring/transecting ethnocultural planes, wherein the Greek is always already necessarily “other”/marked/subaltern: neither Eastern nor Western, neither Asian nor European, neither white nor black, Hellas ever always interstitially iterates its vexing ethno-ontological amorphism.

The Ottoman Empire laid claim largely to former provinces of once vast preceding Hellenic, Persian and Arab civilizations, integrating pre-existing administrative apparatuses where appropriate, including whole sections of formerly Byzantine territory occupied and predominated by Hellenic/-ized peoples. Against such a backdrop, insurgency and irredentism can only be described as de rigeur, especially as marks the intense ethnopolitical rivalry which has long broadly characterized the often-fraught historical relationships between peoples identified as, respectively, Hellenic or Turkic. This phenomenon can only have intensified subsequent to later superimposition of an intra-Abrahamic sectarian rivalry upon the already existing rhythm of intermittent, iterative (territorial/ecological) conflict.

Contemporary, neoliberal, post-Hartz IV grand coalition Germany epitomizes Max Weber’s Protestant work ethic, and this frugal, centrist, productionist ideology undergirds the European Union terms of Greek debt settlement through social austerity implementation. Once again, a subjugate Greece must hop to at the beck and call of a foreign power whose will supersedes the desires and ambitions of Greek people for their autonomy and themselves. What once took the form of early resistance to Ottoman empire quickly escalated to the anarchic conflagrations that have today driven the state’s emissaries from their police station in Exarchia as insurrectionists militate against borders, technoscientific ecocide and the globalized cisheteropatriarchal capitalism it equips. The German condescension directed toward the Southern “other” euphemistically extends its embrace around the Greek heart through the dry technocratic punishment of bureaucratic language, the simulacra of diplomacy and the heretical pretending to that exhausted European stereotype, “solidarity” bereft of any empathy for the lived experience of that “other” to whom the North, especially Germany, politically condescends. Galpin observes that, with respect to post-2009 discourses in Europe, “reference to ‘foreign’ debts places Greece and other debtor countries as external and therefore not a legitimate recipient of a German guarantee or German money.” Further, Galpin finds “that Germany’s Nazi past [has] in fact provided a constitutive ‘Other’ for European identity construction with the result that Germany linked its national identity closely to Europe, and its national policy interests consistently with European ones in order to deal with its past.” Given such an existential investment in the European ideal as Germany itself since 1955 has helped to construct it, little is surprising about the German overreaction to any threat to the European project, and, given Germany’s status as the world’s third-largest exporter, its common currency in particular.

Lord Byron extricated himself from troublesome affairs in England only to locate himself in the midst of the tumult which through a meandering and violent history inevitably gave rise to the extant Greek state. On observing the tensions along which the impulses of conflict resonated, Byron entered the discursive fray in the sympathy of the Greek nation as it sought its severance from Ottoman rule, writing the passages above from Cephalonia on the 30th of November, 1823, published along with other pertinent doings and sayings of Byron in Telegrafo Greco, an Italian language weekly of the period published from Missolonghi, where Byron had taken up residence.

Byron’s missive identifies the predicament then faced by Greeks which remains clear today: those scant resources which might be obtained to purchase the future of the nation (whose growth, from its foundation upon ecocidally erosive agropastoral land use, has always been organically limited,) rested in the hands of cultures Eastern (Turkish) and Western (Germanic, Francophone) which viewed the Greeks largely as inferior relics, typically tolerated solely as political means to various connivances of ends. Charlotte Galpin identifies the homologous postmodern problematic, which during the Greek sovereign debt crisis of 2009-10:

engendered a (re)definition in the public sphere of how Europe and European solidarity are understood, of what “being a good European” should mean. The “good European” complies with the rules and ordoliberal values of the community and often results in the exclusion of Greece from an imagined “Northern” European community.

An implicit identification of fiduciary responsibility with frugality and moral rectitude underlies the Northern attitude to which Galpin refers, emanating from Weber’s aforementioned Protestant ethos, which not only informed the attitudes of Northern governments and populations but also, given their greater numerical weight in both GDP and population relative to Southern EU member states, informed the development of the treaty-based requirements to which ECB member states generally and Eurozone members in particular are subject. Similarly, in Byron’s day a northerly Protestant concern for the plight of the Greek was lensed by the prejudicial interpretations of the variant Mediterranean attitude toward resources and capital which very likely reflects the transience of any resources accumulated at all in such a marginal ecology of scarcity.

The marginality of Greece and Mediterranean neighbors, both ecological and economic, participates in the ongoing refugee crisis of the EU which is ever in dialog with the German response to Greek sovereign debt. A quid pro quo is implied in the German assumption of the mantle of responsibility for the vast majority of incoming refugees from 2015 forward, advocating on behalf of Greece and Italy in European debates concerning evolving political responses. Once again, Greece embodies a cosmopolitan subaltern crossroads where the concerns of disparate and often distant social planes intersect chaotically in the froth and ferment of semiotics which bore Western origins from the residues of Sanskrit and Semitic upon the sloping and subsident soils under the southern European sun. Indeed, it may even be suggested that the refugee crisis of Syria in particular itself arose out of the ecological degradation wrought upon the region by preceding Hellenic civilizations and in particular the legacy of the Byzantine hegemony now proceeds upon the scorched lands of pale sands. As unarmed German bombers relocate from a once-friendly Turkey to Jordan to further bear witness to the scenes of human struggle below, relaying positions to the pilots of allied combatant nations, Russian fighters strike militant and civilian indiscriminately as Putin slowly secures that long held aspiration of greater Russian access to the Mediterranean, particularly the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, undergoing construction under the supervision of the same Chancellor who oversaw the implementation of German austerity years prior to the crisis under the reforms of Hartz IV (named for a since-disgraced technocrat), Gerhard Schröder himself. Lord Byron’s words apply as readily to the situation of today as to that of his own time, particularly his injunction to beware the fate of Crimea, which has once again played host to inter/intraethnic (whether Russians and Ukrainians comprise a single ethnicity depends upon who you ask) violence in the service of irredentist and imperial ambitions. As Turkish accession to the EU appears permanently foreclosed and Europeans everywhere reflect upon solidarity and identity, Galpin’s meditations bear consideration:

The Eurozone crisis is presumed to have exacerbated this shift away from the European interest. The assumption in the more recent normalization literature is that discourses more avidly promoting Germany’s economic interests and national identity were strengthened and its European vision weakened particularly during the Greek bailout negotiations. Germany’s reluctance to contribute significant sums of money in order to protect the Euro has been interpreted as revealing an absence of European solidarity.

Rule by fiat (currency) has literally usurped solidarity in the European project, led by the tendentiousness of none “Other” than Germany, which seeks with astounding lack of reflexivity to once again impose its rule upon Greece from afar, echoing the long ago letters of a poet lost to the world too soon.

Tags: Ecocideextinctionausteritysolidarityanarchyanti-civEUIMFGreeceExarchiaathensBerlinbrusselsWashingtonfrankfurtTisprasSyrizaCDUgrand coalitionSchäubleRacismcategory: International
Categories: News

Restless Specters of the Anarchist Dead

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 21:20

From CrimethInc.
A Few Words from the Undead of 1917

This year is the centennial of two revolutions in Russia: one in which the people toppled the Tsar and another in which the Bolsheviks seized state power. Within twenty years, the Bolsheviks had executed or imprisoned most of those who carried out the revolution. Today, as the hashtag #1917live trends on twitter, we should remember the #1917undead, the anarchists who strove to warn humanity that statist paths towards social change will never bring us to freedom. Some of them, like Fanya and Aron Baron, were murdered in cold blood by authoritarian communists in the Soviet Union. Others managed to survive, betrayed by their supposed comrades, to witness the totalitarian results of the Bolshevik coup. Their voices cry out to us today from the grave. Let’s listen.

https://twitter.com/ABaron_UNDEAD/status/924909660301398016

Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin had sought total centralized power in the name of the proletariat, promising that this was a step towards the “withering away” of the state. From this historical vantage point, their cynical efforts to blot out any model for social change besides the tyranny of state capitalism are clear enough; if it is still difficult to envision what anarchist revolution might look like on a massive scale, we can blame those who systematically exterminated anarchists in the name of socialism. Being the foremost opponents of tyranny, the anarchists were among the first victims of Soviet prisons and firing squads. Emma Goldman, Alexander Berkman, and many others tried to warn the world of the horrors of Lenin and Stalin, but most people only learned about the gulag archipelago much later from Aleksandr Solzenhitsyn.

https://twitter.com/LChernyi_UNDEAD/status/924910296778625024

Mikhail Bakunin

Although Bakunin passed away more than 40 years before the Russian Revolution, he predicted exactly what would come of Marx’s authoritarian prescriptions for socialism. Those who attempt to excuse Marx, suggesting that Lenin failed to apply his instructions correctly, should take note that Bakunin saw the tragedies of 1917 coming a half century in advance.

