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July 16, 2019

A-infos

(en) Britain, anarchist communist grou ACG: Workplace Notes

Stagecoach drivers in Lancashire ---- Stagecoach, the transport company, recently offered the insulting 3p an hour rise over three years to its bus and coach drivers. A strike followed with 150 drivers and their supporters gathering at Preston bus station on 25th June., with a similar number at Chorley bus station. They are prepared to strike for another 15 days this July. ---- Arriva bus drivers in London ---- Arriva operates a fifth of London buses in the greater London area. It is increasingly putting pressure on drivers to work on their rest days. This is not just a massive stress on them, but increases health and safety concerns over tired drivers lacking concentration and losing control of their wheels. At 15 bus stations, bus drivers voted overwhelmingly- 1,854 to 69 - to come out on strike. Watch this space for further news. ...

by A-infos (a-infos-en@ainfos.ca) at July 16, 2019 04:22 AM

Channel Zero

Episode 52: “Rural Rebels” ft. the IAF-FAI

This post was originally published on this site

Today, we share the second half of out two-part special with comrades from the IAF-FAI, Bad Salish Girl and The Green City. This time, we chat about the unique challenges and advantages of organizing in the countryside. 

Make sure to check out Pt. I if you haven’t done so already! 

Music: 

  • Intro: “I Ain’t Got No Home in this World” by Woody Guthrie 
  • Interlude: “Fkkk You, Amerikkka” by Indigenize 
  • Outro: “A Matter of Action” by Klee Benally

by Coffee with Comrades at July 16, 2019 04:00 AM

A-infos

(en) Poland, zsp.net.pl: KrakVet: an example of disregarding an employee [machine translation]

For several years, employees from all over Poland have been contacting ZSP, who are struggling with the problem of non-payment by the Social Insurance Institution of benefits due to ZUS not receiving Z3 forms. Pursuant to the binding law, the obligation to submit the Z3 forms to the ZUS Regional Organizational Unit lies with the employer. Many of them, however, do not do it. ---- However, the employee bears the consequences of not fulfilling the obligation by the employer. If the employer does not provide the printout, it is impossible for the ZUS to pay the benefit. Regardless of whether it is sick leave or paid parental leave. ---- One of the employers who are completely uninterested in complying with regulations in this field is KrakVet.pl from Krakow. As a result of failure to deliver the documentation used to ZUS, the employee of the company, having two children, ...

by A-infos (a-infos-en@ainfos.ca) at July 16, 2019 03:41 AM

(en) US, black rose fed: HAS SYRIZA'S "LONG MARCH THROUGH THE INSTITUTIONS" COME TO AN END?

A supporter of SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left in Greece) waves a party flag at a 2015 election rally in Athens. Photo: Michael Debets ---- Greece's Syriza was a beacon of hope to many parts of the left when they came to power in 2015 but the party's quick capitulation to the austerity measures they campaigned against was a forceful affirmation of those critical of electoral strategies. With the party set to lose power after experiencing a heavy defeat in the early July 2019 election, Athens based Yavor Tarinski offers an assessment of outcome and it's lessons. ---- By Yavor Tarinski ---- On July 7th the SYRIZA party (Coalition of the Radical Left) lost the Greek national elections to the conservative New Democracy with a bitter 8% difference, allowing the latter to form a self-reliance government (something which had not happen since the beginning of the crisis ...

by A-infos (a-infos-en@ainfos.ca) at July 16, 2019 03:40 AM

crimethinc

Sobre la acción de Willem van Spronsen en contra del Centro de Detención del Noroeste en Tacoma : Incluyendo el texto completo de su declaración final

El 13 de julio, Willem Van Spronsen fue asesinado por la policía mientras llevaba a cabo una acción para inutilizar la flota de autobuses del Centro de Detención del Noroeste, una instalación privada para la detención y encarcelamiento de inmigrantes. Su declaración final, reproducida a continuación, nos transmite que actuó en respuesta a las continuas redadas y deportaciones llevadas a cabo por el Servicio de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas de los Estados Unidos (ICE). El mismo día se conmemoraba el primer aniversario de una huelga de hambre dentro del mismo Centro de Detención. Puedes leer una lista de otros actos de resistencia que han ocurrido dentro del Centro de Detención del Noroeste aquí.

Entendemos por qué Willem Van Spronsen decidió dar su vida para interrumpir la violencia que se comete contra las personas indocumentadas en los Estados Unidos todos los días.

No es exagerado decir que las redadas de ICE están dirigidas a nuestrxs amigxs y vecinxs, personas que han vivido y trabajado junto a nosotrxs durante años, incluso décadas. La vulnerabilidad de las personas indocumentadas como clase sumamente explotable ha ayudado a multimillonarios como Donald Trump a obtener ganancias incluso más allá de lo que podrían haber obtenido por medios legales. Luego, los mismos capitalistas se dirigen a los otros trabajadores explotados y les dicen que la pobreza y las desgracias que experimentan son culpa de aquellos que son más pobres y más oprimidos que ellos. Es difícil imaginar una estrategia más cínica.

La disparidad de derechos entre documentados e indocumentados es un constructo, así como la disparidad en el valor que los nazis construyeron entre judíos y gentiles. Ambos son meros inventos, no tienen existencia intrínseca, excepto como un medio para que un grupo poderoso justifique la violencia contra un grupo menos poderoso. Los que justifican la obediencia a la ley como un bien en sí mismo están del lado de los nazis, cuyas leyes condenaron a millones de personas a campos de exterminio, sin mencionar a los racistas que aprobaron la Ley de Esclavos Fugitivos y las leyes de Jim Crow en el sur de Estados Unidos.

Las leyes son simplemente constructos, sin valor en sí mismas. Más todavía, muchas veces sirven para legitimar la injusticia frente a la que las personas se oponen con todos sus medios.

Cuanto más se les permita a los defensores de la violencia racista legitimar conceptos inventados como esclavitud y ciudadanía, más violencia perpetrarán; redadas, campos de concentración y exterminio en masa. Lo hemos visto antes, en la Alemania nazi y en otros lugares, y lo estamos viendo de nuevo hoy en los Estados Unidos. Son miles los asesinatos que ocurren en las zonas fronterizas y miles las asesinadas por la policía.

En este sentido, el pueblo judío que está llevando a cabo bloqueos contra ICE está realizando esfuerzos racionales para evitar que se repitan las mismas injusticias impensables que se cometieron contra sus antepasados. Willem Van Spronsen, quien creció en los primeros días de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, decidió que había llegado el momento de luchar contra el ascenso del fascismo, tal como lo hizo la gente en los años veinte, treinta y cuarenta.

Si más personas hubieran optado por tomar medidas para combatir el aumento del fascismo en Italia y Alemania, la Segunda Guerra Mundial podría haberse evitado, y con ello se habrían salvado millones de vidas. Que nadie diga que es “violento” atacar la infraestructura de ICE y los mercenarios que la mantienen. La verdadera violencia es la complicidad del “Buen Ciudadano” que no hace nada cuando sus vecinos desaparecen, al igual que el “Buen Alemán” que decidió ignorar lo que le estaban haciendo a sus vecinos en la década de 1930.

Todos los días, mercenarios de todo el mundo arriesgan sus vidas al servicio de los ricos y poderosos, obedeciendo órdenes sin pensar, desperdiciando su capacidad de pensar racionalmente, de sentir compasión, de responsabilizarse por sus acciones. Millones de personas matan y mueren cada año simplemente para aumentar la riqueza y el poder de los tiranos que los manipulan. Willem Van Spronsen decidió pensar por sí mismo. Asumió la responsabilidad personal e hizo lo que pudo para poner fin a lo que reconoció como una injusticia. No usó la defensa de Nuremberg para excusar sus acciones de la manera en que lo hacen todos los policías y carceleros.

En ese sentido, lo que hizo fue heroico.


Recomendamos la declaración sobre la acción de Willem Van Spronsen publicada por La Resistencia, un colectivo de base liderado por inmigrantes indocumentados y ciudadanos estadounidenses con sede en Tacoma, Washington.

Quien está decidido a llevar a cabo sus actos no es una persona corajuda. Es simplemente alguien que ha clarificado sus ideas, que se ha dado cuenta de la futilidad de hacer esfuerzos por jugar bien el papel que le ha sido asignado por el capital en la representación. Consciente, ataca con fría determinación. Y al hacerlo se realiza como ser humano. Se realiza a sí mismx en el placer. El reino de la muerte desaparece ante sus ojos.

— Alfredo Maria Bonanno


Palabras finales de Willem Van Spronsen

Existe el mal y existe el bien.
Es momento de actuar contra las fuerzas del mal.

El mal dice que una vida vale menos que otra.
El mal dice que el flujo de las mercancías es nuestro propósito aquí.
El mal dice que los campos de concentración para personas consideradas menos importantes son necesarios.
La sirvienta del mal dice que los campos de concentración deberían ser más humanos. Cuidado el centrismo.

Tengo el corazón roto de un padre,
Tengo un cuerpo roto,
Y tengo un aborrecimiento inquebrantable por la injusticia.
Eso es lo que me trae aquí.
Esta es mi oportunidad de intentar hacer la diferencia; sería ingrato esperar una invitación más obvia.

Sigo a tres maestros:
Don Pritts, mi guía espiritual. “Amor sin acción es solo una palabra”.
John Brown, mi guía moral. “¡Lo que se necesita es acción!”.
Emma Goldman, mi guía política. “Si no puedo bailar, no quiero ser parte de tu revolución”.

Soy una cabeza soñadora en las nubes, creo en el amor y la redención.
Creo que vamos a ganar.
Soy alegremente revolucionario. (Todes deberíamos haber leído a Emma Goldman en la escuela en lugar de la tontería que nos dieron de comer, pero estoy divagando). (Todes deberíamos estar mirando las fotos de los héroes de las YPG en caso de que vacilamos y pensemos que nuestros sueños son imposibles, pero vuelvo a divagar. Discúlpenme).

En estos días de fanáticos fascistas que se aprovechan de personas vulnerables en nuestras calles, en nombre del estado o apoyados y defendidos por el estado,
En estos días de campos de detención/concentración altamente rentables y de batallas por la semántica,
En estos días de desesperanza, búsqueda vacía y anhelo vacío,

Vivimos en un visible ascenso del fascismo. (Digo visible, porque aquellos que prestaron atención lo vieron sobrevivir y prosperar bajo la protección del estado durante décadas. [Ver “La otra historia de los Estados Unidos”, de Howard Zinn]). Ahora sigue descaradamente su agenda con la cooperación abierta y total del gobierno. De los gobiernos de todo el mundo.

El fascismo satisface las necesidades del estado y satisface las necesidades de los negocios, y todo a costa tuya. ¿Quién se beneficia? Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet, Elon Musk, Tim Cook, Bill Gates, Betsy de Vos, George Soros, Donald Trump, ¿debo continuar? Permítanme decirlo otra vez: el beneficio es para los ricos, quienes están muy a gusto con el gobierno (con cualquier gobierno, incluidos los gobiernos “comunistas”), porque son estos los que hacen las reglas que hacen a los ricos más ricos.
Sencillo.
No lo pienses demasiado.

(Los nacionalistas del fondo, ¿ya están prestando atención?)

Cuando era un niño, en la Holanda de posguerra, más tarde en Francia, mi cabeza estaba llena de historias sobre el ascenso del fascismo en los años treinta. Me prometí a mí mismo que no sería una de las personas que se quedaría inmóvil cuando los vecinos sean arrancados de sus hogares y encarcelados por ser percibidos de alguna manera como personas con menos derechos.
Tampoco tienes porqué quemar al bastardo, ¿pero vas a quedarte sin hacer nada?

Esta es la prueba de nuestra creencia fundamental en la libertad y nuestra responsabilidad colectiva.
Este es un llamado a los patriotas, también, a oponerse a esta parodia contra todo lo que ustedes consideran sagrado. Los conozco. Sé que en sus corazones, ven la deshonra en estos campos. También es hora de que usted hagan frente al dinero que atraviesa las cuerdas de cada maldito títere que pretende representarnos.

Soy un hombre que los ama tanto a todes y a esta bola giratoria que voy a cumplir la promesa de mi infancia de ser noble.

Aquí, en estos campos de concentración corporativos con fines de lucro.
Aquí, en Brown y donde hay personas que no se conforman y cubren sus rostros por temor a la policía/migra/Proud Boys/…
Aquí, en un planeta casi agotado por la codicia del mercado.

Soy un pensador de ideas concretas.
Los campos de detención son una abominación.
No voy a quedarme sin hacer nada.
Realmente no debería tener que argumentar nada más que esto.

Dejo a un lado mi corazón roto y me sano de la única manera que sé, siendo útil.
Compartimento eficientemente mi dolor…
Y alegremente realizo esta acción.

(Para aquellos que están agobiados por mis acciones, espero que hagan con esta carga el mejor uso de ella).

A mis camaradas:
Lamento perderme el resto de la revolución.
Gracias por el honor de permitirme vivir a su lado.

Darme espacio para ser útil, para sentir que estaba cumpliendo mis ideales, ha sido el pináculo espiritual de mi vida.

Hacer lo que pueda para ayudar a defender a mi gente preciosa y maravillosa es una experiencia demasiado rica para describirla.

Mis compañerxs trans me han transformado, solidificando mi convicción de que seremos guiados a un futuro soñado por lxs más marginadxs de esta sociedad. Lo he soñado tan claramente que no me arrepiento de no ver cómo resulta. Gracias por traerme tan lejos.

Soy antifascista. Estoy con lxs compañerxs de todo el mundo que actúan desde el amor de la vida en cada acción. Compañerxs que entienden que la libertad significa libertad real para todxs y una vida que valga la pena vivir.

¡A mantener la fe!
¡Todo el poder al pueblo!
Bella ciao.


Audio manifesto: thesuper8.bandcamp.com


No permitan que sus estúpidas agencias gubernamentales gasten dinero “investigando” este caso. Fui radicalizado en la clase de educación cívica a los 13 años cuando nos enseñaron sobre el colegio electoral. Fue en ese momento que decidí que el statu quo podría ser una casa de naipes. La lectura adicional confirmó mis reflexiones. ¡Recomiendo altamente la lectura!

No estoy afiliado a ninguna organización, me he desconectado de cualquier organización que no esté de acuerdo con mi elección de tácticas.

El arma semiautomática que utilicé fue un fusil AR-15 no registrado y de fabricación casera, con seis cargadores. Recomiendo a lxs compañerxs y nuevxs camaradas que se armen. Ahora somos responsables de defender a las personas del estado depredador. Ignora la ley al armarte si tienes el lujo, yo lo hice.


July 16, 2019 03:40 AM

A-infos

(en) sicilia libertaria: WE OVERWARD THE REVOLUTIONS -- ENVIRONMENTAL CATASTROPHE. A break is urgent (it) [machine translation]

The imminence of an unprecedented climate catastrophe, considered certain by a growing (albeit minority) number of people, runs the risk of fueling new millennialisms from the end of the world, with presumable apparitions, in the short term, of saviors and sellers of false medicine . There are not only negationists and uncaring members (most of them), but also advocates of anemic and functional solutions to the perpetuation of the current dis-order of things. ---- If it is a fact that a "change" is taking place in the climate (this is the negative sense of change that we have learned to appreciate in the exploits of the current government in Italy), it is less clear how much the influence of human activity affects this deterioration , which would then be better defined as "capitalist mode of production" to avoid a comfortable genericism so beloved by the bloodsucking lords ...

by A-infos (a-infos-en@ainfos.ca) at July 16, 2019 03:36 AM

(en) sicilia libertaria: True war and false peace (it) [machine translation]

The winds of war blow like never before, and it could not be otherwise: war is the best way to do politics, a more useful muscular exercise than words, a destructive machine much loved by the markets (it raises the GDP, the price of crude oil). , profits), and it is not clear how many still continue to underestimate its centrality in international relations and in everyday events. War is a daughter of states, it is in their DNA, and no one can ever change the meaning of either one or the other. ---- The recent US-Iran skirmishes, with the control of oil routes at the center, always keep the world balance on the razor's edge; in the abyss, however, there are all those peoples that the wars, the real ones, suffer, in the complicit silence of Western societies: like Yemen, crushed between Saudi Arabia and its Sunni allies (the main oil suppliers of the West) and areas ...

by A-infos (a-infos-en@ainfos.ca) at July 16, 2019 03:35 AM

crimethinc

On Willem Van Spronsen’s Action against the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma : Including the Full Text of His Final Statement

On July 13, Willem Van Spronsen was killed by police while apparently taking action to disable the fleet of buses that serve the Northwest Detention Center, a private immigration detainment facility. His final statement, reproduced below, conveys that he was acting in response to the continuous raids and deportations carried out by Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE). His action occurred on the one-year anniversary of a hunger strike inside the Northwest Detention Center and an encampment outside. You can read a list of other acts of resistance that have occurred inside the Northwest Detention Center here.

We understand why Willem Van Spronsen decided to give his life to interrupt the violence that is perpetrated against undocumented people in the United States every day.

It is not hyperbole to say that the ICE raids are targeting our friends and neighbors, people who have lived and worked alongside us for years or even decades. The vulnerability of long-term undocumented people as a hyper-exploitable class has helped billionaires like Donald Trump to profit even more than they could have by legal means. To put the icing on the cake, capitalists then turn to the other workers they are exploiting and tell them that the poverty and misfortunes they experience are the fault of those who are poorer and more oppressed than them. It’s hard to imagine a more cynical strategy.

The disparity in rights between the documented and undocumented is a construct—just as the disparity in value that the Nazis constructed between Jewish people and gentiles was a construct. Both are mere inventions; they have no intrinsic existence except as a means for a powerful group to justify violence against a less powerful group. Those who justify obedience to the law as a good in itself stand alongside the Nazis whose laws condemned millions to the death camps, not to mention the racists who passed the Fugitive Slave Act and the Jim Crow laws in the American South.

Laws are just constructs. They have no value in and of themselves. They often serve to legitimize injustice that people would otherwise take action to oppose.

The further that the proponents of racist violence are permitted to legitimize invented concepts like slavery and citizenship, the more violence they will perpetrate—up to and including roundups, concentration camps, and mass extermination. We have seen this before, in Nazi Germany and elsewhere, and we are seeing it again today in the United States. The thousands of deaths that take place in the borderlands and the thousands murdered by police are just a foretaste of what is possible.

In this regard, the Jewish people who are carrying out blockades against ICE are engaging in rational efforts to prevent the recurrence of the same unthinkable injustices that were perpetrated against their ancestors—just as Willem Van Spronsen, who grew up in the wake of World War II, made the rational decision that the time had come to fight the rise of fascism just as people did in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.

If more people had chosen to take action to fight the rise of fascism in Italy and Germany, the Second World War might have been averted, and with it millions upon millions of lives would have been saved. Let no one say it is “violent” to attack the infrastructure of ICE and the mercenaries who maintain it. The real violence is the complicity of the Good Americans who do nothing as their neighbors are disappeared, just like those Good Germans who choose to ignore what was being done to their neighbors in the 1930s.

Every day, mercenaries around the world risk their lives in service to the agenda of the rich and powerful, obeying orders thoughtlessly, squandering their capacity to think rationally, to feel compassion, to take responsibility for their actions. Millions of people kill and die every year simply to increase the wealth and power of the tyrants who manipulate them. Willem Van Spronsen chose to think for himself. He took personal responsibility and did what he could to put an end to what he recognized as injustice. He did not use the Nuremburg defense to excuse his actions the way that every police officer and prison guard does.

In those regards, what he did was heroic.


We recommend the statement about Willem Van Spronsen’s action posted by La Resistencia, a grassroots collective led by undocumented immigrants and US citizens based in Tacoma, Washington, and the memorial published by Puget Sound Anarchists.

“Anyone who is determined to carry out his or her deed is not a courageous person. They are simply a person who has clarified their ideas, who has realized that it is pointless to make such an effort to play the part assigned to them by capital in the performance…

In doing so they realize themselves as human beings. They realize themselves in joy. The reign of death disappears before their eyes.”

-Alfredo Bonanno


Willem Van Spronsen’s Final Statement

There’s wrong and there’s right.
It’s time to take action against the forces of evil.

Evil says one life is worth less than another.
Evil says the flow of commerce is our purpose here.
Evil says concentration camps for folks deemed lesser are necessary.
The handmaid of evil says the concentration camps should be more humane.
Beware the centrist.

I have a father’s broken heart
I have a broken down body
And I have an unshakable abhorrence for injustice
That is what brings me here.
This is my clear opportunity to try to make a difference, I’d be an ingrate to be waiting for a more obvious invitation.

I follow three teachers:
Don Pritts, my spiritual guide. “Love without action is just a word.”
John Brown, my moral guide. “What is needed is action!”
Emma Goldman, my political guide. “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be in your revolution.”

I’m a head in the clouds dreamer, I believe in love and redemption.
I believe we’re going to win.
I’m joyfully revolutionary. (We all should have been reading Emma Goldman in school instead of the jingo drivel we were fed, but I digress.) (We should all be looking at the photos of the YPG heroes should we falter and think our dreams are impossible, but I double digress. Fight me.)

In these days of fascist hooligans preying on vulnerable people in our streets, in the name of the state or supported and defended by the state,

In these days of highly profitable detention/concentration camps and a battle over the semantics,

In these days of hopelessness, empty pursuit and empty yearning,

We are living in visible fascism ascendant. (I say visible, because those paying attention watched it survive and thrive under the protection of the state for decades. [See Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States.] Now it unabashedly follows its agenda with open and full cooperation from the government. From governments around the world.

Fascism serves the needs of the state serves the needs of business and at your expense. Who benefits? Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet, Elon Musk, Tim Cook, Bill Gates, Betsy de Vos, George Soros, Donald Trump, and need I go on? Let me say it again: rich guys (who think you’re not really all that good), really dig government (every government everywhere, including “communist” governments), because they make the rules that make rich guys richer.
Simple.
Don’t overthink it.

(Are you patriots in the back paying attention?)

When I was a boy, in post-war Holland, later France, my head was filled with stories of the rise of fascism in the ’30s. I promised myself that I would not be one of those who stands by as neighbors are torn from their homes and imprisoned for somehow being perceived as lesser.
You don’t have to burn the motherfucker down, but are you going to just stand by?

This is the test of our fundamental belief in real freedom and our responsibility to each other.
This is a call to patriots, too, to stand against this travesty against everything that you hold sacred. I know you. I know that in your hearts, you see the dishonor in these camps. It’s time for you, too, to stand up to the money pulling the strings of every goddamn puppet pretending to represent us.

I’m a man who loves you all and this spinning ball so much that I’m going to fulfill my childhood promise to myself to be noble.

Here it is, in these corporate for profit concentration camps.
Here it is, in Brown and non-conforming folks afraid to show their faces for fear of the police/migra/Proud Boys/the boss/beckies…
Here it is, a planet almost used up by the market’s greed.

I’m a black and white thinker.
Detention camps are an abomination.
I’m not standing by.
I really shouldn’t have to say any more than this.

I set aside my broken heart and I heal the only way I know how—by being useful.
I efficiently compartmentalize my pain…
And I joyfully go about this work.
(To those burdened with the wreckage from my actions, I hope that you will make the best use of that burden.)

To my comrades:
I regret that I will miss the rest of the revolution.
Thank you for the honor of having me in your midst.

Giving me space to be useful, to feel that I was fulfilling my ideals, has been the spiritual pinnacle of my life.

Doing what I can to help defend my precious and wondrous people is an experience too rich to describe.

My trans comrades have transformed me, solidifying my conviction that we will be guided to a dreamed-of future by those most marginalized among us today. I have dreamed it so clearly that I have no regret for not seeing how it turns out. Thank you for bringing me so far along.

I am antifa. I stand with comrades around the world who act from the love of life in every permutation. Comrades who understand that freedom means real freedom for all and a life worth living.

Keep the faith!
All power to the people!
Bella ciao.


Audio manifesto: thesuper8.bandcamp.com


Don’t let your silly government agencies spend money “investigating” this one. I was radicalized in civics class at 13 when we were taught about the electoral college. It was at that point that I decided that the status quo might be a house of cards. Further reading confirmed in the positive. I highly recommend reading!

I am not affiliated with any organization, I have disaffiliated from any organizations who disagree with my choice of tactics.

The semi-automatic weapon I used was a cheap, home-built unregistered “ghost” AR-15, it had six magazines. I strongly encourage comrades and incoming comrades to arm themselves. We are now responsible for defending people from the predatory state. Ignore the law in arming yourself if you have the luxury, I did.


July 16, 2019 02:46 AM

anarchistnews.org

When the Rains Come Back, by Cadwell Turnbull

From We Will Remember Freedom

We Will Remember Freedom is a monthly fiction podcast series edited by Margaret Killjoy. Each episode brings a new story written by authors who are willing to imagine worlds without oppression or worlds where we fight against that oppression.

If you would like to support the podcast, please consider signing up for Margaret’s Patreon.

***

When the Rains Come Back, by Cadwell Turnbull

Read by Niecee X.

This story first appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction in 2018.

When the Rains Come Back

Myron knew he’d find Sasha on the roof of their little domed house. Since she was little she’d climb the coconut tree onto the dome so she could watch the moon. From Ath during a crescent moon, you could see the faint glimmer of the moon’s greenhouses shining star-like out from the lunar night. Sasha hardly ever missed an opportunity to see it.
Myron stood on the massive stone at the edge of their yard. The roof of their house wasn’t very high. From his position he could see that Sasha was lying on her back, her hands cupped under her head, her elbows pointed like little wings. The stars sparkled overhead. You couldn’t get a view of the night sky like this in cities on the continent. Even Great Prince didn’t have a view like this, with all their city lights.
The greenhouses were one thing to behold, but what Sasha really wanted to see was the colony itself. The colony’s dome wasn’t made of clay like the dome of their house, but of tri-layered panels of glass, plastic and argon. The sort of thing only a capitalist could dream up. It was impossible to see with the naked eye, but Sasha liked imagining it up there, a thriving metropolis on another world.
Myron called out to Sasha. “Little one!”
“Yes, Pap,” Sasha said. “You need me?”
“No child.” Myron smiled up at his twelve-year-old daughter. “Just wanted to ask you something.”
Sasha sat up on the dome. “Hmmm,” she said, which meant spit it out; he was disturbing her night gazing.
“I’m going to Big Island tomorrow,” Myron said. “You want to come with?”
“By boat?” she asked.
“Sea plane,” Myron answered.
Myron couldn’t quite see his daughter’s face. But he knew she was smiling because he knew his daughter.
“Yes!” she said. “When?”
“Early morn,” he said. “Soon after rooster crow. Be ready.”
Sasha nodded and returned to her gazing. She would stay up there for a while longer and then climb down defeated, failing again to locate the object of her affection.
Myron hated the moon colony. But Sasha loved it; she wanted to visit it one day. Myron and Sasha’s mother Leanna could not get the fascination out of her. He just hoped that she would resist the lure of such things. Anarchists belong to Ath, not the moon.

—-

Myron and Sasha watched from the beach as the seaplane came in for a landing. The plane roared as its floats touched down on the blue-green water, spitting up sea foam as it skimmed the surface.
Myron wiped his forehead with a piece of cloth. The sea breeze did nothing for the heat. Sasha was sweating too, but she seemed unconcerned about the beating sun. She watched the seaplane like it was some magnificent god.
The plane turned in the water, its twin propellers slowing to a stop. It settled next to the dock. A woman leaned out of the plane to call them forward. Myron, with his daughter in hand, made the short walk across the creaky dock that knifed out a little ways into the sea. They climbed into the seaplane and greeted the captain and her second, women Myron had never met.
They exchanged names. The second called herself Mamyeh. The pilot was Cianna.
“Beautiful day for a short hop,” said Mamyeh, smiling at Sasha.
“Yes, miss,” she said, smiling back shyly.
“Oh no no,” said the woman. “Don’t go calling me miss. I not so old yet.”
“What is your kind?” Myron asked. He made trips to Great Prince all the time, and was usually escorted by a team of Dema-socialists, also women. He’d come to know them well, and expected them for the escort. But these two were new.
“Just vagas, mister,” said the woman.
“Oh?” Myron smiled at the woman. Vagas were people without government who made their life working among different kinds. People without roots.
The woman smiled back at Myron with knowing eyes. “Don’t worry, mister. We got a community on Big Island. Fellow vagas. Good people.”
“Strap in,” said Cianna, her voice deeper and sterner than her second.
Myron and Sasha strapped in. And then they were off. As the plane skipped across the water and heaved itself into the salty air, Myron looked out the window at Little Princess. He watched the little community of domed houses, watched his people mill around in the heat. Not too many. The sun was too violent at this time of day for strolling about.
When he was too high up to see the people anymore, he surveyed the island in its entirety. He didn’t like what he saw. Usually from this high up, the island looked green and beautiful, dense plant-life that could attract any tourist just by looking. But now the sight was mostly brown. Everything looked worn and withered. As they passed the west farms, Myron had to look away. Nothing was growing. The few crops they managed to plant were wilting in the sun.
“Such a hideous thing,” said Mamyeh. “The rains have been gone so long, who knows how we poor islanders will survive.”
The dry period had been coming on for years. Now they were lucky if they got a few inches.
“Is it no different on Big Island?” Myron asked. “Surely you get help from other govs?”
Mamyeh nodded. “But all the region govs getting hit hard too. And many of the region govs on continent don’t have the means to transport their surpluses.”
The woman was looking at Myron, so she caught his change in expression. She nodded in affirmation. “Yes, the global govs have been helping us. But even with their help, things have been hard.”
Myron was the representative of his small gov. But he hadn’t travelled to Great Prince for a while. He was not fully aware of all the changes. His expression darkened. Now he knew the full scope of the summit.
“How many global govs?” Myron asked.
“Hard to say,” Mamyeh answered. “Maybe three or four. Regulations say that none a-them can have too much influence. They must work their deals through local and region govs.”
Myron nodded. “What kinds?”
“Two global socialist govs. Hamers and Angelies, I think. And one capitalist as far as I can tell. Maybe another one, though less powerful.”
“Coming in on Big Island,” Cianna announced.
Myron looked out the window and they were already descending. From this height Great Prince looked just as starved as home, all brown and dying plant-life. Maglev trains sped across the surface of Great Prince like silver veins. The sky was busy with small aircrafts that buzzed like mosquitoes. On the surface, solar cars snaked their way along cramped streets. Great Prince had two dozen govs, quite a few of them capitalist, so the tech was markedly more advanced than on Little Princess.
Soon they were on the water and pulling up to the dock, which was much more impressive than the creaky wooden one on their island. The women waved them goodbye as they exited the seaplane and found their way to the busy street and into a free shuttle.
The bus was cramped with travelers, so they had to stand. It didn’t take them too long to reach the summit building, strategically located near the docks.
A large crowd of gov representatives were already clamoring inside when they arrived. Myron allowed Sasha to walk ahead of him, since she’d be able to maneuver through the crowd and find them a good seat. It took him several minutes before he was through the doors of the summit building and another few minutes before he entered the hall. He spotted Sasha jumping and waving near the front and made his way down the aisle to where she had picked out a pair of seats.
The hall itself wasn’t anything spectacular. It could seat up to five hundred occupants comfortably, which meant many spectators would have to wait outside the building, watching the proceedings from a big screen set up for the purposes of spillover. Because he was a representative of a gov, he was guaranteed a space inside and a spot for a guest or two. Usually though, there weren’t this much people. This was clearly very important.
Before long, a short man made his way to the podium and the room quieted down to listen.
“Greetings residents of Great Prince and neighboring islands. We have an announcement.”
The man was pale, which meant he wasn’t from these parts. He had an accent Myron didn’t recognize. The United Governments must have sent him.
“This drought that has struck you is being felt all across the world,” he continued. “Other govs have suffered from your crop losses. Certainly not in the way you’ve suffered, but a loss anywhere is felt everywhere. If you have been tuning into our UG deliberations, you would have learned that we have placed humanitarian aid as our top priority. Great Prince is struggling, but because of your technological level, you’ve been able to stave off the worse. But many of your smaller islands with more-uh”—he paused to think—“reclusive governments,”—he nodded, apparently satisfied with himself—“have been suffering tremendously.”
Myron watched Sasha. She looked bored.
The man continued: “I know some of your govs might be hesitant to accept aid. But don’t be afraid. The UG is making sure that large governments will not exploit you. Any governments above regional designation must work through regional governments in order to offer aid. These partnerships will prevent any trouble. Local govs can then form partnerships with any regional gov they wish for as long as they wish and no longer. I trust that you will be able to work out the specifics among yourselves. Some govs have already started partnerships.”
The man smiled warmly. “That is the full announcement. Your choice and your trust under this wondrous panarchy remains preserved. Good luck in your lives. We hope this time of struggle passes.”
The man left the podium and people began to leave the summit hall.
“That was it?” Sasha asked, clearly annoyed. “They could have told us this from Little Island.”
“They have to invite people to come so people can protest if needed.”
“Protest what?”
Myron shook his head. “Nothing this time.”
Sasha huffed and folded her arms.
“At least we got a trip out of it,” Myron added.
This managed to change Sasha’s mood. She smiled.
“What you want to do today?” Myron asked as they got up and made their way out of the hall.
“Don’t know,” Sasha said. She was cupping her chin in thought.
Someone touched Myron on his arm. He stopped and turned to see who it was.
It was the same white man that made the speech. “Hello. I’m Hollan Feters. Could I trouble you to discuss the situation on your island?”
“Yes,” Myron said. “I’m afraid you have the advantage here. I don’t know anything about you, but you seem to know me.”
“It is my job to know people,” said Hollan with a smile Myron didn’t like. “You are from Little Princess, yes? Representative of the anarchist gov there?”
Myron nodded. He looked down at Sasha. She was quiet as usual, but watching the men intently. Always so attentive.
“Yes, I am the representative,” Myron answered. “Should we go to lunch?”
“Yes, naturally. I know a great place.”
“We usually eat fish and local fruits and vegetables,” Myron said.
“Oh.” Hollan looked a little saddened by the information. “Surely you wouldn’t mind a change of experience. The food is lovely at the place I’m inviting you to.”
Myron looked down at his daughter. She was nodding at him, which meant stop being so uptight and accept the man’s offer.
“Okay,” Myron said. “Lead the way.”

