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October 23, 2019


Evade and Struggle: Riots Break Out against Austerity in Chile : A Report from the Streets of Santiago

In Chile, in response to student protests against an increase in the cost of public transportation, the President has returned the country to dictatorship-era martial law, putting soldiers on the streets and threatening protesters with decades in prison. The following report comes directly from the streets of Santiago at the epicenter of the fighting. You can read an update to this story here, including an interview with a Chilean anarchist and a call to action from other participants in the revolt.

“We pay the cops’ salary and the ticket fare, and here they stand against us.” “The people united will never be divided.”

Friday’s conflagration took place following a week of action against fare increases under the slogan “evade” or evade y lucha (“dodge the fare and struggle”), which now appears on nearly every wall downtown in spray paint. It all started as a playful response to the government increasing the cost of living by hiking transport costs. Almost entirely student led, the mobilization has included mass evasions in metro stations in which students run through the turnstiles together and hold open the gates to encourage everyone else to join them in riding for free. Police have reacted with tear gas and batons.

“Evade the fair, don’t pay—another form of struggle.”

“Evade and Struggle.”

On Friday, protesters responded by targeting the stations themselves, breaking apart the gates and turnstiles and even using them as weapons to defend themselves from police attacks. Many metro lines shut down; mid-afternoon, we received word that the metro will be shut down for the whole weekend.

Students taking over a metro station.

With some busses still running, the lines at bus stops swelled to overflowing, with long wait times. Protest marches began taking the streets as metros were shut down, causing more delays for the busses still transporting people. Many people started walking on the roads instead; it began to feel like a snow day, when everyone is just out and in the streets, a strange and ecstatic energy.

Student reinforcements arriving at that metro station.

Meanwhile, harrowing footage circulated showing a student shot by police with live rounds during a fare protest. Her condition remains unknown. Unrest was reported to be especially intense in her neighborhood, las Parcelas. As of this writing, there have been multiple reports of people shot by police.

As the sun went down, the city caught fire. Busses burned. Blockades appeared in the street in many neighborhoods where neighbors came out to bang pots and pans (a traditional form of protest known as cacerolazo), burning couches, tires, and whatever else they could find in the area. Rebellion spread throughout the city, much farther than the original metro centers. Clashes with police escalated throughout the night until the president declared the state of emergency, recalling the military dictatorship of 1973-1990 during which thousands of people were “disappeared” and murdered.

The headquarters of the Italian energy company Enel, over a dozen stories high, caught fire, though the cause is not confirmed yet. While some assume it was torched by arsonists, others speculate that the blaze may have been ignited by a tear gas canister.

The entity that controls the Santiago Metro network has already confirmed that there will be no service over the weekend, and the Chilean student federation has called a nationwide strike for Monday. As of now, it remains to be seen whether the unrest will spread and deepen, but if the military kills someone, the country is bound to explode. The memories of the dictatorship are too fresh, too raw, for people to stand by passively.

Chileans remember the betrayals of democracy too well to be appeased by a simple reform like a reduction in public transit fare. After the massive clashes in Ecuador, it appears that things are returning to normal now that the Ecuadorian president has walked back the austerity measures in his budget proposal; but this outbreak of defiance shows that anger has been simmering for a long time in Chile, and it will not be easy to silence it.

Chile has a long history of social struggle dating back to its colonial origins. Today’s combative social movements are descended from the resistance to the mass-murdering military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet; their lineage has continued uninterrupted because the transition to democracy in 1990 was not accompanied by any meaningful shift in the economic policies and violent policing that impose extreme disparities in wealth and power. This particular revolt is reminiscent of the uprising in Brazil in 2013, when a million people took the streets to protest an increase in the cost of public transportation.

We will see what happens next.

For images of the clashes, these four Instagram accounts have provided consistent updates.

For background on Chile’s longstanding combative social movements:

The Student Movement in Chile: From Dictatorship to Democracy, the Flame of Revolt

The Chicago Conspiracy—A documentary addressing the legacy of the military dictatorship in Chile, revisiting the stories of the young people who were killed by the Pinochet regime as a backdrop to the history of the military dictatorship. The film follows this narrative thread into current forms of social conflict including the student movement, the neighborhoods that resisted the dictatorship and continue to resist capitalism and state oppression, and the continuing defiance of the indigenous Mapuche people.

October 23, 2019 08:26 PM

The Fight in Catalunya: Independence or Self-Determination? : How the Lines Are Drawn—An Account from the Front Lines

The following breathless account of last week’s street fighting in Barcelona and the surrounding regions reaches us from anarchists in Catalunya, where the Spanish government’s crackdown on the movement for national independence has provoked a wave of popular resistance that threatens to transform the demands and consciousness of the movement itself.

For background on the Catalan independence movement in English, we recommend “Catalan Independence and the Crisis of Democracy.” This nuanced text offering an anarchist analysis of the situation is still awaiting translation.

We’ve just experienced the heaviest rioting in Catalunya since the 1970s. Six nights straight, starting Monday, October 14. It’s Sunday night now. Reports are coming in of a barricade on fire in Girona, so make that seven nights.

A fascist—or just a good citizen—ran over two people in a highway blockade near Mataró. Earlier in the week, cops ran over two protesters with their riot van in Tarragona, then got out and beat one of them. We’ve had a few hit by cars this week. There’s a comrade in critical condition in the hospital right now; cops hit her in the head. A cop in critical condition, too, shot in the head with a slingshot Friday night; the steel ball broke his helmet. He had spent the week shooting and beating people who didn’t have any protection. Fucker never thought the tables would turn.

In addition to the highway blockades, there are still big protests in Barcelona, roads blocked. It’s mostly peaceful at this point. The media have been trying to sound the death knell of the uprising for days now, and more independent twitter accounts are getting shut down. It could start up again at any moment; it hasn’t really ended. For now, the state hasn’t instituted martial law, though the conservative government of the Madrid region wants to ban all pro-independence rallies there. There are supposed to be clear sides, remember? Spain vs. Catalunya. But those aren’t the lines of this conflict.

What are the lines of conflict in the Catalan independence movement as it spirals out of the control of parties and pacifists?

What’s It All About?

On Monday, the Tribunal Supremo gave seven politicians and two mainstream activist leaders prison sentences of 9-13 years apiece for organizing the independence referendum of October 1, 2017. Sedition. Several more people in exile would likely receive the same sentences. Fuck politicians and these politicians in particular: they were fine running a prison system while they were in charge, and in 2017 they preferred sabotaging the independence movement with the straitjacket of pacifism to losing control of it. My friends and I protected a polling station, starting at 5 in the morning. We hate voting, but we hate the cops even more.

Regardless, this one trial wasn’t the sole focus of the upheaval. The unions said if organizing a referendum is sedition, any protest could be, so they called a strike for the end of the week. And a month ago, seven members of the CDR [Committees to Defend the Republic, grassroots pro-independence and sometimes anti-capitalist assemblies formed in 2017] were arrested and accused of terrorism. They’re still locked up. We have our reservations, but we’re on the side of people fighting against repression and for freedom, always. So the liberal idea of self-determination is contradictory nonsense? Definitely, but that’s a long conversation and we’re still in the middle of it. A barricade in the street? It’s a good figure of speech. Metaphor, comparison? Spell? This is what we mean by self-determination.

By Wednesday, lots of people in the streets were calling for the resignation of the whole Catalan government [which has been pro-independence throughout the last several elections]. Pro-independence politicians have been insulted and ejected from demonstrations. Meanwhile, el Cercle de l’Economia, a think tank representing a large part of the Catalan bourgeoisie, is pointing out that the crisis has political roots, stemming from Madrid’s attempts to reduce Catalan autonomy going back a decade, and they re-emphasize their proposals for more self-government and better financing… within the Spanish state. Their top priority is to put an end to the rioting, so if nationalism means an interclass alliance on the basis of putative ethno-linguistic sameness, this isn’t exactly that. The bourgeoisie have been against the movement for a while now.

It’s Sunday, and a new week is about to start. Whether they are rioters or unlucky bystanders, 28 people are sitting in prison with no option of paying bail, beginning the two-year wait until trial; 194 people have been arrested. Fully 590 people have been reported injured, but a lot of us don’t go to the official medics, so the true number is surely two or three times higher.

There’s a new blockade at la Jonquera, the principle highway connection between the French and Spanish parts of Catalunya. It’s maintained by 500 people, way out in the Pyrenees mountains. Earlier in the week, they blocked the road for 30 hours, drilling rebar into the asphalt and putting plastic bottles on top to make them visible. A group of gilet jaunes came to blockade the other side of the border. When the former blockade got cleared away, a group of truckers decided to make a blockade. Truckers!

The Audiencia Nacional has started investigating Tsunami Democràtic, the nonviolent platform that organzied the airport protests, for terrorism. They just don’t learn. This whole uprising was sparked by repression.

Already on Monday, things started to get out of control with the blockades at the airport, the highways, and on train lines. There was too much chaos, spread out too widely, for the police and the political parties to control it all. Tuesday, the blockades continued, but that night rioting broke out in all four provincial capitals—Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Wednesday, the ANC continued with their plan for marches departing from five different cities in the farthest reaches of Catalunya to converge on Barcelona on friday. The distance they would cross was 100 km in some cases. This plan was pacifist and pacifying, aimed at just tiring people out—but they didn’t go home, they blocked all the highways, god bless ‘em.

Marching on the highways to Barcelona.

Wednesday night, there was even heavier rioting, even in some smaller cities. When the police charged hard and laid out left and right, people didn’t like that. There were more burning barricades. Catalan politicians started saying it was the work of infiltrators, circulating bogus stories on social media about encaputxats [masked ones] getting envelopes full of cash. I’m still waiting for my envelope, Torra, you stingy Catalan prick! [Quim Torra is a member of the Parliament of Catalonia and the current president of the Government of Catalonia. This appears to be a play on the stereotype of Catalans being stingy.]

On Thursday, the rioting in Barcelona lasted till 6 in the morning. It also continued in the other capitals. Protests took place in solidarity with Catalunya in Madrid, Donostia, Granada, and València. Fascists marched for Spanish unity, too; there were clashes in Madrid and València. They caught an anti-fascist in Barcelona and beat him badly. Another Nazi tried to knife some protesters; he was disarmed, stomped, and left in a coma.

At first, the barricades were more rudimentary and symbolic. Later, they became impassible.

On Friday, 500,000 protesters converged in Barcelona. Shortly after they arrived, the ANC cancelled the march. I heard some people complaining, “The Assembly calls it off, and everyone goes home,” even as they dutifully headed for the metro. All across the city, street after street, the asphalt was fire-scarred. Where haven’t the rioters been, this week? I picked my way through the crowd at Jardinets to meet up with the group with YPG flags, the Rojava solidarity demo. The Kurdish movement has long supported Catalan independence and Catalunya has been a hub of support for Rojava and democratic confederalism, though the latter is much easier to co-opt in Europe. For its part, Turkey hasn’t been interested in co-opting, only annihilating.

The march managed to start off through the dense crowds, chanting and wrecking a couple BBVA’s [a bank heavily invested in Turkey].

Then it was done. Passeig de Gràcia was packed all the way down to Plaça Catalunya. One block over, Pau Claris was full all the way to Plaça Urquinaona, at the top of Via Laietana, which was guarded by riot cops. Plenty of those people were trying to get down there. The sun hadn’t even set and it was a war zone.

The cops were holding a corner, shooting rubber bullets, and people were responding with stones. People would run when the cops made a particularly strong assault, but then immediately poured back in, edging closer and closer. Barricades went up, increasing in complexity and effectiveness. Every couple minutes, the cops would shoot off a few rounds of tear gas. People would extinguish them in seconds. The cops had to be conservative with their ammunition; after the previous night, they knew they could run out—and that the crowd won’t be merciful. Each gunner was easily shooting off 100-200 rubber bullets and 50-100 canisters of tear gas a night. Added up along an entire police line, that makes for a fierce barrage, but it barely slowed the crowd down.

Early on Friday night, things were a bit awkward. Behind the front line, there were huge crowds of young people hanging out, eager to be close to the action, but not entirely sure that a riot is a good thing. Consequently, the rioters stayed with their own, breaking up rocks at the front, directly in the line of fire. If you tried breaking up the paving stones 20 meters back, where it made sense to do it strategically, a circle of gawkers would form, many filming, asking, “what are you doing?”

Let’s set the scene. There are all sorts of people here—mostly young, but some older. Many people have Catalan flags, plenty are speaking Spanish, some are tourists. Some are clad all in black, some have no masks at all. Of all the arrestees so far, only two have belonged to an independence organization or party, though of course the CDR has no formal membership. Some people question the necessity of the property destruction that is taking place; one has to explain, “rocks are needed up front.” No one questions the attacks on the police—they are the common enemy. Too many years of getting beaten, of peaceful protests and things staying the same. “forces of occupation, out!” is one of the common chants, and it is hurled against mossos [Catalan police] and nacionales [Spanish police] with no distinction, although people chase after the vans of nacionales with a special fervor. Their presence in the streets here is hatefully symbolic: whereas the mossos live and work here year round, the Spanish cops were sent in just to repress the movement. They’re the ones who beat up people’s grandmothers for voting in 2017.

The Spanish flag is like a red banner, taunting the bull. it provokes a special reaction, but all cops are targets, and the mossos are getting their share. Their more quotidian presence is no advantage: just the week before this all started, they were beating up people who were trying to stop evictions in the Raval and Poble-sec neighborhoods. Hundreds of people were there, thousands of neighbors saw it, everyone saw the videos.

In the hinterland, behind the escalating combat, people are calm, enjoying the liberated space, building ever more complex barricades, occasionally pulling another dumpster to the front to serve as fuel for the fire. I pass some of the biggest barricades I’ve ever seen. Several banks are trashed, while others are oddly untouched. I glimpse what becomes my favorite graffito of the night: “Violent fags seeking revenge.” Another is also spot on: “in the riots, we aren’t so alone.” It’s true: people take care of each other.

There’s a lower street that angles back up to the police position at the bottom of the Plaça. If we take it, the crowd can flank the cops battling it out at close quarters at Urquinaona. A line of riot police holds the top of the street. The approach is 100 meters, under fire the whole way. People start picking their way up the sides, leapfrogging from doorway to doorway to get into throwing range, while one comrade keeps blinding the cops with a laser. The combat grows intense. Projectiles whizz by. People wince or fall when they’re hit, go limping back. Some old guy in an anarchist militia hat, 1936-style, stands in the middle of the road, taunting the police, magically unscathed. When you run out of rocks, you have to scramble, doorway to doorway, back to the mouth of the street.

As the assault intensifies, the police counterattack. A column of riot vans charges down the street and people scatter, but as soon as the vans turn, people charge right back in. This happens over and over. Each time, the vans get to an intersection and they have to choose—they can only pursue one group. As soon as they turn or go straight, everyone who ran in the other two directions starts chasing the cops, pounding on the vans. At this point, all the vans are damaged.

It’s too dangerous for the cops to get out of the vans like they used to do. There are too many people, too angry. They’d get stomped. We’d love for them to get out of the vans. What sorts of goodies might be found inside?

A police van.

The cops have retaken the dumpsters that people pulled across the lower street, which afforded a protected vantage point within easy throwing distance. They pull the dumpsters out of the way. It’s a naked approach again, all one hundred meters of it. People go back to trying.

Suddenly, a group in black is pulling their injured comrade back down the street, calling for medics. Something is wrong. We help them get to a clear spot. I know we shouldn’t crowd them, but I want to slip in, just for one second, to see if they’re all right. A cameraman is going in: I duck in to push him away, and while I’m close, I look. Hit in the face. Eyeball exploded. The medic’s hands are already covered in blood. I turn to my buddy. We’ll stay here, help keep the area clean—and if the cops charge again, we won’t move. No retreat. After what feels like a long time, the ambulance comes. Some reports say four people have had their eyes shot out this week. Other reports place the number at seven.

Back at the Plaça, there’s a burning barricade on the corner and people have sacked a restaurant terrace for the big cloth umbrellas, which they expertly place over a barricade just 10 meters from the police position. Now people can throw from a perfect distance, completely protected. The quarries for preparing projectiles have been set up where they should be, out of the way. People have fashioned tools to lift up the paving stones and the huge fire at the secondary barricade is burning off most of the tear gas. The cops are now pinned under a barrage of hundreds of stones a minute, not to mention the occasional discreet throw from a balcony. How many tons of stone will be thrown at them in the course of this night?

The collective intelligence of the crowd has increased exponentially. People have reconstructed the street so everyone is as safe as possible, so people can approach close to the cops and put them in constant danger. There’s a constant supply of ammunition and the whole crowd is protected from van charges from the rear. What a difference from just one hour ago. The cops are starting to get traumatized as more of them are injured. We’re no longer the victims. We’re winning.

Street after street, the fires are growing bigger, reaching as high as the third floor. In Gràcia, this caused some problems with neighbors, who practically had flames scorching their balconies. But here around Urquinaona, right in the center, Airbnb has already destroyed the neighborhood; many of the buildings are empty. Who cares if tourists can’t get to their cheap apartments? They stole those houses from the people who lived here.