Scrutinizing Marx’s conduct in the revolutionary struggles of the 19th century, rather than the books he wrote, we can see today what Bakunin saw then. Marx began his career in the 1840s by attempting to form revolutionary cabals, then purging everyone who did not toe his ideological line—especially working class thinkers like Wilhelm Weitling and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon who were more suspicious of the state than he was. Marx mocked Bakunin for attempting to foment an uprising in Lyons in 1870, though it was precisely the absence of other revolutionary footholds in France that doomed the Paris Commune in 1871. During the Paris Commune, Marx sent Elisabeth Dmitrieff, a twenty-year-old with no experience, to assume control of women’s organizing in Paris, intending to supplant organizers like Louise Michel who had been active for decades. (After the Commune, Dmitrieff disappeared from radical politics, a casualty of authoritarian burnout.) After the Commune fell, Marx took advantage of the fact that the participants—most of whom did not subscribe to his politics—were slaughtered or in hiding to speak on their behalf, announcing that the Commune confirmed all of his theories. In the First International, Marx passed unpopular resolutions in closed-door meetings while the opposition were imprisoned or in exile, rigged majorities at the congresses, and finally attempted to kill off the organization entirely by moving its headquarters to New York when it became clear he could not control it. (Although most historians pass over this, the International survived for several more years as a topless federation run on anarchist principles, whereas the Marxist splinter group became immediately moribund.) Afterwards, from the safety of his study in London, Marx continued to mock Bakunin and others who risked their lives in uprisings while emphasizing that workers should join political parties and subject themselves to party leadership. Marx was no enemy of state oppression.

With the 20th century behind us, Bakunin appears to us as the Cassandra of the 19th century, warning us against the butcheries, betrayals, and gulags to come. Whatever his own shortcomings, he remains a voice from the grave, urging us to beware of anyone who proposes that the state could render us equal or give us freedom.

“Liberty without socialism is privilege, injustice; socialism without liberty is slavery and brutality.”

addressing the League of Peace and Freedom, September 1867

“I hate Communism because it is the negation of liberty and because humanity is for me unthinkable without liberty. I am not a Communist, because Communism concentrates and swallows up in itself for the benefit of the State all the forces of society, because it inevitably leads to the concentration of property in the hands of the State, whereas I want the abolition of the State, the final eradication of the principle of authority and the patronage proper to the State, which under the pretext of moralizing and civilizing men has hitherto only enslaved, persecuted, exploited and corrupted them. I want to see society and collective or social property organized from below upwards, by way of free association, not from above downwards, by means of any kind of authority whatsoever.”

— addressing the League of Peace and Freedom, September 1868


Mikhail Bakunin.


Leon Trotsky

Leon Trotsky himself deserves no tears from those who love freedom, egalitarianism, and human decency, as he personally oversaw the butchery of countless thousands of anarchists and other rebels in the course of the Bolshevik conquest of power. But early in his career, before he joined the Bolsheviks, he foresaw presciently exactly how Stalinism would arise from Lenin’s approach—how the party would substitute its own conquest of power for the proletariat, and a ruthless dictator then substitute himself for the party. The All-Russian Congress of Food Industry Workers later confirmed this in March 1920, on the basis of experience: “The so-called dictatorship of the proletariat is really the dictatorship over the proletariat by the party and even by individual persons.”

Despite this foresight, Trotsky still joined the Bolsheviks as a consequence of their apparent success in the revolution. When Stalin’s lackeys butchered Trotsky with an icepick, it was poetic justice. Trostsky died because he failed to heed his own insights, and above all because he broke solidarity with other foes of capitalism. He died because, like so many after him, he substituted pragmatism for principles, believing it would be more expedient to go rapidly in the wrong direction than to proceed slowly towards genuine liberation.

We can hardly remember him as a tragic figure, as millions suffered at his hands—but we can take his example as a cautionary tale.

“In the internal politics of the Party these methods lead, as we shall see, to the Party organization “substituting” itself for the Party, the Central Committee substituting itself for the Party organization, and finally the dictator substituting himself for the Central Committee.”

“Our Political Tasks,” 1904

https://twitter.com/AtamanshaUNDEAD/status/924886171406266368

Peter Kropotkin

Peter Kropotkin was an old man by the time of the 1917 revolution. Desiring to legitimize Bolshevik authority with the reputation of a universally respected anarchist, Lenin maintained cordial relations with Kropotkin; Bolshevik propagandists took advantage of this to publicize the lie that Kropotkin was more or less in favor of the Bolshevik program. In fact, Kropotkin opposed their authoritarian program, as he made clear in a series of statements and protests. Far from endorsing Lenin’s seizure of state power, Kropotkin is quoted as saying “Revolutionaries have had ideals. Lenin has none. He is a madman, an immolator, wishful of burning, and slaughter, and sacrificing.”

Kropotkin’s funeral, on February 13, 1921, was arguably the last anarchist demonstration in Russia until the fall of the Soviet Union. Alexander Berkman and Emma Goldman and many other prominent anarchists participated. They managed to exert enough pressure on the Bolshevik authorities to compel them to release seven anarchist prisoners for the day; the Bolsheviks claimed they that would have released more but the others supposedly refused to leave prison. Victor Serge recounts how Aaron Baron, one of the anarchists who was temporarily released, addressed the mourners from Kropotkin’s graveside before vanishing forever into the jaws of the Soviet carceral system.

“Is there really no one around you to remind your comrades and to persuade them that such measures represent a return to the worst period of the Middle Ages and religious wars, and are undeserving of people who have taken it upon themselves to create a future society on communist principles? Whoever holds dear the future of communism cannot embark upon such measures.”

Letter to Lenin, December 21, 1920

Kropotkin’s funeral.


Nestor Makhno

After seven years in the Tsar’s prisons, Makhno was released from prison by the upheavals of 1917. He eventually became a leader in the anarchist forces that fought in turn against Ukrainian Nationalists, German and Austro-German occupiers, the reactionary Russian White Army, the Soviet Red Army, and various Ukrainian warlords in order to open a space in which anarchist collective experiments could take place. Makhno and his comrades repeatedly bore the brunt of the White Army attacks, while Trotsky alternated attacking them with the Red Army and signing treaties with them when the Soviets needed them to keep the Whites at bay. On November 26, 1920, a few days after Makhno had helped to definitively defeat the White Army, the Red Army summoned him and his comrades to a conference. Makhno did not go; everyone who did was summarily killed.

Authoritarian socialists have expended rivers of ink attempting to discredit Makhno and those who fought at his side in order to excuse this cold-blooded betrayal and murder. They accuse Makhno of authoritarianism in hopes of justifying a far more authoritarian state. They suggest that his struggle contributed nothing to the liberation of the proletariat, when in fact he was struggling against those who ruined and discredited the notion of revolution while ensuring that Russian workers would remain in subjugation for at least a century more.

Makhno and his comrades surely were not perfect; Emma Goldman records that some Russian anarchists questioned the anarchist credentials of the Ukrainian uprising. But history is written by the victors: there is so little information about Makhno’s achievements precisely because the Bolsheviks and other reactionaries sought to erase them from the historical record (just as a few Ukrainian nationalists have recently sought to appropriate and distort them). Fortunately, we can still read statements from the Makhnovist rebels in their own words describing their values and goals, and historical accounts from participants such as Peter Arshinov.

“State-socialists of all denominations, including Bolsheviks, are busy swapping the names of bourgeois rule with those of their own invention, while leaving its structure essentially unchanged. They are therefore trying to salvage the Master/Slave relationship with all its contradictions…

“While a bourgeois government strings a revolutionary up on the gallows, socialist or bolshevik-communist governments will creep up and strangle him in his sleep or kill him by trickery. Both acts are depraved. But the socialists are more depraved because of their methods.

“Government power will never let workers tread the road to freedom; it is the instrument of the lazy who want to dominate others, and it does not matter if the power is in the hand of the bourgeois, the socialists or the Bolsheviks, it is degrading. There is no government without teeth, teeth to tear any man who longs for a free and just life.”

The Anarchist Revolution

Nestor Makhno.


Lev Chernyi

After serving a decade in prison under the Tsar, Lev Chernyi was released in 1917 and participated passionately in anarchist organizing. On March 5, 1918, foreseeing the wave of attacks the Bolsheviks were about to launch against anarchist organizing in Moscow, Chernyi denounced the Bolshevik government, arguing that it was essential to paralyze the mechanisms of government itself. In April 1918, the Soviet secret police raided anarchist social centers around Moscow, gunning down at least forty people and arresting many more. The Bolsheviks claimed that the anarchists were engaged in “banditry” on account of their efforts to redistribute wealth and set up social centers around the city—accusing them of precisely the same activities that the Soviet government was carrying out on a much larger scale.

Chernyi was later captured and charged with counterfeiting in order to discredit him and take him off the streets. In August 1921, an official report announced that Chernyi and nine other “anarchist bandits” had been shot without hearing or trial. The authorities refused to release his body, leading many to conclude that Chernyi had actually been tortured to death.


Lev Chernyi.


Fanya Baron

After seven years in exile from Tsarist Russia, Fanya Baron returned to her homeland in 1917 to organize alongside other anarchists for social liberation. Within four years, she had been imprisoned and murdered by the Soviet secret police.

