Posts Tagged ‘class struggle’

Austin’s Picks – Prisons and Liberation

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Thanks to Austin for the reference information.  Members of our beloved community are detained in Federal detention and are being held in solitary confinement for refusing to cooperate with a secret grand jury.

  • Charges against these individuals?  None.
  •  Indictments against these individuals?  None.
  • Convictions against these indivicuals?   None.

In a beautiful world beset by disturbing and dangerous trends this is a particular disturbing business.

Free Kteeo.   Please.   Free Kteeo.  Please.
Masked Racism: Reflections on the Prison Industrial Complex by Angela Y. Davis (1998)

The War on the People: An Interview with Christian Parenti by Suzi Weissman (1999)

Crime As Social Control by Christian Parenti (2000)

Lockdown America in 22 Minutes [Audio] by Christian Parenti

Race, Prison, and Poverty by Paul Street (2001)

Empire Abroad, Prisons At Home: Dark Connections by Paul Street (2003)

Scott Crow in Olympia for a few speaking events

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Activist, anarchist, writer, organizer – Scott Crow – is going to be in Olympia for a few speaking engagements over the next few days. He will be at South Puget Sound Community College on Oct 25th at noon, Room 102, Building 26

Then he will be at Last Word Books on Friday, Oct 26th at 7:30 pm. and one more time in Oly on Monday, Oct 29th at Lecture Hall 2, The Evergreen State College at noon.

Want to understand anarchism? Learn more about it. It’s not what you may think.

Want to continue to misunderstand and misrepresent anarchism? As Bobby Dylan said, “you are going to have to serve somebody…” Choose today, who will you serve? You are going to have to serve somebody.

Black Flags and Radical Relief Efforts in New Orleans: An Interview with scott crow

Author and activist scott crow

“Solidarity not Charity” is a way of feeding people while addressing the underlying problems that cause hunger. The way this manifested itself in Common Ground was to immediately deliver and render aid where the state had failed, and then to leave structures in place so communities can continue to rebuild themselves as they see fit.”

Interview by Stevie Peace & Kevin Van Meter

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina both federal and local authorities failed the population of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region. As a result, relief efforts from various sectors of American society flowed south. One of the first and most spectacular and aggressive efforts was Common Ground Relief — formed by strands of the anti-globalization and anarchist movements. scott crow documents these struggles in “Black Flags and Windmills: Hope, Anarchy, and the Common Ground Collective”, recently released by PM Press. In this interview, Crow describes the process of becoming an author after being an organizer, reviews the history and myths of Common Ground and explores possible lessons for future progressive and radical organizing. Visit crow’s website at http://scottcrow.org/.

Can you speak to the writing process behind “Black Flags and Windmillsand your shift from an organizer to an author?

One word: difficult. I don’t consider myself a writer; and while I have written a few pieces over the years, it has mostly been out of necessity. From my arrival in New Orleans I took copious notes. Every time I would get moments to get away, I would take notes about organizing and creating an organization to deal with the disaster following Hurricane Katrina. Additionally, I wrote communiqués from just days after the storm and continued for three years. I went back to all of those writings and began turning them into chapters. On a personal level it was healing to write: I came back with post-traumatic stress, couldn’t function in society and felt like the ghost in the machine a lot. The writing actually helped me to relive those traumas in a different way, to really dissect them. It was almost a five-year process; I feel so much better now than I did when I started the book. This is not to say that “Black Flags and Windmills” is a sorrow-filled book. There are lots of beautiful stories along the way and lots of really engaging organizing that was going on. The book describes the anarchist heyday of Common Ground, when the most self-identified anarchists came; this was early September 2005 until 2008. Afterward, the organization became much more structured in a traditional nonprofit way. This is not to denigrate it — just to say that the book focuses on this initial period of “black flags” at Common Ground.

Since memory is a tricky thing, I did outside research and revisited with people. I went back to news articles from grassroots media, reports and blogs to look at specific events and the way things unfolded. Then, I would ask key organizers and New Orleans residents, “Do you remember when this thing happened?” Sometimes it was completely different from how I remembered it. I don’t claim to speak for Common Ground, as I think that would do a disservice to the thousands of people who participated and the hundreds of key organizers that were there.