It’s not entirely empty, though. At the moment of maximum conflict, an older couple, faces drawn, walk with a tense step past the rioters, towards the police line, which doesn’t stop shooting. I peek around the corner to watch. It looks like they make it to the door of their apartment without getting hit.

A little later, on the lower street, I take in a sight that stays with me. There are no more dumpsters providing cover in the middle of the street. Three young people have pulled a couple mopeds from their parking spots to fashion a makeshift barricade. They’re crouching down, just 15 meters from the police position, farther forward than those of us taking cover in the doorways. Two of them are masked, but the third, a teenage girl, has nothing in the way of protective clothing. All the same, she keeps straightening up, exposed to police fire, to throw more objects. If only she’d cover her face! Some people make a mad dash from cover to leave the three another pile of stones. People take care of one another as best they can.

This fighting continues for more than four hours. It’s not as long as Thursday night, but far more intense, with more people and better technique. Only after repeated van charges and heavy assaults have hammered away at the crowds on Urquinaona—and after many people have slipped away due to exhaustion, injuries, or just plain satisfaction—do the police bring out their celebrated new weapon, a water cannon mounted on a tank. They make a video showing the tank advancing and extinguishing some burning barricades, but in practice it’s not as decisive as all that. They rely on it to the end of the night, only using it with massive police backup, and only after many people have already surrendered the plaza.

I can imagine the cops had a directive from the very top: use it, but under no circumstances let demonstrators destroy it. The crowds would have loved to tear that thing apart.

Smoke engulfs the Barcelona skyline.

Friday is a high point, but it’s not the end. The police deploy some innovations on Saturday. They have a cordon of good citizens forming between their lines and the demonstrators at Plaça Urquinaona that helps to keep things peaceful. How quickly the pacifists agree to serve the forces of repression when people stop obeying them! No one prevented them from doing their peaceful marches, but they’re incapable of accepting any difference or multiplicity of opinion—much like the state itself.

And they don’t accomplish anything. They killed the movement in 2017—and while it’s true that this week of fighting won’t break apart the Spanish state, in these very same days, we’ve seen how people fighting fiercely in the streets have defeated austerity measures in Ecuador, Chile, and Lebanon.

Saturday in Catalunya isn’t a total bust, though. There are still riots in the Raval and Gràcia neighborhoods as well as in some other cities, much as the corporate media try to play that down.

Sunday is definitely calmer, but still people don’t give up. In Girona, 1000 people surround the courthouse, trying to block the judges from sending the arrested to pretrial detention.

We don’t know what will happen next. Society has been divided and the line does not trace any national or linguistic divide. It separates people on the basis of their chosen relation to social control: those who support the police and those who oppose them. Some people still talk about democracy, but they mean opposite things. They’re willing to shoot down helicopters to attain it—or willing to run over protesters and beat up old folks to preserve it. Some of the former people will eventually have to acknowledge that what they actually want is anarchy; some of the latter may admit that what they really favor is fascism. But for the most part, things will remain muddled and equivocal—and we anarchists will do our best to develop and share clear visions of the enemy, clear lines of flight, lines of attack.

In any case, many, many thousands of people have experienced something they’ll never forget. Most of them will not join us in our projects and conspiracies over the next few months, but some will, and we’ve got to learn how to grow and share with them as they share with us.

The rest, they’ll still be there, and we’ll meet in the streets once again. These are not calm times that lie ahead of us.

Solidarity actions in Madrid.

Monday Update

There are protests today outside jails and courthouses. Two of the detainees were sent to migrant detention. The cops have announced the arrest of a youth accused of shooting fireworks at the police helicopter on Wednesday. He has been charged with attempted murder, public disorder, and assaulting authority. This struggle will not end any time soon.

Meanwhile, in one small town outside Barcelona, masked individuals set fire to a couple police cars right outside the station. In a small village on the coast, some people pelted a cop with stones as he was driving away from the station in his private car. In both cases, the targets were mossos, the Catalan police.

Our overlords are also in the news. P. Sánchez, Socialist president of Spain, comes to Barcelona, but refuses to meet with the President of the Generalitat [the Catalan semi-autonomous government]. Dialogue is impossible. Not even the leaders of democracy are trying to fix the situation, if it means looking weak in front of their imagined voters.

The whole circus tent is falling down.

October 23, 2019 07:59 PM


Turkey : Fake bomb-alert

reçu par mail / mercredi 23 octobre 2019 On Monday, October 21nd, we send a message to several world media. We wrote an e-mail, that the bomb is in Istanbul Aiport (Turkish Airlines company) and in MKEK – Mechanical and … Continue reading

by Attaque at October 23, 2019 07:40 PM


Resistiendo bajo la Ley Marcial : Un reporte, una entrevista y una llamada a la acción

En los últimos días, el territorio dominado por el Estado chileno se ha convertido en una auténtica zona de guerra, entre militares y policías que persiguen y matan sin ningún pudor e insurrectes que han tomado las calles en lo que comenzó como unas protestas estudiantiles contra la subida de precios en los pasajes del Metro y no tardó en convertirse, ante la represión, en una auténtica insurrección popular contra el Estado y contra la miseria de la vida cotidiana provocada por el sistema capitalista.

Incontables enfrentamientos con la policía y los militares, saqueos a grandes superficies y negocios de multinacionales, ataques a edificios gubernamentales, comisarías y cuarteles, bloqueos y destrucción de la infraestructura de movilidad, huelgas articulando la revuelta secundadas por amplios sectores de población, acciones festivas en la calle, auto-organización y solidaridad han nutrido el cuerpo de este levantamiento popular que parece muy lejos de terminar o de apagarse, pese a las brutales represalias del Estado, en forma tanto de un estado de emergencia y toque de queda como de una dureza por parte de maderos y milicos que recuerda a los tiempos de la dictadura cuyos altos mandos nunca se fueron, y que además de miles de personas detenidas y un número indeterminado de herides, han provocado también varias muertes, con un número cada vez mayor de manifestantes y solidaries asesinades o “desaparecides” por el ejército y los carabineros.

Al final, un mensaje que nos ha llegado de una persona afín que se encuentra en territorio chileno, y que también resume lo que se ha estado viviendo en las calles de Santiago estos días.

Amor y fuerza para todas las personas afectadas por la represión y su entorno cercano Amor y fuerza para todes les que luchan y resisten en las calles al terrorismo de Estado. ¡Que se extiendan la revuelta y la solidaridad!

Desde que la revuelta en Ecuador se ha extendido a Chile, el conflicto ha escalado rápidamente. El gobierno ha llamado a los militares y declarado la Ley Marcial, pero el pueblo se niega a abandonar las calles, y continúan creando una situación ingobernable. A pesar de la rápida cancelación del aumento de la tarifa del Metro que desencadenó las protestas, su rabia es mucho más profunda; muches en todo el país están enfurecides por las dramáticas disparidades en riqueza y poder que el capitalismo ha creado y por la decisión del presidente de intentar aplastar las protestas por medio de los militares, una estrategia que recuerda a la dictadura militar de 1973-1990. Hoy se llevan a cabo huelgas y protestas en todo el país, en Punta Arenas, Concepción, Valparaíso, Valdivia y Temuco, así como en Santiago.

El gobierno chileno admite hasta 8 muertes en el transcurso de los disturbios, 7 en incendios y 1 asesinado por disparos de los militares durante las manifestaciones. Sin embargo, hay informes circulando que hablan de 11 muertes, y muchas más personas han recibido disparos de la policía, los soldados y las patrullas de ultraderecha. Leed lo que sigue para más detalles.

En el siguiente texto, ofrecemos nuestro propio reporte breve desde las calles de Chile, una entrevista con un anarquista chileno desde dentro del movimiento y un llamado a la acción de otres participantes.


El sábado, las protestas comenzaron antes del mediodía. En toda la ciudad y los barrios se podía escuchar un zumbido constante de ollas y sartenes, coches tocando el cláxon, todo al ritmo de los cantos populares: “Evadir, no pagar, otra forma de luchar”y “El pueblo unido jamás será vencido”.

Tras la declaración del estado de emergencia el viernes por la noche, se garantizó que el sábado vería más protestas. Durante todo el día, varias formas de rebelión estallaron en toda la ciudad. Las grandes bandas tocaron música de protesta y cantaron, muchas personas construyeron barricadas y las incendiaron. La gente rompió las ventanas de muchos edificios gubernamentales clave y de muchos bancos, y luego sacó los muebles del interior para construir barricadas en la calle y destruyó los registros bancarios. Muchas tiendas fueron saqueadas de artículos tanto por diversión como por necesidad. Se quemaron más autobuses mientras la gente se enfrentaba con la policía. El ejército estaba en vigor con armas largas, lo que aumentaba la atmósfera de ansiedad y revuelta.

Los militares ocupando las calles en Chile.

Una banda musical desafiando la ocupación militar.

Se declaró un toque de queda para las 22 del sábado en Santiago, así como en otras ciudades que participaban en la protesta: Concepción y Valparaíso. Cuando se puso el sol, algunas personas comenzaron a irse a casa por temor a que los militares comenzaran a emplear sus armas con fuerza letal. Muchas otras personas optaron por permanecer fuera pasado el toque de queda y durante la noche. Los enfrentamientos continuaron descentralizándose, extendiéndose aún más en las periferias de Santiago, llenando toda la ciudad. Algunas de las violencias policiales y militares más severas ocurrieron en las periferias: Maipú, Pudahuel Sur y San Bernardo, un suburbio semi-rural en las afueras de la ciudad.

Les manifestantes incendiaron las casetas de peaje en la autopista al norte de Santiago.

En Valparaíso, les manifestantes quemaron un edificio propiedad de la prensa derechista/fascista, un periódico llamado “El Mercurio”. Valparaíso experimentó una fuerte represión militar, con soldados corriendo por las calles y atacando a les manifestantes. Pocas horas después del toque de queda, se anunció en la radio que la presencia de militares sería doblada a primeras horas del domingo en Santiago. Un nuevo hashtag empezó a circular en redes sociales: #chiledespierto

Los militares atacando a civiles en Valparaíso.


Los informes de noticias de las primeras horas del domingo anunciaron que 240 personas habían sido detenidas el sábado por la noche por infracciones del toque de queda, más de 600 habían sido arrestadas en todo el país y había 62 policías heridos. El número total de arrestos y lesiones durante la semana es mucho mayor. Walmart Chile anunció que “debido a actos de vandalismo, ha sufrido saqueos en más de 60 ubicaciones en la Región Metropolitana y en las regiones de Valparaíso, Antofagasta, Calama, Concepción, San Antonio y Temuco”. Se difundieron imágenes de la policía usando abiertamente cocaína en medio de las manifestaciones para bombearse antes de atacar a les manifestantes.

Según se ha reportado, 6 trenes han sido dañados, 3 de los cuales fueron completamente destruidos. Llevará meses restablecer el servicio de la línea de Metro más nueva.

Fotografías del sábado están disponibles en Instagram aquí y aquí.

El domingo por la tarde, el presidente chileno Sebastián Piñera dio un discurso televisado para el país desde el cuartel del ejército en Santiago:

“La democracia no solo tiene el derecho, tiene la obligación de defenderse usando todos los instrumentos que la democracia misma proporciona, y el estado de derecho para combatir a aquellos que quieren destruirla… Estamos en guerra contra un enemigo poderoso e implacable, que no respeta nada ni a nadie y está dispuesto a usar la violencia y el crimen sin ningún límite”.

No solo esta declaración, sino también el contexto en el cual fue presentada, muestran con la suficiente claridad hasta qué punto la democracia está entrelazada con la misma fuerza militar que gobernó durante la dictadura militar. Cualquiera que tenga experiencia en el extremo receptor de la violencia estatal sabe que las autoridades siempre nos acusan de lo que planean hacernos para legitimar su agresión de antemano. A partir de esta declaración, está lo suficientemente claro que el presidente Piñera y los mercenarios que le sirven están intentando crear un discurso en el cual puedan legitimar asesinar a grandes cantidades de personas para devolver Chile a su control.

La gente de todo el mundo debería sentirse inspirada por el coraje mostrado por la gente común en Chile, y dar lo mejor de nosotres para que sea imposible para los militares chilenos asesinar al pueblo en las calles. Sigue a continuación una entrevista con une participante anarquista en el levantamiento y una llamada a la acción de otres participantes.

Las siguientes páginas de Instagram ofrecen cobertura hora a hora de la situación en Chile: @radiovillafrancia @radiokurruf @piensaprensa @diariovenceremos

Militares arrastran el cadáver de un manifestante asesinado por el ejército durante una manifestación en Colina, al norte de Chile. Aviso de contenido: Estos vídeos son especialmente gráficos y pueden resultar muy impactantes o ser un “trigger” para personas especialmente sensibles:


¿Con qué frecuencia se utiliza la ley del estado de emergencia o toque de queda en Chile? ¿Cuándo fue la última vez que el estado los empleó?

Los poderes de emergencia que ha implementado el Estado chileno se transmitieron desde la dictadura de Pinochet (o Pinoshit, como nos gusta llamarlo aquí). La Ley de Seguridad Interior (LSE) ha existido desde 1958, antes del golpe militar de 1973, pero en 1975 la dictadura amplió enormemente sus poderes, especialmente en relación con los delitos de “desorden público”. sanciones y sentencias por una variedad de violaciones y crímenes durante los momentos en que se altera el “funcionamiento del país”. Por ejemplo, en 2002, el gobierno (¡encabezado por socialistas!) usó la LSE contra la huelga de conductores de autobuses. En general, sirve más como un elemento disuasorio y una amenaza que como una herramienta real para llevar a alguien en particular a juicio.

Luego está el estado de emergencia actualmente vigente, que fue escrito en la Constitución de la dictadura de 1980, la misma Constitución que tenemos hoy.

El estado de emergencia anteriormente solo se había utilizado durante desastres naturales (como el terremoto de 2010 en Concepción y durante otros terremotos e inundaciones). Durante esos desastres, hemos visto al ejército en las calles, supuestamente para “ayudar” a la gente y limpiar los escombros, pero en realidad, las fuerzas armadas usan estos casos como ejercicios militares, practicando cómo tomar las ciudades y defender la propiedad privada de corporaciones multinacionales. Si bien los estados de emergencia se han declarado en la memoria reciente, esta es la primera vez desde la dictadura (específicamente desde 1987) que se ha utilizado un toque de queda. También es la primera vez que el Estado despliega las fuerzas armadas específicamente para la tarea de represión. Para la gente en Chile, es impactante ver las calles llenas de vehículos militares, tanques y jeeps llenos de tropas armadas. Sin embargo, las generaciones más jóvenes parecen tenerles menos miedo que las que recuerdan la dictadura.

Soldados en las esquinas, igual que durante la dictadura.

¿Cómo encaja esto en los últimos años de movimientos sociales y enfrentamientos con la autoridad en Chile? ¿Alguien vio venir esto?

Nadie vio venir esto, ni que se extendería tan lejos. La gente en Santiago sentía que la tensión estaba aumentando, pero no en el sentido de una revuelta social. Por el contrario, se vio más en las agresiones entre las personas: personas que tienen que viajar durante horas después de su jornada laboral o escolar, hartos de tener que apretarse fuertemente en un tren o autobús abarrotado, abrumados por el agotamiento. Este enfado y agotamiento se manifestaron en conflictos entre les explotades. Por ejemplo, culpar y luchar contra otras personas en el tren o en el autobús, o hacer chivos expiatorios a inmigrantes y similares, creando una experiencia diaria de hostilidad, pero ningún grupo político u organización estaba preparado para este tipo de revuelta generalizada.

Desde la semana pasada, ha habido convocatorias a evadir las tarifas y sabotear el transporte público en respuesta a la subida de precios de 30 pesos. Eso no era nada nuevo. Siempre que haya aumentos de tarifas, verá este tipo de llamado a la acción. Lo que es diferente esta vez es que estamos en primavera, mientras que los aumentos de tarifas anteriores se han implementado a mediados del verano sin mucha respuesta.

A partir del lunes 14 de octubre, les estudiantes de secundaria organizades y combatives comenzaron acciones colectivas de evasión de tarifas después de salir de la escuela. Estas fueron masivas y muy efectivas. Los guardias de seguridad del Metro no estaban listos para eso, por lo que les niñes pudieron saltar libremente los torniquetes y también mantener abiertas las puertas para otres viajeres. El martes 15 de octubre, las evasiones colectivas crecieron aún más e incluyeron incluso más escuelas secundarias. Para el miércoles 16 de octubre, no solo estaban involucradas las escuelas con una reputación militante. Muchas escuelas en barrios más pobres fuera del centro de la ciudad también se involucraron en la acción, y ahí es donde los guardias de seguridad de Metro comenzaron a aporrear a les estudiantes. Esta fue realmente la chispa, e hizo a les estudiantes de secundaria aún más resueltes en su lucha. Organizaron acciones masivas de evasión de tarifas para más tarde ese día (en Santiago, les estudiantes salen de la escuela un par de horas antes de que termine la jornada laboral) y cada vez más personas se unieron, aunque solo sea porque la mayoría de las personas necesitaban llegar a casa y no lo hicieron. No importa ahorrar un poco de dinero en su viaje. El jueves 17 de octubre, la respuesta de las autoridades y el Metro fue cerrar ciertas estaciones, impidiendo que las personas pudieran llegar a casa. Escuadrones de policía también comenzaron a ocupar estaciones de Metro, contribuyendo a un conflicto aún mayor y, a través de él, a la destrucción de la infraestructura del Metro. En algunos casos, solo en pocas ocasiones, les luchadores pudieron expulsar a la policía de las estaciones de Metro.