“This big-hearted woman, who had served the Social Revolution all her life, was done to, death by the people who pretended to be the advance guard of revolution. Not content with the crime of killing Fanya Baron, the Soviet Government put the stigma of banditism on the memory of their dead victim.”

— Emma Goldman, My Further Disillusionment in Russia

Kropotkin dying of hunger,
Berkman by his own hand,
Fanny Baron biting her executioners,
Mahkno in the odor of calumny,
Trotsky, too, I suppose, passionately, after his fashion.
Do you remember?
What is it all for, this poetry,
This bundle of accomplishment
Put together with so much pain?

— Kenneth Rexroth, “August 22, 1939,” written on the anniversary of the murder of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti.

Aron Baron

A Jewish exile from the Ukraine, Aron Baron organized with the Industrial Workers of the World and worked with Lucy Parsons in the United States before returning to revolutionary Russia. He fought alongside Nestor Makhno and edited the anarchist paper Nabat. After two decades of harassment, arrests, imprisonment, and internal exile, he was shot on August 12, 1937 in Tobolsk along with many other anarchists, including Prokop Evdokimovich Budakov, Zinaida Alekseevna Budakova, Avram Venetsky, Ivan Golovchanskii, Vsevolod Grigorievich Denisov, Nikolai Desyatkov, Ivan Dudarin, Andrei Zolotarev, Andrei Pavlovich Kislitsin, Alexander Pastukhov, Anna Aronovna Sangorodetskaya, Mikhail G. Tvelnev, Vladimir Khudolei-Gradin, Yuri I. Hometovsky-Izgodin, and Nahum Aaronovch Eppelbaum.


Fanya and Aron Baron and friends.


The Kronstadt Rebels

In February 1921, in response to Soviet crackdowns on labor organizing and peasants’ autonomy, the crews of two Russian battleships stationed at the island naval fortress of Kronstadt held an emergency meeting. Many of these were the same sailors who had been on the front lines of the revolution of 1917. They agreed on fifteen demands, and Kronstadt rose in revolt against the Soviet authorities.

The Bolsheviks attempted to portray the rising as the work of foreign reactionaries. Read their demands for yourself and decide whether this was the work of counter-revolutionary capitalists:

  1. Immediate new elections to the Soviets; the present Soviets no longer express the wishes of the workers and peasants. The new elections should be held by secret ballot, and should be preceded by free electoral propaganda for all workers and peasants before the elections.

  2. Freedom of speech and of the press for workers and peasants, for the Anarchists, and for the Left Socialist parties.

  3. The right of assembly, and freedom for trade union and peasant associations.

  4. The organization, at the latest on March 10, 1921, of a Conference of non-Party workers, soldiers, and sailors of Petrograd, Kronstadt, and the Petrograd District.

  5. The liberation of all political prisoners of the Socialist parties, and of all imprisoned workers and peasants, soldiers and sailors belonging to working class and peasant organizations.

  6. The election of a commission to look into the dossiers of all those detained in prisons and concentration camps.

  7. The abolition of all political sections in the armed forces; no political party should have privileges for the propagation of its ideas, or receive State subsidies to this end. In place of the political section, various cultural groups should be set up, deriving resources from the State.

  8. The immediate abolition of the militia detachments set up between towns and countryside.

  9. The equalization of rations for all workers, except those engaged in dangerous or unhealthy jobs.

  10. The abolition of Party combat detachments in all military groups; the abolition of Party guards in factories and enterprises. If guards are required, they should be nominated, taking into account the views of the workers.

  11. The granting to the peasants of freedom of action on their own soil, and of the right to own cattle, provided they look after them themselves and do not employ hired labor.

  12. We request that all military units and officer trainee groups associate themselves with this resolution.

  13. We demand that the Press give proper publicity to this resolution.

  14. We demand the institution of mobile workers’ control groups.

  15. We demand that handicraft production be authorized, provided it does not utilize wage labor.

Two weeks later, on the 50-year anniversary of the Paris Commune, 60,000 Red Army troops captured Kronstadt, killing and imprisoning thousands. Just as the bourgeois republic that came to power in France in 1870 stabilized its reign by slaughtering the rebels of the Paris Commune, the Bolsheviks stabilized their reactionary seizure of the Russian revolution with the bloodbath at Kronstadt.

Apologists for the Bolsheviks have argued that it was necessary to slaughter the Kronstadt rebels to consolidate power for the Soviet state; perhaps so, but that is no argument for any state! If it was admirable and appropriate for the Kronstadt sailors to rise against the Tsar, it was equally admirable and appropriate for them to rise against the new tyrants.

The failure of the Kronstadt uprising is above all a lesson in solidarity: if the Kronstadt rebels had risen up in April 1918 when the Bolsheviks were carrying out their first attacks against anarchists in Moscow, the Bolsheviks might not have had a firm enough grip on state power to defeat them. What is done to the least of us will be done to all of us. This is why solidarity is such an important value to anarchists.

https://twitter.com/KronstadtUNDEAD/status/924891270497095680

Alexander Berkman

Alexander Berkman, an anarchist who served 14 years in prison in the US for an act of vengeance against the union-busting industrialist Henry Clay Frick, set out enthusiastically for Russia after the Bolshevik revolution, only to discover that the state was just as authoritarian under Lenin as it had been under the Tsar. He was fortunate to escape alive. He summarized his experiences in The Bolshevik Myth, and also assisted with Letters from Russian Prisons, documenting Bolshevik oppression.

“Grey are the passing days. One by one the embers of hope have died out. Terror and despotism have crushed the life born in October. The slogans of the Revolution are forsworn, its ideals stifled in the blood of the people. The breath of yesterday is dooming millions to death; the shadow of today hangs like a black pall over the country. Dictatorship is trampling the masses under foot. The Revolution is dead; its spirit cries in the wilderness… I have decided to leave Russia.”

— Berkman’s diary, 1922

Emma Goldman

Emma Goldman shared Alexander Berkman’s enthusiasm for the initial apparent triumph of the October Revolution1 and his dismay at its dismal results. She traveled with him to Russia, witnessed the first years of the revolution firsthand, and afterwards shared his conviction that Bolshevik authoritarianism was responsible for the results.

“Lenin had very little concern in the Revolution… Communism to him was a very remote thing. The centralized political State was Lenin’s deity, to which everything else was to be sacrificed. Someone said that Lenin would sacrifice the Revolution to save Russia. Lenin’s policies, however, have proven that he was willing to sacrifice both the Revolution and the country, or at least part of the latter, in order to realize his political scheme with what was left of Russia.”

— Afterword, My Disillusionment in Russia


Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman.


Errico Malatesta

Malatesta began his career as a revolutionary in Italy in the 1870s, working with Bakunin within the famously insurrectionist Italian section of the First International—arguably the first properly anarchist movement on record. From the start, he opposed statist models for social change, having seen how republican nationalism had only brought a new regime to power in Italy and reinforced existing social inequalities. He went to jail and prison again and again in the course of his efforts to open the way to freedom.

In the 1880s, when Malatesta’s former comrade Andrea Costa renounced anarchism, entered the Italian Parliament, and set out to convince the movement that electoral politics were the best way to seek social change, Malatesta sneaked back into Italy, despite facing a variety of unresolved charges in his homeland, and challenged Costa to a public debate. Costa attempted to weasel his way out of it, but was ultimately compelled to meet with Malatesta, then fled the city after being trounced in the discussion. Having won the argument, Malatesta went directly to jail.

Later, after escaping Italy concealed in a box of sewing machines, surviving an assassination attempt in New Jersey, and organizing one clandestine newspaper and uprising after another, Malatesta witnessed the 1917 revolution and the mass defection of anarchists to the Communist Party when the state communist model suddenly appeared more “effective” and “pragmatic.” If not for these wrongheaded conversions, there might still have been hope for emancipatory revolutions in the 20th century.

“It seems unbelievable that even today, after everything that has happened & is happening in Russia, there are people who still imagine that the difference between socialists & anarchists is only that of wanting revolution gradually or quickly.”

— Errico Malatesta, Umanita Nova, September 3, 1921

Malatesta celebrating May Day 1920.


Victor Serge

Victor Serge started adulthood as an anarchist. However, after the Bolshevik seizure of power, he joined the Party and served them as a journalist, dutifully excusing the imprisonment of honest anarchists, the butchery of the Kronstadt rebels, and many other steps in the Bolshevik counterrevolution. In this regard, he is an example of the millions of rebels and common laborers shifted their allegiance from anarchists to statists after the apparent victory of the Bolsheviks in Russia.

How did it work out for Serge? A few years later, he was expelled from the Communist Party, thrown in jail, sentenced to internal exile, and in the end barely managed to escape the Soviet Union with his life. Had he remained faithful to his anarchist politics, he might have saved himself a lot of grief—and above all, he would not have been complicit in setting the stage for the slaughter and imprisonment of millions.

Peter Arshinov

Peter Arshinov participated in the anarchist uprising in the Ukraine alongside Nestor Makhno between 1919 and 1921, at which point he narrowly escaped the Bolshevik counterrevolution with his life. Fleeing west into Germany, he authored the History of the Makhnovist Movement (1918–1921). He also co-authored the “Organizational Platform of the Libertarian Communists.” Eventually, he renounced anarchism and returned to the Soviet Union to join the Communist Party, only to be purged and executed. If not even the original Bolsheviks were safe from Stalin’s Terror, it was foolish to imagine a former anarchist might be.