When I tell a story I want people to understand it and create common bonds. I wrote this book for people who might not have any understanding about radical or anarchist concepts. I always ask myself, “What would my mom think about this?” While I wrote it for people like her, my target audience was those who were coming into movements and might be inspired by what Common Ground was building. I used the stories in the book to give a primer on the theoretical background of anarchism in practice. Another part of the book is telling my own personal narrative. It’s not because I think my story is important, but I wanted to show that I am a regular person that was just caught up in extraordinary circumstances.

Want to know more? Read the whole piece. Come sit in on one of the events.

Austin’s Picks: Pre-figurative Politics? from Kloncke

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

I have been thinking about dual power, working for the political change that I want as one means of seizing power and living the daily politics of the world that I dream about as the second means of demonstrating the power of a different political vision.  Austin sent along a posting from Katie Loncke from March 2011 that is thinking on similar lines.  I like the term that Kloncke uses, pre-figurative politics, to identify the immediate implementation of a political system.

Here is the piece from Kloncke.  If you want to know more about her ideas, jump to her website.

 

Revolutionary and Pre-Figurative Politics

Katie Loncke MARCH 17, 2011

How do the two fit together?

This question’s been yelling itself in my face for the past couple of days. (Weeks?) Not only in theoretical terms, but in practical ways. Touched on by elders, peers, friends, strangers.

Roughly (and this is my own attempt, for which I’ll accept blame but not credit):

Some groups are great at building and exemplifying models of anti-oppressive ways of being. (Pre-figurative politics, as I understand it, means practicing now the kind of society you want to build in the future.) Enacting horizontal group dynamics, confronting white supremacist and racist behavior, challenging and transforming sexism, homophobia, transphobia, fatphobia, ableism, etc. in myriad ways, and continually developing sophisticated, intersectional analyses of these lived oppressions. Honoring and valuing healing; promoting literacy around dealing with trauma and mental wellness. Developing healthy sex-positive cultures grounded in consent. Practicing conscientious methods for dealing with intimate violence and abuse. Giving and receiving criticism with humility, generosity, bravery, and kindness. Doing very practical things like organizing childcare collectives, artmaking groups, and food distribution programs; infusing them with liberatory values. Transforming estranged relationship with our bodies, the earth, and nature. Theorizing these and more practices, and sharing them.

At the same time, some groups are great at developing people’s revolutionary class consciousness. Examining the material processes of history with an eye toward figuring out the best ways to intervene in those historical processes, and change things for the better. Get rid of classes altogether. Put an end to imperialism. Employ practice and theory, in current conditions, to avoid the pitfall of reformism and move militantly and decisively toward a world of “freely associating producers” — a world where violent compulsion is no longer ambient, as it is under capitalism and has been under all forms of class society (to stake a claim against what I learned about Foucault, in college). I’m impressed and inspired by groups that maintain a keen focus on this goal, and whose work reflects the urgency of building the class power necessary for exploited people to liberate themselves/ourselves from the yoke (and rod) of capital.

Now. Is there overlap between these ‘types’ of groups?

Yes.

A lot?

In the Bay Area? In the US?

IIIIIIII dunno. What do you think? What are you finding?

That’s all for now; more questions than answers.

News from Grand Jury Resistance

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

Elliot Stoller sent along the following from the Seattle Times:

“Katherine Olejnik, a 23-year-old recent Evergreen College graduate living in Olympia, was among those jailed. Her father said his daughter has been an activist in social-justice causes since her youth. She is not suspected in the courthouse vandalism, court papers say. She was called in to testify Sept. 27 about someone she knows, according to her lawyer.

Even after Olejnik was given full immunity from prosecution by the judge, she declined to testify. U.S. District Court Judge Richard A. Jones said he had no choice but to send her to jail for up to 18 months, or until she changes her mind.

“What (prosecutors) decided to do is choose people and punish them for their association,” said her attorney, Jenn Kaplan.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office issued a general statement Sept. 13 about grand-jury proceedings, noting, “We do not investigate or seek to silence lawful free speech, or dissent. We do, however, investigate and enforce the law where speech crosses the line and becomes threats or acts of violence.”

