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November 16, 2018

Channel Zero

Solecast w/ Sima Lee on Anarchism, Hip-hop & Revolutionary Praxis

This post was originally published on this site

In todays episode of the Solecast I speak with Sima Lee. Sima Lee is a truly revolutionary artist who was raised on Black Panther-eque / Black Nationalist communities of self defense and mutual aid. Her entire life has been spent making rap music and doing revolutionary organizing. I discovered her music through submedia’s Trouble documentary on Hip-Hop, check it out here to learn more about her and other radical rap artists. In this interview we discuss:

Her upbringing and how she came to anarchism

The ideas of the maroon communities and how it informs her work

Her work at the maroon House in DC and the mutual aid practices they employ in the community

The importance of self defense and building lasting power beyond mobilizations

How to create stronger ties between (mostly) white anarchists and communities of color

Her new album “Trap Liberation Army”

by Sole at November 16, 2018 01:43 AM

soleone.org

Solecast w/ Sima Lee on Anarchism, Hip-hop & Revolutionary Praxis

In todays episode of the Solecast I speak with Sima Lee.  Sima Lee is a truly revolutionary artist who was raised in Black Panther-eque / Black Nationalist communities of self defense and mutual aid.  Her entire life has been spent making rap music and doing revolutionary organizing.  I discovered her music through submedia’s Trouble documentary on Hip-Hop, check it out here to learn more about her and other radical rap artists.  In this interview we discuss: Her upbringing and how she came to anarchism The ideas of the maroon communities and how it informs her work Her work at the maroon House in DC and the mutual aid practices they employ in the community The importance of self defense and building lasting power beyond mobilizations How to create stronger ties between (mostly) white anarchists and communities of color Her new album “Trap Liberation Army”

by james holland at November 16, 2018 01:43 AM

anarchistnews.org

Russian anti-fascist reveals violence, humiliation and threats in pre-trial detention

From Open Democracy dot net

In Russia, the security services have arrested 11 anarchists and anti-fascists on terrorism charges. Yuly Boyarshinov, a defendant, describes the conditions in pre-trial detention – where prisoners beat, bully and humiliate others in league with investigators.

Investigative prison, Penza. Source: OVD-Info.Since October 2017, 11 people have been arrested as part of the “Network” case – a terrorism investigation led by the Russian security services into anti-fascists and anarchists. According to investigators, these men were allegedly members of an organisation that planned to “destabilise the political climate in the country” during the Russian presidential elections and Football World Cup via explosions and riots. Cells of the organisation were allegedly operating in Moscow, St Petersburg, Penza and Belarus.

Several of the men detained have reported that the FSB tortured them into confessing to the charges against them. For example, software engineer Viktor Filinkov, who was abducted from St Petersburg Pulkovo airport in January 2018, has described in detail how he was tortured with electric shocks into learning a false confession in a minivan on the outskirts of the city. Arman Sagynbayev, who previously ran a vegan food business, has stated that he underwent similar torture in November 2017 in St Petersburg. Other people detained as suspects and witnesses in this case have also reported brutal torture.

Yuly Boyarshinov, an antifascist, industrial climber and “free market” organiser from St Petersburg, was arrested on 21 January 2018. Boyarshinov later stated that city police officers beat him after he refused to answer their questions, citing his right not to incriminate himself. Four hundred grams of gunpowder were then discovered in his possession. On 23 January, a district court ordered his arrest for 30 days on a explosives possession charge. Boyarshinov was then visited by two FSB agents, who listed the names of defendants in the “Network” case and promised that if he did not talk, it “would get worse”. After he refused to talk, he was transferred to Pre-Trial Detention Centre No.6 at Gorelovo, in the outskirts of St Petersburg. On 11 April 2018, Boyarshinov was officially accused of being a member of a terrorist organisation.

In total, Boyarshinov spent five months in Gorelovo Pre-Trial Detention Centre — throughout this time, the FSB tried to make him confess to the charges against him. In a publication by Russian media outlet MediaZona, he describes the atmosphere of isolation, violence and doom in the prison.

Yuly Boyarshinov. Source: Personal archive, via Rupression.

***

Detainees in Gorelovo Detention Centre are subject to systematic physical violence and humiliations by other prisoners, who carry out the orders of the prison administration. Those prisoners call themselves “elders” or “seniors”, but other prisoners call them “reds” or “activists”.

These same people extract money from detainees for individual places to sleep, places next to the television, the right to sleep during the day and other “privileges”. For example, in Cell 3/14, I had to sleep in a twin-bed with four more prisoners. And in Cell 1/2, where I was from 1 March 2018 until 20 July 2018, I had to sleep either on the floor or the top bunk of a double bed with two, three, four more people.

More than a half of all prisoners in the cell do not have their own sleeping place, but this is not only due to overcrowding. In Cell 1/2, which has room for 116 people to sleep, there usually were 120-140 people, sometimes even 150. But, regardless of the overcrowding, there were always free beds in the “Kremlin”.

The “Kremlin” is a large space, separated by a curtain, where the “activists” live. In Cell 1/2, three or four people occupied 12 sleeping places in the “Kremlin”, while at the other end of the same cell regular prisoners had to share a twin bed between five people.

More than a half of all prisoners in the cell do not have their own sleeping place, but this is not only due to overcrowding

A new arrival into the cell is met by “orderlies”, usually sporty young men. They shout at the newbie to run to the other side of the cell, then tell him to stand there and wait until he is called. The prisoner acting as a clerk writes down the new prisoner’s personal details: his name and surname, date of birth, charge/conviction and prison term (if he already has one). In Cell 1/2, as in many others, both convicted prisoners and those under investigation are detained together. People who are first-time prisoners and “second-timers”, as well as people who are facing charges of different severity, are all mixed together. When I was in Cell 1/2, there were detainees investigated under Articles 105, 111, 126, 127, 131, 132, 134, 135, 158, 159, 161, 162, 163, 205, 222, 228, 264, 210 and others.

The new arrival is forced to wait standing from anywhere between 20 minutes to one and a half hours, without talking to anyone. Then he is called to the “kitchen”, which is a small room at the far end of the cell, where no one is normally allowed in. This is where the “activists” eat, and a designated person cooks food for them on a stove throughout the day. Fresh meat and eggs are brought to them in a soup tureen.

lead Yuly Boyarshinov. Source: David Frenkel / MediaZona. Two or three “activists” talk to the newcomer in the kitchen, explain to him that one has to pay 5,000-10,000 roubles [roughly £60-£110] a month for a separate bunk, sometimes they extract a one-off payment for “moving in” – tens of thousands of roubles [up to £500]. If he refuses [to pay], they shout, hit him in the stomach or the back of the head. They threaten to beat his buttocks or heels with a stick, but this they do rarely in order to avoid leaving traces.

They also force the newcomer to clean the floor, sometimes non-stop, four or five times per hour from lunch until dinner, and then from dinner until lights-off. They threaten that if a prisoner cleans the floor, this will affect his social status and later he will be forced to do that permanently in the correction colony. In other words, cleaning is turned into a humiliating punishment.

Those who face charges under Articles 131-135 of the Russian Criminal Code [crimes related to sexual violence] are forced to clean the latrines, wash clothes for the “seniors” and pay much higher sums of money.

Sometimes, as an alternative to monthly payments, the “activists” propose these detainees become a “helper” – that is, to serve one of the “activists”, wash their clothes, bring food to the “Kremlin”, put up the curtain that separates the “Kremlin” from the rest of the cell and take it down when it’s likely that prison guards may visit, although they don’t remove it in the presence of the regular guards responsible for the block.

When one of the “activists” goes to the toilet, the helpers kick out everyone from there in advance, roughly 10 minutes or so before. The same happens if one of the “activists” takes a shower. There is no hot water in the first and third blocks. The water for “activists” is warmed up with an immersion heater in a big barrel – a designated person has to look after it the whole day. Only “activists” can wash with hot water.

Regular prisoners are only allowed to use one lavatory out of three in the toilet, two others are reserved for the “elders”. Because of that and the fact that they close the toilet so often, there was always a queue of four-five people there.

There are two “clerks” in Cell 1/2. These are the prisoners who read both in- and outgoing letters of other prisoners and check that nobody complains to their relatives about violations in the cell. They can block a letter or order you to cross out particular sentences. You are not allowed to put letters in the letterbox yourself. The clerks also sign to receive letters, sometimes also for food parcels and shopping for other detainees. They also pass statements and requests to detention centre officials. Almost all interactions with the guards, including during the morning inspection, are mediated by the clerks and elders, and you are prohibited from addressing [the guards] directly, which creates isolation and a sense of doom.

Yuli Boyarshinov and defense attorney Olga Krivonos at a custody extension hearing, 19 February 2018. Source: OVD-Info / Olga Krivonos. I was beaten up several times: on the day I moved in to Cell 3/14, on the first day in Cell 1/2, and on the second day there too, and on the several more occasions from time to time when I was called in for a “conversation” in the kitchen. These “conversations” usually happened after my lawyer applied to transfer me to another cell or complained about the conditions of my detention and so on.

From the first day, I was told that “this can’t be solved with money” and that there was a special request on me from Ivan Prozarevsky, an agent, to create especially difficult conditions for me.

The first few months I was forced to clean the floor non-stop, then slightly rarer after that. During my whole time in Gorelovo I was barely allowed out to exercise, only a couple of times per month.

After I applied to be transferred to a non-smoking cell, I was called in to the kitchen. Two “activists”, Roman and Konstantin Makarov (“Makar”), were there. They said that they would not allow me to be transferred to another cell and that I now had to have a photo taken while holding a cigarette. I didn’t want to do it, Roman tried to persuade me and then threatened me with violence. From time to time, Denis Rymov, a “senior”, entered the kitchen. He shouted at me, threatened me and hit me several times on the face with an open hand and then left. This “conversation” lasted for about an hour and a half, then Denis entered again and said that if I didn’t take the photo with a cigarette he would rape me , record it on video and send it to the [prison] colonies. Kostya stood beside me and held me down, while Denis put his hand on my crotch and asked “Are you ready?” – after which I agreed to take the photo.

In Cell 1/2, I was forced to write a statement confirming that I was not subject to any pressure on at least three occasions. The first note was dictated to me by Konstantin Makarov, who was told to do so by agent Prozarevsky. The second note I wrote in Prozarevsky’s office after the detention centre received a collective letter from citizens concerned with conditions of detention in the prison. Prozarevsky didn’t show me the letter itself, he only gave me a list of approximately 180 names and instructed me to copy them into my note, and confirm that I did not know any of them and that I was not under any pressure in my cell.

This was not true at all. One of the “seniors”, Dmitry Smirnov, was in the room with us. Prozarevsky and Smirnov threatened that if I did not write this statement, they would create unbearable conditions not only for me, but also for my cellmates – for example, they would take away all mobile phones and shoelaces, thus aiming to provoke violence against me from other detainees. I had to write the third note when Prozarevsky entered the cell, sat down in the “Kremlin” and called me in there. The prisoners who sleep near the “Kremlin” were forced to move to the other end of the cell, so that they could not see us. After me, a few more prisoners were called in to write explanatory notes.

The “activists” in Pre-Trial Detention Centre No.6 carry out the orders of prison officers who, in turn, can follow the orders of agents investigating detainees. They may instruct the “activists” to “burn” certain detainees: beatings, threats, endless cleaning – in general, they create unbearable conditions. They say openly that to stop all of this, you have to give the required testimony in your case, “to solve the issue with your agents” – as it was in my case.

One evening, around eight or nine pm, I was called by agent Evgeny Vladimirovich and asked whether I would talk to the agents who were going to visit the detention centre the next day. I replied that I would, but only in the presence of my lawyer, after which I was sent to my cell and one of the “seniors” was called out. When he returned, he started shouting at me and forced me to do 1,000 squats. This punishment is used quite often, but usually only 500 times. After so many squats, one barely can move one’s legs for a week and it’s difficult to walk.

The basic conditions in Gorelovo are truly nightmarish: not enough space, around two square metres per person, overcrowded cells, a necessity to share the bed with many people, the lack of hot water, constant queues for the toilet and sink, one 12-seater table is used for 130-140 people, broken windows (prisoners break the glass during summer when it is too hot), so there is a cold draft for people sleeping on the top bunks during winter months. In winter, prisoners often sleep in coats.

But the hardest thing is surviving the atmosphere of isolation, systematic violence and the sense of doom. Often, “seniors” or “orderlies” are shouting at someone near you, threatening someone, administering beatings. It was routine to hear cries and pleas to stop from the “kitchen”, where somebody was being beaten on the buttocks or heels. It’s hard to avoid your fear of winding up in their place.

It was obvious that this didn’t happen on the initiative of individual “activists”, but an order from prison officers. Prisoners who try to complain or ask to be transferred to another cell are subjected to even more violence.

Various inspections and commissions often visit Gorelovo. When I was there from 1 March until 20 July 2018, approximately twice per month there was an inspection by the General Prosecutor’s Office, the human rights ombudsman or the Public Monitoring Commission. As a rule, they don’t find so many violations, because their visits are announced in advance, and an impression is created that there are no violations.

For example, before a visit from the Public Monitoring Commission, when they were planning to record the overcrowding of the cells, half of all prisoners (70 people or so) were taken out to exercise yard. Another time, the cell clerk simply lied to them, saying that there were 110 people in the cell, although there were many more. Before an inspection that was supposed to verify whether different categories of prisoners are kept separately, the “activists” announced at the morning check that if you were asked, you should reply that the cell held people who had not been previously convicted for serious offences. And everyone had to choose an appropriate article [of the Criminal Code]. During the day, the orderlies checked that.

If a detainee was called for a meeting with the Public Monitoring Commission or the representatives of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, “activists” had a “conversation” with him first, explaining that he could only say that “everything is alright in the cell”, that it was pointless to complain, and made threats. During any meetings with the Public Monitoring Commission in a separate office, the head of the centre’s operational section or deputy head of the detention centre would be present, and they would always tell the “elders” when the detainees said something bad about the cell.

[As a punishment] for complaints, detainees could be moved from a paid-for separate bunk to a five-persons bed, deprived of access to the telephone, beaten up or forced to clean the floor endlessly.

There was also a “tax” on parcels in Cell 1/2. The “activists” would take two packets of cigarettes from every block and a bag of sweets (cookies, chocolates).

In Cell 1/2, I got infected with scabies. I received the diagnosis in Pre-Trial Detention Centre No.1 in Penza, where I was transferred from Gorelovo. Treating scabies requires the patient to be isolated, disinfection of your personal possessions, mattress, bedding and cell. Nothing of the sort is done in Gorelovo: people infect each other every day in the overcrowded cells. When I left Cell 1/2 in July, every second person in the cell was suffering from scabies and was scratching all the time. There was no treatment for scabies.

Officers investigating a case can threaten suspects with a transfer to Gorelovo. There, following investigator’s instructions, people under investigation are pressured in order to force them to give evidence necessary for the investigation.

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by thecollective at November 16, 2018 01:32 AM

November 15, 2018

anarchistnews.org

Italy: A communique from Deported Anarchist Prisoner Davide Delogu from Sardinia

From Act for Freedom!

(The following communique was written and read out by anarchist comrade Davide Delogu on 10th October 2018 at his trial for attempted escape in 2013 from “Buoncammino” prison in the city of Cagliari, Sardinia.)

As we know, this trial was blocked for a year by the Director of Prison Administration, who was trying (and failed) to impose it via video-conference, thus abusing this ‘emergency measure’ in order to chain me within the role of helpless hostage of insidious and prevaricating technology, so as to weaken a prisoner’s will, depersonalize him, for those who don’t resist, tire him out, isolate him from solidarity and his loved ones, silence refractory tension in resignation, in particular the struggle against prison, a struggle that has never ceased to exist/resist in spite of everything. These are the same ‘emergency measures’ with which I’ve been caged in the prison cesspits of Sicily for years (deported as a repressive consequence for the struggle carried out in the prison of ‘Buoncammino’) with the application of special regimes, including the extreme confinement through article 14-BIS, regimes exercised with ferocious arbitrariness and perverse Zionist methods, so as to crush a prisoner morally and physically, and with him his original struggle, which nevertheless they couldn’t stop, as he is an alive, an incorrigible/untameable individuality, not subjected to prison alienation/annihilation, and on the contrary they fed more anger, contempt and determination in facing and fighting the white torture of continuous and total isolation in this case but also that of prison in general as an instrument of the State’s revenge, with which the latter plans and experiments on the skin of us the damned, the repressive development of the ideology of identity manipulation and flattening of minds and instincts, within an inhuman way of living, automaton-like, for the maintenance of not only prison power (which one can strike whenever one wants…) but also the whole capitalist-imperialist dominion of civilization, the system of what exists in society and everything all around.

Obviously, therefore, prison is not an issue unrelated to the social context that generates it. We prisoners are part of the exploited, brutalized and left in captivity, to whom the only thing that is granted is submission to a miserable existence!
The scene inside and outside doesn’t change because the market inflicted on the oppressed and the exploited is indispensable to the colonialist State’s security system, so that everything remains in a context of compatibility with the bosses’ interests; and when ruptures and oppositions occur, the repressive machine’s targeted attack intensifies, inside as well as outside.

This fact, however, didn’t prevent us, prisoners of the ex-prison of ‘Buoncammino’ from putting this mechanism into question.
Between May and June 2013, there followed in the Cagliari’s eighteenth century jail several collective strikes (unrelated to Pannella’s radicals, as was insinuated in this court) such as refusing food trolleys and the hour in the exercise yard in particular, but also short strikes concerning buying necessities and protests against the oligarchy of rehabilitation, all backed by bar-beating.

The first two forms of protest were joined by hundreds of prisoners against the unacceptable inhuman conditions of the jail, with a demand for prison improvements, the abrogation of aberrant laws such as life sentences and article 41-BIS, the application of a wide generalized amnesty, the spread of cohesion in the struggle with prisoners in other jails and the support and divulgation of a national demo that took place in Parma: against prison, differentiated treatments, article 41-BIS, isolation, in support of the struggle of all prisoners called for by the ‘United Against Repression Assembly of Struggle’, to which we contributed.

As often happens when collective forms of struggle are carried out in prison, with relations of power at stake, the prison authority (but also outside), when it doesn’t repress them immediately, tries to manage them inside the institutional cage in order to make them fall into the trap of compromise, exploitation, so as to fend off the self-determination of the bulk of prisoners in struggle, with the threat/blackmail of the use of isolation, punitive transfers, loss of benefits, compulsory search for the ‘promoter’ so as to inflict the undignified application of 14-BIS, etc.

But we didn’t give in to this logic of prize/punishment, and refused to be ‘managed’ like puppets and gave life to a cycle of struggle that hadn’t been seen inside a jail for years. We were all full on!

After twenty days’ confrontation, first we refused food trolleys and then we refused to go to the exercise yard, the narrow places for ‘strolling’ cramped like ‘human cattle’.

The prison direction didn’t just look on, they unleashed anti-strike repression that same day and devastated the cells of prisoners who had signed the protest document, during extraordinary searches. On that occasion they seized objects belonging to me, and with them they formulated the deviationist charge which led to my trial, with the intention of darkening and concealing a reality of struggle that was sowing seeds of rebellion and had to be nipped in the bud.

So first of all the jailers wanted to strike the rebel anarchist (and not only) because of the tenacity with which initiatives were being carried out in a more generalized context both outside, with solidarity interventions, and inside with protests in other prisons; and also because I never wanted to submit but have always faced, KONKA ARTA (‘with my head held high’, in Sardinian language), the tyranny with which they impose the substitution of dignity with obedience within humiliating and beastly jail conditions.

Today, as a matter of fact, they want to put on trial the determination of a prisoner in struggle who doesn’t bow down or resign to the ruling prison bureaucracy, the hierarchical mechanism of exploitation behind the bars, because I can’t be blackmailed with your punishments, compromises, hypocritical illusions.

But in the period under examination, there was an atmosphere of revolt in ‘Buoncammino’, considering the inefficacy that peaceful strikes had.

So we came to 9th July 2003, a day when a collective rebellion broke out, started by prisoners barricaded inside cells: sabotage on the electricity system of the units, detonation of dozens of diy gas bombs inside and outside the units; meantime the guards ran away from the units, there was throwing of flaming sheets and furniture, half-destroyed cells and fires at the windows and also banners to call attention outside where relatives, people in solidarity and journalists, called by the prisoners, were gathering in the forecourt outside the prison walls.

Prison violence didn’t delay in arriving and there were isolations, punitive transfers and the beating of a barricaded prisoner who tried to hang himself in the punishment jail he ended up in, also due to the ‘warm’ welcome they gave him.

Once again, therefore, they repressed, punished the human dignity which had risen with anger in an outbreak of revolt, unfortunately not showing the widest possible destructive strength!

I was taken to the concentration camp centre in Palermo and introduced to the torture regime of article 14-BIS, an oppressive, revengeful and annihilating instrument against anyone who doesn’t let themselves be tamed, won’t themself to resignation and doesn’t bow down before the jailers’ arrogance or the very class function of prison, where the State inflicts its organized elimination on the prisoner through the extreme violence of isolation with maniacal restrictions, the brutal conditions of the jailers’ psychopathic sadistic control, the total negation of any human relations whatsoever within the arbitrary furious power abused by any Prison Administration and extended without limits.

Everything was conceived to annihilate!

Therefore, rebellion against this hegemonic functioning has become like the oxygen one breathes, by practising various forms of permanent struggle and leading to the failure of the intentions of prison oppression.

The institution of bars would like to reduce us to consentient puppets through their miseries and methods by erasing the prisoner’s dignity and abusing his physical integrity, affections, sexuality and psychology so as to make him get used to the ideology of cops’ bureaucracy and get us accustomed to becoming servants and subjected to the State’s genocide perpetrated in the country’s jails without impunity, as part of a project of extermination in the democratic slaughterhouse, linked to a wider and more sophisticated maintenance of the current social order, which is meant to sharpen the development, settlement and expansion of repressive control.

Prison with its system of differentiated treatments as experimentation on imprisonment applied with forms and methods to the advantage of a wider oppression in society.

The extension of the prison model for a more alienating open prison, where the conditions of human (and the planet’s) life have radically changed with the purpose of creating a surrogate through a police-digital-techno-scientific system realized on the destruction of the values of freedom, which is forcing us to change in all the aspects of our existence, as an alienating consequence of people formalized by the ethics of civilization and its unrestrained collaborationism with ‘integration’.
And it must be understood that renunciation of the attack on dominion’s advance will be paid dearly!

Clearly, things don’t always happen according to the plans of those who rule, as demonstrated by many prisoners’ and others’ individual paths, those who never surrender!

When we were trying to develop the struggle in the Italian prisons with the latest mobilizations after the call of the ‘Coordination of Prisoners’, with the support of many realities outside, we didn’t manage to get anything out of our claims against power, but we did gain the important awareness that ‘wanting something firmly is sufficient to make it happen’ means that certain methods of struggle can’t be stopped or remain just that, without attacking the prison octopus concretely; and at least for my part there wasn’t the presumption of maintaining a sort of ‘reiterated prisoner’ aware of being exploited, humiliated, tortured and abused at the hands of prison despotism, if we consider that generally speaking prisoners are the same elements that inside like outside support the system of monopoly, beyond and within rules being broken; but the significance and evaluation that vehemently comes out of this is always the urgency of affirming oneself, starting from one’s anger, impatience and conviction to put oneself at stake in order to defeat submission to the interests of the system, which sometimes get confused with our own interests, to have the courage to take back/find back our desires, dignity and combativeness, self-respect, to lead us to acts of liberation from the cages we know we have inside ourselves, with the real existing forces which are certainly a minority compared to the enemy’s forces, so creativity can give to the combative minority an element of explosive vigour: dynamite has a value that can’t be substituted or questioned.

The chemistry of destruction converts itself in the hands of alchemy of liberation and revenge against the social order.
Either we’ll let ourselves be suppressed alongside everything that surrounds us or we’ll be those who suppress the mega machine very rapidly in its most vulnerable parts without waiting for anything.

There’s no half way!

For my part I’ll continue to follow my wild instincts and to fight also and mainly in the darkness of isolation, refusing the brutalization and discipline that the prison authority wants to impose on my mind and body, because it’s only me who decides how to face prison, and I do it by struggling behind the bars, which is the only freedom left to us prisoners.

No bar is as solid as it seems.
Long live those who cut them
Long live those who burn them
Long live those who fight against them!

Refractory solidarity with the anarchists imprisoned in AS-2 security units and other regimes of the Italian State and with anarchists in prison in other States.

Joyous greetings to the anonymous anarchists, also those in other States, who outside attack directly sectors of the most disgusting civilization in solidarity with anarchist prisoners and fill warrior imagination with strength!

Sempri Ainnantis [Always forward] For Freedom Every Day!
Deportau Anarkiku Sardu Impresonau [Sardinian Deported Anarchist Prisoner]
DAVIDE DELOGU

(Davide is currently serving an 18-year sentence for theft and attempted murder –2010/2028; he’s currently facing trial for attempted escape which we mentioned before and another trial for attempted escape from the prison of ‘Bruccoli’ in Augusta, Syracuse, on 1st May 2017, which he claimed in a public communique. The editors of S.A.)
————————————–
Translated by act for freedom now!
via: sardegnaanarchica.
https://sardegnaanarchica.wordpress.com/2018/11/09/documento-dellanarchi...

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by thecollective at November 15, 2018 11:41 PM

The Hotwire #45: November 14, 2018

From CrimethInc.

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

Listen to the Episode


45
min

Summary

On the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, liberals and centrists are once more playing right into fascists’ hands. Our feature this episode is a reading of the recent CrimethInc. op-ed “Take Your Pick: Law or Freedom; How ‘Nobody Is above the Law’ Abets the Rise of Tyranny,” about the outrageously liberal demonstrations over Trump firing Jeff Sessions. We also interview an anarchist who was at the protest outside Tucker Carlson’s home in Washington D.C. about what really happened there, Twitter’s banning of anti-fascists, and why it’s important to take the offensive in the struggle against fascism. Friday, November 9 was the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, and we bring you a round up of fascist, anti-fascist, and centrist actions from the weekend. Send us news, events, or ideas on how our show can better serve anarchist activity in your town by emailing us at podcast@crimethinc.com.

Notes and Links

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by thecollective at November 15, 2018 11:31 PM

jacobinmag

Labour’s Socialist Realism

“. . . A New Britain where the extraordinary talent of the British people is liberated from the forces of conservatism that so long have held them back, to create a model 21st century nation, based not on privilege, class or background, but on the equal worth of all. And New Labour, confident at having modernized itself, […]

by Luke Savage at November 15, 2018 07:56 PM

pramen.io

Solidarity mural for Mikhail Zhlobitsky in Melbourne, Australia

Mikhail claimed the attack as revenge for the ongoing torture and frame-up of numerous anarchists in Russia, carried out by the FSB.
We never forget our fallen or imprisoned comrades.