El viernes 18 de octubre hubo confrontación desde el comienzo de la jornada laboral. Las estaciones de Metro abrieron con más guardias de seguridad y más policías de lo habitual, pero la gente seguía organizando evasiones masivas y, en muchos casos, lograron subir a los andenes. El día continuó como siempre hasta el final del día escolar. Una vez que terminó la escuela, todo se salió del control de cualquiera. Hubo enfrentamientos y combates por toda la ciudad. Las estaciones de Metro estaban cerradas. Les estudiantes ocuparon las vías y destruyeron la infraestructura de Metro y autobuses, como torniquetes. Se cerraron tres líneas completas de Metro. La gente comenzó a pelear con la policía, y una variedad de zonas de conflicto entre la gente y la policía surgieron alrededor de la ciudad.

Los autobuses fueron quemados y utilizados como barricadas en las principales carreteras. Las paradas de autobús fueron incendiadas. Incluso más combustible (proverbial y literal) se incendió cuando la gente comenzó a salir del trabajo durante el fin de semana. Gracias a la interrupción casi completa de los viajes en metro y autobús dentro de la ciudad, masas y masas de personas salieron a pie, aumentando voluntaria e involuntariamente los números en los conflictos callejeros. La policía estaba perdiendo terreno y, al caer la noche, comenzaron a atacar con gases lacrimógenos y cañones de agua. En retirada, la policía recurrió a los barrios de clase alta para asegurarse de que la revuelta no amenazara los centros de riqueza. Sin embargo, la gente no retrocedió y fue aún más lejos: saqueando y quemando bancos, supermercados, cadenas de tiendas corporativas, farmacias, estaciones de metro, oficinas de atención médica privatizadas y oficinas gubernamentales.

Desde que comenzaron las evasiones, todes han estado entusiasmades de apoyarlo, ya que es una táctica que cualquiera puede usar. Todavía hay una sensación entre la gente de que este ha sido un momento histórico, al menos en la conciencia social, y para la mayoría de las personas la revuelta ha puesto una sonrisa en su rostro (algo que no se ve a menudo en Santiago). Aunque muches no han estado de acuerdo con algunas de las formas de lucha, el sonido de las caceroladas sonó en toda la ciudad hasta altas horas de la noche.

Imágenes grabadas en el barrio de Franklin, Santiago de Chile, la noche del sábado 19 de octubre.

Todo esto llevó al gobierno a declarar, a las 2 de la mañana del sábado, un estado de excepción en la provincia de Santiago, que incluyó la movilización de las fuerzas armadas y la preparación para su despliegue en las calles. La noche continuó con más incendios y saqueos. El gobierno cometió un error al pensar que el anuncio de tropas en las calles calmaría las cosas.

Al mediodía del sábado 19 de octubre, se convocaron más caceroladas, así como protestas en las principales plazas de varios barrios, en protesta por la presencia militar y la represión (en lugar de solo la subida de tarifas). Los soldados intensificaron las cosas apuntando sus armas, cargadas con munición real, a la gente, lo que provocó más disturbios. Masas de personas salieron a las calles en ciudades donde no se había declarado un estado de excepción, por ejemplo Valparaíso, Concepción, Coquimbo y Puerto Montt. Esto llevó a más saqueos y, en respuesta, más estados de emergencia y toques de queda declarados, para comenzar a las 22 del sábado por la noche. En gran parte, el toque de queda fue ignorado y la gente se quedó en las calles hasta altas horas de la noche. El saqueo y la quema continuaron.

Al menos 3 personas han sido encontradas muertas en las cenizas de un supermercado saqueado [Nota de La Rebelión de las Palabras: Algunos reportes de personas en las calles de Chile hablan de policías y militares yendo a supermercados incendiados a tirar los cadáveres de manifestantes a los que han asesinado, para así poder decir que esas personas murieron en los incendios y culpar a les revoltoses] y hay noticias de muches manifestantes herides por la policía. Hay muchos vídeos circulando de la violencia de la policía y los militares. Es difícil decir con certeza cuántes manifestantes han sido herides porque las noticias están inundadas con notas de prensa de la policía donde solo se habla sobre cuántos policías han sido heridos, sin mencionar siquiera a les manifestantes a les que ellos han herido, escondiendo el auténtico nivel de su represión. Sin embargo, la cifra de manifestantes herides asciende, definitivamente, a centenares, incluyendo personas golpeadas por porrazos, latas de gas lacrimógeno disparados al cuerpo y las cabezas de la gente, personas golpeadas a corta distancia por bolas de goma, personas atropelladas por vehículos policiales, y demás.

Esto sigue sucediendo mientras escribo y ni la policía ni las fuerzas armadas parecen haber tomado el control. Esta noche [domingo 20 de octubre] adelantaron el toque de queda a las 19 y circulan noticias falsas sobre la escasez de alimentos y productos básicos para asustar a la población.

Una cola para comprar comestibles. La ansiedad se ha extendido con respecto a la disponibilidad de bienes básicos de consumo.

Creo que desde el comienzo de esta revuelta, les estudiantes han estado llenes de un espíritu de liberación y confrontación que, gracias a les compañeres que han combatido a la policía en el pasado y destruido los símbolos del capital, ha generado una inconsciencia colectiva en la que, en momentos como este, la gente sabe atacar a la autoridad. Esto se ha demostrado por el hecho de que la mayoría de las empresas seleccionadas han sido grandes cadenas multinacionales como Walmart, que ha tenido alrededor de 80 tiendas saqueadas y 10 quemadas en todo el país. También se ve en el uso generalizado del símbolo anarquista en las paredes, especialmente entre la juventud combativa.

Vídeo grabado en las calles del centro de la ciudad de Santiago de Chile el domingo 20. Les manifestantes cantan “¡Ooof oof, qué calor, el guanaco por favor!”, en tono de burla hacia los llamados “guanacos”, furgones policiales antidisturbios blindados y equipados con un cañón de agua a presión.

Apéndice: Llamado a la solidaridad desde Chile

La revuelta está creciendo a pesar de la brutal represión estatal: este lunes 21 de octubre, avanzamos hacia la huelga general por todo

Hace una semana, cuando la tarifa del metro en Santiago alcanzó el precio estratosférico de 830 pesos chilenos (USD 1,20), el proletariado juvenil desenfrenado, que tiene la virtud de negar este mundo en la práctica, rechazando cualquier tipo de diálogo con el poder, lanzó un Llamado ofensivo para la “evasión masiva de tarifas”, autoorganizando un gigantesco movimiento de desobediencia que instantáneamente obtuvo un tremendo respaldo entre nuestra clase, ya que este medio de transporte público es utilizado por al menos 3 millones de personas diariamente. El Estado respondió enviando cientos de policías antidisturbios para proteger las estaciones, provocando enfrentamientos severos en el sistema de metro, que dejó a cientos de personas heridas y detenidas.

El viernes 18 de octubre se produjo la ruptura: durante un nuevo día de protestas contra el alza de las tarifas, las líneas de Metro de Santiago comenzaron a cerrarse por completo, una por una, a partir de las 15. Esto causó un colapso sin precedentes en el sistema de transporte urbano metropolitano. Ese día, se encendió la chispa y la clase proletaria demostró su poder, ya que miles de personas se arrojaron a las calles, abrumando a las fuerzas represivas y organizando importantes disturbios en el centro de Santiago que superaron cualquier pronóstico. El edificio corporativo de ENEL (una compañía eléctrica que opera en Chile) se incendió y varias estaciones de Metro sufrieron el mismo destino. El Estado capitalista mostró su verdadero rostro a la población, decretando un “estado de emergencia”, lo que significaba que los militares fueron expulsados ​​por primera vez desde el final de la dictadura como resultado de un conflicto social. A partir de esa noche, nada volverá a ser igual.

El sábado al mediodía, un llamado a reunirse en la Plaza Italia, en el centro de Santiago, rápidamente condujo a una revuelta general con rasgos insurreccionales que llegó a todos los rincones de la ciudad, a pesar de la fuerte presencia militar en las calles. Y, literalmente, el levantamiento se trasladó a todas las ciudades de la región chilena. Como una mancha de petróleo, comenzó a extenderse con caceroladas, barricadas, ataques a edificios gubernamentales, sabotaje de infraestructura estratégica para la circulación de capitales (plazas de peaje y medidores de tarifas en carreteras, 80 estaciones de metro parcialmente destruidas y 11 totalmente reducidas a cenizas, decenas de autobuses quemados, etc.), 130 sucursales bancarias dañadas, 250 cajeros automáticos destruidos, algunos ataques contra estaciones de policía y una instalación militar en Iquique, y lo que más ha irritado a la clase dominante: el saqueo de cadenas de supermercados y grandes centros comerciales.

En este escenario, que para nosotres ha sido una fiesta, y en el que el proletariado se auto-organiza y enfrenta a sus condiciones de extrema precariedad, el “estado de emergencia” se ha extendido a aproximadamente una docena de ciudades que se han unido a la lucha, que también se han enfrentado a un implacable “toque de queda” controlado a punta de pistola por los bichos militares y policiales que actualmente se encuentran en 10,500 soldados que tienen luz verde para disparar y matar.

Noche del domingo 20 de octubre: Manifestantes anarquistas muestran una pancarta que dice “PUNKS POR ROJAVA” mientras se enfrentan al ejército bajo la ley marcial.

El saqueo y la satisfacción inmediata de las necesidades humanas

El estado sacrosanto de la propiedad privada fue cuestionado radicalmente por decenas de miles de proletaries que se suministraron con todo lo que pudieron en la mayoría de los supermercados y grandes tiendas, que han sido saqueados por completo, y en muchos casos quemados, mientras una burguesía aterrorizada observa y llama constantemente a sus representantes para aplastar sin reservas lo que llaman “un pequeño grupo de elementos violentos y vándalos”. Sin embargo, la realidad está lejos de esto, ya que, aunque lo niegan continuamente, esta no es la acción de una minoría, sino una acción masiva, fenómeno que se ha estado expresando con fuerza incontenible.

Aquelles de nosotres que hemos sido despojades de todo y sobrevivimos como podemos, endeudades, sin poder llegar a fin de mes, hemos afirmado en la práctica que no tenemos ninguna razón para pagar por acceder a lo que necesitamos para satisfacer nuestras necesidades. La reproducción de la supervivencia diaria comercializada en esta forma de vida que se nos impone está, en todo momento, subordinada a la acumulación de capital por parte de la burguesía, a expensas de les trabajadores asalariades y la vida de miseria que debemos soportar día tras día. No hemos hecho nada más que expropiar lo que nos pertenece y lo que nos ha robado toda nuestra vida, y esto no lo pueden soportar. En resumen, una revuelta generalizada significa reivindicarnos como seres humanos y negarnos a nosotres mismes como mercancía.

La prensa: portavoces de capital y defensores de la mercancía

La prensa ha jugado un papel crucial en la defensa del “sentido común” y canalizando lo que se llama “opinión pública”, es decir, la lógica dominante del sistema capitalista, según la cual las cosas materiales y la producción de bienes importan más que los seres humanos, enfatizando una y otra vez la defensa del “orden público”, los “derechos individuales”, la “propiedad privada” y la “paz social” para justificar la masacre promovida por les capitalistas y los sectores más reaccionarios de la sociedad.

A través de la tergiversación y/o el ocultamiento de la información, la difusión de mentiras e historias falsas, la criminalización de la subversión social, toda la prensa ha demostrado ser cómplice del terrorismo de Estado: deben asumir las consecuencias de todo esto. Algunos ejemplos de esto incluyen lo siguiente:

  • Ocultar la cifra y los casos de asesinatos por parte de las fuerzas represivas, y no informar repetidas acusaciones de “uso excesivo de la fuerza en arrestos, abuso infantil, maltrato, golpes en la cara y los muslos, tortura, desnudamiento de mujeres y hombres y abuso sexual”, como indicó el Instituto Nacional de Derechos Humanos (INDH).

  • Comunicar que ha habido saqueos de “mercados de agricultores” en algunos municipios como La Pintana, Puente Alto, entre otros, lo cual es totalmente falso. La gente ha informado en las redes sociales y alternativas que han sido policías vestidos de civil que han tratado de provocar luchas internas dentro de nuestra clase.

  • Promover el miedo entre la población haciendo hincapié en que el saqueo también afectará a las casas particulares y las pequeñas empresas, aun cuando se han producido algunos eventos completamente aislados de esto, que nuestra clase debe rechazar firmemente.

  • Diferenciando entre “ciudadanes” y “delincuentes”, entre manifestantes “pacíficos” y “violentes”, apostando por la división y el aislamiento de los elementos más radicalizados que forman parte del movimiento y que están tratando de promover una orientación anticapitalista en el desarrollo de la revuelta.

  • Permaneciendo en silencio cómplice sobre los cortes de suministro de agua que han afectado directamente a varios municipios en el sector sur de Santiago, que son “sospechosamente” también los lugares donde el combate contra el Estado y el capital se ha desarrollado de la manera más directa contra sus instituciones y donde la autoridad es más despreciada.

El gobierno reconoce a 8 muertos, pero sabemos que hay muchos más

Como el presidente Piñera declara que “estamos en guerra contra un poderoso enemigo que no respeta a nada ni a nadie”, el despreciable Andrés Chadwick, Ministro del Interior, hizo una breve declaración en televisión alegando que 7 personas “habían muerto” – no que habían sido asesinadas a manos del Estado – sin ofrecer más detalles. Les que hemos estado presentes en la lucha y coordinando con camaradas en diferentes partes del país sabemos que el número de muertes es mucho mayor. Se han compartido videos y fotografías en las redes sociales y sitios web de contrainformación, que se están eliminando sistemáticamente de Internet, mostrando a las personas asesinadas por soldados y policías en varios lugares donde se resisten. Al menos según nuestro recuento, que todavía no podemos confirmar debido a la campaña deliberada de ocultamiento y desinformación del Estado capitalista, esta cifra es de 16 personas: 1 persona en Quinta Normal, 2 en San Bernardo, 5 en Renca y 2 en La Pintana, que murieron como resultado de incendios durante el saqueo, 1 persona asesinada en Lampa después de ser atropellada deliberadamente por la policía, 1 por balas militares en Colina, 3 en La Serena y 1 en Pedro Aguirre Cerda que murió como un resultado de la represión policial. Sabemos que esta evaluación parcial podría crecer aún más, ya que mientras escribimos rápidamente este texto, continúan los enfrentamientos severos bajo el toque de queda con el ejército, la policía y la policía encubierta en varios lugares dentro de la región chilena.

La huelga general del lunes 21 de octubre y algunas perspectivas

Mañana, lunes 21 de octubre, una agrupación diversa de organizaciones de masas convocó a una huelga general, la primera que podría ser altamente efectiva, afectando directamente la producción, debido al colapso del sistema de transporte, al menos en la ciudad de Santiago. El Estado está haciendo todo lo posible por garantizar que “las personas vayan a trabajar”: han habilitado parcialmente la Línea 1 del sistema de Metro, están tratando de reforzar el servicio de autobuses y han pedido a la población que muestre “solidaridad” ayudando a sus barrios a llegar a sus trabajos. La clase capitalista solo está interesada en producir para sí misma; solo les somos útiles para producir y mover su mercancía y aumentar su acumulación de capital. Por esta razón, pedimos a las personas que no vayan a trabajar y participen activamente en la huelga, como lo ha hecho el sindicato de trabajadores del Metro, debido a la “represión policial y militar”. Además, creemos que es importante difundir las siguientes perspectivas:

  • No caigáis en la dinámica de luchar entre nosotres por la comida, el agua y la satisfacción de nuestras necesidades: ese es el juego del Estado, divide y vencerás. Para resolver nuestros problemas, debemos organizarnos en nuestras comunidades, no hay otra solución.

  • No permitáis que los partidos políticos y la socialdemocracia se presenten como nuestros “representantes”, se apropien de la lucha y se sienten a negociar con el Estado para extinguir el fuego de la revuelta, intentando dirigir la resolución del conflicto hacia la estética, reformas superficiales que no apuntan a erradicar la raíz de los problemas que afligen a nuestra clase.

  • Ocupad todas las instalaciones educativas y convertidlas en lugares de resistencia, debate, reunión y autoorganización, lugares para recolectar alimentos y medicinas, y espacios para ayudar a nuestres herides.

  • Organizad asambleas de base en los territorios donde se desarrolla la lucha, para decidir colectivamente la dirección de la revuelta en curso.

  • Exigid la libertad de les casi 1.700 detenides que están siendo procesades ​​por su participación en la revuelta.

¡VAMOS HACIA LA VIDA! – Algunes proletaries anarco-comunistas que participan en la revuelta.

Rebellion against the precarization of life.