Matthew Duran, a roommate of Olejnik’s who works in computer security, was jailed for civil contempt Sept. 13 after he, too, refused to testify before the grand jury. A longtime social-justice activist, he describes himself as an anarchist, according to his attorney, Kim Gordon. He is not suspected in the courthouse vandalism.

“One of our concerns was they were really targeting him because they perceived him to be associated with the anarchist community,” Gordon said. “It’s kind of a fishing expedition.”

Appeals of Olejnik’s and Duran’s case are pending.”

Read the article in the Seattle Times?

Austin’s Picks: Boots Riley on Black Bloc Tactics

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Boots Riley on Black Bloc Tactics in Bay Area

October 9, 2012

Boots Riley has played an important role in Occupy Oakland from its inception.

In the wake of mass arrests during a Black Bloc action on Saturday in San Francisco,Boots Riley, a revolutionary artist and Occupy activist, weighs in on the strategic wisdom of tactics being employed by Occupy Oakland and the use of Black Bloc tactics in the Bay Area particularly. The following comment by Boots were posted on facebook.

by Boots Riley
The use of the blac bloc tactic in all situations is not useful. As a matter of fact, in situations such as the one we have in Oakland, its repeated use has become counter-revolutionary.Yesterday in Oakland was a good illustration of this, in which the blac bloc kids- besides busting up bank windows- also busted windows of parked cars and threw stuff at another car- to which the Black driver of said vehicle got out looking to fight the crowd.Similarly, the crowd of folks at Somar were there for the end of Matthew Africa’s memorial- DJs and artists, and generally a group of folks who collectively probably know everybody in Oakland- I’m not exactly sure what or if anything happened before I saw the scene, but folks poured out of the club en masse to protect it, yelling at the march and telling folks to go home.If “the job of the revolutionary is to make the revolution seem irresistible”, the use of blac bloc has been making a revolutionary movement pretty damn resistible in Oakland, CA.When almost every conversation I have with folks from Oakland about Occupy Oakland, has the smashing of windows brought up as a reason people don’t like that grouping, scientifically it means the tactic is not working. It doesn’t matter that technically it’s only smashing corporate windows. It matters that people don’t want to join because of that. It’s not about violence/non-violence. The truth is that it’s not always corporate windows. I’m for certain tactics that would be classified as violent- even ones that have to do with fighting human beings. But what it’s about is a tactic that is detrimental in this situation. I would like to win, thank you. Not just lose with style. A style that the people around you don’t understand. Many folks bring up Greece when debating these things. I’ve been to Athens. What I witnessed there was that the movement was tied in with the people. Most of those involved grew up in Athens, they also are part of militant campaigns that happen throughout the year, which the people support, moreover, they just know the people of the city of Athens. And, perhaps due to this situation, there are way more of them.

It’s not due to lack of outreach that Saturday’s “West Coast Anti-Capitalist March”- meaning, one that not only reached out to the whole west coast- was only able to draw 150-300 people. It’s because it’s not what the people care about- not framed in that way- and because others are either bored with the tactic or scared of being arrested because some kid breaks the window of some used car that probably costs less than their own Honda Civic. But, that was in SF. Most of the folks doing this don’t know anyone from Oakland, and- I believe- don’t plan on doing any sort of base building to find out where the pulse of the people actually are.

If you ask most people in East or West Oakland what their problems are- they’ll say being broke is there number one problem. Campaigns that use militant mass movement tactics to achieve changes in that situation are ones that have a revolutionary potential.

I’ve talked to many a person in Occupy Oakland and even in some anarchist collectives who agree with me on this, but the idea is that to criticize this publicly is to make the movement look divided. But, the public non-critique of this has the effect of making the movement look monolithic, hegemonic and uninviting. Instead, people talk shit about each other behind their backs, split and divide into smaller and smaller affinity groups. All the while, not critiquing the counter-revolutionary bullshit that’s making them irrelevant in the minds of the people they ostensibly want to organize.

Let’s get this shit right and win.