Until the last jail cell has been opened and the last police station demolished, the struggle continues.

 

by Прамень at November 15, 2018 07:10 PM

actforfree.nostate.net

The Local Kids – Issue 2 – Autumn 2018

A compilation of texts, a contribution to a correspondence between those
who desire anarchy and subversion.
It occurs, sometimes, this feeling of being in the right spot. Then
someone says or does something that upsets the perceived balance of
things, and the moment evaporates.
For only a moment it was. And it begs
the question; can belonging in a place be part of an anarchist life?
Resisting to go with the flow of this society, contradicting
hierarchical relationships, refusing to take part in cliches. Not
exactly characteristics that go well with the seemingly effortless
fitting in that this age of selfies advertises. Feeling estranged,
sensing a distance with your surroundings is recurrent. And at times so
chronic that leaving becomes a first, necessary step to being present
again somewhere (else).
But mostly one holds on to a place because
besides all that repulses there is still more that attracts. Then the
art is to not smother its contradictions in indifference or to smooth
them out in illusions of unity, but to turn them in open confrontation
based on the proposal for a different, liberated life. And maybe it is
in these subversive relationships, that one can find a place.
PDFs on thelocalkids.noblogs.org

by actforfreedom at November 15, 2018 06:37 PM

Köln and Berlin, Germany – Attacks in solidarity with the Hambach resistance

Köln, 2nd October 2018
Dear IGBCE unionists,
Tonight we visited your Köln headquarters in Aachener Straße because we think: You must change! Now you’ll say paint and stones are not arguments to be used in debates in the workplace and about our future energy sources. This was also what Gerken and Boels construction machinery hirers thought until not long ago, as they decidedly helped the cops’ eviction of the Hambach forest with their forklifts. Now they think differently. Sometimes extraordinary events are needed to succeed in overcoming old fossilized ways of thinking.
And here we come to the core of what we want: You have to get over your president’s dinosaur position! The end of carbon fuel energy has been decided and it will come before your gymnast leader asks for it along with the obsolete RWE directors. Considering the urgency of the problems caused by climate change, it would be absurd to put off the end of carbon fuel to 2045.
Start doing what unions should do. That is, represent their own point of view! It’s not only idiotic but also costly to think that their point of view should be the same as that of RWE directors. Up to eight years ago, RWE defended nuclear power (as they now defend carbon fuel) with the same alternative arguments: ‘If you take out the plug, basic supplies will be compromised …’. You repeated the same arguments like parrots to no avail and you gave a very poor performance. Since then you have failed to take an independent political stance with the intent of gaining better conditions for yourselves with determination (against the group management). Do you want to make the same mistake again?
Our forecast: RWE will get massive compensation for an early end of coal. If you don’t struggle for this now, you won’t get anything. Demand the necessary end of coal and for solid changes in workplaces, including requalification financed by RWE. Make these claims stronger with strikes and muted sabotage. A 40-hour week and free weekends are not to be obtained by unions that seek for groups’ sympathy. Take a stand! Cancel your agreement on remaining the employer’s social partner. For RWE didn’t support you in any way already with ‘the ending of nuclear power’.

To get other institutions and companies that profit from RWE’s irresponsible politics interested, we attach RWE’s final balance of 2017. From page 18 on, there’s a list of all participant groups. We wish you success with research and for the night visit.
Cologne and Berlin –Attacks in solidarity with the Hambach resistance
Last night [between 10th and 11th October] we lit several incendiary devices outside the entrance of Gaußstraße 11 in the Charlottenburg neighbourhood, Berlin. This solidarity fire is against the company RWE-Innogy, whose premises are located at that address, and it is the expression of the links we feel we have with the squatters of the Hambach forest. Even if deforestation has been temporarily suspended, it’s too early to celebrate. RWE’s and other energy companies’ destructive machinations are continuing in other places without them being slightly disturbed. RWE supply the fuel that make world capitalism function, whose existence is based on exploitation, control and the destruction of humans and nature.
Besides the company and its lackeys, which have a contract with the State as private enterprises, lying politicians and their servants in judge’s gowns are also part of this misery. They all act in the service of capital, as events in recent weeks tell us. That’s why we shouldn’t be deceived by the justice’s promises and decisions because it’s the very justice that carries out deportations and locks up our friends in prison on the pretext of protection from fires.
For freedom and revolt!
Love and strength to those in prison!
Fire and flames to RWE!
(A)

Translated from Italian by act for freedom now!

by actforfreedom at November 15, 2018 06:28 PM

jacobinmag

The Soviet Union’s Glimpse of an Architecture for the Many

The Adventures of Owen Hatherley in the Post-Soviet Space doesn’t really have a conclusion. It ends quickly, contrasting a stereotypical idea of the Soviet Union with the much more complex and nuanced reality through which we have just traveled, with Hatherley, through space and time. Reading the book, I imagined Hatherley himself, illustrated in a […]

by Marianela D’Aprile at November 15, 2018 06:07 PM

resilience.org

US Could Meet Paris Emissions Pledge with ‘Natural Climate Solutions’, Study Says

Tree Farm in Oregon

The US could meet its pledge to cut emissions under the Paris Agreement through “natural climate solutions” (NCS), a new study suggests. NCS comprise a group of techniques that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, or boost carbon uptake from land and wetlands through changes to the way they are managed.

by Robert McSweeney at November 15, 2018 05:18 PM

The Climate Crisis as Seen by the Economics Mainstream

maths

Although the effects of climate change seem to be near to apocalyptic over the long term, over the
short term taking signficant action to cut emissions also appears to be a tremendous challenge.

by Brian Davey at November 15, 2018 05:06 PM

trespass network

Squatters digest- low tide: next comes the flood

Welcome to the Squatter’s Digest, a new column for Freedom News, highlighting the ongoings of the squat scene in London and beyond, along with providing opinions on the politics of said goings-on. Quality and coherence are not guaranteed.

The 29th of October saw 150 high-court bailiffs and police descend upon the Tidemill Community Garden in Deptford, London, at 6am, pulling people from their tents, dragging them out of tree-houses, and laying waste to the entire occupation. Occupiers climbed the trees and refused to vacate, while outside fights broke out between the supporters and bailiffs (County Enforcement, well-known to squatters, see Corporate Watch’s latest article on them), who of course were protected by members of the Metropolitan Police force. At some point in the afternoon the last squatter was removed from the trees and the garden was all but lost. But this didn’t stop the people outside from trying for one last push to regain entry to the site. Rushing for the fences, people were thrown to the ground and detained by bailiffs and police, but also linked arms and refused to allow their fellow protestors to be taken to the arrest vans, defiant to the last.

The Tidemill Garden was the latest flashpoint in the struggle against developers and councils pushing the gentrification agenda, and was another example of squatters and local residents working together to resist. There have been many such episodes throughout the last decades, some more successful than others (success these days tending to mean the building of positive relations between different groups rather than the securing of ongoing possession of properties). Tidemill has seen campaigners go from attending council meetings to ask the council to reconsider allowing them to stay, to attending council meetings to smash-up a councillor’s car. Not to say that was the squatters’ influence. But I digress. The collaboration between different social groups at Tidemill has felt like those of the 2014/2015 campaigns at the height of the housing crisis (who am I kidding, there will be no height of the crisis, it’ll keep getting worse). More collaboration I say, but I will return to this point in a bit.

Tidemill, despite only being a squat for 2 months before eviction, was a long-standing cultural space for the people of Deptford, and is yet another victim of neo-liberal capitalism. The removal and destruction of similar places seems to be trending right now internationally. Recent news see the ADM squat of Amsterdam, Netherlands, given its marching orders after 20+ years of being the focal point of much counter-cultural activity in the area. Similarly Villa Vegan, perhaps the most famous squat in Milan, Italy, was due to be evicted at the end of October. Villa Vegan has not yet been evicted, and to their credit they have continued to put on events and keep the squat functioning as usual, while also hosting meetings for supporters to get involved in the next steps. The Swamp in Utrecht, Netherlands also faced eviction just over one week ago, with the police and bailiffs prepared to put people’s lives in danger to ensure the eviction took place. And while we’re on the topic of communal spaces being taken away, the Centro de Cultura Libertária in Portugal (not a squat but an important anarchist centre) is facing eviction due to parasitic landlords (and squatters know all about that).

Not all is hopeless though! Earlier in October in Mannheim, Germany, activists involved in the Hambacher Forest protest site took occupation of the “eichengarten” or oak garden, and the adjoining buildings. They released a couple of communiques in solidarity with the Hambi protesters fighting against the RWE coal miners who are destroying ancient forests to further their profits. And in Montreuil, France, squatters took over a building used by artists as they were handing back the keys and have turned it into an autonomous community-based squat.

Aside from Tidemill, it’s hard to say that there has been anything to write home about in London these last months. There was of course the (Not The) Anarchist Bookfair Afterparty at the end of October, in which a large building and set of railway arches was taken over for a punk and techno party that raised loads of money for various causes, and that’s (nearly) always a good thing. And there appears to have been the gravitation of squat crews toward each other, at least in two locations in East and South-East London. Having multiple crews in an area can do wonders for mutual aid and support in trying times. Of course there are plenty of other squats out spread out across London and people should keep an eye out for any in their area to improve relationships and create local support networks. Mainly though it has been a bit of a quiet period in the squatting scene in London, at least from your writer’s perspective, a low tide if you will.

But after the low tide comes what they call the flood tide. Of course we don’t have a spare moon handy to do all the hard work for us, but we do have the ability to utilise the resources at our disposal. A previous Freedom article, by contributor AB, discussed the need for pulling ourselves out of crisis planning, and instead focusing on long-term organisation. But how do we do this while the system is geared massively in favour of property owners here? Our court system processes claims within a couple of weeks, and the bailiffs can act almost immediately upon the granting of a possession order. As AB says, it’s hard to keep track of people or organise together when everyone is moving every few weeks.

What we can do is take advantage of the more permanent spaces that we do have. More permanent squats tend to be ones that keep their heads down, and anyone caught peering over the parapet is liable to cop a swift arrow of court justice. This often means projects get put on hiatus or are abandoned altogether. There is much to be said for the temporary nature of squats, but having a space that people can go to and know it will always be there, and something that they can feel a part of, can make a huge difference.

There are social centres, anarchist or otherwise, in most cities around the UK. London has the 56a Anarchist Infoshop, the London Action Resource Centre (LARC), as well as Freedom Bookshop (or Decentre), and of course the Advisory Service for Squatters, which resides in the same building as Freedom. These are places that, for the foreseeable future, are not going anywhere, and the benefit of people using the space would be reciprocal. Seeing these places as not separate from the squat “milieu” but as an integral part of the political and cultural environment would allow for greater collaboration (I told you I would return to this point) between people of similar mindsets for mutual benefit (this of course comes with an anarchist bias, and it should be acknowledged that people squat for many reasons, and it should be seen as a tactic to address social issues rather than an identity to which to conform).

Participating in spaces that are active with groups of varying focuses can be a breath of fresh air when things begin to stale, and the fight becomes tedious or perhaps overwhelming. It’s important that people still look to organise amongst each other in squats, but also important to not get trapped in a bubble that fails to recognise the value of intersecting struggles and leaves us without support in times of need. It would be great to see more people feel like they could swing by their local social centre and be able to throw ideas about together about how to improve things and fight back. Being based in London, I would invite people to come down to the Advisory Service for Squatters, and rather than seeing it as an office from which a few people do legal work, see it as an “Idea Store” in which people can come down, pitch ideas to each other, work on projects together, and utilise the information available to them. People’s very presence would be putting back in to an organisation that has helped countless people over more than 40 years.

But it’s not just about the A.S.S. Wherever people are there will be other groups, whether they be housing, anarchist, or other sociopolitical leaning, who will be hopefully meeting in communal spaces. By linking up and developing relations with these groups we can start to work toward that long-term organising, and not just deal with crises as they happen. Let’s cause a flood that will drown the bastards (drowning cops, bailiffs, and landlords in spit does seem to fit a stereotypical crusty squatter aesthetic, thanks for the inspiration Bob).

Hopefully that’s got some of you up to speed with what’s going on in London and the wider squat scene. If you have any complaints or if I have missed out a particular topic or event that relates to squatting that you’d like covered in this monthly piece please get in touch at squattersdigest(at)riseup.net and I’ll do my best to make it happen.

With hyperlinks at https://freedomnews.org.uk/squatters-digest-low-tide-next-comes-the-flood/

by tegengif at November 15, 2018 04:27 PM

InterPressService (global south)

Africa Set for a Massive Free Trade Area

(From left) African Union chairperson and president of Rwanda Paul Kagame, president of Niger Mahamadou Issoufou and African Union Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat at the launch of AfCFTA in Kigali in March 2018. Credit: Office of President Paul Kagame

By Kingsley Ighobor
UNITED NATIONS, Nov 15 2018 (IPS)

Following the unveiling of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement in Kigali, Rwanda, in March 2018, Africa is about to become the world’s largest free trade area: 55 countries merging into a single market of 1.2 billion people with a combined GDP of $2.5 trillion.

The shelves of Choithrams Supermarket in Freetown, Sierra Leone, boast a plethora of imported products, including toothpicks from China, toilet paper and milk from Holland, sugar from France, chocolates from Switzerland and matchboxes from Sweden.

Yet many of these products are produced much closer—in Ghana, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, and other African countries with an industrial base.

So why do retailers source them halfway around the world? The answer: a patchwork of trade regulations and tariffs that make intra-African commerce costly, time wasting and cumbersome.

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), signed by 44 African countries in Kigali, Rwanda, in March 2018, is meant to create a tariff-free continent that can grow local businesses, boost intra-African trade, rev up industrialization and create jobs.

The agreement creates a single continental market for goods and services as well as a customs union with free movement of capital and business travellers. Countries joining AfCFTA must commit to removing tariffs on at least 90% of the goods they produce.

If all 55 African countries join a free trade area, it will be the world’s largest by number of countries, covering more than 1.2 billion people and a combined GDP of $2.5 trillion, according to the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

The ECA adds that intra-African trade is likely to increase by 52.3% by 2020 under the AfCFTA.

Five more countries signed the AfCFTA at the African Union (AU) summit in Mauritania in June, bringing the total number of countries committing to the agreement to 49 by July’s end. But a free trade area has to wait until at least 22 countries submit instruments of ratification.

By July 2018, only six countries—Chad, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Ghana, Kenya, Niger and Rwanda—had submitted ratification instruments, although many more countries are expected to do so before the end of the year.

Economists believe that tariff-free access to a huge and unified market will encourage manufacturers and service providers to leverage economies of scale; an increase in demand will instigate an increase in production, which in turn will lower unit costs.
Consumers will pay less for products and services as businesses expand operations and hire additional employees.

“We look to gain more industrial and value-added jobs in Africa because of intra-African trade,” said Mukhisa Kituyi, secretary-general of the UN Conference on Trade and Development, a body that deals with trade, investment and development, in an interview with Africa Renewal.

“The types of exports that would gain most are those that are labour intensive, like manufacturing and agro-processing, rather than the capital-intensive fuels and minerals, which Africa tends to export,” concurred Vera Songwe, executive secretary of the ECA, in an interview with Africa Renewal, emphasizing that the youth will mostly benefit from such job creation.

In addition, African women, who account for 70% of informal cross-border trading, will benefit from simplified trading regimes and reduced import duties, which will provide much-needed help to small-scale traders.

If the agreement is successfully implemented, a free trade area could inch Africa toward its age-long economic integration ambition, possibly leading to the establishment of pan-African institutions such as the African Economic Community, African Monetary Union, African Customs Union and so on.

A piece of good news

Many traders and service providers are cautiously optimistic about AfCFTA’s potential benefits. “I am dreaming of the day I can travel across borders, from Accra to Lomé [in Togo] or Abidjan [in Côte d’Ivoire] and buy locally manufactured goods and bring them into Accra without all the hassles at the borders,” Iso Paelay, who manages The Place Entertainment Complex in Community 18 in Accra, Ghana, told Africa Renewal.

“Right now, I find it easier to import the materials we use in our business—toiletries, cooking utensils, food items—from China or somewhere in Europe than from South Africa, Nigeria or Morocco,” Paelay added.

African leaders and other development experts received a piece of good news at the AU summit in Mauritania in June when South Africa, Africa’s most industrialised economy, along with four other countries, became the latest to sign the AfCFTA.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and another huge economy, has been one of the holdouts, with the government saying it needs to have further consultations with indigenous manufacturers and trade unions. Nigerian unions have warned that free trade may open a floodgate for cheap imported goods that could atrophy Nigeria’s nascent industrial base.

The Nigeria Labour Congress, an umbrella workers’ union, described AfCFTA as a “radioactive neoliberal policy initiative” that could lead to “unbridled foreign interference never before witnessed in the history of the country.”

However, former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo expressed the view that the agreement is “where our [economic] salvation lies.”

At a July symposium in Lagos organised in honour of the late Adebayo Adedeji, a onetime executive secretary of the ECA, Yakubu Gowon, another former Nigerian leader, also weighed in, saying, “I hope Nigeria joins.”

Speaking at the same event, Songwe urged Nigeria to get on board after consultations, and offered her organisation’s support.

Last April, Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari signalled a protectionist stance on trade matters while defending his country’s refusal to sign the Economic Community of West African States-EU Economic Partnership Agreement. He said then, “Our industries cannot compete with the more efficient and highly technologically driven industries in Europe.”

In some countries, including Nigeria and South Africa, the government would like to have control over industrial policy, reports the Economist, a UK-based publication, adding, “They also worry about losing tariff revenues, because they find other taxes hard to collect.”

While experts believe that Africa’s big and industrialising economies will reap the most from a free trade area, the ECA counters that smaller countries also have a lot to gain because factories in the big countries will source inputs from smaller countries to add value to products.

The AfCFTA has also been designed to address many countries’ multiple and overlapping memberships in Regional Economic Communities (RECs), which complicate integration efforts. Kenya, for example, belongs to five RECs. The RECs will now help achieve the continental goal of a free trade area.

Many traders complain about RECs’ inability to execute infrastructure projects that would support trading across borders. Ibrahim Mayaki, head of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the project-implementing wing of the AU, says that many RECs do not have the capacity to implement big projects.

For Mr. Mayaki, infrastructure development is crucial to intra-African trade. NEPAD’s Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) is an ambitious list of regional projects. Its 20 priority projects have been completed or are under construction, including the Algiers-Lagos trans-Saharan highway, the Lagos-Abidjan transport corridor, the Zambia-Tanzania-Kenya power transmission line and the Brazzaville-Kinshasa bridge.

The AfCFTA could change Africa’s economic fortunes, but concerns remain that implementation could be the agreement’s weakest link.

Meanwhile African leaders and development experts see a free trade area as an inevitable reality. “We need to summon the required political will for the African Continental Free Trade Area to finally become a reality,” said AU Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, at the launch in Kigali.

*This article first appeared in Africa Renewal which is published by the United Nations.

The post Africa Set for a Massive Free Trade Area appeared first on Inter Press Service.

Excerpt:

Kingsley Ighobor, Africa Renewal*

The post Africa Set for a Massive Free Trade Area appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by Kingsley Ighobor at November 15, 2018 04:20 PM

FRN discussions

Amateur Radio Hurricane Nets? Maybe good listening 9/13 - 9/16. (1 reply)

Yeah, with all the noise in the media about Hurricane Florence, 14.325MHz USB maybe the HF goto FREQ from Thursday 9/13/2018 to Sunday 9/16/2018. Maybe longer. [w4ehw.fiu.edu]

by ThaDood at November 15, 2018 04:10 PM

325.nostate.net

resilience.org

10 Chefs Bringing Forgotten Grains Back to Life

millet

Food Tank is highlighting 10 chefs who are drawing from these traditional grains to inspire culinary innovations, transforming “old-fashioned” millets into foods for the future.

by Steve Edgerton at November 15, 2018 01:06 PM

Thoughtstoppers and Thoughtstarters

England

I don’t think I’m being too Spenglerian to express the fear that in present troubled times, when the modernist state-industry-warfare nexus is manifestly unraveling, something similar could easily take hold again and do the same. And that, I submit, is a thoughtstarter, not a thoughtstopper.

by Chris Smaje at November 15, 2018 12:39 PM

jacobinmag

Britain’s Secret War in Colombia

For over half a century, a war against Colombian civilians has been waged alongside the war against Colombia’s guerrilla insurgencies. And the British state has supported it.


alt A Colombian soldier in Cucuta, October 2016. Mario Tama / Getty

For a country reportedly “at peace,” violence in Colombia continues at an alarming rate. Since the ratification of the 2016 peace accord between the Colombian state and the country’s oldest guerrilla insurgency, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), over four hundred social activists have been murdered. In 2017 alone, the year following the FARC’s formal demobilization, killings of social activists totalled 170 – an increase of 45 percent on 2016. The surge in this violence following Colombia’s peace accord does not, however, represent a paradox.

For over half a century, a war against Colombian civilian life has been waged alongside the war against Colombia’s guerrilla insurgencies. Beginning in 1989, Britain sponsored this “dirty war” under the pretext of the war on drugs. Kept secret on the grounds of “national security,” British intervention did little in the way of reducing drug supply, yet sponsored political violence designed to promote Western capital interests. To this day, neither the British state nor public has addressed the consequences — nor, to a large degree, existence — of this chapter of British foreign policy.


The Dirty War

British military and police intervention in Colombia supplemented decades of US-sponsored political violence in the country.

During the 1960s, the United States began training the Colombian armed forces in counterinsurgency warfare. In an ostensible attempt to arrest the spread of international communism, US officials instructed the Colombian armed forces to target armed and unarmed actors suspected of harboring communist sympathies.

Accordingly, US counterinsurgency manuals stated that “civilians in the operational area” such as trade unionists, students, and community organizers could be targeted with “guerrilla warfare, propaganda, subversion, [… and] terrorist activities.” This tactic became known as “quitarle el agua al pez,” or “draining the tank” to catch the fish.

Much of the violence perpetrated against Colombian civil society was outsourced to paramilitary groups, who received the Colombian state’s tacit and active support by way of arms and personnel exchanges, information sharing, and legal protection through official impunity. They became known as the “sixth division” of the Colombian military.

The arming of civilian paramilitary networks, also upon US counterinsurgency instruction, gave the state a degree of plausible deniability for political violence. Paramilitary organizations soon became complicit in countless massacres, and by the mid-1990s, they were responsible for around 70 percent of all politically motivated assassinations.

The targeting of armed and unarmed social forces in Colombia was consistent with US postwar objectives of containing any threat to US interests. While the official pretext for intervention across Latin America was to confront Soviet-sponsored aggression, the secret record demonstrates that wider economic concerns governed US policy. US planners feared that if Latin American states could successfully reorient their economies away from US control, a precedent might be set for other states to follow suit (the real “domino effect”).

Whether communist or not, Latin American states pursuing independent development policies were considered threats to US hegemony — and therefore to be met with US-sponsored violence. The threat of international communism, nonetheless, provided a key propaganda service in justifying US aggression throughout the Third World.

US-sponsored political violence in Colombia was therefore one facet of a wider policy of fostering, in the words of NSC-68 (a central US Cold War planning paper), “a world environment in which the American system can survive and flourish …. a policy which we would probably pursue even if there were no Soviet threat.”

That is what the United States did after the Cold War ended, except the pretext of the “war on communism” was replaced by that of the “war on drugs.” The narrative of confronting the international narcotics trade had, according to a US Interagency Working Group Draft paper published at the fall of the Cold War, “the corollary benefits of helping democratic governments fight growing insurgent movements.” Since the threat of international communism could no longer be invoked to justify foreign intervention, the war on drugs provided a means to continue counterinsurgency assistance in all but name.

Under the pretext of the war on drugs, US assistance to Colombia during the 1990s and 2000s was intensified, and consistently directed to Colombian army units both complicit in political violence and tied to paramilitary groups. Meanwhile, the counter-narcotics narrative became starkly unconvincing given the evidence that paramilitary organizations supported by the Colombian state were among the main players in Colombian cocaine trafficking. The United States was therefore funding the very organizations it was ostensibly trying to combat. This apparent contradiction is reconciled in light of the continuity of US goals: retaining global economic hegemony by suppressing strategic and economic threats to US interests.

It is therefore not surprising that violence against social organizations in Colombia continues today. The collapse of international communism, as well as the FARC’s demobilisation, neither fully eradicated threats to US global pre-eminence nor the legacy of decades of counterinsurgency training. As a result, social leaders, community organizers, and trade unionists continue to be associated with “subversion” — an association tantamount to a death sentence in Colombia.

British military and police assistance to Colombia was also framed within the context of the war on drugs. While this intervention did little to reduce the supply of Colombian cocaine to Britain, it sponsored political violence in Colombia by supporting units and individuals involved in counterinsurgency warfare.

British officials and commentators have presented this as an aberration of an otherwise well-intentioned policy. However, it seems more likely that British involvement in Colombia was foremost bound to economic — and not counter-narcotics — considerations. Britain’s sponsorship of political violence in Colombia therefore appears to be a deliberate strategic objective, and another chapter within a long history of British economic imperialism.


Serious, Gross, and Systematic

British military and police assistance began in 1989 with the stated objective of combating the international trade of narcotics. Over the following two decades, British counter-narcotics assistance was intensified amid a climate of acute political violence in Colombia. This called into serious question whether Britain was respecting its official policy of barring arms sales “to any country which might use them for internal repression.”

The first package of British counter-narcotics assistance to Colombia included military equipment, military training for Explosive Ordnance Disposal, and special forces training. Britain’s Special Air Services (SAS) also began training the Colombian Elite Corps in 1989, described by a former SAS combatant as instruction in “every facet of jungle warfare.” Students from Colombia visited the United Kingdom for military training during the early 1990s, and by 1995, the government revealed that over £13 million of ostensible drug-related assistance had been provided to Colombia.

When New Labour came to power in 1997, their promise of a foreign policy “with an ethical dimension” received wide support. Behind the rhetoric, Tony Blair’s government intensified British support for the Colombian armed forces, which continued to compile one of the Western hemisphere’s worst records on human rights.

In 1998, the UN described violations of human rights and breaches of international humanitarian law in Colombia as “serious, gross, and systematic.” UN under-secretary for humanitarian affairs Jan Egeland later declared that Colombia was “by far the biggest humanitarian catastrophe in the Western hemisphere.” During the 1990s and 2000s, trade unionist killings in Colombia regularly totalled more than the rest of the world combined. This pattern of violence was largely reflective of an enduring doctrine of counterinsurgency.

Despite all evidence to the contrary, British officials insisted that violence in Colombia was not structural, and that the human rights situation was improving. As such, there could be fewer moral (and legal) qualms with intensifying British intervention. In 1999, it was revealed in Parliament that Britain was assisting Colombia with “advisory visits and information exchanges […] on operations in urban theaters, counter-guerrilla strategy, and psychiatry.” In the early 2000s, the value of British individual arms export licences to Colombia rose to £2 million, including licenses for heavy machine guns, large-caliber artillery equipment, and components for combat and military utility helicopters.