Mensaje recibido de una individualidad afín

Este es el cuarto día de protesta social e insurrección popular en el Estado chileno. Llevada a cabo de modo totalmente espontáneo y horizontal, sin líderes ni organizaciones. Lo que comenzó como un llamado a evadir el Metro por culpa del alza de la tarifa, fue contestado con represión. Así que la gente salió a las calles exigiendo un cambio estructural del sistema, y la renuncia del gobierno. Van tres días en los que reina el caos. Desde Santiago de Chile puedo reportar que fueron saqueadas infinidad de farmacias y grandes supermercados, siendo todos los botines repartidos entre toda la gente o bien alimentando el fuego de las barricadas que cortaban todas las calles. Prácticamente todas las estaciones de Metro fueron atacadas e incendiadas, así como otros monumentos del poder. Reitero que todo de forma espontánea y popular. Toda la gente está en las calles, cortando calles y protestando cada cual a su manera, sin fiscalizar ningún modo de expresar la protesta.

En el día 19, el presidente, en respuesta, decretó el estado de emergencia, e impuso el toque de queda a partir de las 21:00. Salieron los militares a las calles, con permiso para disparar a matar. Ayer, domingo 20, el toque de queda fue adelantado para las 19:00. Los militares están matando gente. Hay muches desaparecides. Hay vídeos que registran cómo arrastran cuerpos inertes por el suelo. Después irían a tirarlos a supermercados incendiados echándole así la culpa a los saqueos e intentando confrontar al pueblo. Pero es seguro que son los militares y la policía quién está asesinando. También se cuenta que violan a las chicas detenidas. Está habiendo secuestros, se escuchan balazos durante la noche, helicópteros militares recorriendo el cielo. La gente que vivió la dictadura está indignada y rabiosa al volver a ver a los militares en las calles. Y estos están desbocados, así como la policía.

Hoy, lunes 21, hay convocado un paro nacional. El presidente declaró estar en guerra contra la organización criminal que está haciendo actos violentos. Organización criminal que no existe, puesto que es toda la gente al mismo tiempo la que está en las calles. Pero no les va a temblar la mano a la hora de reprimir el día de hoy. Hago un llamado a estar atentes a lo que está aconteciendo en el territorio chileno, a no creerle a la televisión y a estar más pendientes de las redes sociales, por dónde se están publicando vídeos de todo lo que sucede, a compartir la información y a apoyar la insurrección popular que está haciendo historia estos días.

Traducido de las compas de

October 23, 2019 07:24 PM


Call to create local Women Defend Rojava platforms

Call to create local Women Defend Rojava platforms
«Organize autonomous women’s and LGBTI+ meetings, create your local WOMEN DEFEND ROJAVA committee and participate in the Europe-wide WOMEN DEFEND ROJAVA PLATFORM that is calling for WOMEN DEFEND ROJAVA actions every Wednesday.» The Women Defend Rojava Campaign called for the creation of local platforms in protest at Turkish invasion of northern Syria which has witnessed […]


by InNero at October 23, 2019 06:58 PM

Australia: Call for Submissions and Donations to ‘Paper Chained’ Issue 3

Australia: Call for Submissions and Donations to ‘Paper Chained’ Issue 3
Call for Submissions for Issue 3 of Paper Chained from Prisoners, Ex-Prisoners, Family and Friends. DUE DATE: 31st of OCTOBER, 2019 Paper Chained is a journal of writings and artistic expressions from individuals affected by incarceration. If you are currently in prison, have experienced time in prison, or have had a loved one in prison, […]


by InNero at October 23, 2019 06:52 PM


The Ex-Worker #69: Defend Rojava! Part 4, More Interviews on Revolution and Solidarity : Interviews with anarchists in commune, women’s movement, YPG, and combat medics

Listen here: As the news breaks of a Russian-Turkish alliance determined to stamp out Kurdish autonomy, what’s at stake in the international fight to defend Rojava? This episode continues our exploration of the embattled revolution in northeastern Syria through interviews with a variety of anarchists who have engaged in international solidarity work there. One recounts the women’s movement and the impact on gender roles of the autonomous social experiments in Rojava, while another provides an inside look at the armed forces and the struggle against ISIS. Participants in the Internationalist Commune describe their educational and ecological projects, and two anarchist combat medics serving with the SDF in the war zone describe their experiences. We hope these will deepen your understanding of this complex effort to remake society from the ground up amidst war and fascism on all sides—and strengthen your solidarity efforts, as we fight to support the resistance in Rojava.

As we mentioned last time: even though we’re focusing on the crisis in Kurdistan again for this episode, let’s not forget that even as the Turkish bombs are falling, other important rebellions are taking place across the world—in Chile, in Catalunya, in Ecuador, in Haiti, in Lebanon, in Hong Kong, and beyond. We’ll have more coverage of these and other revolts through the Ex-Worker and on the CrimethInc. blog in the days and weeks to come, so stay tuned!

October 23, 2019 05:55 PM

Hotwire / The Ex-Worker

#69: Defend Rojava! Part 4, More Interviews on Revolution and Solidarity

As the news breaks of a Russian-Turkish alliance determined to stamp out Kurdish autonomy, what’s at stake in the international fight to defend Rojava? This episode continues our exploration of the embattled revolution in northeastern Syria through interviews with a variety of anarchists who have engaged in international solidarity work there. One recounts the women’s movement and the impact on gender roles of the autonomous social experiments in Rojava, while another provides an inside look at the armed forces and the struggle against ISIS. Participants in the Internationalist Commune describe their educational and ecological projects, and two anarchist combat medics serving with the SDF in the war zone describe their experiences. We hope these will deepen your understanding of this complex effort to remake society from the ground up amidst war and fascism on all sides—and strengthen your solidarity efforts, as we fight to support the resistance in Rojava.

As we mentioned last time: even though we’re focusing on the crisis in Kurdistan again for this episode, let’s not forget that even as the Turkish bombs are falling, other important rebellions are taking place across the world—in Chile, in Catalunya, in Ecuador, in Haiti, in Lebanon, in Hong Kong, and beyond. We’ll have more coverage of these and other revolts through the Ex-Worker and on the CrimethInc. blog in the days and weeks to come, so stay tuned!

{October 23nd, 2019}


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




October 23, 2019 05:54 PM

Channel Zero

#69: Defend Rojava! Part 4, More Interviews on Revolution and Solidarity

This post was originally published on this site

As the news breaks of a Russian-Turkish alliance determined to stamp out Kurdish autonomy, what’s at stake in the international fight to defend Rojava? This episode continues our exploration of the embattled revolution in northeastern Syria through interviews with a variety of anarchists who have engaged in international solidarity work there. One recounts the women’s movement and the impact on gender roles of the autonomous social experiments in Rojava, while another provides an inside look at the armed forces and the struggle against ISIS. Participants in the Internationalist Commune describe their educational and ecological projects, and two anarchist combat medics serving with the SDF in the war zone describe their experiences. We hope these will deepen your understanding of this complex effort to remake society from the ground up amidst war and fascism on all sides—and strengthen your solidarity efforts, as we fight to support the resistance in Rojava.

As we mentioned last time: even though we’re focusing on the crisis in Kurdistan again for this episode, let’s not forget that even as the Turkish bombs are falling, other important rebellions are taking place across the world—in Chile, in Catalunya, in Ecuador, in Haiti, in Lebanon, in Hong Kong, and beyond. We’ll have more coverage of these and other revolts through the Ex-Worker and on the CrimethInc. blog in the days and weeks to come, so stay tuned!

{October 23nd, 2019}






by CrimethInc Ex-Workers Collective at October 23, 2019 05:54 PM


Chile: Resisting under Martial Law : A Report, Interview, and Call to Action

Since the revolt in Ecuador spread to Chile, the conflict has escalated rapidly. The government has called in the military and declared martial law, but people refuse to leave the streets, continuing to create an ungovernable situation. Despite the swift cancellation of the metro fair increase that first triggered the protests, their anger runs much deeper; many throughout the country are enraged by the dramatic disparities in wealth and power that capitalism has created and infuriated by the president’s decision to attempt to crush protest by means of the military—a strategy that recalls the military dictatorship of 1973-1990. Strikes and protests are taking place around the country today—in Punta Arenas, Concepción, Valparaíso, Valdivia, and Temuco as well as Santiago.

The Chilean government admits to eight deaths in the course of the unrest, seven in fires and one murdered by military gunfire during demonstrations. However, there are reports circulating of 11 deaths, and many people have been shot by police, soldiers, and right-wing vigilantes. See below for more details.

In the following text, we offer our own brief report from the streets of Chile, an interview with a Chilean anarchist from within the movement, and a call to action from other participants in the movement.

Soldiers patrol the streets of Santiago, Chile, but have not been able to pacify the population.


On Saturday, the protests started before noon. Throughout all of the city and the neighborhoods you could hear a steady drone of pots and pans, cars honking, all to the rhythm of popular chants: “Evadir, no pagar, otra forma de luchar” (“Dodge the fare, don’t pay, another form of struggle”) and “El pueblo unido jamás será vencido” (“the people, united, will never be defeated”).

After the declaration of the state of emergency Friday night, it was guaranteed that Saturday would see more protest. All day long, various forms of rebellion erupted throughout the city. Big bands played protest music and led chants, many people built barricades and set them aflame. People smashed the windows of many key government buildings and banks, then removed the furniture to build barricades and destroyed bank records. Many stores were looted of items both for fun and for necessity. More busses were burned as people clashed with police. The military was out in force with long guns, adding to the atmosphere of anxiety and revolt.

The military occupying the streets of Chile.

A band defying the military occupation.

A curfew was declared for 10 pm Saturday night in Santiago as well as other cities that were participating in protest—Concepción and Valparaíso. As the sun set, some people began to go home out of fear that the military would begin to employ their weapons with deadly force. Many other people chose to stay out past the curfew and into the night. Clashes continued to decentralize, spreading further into the peripheries of Santiago, filling the whole city. Some of the most severe police and military violence occurred in the peripheries: Maipú, Pudahuel Sur, and San Bernardo, a semi-rural suburb on outskirts of the city.

Demonstrators torched tollbooths on the freeway north of Santiago.

In Valparaíso, protesters burned a building belonging to the right-wing/fascist press, a newspaper called “Mercury.” Valparaíso experienced heavy military repression, with soldiers running through the streets and attacking protesters. A few hours after the curfew, it was announced on the radio that the military presence would be doubled starting Sunday in Santiago. A new hashtag began to circulate: #chiledespierto (“Chile awakened”).

The military attacking civilians in Valparaíso.


News reports early Sunday announced that 240 people had been detained on Saturday night for curfew violations, more than 600 had been arrested around the country, and 62 cops injured. The total number of arrests and injuries throughout the week is much higher. Walmart Chile announced that “due to acts of vandalism, it has suffered looting in more than 60 locations in the Metropolitan Region and in the regions of Valparaíso, Antofagasta, Calama, Concepción, San Antonio, and Temuco.” Footage circulated of police openly using cocaine in the middle of the demonstrations to pump themselves up before attacking demonstrators. [This footage has since been removed from Instagram, but we saw it and consider it damning.]

Reportedly, six trains had been damaged, three of which were completely destroyed. It will take months to return the newest line in the metro to service.

Photographs from Saturday are available on Instagram here and here.

On Sunday evening, Chilean President Sebastián Piñera made a televised address to the country from the headquarters of the army in Santiago:

“Democracy not only has the right, it has the obligation to defend itself using all the instruments that democracy itself provides, and the rule of law to combat those who want to destroy it… We are at war against a powerful, implacable enemy, who does not respect anything or anyone and who is willing to use violence and crime without any limit.”

Not only this statement, but the context from which it was presented, shows clearly enough how intertwined democracy is with the same military force that ruled under the military dictatorship. Anyone who has much experience on the receiving end of state violence knows that the authorities always accuse us of whatever they plan to do to us, in order to legitimize their aggression in advance. From this statement, it is clear enough that President Piñera and the mercenaries who serve him are attempting to create a discourse in which they can legitimize killing large numbers of people to return Chile to their control.

People all around the world should be inspired by the courage shown by ordinary people in Chile and do our best to make it impossible for the military to slaughter the people in the streets. Below follows an interview with an anarchist participant in the uprising and a call to action from other participants.

The following instagram pages offer hour-by-hour coverage of the situation in Chile: @radiovillafrancia @radiokurruf @piensaprensa @diariovenceremos

A protester murdered by the Chilean military in Colina, northern Chile, during a demonstration. Content warning: this is an extremely dismaying video.

A protester murdered by the Chilean military in Colina, northern Chile, during a demonstration. Content warning: this is an extremely dismaying video.


How often does the State of Emergency or Curfew law get used in Chile? When was the last time the state employed them?

The emergency powers that the Chilean state has implemented were passed down from the Pinochet (or Pinoshit, as we like to call him here) dictatorship. The Domestic Security Law (Ley de Seguridad Interior del Estado, or LSE) has existed since 1958, before the military’s 1973 coup, but in 1975, the dictatorship greatly expanded its powers, especially regarding crimes of “public disorder.” The law raises the penalties and sentencing for a variety of violations and crimes during times when the “functioning of the country” is altered. For example, in 2002, the government (headed by socialists!) used the LSE against a bus drivers’ strike. In general, it serves more as a deterrent and a threat than an actual tool for taking anyone in particular to trial.

Then there’s the State of Emergency currently in effect, which was written into the dictatorship’s 1980 constitution, the same constitution we have today.

The State of Emergency has previously only been used during natural disasters (like the 2010 earthquake in Concepción and during other earthquakes and floods). During those disasters, we’ve seen the army in the streets, allegedly to “help” people and clear rubble, but in reality, the armed forces use these cases as military exercises—practicing how to take over cities and defend the private property of multinational corporations. While States of Emergency have been declared in recent memory, this is the first time since the dictatorship (specifically since 1987) that a curfew (toque de queda) has been utilized. It is also the first time that the state has deployed the armed forces specifically for the task of repression. For people in Chile, it is shocking to see the streets full of military vehicles, tanks, and jeeps full of armed troops. However, the younger generations seem to be less afraid of them than those that remember the dictatorship.

Soldiers on the corner, as during the dictatorship.

How does this fit into the last few years of social movements and clashes with authority in Chile? Did anyone see this coming?

No one saw this coming, nor that it would spread so far. People in Santiago did feel like tension was building, but not in the sense of social revolt. Rather, it was seen more in the aggressions between people—people having to commute for hours after their work or school day, fed up with having to squeeze tightly into a packed train or bus, overwhelmed with exhaustion. This anger and exhaustion manifested itself in conflicts between the exploited. For example, blaming and fighting other people on the train or bus, or scapegoating immigrants and the like, creating a daily experience of hostility, but no political group or organization was prepared for this kind of widespread revolt.

Since last week, there have been calls for fare-dodging (evasión) and sabotaging public transportation in response to the 30-peso fare hike. That wasn’t anything new. Whenever there are fare hikes, you see this kind of call for action. What’s different this time is we’re in spring, whereas past fare increases have been implemented in the middle of the summer without much of a response.

Beginning on Monday, October 14, organized and combative high school students began collective fare-dodging actions after they got out of school. These were massive and very effective. The Metro’s security guards weren’t ready for it, so the kids were able to freely hop the turnstiles and also hold open the gates for other commuters. On Tuesday, October 15, the collective evasiones grew even larger and included even more high schools. By Wednesday, October 16, it wasn’t only the schools with a militant reputation that were involved. Lots of schools in poorer neighborhoods outside the city center got in on the action too, and that’s where Metro security guards began clubbing students. This was truly the spark, and it made the high schoolers even more resolute in their struggle. They organized mass fare-dodging evasiones for later that afternoon (in Santiago, students get out of school a couple of hours before the workday is over) and more and more people joined in—if only because most people needed to get home and didn’t mind saving a little bit of money on their commute. On Thursday, October 17, the response from the authorities and the Metro was to close certain stations, inhibiting people from being able to get home. Squadrons of police also began to occupy Metro stations, contributing to even more conflict and, through it, the destruction of metro infrastructure. In some cases, by sheer numbers alone, people were able to expel police from the metro stations.

On Friday, October 18 there was confrontation from the beginning of the workday on. Metro stations opened with more security guards and more police than usual, but people still staged mass evasiones, and in many cases were successful in getting onto the platforms. The day went on as usual until the end of the school day. Once school was out, the whole thing got out of anyone’s control. There was confrontation and combat all over the city. Metro stations were closed. Students occupied the tracks and destroyed Metro and bus infrastructure such as turnstiles. Three entire Metro lines were shut down. People began to do battle with the police, and a variety of conflict zones between people and police sprung up around the city.

Buses were burnt and used as barricades on major thoroughfares. Bus stops were torched. Even more fuel (proverbial and literal) was put on the fire as people began getting out of work for the weekend. Thanks to the almost complete halt of metro and bus travel within the city, masses and masses of people were out on foot—voluntarily and involuntarily adding to the numbers in the street conflicts. The police were losing ground and, as night fell, they began to attack with tear gas and water cannons. In retreat, the police fell back to the higher class neighborhoods to ensure the revolt didn’t threaten the centers of wealth. The people, however, did not fall back, and went even further: looting and burning banks, supermarkets, corporate chain stores, pharmacies, metro stations, privatized health care offices, and government offices.