Hollan was right. The food was good. As Hollan talked, Myron chewed on a piece of steak. The meat was tender, not tough like the beef they ate on occasion when they slaughtered a cow getting on in years.
Yes, the meat was good. But what life did this cow live? Myron looked over at Sasha. She had left her meat untouched.
“Are you sure your daughter wouldn’t be happier going to the movies or something? Leaving us to this boring affair.”
Myron frowned. “Where I am from we don’t patronize our children. My daughter is perfectly capable of participating in this boring affair.”
“But she’s been so quiet,” Hollan said.
“She will speak when she wants.”
“Okay,” Hollan said, throwing up his hands. “Fine by me.” Hollan’s meal was already devoured. He wasn’t suffering from the same moral dilemma as they were.
“Which gov do you represent?” Myron asked. “One of the socialist govs? Or maybe you’re a capitalist.”
Hollan smiled at Myron. It was the same way he did before, that made Myron feel like worms were crawling under his skin.
“I belong to one of each actually. Angelies and Romana. I’m a dual citizen. But I’m here to serve Romana’s interests at the moment.” Another smile.
Myron drank down all his water and refilled it with a pitcher on the table. The restaurant was well decorated: pretty vases in the center of the table with flowers he’d never seen, intricately designed table cloths, long draping chandeliers, and servers dressed in elegant black and red suits and firm fitting dresses. This was definitely meant to impress Myron. He wondered what a show like this would cost his people.
“What do you want?” Myron asked.
“We’d like to offer you food,” Hollan answered.
“Yes, but you also want something.”
“Romana sets aside a certain amount of our budget for humanitarian aid. It makes us more attractive to potential citizens looking to join our gov.”
“You’re not answering the question,” Sasha said, looking up from her still-full plate.
Myron watched Hollan’s expression change. Genuine surprise. Myron had to admit. He liked seeing Hollan surprised.
“And the girl speaks. That is a sharp one you have there.”
“I do not have her. She has herself.”
“You anarchists,” Hollan said, and then catching himself: “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to insult. Some of my best friends belong to anarchist govs.”
Probably anarcho-capitalists, Myron thought but didn’t say.
“On your island,” Hollan continued, apparently deciding to get to his point, “you have a certain type of mango, yes? Small and sweet. Not stringy like so many other small mangoes. Deep orange meat, like a sunset. Tourists come from all over to eat it. They pay well too, don’t they?”
Myron nodded, narrowing his eyes. “We call it sweet plum. And tourists do pay a price for it. We use that money to buy whatever tech we need. Solar lamps to light our houses. Electric stoves. Computers and laptops. Medicine. We have no other source of revenue.”
Myron took another bite of his meat, chewing slowly, keeping his eyes on Hollan. The man seemed to enjoy the attention, curling his lips in that disturbing smile. Myron swallowed.
“You cannot have it,” Myron said.
“We will pay generously—“
“Ask the communists from Queen Mary. We can’t stop you. They have sweet plum too, though not as sweet.”
“They said they originally got the seeds from you.”
“That’s honorable of them. Too bad for you though.”
Hollan glowered. “How long will you starve yourselves and refuse outside help?”
“But this isn’t help. This is coercion.”
Hollan was turning red. “You—“
Sasha interrupted. “Didn’t you say up there on that podium that global govs have to act through regional ones? You shouldn’t even be here right now, ambushing us like this.”
Hollan looked at Sasha. He was careful not to show any real aggression. He laughed nervously. “Such a smart girl.”
“Person,” Sasha corrected. “Don’t patronize me.”
Myron smiled proudly.
“Listen,” Hollan said, looking at both of them, forcing down his anger. “We just want the seeds. You can set the terms. We will only grow the ones you give to us. We will only sell as much as you allow. In exchange we will give you whatever food you need. Our green houses and hyperbolic growth chambers can match your natural environment perfectly. We can grow the food you like to eat.”
“That’s moon tech isn’t it?” Sasha asked.
Myron could see the interest in her eyes, even though she tried to hide it behind a tight jaw. He knew his daughter.
“Yes,” Hollan confirmed. “But we’ve been using it globally.”
Sasha nodded, satisfied. She returned to staring down at her plate.
“Please,” Hollan said. “Consider it. We will work through the regional govs as promised. And you can end the arrangement at any time.”
“I will bring it to my people,” Myron said. “That’s all I can do.”

There were so many people crammed into their summit dome that they had to crank their one air conditioner to the max. It did nothing. Almost one hundred people vying for space. Myron secretly wished some of them had stayed outside. But this was not their way.
“We have been living like this for over a century,” said one man. “We only started selling the mangoes because outside govs thought we were too isolationist. And now that’s not enough? They want to take our seeds too?”
The room erupted in shouts of affirmation.
A woman in the back of the room yelled: “Sell the damn seeds! My child need food!”
A chorus of agreement.
“We only need to do it for a little while,” said another woman. “When the rains come back, we can take back our seeds. We set the terms.”
Applause.
“I am not a capitalist!” said someone from the front. It was Myron’s grandmother. “Some of ayo too young to care, but not too long ago, during the time of my great granpap, capitalists ruled Ath. And they almost destroy civilization! A few centuries before that they had all of we dark people as slaves! For profit! You believe a thing like that?”
People jeered passionately.
“I not trusting no damn capitalist,” his grandmother continued. “I don’t care if it makes me a bad panarchist.”
Thunderous applause.
“But we don’t have any food,” said another woman, old but younger than his grandmother. “Soon we gon have to ration like those damn communists from Queen Mary!”
A few bits of laughter mixed in with murmurs.
Myron looked to his wife Leanna, sitting at his side at the discussion table. It was an honor they gave to the family of the representative, but that didn’t mean they had any more say over the decision than anyone else.
His wife was staring in the mid distance, seemingly in intense concentration. He knew she would speak and many in the room did too. They respected her, even though she was originally an outsider. She would be able to sway some people with her words.
When Leanna spoke it was soft. But the whole room hushed to hear her.
“Back when I was a child, there was another drought. Not quite as terrible as this one, mind you. But bad-bad. On Queen Mary we always kept ration, but our rations were shrinking. People were worried. Back then we decided we would throw parties every night. Bring all our rations together from the day to make a feast. So we ate under the stars, coal pots burning on our beaches, salt on our tongues. We passed the food round and everyone ate. We told stories by bonfires. We held our children. When the rains came back, we were skinnier, but we were happy.
“Now when I go back home to my family, there is a party on the beach every week. People save up their rations for it. And they pass the food ‘round. And they laugh through the night.”
Leanna was looking around the room now. Everyone was silent. Many knew that the communists had these parties, but Leanna’s words came from her mouth like magic. It felt like new knowledge.
“Whatever good or evil comes, it comes from people, not things. Not govs. Ideology doesn’t fill bellies. When the rains come and there’s no one left to see it, what will any of this matter?
“We live. We change. Leave stubbornness to the dead.”
Myron looked at his daughter. For most of the discussion she had been looking down at her hands. Now she was looking at her mother. He knew his daughter, but in moments like this he couldn’t tell what she was thinking. His little paradox. She’d be a woman soon enough. Who knows where she’d end up? He knew she would likely leave him one day, leave this little rock in this blue-green sea.
People had already started arguing amongst themselves again. Leanna had succeeded in winning over quite a few people, but there was still no consensus. They would have to go to vote or risk an endless deadlock.
“Okay,” Myron said, standing. “Shall we vote?”

Ten Years Later

Sasha spent a lot of her early nights on colony in her room reading history books about the collapse. When she was not at work in the colony’s growth chambers, she scoured the colony’s virtual libraries, pouring over books like a religion, learning things about Ath she’d never learned on Little Princess.
For one thing, most people back home believed the global economic collapse happened quickly. In truth, the collapse was slow, a culmination of many boom and bust cycles over several decades.
As global capitalism deteriorated, with each recovery more short-lived than the last, people started thinking up alternatives. It started among academics of relative privilege, playing out theoretical games with the world’s resources, devising better systems of distribution and stability and organizing people.
By the time of the collapse, people had secretly declared themselves members of all sorts of imaginary governments, had even enacted small-scale experiments in their names.
When things got bad, when Ath erupted into a war that lasted a half-century, it was these groups that proved the most tenacious. They carried around their governments in their heads, devised ways to distribute resources, to defend themselves, to gain influence. These govs had no borders, no lands, just the volunteered allegiance of their citizens.
Sasha found herself imagining those distant people, trying to find footing in a rapidly changing world. It helped her cope with the changes in her own world.
The transition to colony had not been easy. Sasha missed swimming in the ocean, missed running around without shoes on dirt roads and climbing coconut trees. She missed the cool breeze that whipped through her hair on tropical winter nights.
Her room in colony had windows, but all she could see was the inside of the dome, its artificial light, other buildings poking up from the moon’s surface like branchless trees. She could make the smart-glass show her images of Ath, of the sun shining over the blue-sphere of her home-world, but it felt too artificial. Sad to go to a place you had dreamed about all your life, she thought, and find that you were still dissatisfied.
So she read books.
Growing up Sasha had always been told that the panarchists came after the great economic collapse. So many things, she realized, were like this: half-truths, guesses, myths. Even the scholars deliberated on the fine details endlessly.
History is like water. It slips through fingers, gifting the world with wet hands. The rest falls away.
There was one idea that stuck, however. Sasha imagined it as a pebble in the constant stream. Ath held onto it, united behind it.
Governments should not force allegiance on their people. People should be able to choose. Anything less is slavery.
It was a mantra she read in all her books, in some form or another. It was elemental, encapsulating the world’s ideals, their hopes, their dreams.
Too bad this was also a half-truth. Nothing is so easy. Choices aren’t clean. They’re muddied by so many things.
“Your mother misses you. She wants you home.”
Sasha and her father were having dinner in her room, staring at each other from across a small steel table. He had only arrived on colony an hour before, his first time off-world. Of course he wasted no time to guilt her, to make her feel like she had abandoned them. They couldn’t even have a decent meal before he started in on her.
“Don’t put this on mamee,” Sasha said, barely concealing her annoyance. “You here for you.”
“Your mother agrees with me.”
“No she don’t. She told me last week that she was happy that I was happy.”
“But are you?”
Sasha took a bite of her saltfish. She chewed slowly, savoring the tender meat, the sweet plum glaze. Her father watched her, not touching his meal.
“I love my work,” Sasha answered finally. “The research I’m doing in crop science is groundbreaking.” There was something else she wanted to add, but she didn’t.
“Not an answer to my question,” Myron said, staring at her, trying to read her like a book. She hated that.
Sasha sighed, looking away from her father’s face to the plate in front of him. She knew why he wasn’t eating. Since they had decided to allow help from Romana, their community had been torn apart. When the rains came back, half the community decided to return to their old ways, and the other half decided to become anarcho-capitalists, maintaining their relationship with Romana through the Great Prince Dema-socialists. The two communities supported each other, but not without resentments.
“Come home,” her father said.
“I’m fine, Pap,” Sasha said, smiling. “Really.”
“Every year these damn capitalists exploit people, gaining more power for themselves. Now that they’ve left Ath, how long do you think it will be before they start thinking that they can force people to do what they want? How long before they enslave you?”
Her father shook through the words, unable to contain his fear. He picked up his fork and stabbed into the saltfish only to release the fork again. He wouldn’t eat much here, no matter what she placed in front of him. This was a place he thought people shouldn’t be.
“You won’t be safe here,” he said, confirming her thoughts. “You will never be safe among these people.”
“Colony is filled with people of all kinds, Pap,” Sasha said. “I’ve become a dual-citizen of our home-gov and an anarcho-socialist gov here under the dome. It isn’t just capitalists up here. They share influence just like on Ath.”
“But who holds the majority?”
Sasha didn’t answer. Her father already knew the answer to the question. That’s why he was asking it.
Truthfully Sasha was worried too. Panarchy had proven to be extremely durable. But could it span a solar system? A galaxy? Even with regulations, the global govs found a million different ways to stretch their power. What would that look like on a galactic scale?
On colony she had met people of all kinds. People from monarchies, technocracies, meritocracies, and oligarchies; she worked with communists and socialists and anarchists and capitalists and hybrids of every manner. She’d seen income-based economies and resource-based economies, share and gift economies, all co-existing in one place peacefully. But her readings had also taught her that peace was a fragile thing, that conflict was always clawing its way to the surface. What face will it have when it crests? What will be the price?
Sasha took a breath. Prepared herself. “I met someone,” she said.
“What kind?” her father asked.
“She is a wonderful woman. We take care of each other.”
“You are not answering my questions.”
Sasha stared into her father’s eyes. When she was a child, he trusted her so much, treated her like a person that could make her own decisions. Since she’d left, he’d changed. He no longer trusted her to make good choices. He didn’t believe in her. She felt her eyes burn, her throat tighten.
She watched his face change, like clay slowly molded into a new form. She barely recognized him, the way his nose flared and his mouth twitched, the way his eyes got so wide that the sclera surrounded the brown iris all around, drowning the brown in a sea of white.
“No,” he said. “Don’t tell me—“ He slammed his hand down on the table, denting the steel slab. The movement was sudden and explosive. Sasha gasped audibly.
“How could you do this?” he asked, his voice trembling.
“People do this all the time,” Sasha answered, her eyes wet with tears.
“I will not allow it.”
“Govs have no borders and neither does love,” she said defensively. “You married a communist.”
“I will not.”
Sasha glared at her father, the fire in her finally rising. “You don’t have a choice.”
Her father stopped talking then. He looked at her, his eyes pleading. But he had no power he could call upon to move her. No authority except a fatherly one that he’d never truly exercised, not in this way.
Sasha wanted to reach out and touch him, to tell him a convenient lie that would make it all right. But things hadn’t been all right for a long time. Everything had changed.
“They’re taking over the island,” her father said. Now he was crying in frustration. “They’ve taken our mangoes. They’ve corrupted our culture.”
Sasha remembered her mother’s words that day they had made the decision to live for now and not for some potential future tragedy. Now that tragedy was here. And what they did now would also have repercussions for the next future.
“I’m sorry,” she said to her father, reaching over to touch his bruised hand. He tensed at her touch, but eased into it, saying nothing.
She tried to smile at him, but it felt false and she soon gave up.
One day she’d have children. And what world would they choose for themselves? Perhaps they would choose something that would horrify her. Or something that would make her proud. Maybe that future would be entirely different from now. They’d be on some new planet, some distant moon. Maybe they’d be entering a war or ending one. Or maybe this peace will last a thousand years.
She rubbed her father’s hand gently. Later she would introduce him to Rosa. She hoped he would understand then. But she couldn’t be certain, of this or anything else. Only that she loved her father. Only that he loved her. She’d leave the rest for tomorrow.
“Okay,” Sasha said. “I’ll come visit for a little while.”
“That would be nice,” her father said.
In the ensuing silence Sasha thought of what it would be like to stare up at the Moon again from Ath. She’d dreamed of visiting it for all her life and now it was her home. So peculiar, the distance of things, and how time brings them ever closer. Given enough time, all things touch.

Notes

Since this interview was recorded, Cadwell’s debut novel The Lesson was released.

About the author: Cadwell Turnbull is a graduate from the North
Carolina State University’s Creative Writing MFA in Fiction and English
MA in Linguistics. He was the winner of the 2014 NCSU Prize for Short
Fiction and attended Clarion West 2016. His short fiction has appeared
in The Verge, Lightspeed, Nightmare, and Asimov’s Science Fiction. His Asimov’s short story “When the Rains Come Back” made Barnes and Noble’s Sci-Fi & Fantasy’s Short Fiction Roundup in April 2018. His Nightmare story “Loneliness is in Your Blood” was selected for The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2018. His Asimov’s novelette “Other Worlds and This One” was also selected by the anthology as a notable story. The Lesson is his debut novel.

About the host: Margaret Killjoy is a transfeminine author and editor
currently based in the Appalachian mountains. Her most recent book is
an anarchist demon hunters novella called The Barrow Will Send What it May, published by Tor.com. She spends her time crafting and complaining about authoritarian power structures and she blogs at birdsbeforethestorm.net.

This podcast was made possible by the generous supporters of Margaret’s Patreon. In particular, thanks go out to Chris, Nora, Hoss the Dog, Kirk, Argawarga Press, Natalie, and Sam.

by thecollective at July 16, 2019 12:24 AM

July 15, 2019

325.nostate.net

USA: Final Message from Anarchist Antifascist Fighter Will Van Spronsen, Killed in Combat on 13.07.19

Here is the final message the anarchist fighter Will Van Spronsen left for his comrades before carrying out an armed attack against the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington on July 13th, 2019.

there’s wrong and there’s right.
it’s time to take action against the forces of evil.

evil says one life is worth less than another.
evil says the flow of commerce is our purpose here.
evil says concentration camps for folks deemed lesser are necessary.
the handmaid of evil says the concentration camps should be more humane.
beware the centrist.

i have a father’s broken heart
i have a broken down body
and i have an unshakeable abhorrence of injustice
that is what brings me here.
this is my clear opportunity to try to make a difference, i’d be an ingrate to be waiting for a more obvious invitation.

i follow three teachers:
don pritts, my spiritual guide, “love without action is just a word.”
john brown, my moral guide, “what is needed is action!”
emma goldman, my political guide, “if i can’t dance, i don’t want to be in your revolution”

i’m a head in the clouds dreamer, i believe in love and redemption.
i believe we’re going to win.
i’m joyfully revolutionary. (we all should have been reading emma goldman in school instead of the jingo drivel we were fed. but i digress.) (we should all be looking at the photos of the YPJ heroes should we falter and think our dreams are impossible, but i double digress. fight me.)

in these days of fascist hooligans preying on vulnerable people on our streets, in the name of the state or supported and defended by the state,

in these days of highly profitable detention/ concentration camps and a battle over the semantics,

in these days of hopelessness, empty pursuit and endless yearning,

we are living in visible fascism ascendant. (i say visible, because those paying attention watched it survive and thrive under the protection of the state for decades. (see howard zinn, “a people’s history of the united states.”) now it unabashedly follows its agenda with open and full cooperation from the government. from governments around the world.

fascism serves the needs of the state serves the needs of business and at your expense. who benefits? jeff bezos, warren buffett, elon musk, tim cook, bill gates, betsy de vos, george soros, donald trump, and need i go on? let me say it again: rich guys, (who think you’re not really all that good.) really dig government, (every government everywhere, including “communist” governments.) because they make the rules that make rich guys richer.
simple.
don’t overthink it.

(are you patriots in the back paying attention?)

i’m a man who loves you all and this spinning ball so much that i’m going to fulfill my childhood promise to myself to be noble.

here it is, in these corporate for profit concentration camps.
here it is, in brown and non conforming folks afraid to show their faces for fear of the police/ migra/ proud boys/ beckies…
here it is, a planet almost used up by the market’s greed.

i’m a black and white thinker.
detention camps are an abomination.
i’m not standing by.
i really shouldn’t have to say any more than this.

i set aside my broken heart and i heal the only way i know how- by being useful.
i efficiently compartmentalize my pain…
and i joyfully go about this work.
(to those burdened with the wreckage from my actions, i hope that you will make the best use of that burden.)

to my comrades:

i regret that i will miss the rest of the revolution.
thank you for the honor of having been in your midst.

giving me space to be useful, to feel that i was fulfilling my ideals, has been the spiritual pinnacle of my life.

doing what i can to help defend my precious and wondrous people is an experience too rich to describe.

my trans comrades have transformed me, solidifying my conviction that we will be guided to a dreamed of future by those most marginalized among us today. i have dreamed it so clearly that i have no regret for not seeing how it turns out. thank you for bringing me so far along.

i am antifa, i stand with comrades around the world who act from the love of life in every permutation. comrades who understand that freedom means real freedom for all and a life worth living.

keep the faith!
all power to the people!
bella ciao

audio manifesto: theSuper8.bandcamp.com

don’t let your silly government agencies waste money “investigating” this one. i was radicalized in civics class at 13 when we were taught about the electoral college. it was at that point that i decided that the status quo might be a house of cards. further reading confirmed in the positive. i highly recommend reading!
i am not affiliated with any organization, i have disafilliated from any organization who disagree with my choice of tactics.
the semi automatic weapon i used was a cheap, home built unregistered “ghost” ar15, it had six magazines. i strongly encourage comrades and incoming comrades to arm themselves. we are now responsible for defending people from the predatory state: ignore the law in arming yourself if you have the luxury, i did.

via anarchistsworldwide.

by admin at July 15, 2019 06:26 PM

InterPressService (global south)

Pompeo’s New “Human Rights” Commission Is Up To No Good

By Jamil Dakwar and Sonia Gill
NEW YORK, Jul 15 2019 (IPS)

The Trump administration appears to be trying to find moral footing for the president’s discriminatory policies. Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo formally announced the creation of a “Commission on Unalienable Rights.”

Its stated purpose, according to a notice published in the Federal Register in May, is to provide “fresh thinking about human rights discourse where such discourse has departed from our nation’s founding principles of natural law and natural rights.”

The Trump administration’s actions and words — from threatening International Criminal Court judges and prosecutors, pulling out of the U.N. Human Rights Council and severing relations with its independent experts, to cozying up with authoritarian leaders and advancing xenophobic policies that defy international law — have made it abundantly clear that the administration has zero interest in being a global champion of human rights. This commission isn’t fooling anyone.

We know that references to “natural law and natural rights” are code words used by the religious right and social conservatives to advance anti-LGBTQ and anti-women’s rights agendas. We also know that members of the new commission have troubling anti-LGBTQ and abortion rights records.

And based on the Trump administration’s record, there is good reason to believe the commission is intended to redefine universal human rights to fit the administration’s twisted and troubling worldview, with the clear and first target being the State Department’s long-standing work to advance the rights of LGBTQ people, women, and other vulnerable populations across the world.

In defending the commission in a recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Secretary Pompeo charged that human rights advocates have created “new categories of rights” that “blur the distinction between unalienable rights and ad hoc rights granted by governments.” And that the commission will “ground our discussion of human rights in America’s founding principles.”

That’s a load of nonsense. Secretary Pompeo speaks of longstanding international human rights norms as if he’s demonstrated a single iota of respect for them, and as if those norms are incongruent with defending human dignity and democratic values.

The Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR) — which Secretary Pompeo names as a foundational document that will be examined by the commission — is grounded in democratic values of equal rights, justice, and the right to self-determination.

It establishes the modern international human rights framework that provides the legal and moral authority to hold governments and other perpetrators accountable for human rights violations — a framework that the Trump administration seems bent on dismantling.

What Secretary Pompeo fails to understand, or perhaps acknowledge, is that this modern international human rights framework is made up of the very same traditions and values that also guided America’s democratic origins.

In fact, all too often in our modern history, it is the U.S. — irrespective of the political party in power — that has failed to live up to the UDHR, including the UDHR’s promise of economic justice.

Different groups throughout American history, including indigenous peoples, enslaved African people, and women, among others, have all been the victims of America’s double-standard.

When the United States has wavered on its commitment at home and abroad, it is the UDHR in many cases that has provided the framework to hold our country’s leaders accountable.

That’s because the full spectrum of rights enshrined in the UDHR are preordained by well-recognized democratic values, traditions, and principles, including the founding principles of our democracy.

The world has now witnessed the human costs of the Trump administration’s atrocious disregard for these basic human rights and democratic values: the inhumanity of family separation and detention, the discriminatory Muslim ban, the upended lives from the repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the revival of the racist ‘War on Drugs,’ numerous attempts to roll back advances in LGBTQ equality, trampling on the rights of women, and illegal restrictions on the rights of asylum seekers.

Having had it with the world naming and shaming under the international human rights framework, the administration appears to be trying to find moral footing for President Trump’s discriminatory policies with the announcement of this commission.

Make no mistake: Pompeo’s commission is a dangerous initiative intended to redefine universal human rights and roll back decades of progress in achieving full rights for marginalized and historically oppressed communities.

It is likely to use religion as grounding to deny human dignity and equality for all. It will undermine the existing State Department’s well respected and legally-mandated Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Affairs.

And it will be a waste of taxpayer dollars, which would be better spent on implementing U.S. human rights treaty obligations and putting an end to Trump’s era of human misery and assault on our humanity.

We won’t let him get away with it.

The post Pompeo’s New “Human Rights” Commission Is Up To No Good appeared first on Inter Press Service.

Excerpt:

Jamil Dakwar is director of the American Civil Liberties Union's (ACLU) Human Rights Program and adjunct lecturer at John Jay College at the City University of New York (CUNY). Sonia Gill is senior legislative counsel with the ACLU.

The post Pompeo’s New “Human Rights” Commission Is Up To No Good appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by Jamil Dakwar and Sonia Gill at July 15, 2019 04:51 PM

jacobinmag

Bernie Sanders Is a Champion for Abortion Rights

Bernie Sanders’s record on abortion rights is far better than his detractors give him credit for. A Sanders presidency plus a mass movement for reproductive rights would be a powerful combination.


alt Bernie Sanders speaks during the 2019 South Carolina Democratic Party State Convention on June 22, 2019 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Sean Rayford / Getty Images)

The debate over abortion rights has galvanized the early primary race. Many Democratic candidates are making high-profile proposals on the issue, such as calling on Congress to codify abortion rights into federal law and to require states with a history of violating abortion rights to clear new abortion restrictions with the Justice Department.

Elizabeth Warren, for instance, said on the campaign trail that “Congress should pass new federal laws that protect access to reproductive care from right-wing ideologues in the states. Laws that will stand no matter what the Supreme Court does.”

On the face of it, this is par for the course for the party that’s long positioned itself as “pro-choice.” But historically the party has made it clear they’re not willing to protect reproductive rights for the most vulnerable, and by and large they haven’t pursued a militant strategy against today’s increasingly harsh restrictions on access. 378 abortion bills have been introduced by state legislatures this year alone. Trump’s loud anti-abortion rhetoric is emboldening the pro-life movement, and the conservative-leaning Supreme Court is raising fears that Roe v. Wade will be overturned. In this context, it’s heartening to see Democratic candidates finally putting forward bold ideas for protecting reproductive rights.

This is the backdrop to the recent critics of Bernie Sanders who claim his support for women’s reproductive rights isn’t vigorous enough. His detractors have criticized him for not being a consistent or strong enough supporter of abortion rights. They argue that he has not been centering abortion rights in his recent campaigning despite the dire state of reproductive rights for people living in states with conservative legislations; and criticize his support for pro-life Democratic candidates, like Omaha mayoral candidate Heath Mellow. He’s been accused of voting for omnibus spending bills that include keeping the Hyde Amendment (which restricts federal funding for abortion and has been in place since 1976) intact and of being generally “out of touch” when speaking about women’s issues.

But most of this overlooks one of the most important things to consider when assessing Bernie Sanders’s support for reproductive rights: his record and the history of his actions in Congress. This record is not only far stronger than his detractors admit, it’s stronger than that of many of his opponents.

No one politician will win us the rights we deserve. But if movements hold the rest of the Democratic Party to the same standard as Bernie Sanders, we’ll be in a much better position.


The Hyde Amendment

In a 1992 House floor speech Sanders criticized abortion restrictions imposed on Title X funding as an attack on low-income women; in a 1993 House floor speech he called for the passage of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act; and in another 1993 House speech he called for the codification of abortion rights into federal law, a proposal now being supported by Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris. In 2009 Sanders helped to narrowly defeat the Hatch Amendment, which would have prohibited the federal funding of abortions in the Senate, Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee’s health care reform bill.