During 2000 and 2001, Mo Mowlam (the minister in charge of the government’s drug program), as well as high-end British army officers, made official visits to Colombia. In 2003, the Guardian revealed that Britain was training Colombia’s counter-guerrilla high mountain units, helping to configure Colombia’s intelligence infrastructure, and continuing to provide SAS assistance. At this point, Britain was Colombia’s second-largest donor of military assistance.

As British assistance increased, a secret governmental drugs report conceded in 2003 that “over the past 10-15 years, despite interventions at every point in the supply chain, cocaine and heroin consumption [in Britain] has been rising, prices falling, and drugs have continued to reach users.” After fourteen years of ostensible counter-narcotics assistance to Colombia, no discernible progress had been made.

Meanwhile, human rights groups were growing increasingly concerned that British counter-narcotics assistance to Colombia was sponsoring political violence. Their suspicions were deepened by the government’s lack of transparency regarding its Colombian operations.

Details about bilateral British counter-narcotics assistance were kept secret on the grounds of “national security.” British assistance, moreover, was not tied to any conditions regarding human rights. This lack of transparency meant that no credible assurances could be made regarding the Colombian military’s use of British assistance. Meanwhile, its human rights record made it probable that units tied to British support were complicit in abuses.


Britain and the Counterinsurgency

Recent evidence suggests that British military and police assistance actively sponsored counterinsurgency warfare in Colombia. Colombia’s Elite Corps, which received SAS training starting in 1989, was frequently tied to human rights abuses. This unit, moreover, served both as a counter-narcotics and counterinsurgency unit. Regardless of politicians’ claims to the British public, in practice, there could be no clear line between counter-narcotics and counterinsurgency assistance to Colombia.

In 2004, General Carlos Ospina Ovalle — then commander of the Colombian armed forces — arrived in Britain on an official visit. According to Foreign Office documents, British officials were aware of Ospina’s human rights record, which included “abundant evidence” linking his Fourth Brigade to paramilitaries that carried out a massacre of “at least eleven people,” including children, in the town of El Aro in 1997.

Colombia’s high mountain battalions also received British assistance. These units were trained in counterinsurgency warfare, and widely linked to human rights abuses. In 2008, Intelligence and Security Committee chair Kim Howells was pictured with a high mountain battalion, among whom sat Colombian general Mario Montoya.

According to a 2007 US House of Representatives report, Montoya had “collaborated extensively with militias that the Department of State considers terrorists.” Montoya later resigned from the Colombian army regarding a human rights scandal, and recently presented himself before Colombia’s Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) on charges of crimes against humanity.

Political violence in Colombia was therefore not only tacitly supported by British military and police assistance, but actively sponsored by way of assisting units and individuals involved in counterinsurgency warfare. And, as British commercial interests in Colombia increased, so too did the need to pursue a failing and destructive war against drugs.


What’s Good For BP…

In 1992, after some years of oil exploration in Colombia’s Eastern Andes, British Petroleum made a historic discovery in the Colombian department of Casanare. It was the largest oil discovery of the decade in Latin America, and the company’s largest for twenty-five years. By the late 1990s, BP’s Cusiana and Cupiagua oilfields were producing over half of Colombia’s total oil output, making BP Colombia’s largest direct foreign investor.

UK prime minister John Major visited BP’s Cusiana and Cupiagua fields in 1992, declaring the discovery would “revitalize our relationship with Latin America as a whole.” Major’s visit to Colombia was characteristic of a longstanding relationship between the British state and British oil interests.

The British state’s ties with British Petroleum became particularly strong during Tony Blair’s New Labour government. Tony Blair shared a close relationship with BP’s CEO from 1995 to 2007, and BP staff frequently exchanged roles with government officials. One MP later claimed, “There is a bit of a revolving door [between the British government and BP], the connections are probably more extensive than with any other UK company.”

British involvement in Colombia comes into sharp focus upon consideration of Britain’s massive stake in Colombia’s oil industry. British sponsorship of political warfare in Colombia seems less an unintended consequence of military and police assistance, than a policy goal tied to British capital interests. Britain’s war on drugs in Colombia might therefore be better described as a war on Colombian social organizations — trade unions, community associations, and human rights groups — deemed threatening to British economic interests.


Scared to Death

British Petroleum’s private security strategy in Colombia also received wide condemnation for its use of counterinsurgency techniques. In line with an internal security review stating “In order to have peace, we must train for war,” BP made significant payments to the Colombian military in exchange for the protection of its oil infrastructure.

Much of this was directed to the army’s sixteenth brigade — a unit specifically created to protect oil interests. Units funded by BP were both linked to paramilitary organizations and massive human rights abuses. BP also provided, in the words of a former Colombian colonel, “very valuable information” on perceived subversives in Casanare.

During the early 1990s, BP also contracted a private British security firm, Defence Systems Limited (DSL), to securitize its oilfields. DSL’s staff in Colombia were largely former SAS personnel that had trained the Colombian military in counterinsurgency during the 1980s and 1990s. And this instruction seems to have continued. According to a former DSL adviser, Casanare residents became “scared to death” after the company offered “military training” to the Colombian police. The security firm, for instance, purportedly provided arms to the Colombian military (including attack helicopters), spied on Casanare residents, and hired a former Colombian general who had been dismissed from the military due to paramilitary collaboration.

In light of BP’s security strategy, it is not surprising that the company’s critics in Colombia were targeted with extreme violence. Carlos Arriguí, a prominent member of the Casanare farmer’s association, was assassinated after organizing work stoppages against BP in 1995. The year after, nineteen BP contractors were reportedly murdered.

After widespread accusations of human rights abuses, BP attempted to clear its name through an extensive public relations campaign. BP’s priority, however, seems to have been to appear to observe human rights, rather than actually observing them. For instance: after sacking its head of Colombian security operations in 1998, BP quickly re-posted the same official to Venezuela; after beginning a dialogue with NGOs about the company’s human rights record, leaked emails revealed that BP was exploiting the same organizations to improve its global image; and after claiming to have terminated payments to the Colombian armed forces in 1998, BP was re-directing the same money through a different company as a conduit.

Despite the company’s spin campaign, abuses against its critics continued. In 2002, Casanare trade unionist Gilberto Torres was kidnapped by paramilitaries after organizing strikes against BP. Both Torres and his kidnappers later testified that the paramilitaries were on the oil companies’ payroll — and that the latter had ordered his death.

By 2007, human rights organizations estimated that three percent of Casanare’s total population had been killed or disappeared during BP’s fifteen years of oil extraction in the region. While the roots of conflict in Casanare — as well as in Colombia — are undeniably complex, they cannot be disentangled from political violence fueled by foreign economic interests. British military and police assistance, as well as BP’s private security operations, sit well within this trend.


Taking Responsibility

By the late 2000s, Cusiana and Cupiagua’s oil production had dropped considerably, and following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, BP decided to sell its Colombian assets. The year prior, Foreign Secretary David Miliband claimed to have terminated British military assistance to Colombia, citing concerns that “there are officers and soldiers of the Colombian armed forces who have been involved in, or allowed, abuses.”

Miliband’s announcement was striking for three reasons. Firstly, the Colombian military’s abuses had already been widely documented and known for decades, so the timing of the about-face was odd. Secondly, Britain hadn’t terminated all military assistance. Miliband’s announcement did not include bilateral counter-narcotics assistance: the more lethal, secret, and costly intervention that had long sponsored political violence in Colombia.

Most importantly, Miliband’s announcement suggested that Britain sponsored the Colombian military and police despite — and not because of — abuses. This is at odds with Britain’s general record of foreign intervention, and its specific record in Colombia.

From 1989 on, British involvement in Colombia was intimately tied to the Colombian armed forces’ violent destruction of potential barriers to British economic interests. British concern for the drugs trade, military abuses, human rights, and democracy promotion were simple propaganda, necessary for sponsoring an oppressive state based on economic self-interest.

Counter-narcotics assistance continued to supply Colombia with British military aid after Miliband’s announcement. But the full extent of Britain’s continued involvement is difficult to ascertain in light of its secretive nature.

Nonetheless, as Britain scrambles for post-Brexit trade deals and Colombia embraces greater neoliberal restructuring of its energy sector, British ties with Colombia are likely to grow. In fact, British prime minister Theresa May met with former Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos in 2016 to discuss possibilities for a post-Brexit trade deal. The latter concluded that Colombia, Chile, Peru, and Mexico represented a “huge opportunity for British business.” What represents a huge opportunity for British extractive businesses abroad, however, often represents a colossal threat to local communities.

The solution to imperialist plundering of natural resources goes deeper than demanding a transformation in domestic foreign policy. The type of non-interventionism and compliance with international law supported by Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party is welcome. Yet any real solution will require a global shift away from the natural resource extraction that has destroyed whole regions throughout Colombia. And as climate breakdown closes in, the types of poor communities that produced BP’s massive wealth will be worst affected. The full consequences of this global injustice are only beginning to be seen.


by Kevin John McEvoy at November 15, 2018 12:32 PM

resilience.org

Days After the Midterms What Does the Future Hold for National Climate Policy?

Election day rainbow

The most contentious and expensive midterm election in US history is almost over. When the dust finally settles it will have ended pretty much as predicted. The incoming 116th Congress will open for business— divided. 

by Joel Stronberg at November 15, 2018 12:14 PM

When Good is not Enough – Extending the Bicycle’s Reach in The Netherlands

Groningen bike shed

The Netherlands has a worldwide reputation as a bicycle-loving country – but bikes account for only a small proportion of kilometers travelled.

by Bart Hawkins Kreps at November 15, 2018 12:13 PM

InterPressService (global south)

Kenya Looks to Lead the Way in Developing the Blue Economy’s Potential

While Africa is bordered by two oceans and two seas, African-owned ships account for a tiny fraction – just over 1 percent - of the world’s shipping. Much of Sierra Leone’s indigenous fishing continues to be carried out by traditional methods and, aside from boats’ engines, remains unmechanised and labour intensive. Credit: Travis Lupick/IPS

By Ambassador Macharia Kamau
NAIROBI, Nov 15 2018 (IPS)

For many years now, the economic potential of the African continent has been discussed, promoted and hailed by everyone from economists to policymakers to world leaders – and with very good reason. After all, Africa is a vast, populous, developing continent with enormous natural and human resource riches and a raft of rapidly developing economies which are helping create prosperity and raise living standards and social opportunities through economic growth.

But those discussions and promotions have often focused heavily, if not exclusively, on the land-based economies of the continent, and little has been said about the equally vast potential of Africa’s blue economy.

The Sustainable Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi from 26 to 28 Nov., is helping to bring this potential into focus – and not just for Africa, but for the entire global community – by highlighting the economic opportunities the world’s oceans, seas and rivers offer.

The global blue economy, by some estimates, generates up to USD 6 trillion for the global economy and, if it were a country, would be the seventh-largest economy is the world. It helps drive economic growth and provides jobs for hundreds of millions around the world, often to those in the poorest communities, in industries as diverse as fishing, transport, tourism, off-shore mining and others.

Ambassador Macharia Kamau, Principal Secretary, at Kenya’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the coordinating Ministry of the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference, says more could be done by African nations to develop the continent’s blue economies.

But its potential is, so far, being underexploited in the countries which it could help most. This is no better exemplified than in Africa where almost three quarters of countries have a coastline or are islands, where the continent’s total coastline is over 47,000 km and with 13 million km2 of collective exclusive economic zones (EEZs).

Yet despite this, maritime trade among African countries makes up only just over 10 percent of total trade by volume. And while Africa is bordered by two oceans and two seas, African-owned ships account for a tiny fraction – just over 1 percent – of the world’s shipping. The International Energy Agency says ocean renewable energy can potentially supply more than four times current global energy demand. Africa could provide a significant share of that, but many renewable energy projects on the continent have so far focused on wind and solar or other renewable energy sources.

By any standards, Africa is at least underusing, possibly even drastically wasting, its blue economy potential. This must be rectified. By some estimates, the African maritime industry is already worth USD 1 trillion annually. But, with the right economic policies implemented, it could triple in just two years.

The good news is that Kenya, and other countries in Africa, are on the way to taking advantage of the blue economy’s potential and diversifying their economies to include a greater ‘blue’ share.

For instance, the Seychelles has established a Ministry of Finance, Trade and the Blue Economy while the African Union has put the blue economy at the heart of its 2063 development agenda. In South Africa, a national development plan includes a key focus on the blue economy which is projected to add USD 13 billion to the nation’s economy and create a million new jobs by 2030.

This is all very encouraging, but more could, and should, be done by African nations to develop the continent’s blue economies.

Kenya, as co-host of this conference, is looking to lead the way in developing the blue economy’s potential, not just for itself, but for the rest of Africa and the entire global community.

But we can only do this with other countries. Thankfully, the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference provides an excellent opportunity for other countries, such as co-hosts Canada and Japan. Canada are further along with their integration of the blue economy into their wider economies – from the breadth and size of their shipping and fishing industry to innovative recycling projects that help clean the ocean as well as providing work in coastal communities – to exchange ideas and experiences, as well as technical advances, with states who are just beginning the expansion of their blue economy activities.

The conference will also provide a timely and much-needed opportunity for countries to look together at how both the private and public sector can help finance initiatives and projects in various blue economy sectors to achieve the best effect.

Indeed, the private sector’s contribution to the development of the blue economy, especially in poorer nations with more limited means to diversify their economies, is crucial. In some states, the public sector would be unable to shoulder such a financial burden on its own and innovative methods of finance will be necessary.

This, of course, is not to play down the importance of the kind of bold initiatives like the ‘blue bonds’ issued by the Seychelles to support its efforts in the blue economy.

The Sustainable Blue Economy Conference will provide an excellent opportunity to hear about and discuss projects around the world which are both exploiting the economic potential of oceans, seas, lakes and rivers, but at the same time helping protect and conserve them. Credit: Nalisha Adams/IPS

But while the economic potential of the blue economy is clear, and the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference will help underline it, we must not forget the most important part of this economy – that it is sustainable. And it must remain so.

For all the economic opportunity it offers, the blue economy will deliver nothing if it is seen simply as an economic resource to be plundered for monetary gain.

Yes, like any economy, it can help to drive greater prosperity and raise living standards, creating jobs and wealth. But those jobs and the industries that support them, must be fostered and developed on the basis of long-term environmental sustainability.

This conference will provide an excellent opportunity to hear about and discuss projects around the world which are both exploiting the economic potential of oceans, seas, lakes and rivers, but at the same time helping protect and conserve them and discuss the best ways to put similar projects into practice, and to provide guidelines and draw up regulations to help ensure that economic growth, jobs and wealth are not being created at the expense of the environment.

This first Sustainable Blue Economy Conference  is a chance to set a course for an environmentally sustainable, prosperous and inclusive future for Kenya, other African states and nations around the world. Kenya is proud that it will be at the helm as this journey starts in Nairobi.

The post Kenya Looks to Lead the Way in Developing the Blue Economy’s Potential appeared first on Inter Press Service.

Excerpt:

Ambassador Macharia Kamau is Principal Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Kenya, also the coordinating Ministry of the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference, 2018.

The post Kenya Looks to Lead the Way in Developing the Blue Economy’s Potential appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by Ambassador Macharia Kamau at November 15, 2018 11:15 AM

Mexico-US migration: What can data tell us?

By International Organization for Migration
Nov 15 2018 (IOM)

Douglas Massey, Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University, shares his views on data and migration between the US and Mexico. This interview took place during first International Forum on Migration Statistics, organized by OECD, IOM and UN DESA between 15-16 January 2018.

The post Mexico-US migration: What can data tell us? appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by International Organization for Migration at November 15, 2018 10:37 AM

jacobinmag

We Can Have Beautiful Public Housing

From Vienna to Chile, the success of social housing for the working and middle classes shows how beautiful homes can coexist with urban housing for all.


alt Savonnerie Heymans in Brussels. Filip Dujardin / Archdaily.com.

American culture is saturated with the idea that public housing is inevitably and uniformly grim — not so much a place to live as a place to lay your head while you plot your escape, or to simply resign yourself to paralyzing poverty and social invisibility forever.

The impression of public housing as dull, dilapidated, and dangerous has always worked in favor of those who would rather there be no public housing at all. Private real-estate developers, landlords, banks, and assorted wealthy people who don’t like paying taxes benefit enormously from our pessimism and lack of imagination. It galls and frightens them that we might someday start to view public housing not as emergency aid for the most destitute, but as an ambitious long-term solution and preferable alternative to the atomization, insecurity, and relentless exploitation of the private housing market — that is, that we might build public housing so attractive that people wouldn’t want to take out mortgages or pay market-rate rent anymore.

So they would rather we didn’t find out about Red Vienna, or Le Lorrain in Brussels, or Sa Pobla in Mallorca, or even the heyday of British council housing. These projects past and present demonstrate that social housing can be vibrant, safe and beautiful, all while being affordable and reliable for ordinary working people.


1. Red Vienna

Vienna’s Karl Marx-Hof apartments. Dreizung / Wikimedia.

To capitalists whose profits depend on extracting as much value from land and shelter as possible, raised expectations for what public housing can accomplish are an existential threat. And nothing raises those expectations quicker and higher than familiarity with Red Vienna, the paragon of social housing in modern history.

Unsurprisingly, the massive undertaking to build decommodified housing for the city’s residents was spearheaded by socialists. A robust labor movement with socialist leadership had established itself in Austria during industrialization in the late ninteenth century, but socialism really came into its own after the First World War, when the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy created new political openings. In Vienna, the Social Democratic Workers Party came to power in 1919 and immediately set about implementing an ambitious reform program.

The socialist city government imposed heavy taxes on the wealthy and, starting in 1923, used new revenue to replace its overcrowded and drab working-class slums with modern public housing. Because these were built by socialists with a vision for decommodifying shelter entirely and with a political allegiance to the city’s working class, they weren’t begrudging bare-bones offerings. Far from it, they were high-concept, masterfully-built edifices, many of which have stood the test of time. Their construction doubled as a good unionized public jobs program, helping the economy recover after the war.

Red Vienna’s social housing was designed not just as a place for workers to recharge between shifts — what Barbara Ehrenreich has aptly called “canned labor” — but as a place to live. The majestic apartment buildings featured leafy courtyards, copious open space, and plenty of natural light. They had well-equipped shared laundries and communal state-of-the-art kitchen facilities. They were connected to, and sometimes contained within them, public schools and cooperative stores. Many even had bathhouses and swimming pools, healthcare and childcare centers, pharmacies, post offices, and libraries on the premises.

The largest apartment block in Red Vienna, Karl Marx-Hof, was used as a fortress against militant fascists in the lead-up to the Second World War. The socialists put up a valiant resistance, but in time Red Vienna fell to the fascists. Even so, the city retained the memory of beautiful social housing: for residents of Vienna, the illusion that shelter had to be either private or subpar had been forever shattered. Vienna continued to build desirable social housing after the war, and today 62 percent of the city’s residents live in social housing, compared to 5 percent in New York City.

“We have an old idea here that not only rich people should live in good conditions,” says one 52-year-old social housing resident in Vienna. “It’s an important idea and we should hold onto it.”


2. British Council Housing

The Boundary Estate in London. John Lubbock / Wikimedia.

In 1979, 42 percent of Brits lived in public housing. The big and bold postwar British public housing system wasn’t a telltale sign or symptom of widespread immiseration. Instead it was the fruit of a century of reformers’ visions and working-class struggles. Some council estates were modest, while others — like the charming, eccentric turn-of-the-century Boundary Street Estate, or the striking modernist buildings designed by communist architect Berthold Lubetkin — were carefully planned for maximum livability and architectural allure.

British social housing was funded through progressive taxation, an arrangement that social democrats justified by pointing out that public housing tenants performed the labor that made large personal fortunes possible. Naturally, this never sat well with the domestic ruling class. So when a global recession in 1973 caused a crack in the foundation of the economic system, capitalists and their political allies leapt at the opportunity. Deliberate underfunding of the housing projects   rationalized as a consequence of unavoidable recession-era belt-tightening — began in the 1970s, followed by a full-on privatization scheme in the 1980s.

When Thatcher came to power in 1979, she swiftly passed legislation allowing tenants to buy and eventually sell their council flats — a clever way of absorbing the publicly-furnished housing stock into the private sector and reestablishing the supremacy of capitalist markets. Low-income tenants have been subjected to steadily disappearing protections and increasing rents ever since.

As shelter costs creep up on earnings across the UK, many who grew up in public council housing are nostalgic for a time when working-class tenants were protected from the vagaries of the private rental market. They remember their council-house upbringings fondly. “You practically knew every kid that was here, and you always had someone to play with,” recalls one woman who grew up in the Quaker Court Estate in London. “The parents got on brilliantly as well. If one of you was having a party, the whole lot of you would go.”

“We had an idyllic childhood,” says another, who grew up in the Boundary Street Estate in London — the city’s oldest social housing project, born on the heels of the Housing of the Working Classes Act of 1885. “We really did. I mean, it seems strange to say that now.”

A man who grew up in the Heygate Estate in London recalls that he “loved it here… I remember being dazzled by the whiteness of the fitted kitchens, and the stairwells seemed to head to heaven, and away from the slate-grey streets below. This was the modern world, and it was ours for the taking.”

Austerity drove many estates into disrepair in the late twentieth century, and Thatcher’s ongoing right-to-buy scheme continues to privatize what remains.

Only 8 percent of Brits live in public housing today, but they still have a stronger intuition about social housing than Americans do. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party has recently proposed an ambitious new social housing initiative, and it’s been received with an enthusiasm that’s difficult — though not impossible — to imagine in the United States.


3. Spain’s Architecturally Adventurous Housing Projects

Carabanchel, Madrid. Francisco Andeyro / Wikimedia.

Though privatization and austerity are on the march everywhere, the social-democratic legacy of high-quality public housing hasn’t entirely evaporated. Particularly in Europe, there are a handful of recent developments that draw inspiration from the projects of the past — particularly their architectural legacy.

Spain has recently taken up the mantle, and has turned its public housing program into an opportunity for architectural experimentation. In Madrid, the Mirador housing project features a large open space in the middle of the vertical building that doubles as a communal plaza, while the Carabanchel Social Housing project is heavy on bamboo and the 120 Parla project has a retro-futuristic appearance. In Barcelona, the Torre Plaça Europa looks identical to a pricey condo building in London or New York City — same with the Parc Central Social Housing Building in Valencia. The Sa Pobla project in Mallorca looks like something a movie star would rent out for an Instagrammable vacation, and social housing for mineworkers in Asturias is a geometric novelty, inspired in color and shape by the coal that the miners extract.

But Spain is not run by socialists, and while the architecture of these new social housing projects upends the idea that poor people should live in ugly and boring buildings, the projects leave some things to be desired. These buildings are often located on the peripheries of cities, where land is cheaper — for a reason, since these areas are underdeveloped and remote. Building social housing on the outskirts tends to segregate working-class tenants and burden them with costly and time-consuming travel, a mistake also made by the otherwise relatively successful Swedish miljonprogrammet, or Million Program. Fashionable buildings are an improvement, but ultimately unsatisfactory if there aren’t shops or schools nearby.

Imagine these buildings in vibrant city centers and you’ll have an idea of what social housing can actually achieve. Better yet, imagine them in bustling neighborhoods and equipped with their own publicly-run pharmacies and daycares. Now you see why Red Vienna remains the social housing gold standard, in terms of real value to working-class tenants.


4. Savonnerie Heymans and Le Lorrain, Brussels

Savonnerie Heymans in Brussels. Filip Dujardin / Archdaily.com.

Brussels has given Spain a run for its money in recent years. Two developments in particular — Savonnerie Heymans and Le Lorrain — are shining examples of social housing architecture.

Savonnerie Heymans, named after the soap factory that used to occupy the site, is less than half a mile from Brussels’ central square. It comprises dozens of units of varying types — studios, lofts, duplexes and apartments ranging from one to six bedrooms. The architecture is as varied as the units themselves: there are boxlike structures made from glass and slatted wood that have a modern Finnish-sauna feel, and white pitched-roof dwellings that resemble modern interpretations of Belgian cottages. In the middle is the old chimney from the soap factory, the kind of homage to industrial history that’s usually cloying in bourgeois settings, less so in a social housing project.

The smaller Le Lorrain is designed by the same architects and is also a renovated industrial complex, this one an old iron dealer. The new estate is spotless and stylish, like something out of Kinfolk or Dwell. But what’s remarkable about Savonnerie Heymans and Le Lorrain isn’t just their pleasing architecture; it’s that, unlike the Spanish projects, they’re located on high-value lots in lively neighborhoods, avoiding the problem of working-class siloing. Their designs also encourage communal life to a greater extent: plenty of shared outdoor space, pavilions and gardens and “mini-forests,” and Savonnerie Heymans even has a game library for kids.

The major downside to social housing in Belgium is that it’s a complicated public-private affair, with a labyrinthine nexus of developers, providers, payers and categories of tenant. The system is decentralized, and while Brussels doesn’t allow tenants to buy (or eventually sell) public housing as Britain does, other Belgian regions do — and there’s a danger that Brussels could fall prey to this policy, as austerity and neoliberalism break the social-democratic commitments of municipal governments across Europe.

This is another area in which Red Vienna shines by contrast. The planning, construction, finance and maintenance of its social housing were highly centralized. The buildings were completely planned and administered by a democratically-elected body, and they were never intended to be privatized. They were provided by workers, for workers, ideally forever.


5. Participatory Social Housing in Chile

Quinta Monroy in Iquique, Chile. ELEMENTAL / Archdaily.com

One of the most inventive social housing experiments of the last few decades is the Quinta Monroy Housing project in Iquique, Chile.

Rapid urbanization has led poor Chileans to build neighborhoods of informal housing in cities, far from their original homes in the countryside but close to desperately-needed work opportunities. In search of a solution to dangerous living conditions in unsanctioned dwellings, the Chilean state tapped architect Alejandro Aravena in 2004 to turn the slums into social housing.

Aravena came up with an idea: the state would provide half a house to each tenant, featuring a sturdy exterior shell and necessary interior infrastructure like bathrooms and kitchens. The residents could add onto them as they wished. Aravena calls this participatory housing.

The upsides to this approach are many. In Quinta Monroy as well as in subsequent developments — including one in Mexico — a major emphasis has been placed on proximity of the site to amenities and opportunities, so they’re all situated close to city centers. And they also double as social services locations, with job training and childcare on site. Finally, as residents build out their units they get an opportunity to be creative and expressive of their unique sensibilities.

But while the housing developments are a huge and necessary step up from dangerous slums, and the final results are eclectic and unique, the project also glorifies thrift and reifies lack of state resources in a way that’s at odds with a truly socialist vision of public housing. Aravena’s idea is a clever solution to a problem — slender state budgets — that doesn’t need to exist. Chile and Mexico boast the largest wealth gaps in the entire world. There is an underlying problem of resource distribution that participatory housing fails to address, and even affirms with its concessionary orientation to public-sector frugality.