Fedor Mochanovsky

Once the Bolshevik Terror was underway, it became increasingly difficult to get information about what was happening to anarchists and other rebels behind the borders of the Soviet Union. Fedor Mochanovsky was one of countless anarchists who vanished in the course of this repression. By 1928, the Soviet authorities had moved Mochanovsky from the Butyrka prison in order to cut off international support, effectively disappearing him. He almost certainly died in the hands of the Stalinist state.

“In 1918 the Bolshevists organized an anti-anarchist front to seek the destruction of the anarchists in Russia. Throughout the land and in every sphere of life across the territory of the soviet republic, they took up arms against the anarchists. They shut down their presses and their literature. They shut down anarchist clubs and bookshops. They resorted to all sorts of means in order to undo the organization of their congresses and they arrested the anarchists. And when the opportunity presented itself, they shot them down on one pretext or another.”

Speech of the anarchist Fedor Mochanovsky before the Petrograd Revolutionary Court on December 13, 1922

https://twitter.com/Butyrka_UNDEAD/status/924901588237475840

Max Nettlau

Near the end of his life, Max Nettlau, one of the greatest historians of the classical anarchist movement, having witnessed the Bolshevik victory and the subsequent nightmares of Leninism and Stalinism, summarized the essence of Marx’s political incoherence in a letter to a friend. This little-known excerpt casts considerable light on the contradictions within Marx’s thought, which have been the cause of so much misfortune:

I call Marx “triple-faced,” because with his particularly grasping spirit he laid a claim on exactly three tactics and his originality no doubt resides in these pan-grasping gests. He encouraged electoral socialism, the conquest of parliaments, social democracy and, though he often sneered at it, the People’s State and State Socialism. He encouraged revolutionary dictatorship. He encouraged simple confidence and abiding, letting “evolution” do the work, self-reduction, almost self-evaporation of the capitalists until the pyramid tumbled over by mathematical laws of his own growth, as if triangular bodies automatically turned somersaults. He copied the first tactics from Louis Blanc, the second from Blanqui, whilst the third correspond to his feeling of being somehow the economic dictator of the universe, as Hegel had been its spiritual dictator. His grasping went further. He hated instinctively libertarian thought and tried to destroy the free thinkers wherever he met them, from Feuerbach and Max Stirner to Proudhon, Bakunin and others. But he wished to add the essence of their teaching as spoils to his other borrowed feathers, and so he relegated at the end of days, after all dictatorship, the prospect of a Stateless, an Anarchist world. The Economic Cagliostro hunted thus with all hounds and ran with all hares, and imposed thus—and his followers after him—an incredible confusion on socialism which, almost a century after 1844, has not yet ended. The social-democrats pray by him; the dictatorial socialist swear by him; the evolutionary socialists sit still and listen to hear evolution evolve, as others listen to the growing of the grass; and some very frugal people drink weak tea and are glad, that at the end of days by Marx’s ipse dixit Anarchy will at last be permitted to unfold. Marx has been like a blight that creeps in and kills everything it touches to European socialism, an immense power for evil, numbing self-thought, insinuating false confidence, stirring up animosity, hatred, absolute intolerance, beginning with his own arrogant literary squabbles and leading to inter-murdering socialism as in Russia, since 1917, which has so very soon permitted reaction to galvanize the undeveloped strata and to cultivate the “Reinkulturen” of such authoritarianism, the Fascists and their followers. There was, in spite of their personal enmity, some monstrous “inter-breeding” between the two most fatal men of the 19th century, Marx and Mazzini, and their issue are Mussolini and all the others who disgrace this poor 20th century.

correspondence with a comrade, c. 1936


Max Nettlau.


Luigi Camillo Berneri

The tragedies brought about by the Bolshevik seizure of power in 1917 did not end in Russia. Once there was a state that supposedly represented the revolutionary socialist agenda, revolutions and revolutionaries all around the world were sacrificed in cold blood to advance the imperatives that drive all states. As his temporary pact with Hitler illustrates, “Stalinism” was not a coherent ideology but a mishmash of all the things Stalin had to do to continuously pursue power for himself and the Soviet Union.

Not wishing any revolutionary movements to triumph elsewhere in the world that did not answer to his Comintern, Stalin made sure to undermine the anarchist and republican forces in the Spanish Civil War. The Stalinist faction within the struggle against Franco was small, but because they controlled access to resources from outside Spain and did not shrink from open betrayal, they were able to centralize control of the defense in their hands. In the end, many Spanish anarchists were murdered by Stalinists rather than by the fascists they were supposedly fighting together.

An associate of Malatesta and fierce critic of Trotsky as well as Stalin, Luigi Berneri was a well-known Italian anarchist organizer who traveled to Spain to fight in the Spanish Civil War. He was offered a position in the Council of the Economy, but refused to participate in the government.

When clashes between anarchists and the Stalin-controlled Communist Party broke out in Republican Spain, the house Berneri shared with several other anarchists was attacked. He and his comrades were labeled “counter-revolutionaries,” disarmed, deprived of their papers, and forbidden to go out into the street. On May 5, 1937, Stalinists murdered Berneri along with another Italian anarchist, Francisco Barbieri.

“What evil the Communists are doing here too! It is almost 2 o’clock and I am going to bed. The house is on its guard tonight. I offered to stay awake to let the others go to sleep, and everyone laughed, saying that I would not even hear the cannon! But afterwards, one by one, they fell asleep, and I am watchful over all of them, while working for those who are to come. It is the only completely beautiful thing.”

Berneri’s last letter to his family, May 3-4, 1937; translation published in The Cienfuegos Press Anarchist Review #4, 1978


Luigi Berneri.


https://twitter.com/LBerneri_UNDEAD/status/924912402143109122

Park Yeol

The Soviet model for seizing power and repressing dissidents of all stripes spread far outside Stalin’s sphere of influence, sealing the fates of anarchists and millions upon millions of other people.

Park Yeol, the anarchist whose high-profile trial and imprisonment was dramatized this year in the South Korean movie Anarchist from the Colony, fought long and hard against capitalism and imperialism only to be disappeared by a state communist regime. After 22 years in prison, Park was released at the end of the Second World War, only to be captured by the North Korean army. He subsequently vanished.

Alberto Miguel Linsuain

The pattern that began in Russia in 1917 and then spread to Spain, China, and Korea repeated in Cuba and elsewhere around Latin America, too.

Alberto Linsuain was the son of a well-known revolutionary who participated in the Spanish Civil War. Linsuain fought against the Batista dictatorship and joined the rebel forces under the command of Castro’s brother, Raúl Castro. He became a lieutenant in the Rebel Army on account of his bravery in battle. After the armed struggle, he dedicated himself to union organizing. His fellow workers elected him General Secretary of the Federation of Food, Hotel, and Restaurant Workers of the Province of Oriente. When the communists began to take over the organized labor movement, Linsuain fought back. They threw him in jail without trial, along with many other anarchists who had participated in the revolution.

Within a year, he had died at their hands.

https://twitter.com/FBaron_UNDEAD/status/924896385387978752

In Conclusion

When proponents of state socialism accuse anarchists of being sectarian for not desiring to work together for common ends, we have to ask: do we share the same goals, really? What can we have in common with those who believe that guillotines, courts, judges, prisons, gulags, and firing squads can do the work of liberation?

If history is any guide, partisans of the state will not hesitate to use those against us and anyone else that hinders their pursuit of centralized power. Tens of millions murdered by the state cry out to us from the 20th century, urging us to heed their warnings, so their deaths might not be in vain.

Further Reading

Bakunin’s “Critique of State Socialism,” available in our archives as a charming comic book reviewing how the history of authoritarian communism throughout the 20th century bore out Bakunin’s analysis.

Bloodstained: One Hundred Years of Leninist Counterrevolution

The Unknown Revolution, Voline

The Guillotine at Work, Gregory Petrovich Maximoff, especially volume 2, which details the repression Bolsheviks carried out against anarchists after the 1917 revolution

Jan Valtin’s Out of the Night, a novelized account of one man’s nightmarish experiences as a foot soldier for the Comintern

Anarchists in the Gulag (and Prison and Exile)

  1. The Bolshevik seizure of power was known as the October Revolution even though it transpired in November according to the Western European calendar. At the time, Russia was so backwards that its calendar was literally two weeks behind.

Tags: Crimethinc.Russiarevolution1917Deathcategory: Essays
Categories: News

Anarchy Radio 10-31-2017

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 03:57

LISTEN HERE: http://archive.org/details/AnarchyRadio10312017

JZ reads "The Prison of Symbols." Record CO2 surge in 2016, Gulf of Mexico awash in oil. "Climate change is much, much worse than we thought." Anarchists fiddle while Rome burns. Human caring in pre-history. New AI religion: Way of the Future. "Leave Someone Behind? Your Car May Soon Warn You." Saudi Arabia grants citizenship to Sophia the Humanoid. Taro card fad. Action news, two calls.
PS contact Cascadia Forest Defenders at forestdefensenow@gmail.com.