“Sen. Sanders has consistently voted against the Hyde Amendment when it has been subject to an up-or-down vote,” says campaign spokeswoman Arianna Jones. “At least four times.”

While it’s true that Bernie voted many times for spending bills that contained the Hyde Amendment, both as a House member and a senator, the nature of these omnibus spending bills is an undemocratic but accepted part of the legislative process that even NARAL Pro-Choice America does not use when tallying politicians’ support or opposition to the Hyde Amendment. Instead, it scores key individual votes, such as two in 2015, when Sanders voted in support of (failed) efforts to strike Hyde language from a health care bill and a human trafficking bill.

Sanders has consistently voted to repeal the Hyde Amendment when it comes to up-and-down votes. The Democrats, on the other hand, didn’t include language in the party platform supporting the repeal of Hyde until the 2016 presidential election cycle. This was largely thanks to the rising awareness and support for access to reproductive health care, among many other progressive positions, that Bernie gave unapologetic voice to.

It should also be pointed out that support among the current crop of Democratic candidates for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment has only become the standard position thanks to pressure from reproductive rights activists. Even Joe Biden, who voted against the repeal of the Hyde Amendment many times and has a long career of waffling on support for abortion rights, succumbed to criticism and reversed his stance just a few weeks ago. His statement made sure to say that he offers “no apologies” for his previous support for the Hyde Amendment, but that circumstances have changed. Yet the circumstances which allow women to access abortion have been difficult for decades. It’s either alarming or disingenuous that Joe Biden is only now aware of the enormous obstacles faced by poor women who attempt to exercise their right to an abortion.

Biden’s record, in contrast to Sanders’s, reveals the fact that the Democratic Party has not always been the best supporter of reproductive freedom. It was not politicians or the Supreme Court who gave us the right to abortion, but a mass movement fighting for women’s liberation.

Groups across the country had begun agitating for reproductive freedom long before Roe v. Wade gave us the constitutional right to an abortion before fetal viability in 1973. These efforts included everything from organizations like the Jane Collective in Chicago, who provided safe underground abortions to those in need, to individuals like Carol Downer who traveled state to state with boxes of speculums to share the revolutionary secrets of vaginal self-examination and “menstrual extraction” — a purposely abstract term for an early abortion.

Once abortion rights were legalized, the backlash against it was swift; in 1976 the Hyde Amendment was passed with 113 Democrats in support and was signed into law by Democratic president Jimmy Carter.

Republican Henry Hyde of Illinois, who drafted the amendment, was clear about his true motives, saying, “I would certainly like to prevent, if I could legally, anybody having an abortion, a rich woman, a middle-class woman, or a poor woman. Unfortunately, the only vehicle available is the Medicaid bill.” And President Carter, a liberal Democrat, vocally opposed using federal funds for abortions under Medicaid or any new national health insurance plan, commenting, “As you know there are many things in life that are not fair, that wealthy people can afford and poor people can’t.”


Medicare for All

Another important part of Bernie’s strong record of support for reproductive rights is his advocacy for a single payer health plan, or Medicare for All, which explicitly calls for federally funded abortion care. Bernie’s Medicare for All bill, introduced to the Senate in 2017, includes “comprehensive reproductive, maternity, and newborn care” within the scope of Medicare for All’s coverage.

Under Title VII, “Universal Medicare Trust Fund,” the text of Sanders’s bill references the Hyde Amendment as one of the “restrictions that shall not apply.” Specifically, “any other provision of law in effect on the date of enactment of this Act restricting the use of Federal funds for any reproductive health service shall not apply to monies in the Trust Fund” — meaning that Hyde couldn’t apply to Medicare funds.

“Senator Sanders’s health care bill ends the debate and makes clear that reproductive health care, including abortion services, is a fundamental right — not just a privilege for the wealthy,” said NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue in a statement on the release of the proposed bill.

It’s vital that any plan for single-payer health care explicitly address Hyde and include coverage for abortion care. If it doesn’t, the discriminatory Hyde Amendment could apply to every person who moves off their private insurance into a public option that’s supposed to be more equitable.


A Litmus Test

It is true that Sanders has made statements against using someone’s stance on abortion rights as a litmus test for supporting other Democratic candidates. In 2017 he campaigned for Omaha, Nebraska mayoral candidate Heath Mello, who co-sponsored several bills in Nebraska’s legislature that would restrict abortion rights. In explaining his endorsement in an interview with NPR, he argued, “you just can’t exclude people who disagree with us on one issue.”

This led to Sanders being called out by NARAL and other reproductive rights advocates for spending time and resources campaigning alongside a Democrat who opposes abortion rights. This criticism is valid, and we should absolutely hold Bernie to the highest standard as an unequivocal champion of abortion rights, and demand that he withhold support for Democrats who oppose abortion rights.

But this high standard should apply to every pro-choice Democrat, including Hillary Clinton. Her vice presidential running mate Tim Kaine had a seriously questionable record on reproductive rights. While running for governor of Virginia in 2005, Kaine said he supported “appropriate and reasonable checks on the right to abortion.” He promised to uphold Virginia’s existing abortion restrictions, which included a twenty-four-hour waiting period for abortions and a parental notification requirement. And as governor he passed a ban on “partial-birth” abortions, with exceptions for a woman’s life and health, and approved funding for “crisis pregnancy centers” that discourage women from choosing abortion.

However, these attempts to raise alarm bells about Bernie’s support for an anti-abortion candidate failed to tell the whole story. Without excusing his earlier record, Heath Mellow’s position on abortion rights has evolved. In 2012 he voted with Planned Parenthood on two out of three bills tracked by the group, and since then has voted with them 100 percent of the time. By 2015, the group was celebrating a “fourth straight year . . .  without enacting any new abortion restrictions in Nebraska,” and Mellow was regarded as an important ally by local reproductive rights groups.


A Grassroots Movement

It’s important to remember that the fight to protect and expand access to reproductive health care cannot be accomplished solely by supporting Bernie or any other politician. Our reliance on pro-choice political representatives and liberal nonprofits is part of what got us into this defensive position in the first place. There are now very few independent pro-abortion activist groups outside of the nonprofit world, and no organized mass movement fighting for women’s freedom the way there was in the 1960s and 70s.

To overcome the impasse the feminist left has found ourselves in, we need to challenge the liberal pro-choice framework that has leaned on “privacy” and “choice” but sacrificed access, agency, and the social support needed to participate in those choices. We need to be part of building a grassroots movement that revives the 1970s women’s liberation movement’s slogan of “free abortion on demand” and that breaks the stranglehold that reproductive rights nonprofits, political consultants, and politicians have on feminist politics.

While Bernie’s long-time support for reproductive rights is unquestionable, it will take more than a vote for him to ensure the end of the Hyde Amendment and full reproductive health care for all. This is a time when states across the country have passed more than four-hundred abortion restrictions since 2011, nearly 40 percent of all US women live in counties without an abortion provider, and at least sixteen states (Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia) have introduced measures to ban abortion as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. We need a mass feminist movement now more than ever.

Only through mobilizations and grassroots struggle will we be able to make sure that Democrats don’t throw abortion coverage under the bus when advocating for a single-payer health care system, or when they support any number of “lesser-evil” choices that don’t include equal access to reproductive health care. We need that mass movement, and there is every reason to hope that Bernie Sanders will be responsive to the demands of such a movement, and will help it grow.


An earlier version of this article stated that “Tim Kaine, in his time as Governor of Virginia . . . signed a law that required women seeking abortions to undergo medically unnecessary ultrasounds.” This was incorrect and we have updated the article accordingly.

by Anne Rumberger at July 15, 2019 04:38 PM

Joe Biden’s New Health Plan Isn’t Just Bad — It’s Deadly

Joe Biden released a new health care plan today. It's garbage — and by stopping short of universal coverage, it could end up killing 125,000 people over ten years through uninsurance.


alt Joe Biden gives a speech on his foreign policy plan on July 11, 2019 in New York City. Spencer Platt / Getty

Joe Biden released a health plan today. Its most significant elements are: 1) the creation of a public option, 2) the increase of subsidies for those buying plans on the exchanges, especially for families with incomes above 400 percent of the poverty line, and 3) the option for individuals in non-Medicaid-expansion states to enroll in the public option for free. Biden claims that the resulting system will insure 97 percent of Americans, meaning 3 percent will still be uninsured.

There is much to quibble with in Biden’s plan.

If individuals in non-Medicaid-expansion states can enroll in the public option for free, then won’t every state repeal their Medicaid expansion to save state money? I suppose that’s fine depending on how good the public option is, but is that really the intended goal?

More generally, Biden’s plan has the same problem as any other plan that does not create a national health insurance system: it causes enormous amounts of insurance churn and instability, further immiserating people when they face hardships like loss of job, loss of spouse, loss of Medicaid due to income increase, and every other negative life event.

The most remarkable thing about Biden’s plan is that it does not even aim to provide universal insurance coverage. The more moderate wing of the Democratic Party has mostly been putting out plans that purport to achieve universal coverage (e.g., through auto-enrollment mechanisms) without national health insurance. But Biden is literally doubling down on “preserving Obamacare” by preserving a class of uninsured people.

His campaign claims that the plan will leave around 3 percent of Americans uninsured. These sorts of estimates should be taken with a grain of salt as it is very uncertain how people will respond to the reforms. For instance, the CBO initially estimated that 22 million Americans would sign up for insurance on the Obamacare exchanges, but only half that many actually did.

Even if you suppose that Biden’s estimate is right and the uninsurance rate does go to 3 percent, that still implies an enormous amount of unnecessary death caused by a lack of insurance. One commonly used estimate (for example, by CAPstates that one unnecessary death occurs annually for every 830 uninsured people. This means that during the first ten years of Bidencare, over 125,000 unnecessary deaths would occur from uninsurance.

Source: Author’s Calculation Based on Sommers (2014) and Census Projections.

This is equivalent to the death toll of forty-two September 11 style attacks. Needless to say, this is not acceptable. No Democrat should be running on a health plan that does not provide universal coverage.


by Matt Bruenig at July 15, 2019 04:22 PM

Deep Green Resistance News Service

The Art of Rebellion, Part 1: Of Martial Traditions

Editor’s Note: this piece on the Art of Rebellion was published anonymously under the name “Seaweed” in 2008. We don’t agree with every detail (most notably, although we support autonomous localized uprisings, we don’t believe that these will be sufficient to halt the murder of the planet. We call for a more coordinated form of militant resistance to destroy industrial capitalism and save the planet). But this essay provides an excellent overview of the importance of martial traditions and developing a culture of militancy.

Image: Asia Ramazan Antar, a member of the YPJ, the all-female military force in northern Syria. Antar was killed by an ISIS suicide bomber in 2016, at the age of 19 years. YPJ is leading the fight against ISIS and Turkey as part of an ecological, feminist revolution in the heart of the Middle East. She is considered a hero of the Rojava revolution. Photo by Kurdishstruggle, CC BY 2.0.

By Seaweed

Even those of us in apparently open and peaceful countries are deeply involved in a war. It is a social and a political war. It is a war of ideology versus freedom of thought. It is a war of industrialism against healthy environments. It is a war between the included and the excluded.

The vast majority of the world’s population consists of defeated peoples in this war. And in fact, we are more than just defeated. We are kept. Kept in fear, kept in awe, kept out of touch with each other and the earth that gives us life. It has been said that our chains are long and our cages big, yet this still implies that we are prisoners. Coercion is everywhere, including the necessity to sell our labor for a wage, forced obedience to laws, conscription in imperial armies and compulsory moralities and schooling.

The occupying physical forces are essentially the police and the army. Over the centuries we’ve internalized much of the values and ideas of the conquerors. Most of us have now been assimilated into the ways of the obedient and the domesticated. But I’d like to explore our physical occupation, not the various skins that we must shed and the fears we must lose. If people want to claim space then they have to be prepared to fight and defend it. This space could be permanent (a liberated region or village) or temporary (squats, wilderness camps, legally and illegally built shelters or autonomous neighborhoods). It could be based in village or regional secessionist movements, access to land by popular movements or indigenous assertion over traditional territories.

Those of you familiar with the events in Kahnesatake for instance, a Mohawk reserve outside of Montreal, in which the cops were physically chased out of town a while ago, are aware of how successful an organized martial action can be. Canadian anarchists and other insubordinates have an incredible amount of insight and inspiration to glean from that event. People can claim space if they get organized and aren’t afraid to lose a few teeth.

With this in mind, perhaps a look at history generally will help us discover how others in this predicament have successfully organized themselves martially, because there are countless examples of rebels organizing themselves along martial lines and winning.

Official history is written by the conquerors. Their self-congratulatory folklore is that we (rebels) have always lost because the conquerors were superior (and thus had superior weapons). Most of us assume that this is true, so we might as well not even try a martial approach, because we’re sure to lose. But this isn’t the case. In North American history for instance, the dishonest image of the technologically advanced Europeans overrunning primitive savages needs to be re-examined. All over this continent the indigenous peoples rose up and used martial skills to repel the invasions. In most instances, at least initially, they had some success.

Let’s look at an example from one of the very first invasions. In 1521, in what is now called Florida, the Calusa and Timucua defeated experienced conquistadors under Ponce de Leon and Hernandez de Cordoba. In fact, both of these conquerors died of wounds inflicted by the Calusa! For half a century the indigenous tribes repelled the Spanish in that region. The invasion by de Leon and de Cordoba was in fact the fourth invasion by Spaniards repelled successfully by local tribes-people.

Throughout the successive invasions, there were countless examples of success. Furthermore, Europeans would not have ultimately won without adopting some native technology and skills while throughout the centuries the indigenous peoples also adapted European technology and tactics. For instance, in his excellent book, Warpaths, author Ian Steele explains that: “Spanish crossbows had failed to compete with Amerindian longbows that were six to seven feet long, thick as a man’s arm, and very accurate at two hundred yards. Although Spanish armor had been effective against most arrows encountered on three continents, these… arrows penetrated six inches of wood and even Spanish breast-and back plates.” In many instances the indigenous successfully defended their territory for decades, some even succeeded for generations.

It seems clear to me at least that any successful resistance needs to be organized in a broad way, it needs to be organically self-organized based on entire communities. We should be aiming for a period of regional and village-like secessionist movements. Centralized authority can not control a veritable multitude of rebellious regions, villages, reserves and neighborhoods, each with its own focus, its specific expression of anti-authoritarian self-organization. Also, by collaborating with or at least acknowledging indigenous actions for autonomy and territory, we can be part of something much larger, something quite close generally to what many insurgent communitarians, radical ecologists, anarchists and other rebels are aiming for.

As mentioned earlier, we still have to shake off the chains that we ourselves willingly carry, like crucifixes, because we are believers. Part of breaking out involves shedding all those ideological skins grafted onto us through schooling, the mass media, living in nuclear families, etc. But my involvement with rebels over the past 20 years tells me that we already know that this is important. What we don’t seem to inventory is the means available to us to counter our physical occupation. We know that it is only by ridding ourselves of organized coercive authority that we will truly begin to have real opportunities to profoundly transform ourselves. Can a local area succeed against this coercion and against the imperialism of the market? If so, what are some of the first steps?

Part of being an insurgent today could involve acquiring martial skills. Martial traditions include everything from fighting techniques, military theory, group cohesion and earth knowledge to skill with a weapon. Weapons include rifles, shotguns, handguns, sling shots, knives and various bows and arrows, among others. These could be used for acquiring food as well as for self-defense or to chase away adversaries. This isn’t a call to “armed struggle” but for inclusion of a neglected aspect of a holistic approach to rebellion. Most simple weapons are also useful tools and we should make use of them in that context, for instance by learning hunting skills, then bringing home some wild meat to share with friends so we can stop relying on dumpsters and food banks and jobs. The bonus is that our possession and familiarity with them could be extremely useful in a crisis situation or during a popular revolt.

The war rages on. The prisons are full. The factories and mines are full. A small class of people calls all the shots. A wave of extinction is denuding the planet, a tsunami caused by a system that is imposed from above. Entire populations are on anti-depressant and anti-anxiety pills. We need to regroup and strategize. Encouraging individuals and groups of rebellious people to get some training in survival and martial skills seems like common sense at this time. These various individuals and groups would help create a new anti-authoritarian culture that includes a widespread acceptance of a martial component. Rhetoric and politeness have ruled us for too long. A more martial approach should be given an opportunity to contribute significantly to attempts at creating imaginative, healthy cultures.

The support for martial skills could translate into anti-authoritarian “warrior societies” or “militias”, semi-formal groupings that exist over time, or it might manifest itself spontaneously and informally when the need arises. Either way, the intention is that there are groups of individuals able and perhaps willing to help their neighbors, comrades and friends claim space to express anger, resist the plundering of their habitat and help various grassroots initiatives to fight back through the practice of martial approaches. They would likely practice survival and martial skills. When a squat is about to be evicted or a wilderness camp burned by authorities, they might show up to give moral and physical support with their training and ability to act strongly as a group. Whether groups form or not, by being inclusive and encouraging as many friends, neighbors and comrades as possible to explore martial ways, an exciting new culture will be given the opportunity to emerge.

Canadian rebels can take advantage of the relative freedom and openness of our society and get these skills and tools before the chains shorten and the cages shrink. The reaction to the September 11th events in the USA proved just how quickly an open society will bring in draconian laws to protect the elite, the system they depend on and the values that allow such a system to exist in the first place.

We are all occupied peoples. The occupation is partly maintained militarily and our response should therefore be, in part at least, a military one. But I don’t want a warrior ethic to be the central aspect of my community. I want the wisdom of the elders, the spontaneity, playfulness and brutal honesty of the children, the careful chiding and questioning of the fools and pacifists to also be essential aspects of my resistance, otherwise we’ll end up with martial societies rather than societies with martial skills, or worse, warrior aristocracies. I’m not suggesting a separate warrior class, but an anti-authoritarian culture that values martial skills and tactics. Community wide training in self-defense, widespread use and knowledge of weaponry, popular study of conflict and confrontation, general encouragement of fighting back and standing up, etc. would all be central. I’m encouraging a grassroots acceptance of martial skills and approaches.

The warriors we want to encourage are partly motivated by a concern and caring for others in their community. They aren’t based in small sanctimonious cliques. However, they care about others because they care about themselves, about life generally, about freedom. Our fighter exists to claim space for herself and others. In this newly freed up space genuine living can have an opportunity to express itself.

Part of preparing ourselves for secession and revolt includes the study of military history, the principles and ways of warfare, mostly because our adversaries are well schooled in it, but also because these offer insights and principles valuable to anti-authoritarian rebels as well. Many of us are familiar with some of the classics: Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, Musashi’s Book of Five Rings, Che Gueverra’s writings, Mao’s musings and analysis and the works of Clausewitz for instance. But these are only some of the works, many from an authoritarian or vanguardist perspective, and clearly inadequate for an emerging martial culture wanting to resist or to claim and defend space.

We could also look at the history of anarchists, like the Makhnovchina or the Durruti Column, for instance, at how they got started, how they were organized as well as at some of their specific battles and how these were won or lost. We can learn from the mistakes of countless past attempts. Anti-authoritarian rebels don’t have an elitist leadership and aren’t centrally organized. Federations of independent camps could be encouraged, but these alliances should be fragile agreements. Ultimately it is in not becoming too formally linked that we will succeed in permanently breaking the existence of political monopolies and large-scale infrastructures that tend toward congealing into authoritarian organizations. The notion here is to be a small part in helping create a world of free individuals, of healthy ecological environments where self-organized groups of free humans can live.

This new focus of rebellious people on military history and strategy would obviously be well complimented by also including the struggles of indigenous and other insurgent groups. In this respect we could also look at the Metis rebellion around the Red River Valley and the Society of the Masterless Men in Newfoundland, for instance. Of course we’d benefit as well from a study of the battles of war leaders like Crazy Horse, Tecumseh, Chief Joseph, Pontiac and Geronimo, as well as events like John Brown’s attempted seizure of the armory at Harper’s Ferry and countless other examples.

A study of the military attempts of anti-authoritarian and indigenous rebels that focuses on specific battles and the strategies that either won or lost them the fight, can lead to many useful insights of the art of revolt. A look at the struggle of the Potawatomi for instance, a people who lived according to open and free principles, to survive while caught up in the conflicts between the French and English colonial powers, reveals secrets of successful warfare. Here is just one example. In the spring of 1755, Major General Braddock assembled a large army under the British flag. He was leading colonial militia and regular troops from Virginia to destroy French forts on the Ohio River. His guide and adviser was a young colonel, George Washington. Here’s a description of what transpired from James Clifton’s book The Potawatomi:

“On June 8 the British were approaching Fort Duquesne in western Pennsylvania, site of present day Pittsburgh. Seeing that the British were camped and on the alert, the Potawatomi war leaders persuaded the French not to attack. Instead, they planned to attack the British troops the next day while they were on the move, stretched out in mile-long files along a narrow, forest-shrouded trail. Their surprise attack was a complete success. Colonel Washington tried to…counterattack in Indian style…but was defeated. They suffered nearly 1000 dead and wounded out of 1500 on the trail that morning. They abandoned most of their equipment and supplies… Braddock was mortally wounded. Washington barely escaped with his life. He learned a life-saving military lesson from this disaster, one that he would regularly give as advice to his own generals when sending them against British and Indian forces: “Beware of surprise!”

In military theory, surprise is one of the most potent weapons available. We should keep in mind that a study of historical combat shows that surprise increases the combat power of fighting forces. It is the greatest of all combat multipliers. Surprise, combat effectiveness, defensive postures, these are all multipliers that can help. Shouldn’t this knowledge be generally available and understood among anti-authoritarians?

The following are just a few examples of using martial tactics to succeed in present day struggles.

Opening new fronts as solidarity with other rebels engaged in a confrontation or action. Encouraging defection within enemy ranks. Avoiding capture. Blockades. Unarresting a comrade. The ambush. Spying. Interrupting the enemies’ means of communication. The surprise. Raids on enemy stores of food and weapons. The siege. Physical battles that expand territory. Freeing captives from enemy prisons. Destruction of enemy arsenals. Destruction of enemy wealth. Regrouping. Hiding. Secret codes and other means of communication. Bolder actions. Creating clandestine camps in which to hide friendly fugitives. Insurgencies. Fleeing to areas outside the enemies’ control. Increased ability to fight as groups.

Like all strategies involving territory and occupation, the defeated have myriad choices in terms of how they live out their lives. But the choices are more limited if we agree on what our aims are, on what would constitute success, on what constitutes living. Were the Warsaw Ghetto inhabitants who rose up against their Nazi tormentors ethically reprehensible for killing? Should they have continued to accept daily humiliation, suffering, violence and death? Yet at the time, there were those among them who argued against the uprising on various grounds, including moral ones. Oftentimes it isn’t a question of who was more successful, but agreeing on what success is. In the case of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, those who participated in the uprising felt it was more successful to stand up to their oppressors and die with dignity, than to continue to live in Nazi hell. For others success was measured simply by staying alive at all costs, even if that meant being a traitor or accepting defeat. For others still, success was measured by being morally superior, by never adopting the means and ways of the enemy, even if that meant suffering or death. All rebels who want to overthrow the present social order in favor of a more just and imaginative one, need to ask themselves what success means for them. I believe it means standing up to the bullies who run things. It means asserting some territoriality within which we can learn to live in harmony with each other and the world around us. To achieve this we need to listen to the hot headed, impatient and courageous warriors as much as we do to the cautious, negotiating and compromising survivors.

We are all damaged people who need to heal and not just fight. We partly do this with others with whom we share affinities and openness for intimacy. We also need to analyze civilization (or domination generally) and share our insights through debates, pamphlets, publications and discussion. And we need to help create communities and/or cultures of resistance by contributing to the various projects that fellow rebels are involved in. Yet personal healing, propaganda and putting our energy into community projects, no matter how worthy, still don’t acknowledge the military occupation we are presently living under. Even attempts at “re-wilding” are vain if we don’t push for a generalized, effective, long-term momentum against militarily protected centralized authority.

History is not only the story of imperial civilizations targeting and conquering others, it is also a chronicle of the resistance to that conquest. I have allies and kin that extend back millennia. They have won countless battles. There has been successful resistance in every area and every era. In order to honor our ancestors, and I use this term broadly in the sense of ancestors by blood or worldview, we need to give them thanks and keep up the fight. In military theory, it is said that for the conqueror to really succeed the losing population must accept defeat, otherwise the conquerors only win after every single person has been killed, which isn’t normally in the conquerors interest, because they need slaves and soldiers, etc. A very large part of our population unfortunately has accepted defeat. So I want to repeat that sharing our unique world-views and critiques and creating community are as essential as acquiring martial skills. A martial component is simply one part of a holistic approach. But we also must remember that a small band of rebels can accomplish a lot, even succeeding in leading relatively free lives away from capitalist civilization.

In Ireland, in the early nineteen hundreds, small local militias with not even enough rifles to go around succeeded in thwarting the designs of one of the most powerful empires on the planet for decades. They were successful partly because they used many martial skills, from spying to engagement in actual battles but also because they had widespread support. The fighters could melt back into the population. Disadvantaged fighters need widespread support to win. With this in mind, it’s essential that rebels stay put in one region and make strong bonds with the land and the inhabitants there. Perhaps, over time, the embers of authentic communities with martial skills will begin to glow and maybe these seemingly isolated embers will one day gather themselves into small local fires. And hopefully, you’ll be a rebel around one of those fires.

PDF for printing available here: https://ia801308.us.archive.org/19/items/OfMartialTraditionsTheArtOfRebellion/martial_traditions-imposed.pdf

by Deep Green Resistance Great Basin at July 15, 2019 03:24 PM

jacobinmag

They’re Not Just Mad at AOC — They’re Scared of Her

Nancy Pelosi’s war of words with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez isn't about clashing personalities. It's about Democratic elites trying to undercut AOC's bold, left agenda.


alt Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez listens to testimony before the House Oversight Committee on Capitol Hill, February 27, 2019 in Washington DC. (Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

Just over one year ago, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) sent shockwaves through the mainstream political establishment by ousting ten-term incumbent Democrat Joe Crowley in New York. Running as an open democratic socialist on a platform of redistributive economics, universal health care, bold climate action, and abolishing ICE, she lit a spark under a moribund Democratic Party, becoming an immediate media sensation and capturing the imagination of progressives and young people across the country.

In the face of the incredible response to Ocasio-Cortez’s surprise victory, House leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) threw cold water on all the excitement. “They made a choice in one district,” she said. “So let’s not get yourself carried away as an expert on demographics and the rest of that.”

Flash forward to today, and Pelosi’s dismissal of Ocasio-Cortez and her role in the party is again making headlines. This time, the controversy stems from comments Pelosi made to the New York Times’s Maureen Dowd about AOC and her “squad” of fellow freshmen reps Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI): “All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world. But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people and that’s how many votes they got.”

Those comments elicited a response from Ocasio-Cortez and her chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti in which they defended the reputation of the four new progressives, calling Pelosi’s characterization “outright disrespectful.”

The ensuing back-and-forth has seen longtime incumbent Democrats pile on criticisms of the squad, with some members accusing Ocasio-Cortez of using “the race card” for suggesting that leadership was “singling out” the newly elected women of color. Even the operatives behind the official House Democrats Twitter account got in on the action, sending out a tweet disparaging Chakrabarti for daring to criticize moderate Democrats over their votes.

Mainstream outlets have characterized the conflict as driven by generational tensions, or (on Pelosi’s side) simply a desire to protect Democratic incumbents from criticism. But the feud in fact speaks to something much deeper: Ocasio-Cortez and her allies are pushing for bold, transformational policies that would upend the current economic and political system. That campaign is coming into open conflict with a Democratic establishment that would prefer to just keep things as they are.


Breaking Ranks With the Establishment

Consider the political backdrop to the current war of words. Pelosi’s “four votes” comment was in reference to a border funding package that Ocasio-Cortez and the squad all voted against, arguing it would provide financing for immigration enforcement more than it would address the humanitarian needs of migrants. The final version of the bill passed by Pelosi included even less aid for migrants than the previous House version, with the few measly concessions secured by the Speaker including a promise from Vice President Mike Pence “that members would be notified within 24 hours of the death of a child in U.S. custody.”

Contrast that dystopian compromise with the stated policy goals of Ocasio-Cortez when it comes to immigration: Repealing laws that criminalize entering the United States without proper documentation, massively increasing US aid to Central America, abolishing ICE — the brutal arm of the US deportation regime that she says “systematically and repeatedly violates human rights” — and even dissolving the Department of Homeland Security, an agency that has been sacrosanct to both the Republican and Democratic parties since its creation after September 11.

This approach to immigration flies in the face of decades of mainstream Democratic Party messaging around the issue, which has consistently centered militarizing the border, criminalizing those who would dare cross it, and deporting immigrants in order to claim the mantle of “toughness.” But the Democratic approach to immigration isn’t just about rhetorical positioning. It also stems from the fact that many Democrats rely on funding from the very same private prison industry that undergirds the horrendous system of migrant detention camps in the United States.

Take Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), who, according to OpenSecrets, has taken $88,990 from GEO Group and CoreCivic America since 2012. Cuellar, one of the most conservative Democrats in the House, is currently being targeted in his primary by Jessica Cisneros, a left challenger and former immigration lawyer backed by Justice Democrats — the same group that helped propel Ocasio-Cortez into power and was cofounded by Chakrabarti.

Cisneros has sworn off the types of corporate donations on which Cuellar has long relied, and her platform includes ending family separation and opposing the border wall. If elected, she would help cut off the valve of private prison money flowing into the Democratic Party and push forward a more unapologetically progressive approach to immigration — just the type of confrontational, anti-corporate politics embodied by Ocasio-Cortez and her squad.

It’s this prospect that causes hand-wringing in the mahogany-adorned offices of centrist Democrats the country over. They understand that Ocasio-Cortez and her supporters in the Justice Democrats don’t just want to knock off a few incumbents here and there; they want to create a political environment in which Democrats who put corporate-friendly policies over the demands of working-class Americans are seen as toxic — and they’re willing to take risks to achieve this goal.


A Noticeable Difference

The recent record shows that the efforts of Ocasio-Cortez and the Left are having an impact. Since Ocasio-Cortez’s victory last year, Democrats up and down the ballot are swearing off corporate-PAC money. After Ocasio-Cortez lifted up the call to abolish ICE in 2018, mainstream Democrats such as Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) came on board. In January, Ocasio-Cortez floated the idea of implementing a 70 percent marginal tax rate on the richest Americans. While the idea is far outside the bounds of what the Democratic Party has advocated for decades, polls show that more than half of Americans support the policy, and in the months since, presidential candidates Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) have put forward their own far-reaching plans for soaking the rich.