Many of the people who live in Aravena’s participatory housing developments work at lumber factories in Constitución, or on and around the port of Iquique where the copper mined from the region is loaded onto ships for global trade. The lumber and copper barons have made out like bandits in a nation that the Washington Post calls “a laboratory for a running experiment in free-market capitalism.”

The attractive customizability of Chile’s participatory housing could be retained while also providing more elegant and better-furnished units, if only Chile would redistribute its wealth the way Red Vienna did — or indeed the way that Chilean democratic socialist president Salvador Allende sought to, before the U.S.-backed coup cut short his life and his vision.


The Socialist Vision

Though all these projects have their flaws and vulnerabilities, the British, Spanish, Belgian and Chilean social housing experiments all seriously trouble the idea that public housing must be ugly and uniform and ought to bear no markings of permanence or features of communal life.

But it’s Red Vienna that takes the cake. It’s a true testament to what social housing can actually accomplish: it can be wholly public, well-funded, simultaneously extravagant and convenient, a cozy individual home in a rich communal world, and ultimately a preferable alternative to private rental housing.

This is the socialist vision for public housing in a nutshell — housing not as an ultimatum between privatized commodity and public threadbare charity, but as a social good guaranteed by a state that sees quality shelter as a right of all people.


by Meagan Day at November 15, 2018 09:52 AM

Tech Workers Need to Keep Organizing

Despite their often-high salaries, tech workers are workers. And like any other kind of worker, to advocate for their interests on the job, they need to get organized.


alt Google employees walk off the job to protest the company's handling of sexual misconduct claims, on November 1, 2018, in Mountain View, California. Mason Trinca / Getty

Tens of thousands of Google workers in over forty offices around the world recently walked off the job to protest their employer’s handling of sexual harassment claims. Collectively, they are demanding an end to Google’s culture that has fostered sexual harassment and abuse. Their demands not only include more transparency around harassment incidents but also a commitment to end gender inequities in pay and opportunity, among other issues in the company.

This protest against leadership in tech and others in recent years, signals a realization among tech workers that their interests and values differ vastly from those of their bosses, and that the only way to fight for their demands is to organize.

Today, the fight centers on the rampant sexism within these tech giants. But tech workers can and should fight the oppression and exploitation both within their companies and inflicted by their companies with the technology they build.

To do so, tech workers must first realize that they too, despite their often-high salaries and office perks, are workers. And like any other kind of worker, to advocate for their interests on the job, they need to get organized.


Why Some Tech Workers Don’t Think of Themselves as Workers

When we think of tech workers, we think of free pizza, table-tennis work breaks, casual attire, and six-figure salaries — hardly typical features of the working class in our minds. That’s no surprise: Americans typically think of income as synonymous to class. A large-enough paycheck qualifies you as part of America’s upper-middle class.

But this is the wrong approach to defining who is working class and who is not. Under capitalism, class is defined by one’s relationship to — and ownership of — the means of production. In tech, like any other industry, there are owners (the bosses, the executives, and the shareholders, who make money off workers’ labor) and there are workers (who can only survive by selling their labor).

Workers create more value for the owners than what it costs the owners to hire them. That additional value is then pocketed by the owners as profit.

For example, the average Apple engineer, who makes on the lower end of a six-figure salary, generates $1.9 million of revenue for Apple. This means that Apple gets about 10-20 times the monetary value per engineer than what it costs for to hire them.

Why is this class distinction so confusing for tech workers? Why is it that tech workers don’t think of themselves as “workers”?

One of the main reasons has to do with the conflation of tech bosses and tech workers. In the media, tech bosses speak on behalf of workers and are usually disguised, blending in with the same casual workplace attire to which most regular tech workers are accustomed. You see this all the time at tech conferences when execs, dressed casually in t-shirts and jeans, showcase implementations of new scenarios or use cases that are crafted by junior engineers. (Ironically, these demos usually are beyond the exec’s own technical depth to produce.)

Tech workers also conflate themselves with their bosses when they are led to believe that they too can be the next Zuckerberg and are just one good idea away from founding the next big startup. Hackathons, for example, in both corporate and academic settings, encourage this. Attendees are tasked with building a small project within a few days to then get on stage and pitch to a panel of judges. The performance is not dissimilar to a founder pitching to venture capitalists for funding.

As a result, many engineers take lower-paying jobs to work at startups in order to “get experience” and learn what it’s like to start their own company one day.

Even in large companies like Amazon or Google, product teams are encouraged to act like a startup, to the extent that most have bought into the “open office” concept (despite the fact that startups only use open offices because it’s a cheaper way to pack people into one space). At these large companies, engineers are coaxed into taking “ownership” or “driving” smaller components of a product (oftentimes components that don’t even matter), feeding the appetite of the founder-CEO inside of each tech worker.

In this environment, tech workers are strongly encouraged to think of themselves as future CEOs instead of wage laborers. For the ownership class, it’s a cunning but intentional mechanism. In the mindset of becoming a future company founder, tech workers are more than happy to work late hours and spend off-hours on online education platforms like Coursera, learning app development or data science — all in the name of self-improvement and “investing in themselves.”

But the reality is much less exciting. Despite their aspirations, most tech workers do not start companies. For those that do, over 97 percent of them fail before raising their first major round of funding, leaving founders burnt out and usually at a financial loss. Even between an early-stage startup and one that is raising hundreds of millions in funding, the failure rate still sits above the 80 percent mark.

The perks that tech workers enjoy also have a darker side, playing into the same ploy bosses use to extract as much value from their workers as possible. For many companies that provide free food, breakfast catering ends before 9 AM to encourage workers to get in the office early, while free dinners can only be reimbursed if they are delivered after 7 PM. The additional employee amenities such as nap rooms, showers, and pool tables blend together work and life, ruining any chance of attaining a balance between the two.

Of course, these perks do not apply to all workers in tech. Instead they only impact in-house tech workers whose jobs are to write code, design applications, and manage products. Equally important, however, are contract workers who consist of but are not limited to customer-service agents, security guards, janitors, and factory workers. Additionally, tech workers also include those with precarious employment who include Uber drivers and Mechanical Turkers. But unlike those working in-house, these contracted tech workers face much severe exploitation and abuse.


Why Should Tech Workers Care?

It is crucial to understand that tech workers, like other workers, are still subject to a high degree of exploitation from their employers.

While salaries have been relatively high for these in-house tech workers because their labor is in demand, we shouldn’t expect this to be permanent. Sooner or later, the labor supply for technical skills will catch up, and salaries will start to even out.

In the meantime, tech bosses will do what they can to lower wages and walk away with even more profit. Execs at major tech companies have been called out for colluding via anti-poaching schemes to suppress wages. As part of a longer-term strategy, these tech giants have also partnered with schools, supported coding bootcamps, and sponsored programs that teach minority youth groups to code. MicrosoftM/a> works with Girls Who Code. Google maintains a subdomain dedicated to computer science education.

Their goal in technology education is not to simply expand their consumer base to the youngest and most marginalized of our society, but to increase the labor supply of the future and subsequently drive down wages for decades to come.

Under capitalism, private corporations operate more similarly to dictatorships than democracies. Workers have little or no say in what they build or for whom. Any kind of dissent means putting your career at risk. The tech industry is no exception.

In the advent of artificial intelligence, the questions of what tech companies should build and for whom have been increasingly scrutinized. Surveillance systems for tracking factory workers, computer vision technology for drone weaponry, and facial recognition for immigration control are only a few projects to surface in headlines over the past few years. For the tech bosses, the objective is to maximize profits regardless of the ethical or political implications.

This happens systemically: shareholders put immense pressure on execs and upper management to maximize the bottom line, forcing them to be laser focused on optimizing next quarter’s financial report. As a result, their goals can be in direct conflict with those of tech workers who care about the humanity of the technology they build, or at the very least, care about having an opinion.


Organize and Fight Back

When it comes to making the decision of what to build and for whom, tech workers individually find themselves without a voice. What can be done to give workers the ability to make these decisions when their goals are often contrary to those of their bosses?

Google’s abandoned Project Maven provides a useful example. In 2017, Google worked with the US military on the project, an initiative to develop computer vision software that increases the efficacy of drone strikes. After months of pressure and backlash, Google execs formally called for the project’s termination.

Journalists celebrated Google for living out its “don’t be evil” motto after its decision to end the contract, quoting CEO Sundar Pichai about how “Google should not be in the business of war” as well as other statements positioning Google as a leader in the ethics of building AI products. But these headlines had it wrong: Pichai and other execs didn’t turn away a multimillion dollar contract with the military because of their moral high ground — they did it in response to the collective pressure that Google workers put on their leadership.

At first it was just employees from several different teams who knew about Project Maven, specifically teams from Google’s AI and cloud initiatives. They brought their disdain for the project in front of the head of Google’s cloud division, Diane Greene. Their concerns, however, were dismissed and execs showed no plans to slow down the project.

The Googlers then changed strategies and began sharing their knowledge about Project Maven broadly within the company. The post they shared on an internal Google message board blew up. Thousands of employees immediately expressed anger and betrayal, and called for the termination of the project. Diane Greene stepped in, hoping to placate employees by saying that the project was strictly for non-offensive purposes.

After seeing the overwhelming responses from employees throughout the company, the post’s writers were empowered to put even more pressure on the bosses. They understood the kind of leverage they could gain by banding together. Their next step was to write a letter calling for Project Maven’s termination, addressed directly to CEO Sundar Pichai. It was signed by thousands of employees.

In the following months, groups of Googlers across the globe teamed up to create new initiatives that would pressure their bosses. One group started to track and publish the number of resignations from Google because of Project Maven. Another group developed a methodology to get employees to ask specifically about Project Maven at every all-employees meeting. Googlers even started to get support from other tech workers, including the Tech Workers Coalition, who launched a petition externally.

Eventually, Google execs caved to the pressure, cancelling their contract for Project Maven. For many rank-and-file employees, these several months were a shocking realization that tech bosses held vastly different values than their own, prioritizing company profit over ethical concerns. It was also a light-bulb moment for many that unless organized, they were not the decision-makers in the company.


What About Unionizing?

Learning from Project Maven, those of us who work at these companies must ask ourselves: how can we as tech workers begin to organize?

The first step is to develop a collective voice that can pose a threat to the company’s bottom line. If a single Apple employee generates for Apple $1.9 million in revenue per year, a thousand Apple employees on strike can cost Apple over $5 million in a single day, a number that no exec would want to be responsible for losing.

One way to organize our collective voice and build solidarity is for tech workers to unionize — an idea that the Googlers who led the termination for Project Maven had also considered. But why haven’t Googlers achieved this? And why is there little precedence for it in tech?

For one, tech workers, despite sometimes having brutal work hours, are relatively comfortable with office perks and high salaries. Tech workers are also known to move jobs quite frequently, with average tenures of no more than two years, making it hard for these workers to develop meaningful relationships with coworkers and loyalty for the community.

At a macro level, unions are also at a historic low. In the 1980s, prior to the tech boom, Reagan and subsequent presidents attacked unions, and the pro-boss, anti-worker climate of the proceeding decades has driven down union membership to its lowest in almost a century. It was in this climate, when labor was at its weakest, that the tech industry became the behemoth that is it today. As a result, many working in tech are millennials or even younger, and grew up in a culture of anti-unionism.

The tech industry is also steeped in a culture of supposed meritocracy. While no longer practiced, companies like Microsoft used to “stack-rank” employees to decide who was promoted and who was fired. In a team of five, each engineer would be given a number to represent how well they performed compared to the rest of the team. Rank 1s would be promoted while rank 5s would be fired. Promotions were said to be based solely on hard work and individual achievement, regardless of the internal finances of the organization.

At these tech giants, promotions are more symbolic than anything else. Promoted employees make an additional 5 percent — not much more than pocket change for execs. It’s an old trick. Throughout many industries, bosses have promoted select members of the working class into the ranks of directors, partners, or executives — a small price to pay to maintain the illusion of upward mobility and keep employees motivated and working hard.

Part of the strategy that tech bosses have when building meritocratic institutions is keeping employees in competition with each other. When being stack-ranked one to five, one engineer’s success is tied directly to the failure of another. And when there is competition, there is no solidarity.

Silicon Valley’s roots in the libertarianism of the 1990s and the so-called “Californian Ideology” also feed into the tech industry’s loyalty for individualism and opposition to collectivism. The openness of the internet was supposed to democratize information and enhance the individual, giving anyone the ability and the incentive to build anything — the goal was to limit the power of the state over the individual. Perfectly capturing this ethos is Apple’s slogan Think Different, as well as their anti-government, 1984-themed advertisement in which they announced the Macintosh. In this context, unions represent unnecessary bureaucracy and is a hindrance to Silicon Valley’s need for speed and innovation, where they will only stand in the way of individual accomplishment and ingenuity.

These historical and systemic forces that promote individualism over collectivism, may make tech worker unionization seem far away. But the task ahead is not impossible. Tech workers must start to show solidarity with all workers, especially low-paid contractors who often work within the same buildings, cleaning, cooking, and keeping the space secure.

The Tech Workers Coalition (TWC) provides a good example. In 2017, TWC members helped the labor union Unite Here organize cafeteria staff at big tech firms. From small gestures like making pro-union stickers to physically supporting cafeteria workers as they came out to sign union cards — part of the process for winning union recognition in the US, TWC worked with Unite Here to help unionize Facebook cafeteria employees. While the union is only for contracted cafeteria workers, many members of TWC got to know the cafeteria workers and built solidarity with the people serving them food every day.


Why Now?

Like many industries before, tech is becoming an industry of conglomerates. Over the past few years, there have been more than a dozen tech acquisitions valued at over $10 billion. The tech giants — Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Apple and a few others — are becoming too big to fail. Their projects are no longer just apps on a phone; they now span industries and countries, affecting people all over the world and in all aspects of their lives.

With the goal to scale, these tech giants have quickly monopolized sectors of our society. Facebook dominates social media. Netflix competes against sleep. Amazon has enough data and capital that it can identify gaps in the market and fill them all by itself. If an entity becomes a threat, it simply gets bought out, allowing these giants to not only set prices, but also the rules.

Unsurprisingly, these tech giants are also leaders in AI technology. With AI’s potential to track, surveil, and even harm populations, the stakes are higher than ever. When AI is not being used for military efficiency or immigration control, it is used to weaken labor; replacing repetitive jobs or improving worker productivity (for the same wages). In either case, the results are the same: higher profits for the tech bosses.

Under the Trump administration, tech workers themselves are now also at risk. The tech industry relies heavily on immigrant labor for both in-house and contracted work, leaving hundreds of thousands of immigrant tech workers vulnerable to Trump’s anti-immigration policies. In an already misogynistic and racist industry, workers from marginalized communities are also increasingly under attack as Trump empowers racism, sexism, and xenophobia on a national scale.

It is in this world that tech workers must realize their class position and exercise their class power. Just as hundreds of women at Google led a walk out to demand an end to sexual harassment, tech workers must continue speaking out against billionaire tech-execs and say no to building technologies that support US militarism, surveillance systems, and any other tools of oppression.

Thousands of Googlers have walked out to fight sexism. We don’t often see protests from tech workers, especially from those who relish the perks of working for a company like Google. But we should make sure this won’t be the last.


by JS Chen at November 15, 2018 08:36 AM

InterPressService (global south)

Earth’s Biodiversity: A Pivotal Meeting at a Pivotal Time

Zainab Samo, along with her son and daughter, planting a lemon seedling on her farm in Oan village in Pakistan’s southern desert district of Tharparkar, to fight desert’s advance and for windbreak. Credit: Saleem Shaikh/IPS

By Cristiana Pașca Palmer and Anne Larigauderie
SHARM EL SHEIKH, Egypt , Nov 15 2018 (IPS)

The quality of the air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink depend directly on the state of our biodiversity, which is now in severe jeopardy. We need a transformational change in our relationship with nature to ensure the sustainable future we want for ourselves and our children.

Largely overshadowed by other concerns in coverage of the recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was a section on how much better it will be for biodiversity – the essential variety of all life on Earth – if global warming can be held to 1.5 degrees Celsius rather than 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

Based on one modelling study, involving 105,000 species, the IPCC report estimates that 1.5°C of global warming will dramatically alter the world for 8% of plants, 4% of vertebrates and 6% of insects – eliminating more than half of their geographic range.

In a world 2°C warmer, the figures double for plants (16%) and vertebrates (8%), and triple for insects (18%). The knock-on effects for people would be severe.

Similarly, forest fires, the spread of invasive species and other biodiversity-related risks to human well-being are substantially lower at 1.5°C relative to 2°C of global warming.

Ocean temperatures and acidity will rise higher, and ocean oxygen levels will drop further, in a 2°C warmer world, leading to irreversible losses of marine and coastal ecosystems, less productive fisheries and aquaculture, less Arctic sea ice and fewer warm water coral reef ecosystems (70 to 90% losses at 1.5°C; more than 99% at 2ºC), with the loss of all the natural benefits that these provide to people around the globe.

One model projects a more than 3 million tonne drop in the world’s annual catch of marine fish at 2°C of global warming, twice the loss anticipated at 1.5°C.

It is against this deeply worrying backdrop that member States of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) meets in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt Nov. 17 – 28 for the UN Biodiversity Conference. A central focus of the meeting will be a move towards a new set of global biodiversity action goals and targets.

The current goals, established in 2010 in Aichi, Japan, expire in 2020, when they are expected to be formally replaced.

Thankfully, we can point to meaningful progress on the protection and conservation of biodiversity over the past 10 years. For example, the annual rate of net forest loss has been halved; global protected areas have increased to 13% of coastal and marine areas and 15% of terrestrial areas (although not all world ecoregions are adequately covered, and most protected areas are not well connected); and the number of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture secured in conservation facilities has risen.

These successes are not, however, nearly enough to halt the ongoing loss of plant and animal diversity on Earth — a fundamental worldwide extinction crisis, deepening every year, and severely aggravated by climate change.

So, what can world policymakers do next?

To make better decisions on biodiversity, we need the best-possible understanding of the problems and the best evidence on which to act. Authoritative expert assessments, such as the IPCC report, and those of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the IPCC’s counterpart in biodiversity, provide this evidence.

Founded just six years ago, IPBES has already published seven major assessment reports on, for example, pollination and food production; land degradation and restoration; and regional assessments of biodiversity in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and Central Asia, and the Americas.

IPBES also has a landmark new assessment report in the pipeline, to be released in Paris next May – the first comprehensive global assessment of biodiversity since the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment of 2005 – it will describe the state of biodiversity and ecosystem services around the world.

For almost three years, about 150 experts – including natural and social scientists, and indigenous knowledge holders – from almost 50 countries have contributed to the report, which covers land-based ecosystems, inland waters and the open oceans.

They have evaluated the changes that have occurred over recent decades, a range of possible scenarios through 2050, and the end results to expect from the pursuit of various policy options, including ‘business as usual’.

Once published, the IPBES global assessment will inform not just the critical deliberations on the world’s post-2020 biodiversity goals and targets, but all policies and actions related to biodiversity for the next decade and beyond – decisions fundamental also to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The choices humanity makes now will profoundly affect the world’s biodiversity, which in turn will impact the future economies, livelihoods, food security and quality of life of people everywhere. We must get them right.

The post Earth’s Biodiversity: A Pivotal Meeting at a Pivotal Time appeared first on Inter Press Service.

Excerpt:

Cristiana Pașca Palmer is the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Montreal, & Anne Larigauderie is the Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), Bonn

The post Earth’s Biodiversity: A Pivotal Meeting at a Pivotal Time appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by Cristiana Pasca Palmer and Anne Larigauderie at November 15, 2018 08:27 AM

Squat.net

Maastricht: Petition for the continuation of the Mandril

Dear lovely people, the continued existence of our beloved Mandril is at risk! The 5 year contract that was established in 2014 to use the space in Cabergerweg 45, is ending in November 2019. We are fighting for a contract renewal so that we can continue being an open space for creative expression, collaboration, and political engagement.

One way of contributing to the continued existence of the Mandril Cultural and Political Center is through this online petition. If you care about the Mandril and the continuation of this vibrant project sign & share this petition! We need you!!! Sign this petition to show that you support and value this self-organized, autonomous cultural freezone – a space of empowerment, creation, education, connection, and inspiration.

More information about the history & current situation:

The Mandril Cultural and Political Center was originally established as a squat in 2009 in Boschstraat and forced to relocate to its current location in 2014 to the former office building of the Radium factory. With the help of more than twenty volunteers, the rooms of the building were transformed from neglected, moldy spaces, full of stuff, to become usable for the continued activities and events of the Mandril. Over the course of a year windows were fixed, electricity installed, water pipes laid, rooms emptied, bathrooms tiled, walls painted, until the Mandril could finally continue organizing its diverse range of activities. Since then there has been continuous improvement in the space, including investments in fire security and safety measures. While much effort, time, and money has been invested by the Mandril community to move and make the spaces in Cabergerweg 45 usable, the former building in Boschstraat was unused until recently. Part of the reason why the Mandril relocated without resistance in 2014, was the prospect of a theatre group to move into the space directly after the eviction. Cuts to the cultural funds hindered these plans to unfold, leaving the building, formerly filled with life by the Mandril, standing empty for more than 3 years.

The relocation of the Mandril Cultural and Political Center did not only consume a lot of time, energy, and money to build a functional space, but also harmed the community running the project. The absence of public events for almost one year, due to the necessity to firstly rebuild a usable space, decreased the awareness about this project and therefore the engagement of people. Being an initiative based on the participation and input of a wide community, the Mandril as a cultural and political center suffered. It took until the beginning of this year, that the Mandril activity in terms of community engagement, and diversity, size, as well as quantity of events is comparable to those of the “old” Mandril in Boschstraat.

Sign the petition: https://chn.ge/2PpVr4E

Mandril
Cabergerweg 45
6219 PE Maastricht
The Netherlands
mandril_maastricht [at] riseup [dot] net
https://squ.at/r/8td
http://mandril.eu/

http://mandril.eu/news/article/29855/petition-for-the-continuation-of-the-mandril

Events in Maastricht: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/city/Maastricht
Groups in Maastricht: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/city/maastricht

Some squats in the Netherlands: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/NL/type/squat
Groups (social centre, collective, squat) in the Netherlands: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/NL
Events in the Netherlands: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/NL

 

by fawda at November 15, 2018 08:00 AM

Channel Zero

Getting It Together

This post was originally published on this site

An interview with the Punch Up Collective, a small collective of anarchist organizers based in Ottawa, Ontario.  We talk about living in the capital of Canada, forming collectives, formality and process, and strategies for sustaining movements in the long term.  We also discuss their recent workshop about organizing collectives.

 

Links:

Full curriculum for the collectives workshop(the link will download a pdf)

A Briarpatch article about the collective

Radical events in Ottawa

by Channel Zero at November 15, 2018 02:48 AM

November 14, 2018

anarchistnews.org

FRR Books Podcast: The Unique and Its Property by Max Stirner, a Close Reading Part 3

Listen here: http://freeradicalradio.net/frr-books-podcast-the-unique-and-its-propert...
Listen here: https://archive.org/details/FRRbooksStirner3

Welcome to episode 3 of the FRR Books Podcast series on Max Stirner’s The Unique and its Property translated by Wolif Landstreicher. In this podcast we cover section 1.3 The Free. This episode is hosted by Cornelius, Chuck, and rydra wrong.

Discussed in this episode:

- How do we eat the profane? What have we held sacred that we no longer do?
- Fear! How do we develop an intimate relationship with fear! Another excuse to talk about surfing!
- Talk of shit! Another excuse for rydra to bring up Kundera
- Talk of Christianity being spread among the non-secular
- Dissolution of the object and the flavors of abstraction! There are many to choose from!
- We are in a sea of phenomenology says Cornelius!
- Children! Talk of Kids!
- Chuck says part of humanity is thinking of yourself in relation to an ideal human, we discuss this!
- Cornelius feels limited by society, even suffocated but she remains more interested in the physiology and bacteria living within human beings!

Editing and Sound by Chuck! His labor is visible! We recognize him!

Hosted by Cornelius, rydra wrong, and Chuck

Production by rydra wrong

Find the rest of the episodes at Free radical radio dot net

category: 

by rydra wrong at November 14, 2018 11:08 PM

Hambach Forest Occupation

Speech at the forest walk

During the last two forest walks (Nov. 10 in Keyenberg, Nov. 11 in Hambi) last weekend, the text below was read out. It was written by a group of people from the forest and does not necessarily represent the opinion of the entire occupation.

The open pit Hambach progresses tirelessly and destroys habitat in favor of the production of electricity, which in large part in the industry in turn drives … more…

by hambacherforst at November 14, 2018 10:49 PM

InterPressService (global south)

actforfree.nostate.net

Athens, Greece : AVEROF OCCUPATION building inside in Politechnio univercity + video

Averof occupation-https://streamable.com/9awd1

The state mechanism, after the accession of Syriza/Anel to power in 2015, had to manage two basic political pivots. From the one side to defend the greek interests in the wider competition between the different states and from the other side manage the social contrasts in order to secure the cohesion inside the country. As far as the social cohesion is concerned, for the leftist management the method of dominating violence wasn’t enough, so they developed further the mechanisms of disciplining, control and assimilation. With them, it secured a humanitarian facade. At the same time, the state mechanism continued the harsh confrontation against the social and political whole that didn’t stop the conflictual and unbowed struggle.
Squats that practically defended self-organized resistance, the insurrection and the communities of struggle and existed despite strong financial and state interests were evicted or/and demolished. New “law-cases” occurred for individuals that were near conflicts or participated in them. They peaked with the custody of the 8 of Exarchia. In other cases, we saw jailing for 6 of December with the most extreme example being the conviction to 13 years of prison to a migrant from Algeria. Media together with the state construct narrations for a “criminal organization of rioters (bahalakides)” for the radical repression of the insurgents.
They attempt to terrify them, to achieve their social marginalization, the imprisonment, the penal restriction and the financial exhaustion. From the other hand, the arrest of guerrillas, like in the case of the Revolutionary Struggle, the arrest of comrades that where in illegality or even comrades with accusations from the anti-terror law 187A like K. Yiagtzoglu shows the continuing of the frontal conflict of the state with the armed struggle and those who are accused of this. The Left government expands the legal armory against those who are involved or support the armed action and penally establishes the term “individual terrorist”. The repression, though, wasn’t enough to bend the violent resistance, since the attacks to state, capitalist and fascist targets with all means keep going on constantly.