Ever since the evasiones started, everyone has been excited to support it, since it’s a tactic that anyone can use. There’s still a sense among the people that this has been a historic moment, at least in the social consciousness, and for the majority of people the revolt has put a smile on their face (not something you see often in Santiago). Although many haven’t agreed with some of the forms of struggle, the sound of cacerolazos rang out throughout the city late into the night.

Santiago, Chile - Barrio Franklin on Saturday night, October 19.

All this led the government to declare, at 2 am Saturday morning, a State of Exception in the province of Santiago, which included mobilization of the armed forces and preparation for their deployment on the streets. The night went on with more burning and looting. The government made a mistake thinking that the announcement of troops on the streets would calm things down.

At noon on Saturday, October 19, more cacerolazos were called for, as well as protests in the main plazas of various neighborhoods, in protest of the military presence and repression (rather than just the fare hike). The soldiers escalated things by pointing their guns, loaded with live ammunition, at people, leading to more rioting. Masses of people took to the streets in cities where a State of Exception had not been called, for example Valparaíso, Concepción, Coquimbo, and Puerto Montt. This led to even more looting and, in response, more States of Emergency and curfews declared, to begin at 10 pm Saturday night. In large part, the curfew was ignored and people stayed in the streets late into the night. Looting and burning continued.

At least three people have been found dead in the ashes of one looted supermarket, and there is news of many protesters injured by police. There are so many videos of police and military violence circulating. It’s difficult to say with certainty how many protesters have been injured because the news is flooded with police press releases about how many police were injured, without even mentioning the demonstrators they have hurt, hiding the true level of their repression. However, the number of injured demonstrators is definitely in the hundreds, including people hit by clubs, tear gas canisters shot at people’s bodies and heads, people hit at close range by rubber bullets, people run over by police vehicles, and so on.

This is still going on as I write and neither the police nor the armed forces seem to have taken control. They moved the curfew up tonight [Sunday, October 20], to 7 pm and fake news is circulating about shortages of food and basic goods in order to frighten the population.

A line to purchase groceries. Anxiety has spread about the availability of consumer goods.

I believe that since the beginning of this revolt, the students have been filled with a spirit of liberation and confrontation, which, thanks to compañeros who have combatted police in the past and destroyed the symbols of capital, has generated a collective unconsciousness in which, during moments like this, people know to attack authority. This has been demonstrated by the fact that the majority of the businesses targeted have been large multinational chains like Walmart, which itself has had around 80 stores looted and 10 burnt throughout the country. It is also seen in the widespread use of the anarchist symbol on walls, especially amongst the combative youth.

Protesters chanting “Ooof oof, que calor, el guanaco por favor”—”How hot it is—a water cannon, please.” Guanaco is what demonstrators call the armored vehicles with water cannons. A mocking and defiant tone. This video was shot in the city center of Santiago on Sunday.

Appendix: Call for Solidarity from Chile

The Revolt Is Growing Despite Brutal State Repression: This Monday, October 21, We Move on to the General Strike for Everything

One week ago, when the subway fare in Santiago reached the stratospheric price of 830 Chilean pesos (USD 1.20), the unbridled student youth proletariat—which has the virtue of denying this world in practice, refusing any kind of dialogue with power—launched an offensive calling for the “mass fare-dodging,” self-organizing a gigantic movement of disobedience that instantly earned a tremendous backing among our class, since this means of public transport is used by at least 3 million people daily. The State responded by sending hundreds of riot police to protect the stations, provoking severe confrontations in the subway system, which left hundreds of people wounded and detained.

On Friday, October 18, the rupture occurred: during a new day of protests against the fare hike, Santiago’s subway lines began to close completely, one by one, starting at 3 pm. This caused an unprecedented collapse in the metropolitan urban transport system. That day, the spark was ignited and the proletarian class demonstrated its power, as thousands of people threw took to the streets, overwhelming the repressive forces and staging major riots in downtown Santiago that surpassed any forecast. The corporate building of ENEL (an electrical company operating in Chile) burned in flames and several subway stations suffered the same fate. The Capitalist State showed its true face to the population, decreeing a “state of emergency”, which meant that the military was brought out for the first time since the end of the Dictatorship as a result of a social conflict. From that night on, nothing will ever be the same.

On noon Saturday, a call to meet at Plaza Italia, in downtown Santiago, quickly led to a general revolt with insurrectional features that reached every corner of the city, despite the strong military presence on the streets. And literally, the uprising moved on to all of the cities in the Chilean region. Like an oil stain, it began to spread with cacerolazos (pot-banging), barricades, attacks on government buildings, sabotage of infrastructure strategic to the circulation of capital (toll plazas and fare meters on highways, 80 subway stations partially destroyed and 11 totally reduced to ashes, dozens of buses burned, etc.), 130 bank branches damaged, 250 ATMs destroyed, some attacks on police stations and a military facility in Iquique, and what has most irritated the ruling class: the looting of supermarket chains and large malls.

In this scenario, which for us has been a party, in which the proletariat is self-organizing and facing its conditions of extreme precariousness, the “state of emergency” has been extended to approximately a dozen cities that have joined the fight, which have also faced a relentless “curfew” controlled at gunpoint by the military and police vermin that currently stand at 10,500 troops who have the green light to shoot to kill.

Sunday night, October 20: Anarchist demonstrators display a banner reading “PUNKS FOR ROJAVA” while they take on the army under martial law.

Looting and the Immediate Satisfaction of Human Needs

The sacrosanct status of private property was radically questioned by tens of thousands of proletarians who supplied themselves with everything they could at most supermarkets and large stores, which have been thoroughly plundered, and in many cases burned, as a terrified bourgeoisie looks on and constantly calls on its representatives to crush without reservation what they call “a small group of violent elements and vandals.” However, the reality is far from this, since, although they deny it continuously, this is not the action of a minority, but a massive phenomenon that has been expressing itself with irrepressible force.

Those of us who have been stripped of everything and survive as we can, indebted, without being able to make ends meet, have affirmed in practice that we have no reason to pay to access what we need to meet our needs. The reproduction of the commercialized daily survival in this way of life imposed upon us is, at all times, subordinated to the accumulation of capital by the bourgeoisie, at the expense of wage laborers and the life of misery that we must endure day in and day out. We have done nothing more than expropriate what belongs to us and what has robbed us our entire lives, and this they cannot bear. In short, widespread revolt means claiming ourselves as human beings and denying ourselves as merchandise.

The Press: Spokespersons for Capital and Defenders of Merchandise

The press has played a crucial role in the defense of “common sense” and channeling what is called “public opinion,” that is, the dominant logic of the capitalist system, according to which material things and the production of goods matter more than human lives, emphasizing time and again the defense of “public order,” “individual rights,”, “private property,” and “social peace” to justify the massacre being promoted by the capitalists and the most reactionary sectors of society.

Through the misrepresentation and/or concealment of information, the spreading of lies and false stories, the criminalization of social subversion, the entire press has shown itself to be an accomplice to State terrorism: they must assume the consequences for all this. Some examples of this include the following:

  • Hiding the number and cases of assassinations by the repressive forces, and not reporting repeated allegations of “excessive use of force in arrests, child abuse, mistreatment, blows to faces and thighs, torture, undressing of women and men and sexual abuse,” as indicated by the National Institute of Human Rights (NHRI).
  • Communicating that there has been looting of “farmer’s markets” in some municipalities such as La Pintana, Puente Alto, among others, which is totally false. People have reported on social and alternative media that these have been plainclothes police who have tried to provoke infighting within our class.
  • Promoting fear among the population by emphasizing that looting will also affect private homes and small businesses, when there have been just a few completely isolated events of this, which our class must firmly reject.
  • Differentiating between “citizens” and “criminals,” between “peaceful” and “violent” protesters, betting on the division and isolation of the most radicalized elements that are part of the movement and that are trying to promote an anti-capitalist orientation in the development of the revolt.
  • Remaining in complicit silence regarding the water supply cuts that have directly affected several municipalities in the southern sector of Santiago, which are “suspiciously” also the places where the combat against the state and capital have developed in the most direct manner against their institutions and where authority is most flatly despised.

The Government Recognizes 8 Dead, but We Know There Are Many More

As President Piñera declares that “we are at war against a powerful enemy that respects nothing and nobody,” the despicable Andres Chadwick, Minister of the Interior, made a brief statement on television claiming that 7 people had “died”—and not been killed at the hands of the state—without offering any further details. We who have been present in the struggle and coordinating with comrades in different parts of the country know that the number of the dead is much larger. Videos and photographs have been shared on social media and counter-information websites, which are being systematically removed from the internet, showing people killed by soldiers and cops in various places where they are resisting. At least by our count—which we are still unable to confirm due to the deliberate campaign of concealment and misinformation of the capitalist state—this figure is 16 people: 1 person in Quinta Normal, 2 in San Bernardo, 5 in Renca and 2 in La Pintana, who died as a result of fires during the looting, 1 person killed in Lampa after being deliberately run over by the police, 1 by military bullets in Colina, 3 in La Serena, and 1 in Pedro Aguirre Cerda who died as a result of police repression. We know that this partial assessment might grow even further, since as we are quickly writing this text, severe confrontations continue under the curfew with the military, cops, and undercover police in several places within the Chilean region.

The General Strike on Monday, October 21—and Some Perspectives

Tomorrow, Monday, October 21, a diverse grouping of mass organizations have called for a general strike, the first one that may be highly effective, directly affecting production, due to the collapse of the transportation system, at least in the city of Santiago. The state is doing everything possible to ensure that “people go to work”: they have partially enabled Line 1 of the subway system, they are trying to reinforce the bus service, and they have called on the population to show “solidarity” by helping their neighborhoods reach their jobs. The capitalist class is only interested in producing for themselves; we are only useful to them for producing and moving their merchandise and increasing their accumulation of capital. For this reason, we are calling on people to not go to work and toactively participate in the strike, as the subway workers’ union has, due to the “police and military repression.” In addition, we believe it is important to spread the following perspectives:

  • Do not fall into the dynamic of fighting amongst ourselves over food, water, and the satisfaction of our needs: that is the state’s game, to divide and conquer. To solve our problems, we must organize ourselves in our communities, there is no other solution.
  • Do not allow the political parties and social democracy to present themselves as our “representatives,” to appropriate the struggle and sit down to negotiate with the state to extinguish the fire of the revolt, attempting to steer the resolution of the conflict towards cosmetic, superficial reforms that do not aim to eradicate the root of the problems that afflict our class.
  • Occupy all educational facilities and turn them into places of resistance, debate, meeting, and self-organization, places to gather food and medicine, and spaces to assist our wounded.
  • Organize grassroots assemblies in the territories where the struggle is developing, in order to collectively decide the direction of the ongoing revolt.
  • Demand the freedom of the nearly 1,700 detainees who are being prosecuted for their participation in the revolt.


-Some communist/anarchist proletarians participating in the revolt

Rebellion against the precarization of life.

October 23, 2019 05:43 PM

THX Kitchen

@how wrote:

THX is about self-organization, infrastructure, and solidarity. Therefore everyone is going to make at least one turn in the kitchen to prepare the meals, including serving the meal and cleaning up.

Links to the wiki require a login and password: see the Matrix room’s topic for those.


All menus are vegetarian, and offer a vegan option:

Shopping list

This is the current shopping list:

Special Regimes

If you have food allergies, etc. please tell us in advance!

Working in the Kitchen

  • Rule #1: wash your hands, and keep them clean
  • Rule #2: follow the recipes – eventually complete them in the wiki
  • Rule #3: meal service and kitchen cleanup are not optional!
  • Rule #4: cooking together is a joyful experience, and your joy is tasty!
  • Rule #5: communicate; com-mu-ni-cate; communicate!

Posts: 1

Participants: 1

Read full topic

by @how hellekin at October 23, 2019 05:37 PM


If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want to Be Part of Your Picket

The teachers’ strike wave that has swept the nation since last year hasn’t just reinvigorated working-class militancy — it’s also produced some excellent picket line music and dancing. On the occasion of the teachers’ strike in Chicago, we rounded up the best of them.

alt Thousands of demonstrators take to the streets, stopping traffic and circling City Hall in a show support for the ongoing teachers' strike on October 23, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Scott Heins / Getty

Over thirty thousand Chicago teachers and school workers walked off the job Thursday, in their second open-ended strike in seven years. In 2012, their defiant strike against Rahm Emanuel’s cuts and closures lit the fuse of the national teachers’ revolt which exploded last spring.

Teachers make some of the best strikers: most are good public speakers and team players, care deeply about their jobs and their communities, have unrivaled time-management skills, and can deal with chaos and crowds. Plus, they’re creative — especially with fun group activities. This was reflected in 2012 when Chicago teachers produced some great strike-themed cover songs like this Carly Rae Jepsen spin-off, “When There’s a Contract, Then Call Us Maybe.”

Since 2018, teachers on strike across the country have also taken up the noble tradition of the strike song. When you’re fighting powerful billionaires, racist Republicans, and neoliberal Democrats, these kinds of class-war-themed sing-alongs and dance contests keep spirits up at the picket line.

In these videos, we see the power, pride, joy, diversity, and creative genius of an organized working class. Most of our lives, this power has only been latent. But with the teachers’ strike wave and Bernie Sanders’s historic movement campaign for president, workers are once more on the move, and they’re making their own soundtrack as they go.

To celebrate the Chicago educators’ strike, we’ve collected some of the best music from the ongoing teachers’ strike wave.

West Virginia

West Virginia, home of the Blue Ridge Mountains and a long, heroic tradition of working-class militancy among coal miners and their families, was the first of the red states to erupt in early 2018. Teachers and school workers from all fifty-five counties beat the Republican legislature after walking out in an illegal strike that went wildcat in its second week.

The strikers’ anthem was John Denver’s “Country Roads.” Here are some of the tens of thousands of teachers rallying at the state capitol and singing the song in celebration of a tentative deal with the government on March 6.


Inspired by West Virginia, Oklahoma teachers struck a month later. By April 9, fifty thousand people were rallying in the capital, and over five hundred thousand students were out of school.

Music teachers started showing up to these mass rallies with their instruments, forming impromptu bands and giving a soundtrack to the strike (which ended up winning a $6,000 raise for teachers). A favorite of Oklahoma music teachers was Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It.”

Oklahoma teachers also line danced in the cold a lot. Here they are warming up with the “Cupid Shuffle ” (Credit; Yael Bridge).


Next came Arizona. After months of buildup, teachers and support staff walked out across the state on April 26. They were up against one of the most advanced and well-funded school privatization machines in the country. A red sea of tens of thousands of educators and supporters rallied for days in Phoenix with bilingual signs and #RedforEd banners. After one week, they won a 20 percent salary raise and more.

Arizona’s music teachers came together to form a single, massive, well-organized marching band. The #RedforEd band led all sorts of songs, including an original #RedforEd cover of “When The Saints Go Marching In.”

A favorite in Phoenix was the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army.” The song, an adapted version of which has also become an unofficial anthem for the UK Labour Party’s socialist leader, Jeremy Corbyn, starts with the lyrics: “I’m gonna fight ’em all / A seven nation army couldn’t hold me back.”


Teachers in Virginia, led by a rank-and-file network called Virginia Educators United, carried out a one-day rally and walkout in January. Under pressure, the legislature granted them a 5 percent pay raise. In the lead-up to the action, some Virginia teachers put out what is no doubt the highest production value teacher strike music video to date.

With new lyrics to CeeLo Green’s “Fuck You,” Richmond science teacher Juliane Toce performs “Won’t Fund You!”, the chorus of which goes: “I know this change in my pocket just ain’t enough / You’re still like, ‘Won’t fund you’ / Time for job number two!”

Toce’s first school funding music video also gets an honorable mention, even though it came out just before the teachers’ strike wave started. In December 2017, Toce and her students made “All I Want For Christmas Is Glue” to promote a GoFundMe for supplies for her sixth grade science class.

Los Angeles

This January, thirty-five thousand members of United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) shut down the country’s second-largest school district for six days, fighting against the privatizers’ push to downsize the district. In addition to a 6 percent salary raise for themselves, teachers won big for their students, including smaller class sizes and an end to racist “random” searches.

LA teachers and students also raised the stakes of the unspoken national strike music competition. On the picket lines, Los Angeles teachers carried on a friendly site-against-site competition featuring a choreographed dance to Aretha Franklin’s “Think.” You can see some entries here and here. And check out this video explaining the dance to would-be contestants:

Two LA teachers in lucha libre masks produced an original rap song, “Shuttin’ It Down.” In the song, they complain about “two-faced liars” and “billionaire privatizers,” demand charter regulation, additional public school funding, and threaten to shut down the schools “from the Bay to LA”: “1.7 billion in reserve / And yet you kick our demands to curb / My thirty-five thousand friends agree / We gotta strike to save LAUSD.”

Accompanied by a teachers’ band, Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello performed “Killing in the Name” at a massive rally in downtown LA.

The most moving videos from the strike are from the kids that LA teachers were striking for. A teacher captured a performance of Bruno Mars’s “Count On Me” by dozens of elementary students. Students, spending the day in a teacherless school, organized a balcony performance for their teachers who were walking the picket line outside in the rain. Teachers hummed along and shouted back, “We’re here for you!”

A Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) fifth-grader wrote her own lyrics to Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song.” In “A Strike Song,” Aryana Fields thanks her teachers: “Everything that’s done for me / By my teachers daily / I will scream them loud today / Will you listen to what I say?”

One of the most remarkable themes of the strikes from West Virginia to LA has been the support from parents and students for their educators — teachers say it’s critical to the success of these strikes. Here’s the chorus to Fields’s song:

This is a strike song
Our education
Prove-them-we’re-right song
Our power’s turned on
Starting right now we’ll be strong
We’ll sing this strike song
And it’s so critical that everybody else believes
Cause I know this is exactly what I need

I was never a huge fan of the original song, but Fields’s version got me misty.


Oakland teachers also fought a billionaire-funded, pro-charter school board this spring. After a grueling seven-day strike, teachers won an 11 percent salary increase, smaller class sizes, and a temporary halt to school closures. Now they’re threatening to run a slate in 2020 to take over the school board and end cuts and privatization.

In the Bay Area, workers do strike music a little different. Mass rallies featured locally famous hip-hop artists like Zion Ihyphy music legend Mistah F.A.B., and Boots Riley. To keep spirits high in Oakland fashion, one family drove around in a lowrider wearing lucha libre masks and blasting E-40, a mariachi band serenaded picketers, and one site learned the dance for “Thriller.” The kids danced, too.

In a 1993 episode of The Simpsons, Homer Simpson and his coworkers at the nuclear plant go on strike to get dental coverage for his daughter, Lisa. In 2019, an Oakland teacher made an Oakland teacher-themed cover of Lisa’s strike song from the show:

Finally, instead of “Think,” Oakland teachers’ dance challenge was accompanied by V.I.C’s “Wobble Baby.”

In 2012, Chicago taught educators everywhere how to strike. At the time, CTU members were innovators in using social media to build support for the strike — and to share their great picket line tunes.

Since February 2018, over half a million teachers from across the country have gone on strike and raised the bar. As Chicago teachers kick off a nasty fight with the privatizer-funded Democratic Party establishment, they’ll hopefully also have time to top other striking teachers’ performances.

They’re off to a decent start. Here are a few videos from their first two days on strike (Credit: @ladyshosha on Instagram, chicago.teacher.memes, chicago.teacher.memes, and @kimthewaitress on Instagram, respectively).

by Jeremy Gong at October 23, 2019 05:03 PM

It’s Chicago Educators Versus the Ruling Class

Striking educators in Chicago are showing the country how union power can confront and turn back the abhorrent conditions of the neoliberal era.

alt Thousands of demonstrators take to the streets, stopping traffic and circling City Hall in a show support for the ongoing strike on October 23, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Scott Heins / Getty

Though the media is casting the strike of education workers in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) as (just) another episode in the wave of teachers’ strikes, and the press in Chicago is doing its best to defeat the union, this contract campaign has already set a new bar for resistance to policies on education and the economy in place for decades.

Two unions whose members are mostly women, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and the union representing CPS support workers, SEIU Local 73, are directly challenging not only the billionaires who control the GOP and want policies that benefit their profits and strengthen their hold on government, but also the Democratic Party’s shell game of claiming to be friends of labor and education while continuing the disastrous bipartisan policies that have fostered inequality and degraded public education, especially in low-income communities of color.

Since the publication of “A Nation at Risk” in 1983, which launched what in hindsight we know was the US iteration of the global neoliberal project in education, schools and teaching throughout the country have been transformed — supported by liberals, labor, and the education establishment, which bought the rationale that schools and teachers could save the economy by adopting “excellence” reforms and later, privatization. Though groups of activist teachers and parents have been struggling to make schools something more than joyless sorting machines based on standardized tests, austerity has intensified the pain and unfairness of a narrowed curriculum tied to testing. Cutbacks in social services in the schools and in communities have made conditions in classrooms even worse.

Damage is most intense in the low-income Hispanic and African American communities that most depend on schools to be a refuge and to help some students climb out of poverty. Chicago is no exception. Its schools are dirty, cleaned less often and less well, often by janitors working for private companies with whom principals and teachers have no contact; school buses are less safe because aides aren’t present to protect kids from bullying or get help if there’s a medical problem; as class sizes grow, unchecked by law or union contracts, students who have questions or feel lost in an assignment are left to flounder without help from aides or teachers.

Damage is most intense in the low-income Hispanic and African American communities that most depend on schools to be a refuge and help some students climb out of poverty. Chicago is no exception. Its schools are dirty, cleaned less often and less well, often by janitors working for private companies with whom principals and teachers have no contact; school buses are less safe because aides aren’t present to protect kids from bullying or get help if there’s a medical problem; as class sizes grow, unchecked by law or union contracts, students who have questions or feel lost in an assignment are left to flounder without help from aides or teachers.

One factor virtually ignored by media coverage of the Chicago strike or of the national “teacher revolt” sparked by the Chicago teachers’ 2012 strike, is how bipartisan policies have pushed to destroy teaching as a career, making the occupation a revolving door of barely trained college grads. As the World Bank has explained, the rationale for its education reforms in the Global South, including well-orchestrated attacks on teachers’ unions, is to curtail expenditures on teachers’ pay and benefits. Hence in the United States we have seen teachers’ pensions cast as unaffordable, a strategy accompanied by pay practices to rescind or limit salary increases based on years of experience and education. The intent is to push out older, experienced teachers, making the teaching force cheaper and more compliant, in the process eliminating what has historically been a path for working-class women to move into the middle class.

What makes the CTU’s contract campaign so singular is its simultaneous pushback on so many elements of this project and its willingness to take on Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who has assumed responsibility for what the Democratic Party, represented in Chicago by Arne Duncan and Rahm Emanuel, began and oversaw. The campaign embodies an understanding that the morass of neglect in Chicago’s schools is not an accident, nor the result of reformers’ good intentions gone awry, but the product of a project to refashion education to serve the needs of corporations that want a docile populace, profits from the education sector, and a workforce whose education is synchronized with the desires of capital in the new global economy.

Every CTU demand hits the mark, addressing the nitty-gritty of school life. They have called for class size to be reduced, including untenable teacher-student ratios in early childhood education. They have insisted on testing being curtailed. They want experienced teachers to be paid a salary that defends teaching as a profession and a career. They want social workers and support personnel hired to help students who face social problems that would make many adults break. They insist on help for special needs students, a librarian and a nurse in every school, and want written commitments for more schools to become sanctuaries for immigrant students and families. CTU has called for community schools that are truly rooted in what communities want and need, rejecting the programs CPS has pushed in early childhood education services. These give big profits to companies that keep kids from receiving services, in a model called “Pay for Success,” that includes data-mining. CTU wants programs that make schools safer by supporting students’ social needs, rather than making schools more prison-like. Most recently the union bargaining team had coaches explain the human cost of the district’s financial neglect of athletic programs. In sum, this union insists on learning and teaching conditions the affluent take for granted for their children.

And they also insist that Chicago students should have conditions outside the school that support learning. Facing ridicule about its “far-fetched” contract demand for Chicago to confront the crisis of affordable housing — the conditions producing homelessness — the CTU has simultaneously insisted on and won more support for schools to help students and their families in temporary living situations. In asserting their power and responsibility as union members to improve what goes on in schools and classrooms as well as the city outside, Chicago’s education workers are showing us how to use union power to confront and turn back the conditions so many Americans now see and abhor. Following Sanders’s lead, Harris, Warren, and Biden, have expressed support for union demands, exposing Lightfoot’s pro-big business economic program.

CTU is standing up to the Democrats and the US ruling class, as it did a decade ago, on behalf of children who live in conditions we should not countenance, morally or politically. Again the union is leading a struggle that is a watershed for labor and for popular resistance to neoliberalism. Chicago’s education workers, many women of color, are at the front. We need to have their back because their fight is about our children’s well-being and our collective future

by Lois Weiner at October 23, 2019 03:45 PM


Greece: Chile woke up / Chile despertó / Η Χιλή ξύπνησε (poster en/es/gr)

Καβάλα: Αφίσα αλληλεγγύης στους διωκόμενους της υπόθεσης LEROY MERLIN
Received / Recibido / Λάβαμε 23/10/2019 Los pacos son inflamables The cops are flammable Οι μπάτσοι είναι εύφλεκτοι LA SOLIDARIDAD NO ES SÓLO PALABRA ESCRITA SOLIDARITY IS NOT JUST A WRITTEN WORD Η ΑΛΛΗΛΕΓΓΥΗ ΔΕΝ ΕΙΝΑΙ ΑΠΛΑ ΓΡΑΠΤΗ ΛΕΞΗ Chile despertó Chile woke up Η Χιλή ξύπνησε


by InNero at October 23, 2019 03:28 PM


@how wrote:

Continuing the discussion from Diffracting + Decentralisation: exploring collective asymmetry:

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Participants: 1

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by @how hellekin at October 23, 2019 03:19 PM


@how wrote:

Continuing the discussion from Diffracting + Decentralisation: exploring collective asymmetry:

  1. a large number of alternative ISPs building InfraRED and the LibreHosters network seem to think it’s desirable, and :ps: counts among them. ↩︎

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by @how hellekin at October 23, 2019 03:19 PM


@how wrote:

Continuing the discussion from Diffracting + Decentralisation: exploring collective asymmetry:

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Participants: 1

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by @how hellekin at October 23, 2019 03:18 PM

THX Organization

@how wrote:

This is a proposal to organize working groups and schedule during THX.


Each topic has a dedicated Discourse topic, tagged under #thx-topic :

  • First post describes the topic shortly, according to the original proposal
  • Second post is a wiki that will serve to synthetize findings
  • Replies will be used to take notes during sessions

Working Groups

“Activators” form a group of 6 (@0xf, @eliotberriot, @how, @ludovicduhem, @natacha, @stefanie_wu) who take the role of keeping the working groups (WGs) on topic, facilitate discussion, and work together to articulate findings.

Each day, each WG assigns 1 person to the kitchen for each meal (i.e., 2 people per group per day).

Two WGs focus on a single topic each day. Group membership rotation should ensure that each person rotates at least once per topic, and once in the kitchen.



08:00 - 09:30
This is also a good time for taking a walk around.


10:00 - 10:30
Each morning, the Activators introduce the topics, review findings, and form the WGs.
Each WG detaches one person for taking care of lunch.

10:30 - 13:30
Two WGs focus on a single topic, sharing the dedicated Discourse topic.


13:30 - 14:30


14:30 - 17:00
After lunch a workshop is proposed, under the light of common work.

17:00 - 20:00
Each WG assigns one person for taking care of dinner.
WG work resumes.


20:00 - 21:00


21:00 - 22:00
After dinner, the Activators convene to synthetize findings in the wiki, so that the next morning, WGs can start from there.

Other workshops can happen or continue after dinner.


On Monday, we work altogether to turn all wikis into a short (online) publication that will serve to further work.

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Participants: 1

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by @how hellekin at October 23, 2019 03:18 PM


Mafiosi of the World, Unite

Anti-mafia authors, police investigators, and far-right militants in Italy have a new obsession — organized crime by Nigerian citizens. But sensationalism about Nigerians importing “black magic” and “bloodthirsty violence” from afar fails to grasp the root of the problem — the criminal forms of organization that pervade Italian capitalism as a whole.

alt A map marking towns with Mafia activity in Sicily in 1900. Towns with Mafia activity are marked with red dots. Towns with no Mafia activity are marked with black dots, 1900. Antonino Cutrera / Wikimedia

Every age gets the conspiracy theory it deserves. Suitably, the current conjuncture in Italy has produced a new obsession on the far right, in the form of the Nigerian mafia. In a period in which immigration has dominated the political agenda, the murder of eighteen-year-old Pamela Mastropietro by a Nigerian man last January, on the eve of national elections, as well as a series of high-profile arrests of Nigerian gang members, have provided the Italian right a key tool for whipping up racist sentiment. And the obsession has spread. Today, the Nigerian mafia is subject of daily articles on local news sites, books by small publishers, investigations by carabinieri, and think-pieces by philosophers, anti-mafia authors, and neofascists alike. It has been described as the evillest of all criminal networks, the most bloodthirsty, even overtaking the horrors of Cosa Nostra.

Whatever their basis in reality, such theories are worth listening to. It was, after all, a little-read far-right blog that first accused international NGOs of colluding with Libyan people traffickers — a theory that provided the basis for former interior minister Matteo Salvini’s Security Decree criminalizing sea rescue. Here, a conspiracy theory had disastrous consequences — indeed, ones that the new government has still done nothing to mitigate.

Similarly, the far right has made legislative proposals responding to the fears being stoked by their own propaganda, for instance sending troops into Castel Volturno (a city with a large West African population, infamous for its crime syndicates) or creating special courts for trying the crimes of foreign citizens. Even though there are perhaps 100,000 Nigerian citizens in Italy, the presence of this small population is making waves throughout political life and beyond.

This poses the need to understand the court strategy being formed by a section of the police and judiciary in response to supposed criminality by Nigerian citizens, as well as the accusations coming from the far right. In the face of widespread focus on mysticism, black magic, and a heavily racialized understanding of violent domination, it is necessary to put the development of international organized crime in its proper context, setting it within the coordinates of contemporary, post-Fordist international capitalism. In so doing, we see how white supremacism and anti-Mafia legislation are combining to provide an ideological understanding of the phenomenon that erases the historical role of both the Italian and Nigerian ruling classes in creating the current violence.

Conspiracy Theories

The focus on organized crime by Nigerian citizens has received a certain impetus within the magistracy and the Italian right thanks to the latest six-month report by the Anti-Mafia Directorate, which includes a chapter entirely devoted to the Nigerian mafia.

Among others, this report has been picked up on by the right-wing press, with works such as Alessandro Meluzzi’s Nigerian Mafia: Origins, Rituals, Crimes, Fabio Federici’s The Dark Side of the Nigerian Mafia in Italy, and Leonardo Palmisano’s The Black Axe: The Brutal Intelligence of the Nigerian Mafia. These are fringe works, but are nevertheless gaining traction. Palmisano’s book has been favorably reviewed by Roberto Saviano, Italy’s most famous current mafiologist and one of Salvini’s most public opponents. Federici’s book is prefaced by Nando dalla Chiesa, the son of a carabinieri general murdered in the 1980s and renowned figurehead of the anti-mafia movement who has denounced state collusion with Cosa Nostra. Meluzzi’s book boasts a preface by the leader of the far-right party Fratelli d’Italia and at several presentations the author has been joined on-stage by the well-known commentator Diego Fusaro, a self-professed Marxist and often a mouthpiece for far-right ideas.

Meluzzi’s book provides a good overview of the coordinates of this new cultural phenomenon. First, it provides an exemplary regurgitation of the principal narratives, aphorisms and insults of the contemporary far right in relation to post-2012 migrant solidarity. Anti-racism is portrayed as — at best — the act of misguided bourgeois do-gooders haplessly assisting the entrance of hordes of rapists, traffickers, and criminals onto Italian soil, and at worst, active members in a bourgeois conspiracy for the substitution of the white, Christian race, whose enlightenment values were won through “tiring conquests.”

Secondly, this supremacist ideology is defended through a hodgepodge of factoids and overviews of various aspects of African history, ethnography, and criminology (from Nigeria through to Tanzania) in order to provide an image of an inherently cannibalistic and brutal race that cannot truly be blamed for acts of gruesome violence which are, however erroneously, conceived as acts of fidelity to pagan Gods. In this, the murder of eighteen-year-old Pamela Mastropietro in Macerata by a Nigerian man is constantly invoked as an exemplary action of brutality. The neo-Nazi mass shooting that took place immediately afterwards as “revenge” is never mentioned, however.

Finally, citations from Italian court cases and the aforementioned report by the Anti-Mafia Directorate are used to demonstrate how, through the mistakes or collusion of the Italian ruling class, this biologically criminal mindset has taken root on Italian soil and, indeed, enjoyed the tolerance or collaboration of “our own Mafia.” Added to this are the future threats that this deadly combination of immigration and African primitiveness might bring: further murders of white women, ritual cannibalism, organ harvesting, and Islamic radicalization.

Yet the tenor of the right-wing analysis of the Nigerian mafia is identifiable in much older discourses. The recipe is equal parts Julius Evola, Ku Klux Klan, and Raymond Chandler, with the formal structure of the narratives constructed by European and American journalists falling somewhere between film noir and Boys’ Own adventure stories. As Alta Jablow wrote of such British adventure tales: “in the imperial period writers were far more addicted to tales of cannibalism than Africans ever were to cannibalism.” And indeed for at least a decade, the Western press has been inundated with “exposés” of the Nigerian underground in European capitals, with a stock of classic characters: vulnerable young girls (“the damsel in distress”), evil madams (à la the Queen of the Night), magic potions, macabre murders, machetes, and bloodthirsty mystical cults, all set within cityscapes that recalls the rain-drenched pavements and hard-boiled cynicism of classic film noir.

What Are the Nigerian Cults?

The Anti-Mafia Directorate report has not only become an object of interest for crankish amateur anthropologists and sensationalist journalists, but also for a section of the police and judiciary.