Then there’s the Green New Deal. One of Ocasio-Cortez’s first acts after winning her general election was to participate in a sit-in at Pelosi’s offices, joining the Sunrise Movement to demand immediate, bold action from Congress to combat climate change. Within weeks, talk of the Green New Deal was seemingly everywhere, from mainstream media outlets to the halls of power. Rather than discussing carbon taxes and meager credits for renewable energy, as had long been the Democratic status quo, policymakers were now debating a wholesale transformation of America’s energy system that would impact nearly every sphere of the economy.

While Pelosi scornfully referred to the plan as “the green dream or whatever,” there’s no question that Ocasio-Cortez’s leadership on the issue helped to reorient the debate around climate change in the Democratic Party. It expanded the realm of political possibility and underlined the urgency of responding to the crisis. Indeed, on issue after issue, Ocasio-Cortez’s effective use of social media and her platform in Congress have helped to popularize left-wing priorities — from Medicare for All to free college to a Marshall Plan for Puerto Rico — while calling out the moderate wing of the party that remains in thrall to corporate interests.

The fact that a freshman representative who came to power by challenging a powerful incumbent has made such an impact was bound to draw the ire of Democratic establishment figures. But the backlash from Democratic centrists is more than just resentment or jealousy. They really fear a policy program that threatens to shake the neoliberal political consensus that has dominated both parties for the past forty years.

Days before House Democrats took aim at Chakrabarti, a profile in the Washington Post quoted him as saying, “The interesting thing about the Green New Deal is it wasn’t originally a climate thing at all. . . . [W]e really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.” With its promise of a federal jobs guarantee, universal health care, and massive subsidies for public transportation and new renewable energy industries, the Green New Deal does promise to change the entire economy, making it more fair, sustainable, and democratic.

This is not the vision of progress put forward by the likes of past Democratic Party luminaries like Rahm Emanuel, who Maureen Dowd quotes as referring to Chakrabarti as “a snot-nosed punk.” But it is the growing viewpoint of the party’s left flank, which is providing both energy and on-the-ground organizing. Policies such as Medicare for All, a jobs guarantee, free college, and a Green New Deal all now command majority support, not just among Democrats but among Americans on the whole.

These expansive redistributive policies represent the demands of broad swaths of the population — politicians such as Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, Omar, and Pressley are simply giving them voice and a platform. At a time when these leaders are under fire from President Trump, who targeted them with racist attacks on Sunday, it’s a sad state of affairs that Democratic leaders are similarly hurling invective at the new generation of progressives in the House.

Yet it’s no shock that Ocasio-Cortez and her cohort are being treated as a threat to a party establishment that has cozied up to corporate power and helped maintain the deeply unequal economic and political order in this country. It’s because they are one.


by Miles Kampf-Lassin at July 15, 2019 02:46 PM

What Is a Radical Analysis of Science?

We shouldn't relinquish science to those who would depoliticize it or use it to prop up the ruling class. We should harness it for emancipatory, transformative ends.


alt A chemist at work in a laboratory circa 1970s. Pictorial Parade / Archive Photos / Getty

This summer marks thirty years since the last issue of Science for the People was delivered to its subscribers in 1989. The magazine helped train a generation of unapologetic left-wing scientists to criticize and challenge the use of their work for violent and oppressive ends. From its enduring polemic against the latest variants of biological determinism to its critiques of weapons research and military funding on college campuses — and much more — Science for the People became an institution of radical thought and political struggle for its members and subscribers.

Today, a new generation has revived the group, both as a membership organization and a periodical. In this piece, republished from the magazine’s summer 2019 relaunch collection, Helen Zhao reviews the critical contributions of the original Science for the People and challenges the new formation to revolutionize science and technology from within existing institutions. To receive the relaunch issue in print this summer, subscribe here.

A radical analysis must not confine itself to the business of critique — to dismantling dominant ways of thinking about the doing and making of science. A radical analysis must offer lessons for how to transform science in a revolutionary direction. How to remake science in the service of the people.

This means using critique to inform our movement’s concrete plans for actualizing hopes, visions, and waking dreams of a science emancipated.

This means setting a goal for radical analysis to guide our movement in its fight to reclaim science — currently complicit with and exploited by capital — weaponized against workers and the oppressed, and forged to reinforce ruling-class power.

You’ve probably heard the story. While science has been abused by nefarious actors for nefarious purposes — especially under the auspices of incompetent and malevolent government agents — science itself is innocent, free of political content. Science is merely the tried and true method of seeking and finding knowledge. In Richard Feynman’s charming words, it is “an enabling power to do either good or bad — but it does not carry instructions on how to use it.”

In another version of the same story, science is socially valuable expertise. Despite a few bad apples — fraudulent research, scam journals, or a poorly designed study — science withstands systematic critique and serves the public good. Those who think otherwise are “anti-science.” Turn, for instance, to the mission statement of Science Not Silence, the official blog of the March for Science. The blog aims to “highlight the service role of science and how science supports the common good for all,” to document “political threats to science and its ability to serve,” and to encourage “people to get involved and support science and science-based policymaking.”

A different story you may have heard, far less common today but once in wider circulation on the Left, says that science isn’t neutral, free of politics, or by and large a benevolent force for good. This is because all science amounts to one oppressive ideology among many. No science deserves privileging: any science coerces, indoctrinates, or demands religious adherence to its precepts. Such a defeatist perspective as far as truth, knowledge, and technology are concerned carries its own problems. What about the free health clinics organized by the Black Panther Party in the 1970s, which provided desperately needed and effective medical services to those who could neither afford expensive private clinics, nor meet their needs in underfunded and overcrowded public clinics?

None of these views of science are attractive to those committed to bringing about institutions of science unlike the ones implicated in the dealings of warfare and capital. After all, none afford a sober, clear-eyed faith in the possibility of a science for the people. Many radical critiques found in previous issues of SftP subvert all three aforementioned views, setting out from the thought that science demands a revolution, and in the wake of a wider revolution, there should still be science.

In particular, previous issues of SftP have featured three kinds of radical critique, each of which has challenged a liberal interpretation of science.


Critiquing the Application of Knowledge

The first is a radical critique of the applications of scientific knowledge. This kind of critique brings to light the many, often horrifying, ways in which technological and ideological results of knowledge production abet and reinforce ruling-class power, domination, and exploitation of workers and the oppressed. It makes clear the devastating knock-on effects of science on society, such as napalm, nuclear bombs, forced sterilization, hate crimes, unjust social policies, racist criminal risk algorithms, facial recognition scanners at border checkpoints, intersex medical interventions — the list goes on.

A 1988 SftP article, “After the Boycott: How Scientists Are Stopping SDI,” shows how a research program created under President Ronald Reagan, officially known as the Strategic Defense Initiative but informally dubbed “Star Wars,” sought to enlist American scientists and engineers in constructing an elaborate network of satellite-based lasers and missiles to defend against a potential nuclear attack on the United States. Here, the author condemned the technological application of physical and chemical research to an irresponsible, massively expensive arms race against the Soviet Union.

More recently, an article in the special 2018 issue of SftP, “Geoengineering and Environmental Capitalism,” shows that geoengineering “solutions” to climate change pose grave risks to both the natural and social worlds. While large-scale technological interventions in the climate system, such as those used to militarize the weather during the Vietnam War, have become mainstays of climate policy discourse in the Global North, heralded “solutions” like injecting aerosols into the atmosphere to reduce the amount of incoming sunlight have the potential to suppress rainfall and interfere with monsoon patterns. Vast plant monocultures to sequester carbon from the atmosphere carry devastating risks for ecosystems. Furthermore, bio-energy production combined with carbon capture and storage is likely to escalate international conflicts by encouraging competition over land and resources, forced displacement, and sharp increases in global food prices.

A 1976 SftP article titled “Racist Outbreak at Harvard Medical School” subjects the scientific theory of biological determinism to scrutiny on the basis of its ideological applications. It shows how this theory was harmfully applied to naturalize social injustice: to reinforce the pernicious political belief that social and economic inequities are the fault of individuals being born in the wrong body with the wrong genes. In a racist episode earlier that year, Bernard D. Davis, a professor at Harvard Medical School, published an op-ed in the New England Journal of Medicine attacking minority admissions programs. He warned against “the temptation to award medical diplomas on a charitable basis” to “a person who might leave a swath of unnecessary deaths behind him.” Prior to the publication of this op-ed, Davis had given a public speech in which he’d argued that “social justice must be built around the reality of our genetic diversity.” Here, radical critique of science brought to light the way in which a scientific theory was applied to support white supremacist ideology and dismiss calls for systemic redress of unjust social outcomes.


Critiquing Theory and Methodology

A second kind of radical critique challenges the methodological and theoretical frameworks that guide the production of science and technology.

One of Science for the People’s most intense campaigns was its fight against the aforementioned theory of biological determinism, notably propounded by Harvard University biologist E. O. Wilson in his influential book Sociobiology: The New Synthesis. Members of Science for the People like Barbara and Jonathan Beckwith, Steven Chorover, David Culver, Stephen Jay Gould, Ruth Hubbard, Richard Lewontin, and Herb Schreier participated in a widely cited 1975 critique of Wilson’s book, published in the New York Review of Books.

This critique consisted of several parts. It criticized Wilson for citing no evidence for the genes he’d posited to exist, such as “conformer genes,” “homosexuality genes,” and “genes favoring spite.” It took him to task for dogmatically assuming that human behavior and social structures are “organs” determined by genes. In addition, it highlighted the absurdity of Wilson’s implicit chain of reasoning: because anthropological genetics is logically conceivable — it could be true despite no evidence that human behavior is determined by genes, and despite that “the very opposite could be true” — there’s a “necessity” for anthropological genetics. We must study the processes of genetic inheritance of culture, it would seem, for no good reason but that such explanations are Wilson’s preference. Furthermore, the critique revealed the sleight-of-hand by which Wilson purported to give evidence for the naturalness of historically specific social structures like slavery and castes. It showed that Wilson had circularly confirmed his own prejudices. He’d read into nonhuman behaviors precisely those social structures he’d hoped to justify.

In this example, radical critique comprised critique of a scientific argument: of the concepts, methods, and theories by which conclusions were drawn. Biological determinism was shown not only to be harmful in application, but also, as a theory, to be plagued with gaps — illogical and circular.

Likewise, the 2018 SftP critique of geoengineering “solutions” appeals to the fact that the science itself is dubious. It shows that technological schemes to “fix” the climate presuppose linear, simplistic causal models of climate systems despite the fact that such systems, especially on a global scale, are complex, nonlinear, chaotic, and unpredictable. A lot of uncertainty remains as to whether geoengineering “solutions,” tested in silico by incomplete models, are even effective. Models employed in geoengineering research also tend to ignore the social and geopolitical impacts of simulated technologies, perhaps in part because geoengineering is systematically dominated by perspectives from the physical sciences and engineering. Geoengineering “solutions,” then, are not only risky technologies; geoengineering science itself, it’s been argued, is epistemically blinkered.


Critiquing the Basis of Knowledge Production

A third kind of radical critique takes as its subject matter the material basis of scientific knowledge production. It emphasizes the causal role that differential access to resources, such as funding, capital power, political power, education, and training, plays in reproducing science and the inequities therein.

Sometimes, this causal role takes little work to understand. As the director of the “Star Wars” Office of Innovative Science and Technology (IST) put the point bluntly thirty-five years ago: “People go where the bucks are. There is a lot of money involved here.” Unsurprisingly, oil industry moguls and representatives are at the forefront of developing geoengineering technologies, given that these technologies promise to mitigate anthropogenic climate change without alteration or perturbation to the life of capital. Interest in geoengineering is growing, even outside of fossil fuel producers and extractive industries, because “technofixes” herald opportunities aplenty for profit through promoting market expansion, making commercial gains, and increasing power for economic actors and corporations.

At other times, this critique of science requires more effort to unpack and appreciate. “Equality for Women in Science,” an early piece by the SftP editorial board, describes multiple, intricately interacting social and material structures that then, and still today, facilitated the exclusion of women from science. It explains how sorting by sex from an early age made a difference in the trajectories and relative ease of success in scientific careers. Vocational counseling in high schools and colleges, for instance, encouraged women to pursue family roles, clerical work, and professions in the service fields. This decreased the likelihood that women after high school or college would go on to work in science. In addition, women who did manage to complete their science training were made to choose between families and their profession while men in the same fields were not asked to choose. This, then, also decreased the likelihood that women with the same training would advance professionally as far as men.

The article ends with a list of economic and institutional demands to “make steps now towards destroying false notions of superiority.” These include equal wages for equal work, a graduate school admissions gender quota, reorientation of vocational counseling, birth control and abortion counseling, parenthood and family sick leave, and free, 24/7 childcare centers. The list reinforces the idea that unequal gender representation in the scientific workforce may be explained not by differences in gender, but by differences in access to resources between the genders. It explains inequity in science by appealing to relevant inequities in the material basis of science.


Radical Versus Liberal Critique

These, then, are three kinds of radical critique of science: critique of the applications, epistemic features, and material basis of scientific knowledge production.

But what distinguishes a radical critique from a liberal critique? Here, the answer lies not merely in an awareness on the one side that science has been and continues to be used to further warfare, to existentially threaten human life, and to justify sexism and racismLiberal critiques readily admit that science is sometimes instrumentalized for evil by bad faith actors. They simply take such incidents to be abuses of science, as opposed to its usual uses; outliers as opposed to humdrum events in the daily, monstrous churn of the capitalist/science/war machine. With respect to “Star Wars” and the racist episode at Harvard, someone like Richard Feynman might say that science has made its way into the wrong hands. With respect to the pitfalls of geoengineering “solutions,” Science Not Silence might say that scientists lack the freedom and resources to study the right questions — questions they would be able to address if someone like Trump were removed from office.

By contrast, a radical critique does not explain the horrors of science as the mere doings of bad faith actors or effects of restrictions on intellectual freedom. It explains science and its demons through an historicized analysis of the structural causes of technological and ideological “misfires” as expected downstream consequences of selective support for favored research questions, methods, models, and disciplines; of differential access among stratified groups to funding, training, and modes of communication.

Radical critiques of science thus distinguish themselves from liberal critiques by the political entanglements they posit among the applications, epistemic features, and material basis of science. Unlike their liberal counterparts, they take for granted that any part of science must be understood through a rich and nuanced grasp of the whole of science across time and place; of the entire knowledge-making industry and its role in capitalism at large. Radical critique is anti-reductionist critique. Radical science is therefore science transformed as a whole.

While some radical critiques have included concrete demands for reforming science, fewer have offered concrete perspectives on how to achieve those demands. But if radical analysis is to further our movement’s political projects, magazines like SftP should move beyond varied critiques of science’s effects, practices, and disciplinary logics, beyond exposés of the grisly interactions in between, to more extensively articulate, debate, and plan concrete “next steps” for moving science to the left.

A call for more strategic perspectives in radical science publishing is not a call for something new. One of SftP’s earliest and most widely distributed essays, “Toward a Science for the People,” describes a vision and plan for revolutionary change. This 1972 piece argues that:

Traditional attempts to reform scientific activity, to disentangle it from its more malevolent and vicious applications, have failed. Actions designed to preserve the moral integrity of individuals without addressing themselves to the political and economic system which is at the root of the problem have been ineffective. The ruling class can always replace a Leo Szilard with an Edward Teller. What is needed now is not liberal reform or withdrawal, but a radical attack, a strategy of opposition. Scientific workers must develop ways to put their skills at the service of the people and against the oppressors. … Scientists must succeed in redirecting their professional activities away from services to the forces and institutions they oppose and toward a movement they wish to build.

At the 2014 conference “Science for the People: The 1970s and Today,” Richard Levins, a luminary member of Science for the People, offered his audience several words of advice. He suggested that the major terrain of struggle for a people’s science would continue to be ideological:

Part of the task of a revolutionary movement is to push the boundary of the permissible, to be able to say things that are not allowed to be said. … One option is to struggle within the intellectual community to change the boundaries. A second one is to work semi-clandestinely: that is, write your term papers but have a missing chapter, the kind that says the things that you’re not supposed to refer to, using forbidden words like class, and so on. Another is to step outside of academia and work for people’s organizations … Or you can leave employment in the sciences, drive a cab, and do your agitation in your spare time.

Strategic perspectives for and by our movement are therefore not lacking. Nonetheless, much work remains to be done to sharpen our movement’s analysis, particularly of our goals, tactics, and direction. While many have devoted considerable attention to reflecting on the doing and making of science, fewer have sufficiently considered what’s to be done by our movement — and, in particular, in pursuit of what vision.

“Toward a Science for the People,” for example, argues for a people’s science run by scientists. On this view, a people’s science is not a science by the people, but a science (for the people) by the scientists. But should our movement set its sights so low on bringing about institutions of science merely accountable to the communities they serve? After all, a science in the hands of the people, in a world where the people have been educated and trained to own, manage, and run institutions of science themselves, is arguably a science in better service of the people. Where do the “experts” and “expertise” belong — if anywhere — in a science emancipated, a science for the people?

In addition, “Toward a Science for the People” argues against continued attempts to reform established institutions of science on the grounds that such strategies are proven blind alleys. It urges scientists to leave them behind in favor of building communities and knowledge-producing structures separate and apart. Scientists must direct “their professional activities away from services to the forces and institutions they oppose.” The thought seems to be that a revolution in science must come from without, not from within. Until a wider revolution in society has succeeded, scientists working within the powerful institutions of science will be unlikely to resist or defy the ruling interests that hold sway. Still, one might wonder whether a priority of our movement should also be to contest the workplace. Should we narrow down our goal and strategy of struggle to assisting struggles fought on other terrains, even other lands? Without a doubt, using scientific knowledge to aid people’s organizations, oppressed communities, and movements abroad is necessary, important, and valuable work. But does our movement stand to lose from eschewing all “traditional attempts at reforming scientific activity,” no matter how futile and hopeless such efforts may seem?

On the one hand, actualizing people’s visions of a people’s science outside the policed walls of existing institutions may be our movement’s best bet for mounting a robust resistance to science as it stands. If so, reforming these institutions poses only an unhelpful diversion from more effective and useful activism elsewhere.

On the other hand, perhaps our movement is more likely to succeed if, in addition to supporting struggles outside science, it attempts to build power within existing institutions’ walls. It could be that both reforming science and assisting other political struggles is what it will take to realize a people’s science, to bring about a change not only for science but society writ large.

Consider that Levins’s presentation makes little mention of contesting the institutions of science, let alone a case against it, and does not consider a world without them. Agitation is what one does outside of academia in one’s spare time, after leaving employment in the sciences. In science, one “revolutionary” task is to “push the boundary of the permissible” — to speak and write words that are “not allowed to be said,” like race, class, and gender — a rather disappointing evolution in what radical activists and organizers in science have come to count as “movement work.” If this view is right, activism in science has become merely fighting to say the things not allowed to be said, as opposed to fighting to do the science not allowed to be done.

Another SftP essay, this one published in 1976, suggests an explanation for us for this potential deflation in our movement’s ambitions. In “The Politics of Scientific Conceptualization,” Norman Diamond argues that, while political activity after work hours, speaking out against political abuses related to science, and organizing coworkers indeed represent ways to combine scientific work with political activity,

all of these approaches leave the science itself, the content of research and formulation of results, untouched. … It is through recognizing that scientific concepts themselves are political that it is primarily possible not only to be a radical and a scientist, but to be a radical scientist. …. Recognizing that there are choices behind concepts and that these choices have political implications, radical scientists are able to take responsibility for the concepts they use. By doing so they act as precursors of a society in which consciousness is no longer subordinate to social conditions. Through their science now, they can contribute to fundamental social change.

It is ideological struggle over the content and formulation of scientific results — what Diamond deems “the science itself” — that plays the leading role in bringing about “fundamental social change.” It may be that the perspective expressed in Levins’s presentation on how radicals in science ought to fight back can be traced to such ideas as well.

However, these ideas contain deep flaws. As Diamond rightly notes, human beings are more than mere causal effects of their social conditions. Still, to think that theoretical frameworks and disciplinary logics of science constitute the primary locus of political struggle is, strategically, to put the cart miles before the horse.

As radical critiques of science have made clear, politically interested concepts, like the idea of a “technofix” in geoengineering, emerge partly as products of scientific methods and theoretical frameworks selectively supported by institutions with a vested interest in their success, partly as products of the wider world we live in. To recommend that radicals in science radicalize science primarily by taking responsibility for their choice of methodological and theoretical frameworks, then, is to forget that science’s applications, epistemic features, and material basis are inextricably entangled. Concepts of science do not systemically change without institutional support. They have a material basis; they are not mere products of volition. Institutional support for a people’s science is unlikely to be forthcoming so long as the right people — that is, the people — lack control over institutional decision-making and the world we live in remains deeply stratified.

Diamond therefore fundamentally misunderstands a central lesson of radical critiques of science, that lesson distinguishing them from liberal critiques. Different parts of science, including its concepts and formulations, can be understood only through an understanding of the whole of science. Challenging the concepts and formulations of scientific results is not enough. Fundamental social change takes fighting back against the technological and ideological uses of science to murder, oppress, colonize, and exclude people from political power. It takes contesting and reforming the gendered, raced, heteronormative material bases of science: the funding bodies, institutional cultures and structures, and publication rat races. It takes thinking through, debating, and disseminating an incisive analysis of how to organize in higher education, where scientists go not only to produce but to be produced: to be disciplined, tamed, and formed as workers.

What, then, does all this come to? What, in the end, is a radical analysis of science?

First, a radical analysis must point our movement, straining for a better future, toward effective strategies for challenging hegemonic relations of knowledge production. It must make a revolution in science, whether from within or without, a hope within reach. This means taking seriously the strategic importance of reforming institutions of science and contesting the scientific workplace. This means clarifying, too, what it is we’re fighting for.

Second, a radical analysis must not theorize strategy in isolation from radical critiques of science’s applications, epistemic features, and material basis. What is to be done can be realistically decided only by accepting an important lesson of critique: that the way to understand the different parts of science, and therefore to change them, is to understand the whole of science, particularly its integration in global systems of power and capital.

Perhaps a new direction for magazines like SftP is to make more space for dialogue and debate about the way activists and organizers should move forward…

… as radicals in science, fighting to organize, politically educate, and empower their coworkers.

… as radicals outside science, agitating in solidarity for a science for the people.


by Helen Zhao at July 15, 2019 02:29 PM

Megan Rapinoe Deserves Equal Pay — And So Do All Women

The US victory in the Women’s World Cup highlighted pay discrimination against women in sports. But the problem persists throughout the economy — especially in jobs without unions.


alt Megan Rapinoe and members of the United States Women's National Soccer Team are honored at a ceremony at City Hall on July 10, 2019 in New York City. Bruce Bennett / Getty

This week we learned just how awesome the players who make up the US women’s soccer team are: they played with immense discipline and relentless energy throughout this year’s World Cup. The lovely star midfielder Megan Rapinoe generated headlines like “Purple-Haired Lesbian Goddess Flattens France Like a Crêpe.” She also declared that if the women’s team won, the players would not “go to the fucking White House,” and, on Twitter, accepted Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s invitation for her team to visit her office instead. When they finally beat the Netherlands — also a terrific team — 2–0, a chant went up in the stands, “Equal pay!”

That was a reference to the team’s ongoing lawsuit against the United States Soccer Federation, which has been paying its players less than those on the US men’s team for years, even though the women’s team is the better performer by far. It was glorious to see a group of women who have faced discrimination prove their worth before the entire world. One hopes their employer is embarrassed, and that the players will win this fight as decisively as they crushed the talented Dutch on Sunday.

The US women’s team has been amazing for years, and their experience shows that being amazing is not an effective route to equality. But women shouldn’t have to be this awesome to be paid as well as men. You may have noticed that the players on the US men’s team are not unique in their failure to be spectacular. Most men are just okay at their jobs. Women shouldn’t have to be any better. Megan Rapinoe and her teammates are inspiring examples of what some humans can achieve. But for their demands for equal pay to be taken seriously, women should not have to be the best in the world at what they do, nor must they look amazing in bathing suits. The rest of us losers deserve equal pay, too.

Right now, the median US woman worker makes 83 cents for every dollar earned by her male counterpart. Black and Latina women workers make 65 and 59 cents for every white male dollar, according to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). Gender pay gaps exist all over the world and in every industry. International women’s day protests have sometimes dramatized this, with women in Iceland in 2017, for example, walking off the job at 2:38 PM, the point during the year at which women begin working for free, if the pay gap is taken into account.

We can’t resolve the issue of equal pay by becoming goddesses. This is sad for Megan Rapinoe, but probably lucky for the rest of us. We know what can actually help reduce gender pay gaps. We could pay male workers less, obviously an unacceptable strategy; the decline in many male workers’ earning power is one of the reasons our pay gap in the United States isn’t as wide as it used to be, but no one gains from that state of affairs. Better solutions include unions and a robust public sector, both of which run counter to the current drift of US policy.

Women workers in the United States who are union members make, on average, 94 cents on every male union member’s dollar, compared to the 78 cents nonunion women workers make on nonunion male colleagues’ dollars, according to the EPI. South Korea has the biggest gender pay gap in the OECD, and one of the lowest rates of union density (10 percent). Many of the countries with relatively low gender wage gaps are heavily unionized, like Luxembourg, Belgium, and Denmark, according to OECD data.

A robust public sector helps reduce pay gaps, too. As the European Commission observed in a report this year, most EU countries have higher gender pay gaps in the private sector. (Some even report reverse pay gaps in the public sector: in Cyprus, for example, women working in the public sector make more than 6 percent more than men, while private sector Cypriot women make almost 23 percent less than their male counterparts.) That’s because it’s easier to negotiate and implement large-scale collective agreements in the public sector. Governments committed to gender equality are also better able to enforce equal pay laws in their own workplaces than in the private sector. And as those of us who have worked in the public sector know well, and our libertarian friends never tire of pointing out, it has a lot of rules! It turns out some of those rules are good.

Romania has the lowest gender wage gap of any OECD country. I doubt Romanian women are more awesome than women in the United States or elsewhere (but don’t @ me! I’ve never even been there). The Romanian public sector makes up 32 percent of the country’s overall employment, according to the World Bank, much higher than OECD average, which is 18 percent. Greece also has a low gender wage gap, and a public sector that represents more than 33 percent of employment. The public sector share in the United States is much lower, 23 percent, which is probably one reason (besides our pathetically low union density) we have the eighth-highest gender wage gap in the OECD, despite having the best women’s soccer on earth.

Of course, gender pay inequity is not only about the way our economy is organized. Work that women do is undervalued simply because women do it, as Paula England, an NYU scholar who has extensively studied the gender pay gap, has found. Patriarchy is real and a robust feminist movement is always badly needed. That’s why gaps persisted in the USSR, more than in the Scandinavian social-democratic countries, despite much bigger public sectors (and plenty of rules) under Communism. If Stalin hadn’t suppressed the radical feminist movement from Communism’s early years, the Soviet Union might have provided a more interesting model. But as it is, we do know what we need to do to achieve pay equity, whether we are awesome goddesses or not.


by Liza Featherstone at July 15, 2019 12:47 PM

indexcensorship.org

Edward Snowden: “People think of 2013 as a surveillance story, but it was really a democracy story”

Edward Snowden
Edward Snowden speaks to ORGcon 2019 on 13 July 2019. (Photo: Emmy B / @greekemmy via Twitter)

“One of the things that motivated me to come forward was to…see the gap, the distance between what the public understood the laws…to mean…and also what our capabilities were, and how those were being applied,” Edward Snowden said.

Snowden was giving the keynote speech of Open Rights Group’s OrgCon 2019 on 13 July 2019, and he was at pains to emphasise to his listeners the importance of public understanding and awareness of the limits on digital freedom and privacy. “People think of 2013 as a surveillance story, but it was really a democracy story.”

Proponents of increasing democratic accountability would be pleased to see Snowden’s words reaching the public. The Open Rights Group reported a record-setting seven hundred or more attendees. Equally impressive were the number and quality of discussions and workshops available, all with the overarching purpose of educating participants about violations of privacy rights online. The Secret Life of Your Data workshops, for example, traced personal data from its collection on personal devices to the edges of the internet ecosystem, and a discussion of Dragonfly outlined the implications of allowing Google to create a censored search engine for China. 

As participants in these workshops and presentations explored data exchanges and databases of trackers, they wanted to know what they could do to protect themselves. Here OrgCon’s offerings, united by their focus and thoughtfulness, began to diverge. Services like the Crypto Bar, which cheerfully urged attendees to “reclaim your rights online!”, coexisted uneasily with presentations illustrating the power and pervasiveness of the system opposing any individual wishing to do so. In the main lecture hall, a panel discussed the reality of facial recognition in the UK, while another space advertised an exploration of government power over children in “A Safeguarding Dystopia”.

Snowden was aware of the tension inherent in such seeming contradictions. However, he was convinced that a committed group of individuals could resolve it. During the Q&A period, he was asked by an audience member what hope there could be of securing data privacy and internet freedoms when the internet’s younger users were apathetic about both. He replied that understanding your rights online is difficult and time-consuming, so the goal of activists cannot be a universal understanding of the system which deprives internet users of their rights. Instead, it must be a new system which will protect those rights, even for the uninformed. For OrgCon’s attendees, informed by the day’s excellent events, leading the way to such a system might be the best self-protection.

Future of freedom of expression online does not have to be a dark one

UN Special Rapporteur David Kaye speaks to Timandra Harkness about free speech and the internet

Government’s online harms white paper risk damaging freedom of expression in the UK

The proposals in the online harms white paper risk damaging freedom of expression in the UK, and abroad if other countries follow the UK’s example, Index on Censorship said in its response to the government’s consultation.

Duty of care does not translate well from the offline to online context

UK government must engage all stakeholders to map the way forward on online content regulations

Article 19 launches campaign calling for more transparency and accountability around online content removal

“Are social media companies publishers or platforms?” Juliet Oosthuysen, who was recently banned from Twitter for expressing an opinion regarding the UK’s Gender Recognition Act, asked at a panel discussion organised by Article 19

The post Edward Snowden: “People think of 2013 as a surveillance story, but it was really a democracy story” appeared first on Index on Censorship.

by Sophia Paley at July 15, 2019 12:42 PM

jacobinmag

Why Today’s Amazon Strike Is So Important

Today, Amazon warehouse workers in Shakopee, Minnesota are launching a six-hour strike on Prime Day, the company’s biggest shopping event of the year. If successful, they could ignite similar actions across the country — and make Jeff Bezos really start to worry about worker power.


alt A worker makes repairs to a wall at a new Amazon fulfillment center in Sacramento, California in August 2017. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

A decade ago, the US tech giants — Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook — were seen as the very symbols of human progress. Now, the companies — especially Amazon — are seen as the very symbols of inequality, tyranny, and exploitation.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and CEO, is not only the richest man in the world but in modern history, with an estimated worth of $110 billion. Meanwhile, Bezos’s warehouse workers toil in horrendous conditions for poverty wages, despite the much-publicized pay raise that some received last year. In March, the Daily Beast reported that “between October 2013 and October 2018, emergency workers were summoned to Amazon warehouses at least 189 times for suicide attempts, suicidal thoughts, and other mental-health episodes.” It’s not a stretch to compare Bezos’s ill-gotten wealth with that of Gilded Age robber barons like John D. Rockefeller.