Both the insurrection and its repression wasn’t expressed only in relation to the anarchist movement and relevant social groups and subjects. As it was expected, under the left government we experienced migrant uprisings and resistance in the greek detention hellholes that were followed by violent repression and penal vengeance as in the cases of Petrou Rali and Moria. Whole areas were literally under military occupation from the anti-riot police, like Lefkimi in Corfu Island, where the state wants to impose the operation of a landfill. The moment of the individual insurrection of a 22-year-old from Korinthos stabbed and killed the guy that try to rape her is engraved in our memory. The state repressed the example of the violent resistance and convicted her to 15 years of prison time. Like this, the patriarchical violence is legally fortified.
Even though, a generalized social apathy is strongly felt, since, despite the numerous struggles that were developed, the solidarity and the participation were disproportionate. The institutionalized dialogue that the government offered to big parts of the struggling movement and the push for a democratic frame that made insurrectional violence to look “out of place”, played a crucial role for this situation. Under this condition, the social democratic government has propagandized a separatist rhetoric between “serious anarchists” and “bahalakides”. A rhetoric that some parts of the anarchist/antiauthoritarian movement have adopted, giving space to the state to de-construct the political importance of the constant conflict and practically to escalate the total crash of the insurrection. At the same time, these parts are trying to alter basic anti-institution characteristics of Anarchy, by guarding student elections and propagandizing the participation to authorities’ fake dilemmas like the referendum of 2015 and even the eviction of the squatted Politechnio in 2017.
Beyond the anarchist-antiauthoritarian movement and the present leftist regime, the murder of Zak Kostopoulos/Zackie Oh, the mass social participation to the national-patriotic gatherings for the Macedonian, the intensified attacks of the small bosses, the violent competition between the repressed for the concentration of power, the everyday racism, the gender violence and the exploitation of the natural environment – non human animals, remind us that the domination and the practices of enforce do not derive only from the highest political and social layers. They are spread in the social body and their roots reach the insides of the a/a milieu, to each and every one of us.
State, the bourgeoisie, the social fear and conservatism and our own weaknesses and pathogenies, compose the mosaic of the counter-insurrection that mathematically leads to the annihilation of the constant conflict against the state and at the end to the total assimilation of us all to the democratic process and as a result to the liberal totalitarianism.
This process is not a greek peculiarity and is not separated from the present phase of capitalism. It is a complicated international situation that focuses mainly on the metropolises and is part of the capitalistic re-organization. The financial system needs new ways for growth, new businesses, new faces. So the old neighborhoods of the metropolises but also the “parasites” and the hostile residents, we are targeted by the institutions as obstacles for the gentrification of reality. The anarchists, the indiscipline workers and youth, the impoverished, jobless, queer and toxic individuals, the cultures, our communities and our violent struggles.
From Athens and the endless attempts of the municipality to fence, control and exploit every hill, park and square, every resisting neighborhood, every asylum for the humans without papers and the petty criminals, until Istanbul and the destruct of Gezi park for the creation of a mall, to the development of Berlin and the establishment of Google Campus to the historically struggling area of Kroitsberg, until the subjugation of the non white communities in the neighborhoods of USA, there is a historical line that crosses all the grounds and calls to an international violent resistance for our survival and for the perspective of the destruction of state and capital.
This is the basis on which we call comrades to act together in such way that out action will be able to define the events and move the insurrection against the state forward as a real fact and not as an exhibit in a museum for feeding the liberal democracy. To create a conflictual event inside a comradeship environment that can include all of us and all those that are under the fierce repression. Let everyone be ready to give their own content to our action through unity.
Our successful action in Politechnio will empower our relations and will communicate our priorities and will become a fertile soil to respond to the huge weight that comes with this year’s 6 of december where we close 10 years from the murder of Alexis Grigoropulos from the cops korkoneas and saralioti.
Insurgents / Anarchists

source

by actforfreedom at November 14, 2018 07:59 PM

InterPressService (global south)

Q&A: All Sustainable Development Goals Relate in Some Way to the Oceans

Peter Thomson, the United Nation’s Secretary General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean. Credit: UNDP / Freya Morales

By Carmen Arroyo
UNITED NATIONS, Nov 14 2018 (IPS)

When Peter Thomson, the United Nation’s Secretary General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, heard in 2010 there was going to be a 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, he knew he had to include the ocean question.

Thomson had just been appointed Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the U.N. that year. He had a long career as a civil servant for the Republic of Fiji, and was a diplomatic personality. So the work at the U.N. suited him.

At that time, the health of the ocean was becoming a priority among representatives from islands worldwide. So when the opportunity to impress this issue to the world came his way, Thomson did not miss it.

Thomson, along other representatives from the Pacific Islands, started to push for the inclusion of an ocean goal within the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Soon enough, other countries joined them. In 2015, they succeeded.

Now SDG14 reads: “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.”

In September 2016, Thomson became President of the 71st session of the U.N. General Assembly. The ocean was still a top concern of his. While other SDGs had supporting mechanisms in place (like the World Health Organisation for health or the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the U.N. for food,) the ocean lacked a supporting mechanism.

So in June 2017, the U.N. Ocean Conference to implement SDG14 was held, with representatives from NGOs, firms, governments, and civil society.

Later that year, the Secretary General appointed Thomson as the Special Envoy for the Ocean, a task he was happy to take on.

Now, Thomson is working towards the implementation of some of the targets of SDG14 that mature in 2020. They include ending overfishing and protecting marine ecosystems. The Sustainable Blue Economy Conference that will take place in Nairobi by the end of the month will address these issues.

Thomson travels constantly for his job, and by the end of the week he is inevitably tired. However, his passion over ocean conservancy does not waiver. So when IPS asks him what his biggest concern is, he quickly replies: “At 3AM when I stare at the ceiling and worry about my grandchildren, I worry most about climate change. Because that is the course which we are now set upon.”

The Blue Economy presents a challenge of how to ensure economic development that is both inclusive and environmentally sound. Credit: Nalisha Adams/IPS

Excerpts of the interview below:

Inter Press Service (IPS): What is your goal for the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi?

Peter Thomson (PT): The Nairobi conference is hosted by the governments of Kenya and Canada, and some other governments have given their support, including Japan. It’s not a U.N. conference, but it’s a very important conference. It’s the first time an Ocean Conference is being held on the African continent.

This is about the balance between protection and production of the ocean. In the case of the Nairobi conference, it’s not just the ocean, it’s lakes and rivers as well. It’s about SDG14’s goal to conserve but also to sustainably use the ocean’s resources. It’s about that balance.

IPS: In recent years, the U.N. has held a number of conferences and talks on the ocean. Do you think public opinion has changed?

PT: Yes, hugely. I compliment the media on that. Now, there are programmes on television and radio. Five years ago this was not the case, three years ago this was not the case. Today, ocean’s problems and solutions are on everybody’s lips. So I definitely think that this is much larger in the public perception as it used to be. As it should be, because the climate and the ocean are the two fundamentals on which life on this planet exists. Every breath that we take comes from oxygen created by the ocean.

IPS: How exactly are people more aware?

PT: Everyone is aware that there has to be a component of ocean action in their work for it to be regarded as complete. I can give no better example than marine plastic pollution. Everybody is now engaged in this battle against single use plastic. That has raised global consciousness, no doubt. But it doesn’t stop there. We have all the SDG 14 targets to attend to.

That is my job, to make people aware that is not just one or two issues on the ocean, it’s a gamut of issues for which we have targets. The other important part of our message is that we are continuing to see a decline in ocean’s health. Now our primary attention is in the implementation of that plan.

IPS: SDG14 is closely intertwined with the other SDGs. How do you work with them?

PT: When we do our ocean work, we think about the other SDGs. For example, SDG12, changing consumption and production patterns, is the core of 2030 agenda. If humanity doesn’t move away from unsustainable consumption and production patterns, we are stealing from our grandchildren.

Everything we are doing in SDG14 is about harmony with SDG12. But all SDGs relate in some way to the ocean. We are doing our bit and helping them, and everything they are doing is helping us. I don’t feel any artificial barriers at all.

IPS: You work with governments, the private sector, NGOs… As of now, are there countries that are doing nothing?

PT: Even landlocked countries have skin in the game, because they eat fish and breath oxygen. This is something that every human being should find relevant. This is work for the future, not the present.

IPS: And the private sector? How do you work with them towards SDG14?

PT: The co-presidents of the U.N. Ocean Conference of 2017 were Fiji and Sweden. I was then the Fiji ambassador to the U.N., and the Swedish Minister who was active was Isabella Lövin. She and I went to Davos in January in the wake of the Ocean conference, and we asked the World Economic Forum to serve as secretariat to a group called Friends of Ocean Action. The group was formed by leaders from firms, intergovernmental organisations, and academic institutions. This has proved a very good way of maintaining the involvement of the private sector in the implementation of SDG14.

IPS: What about NGOs?

PT: They’ve played a huge role in raising awareness of the need to put in place measures to assure that humanity doesn’t destroy the place where we live. If left unchecked we probably would.

IPS: And then there’s individuals. How can we contribute to the solution in our daily lives?

PT: Every human being has skin in the game here. Every breath we take comes from the ocean. I am no angel. I have been part of the problem. But for example I haven’t owned an internal combustion engine car in this century.

I love a hamburger as much as the next guy. But two years ago, my wife and I looked at our grandchildren and at what the beef industry was doing in the world. We love our grandchildren more than we love beef. So we gave up beef. It is a personal choice.

The same goes for single-use plastic. I am old enough to know a time when there was none of that nonsense of plastic covering everything. Who asked for it? We didn’t ask for it as consumers. Who is putting this on us?

IPS: What can we do as consumers?

PT: Consumers have the responsibility of speaking up. When I walk into a supermarket, I demand they keep the plastic they put around the product I wanna buy. Sometimes it has a plastic film around it, so it lasts for three months. But I don’t want it for three months! I want it for today. I rip it off, I give it to the cashier and say ‘that’s yours not mine’. If all consumers acted like that, you’d have a quick reaction in board rooms.

The post Q&A: All Sustainable Development Goals Relate in Some Way to the Oceans appeared first on Inter Press Service.

Excerpt:

IPS correspondent Carmen Arroyo interviews PETER THOMSON, United Nation’s Special Envoy for the Ocean.

The post Q&A: All Sustainable Development Goals Relate in Some Way to the Oceans appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by Carmen Arroyo at November 14, 2018 07:27 PM

actforfree.nostate.net

Italy : POSTERS IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE ANARCHIST COMRADE Pierloreto Fallanca (Paska) ON HUNGER STRIKE (ES / FR / EN / DE/)

Paska began a hunger strike from Monday 5 November in response to the detention conditions and provocations of the guards.  On November 18 there will be a gathering outside La Spezia prison.

 

 

by actforfreedom at November 14, 2018 06:44 PM

crimethinc

The Hotwire #45: November 14, 2018 : The empire’s centrism strikes back—Anti-fascism 80 years after Kristallnacht

Listen here. On the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, liberals and centrists are once more playing right into fascists’ hands. Our feature this episode is a reading of the recent CrimethInc. op-ed “Take Your Pick: Law or Freedom; How ‘Nobody Is above the Law’ Abets the Rise of Tyranny,” about the outrageously liberal demonstrations over Trump firing Jeff Sessions. We also interview an anarchist who was at the protest outside Tucker Carlson’s home in Washington D.C. about what really happened there, Twitter’s banning of anti-fascists, and why it’s important to take the offensive in the struggle against fascism. Friday, November 9 was the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, and we bring you a round up of fascist, anti-fascist, and centrist actions from the weekend. Send us news, events, or ideas on how our show can better serve anarchist activity in your town by emailing us at podcast@crimethinc.com.

November 14, 2018 06:40 PM

Hotwire / The Ex-Worker

The Hotwire #45: The empire’s centrism strikes back—Anti-fascism 80 years after Kristallnacht

On the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, liberals and centrists are once more playing right into fascists’ hands. Our feature this episode is a reading of the recent CrimethInc. op-ed “Take Your Pick: Law or Freedom; How ‘Nobody Is above the Law’ Abets the Rise of Tyranny,” about the outrageously liberal demonstrations over Trump firing Jeff Sessions. We also interview an anarchist who was at the protest outside Tucker Carlson’s home in Washington D.C. about what really happened there, Twitter’s banning of anti-fascists, and why it’s important to take the offensive in the struggle against fascism. Friday, November 9 was the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, and we bring you a round up of fascist, anti-fascist, and centrist actions from the weekend. Send us news, events, or ideas on how our show can better serve anarchist activity in your town by emailing us at podcast@crimethinc.com. {November 14, 2018}

 

-------SHOW NOTES------

 

  • Table of Contents:
    • Intro {0:00}
    • Headlines {0:55}
    • Kristallnacht anniversary and #OutliveThem actions roundup {5:55}
    • Interview about Tucker Carlson protest and liberal blowback {10:05}
    • Take Your Pick: Law or Freedom; How ‘Nobody Is above the Law’ Abets the Rise of Tyranny {22:10}
    • Repression roundup {32:45}
    • Next Week’s News {38:12}
  • Download 29:30 minutes long version.
  • Upcoming events/demos/etc:
  • Upcoming anarchist book fairs and gatherings:
  • Mutual Aid Disaster Relief is on tour until late November! This week’s dates:
    • November 15: Kansas City, MO. 10:00 am @ Kansas City Public Library
    • Lucile H Bluford Branch 3050 Prospect Ave Kansas City, MO 64128
    • November 17: Columbia, MO. 6:00 pm CST @ Middlebush Hall, Room 132 University of Missouri Columbia, MO 65211
    • November 18: Columbia, MO. 12:00 pm CST @ Middlebush Hall, Room 132 University of Missouri Columbia, MO 65211
    • November 19: Carbondale, IL. 7:00 pm CST @ Flyover Social Center 214 N. Washington St. Carbondale, IL 62901
    • November 20:Carbondale, IL. 10:00 am CST @ Flyover Social Center 214 N. Washington St. Carbondale, IL 62901
    • A complete list of tour dates and locations can be found here.
  • Atlanta Anti-Fascists recently had their PayPal shut down, so they’re temporarily in need of support to offset some of their costs. They’re accepting donations through their fundraising page, or to donate using Bitcoin, their Bitcoin wallet is: 1LdSVFd6Wvj8LeEfux2Xf6Rr2KGKXemiBB (If you prefer to use a single-use address for Bitcoin, you can contact them.)
  • Jace Buras, a prison rebel who helped organize a peaceful protest at Hyde Correctional in North Carolina during the national prison strike, has written Atlanta Anarchist Black Cross to let supporters know that he has been transferred to Bertie Correctional and placed in 180 days of isolation. To show him support, his address is as follows:

    Jace Buras #1522417 Bertie Correctional PO Box 129 Windsor, NC 27983

  • Phone zap for prison rebel Dayvon Person! Dayvon was just about to reach his minimum custody requirements in January, when he was charged with inciting a riot at the Craggy Correction Institution in North Carolina. He is asking that people please, please, please call and ask that his appeal against these false accusations is heard. To participate, you can call the Director of the prison, Kenneth Lassiter or call/write the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.

    Kenneth Lassiter: (919) 838–4000

    North Carolina Department of Public Safety: 512 North Salisbury Street Raleigh, NC 27604 (919) 733–2126

  • Ke Huelga Radio, an anarchist affiliated pirate radio station that has been squatting Mexico City’s airwaves for over 19 years, is under threat by both media conglomerates and the federal government. Ke Huelga is refusing to give up 102.9 and is urging folks to listen on their site, kehuelga.net, and to continue to try and pick up their signal if you’re in Mexico City. They also are calling for people to protest this interference by the IFT, including call them at 01800 2000 120 and emailing at atencion@ift.org.mx. Visit their website for other means of sending messages of protest!
  • Check out some of our favorites from the Christie Books anarchist film archive:
  • There is a call out for solidarity actions with anarchists in Russia, who are currently experiencing brutal state repression. You can read more about the situation on [rupression.com.](https://rupression.com/
  • Use this straightforward guide to writing prisoners from New York City Anarchist Black Cross to write a birthday message for Cameron Crowley, who is accused of being the anti-racist hacktivist Vigilance. You can write Cameron a letter, or send him a used book! (He especially likes sci-fi.) His address is:

    Cameron Crowley 855 West 7th Street Saint Paul, MN 55102 {Birthday: November 18}

  • Sales are OPEN for the 2019 Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners calendar! The theme of next year’s calendar is Health/Care, and it features art and writing from current and former political prisoners like David Gilbert, Mike and Chuck Africa, and Laura Whitehorn. If you buy 10 or more, be sure to use the discount code “BULK” to get 10 or more calendars for $10 each—you can then sell the calendars to fundraise for your own organizing.
  • CORRECTIONS & CLARIFICATIONS
    • In Hotwire #44 we named Kevin Garrido, prisoner of the Chilean state who was reportedly murdered by another prisoner, as an anarchist. Comrades in and out of Chile have gotten in touch with us to let us know that that is not true, and that Kevin purposefully did not identify as an anarchist, and has even identified with more eco-extremist currents. Sorry for the lazy reporting, but in our defense we even did additional research beyond where we first got the story and multiple other sources identified him as an anarchist or tagged his story under “anarchist prisoners” or something else of the sort. Kevin did extend solidarity to at least some anarchist prisoners for their struggles, anarchists were present in his funeral caravan that clashed with police, and regardless of his politics, we still uphold what we said about, “While the state may charge [another prisoner] with [his] murder, we know that the police and prisons are responsible for the conditions that led to Garrido’s death, and the only kind of justice for his death will come from redirecting any aggression between the oppressed against their oppressors instead, until neither prisons not police can function.”

 

 

November 14, 2018 06:39 PM

Channel Zero

The Hotwire #45: The empire’s centrism strikes back—Anti-fascism 80 years after Kristallnacht

This post was originally published on this site

On the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, liberals and centrists are once more playing right into fascists’ hands. Our feature this episode is a reading of the recent CrimethInc. op-ed “Take Your Pick: Law or Freedom; How ‘Nobody Is above the Law’ Abets the Rise of Tyranny,” about the outrageously liberal demonstrations over Trump firing Jeff Sessions. We also interview an anarchist who was at the protest outside Tucker Carlson’s home in Washington D.C. about what really happened there, Twitter’s banning of anti-fascists, and why it’s important to take the offensive in the struggle against fascism. Friday, November 9 was the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, and we bring you a round up of fascist, anti-fascist, and centrist actions from the weekend. Send us news, events, or ideas on how our show can better serve anarchist activity in your town by emailing us at podcast@crimethinc.com. {November 14, 2018}

 

——-SHOW NOTES——

 

  • Table of Contents:
    • Intro {0:00}
    • Headlines {0:55}
    • Kristallnacht anniversary and #OutliveThem actions roundup {5:55}
    • Interview about Tucker Carlson protest and liberal blowback {10:05}
    • Take Your Pick: Law or Freedom; How ‘Nobody Is above the Law’ Abets the Rise of Tyranny {22:10}
    • Repression roundup {32:45}
    • Next Week’s News {38:12}
  • Download 29:30 minutes long version.
  • Upcoming events/demos/etc:
  • Upcoming anarchist book fairs and gatherings:
  • Mutual Aid Disaster Relief is on tour until late November! This week’s dates:
    • November 15: Kansas City, MO. 10:00 am @ Kansas City Public Library
    • Lucile H Bluford Branch 3050 Prospect Ave Kansas City, MO 64128
    • November 17: Columbia, MO. 6:00 pm CST @ Middlebush Hall, Room 132 University of Missouri Columbia, MO 65211
    • November 18: Columbia, MO. 12:00 pm CST @ Middlebush Hall, Room 132 University of Missouri Columbia, MO 65211
    • November 19: Carbondale, IL. 7:00 pm CST @ Flyover Social Center 214 N. Washington St. Carbondale, IL 62901
    • November 20:Carbondale, IL. 10:00 am CST @ Flyover Social Center 214 N. Washington St. Carbondale, IL 62901
    • A complete list of tour dates and locations can be found here.
  • Atlanta Anti-Fascists recently had their PayPal shut down, so they’re temporarily in need of support to offset some of their costs. They’re accepting donations through their fundraising page, or to donate using Bitcoin, their Bitcoin wallet is: 1LdSVFd6Wvj8LeEfux2Xf6Rr2KGKXemiBB (If you prefer to use a single-use address for Bitcoin, you can contact them.)
  • Jace Buras, a prison rebel who helped organize a peaceful protest at Hyde Correctional in North Carolina during the national prison strike, has written Atlanta Anarchist Black Cross to let supporters know that he has been transferred to Bertie Correctional and placed in 180 days of isolation. To show him support, his address is as follows:

    Jace Buras #1522417 Bertie Correctional PO Box 129 Windsor, NC 27983

  • Phone zap for prison rebel Dayvon Person! Dayvon was just about to reach his minimum custody requirements in January, when he was charged with inciting a riot at the Craggy Correction Institution in North Carolina. He is asking that people please, please, please call and ask that his appeal against these false accusations is heard. To participate, you can call the Director of the prison, Kenneth Lassiter or call/write the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.

    Kenneth Lassiter: (919) 838–4000

    North Carolina Department of Public Safety: 512 North Salisbury Street Raleigh, NC 27604 (919) 733–2126

  • Ke Huelga Radio, an anarchist affiliated pirate radio station that has been squatting Mexico City’s airwaves for over 19 years, is under threat by both media conglomerates and the federal government. Ke Huelga is refusing to give up 102.9 and is urging folks to listen on their site, kehuelga.net, and to continue to try and pick up their signal if you’re in Mexico City. They also are calling for people to protest this interference by the IFT, including call them at 01800 2000 120 and emailing at atencion@ift.org.mx. Visit their website for other means of sending messages of protest!
  • Check out some of our favorites from the Christie Books anarchist film archive:
  • There is a call out for solidarity actions with anarchists in Russia, who are currently experiencing brutal state repression. You can read more about the situation on [rupression.com.](https://rupression.com/
  • Use this straightforward guide to writing prisoners from New York City Anarchist Black Cross to write a birthday message for Cameron Crowley, who is accused of being the anti-racist hacktivist Vigilance. You can write Cameron a letter, or send him a used book! (He especially likes sci-fi.) His address is:

    Cameron Crowley 855 West 7th Street Saint Paul, MN 55102 {Birthday: November 18}

  • Sales are OPEN for the 2019 Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners calendar! The theme of next year’s calendar is Health/Care, and it features art and writing from current and former political prisoners like David Gilbert, Mike and Chuck Africa, and Laura Whitehorn. If you buy 10 or more, be sure to use the discount code “BULK” to get 10 or more calendars for $10 each—you can then sell the calendars to fundraise for your own organizing.
  • CORRECTIONS & CLARIFICATIONS
    • In Hotwire #44 we named Kevin Garrido, prisoner of the Chilean state who was reportedly murdered by another prisoner, as an anarchist. Comrades in and out of Chile have gotten in touch with us to let us know that that is not true, and that Kevin purposefully did not identify as an anarchist, and has even identified with more eco-extremist currents. Sorry for the lazy reporting, but in our defense we even did additional research beyond where we first got the story and multiple other sources identified him as an anarchist or tagged his story under “anarchist prisoners” or something else of the sort. Kevin did extend solidarity to at least some anarchist prisoners for their struggles, anarchists were present in his funeral caravan that clashed with police, and regardless of his politics, we still uphold what we said about, “While the state may charge [another prisoner] with [his] murder, we know that the police and prisons are responsible for the conditions that led to Garrido’s death, and the only kind of justice for his death will come from redirecting any aggression between the oppressed against their oppressors instead, until neither prisons not police can function.”