Tags: zerzanKarlcategory: Projects
Categories: News

On Pluralism, Tolerance, and Tracking: The Advancing Persecution of Anarchists in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 02:30

On the morning of October 26, 2017, a Civil Police (Policia Civil) investigation led by a delegate defined as an expert on crimes of intolerance, started with search and seizure orders in the cities of Viamão, Novo Hamburgo and Porto Alegre, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul.
The search warrant led to the invasion of the former headquarters of the Federation Anarchist Gaucho (currently the anarchist social center), the Pandorga Squat, the headquarters of the Parrhesia Collective and the houses of several militants.
The Police claim that 30 people are being investigated, 15 of them post-graduate students in anthropology from Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), and some non-Brazilians (but they have not divulged any names).
In the operation the police confiscated books (which appeared in the search warrant as dangerous materials), computers, cell phones, xerigraphic material for making shirts, demonstration banners and pet bottles stuffed with recycling material used as bricks for bio-construction.
The anarchist book fair that was to take place in Porto Alegre this weekend was canceled by decision of the organizers. This cancellation was the form of protest they agreed upon in the face of yet another attack by the state police.
This time the egregious "Operation Ebero" - in Greek mythology, the son of Chaos - produced accusations against the militants and the stupid spectacle of linking anarchists with fascists and Nazis etc .. This type of link it is not surprising, it is inherent to the police and the state that they take their own stupidity for intelligence.
It is not enough to say that "protest is not a crime", because this is nothing more than the old lie that, depending on the occasion, both supports pluralism that tolerates even a fascist, but does not hesitate to try to destroy anarchists and aims to distinguish "common prisoner" from "political prisoner." Silly mistake.
Every prisoner is a political prisoner! No anarchist should ignore this. In the same way, one must be aware of the fact that there are no "criminals", since crime is nothing more than conduct considered unacceptable for a given political order, at a specific moment.
Crime is only a moral and political construction that interests the state, capitalism, property owners and all who cultivate appreciation for penalties, judgments and punishments. Ordinary people, too, pose as adventurers and occasionally colleagues of persons or groups that suit them, but they do not support anarchists and vainly attempt to strike them off the map. It is the citizen-cops who censure, attack, and seek to obstruct the practice of freedom.
Not surprisingly, liberal democracies, through their general police authorities, associate anarchism with intolerance. Anarchists manifest the unbearable, while liberals try to define a government of just means and ends. From a “justice” that defines freedom as a universal that is nothing more than its own security.
It is not surprising that in the midst of democracy, state violence supported by the National Security Law, conducted by the armed forces during the civil-military dictatorship against the existence of anarchist spaces, is repeated. At the end of the 1960s, in addition to the arrest of young people belonging to the Libertarian Student Movement (MEL), the police broke into the headquarters of libertarian associations and seized "explosive material” such as books, mimeographs, bookmarks, working permits, and picnic photos.
Nor is it surprising that the media resumes the historic association between anarchy and chaos, violence and vandalism--now revamped, left and right--since the June 2013 riots.
It is unacceptable that the brutality of the state and the bizarre ignorance of the media attack spaces, associations and militant libertarians.
These operations feed the spectacle of catastrophe onto social networks and television, and destroy the lives of people. Does anyone remember the 23 autonomist and anarchist prisoners in Bangu Prison, Rio de Janeiro, during the 2014 World Cup? There is talk of violent action, but who questions the vast apparatus of espionage and repression built by the state and its police forces, not only during the mega-events like the World Cup?
Coup or no coup, with governments both left or right, the persecution of the anarchists related to so-called crimes continues! State police and citizen-cops spread their surveillance in the streets, universities, corporations and public places.
Anarchists are many, just as there are many practices of anarchism, we live very well with our differences and differences in practices of freedom.
Anarchists are not pluralists! Nor are they tolerant, because they are not exhibitionists and know that tolerance exists only with an inferior who is willing to continue to be subjected.
We will not allow them to touch our companions, to plunder our associations, to stop our work, which is sometimes silent and patient, but ready for attack when threatened.
We are called monsters, vandals, infantile, violent, and various disqualifications. It matters little, because we are classified as anarchists, we are, once again, the disqualified.
However, we do not exist by authorization, we are unclassifiable!
Get your damn bloody hands off the 30 who are being persecuted in Rio Grande do Sul. Our repudiation of "Operation Ebero" is total and unrestricted!
Leave the investigations, courts and arrests for those who like them
We want free living!
Stop this absurd investigation immediately!
No one is innocent!
Long live anarchy!
nu-sol (nucleus of libertarian sociability) puc-sp.
São Paulo, October 29, 2017.
http://www.nu-sol.org/agora/pdf/contra_o_absurdo.pdf

Tags: brazilRepressioncategory: International
Categories: News

What should an anarchist bookfair set out to achieve?

Tue, 10/31/2017 - 19:19

via on uncertain ground

This piece has been prompted by our experience on the joint South Essex Radical Media / Basildon & Southend Housing Action (BASHA) stall at the London Anarchist Bookfair on Saturday 28th October. We went along to this event to talk to people about our grassroots approach to promoting our politics. This year, we produced a special edition of the Stirrer paper to explain our approach and deal briefly with our frustrations with what passes for the anarchist ‘movement’: Here it is…

The London Anarchist Bookfair has grown from humble beginnings to a large, packed event. The question that should be getting asked every year is this – what should the bookfair be trying to achieve? From our experiences of being on a stall, talking to punters and just generally people watching, our impression is that the bookfair seems to be an event put on by anarchists and radicals for the benefit of other anarchists and radicals. On the one hand, it does provide an opportunity for activists to meet, catch up with each other, swap ideas, debate issues and on occasions, start scrapping with each other (more on this later). On the other hand, if you were a non-political person curious enough to attend the event to find out what anarchism is and whether it’s something you’d want to pursue, would you leave any the wiser?

From what we’ve seen of the bookfair over the last few years, the answer to that question is that someone wanting to find out about anarchism would more likely than not be leaving not much the wiser. Granted, with the range of groups and individuals attending and speaking at the bookfair, getting a coherent vision of what anarchism is across to a newcomer is a tough call. That’s partly down to the range of interpretations of what actually constitutes anarchism. We don’t have a problem with that – anarchism is something that should be constantly evolving and trying out different strategies and tactics to see what does and doesn’t work. However, we all could be better at communicating the fluidity of anarchism and how it evolves and develops to newcomers.

For the last two years, the London Anarchist Bookfair has been held in an area of Harringay that so far has escaped the ravages of gentrification and still feels like a community. For the last two years that we’ve been to the bookfair in Harringay, it feels as if it’s an alien presence that has landed in the middle of a neighbourhood but has yet to develop any real connection with it. Given what’s been going on in the area with the Harringay Development Vehicle which is the local (Labour controlled) council offloading housing estates and other assets to Lendlease, a development company, the bookfair should be an ideal opportunity to get local community activists talking to anarchists and vice-versa.

Granted, some activists we know in the area were pulling out the stops to do that and their work deserves to be applauded. Also with some of the talks and film showings, there was a decent effort to put class politics back on the agenda which has to be welcomed. There were some positive signs at this year’s bookfair of a recognition of the need to engage with working class people if we’re ever going to build a movement that will bring about real change. However, walking back down West Green Road to Seven Sisters station on the way home, the disconnect between the attendees at the bookfair and the people out and about on the surrounding streets was only too clear. If the bookfair is going to continue to be located in Harringay, there has to be a concerted effort from the organisers to engage the local community.

You don’t need us to tell you that we’re living in uncertain, unpredictable and increasingly dangerous times. The kind of times when the need for a viable, progressive political alternative is greater than ever before. The kind of times when the varying strands of anarchism that make up the movement need to have a sense of urgency and be pulling out the stops to reach a wider audience. The kind of times when some of the navel gazing that characterises certain strands of anarchism and radicalism needs to be put to one side. The kind of times when an anarchist bookfair should be throwing its doors open to the working class community that surrounds the venue by involving them in organising the event so their voices are heard.

We judge events like the London Anarchist Bookfair on the basis of whether we’d bring along a new, relatively apolitical contact from one of the estates we operate on with BASHA to give them a flavour of what anarchism is about. If we’d brought someone along in the morning and they’d departed by the early afternoon, given what the event was like up until that point, they could well have left with a fairly positive impression. If they’d been around after the early afternoon, they would most likely have been lost to the cause of anarchism for good.

From what we can gather, there was an ongoing confrontation resulting from a number of radical feminists targeting transgender people. From mid-afternoon onwards we kept hearing shouting and heard anecdotal reports of people being verbally abused, shoved and mobbed, and stalls disrupted. Fortunately, our stall was located a fair way from the main locus of the confrontations and we were able to carry on operating but the deterioration in the atmosphere was noticeable. As we’re mainly class struggle and housing activists, albeit with some green tinges, we’re not well versed as to why some radical feminists have such a problem with transgender people and target them in the way they do. We’re doing some reading up on the matter and the more we read, the more baffled we are as to why, given how charged the whole issue is, material that any neutral observer would have seen as provoking confrontations was allowed to be circulated.