Fortunately, after years of unending praise — they were going to save the world, remember? — Bezos’s company is finally getting some pushback. Media coverage has largely moved away from the fawning adulation of a decade ago. John Oliver’s recent examination of the company’s culture and working conditions was so stinging that it struck a nerve at Amazon HQ.

And there’s a growing chorus of labor, environmental, and community groups treating the company as a crook that’s stealing their future. Amazon was run out of town in New York City earlier this year, and in April, Environmental Leader reported that “more than 6,000 Amazon employees have signed a letter urging the company to release a company-wide climate plan based on six specific principles.” Led by Amazon worker Emily Cunningham, the group took their campaign public and confronted Bezos and the company’s board of directors at a stockholders meeting. Though their resolution was defeated, it demonstrated that fewer young workers are living in fear of the boss.

Yet the most significant struggle against Amazon has been in the Minneapolis suburb of Shakopee, where Somali workers walked off the job last December, joined by Rep. Ilhan Omar, and again in March, protesting working conditions. “The pace of work is inhumane,” said Mohamed Hassan, one of the strikers. “Everyone feels continuously threatened by the system.”

Amazon was forced to negotiate with the workers, who are mostly Muslim, over the right to pray on the job, and the company granted some concessions. It tried desperately to portray the talks as “community engagement” rather than proto–union negotiations, fearing the example would spread beyond Shakopee. Workers claim Amazon has also retaliated against strike leaders.

But in spite of the mega-company’s best efforts, the Somali workers’ job actions proved to be the beginning rather than the end. Today, on the first day of Amazon’s “Prime Day” — the forty-eighty-hour bonanza that’s surpassed Black Friday as the company’s biggest shopping event — one hundred workers are planning a six-hour strike to demand safer working conditions and more secure jobs.

Guled Mohamad, one of the strike organizers, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune, “We need change. We need something.” Mohamad has worked at the Shakopee warehouse for one year and eight months, and he spoke of the low wages, grueling work pace, and management pressure to fill quotas.

Meg Brady, an Amazon warehouse worker currently on short-term disability due to a job-related stress fracture in her foot, said in an interview with a local news channel that she’ll being joining the picket line despite the threat of losing her job. “It’s always a risk when you take this kind of action,” she said. For Brady, the pace of work is grueling and dangerous, with a high turnover rate among employees. She started working at Amazon one year and seven months ago with seventy people; only five are left. The company expects her to pick and pack a mind-boggling six hundred items per hour, leading to repetitive stress injuries.

The 885,000-square-foot warehouse in Shakopee has 1,500 employees, nearly one-third of whom are East African. Crucial to the organizing has been the Awood Center, whose slogan is “Building East African Worker Power” and which formed through a partnership between the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Service Employees International Union Local 26.

Abdi Muse, the Awood Center’s executive director, told the Star Tribune:

As Amazon continues to speed up work and demand more from warehouse workers, it is hard for everyone. People are getting hurt or quitting because they are afraid . . . The biggest concern is over the production rate. [They] have to produce at such a rate each hour that is so intense. They have to work faster and faster. And if they go [to take] a break their production history goes down.


Organizing Amazon

Amazon captures the imagination of union activists around the globe because of its size and reach. The logistics industry in the United States is largely non-union except for the United Parcel Service (UPS), and if a beachhead broke through at Amazon, it could crack a vital but non-union industry — doing what workers did in the 1930s for auto and steel.

Founded as an online bookstore in 1994 in Seattle, Amazon has exploded in every direction. Not only has it become the online “everything store,” but it produces feature films and a variety of cultural products for its Prime streaming service, which has surpassed one hundred million subscribers in the United States.

Amazon is now one of the largest private employers in the world, boasting some six hundred thousand employees, and it is one of the largest non-union employers in the United States. By comparison, it took the heavily unionized UPS one hundred years from its founding in 1907 to reach its present-day workforce of 440,000. So how did Amazon get so big so quickly?

The short answer is that Jeff Bezos built upon a model pioneered by Walmart founder Sam Walton while adding his own touch. He combined an online sales operation with a brick-and-mortar presence (while using, and learning from, established logistics firms like the US Postal Service, FedEx, and UPS). He then put both under one roof. Over the last decade, Amazon has grown at a breakneck speed, building a network of regional and local distribution centers (“fulfillment centers”), stitched together with a vast trucking and air network (“Prime Air”) and a huge home delivery workforce.

Walmart may be the premiere logistics corporation, but Amazon has surpassed it, at least for the moment, by transforming into a retailer and a delivery company. And it is here that the secret to organizing Amazon lies.

“Amazon,” Mark Meinster, the director of the Chicago-based Warehouse Workers for Justice, told me two years ago, “builds in or close to major cities . . . In bigger labor markets [like] Chicago, they have fulfillment centers on Goose Island, 28th and Western, Lisle, Joliet, and Morton Grove [both inside the city and in several surrounding suburbs]. Amazon has reversed the model of warehousing pioneered by Walmart.”

This “reversed model” of putting Amazon warehouses closer to the traditional bases of trade unions appears to have provided the workers at Amazon’s Shakopee facility the opportunity to organize with the support of the Awood Center. They are now preparing to launch their third job action in eight months.

“We want to take the opportunity to talk about what it takes to make that work happen and put pressure on Amazon to protect us and provide safe, reliable jobs,” William Stolz, an Amazon worker and strike organizer, explained to Bloomberg.

Clearly, this is a new development in the fight at Amazon. Top management is worried. And if the Shakopee workers succeed, their actions could ignite similar walkouts across the country — reverberating through the industry like the teacher strike wave of the past year. The stakes are high. Let’s help them win.


by Joe Allen at July 15, 2019 12:28 PM

resilience.org

Vacation from Emissions

Energy Slaves

I propose we rethink the idea of the “vacation” and transform any time we’ve accrued for leisure to be used instead for climate emergency action and to reconnect to nature. These small actions have the potential to shift others and society toward larger, more significant change.

by Vaidila Satvika at July 15, 2019 12:20 PM

Peak Oil Review 15 July 2019

Peak Oil Review logo

The storm in the Gulf of Mexico and geopolitical tensions in the Middle East pushed New York oil futures above $60 a barrel last week, with NY closing at $60.31 and Brent at $66.86.  

by Tom Whipple at July 15, 2019 12:19 PM

The UN Climate Talks are Coming to Britain. The Climate Justice Movement will be Ready

COP participants

But by playing host to COP26, the movement has a chance to push for the country to redefine its relationship to the rest of the world in the post-Brexit era. Those who refuse to let imperial nostalgia become the accepted goal for the UK can and should put forward an alternative vision of international solidarity and cooperation…

by Nathan Thanki at July 15, 2019 12:18 PM

Dewayne-Net

‘Whitey’s on the moon’: why Apollo 11 looked so different to black America

[Note:  This item comes from friend Mike Cheponis.  DLH]

‘Whitey’s on the moon’: why Apollo 11 looked so different to black America
The civil rights leader Ralph Abernathy called Nasa’s moonshot ‘an inhuman priority’ while poor children went hungry
By David Smith in Atlanta
Jul 14 2019
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/jul/14/apollo-11-civil-rights-black-america-moon

The date was 15 July 1969. As the Saturn V rocket towered over the launchpad, about to send the first men to the moon, two dozen black families from poor parts of the south, accompanied by mules and wagons emblematic of the civil rights movement, marched to the fence of Cape Kennedy in Florida. From a bird’s eye view, they would have resembled dwarves in the wake of a colossus.

They were led by Ralph Abernathy, successor to the slain Martin Luther King as head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). He carried a sign that said bluntly: “$12 a day to feed an astronaut. We could feed a starving child for $8.” He told a rally at the site: “We may go on from this day to Mars and to Jupiter and even to the heavens beyond, but as long as racism, poverty and hunger and war prevail on the Earth, we as a civilised nation have failed.”

The Apollo 11 mission has been hailed as humankind’s greatest technological achievement and, after the turmoil of the 1960s, a redemptive moment of national and international unity. Speaking to astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the lunar surface in what he described as “the most historic telephone call ever made”, President Richard Nixon declared: “For one priceless moment in the whole history of man, all the people on this Earth are truly one.”

Yet it was myth making then and will be again as America commemorates this month’s 50th anniversary with events, exhibitions and TV specials. The Apollo programme, motivated by the space race against the Soviet Union, cost $25.4bn, the equivalent of $180bn today; only the Vietnam war hit taxpayers harder. While Nasa warned Congress “No bucks, no Buck Rogers”, polls showed a majority of Americans opposed the “moondoggle”.

The black press questioned how the price tag could be justified when millions of African Americans were still mired in poverty. Testifying to the US Senate on race and urban poverty in 1966, King had observed “in a few years we can be assured that we will set a man on the moon and with an adequate telescope he will be able to see the slums on Earth with their intensified congestion, decay and turbulence”.

‘An inhuman priority’

The protest march on the eve of Apollo 11’s launch opened a new chapter in the poor people’s campaign, which had built a makeshift city at the National Mall in Washington a year earlier.

Tom Paine, the administrator of Nasa, walked out to meet the demonstrators. An official Nasa history recalls: “Paine stood coatless under a cloudy sky, accompanied only by Nasa’s press officer, as Abernathy approached with his party, marching slowly and singing We Shall Overcome.

“Several mules were in the lead, as symbols of rural poverty. Abernathy then gave a short speech. He deplored the condition of the nation’s poor, declaring that one-fifth of the nation lacked adequate food, clothing, shelter and medical care. In the face of such suffering, he asserted that space flight represented an inhuman priority. He urged that its funds be spent to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, tend the sick and house the homeless.

“Paine replied that ‘if we could solve the problems of poverty by not pushing the button to launch men to the moon tomorrow, then we would not push that button’. He added that Nasa’s technical advances were ‘child’s play’ compared to ‘the tremendously difficult human problems’ that concerned the SCLC. He offered the hope that Nasa indeed might contribute to addressing these problems, and then asked Abernathy, a minister, to pray for the safety of the astronauts. Abernathy answered with emotion that he would certainly do this, and they ended this impromptu meeting by shaking hands all around.”

Among the protesters at Cape Kennedy (now know as Cape Canaveral) that day was JT Johnson, a civil rights activist who had been with King in Memphis shortly before he died and became a close aide to Abernathy. “They didn’t want you too close to where it was launching, so we just picked us a spot and decided to have us a rally and started talking and singing – the songs brought us through these difficult times – and we just did what we do,” Johnson recalled in an interview at his home in a suburb of Atlanta.

“At that time, the whole movement was around poverty and poor people so that’s all we talked about: how poor we are and how is this thing going to the moon and spending millions when we don’t have any and some people don’t have a place to live or food to eat, but we still allow all of these things to happen. That was the real protest: billions for the moon and pennies for the poor.”

A project of white America

Johnson is now an 81-year-old grandfather. He’s still politically active and hopes to tell more about the story of the civil rights movement. Wearing a blue T-shirt in his red dining room, he recalled growing up during the era of Jim Crow segregation in Montezuma, Georgia.

“It had a big water fountain downtown with a ‘colored’ sign and a ‘white’ sign when all the water was coming from the same place,” he said. “As a child I couldn’t understand because most of these things didn’t seem fair to me. So the Lord knew that I was going to be in the movement before I did, because I didn’t know it and some of the things I just didn’t like. It wasn’t fair.”

As for so many, King became his lodestar. “When I met Dr King, I thought that was the man I’d been waiting to see for all of my life and I dedicated myself to the civil rights movement.”

In one protest in the 1960s, Johnson and others jumped into a whites-only swimming pool in St Augustine, Florida, only for the hotel owner to pour acid into the pool. After trying to integrate another swimming pool in Albany, Georgia, he was imprisoned for six days and went on hunger strike. In this context, President John F Kennedy’s dream of putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade seemed a luxury that America could not afford.

“I think it was all about PR really for the United States and Russia,” he said. “I think this country has never really taken care of people here … African Americans never got their share; they spread it around everybody else.”

Indeed, the Apollo programme gave every impression of being a project of white America. As footage of the era is replayed to mark the semicentennial, it is striking that all 12 people who walked on the moon were white men, and so too the overwhelming majority of officials, engineers and scientists at mission control. The musician and poet Gil Scott-Heron’s Whitey on the Moon summed up: “A rat done bit my sister Nell / With Whitey on the moon / Her face and arms began to swell / And Whitey’s on the moon.”

Johnson said: “We didn’t hear an invitation; we didn’t get anything. So we thought that was a disgrace and a disrespect to all of us … It was white people that was privileged in this country and they’d made it like that for themselves.”

[snip]

by wa8dzp at July 15, 2019 12:04 PM

Ecosia

One million trees for Brazil

One million trees for Brazil

As a reaction to Bolsonaro’s policies, we have committed to planting 1 million additional trees in Brazil. The trees will be planted over the course of the next 6 months along Brazil’s coastal strip, reconnecting the remaining forest patches.

Since Bolsonaro’s rise to power six months ago, deforestation in Brazil has increased by a staggering 84%. Supporting the country’s ruralistas, Brazil’s current government is strengthening the agricultural sector. Weak law enforcement allows the latter to expand its activities into previously protected areas.

In a worryingly short period of time, Bolsonaro’s presidency has become a threat to the environment, indigenous groups and human rights. Brazil’s current environmental agenda also poses a threat to Ecosia’s work in Brazil which focuses on reforesting the Atlantic Forest.

The Mata Atlântica (from its name in Portuguese) stretches across Brazil's coastal strip. Adjacent to its more famous neighbour, the Amazon, the Atlantic Forest is more ancient and no less threatened.

Only 8% of the forest remains. These patches are the last refuge for 60% of Brazil’s endemic species of flora and fauna: protecting the Mata Atlântica is, therefore, of vital importance.

That’s why we’ve committed to planting one million additional trees in Brazil, expanding our already successful partnership with PACTO Mata Atlântica.

One million trees for BrazilSeverino (left) is the director of PACTO. We took this picture in October 2017 when we first visited the women-led organization Copaiba, one of 300 projects under PACTO.

Explained: Bolsonaro, Brazil and the environment


Over the past few decades, Brazil had developed a rich body of environmental policies. In 1992, the country hosted the first world climate conference, setting a sign for its leadership in environmental topics.

In September 2016, upon signing the Paris Agreement, Brazil even pledged to voluntarily reduce its CO2 emissions by 43% by the year 2030.

Since Bolsonaro took power, though, Brazil’s environmental position has radically changed.

One million trees for BrazilOnly 8% of the Atlantic Forest remains. Similarly to this picture we took in 2017, the landscapes across Brazil's coast are heavily deforested, with soil turning yellow as a result of its exposure to the sun.

By merging the Ministry of Agriculture with the Ministry of Economy, Bolsonaro is empowering both the agricultural and mining sectors. This puts the demarcation of protected and indigenous land under governmental control, instead of independent environmental agencies.

“The federal government is trying to annihilate the Brazilian Forest Code”, Severino Ribeiro, director of PACTO, told us. "Through a Provisional Measure [that will] amnesty deforestation”, previously protected rural areas will be left unprotected, which “could cause the deforestation of an area the size of Portugal”.

Why Bolsonaro’s policies are a threat to the climate


Clear land ownership in Brazil makes it easier for tree-planting organisations to trace their impact.

Landowners voluntarily make land available for tree-planting. They do this both for economic reasons and to comply with policies around minimum forest coverage on privately owned land.

But transparent land tenure means that farmers also make concessions to logging companies on other plots within their lands. As their soil becomes more and more barren through intensive agriculture, some farmers in the area often start fires to expand their pastures.

One million trees for BrazilMauricio (to the left) and his team at ITPA fighting forest fires. These are usually started by surrounding farmers who are looking to expand their pastures.

This was already an issue before Bolsonaro came to power, which is why many of Ecosia’s tree-planting partners work in close communication with farmers. Through direct contact and workshops, farmers in the project learn about the benefits of a healthy forest, keeping  their soil fertile and why trees can be an alternative to soy production or cattle holding.

But under Bolsonaro, farmers now feel more empowered to clear land.

PACTO director Severino says that institutions like his can no longer contribute to Brazil’s environmental policies. “Bolsonaro has destroyed conversations with civil organisations”, he told us.

In the past, Brazil’s internationally admired environmental policies have been a result of the combined efforts of government officials and civic representatives.

One million trees for the Atlantic Forest


“The Atlantic Forest is a unique biodiversity hotspot that Ecosia wants to protect and help regenerate”, says Pieter van Midwoud, Tree-Planting Officer at Ecosia.

“I trust PACTO and all the organizations therein to continue doing great work”, says Pieter. More than 10 separate groups will come together to plant the million additional trees.

One million trees for BrazilThis is the reaction of Severino, director of PACTO, when we announced that Ecosia will plant an additional one million trees in Brazil.

Preserving Brazil’s unique biodiversity has increasingly urgent implications beyond the country’s borders.

With the release of a UN report earlier this year stating that the world is facing an unprecedented environmental disaster, Ecosia and the international community as a whole is eyeing whether Bolsonaro follows through on his declared intentions to exploit his country’s forests.

“With these additional one million trees in Brazil, we are setting a sign: another world is possible and we will not back down in our efforts to make it a reality”, says our CEO at Ecosia, Christian Kroll.

One million trees for BrazilEcosia's planting efforts in Brazil from 2016 (left) until 2019 (right): these are trees planted with Copaiba, a women-led organization restoring forest patches.

What you can do to support Brazil’s forests


Share this article, talk to those around you about the threat to Brazil’s rainforests and help Ecosia plant more trees in Brazil.

Perhaps you’re already using Ecosia on your computer? You can also carry Ecosia in your pocket by downloading our app and start reforesting the Atlantic Forest.

by Fátima at July 15, 2019 11:23 AM

indexcensorship.org

Law and the new world order

Index editor Rachael Jolley argues in the summer 2019 issue of Index on Censorship magazine that it is vital to defend the distance between a nation’s leaders and its judges and lawyers, but this gap being narrowed around the world

It all started with a conversation I had with a couple of journalists working in tough countries. We were talking about what kind of protection they still had, despite laws that could be used to crack down on their kind of journalism journalism that is critical of governments. 

They said: When the independence of the justice system is gone then that is it. Its all over.

And they felt that while there were still lawyers prepared to stand with them to defend cases, and judges who were not in the pay of or bowed by government pressure, there was still hope. Belief in the rule of law, and its wire-like strength, really mattered.

These are people who keep on writing tough stories that could get them in trouble with the people in power when all around them are telling them it might be safer if they were to shut up.

This sliver of optimism means a great deal to journalists, activists, opposition politicians and artists who work in countries where the climate is very strongly in favour of silence. It means they feel like someone else is still there for them.

I started talking to journalists, writers and activists in other places around the world, and I realised that although many of them hadnt articulated this thought, when I mentioned it they said: Yes, yes, thats right. That makes a real difference to us.

So why and how do we defend the system of legal independence and make more people aware of its value? Its not something you hear being discussed in the local bar or café, after all. 

Right now, we need to make a wider public argument about why we all need to stand up for the right to an independent justice system. 

On an ordinary day, most of us are not in court or fighting a legal action, so it is only when we do, or we know someone who is, that we might realise that something important has been eroded

We need to do it because it is at the heart of any free country, protecting our freedom to speak, think, debate, paint, draw and put on plays that produce unexpected and challenging thoughts. The wider public is not thinking hey, yes, I worry that the courts are run down, and that criminal lawyers are in short supply, or If I took a case to trial and won my case I can no longer claim my lawyers fees back from the court. On an ordinary day, most of us are not in court or fighting a legal action, so it is only when we are, or when we know someone who is, that we might realise that something important has been eroded. 

Our rights are slowly, piece by piece, being undermined when our ability to access courts is severely limited, when judges feel too close to presidents or prime ministers, and when lawyers get locked up for taking a case that a national government would rather was not heard.

All those things are happening in parts of the world right now. 

In China, hundreds of lawyers are in prison; in England and Wales since 2014 it has become more risky financially for most ordinary people to take a case to court as those who win a case no longer have their court fees paid automatically; and in Brazil the new president, Jair Bolsonaro, has just appointed a judge who was very much part of his election campaign to a newly invented super-ministerial role. 

Helpfully, there are some factors that are deeply embedded in many countrieslegal histories and cultures that make it more difficult for authoritarian leaders to close the necessary space between the government and the justice system.

Many people who go into law, particularly human-rights law, do so with a vision of helping those who are fighting the system and have few powerful friends. Others hate being pressurised. And in many countries there are elements of the legal system that give sustenance to those who defend the independence of the judiciary as a vital principle.

Nelson Mandelas lawyer, Sir Sydney Kentridge QC, has made the point that judges recruited from an independent bar would never entirely lose their independence, even when the system pressurised them to do so.

He pointed out that South African lawyers who had defended black men accused of murder in front of all-white juries during the apartheid period were not easily going to lose their commitment to stand up against the powerful.

Sir Sydney did, however, also argue that in the absence of an entrenched bill of rights, the judiciary is a poor bulwark against a determined and immoderate governmentin a lecture printed in Free Country, a book of his speeches.

So it turned out that this was the right time to think about a special report on this theme of the value of independent justice, because in lots of countries this independence is under bombardment. 

Its not that judges and lawyers havent always come under pressure. In his book The Rule of Law, Lord Bingham, a former lord chief justice of England and Wales, mentions a relevant historical example. When Earl Warren, the US chief justice, was sitting on the now famous Brown v Board of Education case in 1954, he was invited to dinner with President Dwight Eisenhower. Eisenhower sat next to him at dinner and the lawyer for the segregationists sat on his other side. According to Warren, the president went to great lengths to promote the case for the segregationists, and to say what a great man their lawyer was. Despite this, Warren went on to give the important judgement in favour of Brown that meant that racial segregation in public schools became illegal.

Those in power have always tried to influence judges to lean the way they would prefer, but they should not have weapons to punish those who dont do so. 

In China, hundreds of lawyers who stood up to defend human-rights cases have been charged with the crime of subverting state powerand imprisoned. When the wife of one of the lawyers calls on others to support her husband, her cries go largely unheard because people are worried about the consequences.

This, as Karoline Kan writes on p23, is a country where the Chinese Communist Party has control of the executive, judicial and legislative branches of government, and where calls for political reform, or separation of powers, can be seen as threats to stability. 

As we go to press we are close to the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square killings, when thousands of protesters all over China, from all kinds of backgrounds, had felt passionately that their country was ready for change for democracy, transparency and separation of powers.

Unfortunately, that tide was turned back by Chinas government in 1989, and today we are, once more, seeing Chinas government tightening restrictions even further against those who dare to criticise them.

Last year, the Hungarian parliament passed a law allowing the creation of administrative courts to take cases involving taxation and election out of the main legal system (see p34). Critics saw this as eroding the gap between the executive and the justice system. But then, at the end of May 2019, there was a U-turn, and it was announced that the courts were no longer going ahead. It is believed that Fidesz, the governing party in Hungary, was under pressure from its grouping in the European Parliament, the European Peoples Party. 

If it were kicked out of the EPP, Hungary would have in all likelihood lost significant funding, and it is believed there was also pressure from the European Parliament to protect the rule of law in its member states. 

But while this was seen as a victory by some, others warned things could always reverse quickly.

Overall the world is fortunate to have many lawyers who feel strongly about freedom of expression, and the independence of any justice system.

Barrister Jonathan Price, of Doughty Street Chambers, in London, is part of the team advising the family of murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia over a case against the Maltese government for its failure to hold an independent inquiry into her death. 

He explained why the work of his colleagues was particularly important, saying: The law can be complex and expensive, and unfortunately the laws of defamation, privacy and data protection have become so complex that they are more or less inoperable in the hands of the untrained.

Specialist lawyers who were willing to take on cases had become a necessary part of the rule of law, he said a view shared by human-rights barrister David Mitchell, of Ely Place Chambers, in London.

The rule of law levels the playing field between the powerful and [the] powerless,he said. Its important that lawyers work to preserve this level.” 

Finally, another thought from Sir Sydney that is pertinent to how the journalists I mentioned at the beginning of this article keep going against the odds: It is not necessary to hope in order to work, and it is not necessary to succeed in order to hope in order to work, and it is not necessary to succeed in order to persevere.” 

But, of course, it helps if you can do all three.

Rachael Jolley is editor of Index on Censorship. She tweets @londoninsider. This article is part of the latest edition of Index on Censorship magazine, with its special report on local news

Index on Censorship’s spring 2019 issue is entitled Is this all the local news? What happens if local journalism no longer holds power to account?

Look out for the new edition in bookshops, and don’t miss our Index on Censorship podcast, with special guests, on Soundcloud.

How governments use power to undermine justice and freedom

The summer 2019 Index on Censorship magazine looks at the narrowing gap between a nation’s leader and its judges and lawyers.

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The post Law and the new world order appeared first on Index on Censorship.

by Rachael Jolley at July 15, 2019 11:06 AM

InterPressService (global south)

Rwanda Prepares the Foundations for Climate-Resilient Cities

Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, is the country’s largest city. However, the country hopes to soon implement the first stage of a new dynamic plan for the development of six climate-resilient secondary cities. Credit: Aimable Twahirwa/IPS

By Emmanuel Hitimana
KIGALI, Jul 15 2019 (IPS)

How do you plan a resilient city? A city that can withstand climate change impacts, and the natural disasters that it produces at increased frequencies. And how do you protect the city, its individuals and communities, its business and institutions from either the increased flooding or prolonged droughts that result? It’s a complex question with an even more complex solution, but one that the central African nation of Rwanda is looking to answer.

“Urban resilience means preventing disasters, and planning ahead in order to cope with them in an efficient way,” says Rwanda’s National Roadmap for Green Secondary Cities Development.

The roadmap, which was developed by the government with assistance from the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) in 2016, provides guidance for the development of six climate resilient secondary cities in the country. It also outlines how they can grow sustainably while also contributing to Rwanda’s national urbanisation strategy, which according to the roadmap is to “achieve 35 percent urbanisation by 2020 for each of the secondary cities”.

Environmentalists convened in Kigali to discuss the integration of green growth in Rwanda’s satellite cities. Credit: Emmanuel Hitimana/IPS

What is a green city?

Rwanda, along with its development partners, hopes to soon implement the first stage of the dynamic plan that will kick off in Nyagatare, a district that borders Uganda in the northeast. On Thursday, Jul. 11, environmentalists, private sector stakeholders and government officials convened for a workshop in Kigali to discuss the integration of green growth in Rwanda’s secondary cities. 

While large cities are often known for waste, pollution and bad urban planning, Nyagatare will be a far cry from this. Nyagatare will be a green city not only because of the lush, hilly landscape in which it sits, but because the city itself will be built along the lines of a green economy. It will be net zero carbon (by 2050), resource and waste efficient and have a green economy, which aims to offer high quality employment to its residents.

Also key is improved water efficiency—which includes installing water efficient plumbing fixtures, rainwater harvesting systems, wastewater treatment in buildings, and the reuse of treated wastewater for flushing and other secondary applications etc.—green public spaces, green transport modes and buildings constructed from eco-friendly products.

Nyagatare will be the first of six districts to be developed under the “Readiness and preparatory support to implement Green City Development Projects in Rwanda’s Secondary Cities”, which operationalises the national roadmap and which is being implemented by the government, and the Rwanda Environmental Management Authority (REMA) in partnership with GGGI.

The establishment of the secondary cities is a key part of Rwanda’s priority to tackling climate change. Rwanda was awarded 600,000 dollars by Green Climate Fund (GCF) for the project, which will not only protect the environment but will consolidate the land use in the six districts, according to Jean Pierre Munyeshyaka, the senior associate for Green Urbanisation at GGGI Rwanda.

“The chosen cities were part of districts that showed signs of development but they were not ready for green growth. That is why we did this project and submitted this project to GCF to help them build conscious-driven green development,” Munyeshyaka told IPS.

All districts have been strategically chosen because of their population size, geographic location and contribution to the country’s economy. The other districts are Muhanga, which is close to Kigali; Huye, which is considered the country’s knowledge centre and is home to the National University of Rwanda and the National Institute of Scientific Research; Musanze and Rubavu, which are tourist destinations and close to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Uganda respectively; and Rusizi district, which borders the southern DRC and is the location of one of the country’s three major lake ports.

Munyeshyaka explained that the secondary cities will be run on renewable energy and be built to ensure low carbon emissions. There will also be easy-to-use public roads and transport, easy access to markets and health centres. He explained that when more people spent less money to travel to hospitals or markets, it meant they could save more and use their money for other things, such as business development etc.

Rapid economic and urban growth

The hilly, fertile, and relatively non-resource rich nation of Rwanda has made great strides in economic growth over the last decade, its 8.6 percent growth in 2018 was listed as the highest on the continent, according to the World Bank.

But it is also one of the most densely-populated countries on the continent with almost 12.2 million people living in a nation the size of the U.S. state of Maryland. That’s approximately 445 people per square kilometre, according to Rwanda’s 4th Population and Housing Census Projection.

And while Rwanda has been called one of the “least urbanised” countries on the continent, with only 18 percent of its population living in cities, its urban population growth rate “is 4.5 percent, which is well above the world average of 1.8 percent”, according to the roadmap.

“Rwanda, although predominantly rural, has been urbanising rapidly, from a half-million urban residents in 1995 to more than three and a half million today,” according to Ilija Gubic, a senior urbanisation and infrastructure officer with GGGI in Rwanda and Dheeraj Arrabothu, a GGGI green building officer who helps the Rwanda Housing Authority (RHA) promote green urbanisation in Rwanda.

Faustin Munyazikwiye, the deputy Director General of Environment Management Authority, said all sustainable development projects in the country need to be considered with a green economy in mind. Credit: Emmanuel Hitimana/IPS

No growth without green growth

Faustin Munyazikwiye, the deputy Director General of REMA, the national designated authority mandated to facilitate coordination and oversight of the implementation of the national environmental policy and the subsequent legislation, said any sustainable development project in the country needs to think in terms of a green economy.

“We have seen and we are aware that our country is under immense risk when it comes to climate change. For that matter, we have identified six cities to start with readiness and preparation. We will equip them with necessary infrastructures that will resist any harm to climate change,” Munyazikwiye told IPS.