 

 

by CrimethInc Ex-Workers Collective at November 14, 2018 06:39 PM

actforfree.nostate.net

Italy: Updates on Anarchist comrade Paska’s hunger strike and appeal for solidarity

Updates on Paska 10 \ 11 \ 18:
Paska let us know that he has been moved to isolation and that he will remain there for 15 days in a closed regime. He has only half an hour of air and spends the rest of the time alone in the cell, for movements he always has an escort of 2-3 guards and visits are done separately, the door open and with guards at the door. He has obvious signs on his face of the beating right before the 8/11 hearing, which he tried to denounce in court but was prevented from doing by the judge who peremptorily ordered that he be brought out by the guards. He tried to get medical reports of the blows (he took hard blows on the head and back) but the doctor did not report anything, for this reason he intends to ask for a ban on meeting with doctors and nurses.
Despite this, Paska holds on and continues his struggle head held high.
We are launching this invitation to the gathering at the prison of La Spezia 18\11\18 at 15:00.
PASKA FREE AND AGILE
____________________________________________________________
A small gesture in solidarity with Paska, repeatedly object of harassment by the prison administration of La Spezia prison and on hunger strike since 5 November. Currently he is in isolation.
May our enemies know that our comrades are not alone.
Below is a downloadable file that anyone can fax to the prison of La Spezia and the Florence Public Prosecutor’s Office.
Black is the colour we like …
Solidarity with all the accused and those arrested for operation” Panico”.
fax prison La Spezia 0187512340
fax proxy of Florence 055/4226900
———————
Translated by Act for freedom now!

by actforfreedom at November 14, 2018 05:40 PM

Italy: A communique from Deported Anarchist Prisoner Davide Delogu from Sardinia

(The following communique was written and read out by anarchist comrade Davide Delogu on 10th October 2018 at his trial for attempted escape in 2013 from“Buoncammino” prison in the city of Cagliari, Sardinia.)
As we know, this trial was blocked for a year by the Director of Prison Administration, who was trying (and failed) to impose it via video-conference, thus abusing this ‘emergency measure’ in order to chain me within the role of helpless hostage of insidious and prevaricating technology, so as to weaken a prisoner’s will,  depersonalize him, for those who don’t resist, tire him out, isolate him from solidarity and his loved ones, silence refractory tension in resignation, in particular the struggle against prison, a struggle that has never ceased to exist/resist in spite of everything.  These are the same ‘emergency measures’ with which I’ve been caged in the prison cesspits of Sicily for years (deported as a repressive consequence for the struggle carried out in the prison of ‘Buoncammino’) with the application of special regimes, including the extreme confinement through article 14-BIS, regimes exercised with ferocious arbitrariness and perverse Zionist methods, so as to crush a prisoner morally and physically, and with him his original struggle, which nevertheless they couldn’t stop, as he is an alive, an incorrigible/untameable individuality, not subjected to prison alienation/annihilation, and on the contrary they fed more anger, contempt and determination in facing and fighting the white torture of continuous and total isolation in this case but also that of prison in general as an instrument of the State’s revenge, with which the latter plans and experiments on the skin of us the damned, the repressive development of the ideology of identity manipulation and flattening of minds and instincts, within an inhuman way of living, automaton-like, for the maintenance of not only prison power (which one can strike whenever one wants…) but also the whole capitalist-imperialist dominion of civilization, the system of what exists in society and everything all around.
Obviously, therefore, prison is not an issue unrelated to the social context that generates it. We prisoners are part of the exploited, brutalized and left in captivity, to whom the only thing that is granted is submission to a miserable existence!
The scene inside and outside doesn’t change because the market inflicted on the oppressed and the exploited is indispensable to the colonialist State’s security system, so that everything remains in a context of compatibility with the bosses’ interests; and when ruptures and oppositions occur, the repressive machine’s targeted attack intensifies, inside as well as outside.
This fact, however, didn’t prevent us, prisoners of the ex-prison of ‘Buoncammino’ from putting this mechanism into question.
Between May and June 2013, there followed in the Cagliari’s eighteenth century jail several collective strikes (unrelated to Pannella’s radicals, as was insinuated in this court) such as refusing food trolleys and the hour in the exercise yard in particular, but also short strikes concerning buying necessities and protests against the oligarchy of rehabilitation, all backed by bar-beating.
The first two forms of protest were joined by hundreds of prisoners against the unacceptable inhuman conditions of the jail, with a demand for prison improvements, the abrogation of aberrant laws such as life sentences and article 41-BIS, the application of a wide generalized amnesty, the spread of cohesion in the struggle with prisoners in other jails and the support and divulgation of a national demo that took place in Parma: against prison, differentiated treatments, article 41-BIS, isolation, in support of the struggle of all prisoners called for by the ‘United Against Repression Assembly of Struggle’, to which we contributed.
As often happens when collective forms of struggle are carried out in prison, with relations of power at stake, the prison authority (but also outside), when it doesn’t repress them immediately, tries to manage them inside the institutional cage in order to make them fall into the trap of compromise, exploitation, so as to fend off the self-determination of the bulk of prisoners in struggle, with the threat/blackmail of the use of isolation, punitive transfers, loss of benefits, compulsory search for the ‘promoter’ so as to inflict the undignified application of 14-BIS, etc.
But we didn’t give in to this logic of prize/punishment, and refused to be ‘managed’ like puppets and gave life to a cycle of struggle that hadn’t been seen inside a jail for years. We were all full on!
After twenty days’ confrontation, first we refused food trolleys and then we refused to go to the exercise yard, the narrow places for ‘strolling’ cramped like ‘human cattle’.
The prison direction didn’t just look on, they unleashed anti-strike repression that same day and devastated the cells of prisoners who had signed the protest document, during extraordinary searches. On that occasion they seized objects belonging to me, and with them they formulated the deviationist charge which led to my trial, with the intention of darkening and concealing a reality of struggle that was sowing seeds of rebellion and had to be nipped in the bud.
So first of all the jailers wanted to strike the rebel anarchist (and not only) because of the tenacity with which initiatives were being carried out in a more generalized context both outside, with solidarity interventions, and inside with protests in other prisons; and also because I never wanted to submit but have always faced, KONKA ARTA (‘with my head held high’, in Sardinian language), the tyranny with which they impose the substitution of dignity with obedience within humiliating and beastly jail conditions.
Today, as a matter of fact, they want to put on trial the determination of a prisoner in struggle who doesn’t bow down or resign to the ruling prison bureaucracy, the hierarchical mechanism of exploitation behind the bars, because I can’t be blackmailed with your punishments, compromises, hypocritical illusions.
But in the period under examination, there was an atmosphere of revolt in ‘Buoncammino’, considering the inefficacy that peaceful strikes had.
So we came to 9th July 2003, a day when a collective rebellion broke out, started by prisoners barricaded inside cells: sabotage on the electricity system of the units, detonation of dozens of diy gas bombs inside and outside the units; meantime the guards ran away from the units, there was throwing of flaming sheets and furniture, half-destroyed cells and fires at the windows and also banners to call attention outside where relatives, people in solidarity and journalists, called by the prisoners, were gathering in the forecourt outside the prison walls.
Prison violence didn’t delay in arriving and there were isolations, punitive transfers and the beating of a barricaded prisoner who tried to hang himself in the punishment jail he ended up in, also due to the ‘warm’ welcome they gave him.
Once again, therefore, they repressed, punished the human dignity which had risen with anger in an outbreak of revolt, unfortunately not showing the widest possible destructive strength!
I was taken to the concentration camp centre in Palermo and introduced to the torture regime of article 14-BIS, an oppressive, revengeful and annihilating instrument against anyone who doesn’t let themselves be tamed, won’t themself to resignation and doesn’t bow down before the jailers’ arrogance or the very class function of prison, where the State inflicts its organized elimination on the prisoner through the extreme violence of isolation with maniacal restrictions, the brutal conditions of the jailers’ psychopathic sadistic control, the total negation of any human relations whatsoever within the arbitrary furious power abused by any Prison Administration and extended without limits.
Everything was conceived to annihilate!
Therefore, rebellion against this hegemonic functioning has become like the oxygen one breathes, by practising various forms of permanent struggle and leading to the failure of the intentions of prison oppression.
The institution of bars would like to reduce us to consentient puppets through their miseries and methods by erasing the prisoner’s dignity and abusing his physical integrity, affections, sexuality and psychology so as to make him get used to the ideology of cops’ bureaucracy and get us accustomed to becoming servants and subjected to the State’s genocide perpetrated in the country’s jails without impunity, as part of a project of extermination in the democratic slaughterhouse, linked to a wider and more sophisticated maintenance of the current social order, which is meant to sharpen the development, settlement and expansion of repressive control.
Prison with its system of differentiated treatments as experimentation on imprisonment applied with forms and methods to the advantage of a wider oppression in society.
The extension of the prison model for a more alienating open prison, where the conditions of human (and the planet’s) life have radically changed with the purpose of creating a surrogate through a police-digital-techno-scientific system realized on the destruction of the values of freedom, which is forcing us to change in all the aspects of our existence, as an alienating consequence of people formalized by the ethics of civilization and its unrestrained collaborationism with ‘integration’.
And it must be understood that renunciation of the attack on dominion’s advance will be paid dearly!
Clearly, things don’t always happen according to the plans of those who rule, as demonstrated by many prisoners’ and others’ individual paths, those who never surrender!
When we were trying to develop the struggle in the Italian prisons with the latest mobilizations after the call of the ‘Coordination of Prisoners’, with the support of many realities outside, we didn’t manage to get anything out of our claims against power, but we did gain the important awareness that ‘wanting something firmly is sufficient to make it happen’ means that certain methods of struggle can’t be stopped or remain just that, without attacking the prison octopus concretely; and at least for my part there wasn’t the presumption of maintaining a sort of ‘reiterated prisoner’ aware of being exploited, humiliated, tortured and abused at the hands of prison despotism, if we consider that generally speaking prisoners are the same elements that inside like outside support the system of monopoly, beyond and within rules being broken; but the significance and evaluation that vehemently comes out of this is always the urgency of affirming oneself, starting from one’s anger, impatience and conviction to put oneself at stake in order to defeat submission to the interests of the system, which sometimes get confused with our own interests, to have the courage to take back/find back our desires, dignity and combativeness, self-respect, to lead us to acts of liberation from the cages we know we have inside ourselves, with the real existing forces which are certainly a minority compared to the enemy’s forces, so creativity can give to the combative minority an element of explosive vigour: dynamite has a value that can’t be substituted or questioned.
The chemistry of destruction converts itself in the hands of alchemy of liberation and revenge against the social order.
Either we’ll let ourselves be suppressed alongside everything that surrounds us or we’ll be those who suppress the mega machine very rapidly in its most vulnerable parts without waiting for anything.
There’s no half way!
For my part I’ll continue to follow my wild instincts and to fight also and mainly in the darkness of isolation, refusing the brutalization and discipline that the prison authority wants to impose on my mind and body, because it’s only me who decides how to face prison, and I do it by struggling behind the bars, which is the only freedom left to us prisoners.
No bar is as solid as it seems.
Long live those who cut them
Long live those who burn them
Long live those who fight against them!
Refractory solidarity with the anarchists imprisoned in AS-2 security units and other regimes of the Italian State and with anarchists in prison in other States.
Joyous greetings to the anonymous anarchists, also those in other States, who outside attack directly sectors of the most disgusting civilization in solidarity with anarchist prisoners and fill warrior imagination with strength!
Sempri Ainnantis [Always forward] For Freedom Every Day!
Deportau Anarkiku Sardu Impresonau [Sardinian Deported Anarchist Prisoner]
DAVIDE DELOGU
(Davide is currently serving an 18-year sentence for theft and attempted murder –2010/2028; he’s currently facing trial for attempted escape which we mentioned before and another trial for attempted escape from the prison of ‘Bruccoli’ in Augusta, Syracuse, on 1st May 2017, which he claimed in a public communique. The editors of S.A.)
————————————–
Translated by act for freedom now!
via: sardegnaanarchica.

by actforfreedom at November 14, 2018 05:24 PM

Lecco, Italy : ANARCHIST PUBLISHING FAIR, NOVEMBER 24-25-26

Three days to talk, discuss, argue and why not, put oneself at stake. To place experience side by side with books: why? Why now, in the technological era, is this particularly important?
A book is something that makes one think by oneself, starting from the uniqueness of a moment so as to imagine, become aware, re-elaborate, experiment, create a personal baggage that each one puts in contact with their relations.
And it is to facilitate this contact that the idea comes of an anarchist publishing fair in Lecco; because the right book is a fundamental weapon to fight against the current and very oppressive reality.
Many different themes can be tackled with books, and the will to do so publicly in anarchist fashion, without leaders or sub-leaders, authority or prevarication, professors or pupils, can be an excellent way to give impulse to our lives.
A few months ago a comrade in Lecco was charged with clandestine press after books dangerous for the State were found in his rucksack.
Certainly it’s not by chance that democracy, like any other form of domination, uses laws of other times when it’s necessary – laws in seventeenth century style which it jealously keeps in its armoury.

So an anarchist publishing fair is to be welcome in the city, damned those who only want books authorized by the State!
THROUGHOUT THE DAYS BENEFIT LUNCHES AND DINNERS. BRING YOUR DISTRO AND LEAVE YOUR DOG AT HOME.
IF YOU WANT TO STAY FOR THE NIGHT BRING YOUR SLEEPING BAG.
SATURDAY 24TH NOVEMBER
FROM 12PM:
Opening of T.A.Z. If you want to help with setting up the place you’re welcome.
6:30PM MEETING
Presentation of the three-day anarchist publishing
9PM PRESENTION:
G.A.R.I. 1974
By Edizioni El Rùsac, NED P.S.M., El Paso, Cassa Antirep delle Alpi Occidentali
In 1974 Francoist repression reaches extreme levels with the complicity of European democracies. Following a death sentence against Salvador Puig Antich, G.A.R.I. (Internationalist Revolutionary Groups of Action) are born. Behind the acronym various autonomous groups claim dynamite actions all over Europe with the purpose to disrupt Spain’s social-economic relations, but also to give an unequivocal response to the ferocious repression against many imprisoned anti-Francoists, under torture and awaiting execution.  Even if it was short and limited to that atmosphere of turmoil, the experience of G.A.R.I. can give many suggestions to our times: both in the refusal to put one’s own form of struggle above others and in the absence of centralism in which on the contrary other armed struggle groups were to fall, as they ended up giving definite interpretations to a complex reality that on the contrary needed careful attention to be sharpened with theory and practice.
SUNDAY 25TH NOVEMBER
IN THE MORNING
Breakfast, setting up of stands, chatting and socializing.
3PM
DISCUSSION ON SCHOOLS AND POWER
By Editrice Cirtide
Schools, like other fundamental institutions of the system (prisons, factories, police barracks…), are characterized by the imposition of an all-embracing power, which expresses itself in their physical structures, in an alienating regulation of  daily activities and in the constant presence of some authority ready to watch and punish. Because of the institutional role they perform, schools regulate the relational processes of the transmission of knowledge. As they make the individual accustomed to one single possible way of living, schools try to annihilate the individual in order to create a good citizen.
Schools are a fundamental device for domination. Why then don’t we attack them? Why don’t we try to undermine their bases so as to crash the whole social construction?
9PM
ON THE INCOMPATIBILITY OF NUCLEAR POWER AND VIOLENCE
By S-edizioni
As we live in a world of nuclear power we can’t overlook the threat of annihilation.
It’s always possible to give ourselves to the invention of life, to desires, even if technology would want to prevent us from doing so.
But to those who are paralyzed by the sinister possibility of catastrophe and lose courage, they can only follow, for the love of humanity, the cynical saying: ‘as we are desperate, what do we care? Let’s go on as if we weren’t!’
MONDAY 26TH NOVEMBER
IN THE MORNING
Breakfast, setting up of stands, chatting and socializing.
3:30PM
ON DNA SAMPLE TAKING AND THE CODIFICATION OF THE EXISTENT
An analysis of forced DNA sample taking in prisons and of the project of mass filing of the individuals, by Anarchists against genetic filing.
8:30PM
ON RACISM AND NATIONALISM
The nationalist and racists drives of recent months are obvious to everybody. To start form the historical analysis of fascism in order to get to that of the current democratic regime can be a way to better fight a present made of migrant-hunting, deportations and total militarization.
We’ll discuss all this with the editors of ‘I giorni e le notti’ [Days and nights], an anarchist magazine which has been dealing with these questions in its latest issues.
To know where keep an eye on the blog:
leccoriot.noblogs.org
Anarchists
————————-
Translated by act for freedom now!

by actforfreedom at November 14, 2018 05:14 PM

jacobinmag

Why I Stood With Henry Wallace

Famed socialist Victor Grossman on why Henry Wallace’s 1948 Progressive Party campaign mattered.


alt The Maryland delegation to the Progressive Party convention in Philadelphia, July 27, 1948. Washington Area Spark / Flickr.

Back in 1948, I was a member of Communist Party (CP) and an active participant in the Young Progressive organization in Boston.

When the former vice president and still popular national figure Henry Wallace decided to run for president under the Progressive Party banner, the CP was an important participant. But far from being a postwar sectarian swing from the Earl Browder Popular Front years, the effort that I was involved with seemed to me motivated by an attempt to build meaningful alliances with non-Communist progressives in a last-ditch effort to save the once powerful left-wing movement of the 1930s and early 1940s.

That period had been characterized (under Communist participation and leadership to a great extent) by the creation of powerful unions for automakers, steelworkers, electrical workers, black and white cigarette makers, fur and leather workers, longshoremen, and maritime unions, pushed the New Deal towards the creation of Social Security and other advances in social welfare, took big steps in combating racism and, despite the complex ups and downs of the FDR years, assumed a strong antifascist position until his death.


“Don’t We All Dream of a Socialist America?”

I participated in the campaign at Harvard and all over Massachusetts, and saw how Communists were indeed among the most active Progressive Party supporters. Every weekend (and not a few weekday evenings) we knocked on doors collecting signatures to get on the ballot (about one hundred thousand were needed in the state). Together, CP and non-CP, we sang the many catchy campaign songs written by then-Communists like Pete Seeger and (at least) Communist-sympathizing Paul Robeson, who contributed his services with the greatest devotion.

But I was also aware that Communists like myself took the greatest care not to advance any positions which non-Communists would find hard to accept. Compromises were sought if need be, but some CP positions were downplayed – not with any insidious intent, but to save this lingering hope that we could prevent the United States from spiraling off into the Cold War and the racist, anti-union and repressive era of Joseph McCarthy and company. I see nothing sinister or ruinous in this, but rather a search for common ground in order to rescue a broad left-wing movement.

So why did it fail? One reason was because by 1948 Communists and other leftists in once-strong left-wing unions of the CIO – already weakened by Browder’s abandonment of party cells in the factories and black centers and by the Taft-Hartley Act, which barred Communists from any union leadership — were under such severe attack that they had neither the people, the resources, nor the courage to support the Progressive Party. Thus, those who should have provided the most support failed to help their best allies — and in most cases lost out anyway and were eliminated.

A second reason was the lack of support for the Progressive Party — the only really antiracist party at the time — by the main African-American organizations, most of which were allied to the Democrats (and some even to the Republicans).

Another important reason was the world situation: over the course of the electoral campaign, three major events gave the US media material with which to frighten Americans and drive the Progressives into various corners. One was the Chinese Communists’ impending victory against Chiang Kai-check despite massive US military assistance and even the use of defeated Japanese troops. This was played up as a “yellow menace.”

Then there was the February regime change in Czechoslovakia, with Communists taking full control. Most telling in its effect was the Berlin Airlift, provoked by the Western Allies in a two-day surprise move introducing a new Deutschmark, a measure which threatened to immediately wreck the East German economy (where there was no replacement for the now useless old currency). All three were complicated matters for which Wallace and the Progressives bore no responsibility, but took heavy losses nonetheless.

A third reason was a relentless media onslaught — first ignoring, then playing down and finally red-baiting the campaign — almost exactly like the media treatment Bernie Sanders faced.

But perhaps most decisive in Wallace’s defeat was that a very large number of his supporters (including quite devoted ones) entered the voting booth on election day and saw the name Thomas Dewey on the GOP ticket. A bit like George W. Bush for my generation, many ultimately chose to opt for the “lesser evil,” Harry Truman.

I am convinced that these factors are what broke the Wallace campaign. Its defeat essentially broke the back of the American left, condemned the union movement to its AFL-CIO retreat from militancy and anti-racism, served it up to the multi-continental divisive manipulations of Irving Brown (and Jay Lovestone, together with the recently created CIA), opened wide the doors to the Cold War, nuclear rivalry, attacks on the sovereignty of Guatemala, Haiti, Iran and many others, and support for bloody colonial rule against national liberation in Indonesia, Algeria, and most tragically, Vietnam.

It was not until the late 1950s with the emergence of the Black Freedom movement, and later the events of the 1960s, that this stranglehold could be weakened for a while. I think none of this development could be blamed on Henry Wallace, the Progressive Party — or the Communist Party.

The latter, further battered in the McCarthy/Taft-Hartley era, faced even more difficulties after Khrushchev’s “Secret Speech,” the events in Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968. Many complicated matters were involved. But analyzing them from different aspects can only be useful now, when divisions within or actions outside the Democratic Party are being considered.

I might add one anecdote: at Wallace’s last pre-election rally at a big Boston hotel, when supporters still had hopes of making at least some electoral gains, Paul Robeson also made an appearance. As was customary with him, he spoke and said a few words before and between his songs. All I can recall some seventy years later is one sentence he said to the large crowd, a majority of whom were certainly not Communist Party members: “But don’t we all dream, someday, of a socialist America?”

Suddenly, there was a gasp of total silence. We Communists had always carefully avoided just such a topic so as to get along with the non-Communists in a common campaign. But the silence was brief: the whole auditorium broke into loud, enthusiastic applause.

This was in part, no doubt, because “Big Paul’s” magnetic charisma and speaking voice alone could almost win over trees and stones. But it also indicated that quite a few of the non-Communists in the Progressive Party also shared such dreams, a phenomenon which appears to be present once again in the feelings of many millions of young Americans today.


by Victor Grossman at November 14, 2018 05:13 PM

actforfree.nostate.net

How to start evacuation

When the police evacuate some space because it is looking for an
explosive, it stops or blocks the function of this place.
We can use it as a tactic in resistance. Like sabotage. Like support for
the strike. Like blocking the circulation of capital. Like an escalation
of an attack against oppressors.
The police are going to the place of the reported explosion a few
minutes after they read the e-mail message. Evacuation takes tens of
minutes or even several hours.
This manual works. It is used in practice for several years. No one was
arrested or convicted. It is safe and effective.
Manual: Step by step
1) You have to be sure you’re not being watched by the police. If you
are not sure, do not go into action.
2) Put your mobile phone to another place.
3) Buy an old computer (laptop) at a bazaar in another country.
4) Remove / clean everything on your harddisk.
https://ssd.eff.org/en/module/how-delete-your-data-securely-linux
5) Install Linux on your computer.

6) Change your MAC address on your computer before connecting to the
Internet. https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/MAC_address_spoofing
7) Go to a place with a public Wi-fi internet connection. For example to
a restaurant or cinema. You have to be sure there are no security
cameras – CCTV.
8) Install TOR on your computer. https://www.torproject.org/
9) Start TOR. Change your IP address.
10) Create a safe email box at riseup.net https://riseup.net/
11) Write message where the explosion will be. Use few words when
writing. You can not attach any file. Send the message to the police
e-mail and mass media e-mail. Log out your email and never sign up
again.
12) Turn off your computer. Remove the battery from the computer. Go to
a safe place. Put your computer under the ground or destroy the
harddisk.
13) Do not use the computer for other activities. Never!
source:revolutionarycells.noblogs.

by actforfreedom at November 14, 2018 05:03 PM

anarchistnews.org

What's new with LBC - November 2018 Update!

From Little Black Cart

Little Black Cart - November Update!

Other than the smoke this is a great time of year. California doesn't really have four full seasons but part of the year we choose to wear hoodies and part of the year we need to wear them. Welcome Fall!

New Title

The Totality is Incomplete - by Alex Gorrion

Alex Gorrion will be familiar to anyone who has paid attention to The Anvil, which was (and still is, in a lingering fashion) primarily a journal of anarchist reviews of non-anarchist culture. Alex has done some of the most fun, exciting, interesting, and personal writing on that site, like a more accessible frere dupont. Alex is one of my favorite anarchist writers, and I wish for more writing by them, but until then, here are Alex's favorites from that site, collected for your reading pleasure, far away from the glowing screen. These articles include thoughtful and critical responses to Tiqqun texts; popular music icons like Jewel and Kanye (yes, I did just put them in the same sentence); thoughts on brilliant anarchists like Novatore and Isabelle Eberhardt (anarchist in spirit, if not in name), and so much more.

For more information - A Full and Fighting Heart: Writings by Paul Z Simons


Sad News! We will not be in Seattle

One of our favorite bookfairs has decided to not let us table this year. #sad

Here is their only communication with us about it (they haven't responded to requests for more information)

Dear LBC:

After significant discussion, the Seattle Anarchist Bookfair 2018 collective has decided that we are not open to LBC tabling at this year’s bookfair. This decision was made in light of serious, long-standing concerns raised by many individuals about a multitude of behaviors, patterns, and decisions by members of LBC that have caused substantial harm to anarchist comrades across a wide range of locations.

We thus are unable to allow LBC to table at the 2018 Seattle Anarchist Book Fair.

Thank you for your understanding.

LBC SABF Contest 2018

In light of having nowhere to go this weekend we'd like to curate a contest! Alongside our friends at Anokchan and Anarchy Planet IRC we'd like to make some memes about Behaviors, Patterns, and Decisions (see letter to LBC in last section). Use the hash tag #SABF. The winner will win a $50 gift certificate to Little Black Cart.

  1. Make a meme (make sure to tag it with SABF)
  2. Post it to http://anokchan.org (use anon/anon or create an account) or another imageboard or platform if you so desire
  3. Email us with URL!
  4. Go to https://irc.anarchyplanet.org/ to brag about your cleverness
  5. Go to this page to see the competition

BTW here is an example meme. It isn't funny (we prefer funny!) but demonstrates the idea.


The Year of Clearing 2019

A lot of things are changing in anarchyland. Ex-anarchists rose over $65,000 to start a communist magazine at the same time anarchist projects keep shrinking and disappearing. What gives?

In 2019 LBC is going to host a moderated discussion, with a new theme every month, on http://sorbet.littleblackcart.com. We intend to use this discussion to build a guide for contemporary anarchists and we intend to participate in it. We will discuss topics such as identity politics, what is the future of North American Anarchism, and of course antifa.

Become an Intern

In a program that we're really happy with, LBC hosts a new intern every three months. If you are interested in becoming a close friend with LBC and being exposed to the ideas and personalities around the project and our environs, if you've been wanting time and encouragement to work on, or start, that awesome anarchist project you've had in mind, feel free to reach out to us at our email address for more information. We are currently looking for interns for Q2 and Q3 in 2019!

Social Networking

Here is our dumb Twitter feed

Stupid Facebook

Politics is the enemy of anarchy, and it knows it.

category: 

by aragorn at November 14, 2018 04:16 PM

indexcensorship.org

Risks, rights and reputations: challenging a risk averse culture

Risks, Rights & Reputations (RRR) is a half-day training programme developed by Index on Censorship, What Next? and Cause4 to provide arts and cultural leaders with the guidance, inspiration, tools and resources to navigate the rights and responsibilities of producing challenging or socially sensitive work. 

Challenging a Risk Averse Culture

“In recent years there have been an increasing number of high-profile cases raising ethical and censorship issues around plays, exhibitions and other artworks. Censorship – and self-censorship – can stand in the way of great art. That’s why Arts Council England is committed to supporting those organisations who are taking creative risks. It’s important that organisations are aware of relevant legislation and the excellent guidance that exists. This programme is an important step in ensuring that our sector can continue to create vital, challenging, and risk-taking work.” – Sir Nick Serota, chair of Arts Council England

Navigating the rights and responsibilities of art that explores socially sensitive themes can appear daunting, risky and time-consuming. We have seen work cancelled or removed, because it was provocative or the funder controversial. But, for arts and culture to be relevant, dynamic and inclusive, we have to reinforce our capacity to respond to the most complex and provocative questions.

“This important and necessary project is a great opportunity to learn and discuss with others the increasing challenges we face in the arts sector, particularly in the context of socially engaged practise and public spaces.” – Mikey Martins, Artistic Director and Joint CEO, Freedom Festival Arts Trust

Session Content

The session addresses the challenges and opportunities related to artistic risk and freedom of expression. It aims to encourage participants to voice concerns and experiences within a supportive environment and programme of presentations, discussion and group work. By the end of day participants will:

  • Understand the legal and rights framework supporting artistic freedom in the UK;
  • Learn from analysis of recent controversies in the arts;
  • Gain confidence in decision-making and planning for potentially controversial work;
  • Manage expectations relating to the role of the police;
  • Discover the value of creating an ethical fundraising policy;
  • Benefit from access to new tools, resources and ongoing support from peers and experts beyond the session.

Participants

The session is open to artistic directors, CEOs, Senior management and trustees of arts organisations.

To date, RRR sessions have been delivered in Manchester, London and Bristol, with Arts Council national and regional offices and in partnership with the Freedom Festival Arts Trust, Hull.

“I feel more confident to speak up when talking to leaders about policy, process and practice when it comes to issues around artistic risk-taking / freedom of expression and ethical fundraising. I feel more empowered to be a useful, knowledgeable sounding board for the organisation’s I support than I did previously.” – Relationship Manager, Arts Council England

UPCOMING TRAINING

We are currently accepting bookings from CEO/Artistic Directors, Chairs, individual Board Members and senior team members across the country for our upcoming RRR training sessions:

Date

ACE Region

Venue

Host

Trainers

Tickets

30 November 2018, 12:00 – 17:00 

Northern Ireland

The Black Box

Julia Farrington, Index on Censorship;
Michelle Wright, Cause4
Diane Morgan, director Nitrobeat

The Team

“This was a really interesting, thought provoking, relevant and empowering session. I really appreciated the knowledge and the care taken to pull it together. Thank you!” – Participant – CEO

The RRR team consists of specialists and facilitators in freedom of expression, artistic risk and ethical fundraising alongside Artistic Director/CEO hosts who are committed to asking the difficult questions of our time:

Julia Farrington, Index on Censorship
Julia Farrington, Index on Censorship

Julia Farrington has specialised in artistic freedom, working at the intersection between arts, politics and social justice, since 2005. She was previously Head of Arts (at Index on Censorship (2009 – 2014) and continues her pioneering work on censorship and self-censorship as Associate Arts Producer. From 2014 – 2016, Julia was head of campaigns for Belarus Free Theatre. She now works freelance and is a member of International Arts Rights Advisors (IARA), facilitator for Arts Rights Justice Academy and Impact Producer for Doc Society, promoting documentary film as a powerful advocacy tool.