If I was a curious newcomer to the bookfair, one not well versed in gender politics, and was a witness to what went on with the confrontations, my reaction would have been ‘what the ***k is going on here?’ and my response would have been to walk out and dismiss the idea of anarchism as a viable political option. Seriously, is this the face the London Anarchist Bookfair collective wants to show to newcomers, particularly new contacts we may want to bring along in the future and especially to anyone from the estates surrounding the bookfair venue? What happened from mid afternoon onwards hasn’t done the movement any favours at a time where we have to be focused on drawing in as many people as possible…

Dave (the editor)

Tags: london anarchist bookfaircategory: Essays
Categories: News

ATUBES: October 2017, Digest of the Anarchist Tubes

Tue, 10/31/2017 - 02:52

Welcome to volume #3, issue #10 of ATUBES: Digest of the Anarchist Tubes; for the month of October 2017.

This month we're taking a closer look at the comments (only). Enclosed as a PDF, [Letter and A4 compatible, at 16 pages as well as an imposed PDF* of Letter and A4 compatibility, at 8 pages] - the October Digest of the Anarchist Tubes.

ATUBES volume #3, issue #10 October 2017

The texts included are:

- TOTW: Reading

--- Good question

--- Quinn and hooks

--- "I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time."

--- words and deeds

--- intellectual archaeology

- On No Platform and ITS

--- different approach por favor

--- I just spit coffee all over my monitor

--- Isn't all this blown way out

- No Platform

--- Gillis' modus operandi is misrepresentation...

- On TOTW Colonialism

--- i'll bite!

--- The answer to leadership

- On Black Rose Anarchist Federation txt from 2013

--- ….

--- As all the responses to this…

- On TOTW: What is anarchism in 2017?

--- From a strictly personal POV …

- On the Houston Book Fair

--- yes, it was a good thing that

--- as is the case with many

--- if the only strategic value

- On Kevin Tucker interview

--- Boring

- On a CrimethInc. txt

--- This is a classical example

Download:

- as PDF here: https://anarchistnews.org/atubes/atubes_oct2017_reg.pdf
(for onscreen reading and such)

- as an imposed PDF (letter and A4 friendly): https://anarchistnews.org/atubes/atubes_oct2017_imposed.pdf
(for printing and what not)

- music while compiling this information: PUP, "Dark Days" - https://youtu.be/JWYrgj_vZqI (just preparing for winter over here)

- sincerely, an editor of ¯\_(ATUBES)_/¯

special shout out to amusewiki for the formatting of this issue. v nice.

* Note about printing the imposed PDF: Pages are reordered, in one or more groups (signatures), then folded in half. If you have more signatures, you will have to bound them together like a book. With this option, you may want to decide the size of the signatures. This can be a fixed value (4,8,16, etc.), the whole book in a single signature, or an optimized size to reduce the number of blank pages.

Tags: ATUBESstuffcategory: Projects
Categories: News

FRR Writings: Some Spooky Thoughts on Why Cannablism is Better Than Sex

Mon, 10/30/2017 - 19:30

Read Here: http://freeradicalradio.net/spooky-thoughts-on-why-cannibalism-is-better...

The moon is missing from the sky. It’s dark. You’re running through the woods, as fast as you can, willing yourself more than anything not to trip. Don’t fall, don’t stop, don’t take that split second to look and see if it’s still behind you – it is. You’re being chased. It wants you.

Would you rather be eaten alive or fucked to death?

A contrast between the erotic horror of being devoured, or the soullessness of being used as a piece of meat.

Or, imagine you’re the chaser – that you want someone so terribly, you’re willing to consume someone in their entirety, literally destroying them so the only thing they’ll ever think of again is you. Thanks to you, nothing bad will happen to them ever again. No one else can ever have them, or hurt them. Maybe no one needs to be chased at all – maybe the end of their life arouses them; maybe someone is willing to sacrifice their very body to another person, an act of care unmatched. The romance of the redback spider, laying down their physical being for another to use as they see fit.

Cannibalism is a direct, brutally honest functioning of the way so much, if not all, sex (or any kind of power exchange – and to be clear, ALL sex plays with power, but not all of it playfully) plays out: someone takes, and someone gives. At least in the case of eating someone, one person benefits; whereas with sex, on a purely physical level, puts both bodies at risk for disease and/or pregnancy.

The process of eating is a necessity. Sex is not. Eating another person incorporates them into the basic, most everyday practice of staying alive, which may or may not be the most meaningful physical relationship possible – depending on how you feel about life. You’re taking someone inside of you in a process that makes penetration seem pale. By offering flesh you’re offering part of yourself as nourishment and survival.

Or, maybe you’re coercively taking from your enemy their ability to exist entirely – a feat of competition, strength, and joy that ensures your ability to continue in more ways than one. (What benefit does forced sex actually provide for the rapist? What do you actually lose as a victim?)

The love that goes into the act of knowing you’ll hold someone’s last moments! Of trusting someone with your life so dearly, you’ll gladly let them take it. Or, if not love, power as a form of intimacy – the raging hard on of knowing you control this person’s life so totally, you decide whether they’ll ever get to breathe again. The wet cunt of knowing you’ve been totally, completely owned and you deserve everything that’s about to happen to you.

And for those who are crying, “Oh, cannibalism is so dangerous and violent!”, let’s not forget that sex very commonly also leads to death! The only reason you lack a healthy fear of penetration is because modern civilized society has sanitized the process with all manner of contraceptives and preventatives (condoms, dams, gloves, spermicide, birth control all at your fingertips – clearly, society wants you to fuck, which is as good of a reason as any not to do so) for all the bacteria, viruses, parasites or sperm waiting to crawl into your genitals. And if you somehow manage to survive the agonizing process of giving birth or even just being pregnant, your body is irrevocably changed in ways that are unpredictable, internal, and life-altering. A small consolation from having your flesh eaten: at least a scar from a bite or a missing limb you can see, understand, or predict… and maybe it’s even a change you lusted after.

Eating your own kind is perfectly normal outside human society. The more closely related your meal is to you, the more closely its nutrient profile will match your needs – making human flesh the healthiest meal you can eat. This also is why so many people fear diseases spreading through cannibalism – however, it might be true that cannibalism actually reduces chances of infection, by directly killing parasites in infected victims and by reducing the number of susceptible hosts. Hence, why most mammals continue the practice despite so many claims that it’s faded for an evolutionary advantage. Cannibalism is as much a function of reproduction as sex: the mothers of rodents, fish, amphibians, bears, cats, dogs, primates, and more eat extra or weak babies they cannot care for; a newborn caecilian’s first meal is its parents’ flesh.

Really, the only thing sex has going for it is that you can do it more than once. Being entirely eaten alive is a one time thing – truly a moment to be treasured.

- cool squid

Tags: anarchyeating peoplethe taste of flesh so goodcategory: Essays
Categories: News

TFSRadio: Betsy Raasch-Gilman on Movement For A New Society, Anarchism and Organizing

Mon, 10/30/2017 - 15:19

Airs on WSFM-LP 103.3 in Asheville / streaming at AshevilleFM from 3am EST on October 30th through November 5th, 2017 and podcasting on libsyn.com.

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

This week, we share a conversation that Bursts had with Betsy Raasch-Gilman. Betsy is a lifelong Quaker, feminist and anti-capitalist. She talks about her experiences organizing as an anarchist during the Cold War with Movement for a New Society, difficulties of critiquing capitalism within the peace movement, anti-nuke organizing, modeling consensus and affinity group organizing, alternative and cooperative models, attempting to ground organizing in anti-racism, separatism, organizing with the Marxist Left and more. Later in the conversation, Betsy talks about her engagement in the RNC Welcoming Committee against the 2008 Twin Cities Republican National Convention, the conspiracy trial that she almost got roped into, security culture and police spies and what she's excited about now in the current terrain.

You can find out more about the work that Betsy is doing these days, check out Training For Change.

Playlist

Tags: tfsradioThe Final Strawweekly podcastcategory: Projects
Categories: News

TOTW: Reading

Mon, 10/30/2017 - 12:48

It’s safe to say that anarchists in general put a lot of value in reading. Some groups like Crimethinc invest a high amount of effort in producing slick, accessible reading material that helps to create baby anarchists. Some even requires potential members to read a curriculum of anarchist writings as a prerequisite for membership. From publishing projects and distros to bookfairs and zine swaps, writing is everywhere.

Yet there are also approaches to anarchy which emphasize action over words. The writings they tend to produce are handbooks and reportbacks, if they’re writing at all. This was very much my experience in becoming an anarchist - I was much more inspired by seeing a Crimethinc sticker ridiculing the police than Evasion, (which I never read) or The Conquest of Bread (which I started and then quickly put down out of boredom). When I was reading, it was zines about organizing and privilege politics. While the passage of time and the shifting of my own thinking has broadened my interests in what anarchists are writing, my coming to think of myself as an anarchist was very much a social experience coming out of actions with little to do with books.

How integral was reading anarchist literature to your experience of becoming an anarchist? What kind of books/zines/articles were your reading, and what do you think about that material now?