According to a USAID climate change risk profile on Rwanda “rising temperatures, more frequent and intense heavy rains, and potentially increased duration of dry spells threaten Rwandan agriculture”. Some 70 percent of Rwandans are employed in the agriculture sector, which accounts for 50 percent of the country’s export revenue.

Munyazikwiye was speaking during the Jul. 11 workshop on implementing green growth strategies of the Nyagatare master plan.

During the workshop, staff from various government and private entities were trained on how to include green growth and climate resilience in project concepts and taught how to engage with the GCF for climate finance and green investment opportunities in Rwanda.

Green growth success dependent on private sector partners

“Private sector is absolutely the key. At the end of the day there is limited public funds in the world. It is actually the private [sector] that has to step in to help reach climate change goals and [get] implementation process running, ” Inhee Chung, Rwanda Country Director for GGGI, told IPS.

She explained that aside from getting the private sector on board with the concept of a green economy and getting it to invest in eco-friendly products like building materials and other innovations that will be used during the development of the secondary green cities, GGGI have also been focusing on integrating the community to help them understand the shared vision.

“For us green growth does not just mean only the environment. It actually means growth with the people. Environment, people and economy, they are all interlinked because if one is excluded  sustainability isn’t really achieved, this is why we make every step inclusive,” she said.

Much of the area earmarked in Nyagatare district for the secondary city is inhabited by middle income families.

Parfait Karekezi, the Green and Smart Cities Specialist at the RHA, the agency responsible for urbanisation, whose mandate includes responsibility for settlements and building construction, told IPS that while previous expropriation of land for other projects was done without considering existing land tenants and by removing a poor families to make way for large projects, this time around it will be different and families will be given housing that is equivalent in value to their property.

“Rwanda has an opportunity that may be unique in Africa – to harness urbanisation to its full potential,” Sally Murray, a country economist at the International Growth Centre, states in a paper on urbanisation and economic growth in the country.

And it seems that Rwanda is on its way to doing just that.

The post Rwanda Prepares the Foundations for Climate-Resilient Cities appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by Emmanuel Hitimana at July 15, 2019 11:05 AM

Women Are Pivotal in the War on Terror

The UN Secretary General meeting with women’s groups in Nairobi on 10 July 2019. Photo: @UN

By Ambassador Amina Mohamed
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 15 2019 (IPS)

On 10 July 2019 I was honored to moderate a meeting with women’s groups for the UN Secretary General Mr. Antonio Guterres, whose aim was to better diagnose the role of women in the prevention or instigation of violent extremism.

The Secretary General remarked, “The women activists I met in Nairobi are among the many women across Africa who are leading the way in preventing the expansion of violent extremism from within their own communities. Women are on the frontlines of this fight: we must listen to them and support their efforts.”

Recent efforts to enlist the participation of women in activities to combat radicalization are encouraging, considering that for a long time, gender and security has been a blind-spot in counter-terrorism programmes.

Examination of the ever-evolving drivers of radicalization and terrorism has gradually morphed perspectives of the role of the women, spanning from victims, perpetrators and lately, preventers of terrorism.

As Yanar Mohammed, co-founder and president of the Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq said during the UNSC’s open debate on Resolution 2242:‘Improving women’s participation in efforts to counter extremism and build peace is not just a normative concern about equality; including women’s insights offers a strategic advantage to those looking to build lasting peace and prevent conflict and violent extremism.’

For quite some time, the social construct of femininity was often expressed as one of subservience to men in the context of violent extremism. Media coverage of women affiliated to radical groups often portrayed female recruits as docile followers of their partners.This stereotypical portrayal of women as harmless undermined the accuracy of counter radicalization policies as well as operational responses and entailed a missed opportunity in the war on violent extremism.

In Kosovo, for example, women were the first to detect unusual patterns of behaviour and activity in their homes and communities, including stockpiling of weapons. These signs were reported well before violence broke out.

Despite the acknowledgement of the role women can play in preventing violent extremism, several current national approaches to violent extremism are not adequately gendered. More specifically, they are not systematically inclusive of women, nor are they substantively and sufficiently gender-specific or gender-sensitive.

In Kenya, there are encouraging signs that this narrative is changing. In Kwale County, itself a region that has been a recruitment reservoir, the county government has launched a strategic counter terrorism strategy that includes prioritizing meaningful inclusion of women in the development and implementation of CVE approaches aimed at addressing the driver of violent extremism. The plan also includes allocating funds to train small women-driven civil society entities in countering violent extremism.

To effectively harness the potential of women to prevent violent extremism, it is important to understand the drivers of violent extremism and how women can help tackle these drivers in the first place.

It must be understood that poor governance, marginalization, exclusion and corruption often result in economic and socio-political grievances. These grievances can degenerate into violent conflicts which lead to the breakdown of law and order, providing fertile ground for indoctrination and violent extremism.

Increasing the number of women in leadership positions is one way in which women can help in preventing violent extremism. A World Bank study indicated that the participation of more women in leadership leads to the prioritization of social issues such as child care, equal pay, parental leave, and pensions; physical concerns such as reproductive rights, physical safety, and development matters such as poverty reduction and service delivery.

Grievances about lack of the above services are among the leading reasons recruiters find a fertile ground in communities across the world in both the North and South.

That together with the anonymous spaces provided by the Internet for spreading extremist ideas need urgent attention. The use of school systems and curricula to counter indoctrination and promote egalitarian attitudes and mind sets, cultivate tolerance and respect for other cultures and religions and correct the distorted view of reality is critical.

There are also other ways to ensure that we do not give the upper hand to terrorists in taking advantage of gender roles. These include increasing the number of women in police forces. Currently, women represent less than one fifth of police forces around the world. That is a shame. It now proven beyond reasonable doubt that greater participation of women will improve governance and significantly neutralize the drivers of extremism.

In fact in this primary war of our time, it is time to place gender pivotal to prevent violent extremism and counter terrorism.

Ambassador Amina Mohamed, is the Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Culture and Heritage in the Government of Kenya.

The post Women Are Pivotal in the War on Terror appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by Ambassador Amina Mohamed at July 15, 2019 10:15 AM

A Relentless Battle Against Poverty & Hunger in World’s Most Populous Region

By Thalif Deen
UNITED NATIONS, Jul 15 2019 (IPS)

The world’s two most populous nations-– China and India—have been making steady progress in eradicating extreme poverty, but have fallen short in their attempts to eliminate extreme hunger, according to the Bangkok-based UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

In an interview with IPS, Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP said Asia-Pacific is on track to eradicate extreme poverty, which still afflicts 285 million people in that region, but that goal would be successful only “if current progress is maintained until 2030”.

“Both China and India are reducing extreme poverty faster than the regional average. And half the population lifted out of extreme poverty globally, since 2000, comes from China,” she said.

The Asia-Pacific region, the world’s most populous, comprises of 53 members and nine associate members, and is home to over 60 per cent of the world’s population.

This makes ESCAP the largest UN intergovernmental body serving the Asia-Pacific region.

Of the world’s 7.7 billion people, China ranks number one with a population of 1.42 billion followed by India with 1.36 billion, with the US ranking third with 329 million people.

A new report on a global poverty index, co-authored by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPDI) released last week, says of the 1.3 billion people worldwide who are multidimensionally poor, more than two thirds—886 million— live in middle income countries (also described as developing nations).

“To fight poverty, one needs to know where poor people live. They are not evenly spread across a country, not even within a household,” says Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator. “The 2019 global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) provides the detailed information policy makers need to more effectively target their policies.”

The MPI goes beyond income as the sole indicator for poverty, by exploring the ways in which people experience poverty in their health, education, and standard of living.

Alisjahbana said the ambition of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development goes beyond eradicating extreme poverty.

“It also focuses on reducing multidimensional poverty for all, and the Asia-Pacific region is lagging in other dimensions, such as provision of sustainable jobs and promoting equality. Inequalities of opportunity, and exposure to environmental degradation and natural disasters, which are widening within and between countries.”

With this challenge in mind, she pointed out, there is scope to significantly increase government investment in basic services, such as education, health and social protection, but also to strengthen our region’s resilience to natural disasters. This is essential to break the cycle of poverty.

“When it comes to eradicating hunger, progress has been too slow in Asia and the Pacific since 2015. While levels of stunting have been reduced in parts of the region, particularly in China, there remains work to be done across the region to support sustainable agriculture and reverse losses in biodiversity,” she declared.

Meanwhile, the targeted date for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will be up for review at a UN summit meeting of world leaders September 24-25, is 2030.

But how many of these goals are really achievable?

These are some of the issues, up for discussion, during a ministerial meeting of the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) in New York July 16-18. The theme: “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.”

Excerpts from the interview:

IPS: What are the countries in the Asia-Pacific region which have made the most progress on SDGs?

Alisjahbana: ESCAP takes a regional approach to the 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, but we conduct analysis of our subregions which is included in the Asia and the Pacific SDG Progress Report 2019. This indicates how different parts of Asia and the Pacific have their own distinct set of challenges and priorities.

For instance, East and North-East Asia has made the greatest progress towards poverty eradication but has registered a regression on several Goals focused on the environment. Urgent action is required to reverse course if the subregion is to build sustainable cities and communities and protect life below water and ecosystems on land by 2030.

South-East Asia and the Pacific have made the swiftest progress towards building a resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation. Yet our analysis finds the subregion to be heading in the wrong direction when it comes to promoting just, peaceful and inclusive societies.

North and Central Asia made the most progress towards six Goals, while South and South-West Asia is ahead in its efforts to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.

IPS: Of the 17 SDGs, which are the goals which are most likely to be achieved by 2030 by all countries in the region?

Alisjahbana: Asia-Pacific governments have taken on the challenge of the 2030 Agenda with decisive leadership – making significant investments to enhance data and statistical coverage, scale up partnerships and promote people-centred policies and strategies. This however has yet to take full effect.

The region is making significant headway towards poverty reduction (SDG1), good health and well-being (SDG3), quality education (SDG4) and affordable and clean energy (SDG7), and partnerships for the goals (SDG17). On more than half of the 17 Goals, progress is stagnant, or the situation has deteriorated since 2000.

On our current trajectory, we need to accelerate progress towards all Sustainable Development Goals if they are to be met by 2030. Supporting this accelerated progress lies at the heart of ESCAP’s work, it guides our analysis, our intergovernmental work and our technical assistance.

IPS: The recent ESCAP report on concluded that, Asia and the Pacific will not achieve any of the 17 SDGs by 2030? What are the primary reasons for this and is this due to lack of funding or the absence of political will?

Alisjahbana: Our recent Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2019 estimates that developing Asia-Pacific countries need an additional annual investment of $1.5 trillion, or just under a dollar per person per day, or 5 per cent of the region’s GDP in 2018.

People and planet related interventions would account for most of the additional investment, with $669 billion needed to support basic human rights and develop human capacities, and $590 billion to be invested in our planet to support clean energy, combat climate change and strengthen environmental protection.

The remaining $196 billion is needed to support sustainable transport, improved access to ICT, and water and sanitation services.

While the level of investment required is within reach for many countries, the price tag is highest for those which can least afford it, including least developed countries and small island developing States.

Strong development partnerships and strengthened multilateral financing mechanisms will be essential. A shift in mindset is needed to look beyond economic growth and focuses on an economic philosophy which puts people and the planet first.

To help shape sustainable development policies and target our investments, work must continue to produce timely and reliable statistics. Currently only 36 per cent of the SDG indicators in the Asia-Pacific have sufficient data for progress to be accurately assessed. Improving data and statistics is a key area of ESCAP’s work. Non-traditional data pools such as geospatial information and big data need to be fully tapped help address data gaps in the region.

IPS: As far as the Asia-Pacific region is concerned, do you expect anything concrete to come out of the SDG summit in New York September 24-25?

Alisjahbana: The SDG Summit is an important opportunity to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It can help ensure ongoing work is taken a step further in Asia and the Pacific to achieve the SDGs.

It is crucial it does, because the region’s sustainable development achievements and failures will have a strong impact on the rest of the world. We are home to two-thirds of the world’s population and have in recent years been the engine of global economic growth and poverty reduction.

In addition to the inter-governmentally agreed political declaration that has been negotiated over the past months, the SDG Summit is an opportunity for our leaders to identify ways, cross-cutting areas and critical multi-stakeholder action to accelerate progress.

I also look forward to the announcements of “SDG Accelerated Actions”, which are voluntary initiatives undertaken by countries and other actors and should raise ambitions to advance the Goals at the speed and scale required.

The writer can be contacted at thalifdeen@ips.org

The post A Relentless Battle Against Poverty & Hunger in World’s Most Populous Region appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by Thalif Deen at July 15, 2019 09:51 AM

resilience.org

Agriculture 3.0 or (Smart) Agroecology?

Round hay bales

During the upcoming CAP negotiations, the future of 38 per cent of the European budget will be decided. Public money must be spent for public goods. It is not a matter of what kind of technology we want to support for our agriculture; it is a matter of who will benefit from his technology, farmers or private companies.

by Francesco Ajena at July 15, 2019 09:44 AM

Dewayne-Net

The Metamorphosis

The Metamorphosis
AI will bring many wonders. It may also destabilize everything from nuclear détente to human friendships. We need to think much harder about how to adapt.
By HENRY A. KISSINGER, ERIC SCHMIDT and DANIEL HUTTENLOCHER
Aug 2019 Issue
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/08/henry-kissinger-the-metamorphosis-ai/592771/

Humanity is at the edge of a revolution driven by artificial intelligence. It has the potential to be one of the most significant and far-reaching revolutions in history, yet it has developed out of disparate efforts to solve specific practical problems rather than a comprehensive plan. Ironically, the ultimate effect of this case-by-case problem solving may be the transformation of human reasoning and decision making.

This revolution is unstoppable. Attempts to halt it would cede the future to that element of humanity more courageous in facing the implications of its own inventiveness. Instead, we should accept that AI is bound to become increasingly sophisticated and ubiquitous, and ask ourselves: How will its evolution affect human perception, cognition, and interaction? What will be its impact on our culture and, in the end, our history?

Such questions brought together the three authors of this article: a historian and sometime policy maker; a former chief executive of a major technology company; and the dean of a principal technology-oriented academic institution. We have been meeting for three years to try to understand these issues and their associated riddles. Each of us is convinced of our inability, within the confines of our respective fields of expertise, to fully analyze a future in which machines help guide their own evolution, improving themselves to better solve the problems for which they were designed. So as a starting point—and, we hope, a springboard for wider discussion—we are engaged in framing a more detailed set of questions about the significance of AI’s development for human civilization.

The AlphaZero Paradox

Last December, the developers of AlphaZero published their explanation of the process by which the program mastered chess—a process, it turns out, that ignored human chess strategies developed over centuries and classic games from the past. Having been taught the rules of the game, AlphaZero trained itself entirely by self-play and, in less than 24 hours, became the best chess player in the world—better than grand masters and, until then, the most sophisticated chess-playing computer program in the world. It did so by playing like neither a grand master nor a preexisting program. It conceived and executed moves that both humans and human-trained machines found counterintuitive, if not simply wrong. The founder of the company that created AlphaZero called its performance “chess from another dimension” and proof that sophisticated AI “is no longer constrained by the limits of human knowledge.”

Now established chess experts are studying AlphaZero’s moves, hoping to incorporate its knowledge into their own play. These studies are practical, but larger philosophical questions also emerge. Among those that are currently unanswerable: How can we explain AlphaZero’s capacity to invent a new approach to chess on the basis of a very brief learning period? What was the reality it explored? Will AI lead to an as-yet-unimaginable expansion of familiar reality?

We can expect comparable discoveries by AI in other fields. Some will upend conventional wisdom and standard practices; others will merely tweak them. Nearly all will leave us struggling to understand. Consider the conduct of driverless cars stopped at a traffic light. When cars driven by people inch forward to try to beat the traffic, some driverless cars occasionally join them, though nothing in the rules of driving given to them suggests that they should do so. If this inching-forward has been learned, how and for what purpose? How is it different from what people are taught and learn about waiting at traffic lights? What else might AI learn that it is not “telling” us (because AI does not or cannot explain)? By enabling a process of self-learning for inanimate objects, we do not yet know what we are starting, but we need to find out.

The Nature of the Revolution

Heretofore, digital evolution has relied on human beings to create the software and analyze the data that are so profoundly affecting our lives. Recent advances have recast this process. AI has made it possible to automate an extraordinary range of tasks, and has done so by enabling machines to play a role—an increasingly decisive role—in drawing conclusions from data and then taking action. AI draws lessons from its own experience, unlike traditional software, which can only support human reasoning. The growing transfer of judgment from human beings to machines denotes the revolutionary aspect of AI, as described last year in these pages (“How the Enlightenment Ends,” June 2018).

That said, the word intelligence does not adequately explain what is occurring, and ascribing anthropomorphic qualities to AI is out of order. AI is neither malicious nor kind; it does not have independently developed intent or goals; it does not engage in self-reflection. What AI can do is to perform well-specified tasks to help discover associations between data and actions, providing solutions for quandaries people find difficult and perhaps impossible. This process creates new forms of automation and in time might yield entirely new ways of thinking.

Yet AI systems today, and perhaps inherently, struggle to teach or to explain how they arrive at their solutions or why those solutions are superior. It is up to human beings to decipher the significance of what AI systems are doing and to develop interpretations. In some ways, AI is comparable to the classical oracle of Delphi, which left to human beings the interpretation of its cryptic messages about human destiny.

If AI improves constantly—and there is no reason to think it will not—the changes it will impose on human life will be transformative. Here are but two illustrations: a macro-example from the field of global and national security, and a micro-example dealing with the potential role of AI in human relationships.

[snip]

by wa8dzp at July 15, 2019 09:26 AM

resilience.org

Did Climate Change Cause the Fall of the Roman Empire? No, But What may Have Actually Happened is Amazing

Climate Change after Roman Empire

The Earth’s ecosystem is a typical complex system. It reacts to perturbations, even minor ones, sometimes very strongly. Don’t expect it to remain stable just because it has been stable up to a certain moment.

by Ugo Bardi at July 15, 2019 09:18 AM

Dancing with Grief

It is easy to be critical of the climate crisis deniers of the political right. Yet there is a soft-denialism across much of the political left as well. The reality is, no government on Earth is currently willing to take the dramatic measures necessary that might begin to mitigate what is coming our way.

by Dahr Jamail at July 15, 2019 08:01 AM

indexcensorship.org

Index at Latitude: Forest Folktales

(Photo: Sean Gallagher)

Index on Censorship, the campaigning free-speech nonprofit, is excited to be mounting its Forest Folktales at Latitude Festival 19-21 July in Henham Park, Southwold, Suffolk.

As dusk falls and the witching hour approaches, gather in the Faraway Forest for sordid, uncensored folktales as you have never heard them before: Gryla the mountain-troll in Iceland who eats naughty children and killed her first husband, Rapunzel’s sordid late-night tumbles with her prince or Cinderella’s step-sisters chopping off their own toes. Folk stories from around the world have been censored and edited by collectors for years in a bid to remove “taboo” material

Join Index on Censorship for this late-night edition of folktales for grown ups in all their forbidden, filthy and uncensored glory with readers including Scarlett Curtis, Max Porter, Jade Cuttle and Jemima Foxtrot.

See the full line-up here: https://www.latitudefestival.com/whats-on/

– ENDS –

Listings Info:

All talks and performances take place in the Faraway Forest 19-21 July.

  • Performing on Friday night at 8:30pm at the Tree of Life:
    • Jade Cuttle, Scarlett Curtis, Jemima Foxtrot + Index on Censorship storytellers
  • Performing on the Saturday night at 8:30pm at the Tree of Life:
    • Max Porter, Jemima Foxtrot + Index on Censorship storytellers
  • Performing on Sunday at 5pm at the Clearing: Index on Censorship storytellers

For more information:

INDEX ON CENSORSHIP

Sean Gallagher sean@indexoncensorship.org

Notes for Editors:

Index on Censorship is a non-profit organisation that defends free expression and fights censorship of artists, writers, journalists and campaigners worldwide through advocacy, events and an award-winning quarterly magazine. Index believes that everyone has the right to free expression – no matter what their views. Index on Censorship has published some of the greatest names in literature including Samuel Beckett, Nadine Gordimer, Mario Vargas Llosa, Arthur Miller and Kurt Vonnegut. Patrons include Margaret Atwood, Simon Callow and Steeve Coogan.

Website: www.indexoncensorship.org

Twitter: @IndexCensorship

Latitude Festival is an annual music festival that takes place in Henham Park, near Southwold, Suffolk, England. It was first held in July 2006. Immerse yourself in all of the magical areas coming to Latitude Festival this summer. Not only can you delight your ears with music from across the genres at one of our seven music stages, you can also embark on a cultural safari across the arts taking in comedy, theatre, dance and more, have fun for all of the family in our kids, teens and family area, and care for your wellbeing with pamper sessions and outdoor swimming. Whatever your passion there’s something for everyone in Henham Park.

Website: https://www.latitudefestival.com/

Twitter: @LatitudeFest

Performers

Scarlett Curtis is a writer, journalist, and blogger. She is the curator of the Sunday Times Bestseller and National Book Award winning Feminists Don’t Wear Pink & other lies; a collection of essays by 52 women on what feminism means to them, published by Penguin in 2018. She is contributing editor at The Sunday Times Style and has had work published in The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Times and Vogue. In 2017 Scarlett co-founded The Pink Protest; a feminist activist collective committed to helping young people take action online and IRL. To date they have been a part of campaigns that have changed two laws; a bill to help end period poverty and a bill to get FGM into the Children’s Act. 

In 2014 she worked for 18 months as social media director of the UN’s campaign ‘The Global Goals’ and is a passionate activist. From 2017 – 2018 she wrote  a weekly column for The Sunday Times Style newspaper titled The Generation Z Hit List.

Follow Scarlett Curtis on Twitter at @scarcurtis and Instagram at @pinkprotest and @scarcurtis.

Jade Cuttle is a poet, writer, and folk singer-songwriter. She is currently deputy poetry editor at Ambit Magazine and is completing her MA in Creative Writing (Poetry) at the University of East Anglia. In addition to performing her poetry across multiple BBC platforms and writing for BBC podcasts, Jade has been awarded with numerous awards. Her poem ‘Miracle of Mould’ for BBC Radio 3 was written for End Hunger UK in order to raise awareness about food insecurity. 

In 2017, she also released her debut album of poem-songs ‘Leaves and Lovers’, which focuses on the resilience and quiet wisdom of nature. Her second album is set to be released this year. Her passion for nature has also led to her leading nature-focused workshops with the public and with schoolchildren, most notably her Poetry of Trees workshop. 

You can follow her on Twitter at @JadeCuttle and on Instagram at @jadecuttle.

Jemima Foxtrot is a writer, theatre-maker, performer, and musician. Her first collection of poetry, All Damn Day, was published in 2016, and she is currently touring three original theatre pieces: Kiss Me, Help! I hate you, Above the Mealy-Mouthed Sea, and Rear View. In the past, she was commissioned by the Tate Britain, the BBC, the Tate Modern, Latitude Festival, and more. 

Mirror, her feminist poem-turned-film focusing on self-acceptance, was commissioned by BBC Arts as part of their Women who Spit series. Jemima is also a founding member of Unholy Mess, a theatre company that aims to tell important stories of human experience that are often overlooked or under-represented in art. Unholy Mess draws on performance poetry, live singing and physical theatre and tours internationally. 

Follow Jemima on Twitter at @jemimafoxtrot and on Instagram at @jemima.foxtrot

In 2015, Max Porter published his first book, Grief is the Thing with Feathers, which British Council Literature called “one of the eeriest, most exuberant and rapturously received fictional debuts in recent British writing”. Porter himself called it “a multi-voice fable … a short book which moves between prose, poetry, play script, fairytale and essay”, and the book captured “the domestic tenderness of single fatherhood and the way that literature helps us cope with life” by mixing “dark comedy and poignant beauty”. Porter draws on his own experience of parental loss for his book.

Porter is based in London, where he is the editorial director of Granta and Portobello Books.  

Se abre el plazo para nominar a las Becas de los Premios a la Libertad de Expresión de Index on Censorship 2020

Ya están abiertas las nominaciones a las Becas de los Premios a la Libertad de Expresión de Index on Censorship.

«Индекс Цензуры» открыл прием заявок на получение «Наград за свободу слова» на 2020 год

Награды присуждаются журналистам, гражданским активистам, интернет-активистам и деятелям искусства, которые борются с цензурой во всем мире Победители получают комплексную поддержку в течение года Номинироваться можно на сайте indexoncensorship.org/nominations Номинации открыты с 1 июля по 31 июля 2019 года #IndexAwards2020 This press release is also available in Arabic, Chinese, English, Portuguese, Spanish Номинации на получение «Наград [...]

2020年度“审查目录”言论自由奖开始提名

•该奖项旨在奖励全球反对审查制度的记者、活动家、数字活动家和艺术家 •获奖者将得到为期一年的综合援助支持 •请在indexoncensorship.org/nominations网站提名 •提名于2019年7月1日至7月31日期间开放 •#IndexAwards2020 This press release is also available in Arabic, English, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish “审查目录”言论自由奖提名现已开放。该奖项已有二十年历史,旨在表彰世界上最杰出之捍卫言论自由英雄。 2020年将迎来言论自由奖二十周年庆,多年来共有87杰出人士位获奖者。自2015年来“审查目录”已扩大奖项计划,支持22名获奖者在国际间开展捍卫言论自由的工作。 该奖项旨在支持世界各地各阶层活动家。历年获奖者包括洪都拉斯调查记者Wendy Funes,叙利亚漫画家Ali Farzat、巴基斯坦教育活动家马拉拉(Malala Yousafzai)、沙特阿拉伯调查记者Safa Al Ahmad和南非LGBTI摄影师Zanele Muholi。 “审查目录”诚挚邀请公众、公民社会组织、非营利组织和媒体组织提名在全球范围内反对审查制度中应得到表彰和支持的任何个人或组织。 我们在以下四个领域各提供一个奖项: •艺术创作:包括艺术家和艺术出品人,他们的作品挑战压迫和不公并倡导艺术自由表达。该提名可包括视觉艺术家、音乐家、漫画家及创意作家。个人或创作集体均可提名。 •活动家:旨在奖励为在反对审查制度和促进当地言论自由方面产生显着影响的活动家和活动人士开展活动。个人或组织提名均可。 •数字行动:旨在奖励为研发开创性技术以绕过审查制度从而实现信息自由和独立交流。提名包含手机应用程序,数字工具或软件。 •新闻工作:旨在奖励勇敢和坚定的新闻报道,揭露审查制度同言论自由所受威胁,要求信息公开。提名包括博客作家、新闻媒体和调查性非营利组织。 所有获奖者都将得到为期12个月的指导,网络及战略支持。获奖者将于年初(2020年4月)受邀参加于伦敦举办为期一周的研讨会、培训及公众活动,期间住宿及其他相关费用由主办方提供。在这一年中,“审查目录”将与获奖者深入合作以提升其工作的影响力、形象及可持续性。 “审查目录”公司首席执行官朱迪·金斯伯格表示:“言论自由奖向世界展示了20年来最无畏、最未被颂扬的言论自由捍卫者。我们试图褒奖那些推动言论自由的团体和个人的工作,他们往往承受巨大的困难及危险。近年来,我们扩大了奖项计划,给予获奖者有针对性的支持和培训来扩大他们的影响。用您的声音提名言论自由奖以确保他们的声音被世人听到。” 2020年奖项候选名单将于2020年初公布。获奖者将由一个高规格的评审小组选出,并于2020年4月在伦敦举行的颁奖仪式上宣布。提名将于2019年7月1日至2019年7月31日下午五时英国标准时间开放。 言论自由奖于2001年启动,旨在提升全球捍卫言论自由的个人和组织的形象。 有关奖项及更多相关信息,请联系Sean Gallagher,电子邮件:sean@indexoncensorship.org 关于言论自由奖 2020年将迎来言论自由奖二十周年庆,多年来共有87位获奖者获奖。自2015年来“审查目录”已扩大奖项计划,支持22名获奖者在国际间开展捍卫言论自由的工作。 2020年度获奖者都将获得为期12个月的指导,网络及战略支持。更多信息 关于“审查目录” “审查目录”是一家总部位于伦敦的非营利组织,负责发表被禁作家和艺术家的作品及反对全球审查制度的活动。自1972年成立以来,“审查目录”在其屡获殊荣的季刊中发表了世界著名文学家的作品,包括萨缪尔·贝克特、纳丁·戈迪默、马里奥·巴尔加斯·略萨、亚瑟·米勒和库尔特·冯内古特。并出版了从哈维尔到埃利夫·沙法克等世界世界知名政论作家的作品。 فتح باب الترشيحات لجوائز زمالة حرية التعبير المُقدمة من منظمة “مؤشر الرقابة” [...]

فتح باب الترشيحات لجوائز زمالة حرية التعبير المُقدمة من منظمة “مؤشر الرقابة” لعام 2020

فُتح باب الترشيحات لجوائز زمالة حرية التعبير المُقدمة من منظمة “مؤشر الرقابة”. وتُمنح الجوائز الآن في عامها العشرين لتكريم بعض من أشهر أبطال حرية التعبير في العالم.