Diane Morgan, nitroBEAT
Diane Morgan, nitroBEAT

Diane Morgan is the Director of nitroBEAT and a consultant/producer. She works in collaboration with artists, leaders and organisations to support (and merge) artistic risk taking and social engagement ideas, practices and approaches. Previous roles include; Project Manager for the Cultural Leadership Programme, Decibel lead for Arts Council West Midlands and Head of Projects at Contact Theatre, Manchester.

Helen Jenkins, Cause4
Helen Jenkins, Cause4

Helen Jenkins is a consultant for Cause4, a social enterprise that supports charities, social enterprises and philanthropists to develop and raise vital funds across the arts, education and charity sectors. She has over 20 years experience of working across all fundraising disciplines in senior management and at Board level.  Helen has helped organisations nationally and internationally to achieve fundraising targets and retain their ethics within challenging financial climates.

When: Friday 30 November 2018, 12:00–17:00
Where: The Black Box 18-22 Hill Street, Belfast, BT1 2LA
Tickets: £25 (or £15 members of Belfast Festivals Forum*), includes lunch & refreshments

The post Risks, rights and reputations: challenging a risk averse culture appeared first on Index on Censorship.

by Index on Censorship at November 14, 2018 04:01 PM

crimethinc

On the Attack against the FSB in Russia : Including a Statement from the Anarchist Who Carried It Out

A year ago, the Russian Federal Security Service—the FSB—initiated a wave of repression, arresting and brutally torturing anarchists in order to force them to sign false statements admitting to participating in a supposed terrorist group invented by the Russian authorities. The ensuing crackdowns put tremendous pressure on anarchists around Russia; you can learn more about the cases and solidarity efforts here. Today, a young Russian anarchist died in an attack on the FSB headquarters in Arkhangelsk. The FSB has gotten its wish, bullying young Russians into carrying out bombings rather than engaging in public organizing. Below, we present a rough translation of the initial report from Russian anarchists, including the young man’s personal claim of responsibility.

The deceased, Zhlobitsky Mikhail Vasilyevich, also known as Valerian Panov, was a student at the Arkhangelsk Polytechnic University. He was 17 years old.

As we have previously emphasized, we don’t believe that individual attacks on specific authority figures will suffice to abolish the institutional power of the state and capitalism. But the Russian state has left precious few alternatives for those who desire a means of bringing about positive change. At the conclusion of a week that has seen a tremendous upswing in authoritarian repression and fascist violence around the world, from Pittsburgh to Brazil, it is time for us to discuss how we can collectively respond to the escalating violence of the state and its fascist supporters.

It also bears mentioning that the FSB is directly descended from the KGB, showing the continuity of oppression between state socialism and capitalism. Under Putin and Stalin, under Kennedy and Trump, the machinery of state tyranny remains the same.

We respectfully bid farewell to this young man who took a stand against repression, torture, and deceit, doing the best he could with the few options that were available to him. Let’s organize together to give people like him a reason to live. Please go to the support page for those targeted by the FSB operation.

Visual survey report on the torture that the FSB inflicted on arrestee Igor Shishkin, from the Public Monitoring Commission findings.


From bo-ak.org:

At 8:52 am, at the entrance to the FSB Directorate for the Arkhangelsk Region, an explosion took place. The anarchist rebel, Zhlobitsky Mikhail Vasilyevich, also known on the app Telegram as Valerian Panov, detonated a bomb and died in the explosion. This is the first case of anarchists carrying out such an attack on the FSB in 19 years; the previous attack was organized in 1999 at the reception of the FSB in Moscow by the New Revolutionary Alternative organization.

The comrade died as a result of the explosion, also causing injuries of varying severity to three officers of the FSB.

Seven minutes before the explosion, Valerian left a message in one of the anarchist chats via Telegram, in which he described the reasons for his action:

Comrades, now in the FSB building in Arkhangelsk there will be a terrorist attack, the responsibility for which I take upon myself. The reasons are clear to you. Since the FSB fabricates cases and tortures people, I decided to go for it. Most likely, I will die because of the explosion, because I have initiated the charge directly by pressing the button attached to the bomb cover. Therefore, you are requested to spread information about the terrorist attack: who committed it and what the reasons were.

Well, sort of like everything. I wish you to go unswervingly and uncompromisingly towards our goal. Light to you, the future of anarchist communism!

We bow our heads before the heroism of our comrade. We were not acquainted in person, but through communication, he left an impression of himself as an intelligent and well-prepared person who was not apathetic, who aspired to go beyond the swamp of the official opposition struggle that is now mainstream.

We are sorry that he had no other choice, no way to do more damage to the enemy with less harm to himself.

Yet be that as it may, he lived as he thought was right, and died as a hero in the struggle for our common ideals.

As the Kurds say—Şehid namirin! Heroes do not die!


Further Reading

Why the Torture Cases in Russia Matter

Russian Anti-Fascist Reveals Violence, Humiliation, and Threats in Pre-Trial Detention


Sobre el ataque contra la FSB en Rusia

Incluyendo la declaración del anarquista que realizó el ataque

Un año atrás, el Servicio federal de seguridad Ruso – El FSB – inició una ola de represión, arrestando y torturando brutalmente, a anarquista para forzarlos a firmar falsas declaraciones, admitiendo su participación en un supuesto grupo terrorista inventado por las autoridades rusas. Las siguientes medidas represivas, pusieron mucha presión en los anarquistas de Rusia; puedes aprender más acerca de los casos y los esfuerzos de solidaridad aquí.

Hoy (31-10-2018) un joven anarquista ruso, murió en un ataque a los cuarteles generales del FSB en Arkhangelsk. El FSB ha conseguido su objetivo, forzando a los jóvenes rusos a ataques con bombas en lugar de participar en la organización pública. Aquí presentamos una traducción aproximada del informe inicial de los anarquistas rusos, incluyendo la reivindicación personal del joven.

El difunto, Zhlobitsky Mikhail Vasilyevich, también conocido como Valerian Panov, era estudiante de la Universidad Politécnica de Arkhangelsk. El tenía 17 años de edad.

Como hemos destacado anteriormente, nosotros no creemos que los ataques individuales a una figura de autoridad específica sean suficientes para abolir el poder institucional del estado y el capitalismo.

Pero el estado Ruso ha dejado muy pocas alternativas para aquellos que desean un medio para un cambio positivo. Al final de una semana que ha visto un avance tremendo en la represión autoritaria y violencia fascista alrededor del mundo, desde Pittsburgh a Brasil, es tiempo de discutir cómo podemos colectivamente responder a la escalada de violencia del estado y sus partidarios fascistas.

También vale la pena mencionar que el FSB es un descendiente directo de la KGB, mostrando la continuidad de la opresión entre el socialismo de estado y el capitalismo. Bajo Putin o Stalin, bajo Kennedy o Trump, la maquinaria de la tiranía estatal sigue siendo la misma.

Nos despedimos respetuosamente de este joven quien tomó una postura ante la represión, la tortura y el engaño, haciendo lo mejo que pudo con las pocas opciones que estaban disponibles para él.

Organicémonos entre todos para darle a gente como él una razón para vivir. Por favor visita la pagina de apoyo (https://rupression.com/en/) a quienes fueron objetivos de la operación del FSB.


Desde bo-ak.org:

A las 8_52 am, en la entrada de directorio del FSB en la región de Arkhangelsk, hubo una explosión. El rebelde anarquista Zhlobitsky mikhail Vasilyevich, también conocido en la app Telegram, como Valerian Panov, detonó una bomba y murió con la explosión. Este es el primer caso de un anarquista llevando a cabo este tipo de ataques en el FSB en 19 años; el ataque previo fue organizado en 1999 en la recepción del FSB en Moscú por la organización New Revolutionary Alternative. El camarada murió como resultado de la explosión, también causo heridas de diversa gravedad a tres oficiales de FSB. 7 minutos antes de la explosión Valerian dejó un mensaje en uno en los chats anarquistas de Telegram, en el cual describió las razones de su acción.

“Camaradas, ahora en el edificio del FSB en Arkhangelsk habrá un ataque terrorista, del cual asumo la responsabilidad. Las razones son claras para ustedes. Ya que el FSB fabrica casos y tortura personas, yo decidí ir por ellos. Seguramente, yo moriré a causa de la explosión, porque se activa presionando directamente un botón adjunto a la cubierta de la bomba. Por lo tanto, les pido que difundan la información acerca del ataque terrorista: quién lo cometió y cuáles fueron las causas.

Bueno, así como en todo. Les deseo que avancen constantemente y sin compromisos hacia nuestro objetivo.

¡Brillante es el futuro del comunismo-anárquico!”

Inclinamos nuestras cabezas ante el heroísmo del compañero. A quien no conocimos en persona pero, a través de su mensaje, ha dejado una impresión de sí mismo como un persona inteligente y bien preparada, que no es indiferente y aspira a ir más allá de los pantanos de la oposición oficial que ahora es tan popular.

Lamentamos que no haya tenido otra opción que hacerse más daño a sí mismo que al enemigo.

Pero sea como fuere, vivió, como creía correcto, y murió, como héroe, en la lucha por nuestros ideales comunes.

Y, como dicen los kurdos – Şehid namirin! ¡Los héroes no mueren!


Honor to Zhlobitsky Mikhail Vasilyevich: A Translation from a Greek Prison

This statement appeared on the blog of an anarchist prisoner in Korydallos Prison (Attiki, Greece), on October 31, 2018.

The war is not just lined-up armies, militaristic reveilles and orders, crowds that shake as they are mowed down by machine guns, massacres that are caused when soulless technicians press cold buttons, armored tanks’ parades and bombers’ flyovers. The war is also the passion, the desire, the rage of the person who decides to strike this murderous world order here, there, elsewhere; this wild thirst for attacking the value system of the rotten civilization that dominates everything around us. The war is also the desperate screams of the lonesome against domination. The war is also the individual choice in the dark armed with detonators and gunpowder to act against barbarism and mass complicity. Armed with a decision engraved deep in the heart, a decision that tightens the teeth in determination until the gums bleed, a decision thundering with the power of a thousand explosions: “I am fighting to the end.”

Honor forever to the 17-year-old anarchist Mikhail Zhlobitsky, who fell detonating a bomb in Russia’s secret intelligence offices (FSB).

Long Live Anarchy!

Until every cage is empty and we meet again in a new world!

November 14, 2018 04:00 PM

Squat.net

London: Squatters digest- low tide. Next comes the flood

Welcome to the Squatter’s Digest, a new column for Freedom News, highlighting the ongoings of the squat scene in London and beyond, along with providing opinions on the politics of said goings-on. Quality and coherence are not guaranteed.

The 29th of October saw 150 high-court bailiffs and police descend upon the Tidemill Community Garden in Deptford, London, at 6am, pulling people from their tents, dragging them out of tree-houses, and laying waste to the entire occupation. Occupiers climbed the trees and refused to vacate, while outside fights broke out between the supporters and bailiffs (County Enforcement, well-known to squatters, see Corporate Watch’s latest article on them), who of course were protected by members of the Metropolitan Police force. At some point in the afternoon the last squatter was removed from the trees and the garden was all but lost. But this didn’t stop the people outside from trying for one last push to regain entry to the site. Rushing for the fences, people were thrown to the ground and detained by bailiffs and police, but also linked arms and refused to allow their fellow protestors to be taken to the arrest vans, defiant to the last.

The Tidemill Garden was the latest flashpoint in the struggle against developers and councils pushing the gentrification agenda, and was another example of squatters and local residents working together to resist. There have been many such episodes throughout the last decades, some more successful than others (success these days tending to mean the building of positive relations between different groups rather than the securing of ongoing possession of properties). Tidemill has seen campaigners go from attending council meetings to ask the council to reconsider allowing them to stay, to attending council meetings to smash-up a councillor’s car. Not to say that was the squatters’ influence. But I digress. The collaboration between different social groups at Tidemill has felt like those of the 2014/2015 campaigns at the height of the housing crisis (who am I kidding, there will be no height of the crisis, it’ll keep getting worse). More collaboration I say, but I will return to this point in a bit.

Tidemill, despite only being a squat for 2 months before eviction, was a long-standing cultural space for the people of Deptford, and is yet another victim of neo-liberal capitalism. The removal and destruction of similar places seems to be trending right now internationally. Recent news see the ADM squat of Amsterdam, Netherlands, given its marching orders after 20+ years of being the focal point of much counter-cultural activity in the area. Similarly Villa Vegan, perhaps the most famous squat in Milan, Italy, was due to be evicted at the end of October. Villa Vegan has not yet been evicted, and to their credit they have continued to put on events and keep the squat functioning as usual, while also hosting meetings for supporters to get involved in the next steps. The Swamp in Utrecht, Netherlands also faced eviction just over one week ago, with the police and bailiffs prepared to put people’s lives in danger to ensure the eviction took place. And while we’re on the topic of communal spaces being taken away, the Centro de Cultura Libertária in Portugal (not a squat but an important anarchist centre) is facing eviction due to parasitic landlords (and squatters know all about that).

Not all is hopeless though! Earlier in October in Mannheim, Germany, activists involved in the Hambacher Forest protest site took occupation of the “eichengarten” or oak garden, and the adjoining buildings. They released a couple of communiques in solidarity with the Hambi protesters fighting against the RWE coal miners who are destroying ancient forests to further their profits. And in Montreuil, France, squatters took over a building used by artists as they were handing back the keys and have turned it into an autonomous community-based squat.

Aside from Tidemill, it’s hard to say that there has been anything to write home about in London these last months. There was of course the (Not The) Anarchist Bookfair Afterparty at the end of October, in which a large building and set of railway arches was taken over for a punk and techno party that raised loads of money for various causes, and that’s (nearly) always a good thing. And there appears to have been the gravitation of squat crews toward each other, at least in two locations in East and South-East London. Having multiple crews in an area can do wonders for mutual aid and support in trying times. Of course there are plenty of other squats out spread out across London and people should keep an eye out for any in their area to improve relationships and create local support networks. Mainly though it has been a bit of a quiet period in the squatting scene in London, at least from your writer’s perspective, a low tide if you will.

But after the low tide comes what they call the flood tide. Of course we don’t have a spare moon handy to do all the hard work for us, but we do have the ability to utilise the resources at our disposal. A previous Freedom article, by contributor AB, discussed the need for pulling ourselves out of crisis planning, and instead focusing on long-term organisation. But how do we do this while the system is geared massively in favour of property owners here? Our court system processes claims within a couple of weeks, and the bailiffs can act almost immediately upon the granting of a possession order. As AB says, it’s hard to keep track of people or organise together when everyone is moving every few weeks.

What we can do is take advantage of the more permanent spaces that we do have. More permanent squats tend to be ones that keep their heads down, and anyone caught peering over the parapet is liable to cop a swift arrow of court justice. This often means projects get put on hiatus or are abandoned altogether. There is much to be said for the temporary nature of squats, but having a space that people can go to and know it will always be there, and something that they can feel a part of, can make a huge difference.

There are social centres, anarchist or otherwise, in most cities around the UK. London has the 56a Anarchist Infoshop, the London Action Resource Centre (LARC), as well as Freedom Bookshop (or Decentre), and of course the Advisory Service for Squatters, which resides in the same building as Freedom. These are places that, for the foreseeable future, are not going anywhere, and the benefit of people using the space would be reciprocal. Seeing these places as not separate from the squat “milieu” but as an integral part of the political and cultural environment would allow for greater collaboration (I told you I would return to this point) between people of similar mindsets for mutual benefit (this of course comes with an anarchist bias, and it should be acknowledged that people squat for many reasons, and it should be seen as a tactic to address social issues rather than an identity to which to conform).

Participating in spaces that are active with groups of varying focuses can be a breath of fresh air when things begin to stale, and the fight becomes tedious or perhaps overwhelming. It’s important that people still look to organise amongst each other in squats, but also important to not get trapped in a bubble that fails to recognise the value of intersecting struggles and leaves us without support in times of need. It would be great to see more people feel like they could swing by their local social centre and be able to throw ideas about together about how to improve things and fight back. Being based in London, I would invite people to come down to the Advisory Service for Squatters, and rather than seeing it as an office from which a few people do legal work, see it as an “Idea Store” in which people can come down, pitch ideas to each other, work on projects together, and utilise the information available to them. People’s very presence would be putting back in to an organisation that has helped countless people over more than 40 years.

But it’s not just about the A.S.S. Wherever people are there will be other groups, whether they be housing, anarchist, or other sociopolitical leaning, who will be hopefully meeting in communal spaces. By linking up and developing relations with these groups we can start to work toward that long-term organising, and not just deal with crises as they happen. Let’s cause a flood that will drown the bastards (drowning cops, bailiffs, and landlords in spit does seem to fit a stereotypical crusty squatter aesthetic, thanks for the inspiration Bob).

Hopefully that’s got some of you up to speed with what’s going on in London and the wider squat scene. If you have any complaints or if I have missed out a particular topic or event that relates to squatting that you’d like covered in this monthly piece please get in touch at squattersdigest [at] riseup [dot] net and I’ll do my best to make it happen.

https://freedomnews.org.uk/squatters-digest-low-tide-next-comes-the-flood/

Groups in London: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/city/london
Events in London: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/city/London

Groups in UK: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/GB
Events in UK: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/GB

by fawda at November 14, 2018 03:20 PM

anarchistnews.org

Bonds Not Ballots

via IT'S GOING DOWN

As another election year spectacle has come and gone, and as we inch closer to irreversible, cataclysmic shifts in our climate, we are reminded that our hope is in each other, in relationships of mutual support that bind us to each other.

Many of us have very differing opinions about engaging with electoral “democracy” and its (f)utility, but we find common ground in voting everyday with our bodies, putting our whole weight towards our dreams and desires, rather than merely one strip of paper or button on one day. In Florida, as another proto-fascist (DeSantis) ascends to power, we continue to plant the seeds that we know can take root and bring the fortress down.

These seeds look small: cleaning supplies, baby items, rides, medical care and companionship for a birthing immigrant mother and her family; diabetes care, paying for prescriptions, tree-cutting, supplies, and assistance finding a temporary shelter for an extended family that knows what it means to weather a storm; tarping roofs, clearing debris, checking on prisoners, distributing harm reduction kits, rescuing animals, resisting illegal evictions, applying legal pressure. We are finding, voicing, and building something together that is deeper and truer than the mirage of power authoritarianism offers.

Many tenants in numerous public housing facilities have successfully resisted illegal evictions, remaining in their homes while awaiting repairs or relocation. Community barbecues and make-shift stoves have emerged as landlords shut off electricity and gas to force tenants out. One woman shouts from across the street, “You with us, you may as well eat too.” We take a break from helping a new friend move to savor the food and the moment.

The state demonstrated its inability (or lack of will) to respond to climate catastrophes at a public town hall meeting. FEMA representatives deflected questions from an audience comprised primarily of low-income residents of color. The FEMA representatives responded robotically, patronizing the residents who sought answers about housing and financial aid. FEMA claimed that the state of Florida requested trailers on the 23rd of October but couldn’t answer to where they were or if they would even arrive at all. Residents shared their difficulties in locating housing in hotels and rentals even with the aid of vouchers and rental assistance. The nearest available housing is between 2 to 7 hours away, rendering it inaccessible to those without transportation and those with jobs, children, or families with disabilities. To this concern, a FEMA representative responded that there are three shelters available. The town hall attendees quickly corrected her, pointing out that there was only one, and it was at capacity.

Disaster Capitalism meets Disaster Bureaucracy. Top-down, bureaucratic institutions and predatory, exploitative landlords both impose their “solutions” and “participation” is just a smokescreen for coercion. Real participatory efforts necessitate sharing power, something the state and predatory capitalists avoid like the plague.

As the weeks pass, visual reminders of the destruction of Hurricane Michael are still ever present. But we have learned to listen. Even with the weight of governmental inaction, landlord abuse, and newfound homelessness for many, people recognize a different way of being as possible and desirable.

“I know my neighbors better now than I have for the past 14 years.”

“People are at their best when things are at their worst.”

“There is always good that comes from tragedy.”

This is what we hear from disaster survivors in Panama City. And we echo it.

When the grid fails, when roads are impassable, amid the profound suffering and loss, we see clearly that all we have is each other — that relationships are what matters — and when things fall apart, people come together.

We listen to our hearts, to each other, to strangers quickly becoming friends. We listen to the unspoken words and warnings in the winds. We listen to a world slowly dying — or being born. We are not sure which. We think it is still up to all of us and the choices we make. A movement elder taught us that we will be either the most loved or most hated generation; that we will be known as the generation that either saved or squandered life as we know it.

A just recovery and a just transition are necessities for our collective survival. Now is the time to experiment with ways of living that give us the flexibility and freedom to do what we know needs to be done. Now is the time to gain practical skills and knowledge that can be used to further people’s survival in crisis and beyond.

Storms are coming. Let’s be ready. Humanity, liberation, justice, belonging and, yes, paradise will never be on the ballot. But if we know where to look, we can still find them — in each other.

category: 

by thecollective at November 14, 2018 03:05 PM

Deep Green Resistance News Service

Film Review: “First Reformed” Fails to Deliver on Environmental Themes

     by Max Wilbert / Deep Green Resistance

“And for destroying the destroyers of the earth…” — Revelations, 11-18

The film “First Reformed” has an interesting premise. Toller (Ethan Hawke) is the sad, solitary  pastor of a small church who is asked to help Michael (Philip Ettinger), an activist and member of his congregation, who is struggling.

The two begin a dialogue, and Michael shares a sense of hopelessness in the face of ecological collapse. “It’s 2017,” he says, “and the IPCC said in 2010 that if drastic changes weren’t made by 2015, the entire planet’s ecology might collapse.” He also points out that hundreds of environmental activists are killed worldwide every year.

As Toller grapples with the existential questions brought on by this conversation, Michael’s wife Mary (played by Amanda Seyfried) finds explosives and a suicide vest hidden in the garage, and shows them to Toller, who takes them away. After discovering that his stash gone, Michael commits suicide.

The first major flaw in the film is the perpetuation of the stereotype that being aware of the state of the planet—toxification, species extinction, global warming, the refugee crisis, etc.—is to be consumed by all-encompassing depression. Michael is also described as having “no friends” and being “barely even sociable.”

These ideas are inaccurate and dangerous. The key message is this: if contemplating ecological collapse will drive you to suicide, then the science and discourse around ecological collapse is dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. This idea strengthens and validates the culture of denial that dominates popular discourse, and the stereotype that revolutionaries are depressed and alone.

In my experience, the opposite is true: those of us who fight back have rich communities and better mental health than the average. These themes resurface later in the film as well.

Toller is left to provide some small support to Mary, now a widow. But he remains deeply troubled by the statistics and trends on ecological collapse that the film accurately depicts.

The film sets up a tension between Toller’s small, struggling church and a massive nearby congregation—generously funded by a large fossil fuel corporation. The subtext is clear, and meant to examine the tension between religion at its best, as a source of moral guidance and inspiration for freedom fighters such as those on the underground railroad, and at its worst, as a narcotic, as the opiate of the masses and a tool of colonization.

At this point in the film, Toller’s simmering rage, sadness, and emotion waiting to explode become more apparent. Hidden beneath the puritan veneer of a small-town preacher lies alcoholism and a deep sadness. “No sooner do I close my eyes than desolation is upon me,” he says at one point in the film, after recounting the death of his son in Iraq—a war he encouraged his son to join, then later came to see as unjust.

After a promising start, the film takes a nosedive. There are two points on which the ending of the film fails completely. The first is feminist, the second environmental.

I thought, at first, naively, that this film wasn’t going to fall into casting the female lead as a sex object. But, predictably, it did, in a strange scene in which Mary, who is presumed to be in her early 30’s and who is pregnant and recently widowed, asks Toller, in his late 40’s, alcoholic and a minister, to snuggle with her. However, the scene seems to remain platonic, despite its strangeness and improbability.

After this, tortured by the thought of environmental collapse and by the collaboration between the oil company and his fellow Christians, Hawke decides to take the suicide vest (which he has kept) into a public event and blow himself—and the oil executives—up. After seeing Mary unexpectedly arrive, he doffs the explosives, wraps himself in rusty barbed wire, and prepares to commit suicide himself by drinking drain cleaner. Then Mary comes into the room, her and Toller begin kissing, and film ends abruptly.

What the fuck?

This is why I hate Hollywood and don’t really watch movies. Provided with a fascinating topic and a talented cast, all the filmmaker can muster is this emotional trainwreck, this pointlessness.

As is so common in popular culture, the artist (the director, in this case) confuses emotional turmoil with deep meaning. The final message might as well be a line Toller reads from his bible: “…the knowledge of the emptiness of all things, which can only be filled by the knowledge of our savior.”

Both of Toller’s final approaches—the suicide vest and the barbed wire—represent the self-flagellation of total helplessness. They are only personal solutions, not social or moral or political ones.

Revolutionaries don’t need this shit. We need cultural products—art, music, film, books, poetry, etc.—which nurture our resistance spirit, encourage our hearts, and teach us about healthy lives and effective ways of fighting empire.

Don’t waste your time on this film, or any other bullshit coming out of Hollywood.

by Deep Green Resistance News Service at November 14, 2018 02:22 PM

resilience.org

Global Coal Use May have Peaked in 2014, Says Latest IEA World Energy Outlook

Coal plant

The world may never again use as much coal as during a peak in 2014, according to the latest World Energy Outlook from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

by Simon Evans at November 14, 2018 02:01 PM

A Fixed Meat Ration is Not the Path to Sustainable Food Systems

We should focus our interest into the transition to a sustainable and regenerative food and agriculture system. Such a system would exclude or substantially reduce those foods which are wasteful regardless if those are eggs from caged hens or asparagus flown from one side of the globe to the other.

by Gunnar Rundgren at November 14, 2018 01:45 PM

jacobinmag

A Testing of the Waters After Janus

What will the landscape for public-sector workers look like after Janus? The University of Illinois-Chicago is seeing what it can get away with — but campus unions are meeting the attacks with more militancy.


alt Members of the Graduate Employees Organization protest on the UIC campus in 2010. Ben Seese / Flickr

In the aftermath of this summer’s Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court decision attacking public-sector unions, the University of Illinois at Chicago is rapidly becoming a bellwether for how those unions might sink or swim in a world without fair share.