Arab Fest in Olympia Ends Today OFS Film Festival

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

Thanks to Austin for sending this along:

“Edward Said is the late world famous Palestinian intellectual and literature critic. He was a prominent member of the Palestinian parliament-in-exile for 14 years until he quietly stepped down in 1991. In 1948, Said and his family were dispossessed from Palestine and settled in Cairo. He came to the United States to attend college and lived in New York for many years. Because of his advocacy for Palestinian self-determination and his membership in the Palestine National Council, Said was not allowed to visit Palestine until several years ago and passed away in 2003.

The late Edward Said was a professor of English and comparative literature, known as both a scholar of modern literature and theory as well as a scholar of Middle East politics. He also authored the groundbreaking book Orientalism, a seminal evaluation of Western misperceptions of the East (Muslim Orient), which set the stage for post-colonial studies. Other works include the Question of Palestine, Culture and Imperialism and the Politics of Dispossession.”:

http://electronicintifada.net/

New Economics? Is there another way?

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

I like some aspects of free markets. As a craftsman who has made a living at times in my life building and remodeling houses, I like the idea that I can trade my time and skills in a relatively free manner for money or other goods that I want or need. More and more I find I don’t really want too much stuff. I have a houseful of stuff. It comes and goes. I don’t buy much in the way of new stuff. We are awash in consumer goods in the US and if you turn off regular television and cable and stop reading the newspaper, your consumer programming falls away pretty fast in my experience, so I just am not all that familiar with the stuff that the consumer culture thinks I should be craving.

I think consumer culture and rampant capitalism is the downside of the free market. I like Medicare. I like Social Security. I like public education. I think it should be free and include higher education. I think that means I like socialism.

But try to sell socialism to the US electorate with the consumer capitalists in charge of the media. It’s going to be a tough sell.

I am throwing up this piece by Gar Alperovitz. I will watch it in a day or two. Maybe he has some thoughts about new economic systems that I will find appealing. Maybe you will find something here also. Hope so.

Gar Alperovitz – Our Time in History: The Possibility of Fundamental System Change from New Economics Institute on Vimeo.

Austin’s Picks: Is Class Struggle Anarchism?

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

Austin K sent this link along in an email this morning. It’s a couple of years old, but it’s still worth sharing and reading. The links go to interesting websites if you have an open mind about politics, which is to say, that you can imagine or entertain valid political positions that are broader than the republican and democratic party talking points. I am only posting two of the points that Nate pulls from Tom’s article. Nate uses his What in the Hell …? website the way I use smallblueplanet.org as a staging area to gather ideas, to store links and info, then to compose from that website for publication elsewhere. For me, that makes Nate’s What in the Hell… ? particularly interesting.

What in the Hell is Class Struggle Anarchism?

July 24, 2009

Austust another WordPress.com siteIt’s

Hat tip to Tom Wetzel for this fine article. Check it out. Full disclosure and a little bragging, I know Tom, we’re both involved in the Workers Solidarity Alliance, so I’m biased. Anyhow, read his piece.

My favorite three bits are quoted below. With these bits I was reading it and I was like “yeah, this is what I try to do in this kind
of work but I haven’t put it this clearly before,” which is a cool feeling, like the article put clearly into words what had been more of a gut feeling for me or stuff I’d fumbled and put badly before.

1. “Dual organizational anarchists often say that the role of the anarchist political organization is to “win the battle of ideas,” that
is, to gain influence within movements and among the mass of the population by countering authoritarian or liberal or conservative ideas. Bakunin had said that the role of anarchist activists was a “leadership of ideas.”

But disseminating ideas isn’t the only form of influence. Working with others of diverse views in mass organizations and struggles, exhibiting a genuine commitment, and being a personable and supportive person in this context also builds personal connections, and makes it more likely one’s ideas will be taken seriously.”

2. “mass struggles and mass organizing as the process for changing society…because it is through the active participation of growing numbers of ordinary people, building and controlling their own movements, that they develop the capacity and aspirations for changing society.

From the point of view of “organized anarchism with a class struggle perspective,” two kinds of organization are needed: (1) forms of mass organization through which ordinary people can grow and develop their collective strength, and (2) political organizations of the anarchist or libertarian socialist minority, to have a more effective means to coordinate our activities, gain influence in working class communities, and disseminate our ideas. In the World War 1 era Italian anarchists coined the term “dual organization” for this perspective.

Read the whole piece if you have a couple of minutes.

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