The post Index at Latitude: Forest Folktales appeared first on Index on Censorship.

by Index on Censorship at July 15, 2019 06:02 AM

A-infos

(en) Poland, Workers Initiative: A strike referendum in Amazon [machine translation]

We announce that on 15 July we are launching a strike referendum in Poznan and a protest action will take place. Amazon under pressure announced increases earlier, but wages are still low and norms overstated. ---- Both trade unions OZZ Inicjatywa Pracownicza and Solidarnosc demand a collective dispute in a collective dispute of 1. Worthy increases (PLN 25 per hand) 2. A new employee assessment (stop feedback). 3 Stable working conditions - contracts for an indefinite period. ---- On 22.05-30.05 there was a negotiation between the associations and Amazon. We met three times in Wroclaw. There was no agreement: 5.06. We have signed a discrepancy report. ---- On 18.06.-2.07 mediations took place with the participation of an external mediator. We met with the employer twice near Poznan. There was no agreement. Amazon has not agreed to suspend feedback, negotiate ...

by A-infos (a-infos-en@ainfos.ca) at July 15, 2019 05:46 AM

(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #296 - Libertarian Communist Congress of the Allier, Birth of a new federation (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]

That's it: almost 200 people participated in the AL-CGA joint conference, from June 8 to 10 in Allier. And decided to found, together, the Libertarian Communist Union. A small event in the revolutionary movement, usually more used to splits and divisions. ---- A large meeting room decorated with banners reminiscent of years of struggles, crowded bays of activists of all ages peeling copious conference notebooks (90 pages !) In a merry tumult ... It is with some emotion that the commission prepared the first session of the AL-CGA Joint Conference on Saturday, June 8th. An exceptional congress since he had to decide - or not ! - their unification. ---- Coming from all over France and Belgium, nearly 200 people took part, two-thirds from AL and one third from CGA, including a significant number of new and new. Despite this unexpected influx - only 150 delegates ...

by A-infos (a-infos-en@ainfos.ca) at July 15, 2019 05:42 AM

(en) Poland, Workers Initiative: Inadequacy of material economy By Bangladesh Anarcho Syndicalist Federation - BASF [machine translation]

[Aspirant of power as a historical component History and science Economic inadequacies of materialism Act of reality and "social reality" The reality of production. Alexander's campaign Religion yoodb Pope Tantra Abuse of power as a barrier to production. Fatefulness "Historical Need" and "Historical Mission" Role of the bourgeoisie in economic position and social activities. Socialism and socialist. Non-historical changes. Judeb and Economy Unity and authority State and Capitalism.] ---- Looking at a little deeper history, we can see clearly the political effects of the era. On the left side of history, we see the "fascination of power" has shaken human history. Ability of power than human development or social reforms has played a major role. The flow of all political ideas and social events has been based on economic basis. Economic production systems and social structures ...

by A-infos (a-infos-en@ainfos.ca) at July 15, 2019 05:41 AM

(en) FAI, Solidarity with the comrades of Perla Nera (it) [traduzione automatica]

On behalf of all the companions and all the comrades of the Italian Anarchist Federation, we express our full solidarity at the PerlaNera Anarchist Laboratory in Alessandria, a victim a few days ago of an intimidating act through the sabotage of the lock and - above all - the theft of the dedicated plate to comrade Giuseppe Pinelli. A double attack therefore, to a seat of the anarchist movement and its history. ---- We do not think it could be a coincidence that this gesture takes place while for months the PerlaNera has been engaged in a tug-of-war with the Ferservizi (a company connected to the Ferrovie dello Stato), which would like to clear the space and also obtain a huge monetary compensation. ---- Always fascist or para-fascist manual labor and employers' interests go hand in hand and this story is no exception. ...

by A-infos (a-infos-en@ainfos.ca) at July 15, 2019 05:32 AM

(en) Britain, anarchist communist grou ACG: Class Struggle in the USA

Ten thousand grocery store workers in the Portland area of Oregon voted to strike at the supermarket chains Albertsons, Fred Meyer, QFC and Safeway over the decision by these employers not to offer new contracts over the coming year. The vote for a strike was almost unanimous. ---- Another 15,000 grocery workers in other areas of Oregon and Southwest Washington are due to vote for strike action in the next two months. Workers are demanding an increase in wages that keeps up with the rising cost of living. ---- In southern California 46,000 grocery store workers employed at Albertsons, Ralphs and Vons have already voted to go out on strike. Truck drivers have pledged not to deliver merchandise to supermarkets during the strikes. ...

by A-infos (a-infos-en@ainfos.ca) at July 15, 2019 05:32 AM

anarchistnews.org

Anews Podcast 123 – 7.12.19

From Anews Podcast

Editorial: By Max Res
TOTW- Civ or Anti-Civ, and Models for Behaviour... with Aragorn! and Ariel

sound editing by Greg;
what’s new was written by Jackie and Greg, and narrated by Chisel and Greg
Music:
1) Alpha Blondy – Abortion is a Crime
2) Kraftwerk – It's More Fun to Computer
3) The InkSpots – I Don't Want To Set the World On Fire


Tags: 

by thecollective at July 15, 2019 01:48 AM

TOTW: Effectiveness

How important is it to you that your everyday actions and life efforts are 'effective'? How much do you care that anarchist actions in general are effective?

I personally feel drawn to effectiveness as something I care about, and I thought about it more when I recently came across the following online critique of a recent anarchist action:

"My heart burns for a dead comrade, and this is sort of propaganda of the deed, but he had to know how going it alone would end. And this is only going to result in more suppression and more security. Undocumented people are going to suffer because of this.

We. Are. Powerless. Alone.

We have to organize and work together. Doing this alone is an ego driven decision. Your priority isn't liberation if this is your plan. And in a way, it's white saviorism. He could have joined his passion with others and connected with an organization that could help find safety for the people who are imprisoned if he could get them out. With comrades, with a plan, he could still be alive and people could be free who are still imprisoned."

There seems to be an implicit assumption in this comment that having power, working together, being effective to bring about 'liberation' is the critical goal.

I myself care about effectiveness. I don't want my actions in life to be 'meaningless' or based solely on making myself happy. I'd love to firebomb the state if it meant that we could all be free.

So does that mean that we *must* organize and work together? Am I forgoing effectiveness if I am not necessarily interested in sacrificing my passions to organize with others?

Is effectiveness important? Is it important for anarchists to be 'effective'? Is it even possible for humans, anarchist or otherwise, to not fixate on what's effective in their immediate lives?

by notnull at July 15, 2019 01:03 AM

AMW

Fascist Turkish State Preparing for Potential Aggression Against Rojava

The fascist Turkish regime launched, what it is calling “Operation Claw-2” in northern Iraq against revolutionary forces. The first operation “Claw-1” was launched in the Hakurk region. These two operations appear to be part of a larger strategy for a potential Turkish state invasion east of the Euphrates against revolutionary forces in Rojava. Erdogan’s regime has increased its military forces near the border of Rojava, bringing more than 50 tanks, artillery batteries, and armored vehicles to the border of Tal Abyad.

July 15, 2019 12:00 AM

Revenge Units Target Police & Security Guards in Cizre, 2 Police Killed

15.07.19: In a written statement, Martyr Ruken Hoser Revenge Unit claimed responsibility for the sabotage action it carried out on the evening of July 11 in the town of Cizre (Şırnak) and targeting police and guards. The statement said that at least 2 policemen were killed as a result of the action in Cumhuriyet Square in Dörtyol area and 9 policemen-guards were injured, four of which seriously. The statement reads as follows:

July 15, 2019 12:00 AM

ATM Torched in Solidarity with Anarchist Prisoners Silvia, Anna and Nat

An atm was torched in solidarity with anarchist prisoners in Italy. The has been an ongoing campaign of resistance in solidarity with comrades inside. “Free Silvia, Anna and Nat” was also spray painted on the bank window after the attack.

July 15, 2019 12:00 AM

Arson Attack Against Security Company Prosegur in Barcelona, 2 Vehicles Torched

Barcelona, early morning of 04.07.19. Two Prosegur company vehicles were torched at the end of Vilanova avenue. A fiery greeting to all the indomitables against the prisons and prison society, especially for Anna, Silvia and all the comrades who joined the hunger strike that recently ended. Greetings also to the prisoners who are mobilizing in the Spanish State. Nothing has ended, everything continues! Via Anarchists Worldwide

July 15, 2019 12:00 AM

July 14, 2019

the final straw radio

There Is No Liberation Until The Borders Are Gone: Bruno from CIMA and Members of IAF Speak

Bruno of CIMA speak on resisting ICE raids in North Carolina and two members of the Indigenous Anarchist Federation speak about their work, decolonization, and beyond!

by The Final Straw Radio at July 14, 2019 10:10 PM

Channel Zero

There Is No Liberation Until The Borders Are Gone: Bruno from CIMA and Members of IAF Speak

This post was originally published on this site

There Is No Liberation Until The Borders Are Gone: Bruno from CIMA and Members of IAF Speak

This week we are super pleased to share an interview that William did a few weeks ago with two members of the Indigenous Anarchist Federation, Bombshell and insurgent e! We got to talk about a lot of topics in this episode, which was recorded on about the year anniversary of the formation of the Indigenous Anarchist Federation. Bombshell and insurgent e talked about their histories as anarchist people, about the formation of this Federation, what true decolonization of anarchism could look like, and about the upcoming Indigenous Anarchist Convergence which is happening from August 16th-18th in Kinlani, Navajo land, occupied Flagstaff AZ, plus many other topics!

I really appreciated getting to connect with Bombshell and e, hearing their words on the topics at hand, and also really appreciated their patience with me as I stumbled thru my sentences with them.

To learn more about them you can follow them on Twitter, where they post active updates, news, and analysis @IAF_FAI or go to their website iaf-fai.org where they post more in depth articles about Indigenous struggle all around the world.

If you do the Twitter follows, just note that there is an active fake account that is attempting to badmouth and discredit the work of the IAF, and this account has the handle @fai-mujer; their interventions have been confusing to followers of the IAF in the past. To see a full account of this situation, plus of course many more topics that are like not about internet trolls but are about the work, you can visit them at iaf-fai.org! To learn more about the Convergence, to register, and for tips for outsider participation, you can visit taalahooghan.org.

If in listening to this you are curious about whose land you were born on or live on, a fantastic resource for this is native-land.ca which provides a world wide map, insofar as it’s possible, of indigenous lands and the names of their people spanning thousands of miles.

For more great interviews with members of IAF, including words from Bad Salish Girl and Green City:

Rev Left Radio

Coffee With Comrades

 

A list of recommendations from B and e:

-Do some digging and research to find a bunch of recent authors who have done the work to center Indigenaity and decolonization,

-read the complete works of Cutcha Risling Baldy on Decolonized and Indigenous Feminism,

-Talk to and listen to Indigenous people, do the necessary research to not ask folks to perform unnecessary emotional labor.

Books:

Open Veins of Latin America by Eduardo Galeano (en Espanol Las Venas Abiertas de América Latina)

Indigenous Peoples History of the United States by Roxane Dunbar-Ortiz

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann

Our History Is The Future by Nick Estes

500 Years of Indigenous Resistance by Gord Hill

Some good podcasts, recommended by William of TFS, from Indigenous folks, while not being politically anarchist identified are good to listen to!

All My Relations by Matika Wilbur and Adrienne Keene

While Indigenous by the NDN Collective

Stay tuned next week for an interview with Kanahus Manuel, a Secwepemc woman fighting a pipeline thru her lands in so called BC!

CIMA Speaks about ICE Raids

But first up Bursts spoke with Bruno Hinojosa Ruiz of the local immigrants advocacy group, CIMA, about the threatened raids by ICE and  CPB, ways for folks to get plugged in wherever they are with defending  their communities and helping those most targeted and strengthening our  bonds. More about CIMA can be found online by searching C I M A W N C on  facebook or at their site cimawnc.org. After the conversation,  Bursts learned that there’s a wiki page that’s compiling ICE offices and companies profiting from Immigrations police and Border Patrol. That  wiki can be found and added to at https://trackingice.com/wiki/Main_Page

 

Rest In Power, Willem

In related news to the ramping up of ICE repression of people around the so-called US, protests, sit-ins and sabotages of profiteers have been on the rise. Much of this can be tracked by visiting https://itsgoingdown.org/closethecamps/. Of note, in Asheville someone claimed responsibility for damaging an atm owned by PNC and claiming it anonymously on IGD.

Also, on Saturday, July 13th, a 69 year old, northwest anarchist named Willem Van Spronsen was gunned down by authorities outside of the North West Detention Center in Tacoma, WA while attempting to destroy buses used by GEO group to transport detainees to and from the center. Willem was allegedly armed with a rifle and was attempting to arson the buses when pigs opened fire and ended his life. There’s a statement by a local group focused on shutting down the facility, La Resistencia, up on fedbook and linked in our show notes. We’re sorry to lose you, Willem, but proud of your motivation.

 . … . ..

playlist pending

by The Final Straw Radio at July 14, 2019 09:54 PM

325.nostate.net

Arrest and detention of three comrades in Hamburg (Germany)

via https://de.indymedia.org/node/34562:

Solidarity with the Three from the park bench

During the night of 8 July 2019, three of our friends and comrades were arrested and after that several apartments were searched. After the prison examination two of them are now in custody, the third person got released on parole. According to the press, they are accused of preparing an arson attack in connection with the anniversary of the riots against the G20 summit in Hamburg in 2017.

Show solidarity and show them that they are not alone!

If you want to write to them you can send letters:

Libertäres Zentrum

Karolinenstraße 42 (Hinterhaus)

20357 Hamburg

[Germany]

Keyword “Die Drei von der Parkbank”

We are furious!

Whether guilty or not, solidarity with all those affected by repression!

Freedom for all prisoners!

Burning hearts cannot be locked up!

by admin at July 14, 2019 08:22 PM

anarchistnews.org

On Willem Van Spronsen’s Action against the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma

From CrimethInc.

On July 13, Willem Van Spronsen was killed by police while apparently taking action to disable the fleet of buses that serve the Northwest Detention Center, a private immigration detainment facility. His final statement, reproduced below, conveys that he was acting in response to the continuous raids and deportations carried out by Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE). His action occurred on the one-year anniversary of a hunger strike inside the Northwest Detention Center and an encampment outside. You can read a list of other acts of resistance that have occurred inside the Northwest Detention Center here.

We understand why Willem Van Spronsen decided to give his life to interrupt the violence that is perpetrated against undocumented people in the United States every day.

It is not hyperbole to say that the ICE raids are targeting our friends and neighbors, people who have lived and worked alongside us for years or even decades. The vulnerability of long-term undocumented people as a hyper-exploitable class has helped billionaires like Donald Trump to profit even more than they could have by legal means. To put the icing on the cake, capitalists then turn to the other workers they are exploiting and tell them that the poverty and misfortunes they experience are the fault of those who are poorer and more oppressed than them. It’s hard to imagine a more cynical strategy.

The disparity in rights between the documented and undocumented is a construct—just as the disparity in value that the Nazis constructed between Jewish people and gentiles was a construct. Both are mere inventions; they have no intrinsic existence except as a means for a powerful group to justify violence against a less powerful group. Those who justify obedience to the law as a good in itself stand alongside the Nazis whose laws condemned millions to the death camps, not to mention the racists who passed the Fugitive Slave Act and the Jim Crow laws in the American South.

Laws are just constructs; they are valueless in and of themselves. Indeed, they often serve to legitimize injustice that people would otherwise take action to oppose.

The further that the proponents of racist violence are permitted to legitimize invented concepts like slavery and citizenship, the more violence they will perpetrate—up to and including roundups, concentration camps, and mass extermination. We have seen this before, in Nazi Germany and elsewhere, and we are seeing it again today in the United States. The thousands of deaths that take place in the borderlands and the thousands murdered by police are just a foretaste of what is possible.

In this regard, the Jewish people who are carrying out blockades against ICE are engaging in rational efforts to prevent the recurrence of the same unthinkable injustices that were perpetrated against their ancestors—just as Willem Van Spronsen, who grew up in the wake of World War II, made the rational decision that the time had come to fight the rise of fascism just as people did in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.

If more people had chosen to take action to fight the rise of fascism in Italy and Germany, the Second World War might have been averted, and with it millions upon millions of lives would have been saved. Let no one say it is “violent” to attack the infrastructure of ICE and the mercenaries who maintain it. The real violence is the complicity of the Good Americans who do nothing as their neighbors are disappeared, just like those Good Germans who choose to ignore what was being done to their neighbors in the 1930s.

Every day, mercenaries around the world risk their lives in service to the agenda of the rich and powerful, obeying orders thoughtlessly, squandering their capacity to think rationally, to feel compassion, to take responsibility for their actions. Millions of people kill and die every year simply to increase the wealth and power of the tyrants who manipulate them. Willem Van Spronsen chose to think for himself. He took personal responsibility and did what he could to put an end to what he recognized as injustice. He did not use the Nuremburg defense to excuse his actions the way that every police officer and prison guard does.

In those regards, what he did was heroic.

We recommend the statement about Willem Van Spronsen’s action posted by La Resistencia, a grassroots collective led by undocumented immigrants and US citizens based in Tacoma, Washington.

“Anyone who is determined to carry out his or her deed is not a courageous person. They are simply a person who has clarified their ideas, who has realized that it is pointless to make such an effort to play the part assigned to them by capital in the performance…

In doing so they realize themselves as human beings. They realize themselves in joy. The reign of death disappears before their eyes.”

-Alfredo Bonanno




Willem Van Spronsen’s Final Statement

There’s wrong and there’s right.
It’s time to take action against the forces of evil.

Evil says one life is worth less than another.
Evil says the flow of commerce is our purpose here.
Evil says concentration camps for folks deemed lesser are necessary.
The handmaid of evil says the concentration camps should be more humane.
Beware the centrist.

I have a father’s broken heart
I have a broken down body
And I have an unshakable abhorrence for injustice
That is what brings me here.
This is my clear opportunity to try to make a difference, I’d be an ingrate to be waiting for a more obvious invitation.

I follow three teachers:
Don Pritts, my spiritual guide. “Love without action is just a word.”
John Brown, my moral guide. “What is needed is action!”
Emma Goldman, my political guide. “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be in your revolution.”

I’m a head in the clouds dreamer, I believe in love and redemption.
I believe we’re going to win.
I’m joyfully revolutionary. (We all should have been reading Emma Goldman in school instead of the jingo drivel we were fed, but I digress.) (We should all be looking at the photos of the YPG heroes should we falter and think our dreams are impossible, but I double digress. Fight me.)

In these days of fascist hooligans preying on vulnerable people in our streets, in the name of the state or supported and defended by the state,

In these days of highly profitable detention/concentration camps and a battle over the semantics,

In these days of hopelessness, empty pursuit and empty yearning,

We are living in visible fascism ascendant. (I say visible, because those paying attention watched it survive and thrive under the protection of the state for decades. [See Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States.] Now it unabashedly follows its agenda with open and full cooperation from the government. From governments around the world.

Fascism serves the needs of the state serves the needs of business and at your expense. Who benefits? Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet, Elon Musk, Tim Cook, Bill Gates, Betsy de Vos, George Soros, Donald Trump, and need I go on? Let me say it again: rich guys (who think you’re not really all that good), really dig government (every government everywhere, including “communist” governments), because they make the rules that make rich guys richer.
Simple.
Don’t overthink it.

(Are you patriots in the back paying attention?)

When I was a boy, in post-war Holland, later France, my head was filled with stories of the rise of fascism in the ’30s. I promised myself that I would not be one of those who stands by as neighbors are torn from their homes and imprisoned for somehow being perceived as lesser.
You don’t have to burn the motherfucker down, but are you going to just stand by?

This is the test of our fundamental belief in real freedom and our responsibility to each other.
This is a call to patriots, too, to stand against this travesty against everything that you hold sacred. I know you. I know that in your hearts, you see the dishonor in these camps. It’s time for you, too, to stand up to the money pulling the strings of every goddamn puppet pretending to represent us.

I’m a man who loves you all and this spinning ball so much that I’m going to fulfill my childhood promise to myself to be noble.

Here it is, in these corporate for profit concentration camps.
Here it is, in Brown and non-conforming folks afraid to show their faces for fear of the police/migra/Proud Boys/the boss/beckies…
Here it is, a planet almost used up by the market’s greed.

I’m a black and white thinker.
Detention camps are an abomination.
I’m not standing by.
I really shouldn’t have to say any more than this.

I set aside my broken heart and I heal the only way I know how—by being useful.
I efficiently compartmentalize my pain…
And I joyfully go about this work.
(To those burdened with the wreckage from my actions, I hope that you will make the best use of that burden.)

To my comrades:
I regret that I will miss the rest of the revolution.
Thank you for the honor of having me in your midst.

Giving me space to be useful, to feel that I was fulfilling my ideals, has been the spiritual pinnacle of my life.

Doing what I can to help defend my precious and wondrous people is an experience too rich to describe.

My trans comrades have transformed me, solidifying my conviction that we will be guided to a dreamed-of future by those most marginalized among us today. I have dreamed it so clearly that I have no regret for not seeing how it turns out. Thank you for bringing me so far along.

I am antifa. I stand with comrades around the world who act from the love of life in every permutation. Comrades who understand that freedom means real freedom for all and a life worth living.

Keep the faith!
All power to the people!
Bella ciao.


Audio manifesto: thesuper8.bandcamp.com


Don’t let your silly government agencies spend money “investigating” this one. I was radicalized in civics class at 13 when we were taught about the electoral college. It was at that point that I decided that the status quo might be a house of cards. Further reading confirmed in the positive. I highly recommend reading!

I am not affiliated with any organization, I have disaffiliated from any organizations who disagree with my choice of tactics.

The semi-automatic weapon I used was a cheap, home-built unregistered “ghost” AR-15, it had six magazines. I strongly encourage comrades and incoming comrades to arm themselves. We are now responsible for defending people from the predatory state. Ignore the law in arming yourself if you have the luxury, I did.




by thecollective at July 14, 2019 08:19 PM

We Are The Fire That Will Melt ICE – Rest in power, Will Van Spronsen [Olympia WA]

From Puget Sound Anarchists, Submitted Anonymously

Early this morning around 4am our friend and comrade Will Van Spronsen was shot and killed by the Tacoma police. All we know about what lead up to this comes from the cops, who are notoriously corrupt and unreliable sources for such a narrative. The story that we do have is that Will attempted to set fire to several vehicles, outbuildings and a propane tank outside the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma which houses hundreds of immigrants awaiting hearings or deportations. He successfully set one vehicle on fire and then exchanged gunfire with Tacoma police officers who fatally shot him. He was pronounced dead on the scene. We find his actions inspiring. The vehicles outside the detention facility are used to forcibly remove people from their homes and deport them, often to situations where they will face severe danger or death. Those vehicles being destroyed is only a start of what is needed. We wish the fires Will set had freed all the inmates and razed the entire Northwest Detention Center to the ground. And we miss our friend and wish from the bottom of our hearts that his action had not ended in his death.

Will Van Spronsen was a long-time anarchist, anti-fascist and a kind, loving person. Here in Olympia some of us remember him as a skilled tarp structure builder from the Occupy encampment in 2011. Others remember him from the protests outside the NWDC last summer where he was accused of lunging at a cop and wrapping his arms around the officer’s neck and shoulders, as the officer was trying to arrest a 17-year-old protester. The very next day when he was released from jail he came right back to the encampment outside the center to support the other protesters. He is also remembered as a patient and thoughtful listener who was always willing to hear people out.

We are grief stricken, inspired and enraged by what occurred early this morning. ICE imprisons, tortures and deports hundreds of thousands of people and the brutality and scale of their harm is only escalating. We need every form of resistance, solidarity and passion to fight against ICE and the borders that they defend. Will gave his life fighting ICE we may never know what specifically was going through his head in the last hours of his life but we know that the NWDC must be destroyed and the prisoners must be freed. We do not need heroes, only friends and comrades. Will was simply a human being, and we wish that he was still with us. It’s doubtless that the cops and the media will attempt to paint him as some sort of monster, but in reality he was a comrade who fought for many years for what he believed in and this morning he was killed doing what he loved; fighting for a better world.

This evening around 8pm roughly 30 anarchists gathered at Percival landing in Olympia WA to remember Will Van Spronsen and to oppose ICE. We held road flares and banners reading “Rest In Power Will Van Spronsen” “Abolish ICE” “RIP Will” “Fire to the Prisons” and “Stop Deportation End Incarceration.” We shared stories and memories of Will with each other, laughed, and cried. Some people split off and plastered downtown Olympia with “Immigrants Welcome” stickers, while others drove circles around downtown flying the “Rest in Power Will” from the back of a truck.

May his memory be a blessing.

Love to those still fighting.

by thecollective at July 14, 2019 03:09 PM

resilience.org

Why ocean acidification could make some geoengineering schemes irrelevant

A "flat-Earth" map drawn by Orlando Ferguson in 1893.

The idea of runaway ocean acidification has now joined the idea of runaway global warming as a threat so large that it stands almost co-equal in its danger. Part of the problem with ocean acidification is that geoengineering schemes for lowering Earth’s temperature by reducing the sunlight that reaches the Earth’s surface won’t affect ocean acidification.

by Kurt Cobb at July 14, 2019 02:56 PM

Channel Zero

Danny Goldberg on Nirvana’s Endearing Rebellious Spirit

This post was originally published on this site

The post Danny Goldberg on Nirvana’s Endearing Rebellious Spirit appeared first on It’s Going Down.

This episode, originally recorded for radio, features an interview with Danny Goldberg, a long-time author, activist, and former manager of the band Nirvana, who revolutionized music and brought the underground to the masses with the release of their second album, Nevermind.

Now 25 years after the passing of Nirvana’s front-man, Kurt Cobain, Goldberg looks back on his time with the band and discusses his brand new book, Serving the Servant: Remember Kurt Cobain. In this interview we talk about the working class backgrounds of the band, their punk ethos, and cultural and political beliefs which guided their art throughout their short but infamous career. Features a Q and A section with KPFA audience.

by It's Going Down at July 14, 2019 12:13 PM

Squat.net

Crete: Call-out for support from Evagelismos squat

Comrades,

Evagelismos Squat in Heraklion Crete is a space with a continuous 17-year history in the anarchist/antiauthoritarian movement. From May 2002 until today, it has given small and big battles, contributing with a small tile in the mosaic that is Anarchism in Greece. In July 2008, there was an ultimatum and subsequent threat of evacuation from the Dean of the University of Crete. Same with January of 2013 during the crackdown on squats by the Minister of Public Order, Dendias. In both cases we got to work and thanks to the solidarity from the movement, we have managed to still be here. However, despite the repression from the state, spaces such as this require continuous engagement and improving so as to continue to satisfy the needs of the movement. During the summer of 2015, we took it upon ourselves to repair the front facade of the building, based solely on our powers and ,of course, those of the movement. This summer, we are at a crossroads regarding the livability of the movement’s infrastructures.

These last few years, the building infrastructure of Evagelismos Squat faces a series of problems, the most major one being the oxidation of the metal bars in the pillars in the rear side of the building. The situation is so severe, that if not taken care of soon, there will be serious problems with the structural stability of the squat. For the last year, we have been planning on the restoring the damages. However, the bad weather of the last few months has worsened the situation. During the last inspection this spring, civil engineer comrades communicated to us in a serious manner that, unless restoration work takes place during the summer, there is the threat of part of the building collapsing, forcing us to act quickly.

With this in mind and after continuous research, the restoration work was appraised at 12500 euros, much more than the initial estimations. Since the nature of the work involves intervening in the structural elements, it is not possible to be done by us. Special know-how is needed. The current appraisal is this much because the labor will be done by the people of the squat. Regarding the cost, a payment of 1700 euros is to be made each week. Even if for just one week the payment is not made, the work will halt indefinitely. Due to the severity of the situation, last week we took the risk and agreed for the work to start the week after the events of the 17th anniversary of the Squat (1st of July) up until the first days of August.

The squat’s funds are currently 4500 euros. 8000 more are needed. The most direct ways of increasing those funds are through the events of the anniversary, the open bars each Friday and some money gifted by comrades that are active in the squat.Right now, we have no idea how much of the 8000 can be collected. The only thing that is certain is that had we more time, we would collect that sum through our own efforts. At this moment, our challenge is promptly gathering the remaining sum. This email is aimed at comrades and groups in the aim of supporting our struggle.

How you can help.

We realize that is demand is very much a last moment resort, but it is not our fault. The unforeseeable factor of the restoration work is its appraisal. If you have the capacity to support us through the organization of events, live events, parties or whatever else you think efficient, this would help immensely. Otherwise we want to stress that if any money that is stashed away for activist use is offered to us, we will return the amount as soon as possible. We would not have the audacity of asking otherwise. We do because Evagelismos might cease to exist without your help.

We want to make clear that this choice of ours is not influenced by some fixation on walls and buildings. Evagelismos is a hub of groups, theory and action oriented, anarchist and anti authoritarian groups, antifascist groups, labor groups, feminist groups, antimilitary and antiwar groups, groups aimed at building solidarity with political prisoners, labor collectives, a library, bookstore, gym, music studio and other spaces for activity or studying. Evagelismos is the people and the actions that were created here, are being created here and those -through our efforts- will continue to be created here. The
territorialization of the anarchist struggle through this building a reference point of both the city of Heraklion and the island of Crete as well as for the self-organized spaces in Greece. Finally, Evagelismos is a challenge for us. A challenge of honest coexistence of all the different political political schools of thought in the same space.

CONTINUOUS STRUGGLE FOR ANARCHY

EVAGELISMOS SQUAT FOR EVER.

PS: If you have the ability to support us, please contact us through mail: evagelismos [dot] squat [at] espiv [dot] net. We base our hope on your eager response and your solidarity. We are bound to show you the warmest hospitality when -and if- this adventure ends.
PS 2 : For any questions, contact us through the squats mail.

Evagelismos squat
Θεοτοκοπούλου 18
Heraklion, Crete
Greece
https://squ.at/r/1q5l
http://evagelismos.squat.gr/


Some squats in Greece: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/GR/squated/squat
Groups in Greece: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/GR
Events in Greece: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/GR


by fawda at July 14, 2019 12:00 PM

actforfree.nostate.net

Caen, France: TABULA RASA, Mural newspaper found on a wall in Caen: Against Prison and all forms of Confinement, No.1. May. 2019.

PDF

PDF

TABULA RASA
WALL NEWSPAPER
AGAINST PRISON AND ALL FORMS OF CONFINEMENT
IRREGULAR PUBLICATION
No.1. MAY. 2019.
CAEN
We are against prisons, borders and all forms of confinement because we believe that the only remedy for the evils of this society is freedom, the destruction of all oppression and exploitation, the destruction of the very foundations of this social order.
We want to make them pay for the latest insult to our freedom, the construction of the new prison in Caen, as far as we can: take on this repressive system, especially all the companies, public services and associations that make money from the construction or day to day administration of new prisons, detention centres, those who participate from far and near in administering and controlling our lives for the profit of the State and capital.

For all that, we have no illusions. There is little chance that we will succeed in pushing back the project of this new prison. And even if we were to, we would just have managed to put off one of the countless structures of this repressive system.
However, repression is not only exercised in infrastructures – jails, detention centres, cameras, psychiatric hospitals, etc. – or by those who administer them, but is part of social relations, a network of relationships that are also important to destroy. We are fully aware that getting ourselves bogged down in an asymmetric unequal combat with the State would be suicidal, and that only a generalised insurrectional movement animated with revolutionary perspectives could tear down this oppressive fabric. In short, we cannot defeat confinement and control without destroying the world that produces it.
That will not make us resign ourselves to putting up with this umpteenth construction however, because we find it intolerable. It is in this perspective that we want to take it on to make visible what the State and capital want to keep hidden. And participate as far as we can in making a clean sweep of what is destroying us.
Tabula Rasa is one of the means of bringing this fight to life.
———————————————————
Translated by Act for freedom now!

by actforfreedom at July 14, 2019 10:31 AM

jacobinmag

Storming the World’s Bastilles

On Bastille Day 1889, militants from around the world met in Paris to declare an international union of socialist parties. The Second International promised to spread the spirit of the revolution across borders, only itself to fall victim to nationalist passions.


alt Rosa Luxemburg addresses a crowd in 1907.