Applying anti-Mafia laws to indict Nigerian citizens is establishing a legislative environment which provides for a new carceral approach to street-level crime: once the “Mafia-character” of Nigerian “secret societies” such as the Black Axe or the Vikings has been settled, participants can be jailed for up to fifteen years simply for being part of such an organization, over and above any sentencing for specific crimes, whether they be international human trafficking or — as is more frequent — small-time drug dealing and bar fights. This law was based on proposals by Pio La Torre, leader of the Italian Communist Party in Sicily, who was himself murdered by the Sicilian Mafia in 1982. His analysis of the Mafia linked it closely to Christian-Democrat politicians and the vast, corrupt construction sector speculation that was destroying Palermo’s historic fabric. He was little bothered about petty crime.

In order for Nigerian criminal organizations to fit the bill as “Mafia-like” organizations, the Anti-Mafia Directorate and others have provided a stock narrative of what Nigerian criminal organizations are and how they came to be.

The structure of these police histories of the Nigerian “cults” goes as follows: seventy years ago, in colonial Nigeria, young intellectuals formed a university club called the Pyrates on the model of American fraternities. This was a semisecret society that aimed for academic excellence and mutual support and included luminaries such as the writer Wole Soyinke. There were then various splits from this early group, particularly following the turbulent period of Nigeria’s independence and civil war, leading in the 1970s to the forming of other student fraternities.

The histories then go into the various groupings and splits of the different cults, with a certain joy in their strange names: the Vikings, the Buccaneers, the Seadogs, and so on. Over the 1980s these groups then became extremely violent, a development rarely explained but often superficially attributed to an increasing violence in Nigerian society more generally. This led to the campus groups effectively becoming street gangs, warring against each other and, over the last forty years, becoming the de facto organizations of Nigerian organized crime, including on an international level.

This story has many holes, and its constant repetition in courts and police offices is not helping to fill them in. The theory of history and of organizational development presented in the thesis is that even good-natured groups can go wrong if the context is violent enough. Yet violence did not just creep into the universities or randomly corrupt an innocent, scholarly society. Karl Marx described the bourgeoisie’s fascination with commodities as similar to West African religious belief in the magic of “fetishes.” Here, instead, it is the bourgeois explanation of the transformation of the campus fraternities from university apprentice into bastions of evil that mirrors black magic. What is missing here is the central factor of history, its motor, without which all transformations seem like juju and miracles: the motor of class struggle.

The cults did indeed begin as a playful form of student protest within Nigeria’s colonial, postwar university system, utilizing an argot of swashbuckling and piratical similes in the tradition of trans-Atlantic romantic rebellion. By the mid-1960s, writer Sowinke’s political activities led him to resign his university post, and he was later arrested for hijacking a radio station to try and broadcast news of government malpractice. The outbreak of the Biafran civil war in 1966 radically changed and eventually refounded the Nigerian state, a period which impacted every Nigerian institution (and to which we will return below). Yet just as radical a change came a few years after the end of the war, with the oil crisis of 1973, pushing the price of Nigerian oil high enough to open up new material possibilities, creating a petroleum-based “rentier state” and setting aside the old dependency on peasant surpluses. University enrollments rose from 3.5 million people in 1970 to 13.5 million by 1980, accompanied by a vibrant and politicized student movement.

But in 1985 Ibrahim Babangida seized power and installed the Structural Adjustment Program that effectively handed the country’s economic decisions over to the Reaganite economics of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Over the next decade, the Nigerian state used every method possible to implement extreme austerity measures, slash the number of universities, drive down wages, privatize the land, and encourage investment by multinationals. The death penalty was introduced for the crime of “economic sabotage.”

From the great student riots of 1989 through to the campaigns for democracy in the late 1990s, leading to the eventual restoration of democratic elections, the student movement and the lecturers’ unions played a pivotal role. This was also the most significant period in the transformation of the university confraternities into organizations for collective violence, as they were instrumentalized by the dictatorships to suppress the revolts. A quote from the 1996 newsletter of the Committee for Academic Freedom, an organization founded by George Caffentzis and Silvia Federici after their years teaching in Nigeria, gives a good feel for the times:

One of the most gruesome examples of what campus life is like in Nigeria comes from the University of Port Harcourt, where, on January 17 of this year, at 12pm, in full daylight, ten students hacked down another student at the convocation area while one thousand students and four lecturers were scared away from the scene of the murder with gun shots. As a result of the attack, which was described by a witness as “a Mafia-like action”, the student died four days later. Surprisingly, even a congress of the students’ union, on January 31, did not address the issue, possibly out of fear, or because students no longer hope the authorities will punish the culprits. Students say, in fact, that the so-called cult-members have virtual immunity and receive their weapons straight from the police, so that even when assailants are identified little is done against them.

“Mafia-like action” is a striking phrase, especially in the mid-1990s, the years of the Sicilian Mafia’s most well-known crimes. And here we really do see a parallel with the Sicilian Mafia, even if not the one that most suits current Italian law forces: both Nigerian and Sicilian organized networks have been used by the state as a method of repressing calls for socialist reform. For example, in Sicily, the postwar peasant movement that demanded land reform was bloodily repressed in Western Sicily by mafiosi; dozens of Sicilian communists were murdered or disappeared at their hands. Similarly, in Nigeria the most vocal opposition to capitalist restructuring in the 1980s and 1990s was organized labor.

The Role of Italian Capitalism in Nigeria

The twenty-first century saw another stage in the transformation of the cults, through the rise in armed conflict in the Niger Delta. As the scholar Omolade Adunbi describes, in the 2003 election politicians “recruited youth from underground fraternities to import arms and ammunitions and protect their electoral interest. Once power was won, that army of unemployed youth were dismissed from their dubious political roles and left to return to their villages, while holding on to their weapons.” Yet is impossible to understand the armed conflict in the Niger Delta — which has further militarized the cults and set a homicidal tone for an entire generation — without including the role of oil multinationals in the Nigerian petroleum fields.

As our starting point was the presence of Nigerian organized crime in Italy, it is instructive to take a look at Italy’s own involvement in Nigeria (a similar tale could be told for British, American, and French involvement). The Italian state oil company has been a part of Nigerian oil production since 1962 and was thus also present in an important moment in the civil war: in 1969, the Biafran army accused Italian oil workers at the Okpai field in the Niger Delta of passing information to the Nigerian state army. Eighteen employees — including eleven Italians — were taken hostage and sentenced to death in a revolutionary court; Biafrans forced Italy to recognize their new revolutionary state in order to negotiate the Italians’ release, with the undersecretary for Foreign Affairs flying out for the negotiations. The Biafran minister for information announced that “Oilmen are more dangerous than mercenaries. These are the people responsible for our suffering.”

The oil boom around 1973–1983 saw not only the continued involvement of Italian state petroleum interests but also the rise of Italian-born billionaire Gabriele Volpi, whose company Intels has in recent decades been increasingly responsible for a large part of the logistics sector for all of the multinational oil companies present in the Delta. In the early 1990s, during the period of IMF-dictated austerity measures, a new Delta leader came to international attention, Ken Saro-Wiwa, proclaiming peaceful protest by the Ogoni people for the ownership of oil and the protection of the environment.

The Niger Delta has long been victim to environmental disasters not only through oil spills and extraction, but also toxic waste dumping, such as the scandal uncovered by Nigerian students living in Italy. Despite international activist support, Saro-Wiwa’s attempts at a peaceful solution to the environmental catastrophe was ignored: in November 1995 he was executed by the Nigerian state. This repression of a large, nonviolent movement essentially rang the death knell for the Nigerian proletariat’s use of peaceful tactics.

It was in the early 2000s, as we have seen, that a new militarization came to the Delta in the form of electoral, clientelist politics. Politicians organized an influx of small arms to create semi-recognizable militia to secure their voting base and harass voters on election day. And of course, the Italian ruling class played its part yet again through close personal links between Sicilian construction companies and the figures of the new regime. A decade after Sawo-Wiwa’s execution saw the founding of a new armed coalition of indigenous Delta groups, whose first acts included bombings of Italian-dominated security facilities, naval vessel and flow stations across the Delta.

The Italian oil sector has been part of every stage of post-colonial Nigerian history. When the Delta protests were peaceful, Saro-Wiwa was executed. When the protests were armed, Italian oil interests colluded with Nigerian security forces to up the conflict.

The so-called Nigerian mafia about which the Italian right is so alarmed is the consequence of the militarization of Nigerian society through the repression of the student movement and the Nigerian left during the implementation of austerity measures, the arming of the confraternities by the dictatorship to repress the social movements and later by supposedly democratic politicians to maintain power in the Delta. Far from “unprecedented violence,” “ritualistic killings,” and mystic organization deriving from some murky black African past, this is a very modern violence encouraged by capitalist powers — including a section of the Italian ruling class — in order to integrate the African proletariat into the global market and to maintain neocolonial control over African resources.

The Cultist Bourgeoisie

This litany of crimes of the Italian ruling class in Nigeria — its role in labor exploitation, resource destruction, neocolonialism, kleptocracy, the destruction of women’s rights, the implementation of the death sentence, the creation of an endemic violence within politics — is not intended to put the blame at the door of “Italians.” This would play the same game as the far-right, attempting to construct a race war when what we are witnessing is a class war. For the predations of the Nigerian and Italian ruling classes within Nigerian territory have been the same, an alliance which is now coming back, boomerang style, to Italy itself.

To understand what a left-wing response to the Nigerian mafia might be, we can turn to Umberto Santino, whose half-century of Marxist investigation into the Sicilian mafia provides us with a range of analytical tools. Santino was a close collaborator of Peppino Impastato, the Sicilian autonomist activist who denounced the Mafia in the 1970s — including members of his own family — an act for which he was murdered in 1978.

Since his earliest essays, Santino has written of a “Mafia bourgeoisie,” a borghesia mafiosa. By this he doesn’t mean the bourgeoisie within the Mafia (though any crime syndicate certainly has its internal class dynamics and hierarchies) but rather the Mafia-character of the Italian bourgeoisie itself, in its entirety. Santino rejected the idea of the Mafia as external to the Italian state. Rather, he sees it as an element essential to Italian capitalism, representing the state’s mode of controlling the Italian South, of repressing the peasants and then exploiting ground rent, of rechanneling capital into the hands of an elite, of maintaining the regional inequalities of wealth on which the Italian state is founded. For him, this meant that truly destroying the Mafia is impossible without refounding the state itself.

The Nigerian state can be read in a similar way: the “cults” are part and parcel of the Nigerian state as founded after the Structural Adjustment Program and the exploitation of the Niger Delta. They form part of the means by which the government repressed protest, destroyed the unions, destroyed the welfare state, and now implements a new clientelism in the place of democratic structures. If Santino spoke of a “Mafia bourgeoisie” then perhaps we might speak of a “cultist bourgeoisie” in relation to Nigeria: a bourgeoisie that relies on the methods of the cultists, that has transformed and refounded the university confraternities throughout its history to unleash an anti-leftist, antidemocratic violence.

It would be both foolish and Eurocentric to claim that the Nigerian mafia is a creation of Western state intervention: not all histories ought to be traced to a central mind in a CIA back-office, nor explained through the consequences of colonialism alone. What we can say, however, is that the Nigerian mafia, like the Sicilian version, is integrated into an international ruling class, part of a planetary method of integrating an international workforce and defeating proletarian demands.

The Role of Nigerian Organized Crime in Italy

A further question ought to be raised however: is crime by Nigerian citizens, and its possible organizations, functional to the Italian ruling class and the Italian state? In an important article from 1982, written in an important historical juncture after the assassination of General Della Chiesa, when the narco-trafficking of the Sicilian mafia entered a new moment of recognition as a “national question,” Santino attempted an analysis of the level of organic cohesion between the Italian state and the Sicilian Mafia. In a section on the “model of Mafia rule,” he described the Mafia as “building consensus through an ability to pragmatically respond to the needs of the masses, and to influence the definition and channeling of their behavior.”

On the one hand, the Sicilian mafia could provide money, loans, jobs, and protection to a section of the Sicilian masses for a good part of the twentieth century, especially during the 1970s and 1980s through the profits of the heroin trade. On the other hand, however, the Mafia effectively helped form other needs, other behaviors and attitudes, which provided the consumer basis for the markets in which they acted as locally dominant business within an international network of criminal monopolies, first and foremost heroin consumption.

Are Nigerian criminal syndicates building consensus in such a manner in Italy? Do they respond to certain needs? Do they create certain behaviors? Given their limited wealth in Italy, the Nigerian community certainly has little to offer the Italian masses in terms of creating jobs, guaranteeing material survival, etc. It does however hold the capacity to respond to the needs of non-Italian masses in this manner: the drug and sex markets are providing desperately required jobs for the lowest rank of Italy’s five million immigrants. Once one sets these markets alongside care work — a sector in which the African working class is increasingly important — one sees that Italy’s immigrant population has thus become central to the social reproduction of the masses and their ability to at least tolerate, if not enjoy, depressed wages. To provide some examples: long-term youth unemployment is mitigated by the offer of cheap drugs; depressed wages for workers on long hours or holding down two jobs are mitigated by the ability to hire a cleaner at €1/hour; the social pressure of an aging population and mass youth emigration is mitigated by cheap care-workers for the elderly.

If it is the case that the Nigerian mafia organizes a part of this workforce, then it effectively would hold a position of domination, of command, within a section of Italian society that is in turn functional to Italian capitalism more generally.

The drug market is perhaps the easiest to analyze in the manner: the supply of emotion-inhibiting drugs, functional to dampening the aggressive spirits of an abandoned generation and channeling them into an individualized numbness, is certainly something that the Italian bourgeoisie has no desire to stop. Recent government moves to close legal cannabis stores and markets (those selling products with an insignificant proportion of active substances) leaves the illegal drug market not only untouched but actually enhanced. What we are witnessing is therefore what Vincenzo Scalia has termed part of the “post-Fordist” reorganization of the mafia: outsourcing the dirty work to other groups, so that the more dangerous labor that lies in the police crosshairs can be covered by foreign groups, while the homegrown Sicilian Mafia can continue with its financial activities — such as sweeping up government contracts for asylum-seeker hostels.

A more complex and careful argument must be made around the sex market. First and foremost because the organization of Nigerian sex-work in Italy is not run on a centralized or particularly hierarchical manner: many women work independently, even if paying protection money or debt installments to some form of boss. Again, the model is a post-Fordist network, not that of the international crime syndicate. Yet Nigerian citizens have also managed to wield influence over Italian society by tapping into a libidinal consensus. The panicked, often salacious writings of right-wing journalists and pseudo-psychologists attest to the power the sexualization of the black female body is having on a section of Italian culture, with all its colonial overtones. There can be no doubt that the frenzied prose describing intoxication, sexual encounters, and sexual violence is due in part to — or at least derives from some of the same factors as — the increasing demand for Nigerian sex-work that Italy has seen along with the rise in supply.

Refounding the World

What is entirely unclear, however, is that this control over a section of the immigrant population, and the creation of behavior and desires within the population more generally, is being planned through a hierarchical criminal network of the kind described by Italian anti-Mafia legislators, right-wing conspiracy theorists, and many international journalists. It is far from proven that we have the necessary elements to define Nigerian crime syndicates in Italy as being, as a rule, implicated within a social unit of the kind identified by anti-Mafia law — a code of honor and secrecy (“omertà”), involvement in economic affairs such as the corrupt acquisition of public contracts, and a strict hierarchical structure.

Furthermore, any accusation of vote-buying or undue influence over democratic structures would describe a situation so far from the reality of the Nigerian community in Italy, most of whom have no voting rights at all, and no political connections, that the application of this same law would be, at best, misled. The question should then be asked: to what end is the judiciary making out these small, street-level gangs to be part of an international Mafia-like conspiracy?

The vast majority of the cases that have been brought to the courts thus far do not point to the kind of large-scale drug trafficking which we know is conducted through Naples by the Camorra; they do not point to the use of guns, never mind arms-trafficking; no Nigerian citizen has been involved in the awarding of a public contract, never mind corruption. Whatever the evidence might be from other countries and moments, nor do the Italian court cases of the last few years point towards the kind of financial activity expected of a twenty-first-century international criminal organization. This is not to say, by any means, that we ought not oppose violence and especially the extreme, devastating sexual violence being organized by a group of Nigerian citizens across Europe — alongside, of course, their European business partners and willing queues of European male clients who are somehow left outside of the juridical equation.

What then should our response be? We are only beginning a discussion at this point. Yet we are not without leads. The Italian Communist Party historically followed a legislative route to combating the Sicilian Mafia, defining conspiracy through decrees and allying with liberal judges and police generals. But following the dynamite and bloodbaths of the 1990s, Umberto Santino claimed that it was useless to speak of the Sicilian Mafia as a cancer, as a corruption of the state, something that could be fought with handcuffs and gavels. Its roots into the state were too profound, its collaboration too integral to be dismissed as a sideshow: for Santino, the Mafia is a part of the state, and in his words the only way to destroy it would be to “refound” the state. If this is the conclusion of a revolutionary critique of the Sicilian Mafia, then any progressive criticism of Nigerian international organized crime must reach for the same exit: a political refoundation that creates the international conditions for freedom and democracy.