Tags: bookstotwtopic of the weekcategory: Other
Categories: News

Anews podcast - episode 35

Sun, 10/29/2017 - 17:44

https://podcast.anarchistnews.org/index.php/2017/10/29/anews-podcast-epi...

Welcome to the anews podcast. This is episode 35 for October 27. This podcast covers anarchist activity, ideas, and conversations from the previous week.

Editorial: Bad
TOTW – Local Projects You Want or Miss…

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

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

Tags: arielAragorn!local projectscategory: Projects
Categories: News

Interview: Eclipse Phase – The anarchist RPG

Sun, 10/29/2017 - 15:50

From Freedom Press UK

Interview: Eclipse Phase – The anarchist RPG Arts and Culture, Oct 29th


For all that “nerd culture” has become hegemonic on our screens, role play games (RPGs) have remained on the fringes of that success with Dungeons and Dragons being the only truly famous example, known for its geekiness. But today’s RPGs encompass far more, spanning everything from horror and the Old West to sci-fi.

In that latter category sits Eclipse Phase. By turns utopian and dystopian, it explores themes of transhumanism, AI singularity and post-Earth scenarios. Woven into its fabric is a complex tale about an anarchist-led fight for autonomy against corporate oligarchy.

Since its award-winning launch in 2009 EP, as fans know it, has spawned a 404-page introductory work, dozens of subsidiary stories and an astonishingly dense lore. Rob Ray interviewed EP co-creator Rob Boyle for the upcoming launch of their second edition, which drew no fewer than 13,000 backers on Kickstarter and raised £142,000 — quintupling their target.

Given the radical and political nature of EP were you taken by surprise that the RPG community proved so enthusiastic?

Not necessarily, there’s a large portion of the RPG community that swings left, and quite a few that are interested in games as a way to explore sociological or political issues, especially in “indie RPG” circles. We’ve definitely attracted some attention for our openly political nature, but it’s mostly been positive. There’s a heavy right-libertarian streak in transhumanist circles, and we draw some of that crowd, so we occasionally get some flak for portraying anarchism positively.

That said, I think Eclipse Phase was well-timed with its initial release, following a wave of great transhuman fiction (Stross, MacLeod, Sterling, Morgan, etc.). It’s hard to break ground with sci-fi games, but we hit the point where cyberpunk was too synonymous with reality — it was time for the next thing.

How would you say anarchist theory has had an influence over the project? Any theorists and thinkers in particular?

I first identified as an anarcho-communist back in high school in the 1980s, and through the ’90s and beyond I was heavily involved with anarchist publishing and organising projects. EP co-creator Brian Cross also identifies as an anarchist, and he has a background as a sociology professor. We obviously injected a lot of our outlook.

If I had to highlight my specific influences I would say Murray Bookchin, for his approaches towards confederalism, technology, and social ecology, and probably the entire German autonomist/antifa movement, for its non-dogmatic approach to synthesising radical ideas. Anarchist science writer Brian Martin probably impacted some of my views on scientific responsibility.

Overall, politically, I think my ideas have been strongly shaped by the Sojourner Truth Organisation, active in the ’70s-80s, who have had a larger impact than I think most modern anarchists realise. I should probably also give a shout out to James Hughes and George Dvorsky, who helped shape and cohere the technoprogressive side of transhuman politics.

The use of extravagant homebrew high tech in anarchist zones places them as main foil to the hypercorps. Was that intended as a hub of story creation?

Definitely, we wanted to illustrate both the dangers of technology used for control but also the possible uses for liberation. So we detail how nanofabrication tech can create an almost post-scarcity situation where people are liberated from basic needs and how mesh networking, AI assistants, and real-time online polling can facilitate more cooperative and consensus-based organisational models. And, frankly, we wanted to show how capitalism aims to perpetuate cycles of work and bondage so elites can hoard wealth and power, even when it’s entirely unnecessary.

Could you run through your thinking around the anarchists being portrayed?

As anarchists, I think we’re all well aware of the difficulties of social revolution. For EP, we looked at the likelihood of future space expansion and resource exploitation and saw an opportunity there for autonomists to establish their own presence outside of capitalist control. The vast distances and time scale of space travel make it challenging to exercise dominance over remote outposts and the technologies available make it possible for autonomists to establish self-reliant colonies. So they were able to thrive and even grow without interference.

And, of course, they are an attractive safe haven for refugees, escaped indentures, and others sick of corporate exploitation. The Fall of Earth in the setting (during a war with self-aware AIs) helped to boost their populations, and also threw the forces of capitalism into disarray. By the time new capitalist powers had arisen, the autonomists were entrenched and a significant counter-power. Capitalist expansion hasn’t grown to the point where the two are forced into direct conflict yet, and given the rapid technological and societal changes, it may never get to that point.

Regarding human augmentation, how has EP tended to handle the threat that in the future, a heavily upgraded, functionally-immortal elite might eventually simply out-tech us?

We’ve taken the view that technology empowers everyone, not just the ruling elites. Yes, the elites have more resources and gain early access, but there are several mechanisms countering that. First is the cyberpunk maxim that the street makes its own uses for things, meaning that even technology deployed for purposes of control is often subverted and repurposed.

Second is that hierarchical systems of control are slow and cumbersome in relation to agile and flexible decentralised systems, which is why social-media-coordinated uprisings have led to toppled regimes and 4th-gen guerrilla warfare networks are able to mix it up with the world’s advanced militaries. And even as technology advances, we see that hierarchical systems are riddled with vulnerabilities.

And even as the elites develop advanced technologies, it’s important to remember that they do not have access to it first — the scientists, engineers, programmers, and other workers that make it do. So in Eclipse Phase we had a number of elements who have taken this corporate technology, gone rogue, and taken advantage of a space exploration resource rush to establish their own autonomous zones and then open sourcing the tech.

In EP we’ve assumed that self-improving artificial super-intelligences are more likely to appear before super-intelligent augmented humans, so that’s been made the primary threat.

An awful lot of reference points for your writing will look familiar to left-leaning sci-fi fans — David Brin, Ken Mcleod, Ghost in the Shell, Ursula Le Guin etc — but there does also seem to be a gleeful rejection of Iain M Banks in your treatment of AI. Were you taking a bit of a “give ’em as many play options as possible” approach there, or more fitting things into a balanced model?

Yeah, we absorbed a lot of different sci-fi while working on EP, so you can see a lot of influences. We were definitely working to make the setting as multi-faceted as possible, so as to provide possibilities for players with varied interests. We heavily push the default campaign angle of saving transhumanity from extinction threats, but we left the door open for dozens of other campaign styles: cyberpunk corporate espionage, shady criminal dealings, exoplanet exploration, political intrigue, virtual worlds, uplift liberation, etc. Part of this was also simply our love of world-building and extrapolating out some of the consequences and possibilities that a setting like this opens up. Transhumanism and the technologies we’re addressing are really going to shake up our society, and it’s fascinating to work out and explore the ramifications — and also important for us to do, because these may be real questions we need to face as a society some day, or may already be facing now.

I don’t think we entirely rejected Banks, though. [spoiler alert!] To go back to the Prometheans again, we included a group of ASIs that work on transhumanity’s behalf, much like the Minds in his Culture series. We just opted to keep them in the background, in part because we want to focus on the actions and motivations of the transhuman players, and give them agency, rather than being at the benevolent mercy/direction of ASIs all the time. It is certainly possible to include the types of machinations and interactions you see with Banks’ Minds in an EP game.

What did you hope for in the use of disposable bodies (sleeves) and a “humanity” essentially uploaded onto the web as a core feature of storytelling?

Well the main element here was to explore that sort of functioning immortality. For RPGs character death is a pretty big deal, and many game directors will avoid it so as not to upset players who have invested lots of time and emotional energy into their characters.

So for many players the option to come back after you die is quite novel, even if there are repercussions in the form of lost memories or remembering your death (depending on how your backup was restored). This of course has some interesting effects on gameplay — it is not uncommon for PCs to sacrifice themselves for others, for example.

The secondary aspect was to really dive into the idea of switching bodies. While for gaming purposes this means you get to treat your body as customisable gear, the whole idea of literally becoming a new person, with a potentially different sex, ethnicity, or number of limbs — or possibly a synthetic, virtual, or nonhuman body — is a really great storytelling exercise. There is just so much you can do with that.

You mention in the first edition that use of sleeves has the effect of essentially eliminating sex (indeed most biological attributes) as a discriminatory factor. Has this had any interesting feedbacks?

Yes, prejudicial notions become all the more quaint when people can take whatever form they want. My personal sense is that with other games, you often have players (usually men) who simply always stick with the same gender (usually male) when making characters.

With EP, players are much more willing to take on characters with different gender, sex, or other characteristics, and to then repeatedly change that as they go. By putting it out there in the forefront, and sometimes having it forced upon them by the game director, we definitely create a situation where players often have to think about the ramifications of body dysmorphia, and so put them in a spot where they have to think about what transgender people feel on a daily basis.

And we’ve gotten some attention from transgender sociologist Katherine Cross for that (disclosure: she has contributed to Eclipse Phase’s second edition).