July 14, 1889 was a historic date for more than one reason. Coming exactly a hundred years after the storming of the Bastille, this day was the central focus of the centenary of the French Revolution, marked by official state pageantry as well as the Left’s own celebrations. Yet socialists didn’t just commemorate the glorious events of a century before. Meeting in Paris on July 14–16, delegates of socialist parties from around the world declared a new international organization to cohere their efforts.

The Second International founded in 1889 followed in the wake of the earlier International Workingmen’s Association (1864–76), in which Karl Marx had played a leading role. Formed six years after his death, the new International united such parties as the German Social Democratic Party (SPD), the French socialists (SFIO), and Russia’s Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP). Mainly a European organization (with a smattering of delegates from the Americas and, later, Asia), it provided the key space for all development of socialist ideas and strategy in this period.

Today, the International is perhaps best known today for the circumstances of its collapse. Despite its longstanding campaign against militarism, in summer 1914 the International would splinter along national lines faced with the outbreak of World War I. This fiasco, and the denunciation of the Second International from Lenin onward, has however occluded more positive parts of its record, and its success in promoting the socialist project among millions of working people.

Historian Jean-Numa Ducange’s work focuses on the international exchanges between left-wing parties in Europe, including the legacy of the French Revolution in the social-democratic parties. He spoke to Jacobin about what “internationalism” meant at the turn of the century, the Second International’s role in propagating Marxist ideas among a mass working-class audience, and the reasons why international organization is not similarly commonplace on the Left even in today’s globalized world.


David Broder

The International’s founding congress was held on July 14, 1889 — centenary of the storming of the Bastille. How far did this inheritance of the French Revolution color the Second International’s parties — and were they themselves revolutionary?

Jean-Numa Ducange

The French Revolution occupied a major place in the socialist imaginary of the nineteenth century: it was a major rupture not only in French history, but more generally in the history of humanity. There were many debates on how to characterize it: was this not above all “bourgeois revolution” that had opened the way to the development of capitalism, even if in a very particular way? Yet this particularity owed precisely to the fact that the Revolution was marked by episodes in which popular mobilization played a key role (the famous sans-culottes, for example). Among the “popular groups” involved, Jacques Roux’s Enragés in 1793 and indeed Gracchus Babeuf’s Conspiracy of Equals in 1796–97 asserted a radical critique of private property, already in this period foreshadowing the socialist currents of the nineteenth century. And this wasn’t just a battle over memory: in 1830, 1848, and in the Paris Commune of 1871, it was again the French Revolution that seemed to be resurgent and continuing.

So, it was no accident that the new International was established in Paris in 1889, upon the centenary of the storming of the Bastille. At the same time, the French Revolution had come up against its limits: many agreed with Marx’s famous formulation that “the revolution of the nineteenth century must let the dead bury the dead, in order to realize its own objectives.” For Marx, however glorious the tradition of the French Revolution was, it was now necessary to go beyond it. But to delegitimize the tradition of 1789 could serve very different goals: it could serve either to assert a new path of socialist revolution, or else to delegitimize any kind of revolutionary tradition and thus advocate a stageist, reformist approach. Tellingly, a fight over the French Revolution was key to the “revisionism” debate in the German SPD at the end of the nineteenth century, where Eduard Bernstein advocated this latter approach.

As for whether the social-democratic parties of this period — for instance, the pre–1914 SPD — were “revolutionary,” it depends what we mean by “revolution” . . .  My approach as a historian would tend to define as “revolutionaries” those who carried out a revolution, and not those who proclaimed themselves revolutionaries without having any mass base or historical experience. The events of 1918 (in which the SPD leadership defended the consolidation of a parliamentary republic, in open and even violent opposition to more revolutionary transformation) showed that a large part of the SPD wanted to limit any revolutionary subversion as far as possible. But then again, it was within this same party that revolutionary ideas and practices had been carried forth for decades. This was a profoundly diverse organization animated by contradictory movements. And I think that we can say that of most of the International’s organizations.

David Broder

The First International (1864–76) had been marked by a certain eclecticism — it was shaped by the clash between Karl Marx and the anarchist followers of Mikhail Bakunin, but also included less clearly working-class forces, for instance Italian republicans. How far did the Second International draw lessons from this experience — and for what purpose was it created?

Jean-Numa Ducange

Many actors in this period shared Karl Marx’s view that it was essential to refound an international. The main difference with the Second International — created after his death — is that the first parties and groups identifying with socialism had now made considerable organizational strides. These were not yet mass parties, but they had become far better honed and structured political forces than what existed in the First International. The British trade unions, German Social Democracy, and the various socialist groups in France and Italy now rallied much wider forces. In 1889 the new International’s central objective was to win power and establish a new social, political, and economic order.

Already at this point there were major differences of method. In fact, in 1889 two competing congresses met in Paris: one (built around German Social Democracy and its French partisans Jules Guesde and Paul Lafargue) identified with Marxism, whereas the other (built around the British and supporters of the French reformist Paul Brousse) was rather moderate and reformist in orientation. The former was however better structured, and by 1891 it had firmly established its dominance; anarchist groups were also involved but after a long series of debates and clashes they were excluded in 1896.

In 1889, it was the Marxists who had the wind in their sails — indeed, at this point Marx’s greatest comrade-in-arms Friedrich Engels was still alive and observed developments very attentively. For older figures like Engels or Wilhelm Liebknecht (a veteran of the 1848 revolution in Germany and one of Marx and Engels’s supporters), the creation of the Second International was a powerfully moving moment. Internationalism was back on course, and socialism seemed within reach.

David Broder

The Second International has often been presented as turning Marxism, after Marx’s death, into a rigid dogma based on inevitable laws, embracing a direct connection between science and social progress. However, to take the example of Karl Kautsky’s writings, it seems that this was also linked to the goal of “popularizing” Marxism’s basic tenets to a general working-class audience, at the dawn of mass politics. Did “popularization” inevitably mean “vulgarization” — and with what effects?

Jean-Numa Ducange

Kautsky was the living symbol of “Second International Marxism.” He held no specific political office, but he directed the SPD’s theoretical review Die Neue Zeit, which enjoyed a high standing across Europe and was itself able to confer legitimacy on theorists in other countries. The fervent defender of a certain kind of — sometimes rather dogmatic — Marxist orthodoxy, Kautsky was a point of reference especially for part of the left wing of the International (for instance Rosa Luxemburg and Lenin) which would long see him as the guarantor of fidelity to Marx.

Later on, a whole Marxist tradition did much to delegitimize Kautsky: heterodox Marxists from Karl Korsch to Michael Löwy saw Kautskyism as the very wellspring of social-democratic reformism and indirectly even the Stalinist Marxism of the Third International, each of which led to impasse. I’ll pass over the contradictions between the pre–1914 SPD and 1930s Stalinism, except to say that the historical conditions were so different that to draw such simplistic parallels shows a lack of understanding of the real ideological-political conditions of each era.

Most importantly, it’s a mistake to reduce the history of the Second International to theoretical debates. The International brought together mass parties and millions of workers who found in these organizations — for the first time in history — an opportunity to act together in view of their common ideal. That may sound obvious, but some people seem to completely forget this part of historical reality.

But you are right — I think the decisive thing is that this Marxism was developed to be a tool used by wide layers of the popular classes and especially workers. It articulated a utopian perspective (the future horizon of socialism/communism) with immediate demands (wage rises, shortened working hours, etc.). Tools of analysis that largely stemmed from Marx’s own concepts (the class struggle, exploitation, and so on) became meaningful in everyday life.

From this point of view, the term “vulgarization” should not only be seen in a negative sense: if it hadn’t existed, the workers’ movement surely wouldn’t have developed in the same way, especially in France and Germany. Of course, in certain situations this vulgarization caused problems, but to see this only as a matter of “flattening” thought is a purely intellectual stance, unable to recognize the contested power relations that existed in this era.

Despite the catastrophe of 1933, with the Nazi seizure of power and the destruction of the German left, I think it is very much worth plunging back into the universe of the Second International. For this was the era in which all the great questions that traverse the Left today — state, nation, migration, and so on — were posed for the first time.

Several recent works (especially English-language works by the likes of Lars Lih, Andrew Bonnell, and Ben Lewis) show that his work is much less simplistic and one-dimensional than certain commentators would tell us . . .  especially as most have only read a few famous quotes nor really engaged with Kautsky. We should recognize that most of Kautsky’s texts have become difficult to read, for they are marked by their time, and some are only historical in interest. But looking at his whole body of work, we also find texts burning with present day relevance, for instance his 1893 text on parliamentarism and socialism, which deals with the combination of parliamentary and direct democracy, or indeed his series of texts of republicanism and democracy — never cited by the critics of “Kautskyism.”

David Broder

One of the reasons the accusation of determinism is so effective is the fact that leading exponents of the International saw the colonial world as “backward,” counterposed to a Europe where “progress” had gone further. Were there counter-tendencies to this Eurocentrism? What figures in the International connected colonial exploitation to the inner dynamics of European societies?

Jean-Numa Ducange

This is an important area of discussion, but one that shows that the International was less weak intellectually than is usually claimed. Of course, many socialist leaders of the era did refer to lower civilizations who ought to be the subjects of superior ones. But this was hardly a universal position — Lenin and Rosa Luxemburg first honed their weapons precisely in opposition to such views — and there was a considerable change over time.

The charge of “Eurocentrism” so dear to Edward Said and his partisans — so ready to stigmatize nineteenth-century Marxism — should not be applied unilaterally, especially when we compare Marxism to the other ideological currents of the era. Here again, it’s easy to pick on a few famous individuals and quotes, but if you don’t really get a handle on the sources from the time you’ll write all manner of nonsense.

For instance, I have worked at length on Jean Jaurès’s texts on colonization. Jaurès was the main founder of France’s Socialist Party in 1905. You can find a lot of texts in which Jaurès treats Arabs, for example, as an inferior people. But as he discovered Marxism and integrated it into his thinking, he became increasingly critical of colonial policy, articulating his republican universalism with multiple realities which he had not previously taken on board.

Also relatively little-known are Otto Bauer’s texts on this question. The Austrian socialist’s 1907 book on nationalities is often referenced for its original approach to the national question. But far less do we note the other texts he published in the Austrian party’s theoretical review, Der Kampf, in this same era. For example, in his article “The Eastern Revolutions,” he emphasized the importance of the revolutions that took place in Russia and Iran and other countries in 1905–6 and pinpointed the importance, within these movements, of the search for popular traditions that legitimized the uprisings. He made clear: “the revolutions in Asia and Africa may well be the signal for the liberation of the European proletariat.” Was this, too, Eurocentrism?

Of course, alongside this you had a strongly pro-colonial wing of the European socialist parties. But the idea that the whole International was Eurocentric doesn’t really hold water. Those who say that are copying things that were said in the past without really delving into the texts from the time. As historical studies based on police sources like Richard J. Evans’s work show, a certain sympathy for colonized peoples was often expressed among the parties’ proletarian base, having been attuned to an internationalist vocabulary.

David Broder

1889 also allowed the legalization of the SPD, which placed a central focus on winning universal suffrage as well as building up its own institutions. By the turn of the century, leading exponent Eduard Bernstein had launched the “revisionism debate,” essentially arguing that the real socialism lay in the day-to-day movement to change capitalist society, as opposed to being built after some eventual moment of revolution. How far was this already a reality of the SPD’s practice — and were the parties in other countries any different?

Jean-Numa Ducange

Of course, despite the formal condemnation of Bernstein the SPD’s practice did indeed evolve toward an increasingly moderate practice and a desire for reconciliation with the existing order. Many studies — especially the works of Hans-Josef Steinberg — have highlighted this. But again, we should not give in to the idea that this represented nothing but a flatly reformist bureaucratic routine. If Rosa Luxemburg stayed within SPD ranks as long as she could, and did not want to leave the party, that is because she was well aware that the battle had to be fought within this organization, which rallied such vast numbers of workers. Through its very origins, the SPD preserved a contradictory character: doubtless, it increasingly accommodated to the system, but at the same time it was the source of an oppositional and subversive tendency, and despite the way it evolved it could never totally detach itself from its history and origins. Things were very different in other countries. Sometimes the nationalities question occupied such a central place that it tended to subordinate everything else (for instance, the Czechoslovakian question in the Austrian Empire). And in other countries like France or Italy, socialism differentiated itself from the republican tradition but despite everything maintained real links with it: here, too, we should emphasize the contradictory nature of these ties: in France, by the end of the nineteenth century, the Republic had become a “bourgeois republic” capable of shooting on the workers. But because of its — revolutionary — origins the Republic was nonetheless also the bearer of varied political perspectives, which could point either down the path of social order or toward the realization of its truly revolutionary original promise.

David Broder

Before 1914 the Second International sought to coordinate action against the looming war in Europe. To what extent was it the International that organized anti-war mobilizations rather than the national parties? When war came, the parties almost all backed their own national governments. Why did they collapse so quickly — and is there any evidence that this internationalist spirit had really imbued the mass membership of these parties?

Jean-Numa Ducange

There were powerful mobilizations against war before 1914, indeed right up to the moment that war broke out. It’s clear that this was an abject failure, which moreover helped discredit the Second International’s wider record: what credit could be given to an organization which claimed to have promoted internationalism and yet ended up leaving the proletarians of Europe to shoot at each other?

But I think that we need a subtler reading. And a century after the events, we have a great number of studies on this question. I think what’s important to emphasize is that the development of a form of internationalist consciousness did not produce, in parallel, a weakening of national belonging — the opposite, even. When people considered their own country under threat or attack, for the great mass of them it was national belonging that won out over everything else: in Germany, for example, in 1914, they rallied to their own nation in the name of defending “civilization” against Russian barbarism, whereas in France they did so in the name of defending the Republic, and so on. And before 1914 many socialist leaders had declared that they would be ready to defend their homeland if it was threatened. The workers’ parties — and especially the strongest, the SPD — played the role, sometimes despite themselves, of integrating workers into the nation. Both Jean Jaurès and the SPD’s August Bebel died just before the war broke out, but you can find statements of theirs that suggest they may have declared themselves “loyal” to their own countries in time of war.

When Lenin denounced the collapse and indeed the treachery of the International, he was both entirely right, and also wrong in another way. Politically, he was right to insist on the International’s historic responsibilities, and he was one of the first to understand that the socialist parties’ support for the war effort would produce violent ruptures. Yet for most of the socialists going to war was just a parenthesis, which would be followed by a return to internationalism — they did not see the war as posing ever so much of a problem . . .  Lenin’s critique is also interesting for its analysis of imperialism. Some of the International’s leaders were institutional politicians who had entirely lost interest in theoretical debates, but even most of those who were interested shared the idea that there existed a “peaceful imperialism” and that the various countries’ leaders had no interest in going to war . . .  This is a complex subject, but I’ll note one other thing, too: when internationalism did come back into force, especially in the wake of the Russian Revolution of 1917, this was of course explained by the events of the time (the horrors of war, a revolution breaking out, the exhaustion of the home front, the strikes, the mutinies, etc.). But at the time it was also well understood that this internationalism meant the rebirth of what had gone before: it was a continuation of the ideas of the International Workingmen’s Association of 1864 and the Second International of 1889. Proof, this, that even if though the International had collapsed in 1914, it had nonetheless left traces. Enough, anyway, for internationalism to enjoy a resurgence — and it didn’t come from nowhere.

David Broder

Today capital’s institutions are more international than in 1889, but this isn’t true of the Left and labor movement. We could find counterexamples, for instance from Latin America, but in Europe the Left has forums for exchanging ideas rather than real strategic coordination. Why do you think this is — is it a reaction against the centralization that characterized the Soviet-era Communist movement, or does it owe to a more general loss of grand collective projects?

Jean-Numa Ducange

Of course, in a certain sense we’re still in the wake of the Soviet era. Whatever one says about it, in large part the “proletarian internationalism” of that era was, for millions of men and women, something closely tied to the fate of the USSR. The spectacular failure of this experience has had such a heavy effect that each party has preferred to tend to its own backyard, hanging on to whatever could be saved . . .  This is also mixed into a whole embrace of local, specific struggles — following in the trend of Michel Foucault’s theories, which though they are presented as subversive instead, paradoxically, serve to provincialize political debates by focusing on this or that aspect of a struggle and detracting legitimacy from more general problems like the question of reordering society. I know historians of the French and Italian communist parties who have studied these parties’ histories in a long-term perspective and show that discussions on internationalism were much more important in the 1970s than they were in the 2000s. The Left’s horizons were also narrowed considerably by the weakening or collapse of these parties.

But I think movements and parties do need to make an effort in this direction. Obviously, that can’t just be imposed by decree, but for example the adepts of “left populism” fail to notice the narrowing of their horizons, implicit within a political line solely centered on the questions concerning their own nations. That is not to deny the importance of the national context, which remains an essential level of political action. But to make this the insuperable or even only level of political action has a deadening effect, leading to disinterest in what is going on elsewhere. At the end of the nineteenth century, the development of internationalism was the fruit of a political struggle. Today, it is important that the will to action itself discovers such a path, for if not, then internationalism will be left up to elites and the ruling classes. Then we end up with a disastrous political cleavage like France’s, where “people” and “nation” are abandoned to the far right and “internationalism” to bourgeois-elite parties . . .  For all its weaknesses and failures, the experience of the Second International shows that you can be both rooted in the national context and also elaborate a thoroughgoing internationalism.

 


by Jean-Numa Ducange at July 14, 2019 10:24 AM

Dewayne-Net

Interstellar Probe, a mission concept for NASA, aims to travel 93 billion miles past the sun

Interstellar Probe, a mission concept for NASA, aims to travel 93 billion miles past the sun
By Sarah Kaplan
Jul 12 2019
https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/interstellar-probe-a-mission-concept-for-nasa-aims-to-travel-93-billion-miles-past-the-sun/2019/07/11/e9b92f5c-92a8-11e9-aadb-74e6b2b46f6a_story.html

LAUREL, Md. — One of the top prizes in the March 1970 Fort Worth Regional Science Fair — a slide rule and a free dinner in Dallas — went to a high school junior named Ralph McNutt, who had written 30 pages on the question “Interstellar travel: Is it feasible?” and built a cardboard scale model of the spacecraft he said could be the first to visit another sun. 

Humans had landed on the moon the previous summer, the 16-year-old noted in the treatise his mother transcribed for him on her Royal No. 10 typewriter. Soon, he was sure, we would venture to all the other planets of the solar system. Then it would be time for the next step: “Going to the stars.”

On a sweaty summer afternoon, McNutt sits in his office at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, a 65-year-old with a Mickey Mouse wristwatch and thinning hair. On his computer screen is the latest draft of his boyhood dream: a plan for a probe that would travel 1,000 times farther than Earth is from the sun, leaving behind the safety of our solar system to explore the wilds of interstellar space.

From that far-flung vantage point, Interstellar Probe will help humans finally see ourselves for what we truly are, McNutt says: citizens of a galaxy. Our home planet will be just one world among many, and the sun that gives us life just another pinprick of light in the endless dark.

It’s an audacious proposal, even by space travel standards. The probe would take 50 years to reach its destination, by which time nearly everyone currently involved in the project will be dead.

Nevertheless, McNutt and a cadre of fellow dreamers hope to get an important endorsement in a few years, when the nation’s space scientists release a list of their top research priorities. To get Interstellar Probe on the agenda, its supporters must convince their colleagues that its goal is scientifically valuable, not to mention politically viable, when there are so many questions inside the solar system still unanswered and so many Earthly squabbles still unsolved.

What makes McNutt believe it’s possible?

The scientist leans back in his chair and crosses his arms. When he answers, it’s in the form of poetry.

“I think man’s reach should exceed his grasp,” he says, paraphrasing Robert Browning. “Otherwise, what is a heaven for?”

93 billion miles from the sun

Our sun sits on a minor arm of the spinning, star-strewn pinwheel of the Milky Way, about 25,000 light-years from the galactic core. Zooming through the cosmos at roughly half a million miles per hour, the solar system is buffeted by gusts of gas and dust and bombarded by energetic particles whose origins are a mystery.

But we on Earth are partly shielded from this chaos by the heliosphere, a balloon-like structure inflated by the solar wind. Charged particles flowing from the sun stream out to the edge of the solar system — past the planets, beyond Pluto, through the frozen halo of the Kuiper belt, to a place called the heliopause.

This is the liminal zone between the river of solar particles and the ocean of interstellar space; the boundary between our celestial neighborhood and the wider universe.

Only two spacecraft have reached that zone and lived to tell the tale: the twin Voyager probes, which launched in 1977 and took more than 35 years to reach the heliopause. (The Pioneer probes left the solar system but were defunct by that time.) Now their radio communications are increasingly feeble, and several instruments have failed.

Voyager 1, the most distant human-built object in the universe, is now 145 astronomical units from Earth (an astronomical unit is equal to the distance between Earth and the sun). At that pace, it would take 283 years to reach 1,000 AU — 93 billion miles from the sun — the place McNutt hopes to reach.

“To really explore what’s out there . . . you want to get out of the solar system as quickly as possible,” he said.

And for that, you need a really big rocket.

NASA might soon have one. The ultrapowerful (but long-delayed) Space Launch System, which is capable of nearly twice as much thrust as the biggest rocket in operation, is expected to make its first flight sometime in 2020 or 2021.

[snip]

by wa8dzp at July 14, 2019 10:12 AM

22 States Considered Eliminating the ‘Tampon Tax’ This Year. Here’s What Happened.

22 States Considered Eliminating the ‘Tampon Tax’ This Year. Here’s What Happened.
Menstrual products are subject to sales taxes in 35 states, and lawmakers’ efforts to exempt them have floundered. Now supporters of ‘menstrual equity’ are considering legal action.
By Karen Zraick
Jul 12 2019
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/12/us/tampon-tax.html

Why are tampons taxed when Viagra isn’t? 

That’s the question at the heart of the push to repeal the so-called tampon tax, a catchy phrase that refers to state sales taxes applied to menstrual products, including pads and cups. 

Thirty-five states still tax the items, despite momentum to change that. Opponents of the tax argue that tampons and pads should be treated like groceries and medical supplies: They should be tax-exempt because they are necessities. If you buy a box of pads every month for 40 years, they argue, those charges add up, amounting to yet another example of a “pink tax,” a term for the higher prices women pay for gender-specific products. 

“The tampon tax amounts to sex-based discrimination,” said Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, a co-founder of the nonprofit Period Equity, which is leading a campaign to eliminate the tax. 

But others argue that states need the revenue, and that creating exemptions for individual items is misguided. For example, soap is generally taxed, though most people agree that it is a necessity. Where should we draw the line?

“Every time another exemption is passed, it means the tax rate that applies to everything else will have to increase in order to generate that same amount of revenue,” said Katherine E. Loughead, a policy analyst at the Tax Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington.

Despite those concerns, public opposition to the tax appears to be widespread. The market research company OnePoll surveyed 2,000 women in the United States last month on behalf of Intimina, a menstrual cup manufacturer, and found that 67 percent of respondents thought a tax on period products was sexist. 

Between 2016 and 2018, Nevada, New York, Florida, Connecticut and Illinois eliminated the tax, while many other states introduced bills to do so. (Five states already had an exemption on the books, and five others do not have sales tax.) Around the world, Canada, India, Malaysia and Australia have nixed the tax, and Britain is on track to do so once Brexit negotiations are settled. 

This year, lawmakers in 22 states introduced bills to repeal the tax, but none were signed into law. California and Rhode Island did repeal the tax in their budgets, while Virginia decreased it, and several states took steps to increase access to menstrual products in schools, prisons and shelters. 

But the dearth of action on the tax in most states frustrated proponents of “menstrual equity,” a concept that refers to equal access to information and period products. They say they are now exploring legal strategies to challenge the tax, and have invited experts to discuss the tactics at a conference this fall at Columbia Law School.

The director of the school’s Center for Gender and Sexuality Law, Katherine Franke, said she believes the courts will agree that the tax is an unfair penalty on women. (Of course, trans and nonbinary people may also menstruate.) 

“What this case really does is highlight a day-to-day way in which women experience discrimination in one of their most basic bodily functions,” she said. 

Here’s what happened in some key states 

Rhode Island repealed the tax in its budget bill. Representative Edith H. Ajello and Senator Louis P. DiPalma, both Democrats, had submitted separate legislation to do so earlier in the year, as they had every year since 2016. The measure, which would cost around $800,000 a year, was effectively approved through the budget, Ms. Ajello said. 

“I never heard anybody say it was a bad idea to get rid of the tax,” Ms. Ajello said. “I just heard some people wonder whether we could afford it.”

In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, held a news conference in May surrounded by giant boxes of diapers and tampons, and announced a plan to eliminate the tax on both in the state budget. It was a stark contrast to the approach of his predecessor, Jerry Brown, also a Democrat, who had vetoed a bill to eliminate taxes on those items, arguing that “tax breaks are the same as new spending.” 

But Mr. Newsom’s exemption will last only two years, in contrast to a law, which would be in place permanently.

“We hope to extend it, but we hope to be in a fiscal position to do so and we want to maintain our prudence,” Mr. Newsom said, according to The Los Angeles Times. The L.A. Times noted that the cost of eliminating the taxes on both period products and diapers was estimated at $76 million per year.

[snip]

by wa8dzp at July 14, 2019 10:09 AM

Hold ’Em or Fold ’Em? This A.I. Bluffs With the Best

Hold ’Em or Fold ’Em? This A.I. Bluffs With the Best
Pluribus, a poker-playing algorithm, can beat the world’s top human players, proving that machines, too, can master our mind games.
By Cade Metz
Jul 11 2019
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/11/science/poker-robot-ai-artificial-intelligence.html

In his 14 years on the professional poker circuit, Darren Elias had never faced anyone who played with so little fear.

A typical poker player, when dealt two Jacks — one faceup, the other hidden, a hand neither good nor bad — would proceed with caution. But not Mr. Elias’s opponent, who seemed to know exactly what to do. Even when Mr. Elias decided to bluff, betting as if he held a strong hand, his opponent effectively called him on it: charging ahead, matching each bet with what seemed to be complete confidence, and winning.

Even more remarkable: This opponent was a machine.

The automated poker player, called Pluribus, was designed by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and the Facebook artificial intelligence lab in New York City. In a paper published on Thursday in Science, and with the World Series of Poker underway in Las Vegas, the researchers described how Pluribus recently bested Mr. Elias and several other elite professionals in a multiplayer game of no-limit Texas Hold ’Em, the most popular and complex form of poker.

The achievement marks another notable milestone in the progress of artificial intelligence. Over the past 30 years, researchers have built systems that beat the best players at checkers, chess, Go, even Jeopardy. But unlike these games, poker is based on hidden information. Each player holds cards that opponents can’t see. The best players must master ways of uncovering what their opponents are hiding, while keeping their own secrets safe.

As Mr. Elias realized, Pluribus knew when to bluff, when to call someone else’s bluff and when to vary its behavior so that other players couldn’t pinpoint its strategy. “It does all the things the best players in the world do,” said Mr. Elias, 32, who has won a record four titles on the World Poker Tour. “And it does a few things humans have a hard time doing.”

Experts believe the techniques that drive this and similar systems could be used in Wall Street trading, auctions, political negotiations and cybersecurity, activities that, like poker, involve hidden information. “You don’t always know the state of the real world,” said Noam Brown, the Facebook researcher who oversaw the Pluribus project.

Two years ago, Mr. Brown and his collaborator, Tuomas Sandholm, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon, built a system that could beat top professionals in one-on-one games of Texas Hold ’Em. Pluribus has extended the feat to multiplayer poker, a far more complex problem.

Other A.I. systems have managed to solve complex games that involve at least some hidden information. Two top artificial intelligence labs, for instance, have built systems that can beat the world’s best players at three-dimensional video games like Dota 2, Quake and StarCraft. But these systems did not have to compete with multiple players at once.

Pluribus learned the nuances of Texas Hold ’Em by playing trillions of hands against itself. After each hand was done, it would evaluate each decision, determining whether a different choice would have produced a better result. 

Mr. Brown called this process “counterfactual regret minimization,” and compared it to the way humans learn the game. “One player will ask another, What would you have done if I had raised here instead of called?”

Unlike systems that can master three-dimensional video games like Dota and StarCraft — systems that need weeks or even months to train to play against humans — Pluribus trained for only about eight days on a fairly ordinary computer at a cost of about $150. The hard part was creating the detailed algorithm that analyzed the results of each decision. “We’re not using much computing power,” Mr. Brown said. “We can cope with hidden information in a very particular way.”

In the end, Pluribus learned to apply complex strategies, including bluffing and random behavior, in real time. Then, when playing against human opponents, it would refine these strategies by looking ahead to possible outcomes, as a chess player might. This spring, the researchers tested the system in games in which a single human professional played against five separate instances of Pluribus. 

In that format, Mr. Elias was unimpressed. “You could find holes in the way it played,” he said; among other bad habits, Pluribus tended to bluff too often. But after taking suggestions from him and other players, the researchers modified and retrained the system. In subsequent games against top professionals, Mr. Elias said, the system seemed to have reached superhuman levels.

[snip]

by wa8dzp at July 14, 2019 10:09 AM

jacobinmag

Party Like It’s 1789

Bastille Day is the perfect day to convert a friend into a Jacobin. Just today, new and gift print subscriptions are just $17.89. (Get it? 1789!) Just follow this link. It’s a way better deal than our October $19.17 rate. Also, this poster might be an appropriate Bastille Day gift. And as always, everything Jacobin does relies on […]

by Editors at July 14, 2019 08:26 AM

actforfree.nostate.net

Florence, Italy: Last hearings of the trial for the “Panico” operation

The hearings from 15 to 18 July, 2019, are confirmed, but due to the absence of one of the judges the sentence (scheduled for July 22nd) could slip, by a maximum of one week, apparently.
For Giova, Paska and Ghespe under house arrest, was asked the transport by their own means for the hearings, therefore without an escort. For Paska has also been asked to temporarily move house arrest to a house near Florence.

As regards presences in the courtroom, Paska should therefore be present at all hearings. Giova and Ghespe will certainly not come to the hearing on the 15th, but for the following ones they still haven’t decided.
We remember that the hearings will be:
15 July – Deposition of the digos [“political police”] on the last part of the environmental interceptions.
16 July – Public prosecutor indictment and civil parties.
17 and 18 July – Defensive harangues.
22 (?) July – Reading of the device (sentence).
All will start at 9.00 am, in room 28 (basement) at the courthouse in Novoli (Florence).
Note: During the course of the month of June 2019 the three imprisoned anarchists, Paska, Giovanni and Salvatore (Ghespe), were transferred from the prisons of Viterbo and Sollicciano (Florence) to house arrest.
via: insuscettibilediravvedimento.

by actforfreedom at July 14, 2019 05:36 AM