UIC prides itself on being one of the most diverse college campuses in the country and one of the most welcoming to working-class students. The city’s only public research university and home to a vast hospital system, UIC employs a cross section of public-sector workers including nurses, teachers, clerical workers, and maintenance workers, nearly all of whom are unionized.

In recent years, university officials have rightly issued public statements critical of government actions that harm members of the campus community, including Trump’s Muslim ban, the Illinois state budget impasse, and the House GOP’s failed attempt to tax graduate student tuition waivers. But since the Supreme Court issued its anti-union decision in the Janus case this June—threatening the collective bargaining rights of thousands of university employees—the administration has been silent. Instead, through their actions, administrators have indicated a willingness to use Janus to engage in union busting.

In the first month after the ruling came down, the university payroll office failed to deduct dues from hundreds of card-signed union members from several unions on campus, including UIC United Faculty (UICUF), the Illinois Nurses Association (INA), SEIU Local 73, and my own union, the UIC Graduate Employees Organization (GEO). In the case of GEO, this cost our relatively small local of graduate student workers a whopping $10,000.

UIC’s failure to deduct member dues in July was not only illegal, but it also effectively silenced workers who actually want to pay dues because they enjoy having workplace rights. The administration openly admitted they hadn’t deducted dues, but said they weren’t going to do anything to remedy this obvious legal violation. Instead, they’ve forced the unions into a protracted grievance and arbitration dispute, apparently hoping they can simply tire us out or outspend us in legal fees.

Further, the administration is claiming the right to unilaterally process membership revocations without notifying the unions, which goes against university HR’s own policy. They also refuse to provide us with timely information about which employees are in our respective bargaining units, which is especially harmful for GEO since our bargaining unit changes dramatically every semester. Not knowing exactly who we represent at all times makes it difficult to sign up new members and impossible to ensure UIC is deducting dues correctly.

In August, GEO discovered that the university had mistakenly deducted dues from sixty nonmembers, individuals we had never claimed were union members in the first place. Mistakes like this put the union at legal risk, since the erroneously deducted money goes into our local’s bank account and makes the local liable for “taking” it. We alerted the administration immediately and they quickly corrected the error. What we still haven’t been able to figure out is why a handful of grad workers, overwhelmed with our normal teaching and research responsibilities and representing our union as volunteers, have to tell well-paid administrators at a multibillion-dollar institution like UIC how to do their jobs.

All of this comes as our unions are in the middle of contract negotiations. Even before Janus, UIC was already prone to bullying campus workers at the bargaining table and pushing us into going on strike. In 2014, faculty with UICUF had to strike to win their first contract. Last fall, the INA-represented staff nurses and administrative nurses at the UI Hospital came within a hair’s breadth of walking off the job before an eleventh-hour agreement was reached. This past spring, grad workers at the Urbana-Champaign campus had to strike for nearly two weeks in order to safeguard tuition waivers.

It comes as no surprise, then, that the administration has tried to exploit the post-Janus confusion around dues deductions to gain an advantage in bargaining, presumably to pressure us into making concessions on issues that matter to our members in exchange for the continued existence of our unions. When GEO first questioned why the administration had not deducted July member dues, they said they would only discuss it with us in contract negotiations—never mind that abiding by existing contract language and existing law is non-negotiable.

UIC grad workers—whose baseline pay is only $18,000 and who are forced to pay up to $2,000 in fees every year—are fighting for living wages and fee waivers. UIC’s tenured and nontenured faculty are fighting for increased job security, shared governance, and raises. That should be the focus of negotiations, not bureaucratic procedures around dues deductions.

The administration is waging its most vicious attack on the underpaid Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) with INA at the UI Hospital, who have also been in bargaining since Janus came down. Shortly after the ruling was issued, the university decided to bring in a new lead negotiator, who proceeded to tear up previously agreed-upon articles and introduce extremely regressive proposals in their place. Among other things, UIC is demanding LPNs surrender their right to engage in virtually any kind of concerted activity at the workplace, while demanding INA publicly disavow any kind of protest carried out by its members and threatening to single out union leaders for discipline.

UIC administrators seem to have assumed that Janus would leave our unions weakened and afraid, allowing them ride roughshod over us and impose terrible contracts. But they miscalculated.

Thanks to the administration’s handling of Janus, the campus unions are working together closely. In late July, members of INA, UICUF, SEIU Local 73, and GEO held a joint march on the boss, showing up unexpectedly at the office of the head of university Labor Relations to demand accountability around the failure to deduct dues. Clearly rattled by this, the administration has since been far more careful around processing deductions and correcting errors when we point them out.

Meanwhile, all of our unions have filed or plan to file both grievances and Unfair Labor Practice charges. GEO and UICUF are ramping up our respective contract campaigns, both building towards possible strikes next spring which might easily coincide. This week, the LPNs will be going out on an indefinite ULP strike, and members from all four of our unions will hold a unified protest and rally as the UIC Board of Trustees gathers on campus for a meeting.

The budding coalition of UIC unions should be on every labor activist’s radar, as it’s emblematic of what a post-Janus world can look like for public-sector unions: a huge uptick in hostility from the boss met with more solidarity, more organizing, more direct action, more strikes, and a deeper determination to fight for our rights as public sector workers to ensure our students get the education they deserve, and our patients get the care they deserve.


by Jeff Schuhrke at November 14, 2018 01:15 PM

resilience.org

Climate Change Should be Political but not Partisan

Floods in Bangladesh

The fact that climate change is mostly caused by the rich and yet the poorest, who have done least to cause it and have the least resources to respond, will be hit most seriously by the damaging impacts – is uncomfortable. But it is important.

by Tegan Tallulah at November 14, 2018 01:11 PM

Channel Zero

Riots, Crisis, and Prisons

This post was originally published on this site

In this episode, we speak with Joshua Clover, author of Riot. Strike. Riot: The New Era of Uprisings and professor of literature and critical theory at the University of California Davis, about the ongoing crisis of racial capitalism and its relation to riots and the carceral state.

by Rustbelt Abolition Radio at November 14, 2018 12:30 PM

resilience.org

Why Co-ops and Community Farms Can’t Close the Racial Wealth Gap

Malik Yakini

As much pride and empowerment as there is in community ownership of food-producing gardens and financial services such as credit unions to support local businesses, research shows those sorts of grassroots efforts cannot close the ever-growing wealth gap that has been historically and systematically created along racial lines.

by Zenobia Jeffries Warfield at November 14, 2018 12:22 PM

Gathering Degrowth in the American Pluriverse

degrowUS logo

It turns out, degrowth is a lot of things: a criticism, a proposal, a hypothesis, a provocation, a conversation, a deceleration, a downscaling, a reimagining, a project, a lens, a movement, a set of practices, an invitation to dream of worlds beyond growth.

by Sam Bliss at November 14, 2018 12:19 PM

The Ghosts of Past Political Failures Haunt Environmental Challenges

Extinction Rebellion protest

We will not solve climate change and other pressing global threats until we admit, and learn from, the repeated failures of past proclamations and promises. 

by Richard Eckersley at November 14, 2018 12:19 PM

Dewayne-Net

The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us

The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us
Climate breakdown could be rapid and unpredictable. We can no longer tinker around the edges and hope minor changes will avert collapse
By George Monbiot
Nov 14 2018
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/nov/14/earth-death-spiral-radical-action-climate-breakdown

It was a moment of the kind that changes lives. At a press conference held by climate activists Extinction Rebellion last week, two of us journalists pressed the organisers on whether their aims were realistic. They have called, for example, for UK carbon emissions to be reduced to net zero by 2025. Wouldn’t it be better, we asked, to pursue some intermediate aims?

A young woman called Lizia Woolf stepped forward. She hadn’t spoken before, but the passion, grief and fury of her response was utterly compelling. “What is it that you are asking me as a 20-year-old to face and to accept about my future and my life? … This is an emergency. We are facing extinction. When you ask questions like that, what is it you want me to feel?” We had no answer.

Softer aims might be politically realistic, but they are physically unrealistic. Only shifts commensurate with the scale of our existential crises have any prospect of averting them. Hopeless realism, tinkering at the edges of the problem, got us into this mess. It will not get us out.

Public figures talk and act as if environmental change will be linear and gradual. But the Earth’s systems are highly complex, and complex systems do not respond to pressure in linear ways. When these systems interact (because the world’s atmosphere, oceans, land surface and lifeforms do not sit placidly within the boxes that make study more convenient), their reactions to change become highly unpredictable. Small perturbations can ramify wildly. Tipping points are likely to remain invisible until we have passed them. We could see changes of state so abrupt and profound that no continuity can be safely assumed.

Only one of the many life support systems on which we depend – soils, aquifers, rainfall, ice, the pattern of winds and currents, pollinators, biological abundance and diversity – need fail for everything to slide. For example, when Arctic sea ice melts beyond a certain point, the positive feedbacks this triggers (such as darker water absorbing more heat, melting permafrost releasing methane, shifts in the polar vortex) could render runaway climate breakdown unstoppable. When the Younger Dryas period ended 11,600 years ago, temperatures rose 10C within a decade.

I don’t believe such a collapse is yet inevitable, or that a commensurate response is either technically or economically impossible. When the US joined the second world war in 1941, it replaced a civilian economy with a military economy within months. As Jack Doyle records in his book Taken for a Ride, “In one year, General Motors developed, tooled and completely built from scratch 1,000 Avenger and 1,000 Wildcat aircraft … Barely a year after Pontiac received a navy contract to build anti-shipping missiles, the company began delivering the completed product to carrier squadrons around the world.” And this was before advanced information technology made everything faster.

The problem is political. A fascinating analysis by the social science professor Kevin MacKay contends that oligarchy has been a more fundamental cause of the collapse of civilisations than social complexity or energy demand. Control by oligarchs, he argues, thwarts rational decision-making, because the short-term interests of the elite are radically different to the long-term interests of society. This explains why past civilisations have collapsed “despite possessing the cultural and technological know-how needed to resolve their crises”. Economic elites, which benefit from social dysfunction, block the necessary solutions.

The oligarchic control of wealth, politics, media and public discourse explains the comprehensive institutional failure now pushing us towards disaster. Think of Donald Trump and his cabinet of multi-millionaires; the influence of the Koch brothers in funding rightwing organisations; the Murdoch empire and its massive contribution to climate science denial; or the oil and motor companies whose lobbying prevents a faster shift to new technologies.

It is not just governments that have failed to respond, though they have failed spectacularly. Public sector broadcasters have systematically shut down environmental coverage, while allowing the opaquely funded lobbyists that masquerade as thinktanks to shape public discourse and deny what we face. Academics, afraid to upset their funders and colleagues, have bitten their lips.

Even the bodies that claim to be addressing our predicament remain locked within destructive frameworks. Last Wednesday I attended a meeting about environmental breakdown at the Institute for Public Policy Research. Many people in the room seemed to understand that continued economic growth is incompatible with sustaining the Earth’s systems.

As the author Jason Hickel points out, a decoupling of rising GDP from global resource use has not happened and will not happen. While 50bn tonnes of resources used per year is roughly the limit the Earth’s systems can tolerate, the world is already consuming 70bn tonnes. At current rates of economic growth, this will rise to 180bn tonnes by 2050. Maximum resource efficiency, coupled with massive carbon taxes, would reduce this at best to 95bn tonnes: still way beyond environmental limits. Green growth, as members of the institute appear to accept, is physically impossible.

Yet on the same day, the same institute announced a major new economics prize for “ambitious proposals to achieve a step-change improvement in the growth rate”. It wants ideas that will enable economic growth rates in the UK at least to double. The announcement was accompanied by the usual blah about sustainability, but none of the judges of the prize has a discernible record of environmental interest.

Those to whom we look for solutions trundle on as if nothing has changed. As if the accumulating evidence has no purchase on their minds. Decades of institutional failure ensures that only “unrealistic” proposals – the repurposing of economic life, with immediate effect – now have a realistic chance of stopping the planetary death spiral. And only those who stand outside the failed institutions can lead this effort.

[snip]

by wa8dzp at November 14, 2018 11:58 AM

indexcensorship.org

Turkey: Whitewashing the police, one sentence at a time

The head judge cleared his throat and called the journalist. As soon as he pronounced her name, “Seda Taşkın,” in his high-pitched voice, a look of incredulity spread across the faces of the handful of people watching the trial in the austere courthouse in Muş, a small town in Turkey’s far east. One lawyer, startled, dared to point out the unexpected sequence of words: “Did you just call her ‘Seda?’” Rıdvan Konak asked.

For the first time throughout the trial, the judge’s impassive eyes betrayed a glimpse of nervousness. It must have dawned on him: During the previous hearings, he had insisted on calling her “Seher,” the name on her ID card. After all, the prosecution had claimed that “Seda” was nothing but a code name for her allegedly illegal activities. In fact, Taşkın’s purported code name was the sole shred of ostensible evidence for the prosecution’s charge of “membership in a terrorist organisation,” and the judge was absent-mindedly throwing it away.

A faint and uneasy smile formed below his thin moustache. “You thought all along that we were fixated on that, but we were not,” he managed to reply, looking awkwardly at lawyers from his raised platform. It was an explanation he mumbled aloud twice – just like a little boy caught in fraganti trying to convince his parents that he wasn’t misbehaving. It was also an odd excuse given that the court had twice refused to release the journalist on the grounds that more evidence was needed to prove that all her family and friends had called her “Seda” since she was a toddler. Yet a hopeful question popped up in everyone’s mind. Could this slip of the tongue be a good omen?

The fact the head judge so naturally ended up calling the journalist by the name everybody used showed how much regard the court paid to the accusations levelled by the prosecution. The journalist’s lawyer, Ebru Akkal, said distorted evidence and interpretations were common in free speech cases. “But in Seda’s case, we are dealing with blatant lies,” Akkal said. Taşkın, a reporter focusing on culture, education and women’s rights, was accused of sharing articles on her social media accounts – none of which were written by her.

“Let’s imagine for a moment that they were claiming that Seda killed someone. But the prosecutor is unable to present the weapon with which the crime was committed or establish the place where the murder occurred,” Akkal explained. “What’s more, the person whom they claim was killed is not dead but stands before them. This is the kind of case that Seda was faced with.”

And it did feel as though Taşkın was being personally targeted by the anti-terrorism unit of Muş in light of the massive rights violations she experienced from the moment of her arrest, including a fabricated tipoff, physical and psychological ill-treatment during custody, threats, as well as blackmail.

Nevertheless, Akkal said they expected Taşkın’s release until the very moment that the verdict was pronounced. The judges overseeing the case, however, opted to change the goalposts at the last minute, suddenly and arbitrarily replacing the original accusation with the vaguer charge of “aiding a terrorist organisation without being a member.” The court also refused to provide any additional time to the defense to object to the charge as required.

“I think that the court was convinced that Seda had nothing to do with a terrorist organisation. But they needed to find a charge because they couldn’t let any individual who got into the authorities’ grip go without a sentence,” Akkal said.

The court eventually handed Taşkın four years and two months on the charge of “aiding a terrorist organisation without being a member” and three years and four months on the charge of “conducting propaganda,” adding up to a total of 7.5 years in jail. The journalist, who has already spent 10 months in pre-trial detention at the Silivri Prison in Ankara, will remain in jail during the appeal process. Taşkın was forced to make all her defense statements via video-conference broadcast on a screen inside the courtroom 1,000 kilometers from the capital.

The court had already buried police irregularities by refusing to investigate the identity of the person who gave the tipoff despite repeated requests by lawyers. The extension of the email address in the files, which authorities neglected to black out, clearly indicated the tipoff came from a member of the police department. The judges also refused to heed Taşkın’s long account of the abuse, strip searches, beatings and threats she suffered. But by sentencing her, they have closed the case with a minimum of fuss for the police and the prosecutor.

Taşkın’s lawyers expressed indignation at the court’s handling of the case, describing it as blatant bias. “If the judges are to wash the prosecutor’s hands and the prosecutor, in turn, the police’s hands, why not just let the police run the investigation and issue a verdict?” Akkal said.

“Eclectic and sensitive”

Only two years ago, Taşkın was thrilled when she learned that she had been appointed to the eastern city of Van by the pro-Kurdish Mezopotamya News Agency. She thought that her new position in the agency’s second largest regional office would give her invaluable experience as a journalist in a much tougher environment. The decision also meant leaving her family home in Ankara for the first time in her life. Her parents, however, were concerned about her plans, since journalists working in Kurdish provinces have become even more vulnerable to arrests and detentions since authorities declared a state of emergency in 2016.

She possibly chose the most difficult context possible to work “in the region,” as many reporters in the field refer to the Kurdish southeast. The crackdown on Kurdish media intensified during a military assault that was launched in the winter of 2015 and peaked under the state of emergency clampdown. Many journalists were tracked, investigated, threatened and some, such as Nedim Türfent, jailed and charged with terrorism offenses.

Ultimately, Taşkın’s motivation and determination won her family over, and the young journalist went to begin her work.

The poise she showed was a pleasant surprise for her elder sister Yelda. “We saw the change,” she says. “Seda is someone very emotional and restless. Although she tried, she didn’t graduate from university. So, Seda started as an intern at the agency and was hoping to study journalism after garnering some experience.”

In Van, she felt empowered to express her personality, especially when covering stories that were colourful or touching more so than merely political. “She was eclectic. Her sensitivity and inner conscience allowed her to report on universal subjects such as ecology or women’s issues,” her sister said. She toured villages around the Van Lake, met local people and developed her passion for photography to such a degree that she didn’t want to go back to Ankara.

Then, one day in December 2017, her agency sent her to Muş to report on as many articles as she could. It was Taşkın’s first time in the rural and conservative province. She travelled first to Varto, a former Armenian town populated today by a majority of Alevis – a community whose belief system is often labelled as a heterodox and progressive form of Shia Islam – who had fled Dersim during the state-perpetrated massacres of 1938. Dersim, today called Tunceli after the name of the Turkish state’s military operation, is also the hometown of Taşkın’s family.

After reporting on the newly established culture and solidarity association in Varto, she returned to the provincial center, a place firmly under the control of the police. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) had won the municipality over the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and kept the city under strict state authority. She would be arrested shortly thereafter.

Bizarre significance of hearing dates

According to her lawyer Akkal, the mere fact that proceedings were conducted in Muş seriously affected the course of the trial. “The rulings of courts are so inconsistent and unpredictable. Had Seda been arrested in Ankara she wouldn’t even have stayed in prison a day. At worst, she would have been released at the first hearing,” Akkal said. “A very different approach exists in places such as Muş, Bitlis or Van. People are declared guilty at the moment they are arrested. [Authorities] don’t follow the evidence to find the suspect, they collect the evidence based on the suspect instead.”

Taşkın’s case followed the same trajectory. Among the several reports she was covering, Taşkın met with the family of 80-year-old Sise Bingöl, who has been in jail on terror charges since 2016 despite suffering from heart and lung disease. The recordings of her interview with Bingöl’s relatives, which were found after Taşkın was arrested, were used as evidence in the trial even though the journalist never published them. Once she was taken in custody, police seemed to have dissected her Facebook and Twitter accounts to find any post that could make a terrorism charge admissible in the eyes of the Turkey’s ever less independent judiciary.

Taşkın’s former colleague Hayri Demir, a journalist based in Ankara who followed the last hearing in Muş, stressed that social media posts containing news reports should be considered as a journalistic activity in itself. “Social media has become a publishing space for journalists. It’s a space where journalists share their own and their colleagues’ articles,” said Demir, who himself is facing 10.5 years for five tweets – all of which lacked any personal comment – on Turkey’s military operation against the Syrian town of Afrin in January.

“It’s six days per character,” he joked. “They are trying to entirely silence journalists by even incriminating their social media posts.”

Accusing journalists of sharing other people’s news articles also violates the individuality of criminal responsibility, a critical principle of modern criminal law.  

But aside from the dubious practices of the authorities, there was one aspect to Taşkın’s case that seemed to amount to psychological harassment: The symbolic dates of the hearings. The second hearing of the case was held on 2 July, the 25th anniversary of an attack by an extremist mob in Sivas that killed 33 Alevi artists. The third hearing was set on 12 September, the anniversary of the 1980 coup, which resulted in imprisonment and torture for thousands of left-wing and pro-Kurdish activists. The fourth and last hearing was on 10 October, the third anniversary of Turkey’s deadliest-ever terrorist attack, which the Islamic State perpetrated against peace activists in Ankara. As for the date of the first hearing, 30 April, that happened to coincide with the liberation of Muş from foreigners after World War I.

The journalist was the first one to notice the significance of the dates, Akkal said. “She told me, ‘Ebru, they are doing it intentionally.’ I don’t believe that the dates were randomly chosen either.”

The verdict will become definitive if the regional court rejects her appeal – and because Taşkın’s sentences are each under five years, she will not have recourse to the Supreme Court of Appeals if the lower court rules against her. Regional courts are hardly known for their initiative, but both lawyers and taşkın retain their hopes for a rare fair reassessment of the case. In the meantime, lawyers have applied to the Turkish Constitutional Court to halt the execution of the sentence based on a precedent for journalists Mehmet Altan and Şahin Alpay. In January 2018, the Constitutional Court ruled that the imprisonment of both journalists not only violated their right to security and freedom but that there was not enough evidence to hold the men. Although first instance courts controversially refused to implement the decision, the pair was released at the end of a legal row months later.   

Taşkın’s lawyers are also preparing to file an application at the European Court of Human Rights, although Akkal noted that it will take at least a year for either of Turkey’s top courts to make a decision. Taşkın, meanwhile, may face years in prison waiting for justice to be served. “After the initial shock of the verdict, she is now calm. She is trying to spend her time productively,” Akkal said.

Her sister Yelda said Seda had started to learn English in prison and was reading lots of books. “We were expecting her to be released in each hearing. But we would like anyone who is unfairly imprisoned to be free,” she said, adding that Seda has tried to remain conscious of the fact that she is not the only journalist in jail.

Indeed, during her defense, Taşkın not only called for her release but expressed her wishes that all her colleagues would walk free – an expression of human solidarity against organised unlawfulness that has riddled the law, one unjust sentence at a time.

Cumhuriyet: A press freedom case degenerates into a boardroom takeover

Cumhuriyet’s administration abruptly changed after a court ruling early September. Around 30 journalists and writers (some of whom had been in jail) were either dismissed or resigned in protest of the way the new board took over the newspaper.

Turkey’s thought-provoking playwrights, actors and directors have little choice but to become exiles

For Turkish director and actor Memet Ali Alabora, theatre is about creating an environment in which the audience is encouraged to think, react and reflect

Academic’s indictment reflects the Turkish government’s criminalisation of free speech

Despite the lifting of the state of emergency in July, arbitrary arrests and human rights violations continue.

Journalism in Exile: “Turkey had turned into hell for journalism”

It’s 2016. Turkey is in a state of emergency after the failed coup d’etat of the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan government. Journalists like Yavuz Baydar are going to be more at risk than ever before.

The post Turkey: Whitewashing the police, one sentence at a time appeared first on Index on Censorship.

by Ozgun Ozcer at November 14, 2018 11:56 AM

InterPressService (global south)

Reaffirming free trade crucial for summits

By EI SUN OH
Nov 14 2018 (Manila Times)

THE annual summit season beckons again. For several days this month, the leaders of the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) and their counterparts from near and far, including the United States and China, will gather in Singapore for a series of expanded multilateral and bilateral summits. A few days later, the leaders will join even more of their counterparts in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) high-level meetings.

EI SUN OH

High on the agenda would of course be the state of the economy not only for the region, but also for the world. The world economy still wallows in the dire aftermath of the global financial crisis a decade ago. Pockets of growth bubble up from time to time, with the US, China and Southeast Asia most conspicuous among them. But already signs of strains surface, with the stock and commodity markets remaining volatile. So there is still plenty to be done by various major economies to stimulate their own and the collective global economy. Southeast Asia and by extension the Asia Pacific region are especially crucial in these endeavors.

Alas, the US under the Trump administration decided to essentially turn its back on the whole idea and practice of free trade which it had first propounded, avidly practiced and assiduously encouraged other countries to adopt. One of Trump’s first official acts after assuming the presidency was the renunciation of American participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, for which the previous Obama administration had been rounding up members. It would have been the world’s largest free trade bloc, surpassing even the North American Free Trade Area (NAFTA, which itself is under “attack” from the same Trump administration) or the European Single Market. TPP was supposed to be a “free trade plus” agreement, not only opening up the markets of its participating economies, but improving their quality as well by means of rigorous standards.

It is no secret that many TPP member states, especially those with developing country status, signed up to TPP mainly to gain free trade access to the gigantic American market. They did so with the reciprocal condition that they would similarly have to open up their own domestic markets for foreign competition, and for that many of their politicians would have to take domestic political heat as local merchants understandably would like to protect their respective home turfs. Yet many of these politicians pushed for the TPP despite domestic unpopularity, believing that it would be ultimately beneficial to their home countries.

Then came the American withdrawal from TPP, which was as if a rug had been pulled from under them. Some of them would have to face ridicule from their respective electorates. Remedial measures are being undertaken, most prominently by Japan, to try to salvage what is left of the TPP, which has now been renamed the Comprehensive and Progressive TPP. It would still be the world’s third largest free trade bloc, but the enthusiasm for it and its luster have waned. Even if the CP TPP is eventually ratified, it will not have the same forceful effect on the world’s free trade agenda.

Asean does have its own free trade area under the aegis of the Asean Economic Community (AEC), which was supposed to drastically reduce or remove tariffs and non-tariff barriers between Asean countries. But despite AEC having been in force for a few years now, intra-Asean trade has yet to pick up significantly when compared to Asean trade with other major economies in the world.

And then Trump launched another round of trade war, imposing tariffs on manufactured goods mainly from China but also from many other economies. More than a few Southeast Asian countries, though not directly targeted by the American tariffs, will also be indirectly affected. This is because in some cases, they make intermediary products which are shipped to China and other major economies targeted by the American tariffs. So if exports from these economies targeted by the US slow down, so would their demand from these Southeast Asian countries. Electronic products are one such example. How would these countries weather the resulting economic hardships individually and collectively remains to be sorted out.

There has also been much expectation for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, which would comprise Asean countries and six other neighboring major economies, including China, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Australia and India. At first it was supposed to sort of collate the various existing bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements among these participating economies, and therefore not difficult to conclude. But the actual RCEP negotiations proved to be much more tedious than initially anticipated, so that in a sense the RCEP negotiations has become even more protracted than the TPP’s. There are increasingly more and more calls for those RCEP participants who are willing and ready to accept the RCEP terms to just go ahead and form it first, with the other potential participants joining later when they are ready. For the world’s free trade momentum must not be lost, and a reaffirmation for it during the upcoming summits would be helpful more or less.

This story was originally published by The Manila Times, Philippines

The post Reaffirming free trade crucial for summits appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by EI SUN OH at November 14, 2018 11:33 AM