Have you got any tasty teasers for what’s in store for the autonomists?

We have received some criticism that our depiction of autonomist space is sometimes “too utopian,” so in the future we’ll be focusing a bit more on some of the problems that might arise within a transhuman anarchist society, which is I think a good exercise for us as radicals.

This article first appeared in the winter edition of Freedom Journal

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Antifenix pamphlet. The Fenix verdict: Defendants acquitted (PDF)

Sun, 10/29/2017 - 15:42

From Antifenix

3 years of lack of evidence – 3 years that fucked up our lives (DOWNLOAD .PDF FILE HERE)

The Fenix case uproar, consists of a lot of accusations of many crimes, ranging from the one of so-called “promotion of terrorism” to the one of preparation of terrorist attacks. These are the ones that were most discussed at the latest Municipal Court Hearing in Prague. During their verdict, the judge acquitted all the five defendants of the Fenix 1 case. Is it a victory? Why this decision isn’t final? Followed article is a translation of a month old overview over the court hearings and some analyses of our situation and experience, originally written in Czech language.

This long court hearing was about five anarchists, three of them accused of plotting a terrorist attack on a train carrying military paraphernalia. Two of them were accused of knowing about such plans and not having stopped the presumed authors. Two of these five people were also accused of preparing an attack with Molotov cocktails on police cars during the eviction of the Cibulka squat. Basically, according to the deployed police agents, there are in total five people and three different crimes involved. (And all this is just for Fenix 1, because some of these people are facing further accusations in the context of Fenix 2).
In the group where the five accused were involved, there were two police agent
infiltrators. These two individuals actively prepared both attacks and they also
partly started them up. However, the judge did not identify their actions as a provocation just because the materials that would detect the provocation are not available.

The Judge, Her Hon. Hana Hrncirova, stressed that she acquitted all the defendants precisely because of lack of sufficient evidence. She highlighted the lack of transparency of police’s work: “The reason why the court took such decision is the fact that during the evidence assessment the judge expressed strong doubts over the police transparency in their methods both before the commencement of the criminal prosecution and when it was legally permitted to involve the deployed agents in the case,” she said.
The judge stressed that the police acted without having a warrant for months and when the defense attorney asked for the records of their activity, the police did not have them: ” The court has no trace of such records, not even one” the judge said. Then she said: “The Defense attorney has tried to get these materials because it can be assumed that, on the grounds of these individual permits, there must be some records somewhere. Such records were never included in the file.”

According to what the police said, the materials from the first months of infiltration “are not existing or cannot be used”. Then, we have another stack of files that are existing, files with a transcript of taped down cell phone communication, and can indeed be used. Especially to prove that the secret agents, the infiltration and the construction of the case are not a matter of the past as we hear very often. Comic was the moment, when the judge raised this stack over her head (it is a volume of about 400 A4 pages) and said that from all these transcripts not a single thing has any value as evidence.

The decision is not final because the state prosecutor Pazourek felt that he still has not destroyed people’s life enough and appealed on site. As a former police officer, he believes that the police has acted correctly and hopes that the higher Court of Appeal will confirm his opinion. Surely, he will do his utmost best to find something that “must be there and can be used”. We can then just hope that this hunter of anarchists (who is also the one who proposed at least 12 years in jail for charged ones in Fenix) and also plays role in Fenix 2 will have elements with no value of evidence in the next trial as well.

Unlike Pazourek, The Minister of inferior, gun lover, social democrat, Josef Chovanec, does not have time to wait for the Higher court. The Parliamentary Elections are approaching and he has to give priority to polishing his image, presenting himself as a fair and just daddy. And therefore, after three years, he has suddenly noticed that in the Fenix case something “is not quite right”. In his “Twitter” profile he dropped a few comments by making reference to facts belonging to Czech history: “If it proves, that it was just police provocation, I will ask for a thorough investigation case and a punishment of the culprits. The police of such a democratic state […] cannot arbitrarily destroy the lives of people, and this is regardless of their political thinking.. I hope that the “Omladina trial [1]” belongs to our history and not to our present.” Too bad that he was not there saying such words when, at the time of Martin Ignacak’s imprisonment, main detective Palfiova, looking at the file, stated: “we can do everything!”.

Whether Chovanec himself is directly and or partly responsible for the process against the anarchist movement or not, we do not know and it will take long time before we find out. Surely, if the court would sent the five people behind bars we can bet that he will tap his guys’ shoulders “for the good job they have done”. Now, when the contrary happened, he can blame for their mistakes and abuse of power just a couple of individuals out of a police and punitive apparatus that is otherwise “spotless” and “helpful to all the community”.

The lack of evidence wins
For many of us the Court’s verdict is a relief. For a moment we can breathe, meet up for dinner, and see our friends in a more relaxed state of mind outside the prison walls. These moments are important in life and it is good that we can enjoy them. Prison is a useless institution, it divides relationships, isolates people and destroys lives. This is why the verdict, no matter how much more pleasant than “guilty”, is not a total win for us. We do not forget what three years of infiltration and later investigation meant. Ales, Martin, and Peter have all been incarcerated for 27 months in total, Lukas – 7 months, and before that he had been one year underground. All of them with still awaiting trials (appeal of Fenix 1 and for some of them and two more comrades Fenix 2) Some of them with possible life sentences still in the air. Let’s not forget about Igor, who is today found innocent, was in the hardest custody for three months, is still facing hard restrictions and had been reporting to the probation services for almost year and a half. On top of that, he is still at risk of deportation from the Czech Republic due by his stay in custody.

The families, friends and closest people of the defendants and imprisoned, as well as those who are directly affected by the Fenix case, are facing a great deal of emotional pressure and separation. The Police broke in in several flats and has been taking more and more people for interrogations. The police is using practices in their powers such as taking people to the forest, threatening the partners and the parents of the suspects. A list of what has been done during the various repressive actions (and we are only talking about the last three years on the anti-authoritarian scene in so called Czech Republic) would probably be long and scary.

In short, it is clear that there is nothing to celebrate. The need to smash the oppressive system is still in the game, just there is need to think about a better strategy and find new ways how to fight. In cases like the Fenix, it is necessary to understand what this is really about. From the very beginning, we said that the police is not primarily after long imprisonments of single anarchists. The Repressive units are not afraid of us alone, nor they dont’t fear of Martin, Peter, Sasha, Ales, Katarína, Radka, Igor, Lukas, Ales and the other defendants. What scares them is that more and more people would come out by identifying with our ideas, especially if they start using a wider variety of tactics. The protectors of the status quo invest a lot of strengths, energy and resources to keep people in the belief that this is the freedom they dream for.

Anti-authoritarian and anarchists people that believe that we can live our lives in a more genuine way than the one offered by neo-liberalism and that we do not need State and Politics, can offer an alternative which could interfere with this consumerist life-style. Repression is then seen as the ideal tool to suppress ideas. And by them the state apparatus wants to discredit us through sensationalist media and labeling us as terrorists, to intimidate us by using imprisonment and to divide the movement between “the radicals” and the “the nonviolent ones” and place us against each other. Paralyze us with paranoia.

The question is where this attempt of repression is successful and in which points we can work on ourselves. How not to fall into traps that are invisible at first sight and how to tear down walls in our heads. The walls inside ourselves and between us and other people. How to break these walls and build bridges out of them. How to overcome fear, obtain what are fighting for and respect each other. And last but not least, how not to fall in the urge of winning in a game that is not ours and which only takes us away from important things and activities.

The Fenix case has become a crucial point in the lives of many of us. We can learn a lot from it. Take it as a point of reference to better understand how the power structures work and to understand each others as well as to critically analyze our own mistakes. We do not want to pretend that we have the answers to all the questions out there. But we have learned one thing. If we want our actions and our organizing to be really effective and dangerous for the structures of oppression that keep us under control, these must come from collective discussions and negotiations that go beyond the outlines given by the state. We learned that there is no point to hide from repression, it is better to be ready to face it and create conditions that will make such operations inactive. As long as people are put in jail first and it is discussed whether this is the right measure to implement or not only after the imprisonment, there is a reason to keep on fighting. That is not to say that if the legal proceedings happen in the opposite order the issue is solved, rather that we need to imagine an entirely different world. A world without prisons, borders and police where we must really solve the problems ourselves rather then hidding them behind the walls.

Fenix is not an operation targeting a few naive anarchists, but an attack to the future of subversion as a whole. It is also a demonstration of Police power and of the work of the secret state agents in democracy we hear as synonymous to freedom so often.

Do not get caught!

In Solidarity, Anarchist Black Cross, Prague, Autumn Equinox 2017.

“My pillar values are: Life, Justice, Freedom, and Equality. People who construct cases and want to imprison people hardly understand such values. I am ready for any verdict, and I will take it holding my head high. A verdict that will affect my life and the life of others.”
End of Martin Ignacak’s Final Speech.

Notes:

[1]In 1894, the Omladina Trial, convened in the Austro-Hungarian regional capital of Prague, ostensibly placed Czech Anarchism and Anarcho-syndicalism before the court as well as specifically convicting 68 Czech Nationalists of radical activities. (Source: Wikipedia)

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