In struggling against the carnage caused by the Italian and Nigerian ruling classes in both countries, internationalists must stand together against capitalists’ global tactics — legal or otherwise — without recourse to prisons and mysticism. There is no need for turning to black magic for explanations: the world of the bourgeoisie has produced evil enough.

by Richard Brodie at October 23, 2019 02:24 PM

The UAW Agreement Is a Bad Deal

After launching the longest strike in decades, General Motors workers are voting on a tentative deal. But the agreement meets neither of the strikers’ most important demands: ending plant closings and scrapping the rotten system of tiered pay and benefits.

alt Striking United Auto Workers members picket at the General Motors Lansing Grand River Assembly plant for the fifth week of the strike on October 16, 2019 in Lansing, Michigan. Bill Pugliano / Getty Images

The larger the signing bonus, the more they’re stealing from your back pocket — that’s the standard that striking workers can use to judge the tentative agreement between the United Autoworkers (UAW) and General Motors (GM). The deal would give most employees $11,000 and even “active temporary employees” $4,500 for ratifying the deal.

UAW strikers — who have now spent five weeks on the picket line, the longest stretch in decades — are still processing what else is in the agreement. The deal was announced on October 17, a twenty-page summary went up on the UAW website the following day, and local union informational meetings began on Saturday. The majority of strikers will likely decide yay or nay based on the informational meetings and summary booklet they receive the day they vote. Unfortunately, workers don’t have much space to study, read, unpack, and discuss the general outline of the contract, let alone the actual language — voting is to be completed by Friday.

But even from the summary, it’s clear that strikers’ most important demands — ending “tiered” pay and benefits and keeping open the four US plants slated to close — have not been met. This is particularly striking since UAW officials chose GM as the first of the Big Three automakers to negotiate with precisely in order to prevent those closings.

What Happens to the Temps?

Some of the blame for the tentative deal’s shortcomings lies with the UAW negotiating team. UAW leaders never insisted on reversing the tiering of the workforce, particularly the practice of having “permanent” temporaries. They only talked about temporary workers, who make up 7 percent of the workforce, gaining a “path to permanent status.” With the tentative contract, negotiators claim to have cleared the way — but the obstacle course laid out is far from the strikers’ demand to end the injustice.

Starting next January, “full-time temps” who have “continuous service” of at least three years at GM would “begin converting to permanent status.” At the time of “conversion,” temps (who are classified as A, B, or C, according to the kind of work they do) would “grow in” to a wage of $21 to $24 an hour. Time worked as a temp would also count toward advancement on the wage schedule. As they are added to the seniority list, former temps would be entitled to some paid time off and a better health-care plan.

Out of the approximately 4,200 temps at GM, officials predict that about 2,000 would meet the criteria sometime during 2020. The following January, those who have worked at least two years as temps could gain permanent status. The contract would also boost the wages of temps (to between $17.53 and $22 an hour, with new temps starting at $16.67) and give them paid and unpaid time off. They could also be laid off for up to thirty days and still maintain “continuous service.”

Cut through the byzantine language, and the implications are unambiguous: temps would be a permanent fixture of the GM workforce. In fact, it appears that instead of the traditional practice of hiring workers for a ninety-day probationary period, all new workers would begin as temps. The union leadership touts this as a way to monitor temp hirings. But it’s better understood as a concession that codifies the extensive use of temps, allowing GM to sift through workers and decide which ones will get on the seniority list. It’s relatively easy, after all, to eliminate someone who asks a union rep for help or tries to organize other workers. It’s significantly cheaper for the company, too.

Tiers and Outsourcing as Far as the Eye Can See

Rolling back the tiered system first established in the 2007 contract, on the cusp of the Great Recession, has been a perennial concern of UAW members. About 35 percent of the current GM workforce has been hired since 2007 and was never eligible for top wages or benefits, such as a pension or health-care coverage after retirement.

By 2015, workers’ main demand was to bring wages and benefits in line with those hired before 2007 (“legacy” workers). When the provisional agreement that year didn’t address their concern, workers voted it down, forcing negotiators back to the table. The next agreement labeled these workers “in progression” and set up an eight-year wage scale (although the contract was still just four years). It passed at Chrysler, but it barely squeaked by at GM and Ford.

Under the current tentative deal, “in progression” workers would reach the same wage rate as “legacy” workers by the end of the contract, but even then, they would not receive a pension or health care after retirement.

The tiers first introduced in 2015 are extended into the 2019 tentative agreement. Those working at four GM Components Holdings plants (GMCH) start at $16.25 per hour and max out after eight years at $22.50; those at parts-handling facilities (CCA) begin at $17 an hour.

While these tiers are covered under the 2019 agreement, outsourced work, such as maintenance — once covered in the master agreement — is carried out by workers at other companies. In Michigan and Ohio, 850 workers hired by Aramark and represented by the UAW work at GM, performing a variety of tasks. They walked out a day before GM autoworkers went on strike, with some refusing to cross their picket line and others picketing with them before reporting to work.

Aramark maintenance workers are so crucial to operations that when the GM tech center realized there was no one to clean their offices and bathrooms, they hired more than a hundred scabs to fill in. The UAW-Aramark tentative agreement would raise the wage of the lowest-paid worker to $15.18, topping out at $17. They would also receive a $250 Christmas bonus and an extra $150 each quarter if they have perfect attendance. Results of the workers’ vote on the deal have not yet been announced.

Shuttered Plants, Stagnant Wages

Under the 2015 contract, GM was barred from closing any of its facilities. But it got around that language by simply announcing it had no product for those plants and placing them on “unallocated” status. Warren Transmission in Michigan, Lordstown Assembly in Ohio, and Baltimore Operations in Maryland have all been mothballed. The tentative agreement not only fails to reverse these three plant closings, it also adds another: a distribution center in California.

Only the Detroit-Hamtramck plant, an assembling facility, will remain open. It is to be retooled, with estimates that it will take a year. Meanwhile, the UAW signaled it will drop the legal suit it had brought against GM for shuttering the Lordstown plant.

Although the summary claims that job security has been strengthened through a moratorium on outsourcing and the establishment of a joint UAW-GM national committee on advanced technology, it is difficult to believe the language will match reality. Al Benchich, former union president of the now-closed Warren Transmission, noted that when he was hired, there were 4,000 workers at his plant and 450,000 UAW workers at the Big Three. Each contract contained job security guarantees — but today there are only 150,000 Big Three autoworkers, including temps.

And whatever the tentative deal’s carrots — including an agreement to hire 400 apprentices for skilled trades programs, maintain current health-care costs, and provide 3 percent wage increases during two of the four years — they’re meager considering GM’s profits. The wage increases, signing bonus, lump-sum payments, and profit sharing still fall short of what a Cost-of-Living-Adjustment (COLA) could do. Without COLA (which ensures inflation doesn’t eat into wages), pay will effectively remain flat.

GM’s Nickel and Diming

Will the tentative agreement be voted up or down? UAW officials are promoting it as a win, even as they acknowledge the plant closings. Lordstown workers say they will reject it and are encouraging others to do the same. An early remark on a Listserv offered this appraisal: “Same as last contract. No plant closing and need UAW approval to use temps. GM violated those provisions last time so why trust it now?”

Yet despite disappointment over how little was gained after five weeks on the picket line, the majority of workers will probably vote yes — and all it takes is a simple majority. Some may weigh benefits and drawbacks and reluctantly vote yes, eager to conclude a grinding strike and perhaps not realizing how much outsourcing has occurred. Others may feel this negotiating team is incapable of bringing back a better deal.

As of yesterday morning, the total number of “no” votes stands at 2,161 out of 5,869 cast. The largest local to weigh in so far is the Spring Hill, Tennessee assembly plant, where much work is outsourced. The local voted down the deal, but only by 51 percent.

Perhaps as many as 40 percent will vote against the agreement. The question is whether they can become a core capable of stepping forward to challenge the concessions. If so, the autoworkers in the still-unorganized transplants like Volkswagen would have a leadership model they could use to transform their own working conditions.

The dream the strikers have had on the picket line these last few weeks was one of equality. Hopefully, the solidarity will not disappear as the burn barrels and tents are taken down.

by Dianne Feeley at October 23, 2019 01:50 PM


Google scientists say they’ve achieved ‘quantum supremacy’

Google scientists say they’ve achieved ‘quantum supremacy’
By Sarah Kaplan
Oct 23 2019

For the first time, a machine that runs on the mind-boggling physics of quantum mechanics has reportedly solved a problem that would stump the world’s top supercomputers — a breakthrough known as “quantum supremacy.” 

If validated, the report by Google’s AI Quantum team constitutes a major leap for quantum computing, a technology that relies on the bizarre behavior of tiny particles to encode huge amounts of information. According to a paper published Wednesday in the journal Nature, Google’s Sycamore processor performed in less than three and a half minutes a calculation that would take the most powerful classical computer on the planet 10,000 years to complete.

The achievement has been compared to the Wright brothers’ 12-second first flight at Kitty Hawk — an early, aspirational glimpse at a revolution to come. By providing exponentially greater calculation power than the machines we use today, quantum computers could one day transform the way we communicate ideas, conceal data and comprehend the universe.

The result is also a feather in the cap for both Google and the United States because quantum technology is expected to confer huge economic and national security advantages to whoever can master it first.

The technology community has been abuzz about the breakthrough ever since a leaked version of the study was published on (and then removed from) a NASA website last month. Writing in the magazine Quanta, Caltech theoretical physicist John Preskill called the result “a remarkable achievement in experimental physics and a testament to the brisk pace of progress in quantum computing hardware.” 

But the claim has also prompted skepticism from competitors. Researchers at IBM, which has been working on its own quantum machines, argued in a blog post this week that a classical computer system would in fact take two and a half days to perform the calculation in Google’s report — and would make fewer mistakes in the process. The IBM scientists also questioned the use of the James Bond-esque term “quantum supremacy,” which seems to imply that classical computers are about to become obsolete.

Whoever turns out to be right, quantum supremacy is a largely symbolic achievement; the specific task assigned to the Google computer has no practical application.

But Preskill, who coined the term in 2012, wrote in Quanta that he aimed to convey the notion that “this is a privileged time in the history of our planet,” when the most arcane laws of physics might be harnessed for human ambitions.

One bit, two bit, red bit, qubit

Scientists have known for a century that the predictable laws of Newtonian physics — objects fall down; matter can only be in one place at one time — fall apart at the atomic and subatomic level.

In this quantum realm, electrons leap instantaneously from one energy state to another. Particles can exist in multiple states at the same time, a phenomenon known as “superposition.” They can also stay connected across large distances, which Einstein called “spooky” and modern physicists call “entanglement.”

With quantum computing, scientists can put these weird, wild particles to work.

Classical computers encode information in “bits,” an electrical or optical pulse that can represent either a 0 or 1. Eight bits constitute a “byte,” which can typically store one character — for example, the letter A, or a dollar sign. The first 8-inch floppy disk held 242,944 bytes. Apple’s new iPhone 11 comes with 64 billion bytes.

The Summit system at Oak Ridge National Lab, a classical supercomputer that takes up two tennis courts’ worth of floor space and can perform 200 quadrillion calculations per second, boasts a whopping 250 petabytes of storage — in bytes, that number comes out to about 250,000,000,000,000,000.

But superposition means that a quantum bit, or qubit, isn’t confined to being either 0 or 1. It can exist as both at once. This means it can carry twice as much information, a power that increases exponentially with each qubit added: Two qubits convey four possible numbers; three are able to carry eight; four is the equivalent of 16. Entanglement further beefs up a system’s computing power by allowing it to perform multiple calculations at once.

By the time you get up to 53 qubits — the size of both Google’s Sycamore processor and a similar machine being built at IBM — you’re approaching the potential of supercomputers like Summit.

That is, if your quantum computer works. A faint noise or a glimmer of heat can alter a superposition, leading to errors. Measuring a particle, or disturbing it in any way, will cause the superposition to “decohere,” or collapse. The qubit becomes an ordinary bit. Add more qubits to a system, and decoherence happens even faster.

That’s what stands between researchers like those at Google and the quantum world they hope to attain. To build an effective quantum computer, scientists must figure out how to create and manipulate entangled qubits that last long enough to actually do something interesting with them.


by wa8dzp at October 23, 2019 01:44 PM

InterPressService (global south)

Bangladesh’s Climate Change Victims Safeguard the Sundarbans’ Endangered Dolphins

The post Bangladesh’s Climate Change Victims Safeguard the Sundarbans’ Endangered Dolphins appeared first on Inter Press Service.


October 24 is International Freshwater Dolphin Day. Last year Bangladesh celebrated the international day for the first time, but the country has been instituting policies and programmes for years to protect the Sundarbans — home of Asia’s last two remaining freshwater dolphin species. IPS Correspondent Rafiqul Islam travelled to Khulna to file this report.

The post Bangladesh’s Climate Change Victims Safeguard the Sundarbans’ Endangered Dolphins appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by Rafiqul Islam at October 23, 2019 12:14 PM

Channel Zero

Fighting Fascism, Rejecting Liberalism: A Conservation with Natasha Lennard

This post was originally published on this site

The post Fighting Fascism, Rejecting Liberalism: A Conservation with Natasha Lennard appeared first on It’s Going Down.

In this episode of the It’s Going Down podcast, we speak with radical journalist, writer, and teacher, Natasha Lennard, author of the new book from Verso Press, Being Numerous: Essays on Non-Fascist Life. The book contains essays on both the personal and the political, while also covering social movements and struggles from Black Lives Matter, to Standing Rock, the J20, antifascism, and beyond. The book asks fundamentally what it means to “live a non-fascist life,” while also critiquing neoliberal ideology and the world that it creates along with the barriers it solidifies against creating real change.

Natasha is a contributing writer for the Intercept, an editor at Commune magazine, and her work has appeared regularly in the New York Times, Nation, Esquire, Vice, Salon, and the New Inquiry, among others. She teaches Critical Journalism at the New School for Social Research and coauthored Violence: Humans in Dark Times with Brad Evans.

Along with discussing the book and the social movements that it touches on, we also discuss Lennard’s career within journalism, becoming a target of Breitbart, what’s changed within the media landscape under Trump, and the future of grassroots anti-capitalist media projects.

More Info: Being Numerous: Essays on Non-Fascist Life, Natasha Lennard at the Intercept, on Twitter, and Commune Magazine

by It's Going Down at October 23, 2019 12:12 PM

Life in Flames

These days I am immersed in rage, pain and despair. The Amazon is in flames, the Chiquitanía region is gravely wounded and beneath the fires, many of our hopes for Bolivia and the world are turned to ashes.

by Elizabeth Peredo Beltrán at October 23, 2019 12:06 PM

We Used to Just Call These “Houses”

We have a way in the modern world of rediscovering things that humans have always done but branding them as something trendy and a little alien. So it goes with the explosion of interest in “tiny houses” as an answer to what ails cities struggling to house and attract people.

The ironic thing about tiny houses is that they’re nothing new; it’s just that, in surprisingly recent memory, our culture had a different name for them. We called them “houses.”

by Daniel Herriges at October 23, 2019 12:05 PM

Scheer Folly: Promised Coast-to-Coast Energy Corridor Makes No Sense

Real conservatives know that energy corridors don’t make jobs or support freedom.

When China built a pipeline to access natural gas in western Burma, there were reports of forced labour, relocated villages and corruption.

Those kinds of things are inherent in energy corridors, which enrich the powerful at the expense of the weak.

by Andrew Nikiforuk at October 23, 2019 12:04 PM


Palestine Needs a New Unified Strategy of Liberation

Haneen Zoabi is a Palestinian politician in Israel. In an interview, she explains why Palestinian citizens in Israel must connect their struggles to ending the Israeli occupation and the siege of Gaza, and fighting for the right of return and a state for all of the country's citizens.

alt Haneen Zoabi is a Palestinian politician who served as a member of the Israeli Parliament for the Balad party from 2009 t o 2019. (Coletiva com Haneen Zoabi - Palestina Livre / Flickr)

Haneen Zoabi is a Palestinian politician in Israel and a member of the political office of the Balad party (National Democratic Assembly), which was founded in 1995. She served as a member of the Israeli Parliament from 2009-2019 and participated in the Gaza flotilla in May 2010 aimed at breaking the Israeli siege of Gaza.

This interview took place against the backdrop of the recent endorsement of centrist prime ministerial candidate Benny Gantz by the Joint List, a coalition of Palestinian-majority parties of which Balad was a founding member. This endorsement, which ultimately came to nothing, was rejected by Balad, which refused to add its three coalition votes to those of the other Joint List Arab parties.

The endorsement decision was hailed by many, especially in the mainstream liberal Zionist press, as a welcome sign of Palestinian political pragmatism. In this interview, Zoabi explains why she sees the Joint List’s endorsement as a deeply flawed political move. She also sets out her own conception of the state of the Palestine question, the role of Palestinian parliamentarians in Israel, and the catastrophic absence of a unified Palestinian liberation strategy.

Bashir Abu-Manneh

Where does the struggle for Palestine stand now?

Haneen Zoabi

Our struggle faces a crisis. Our political vision is not clear, we have no unified strategy, and we reached — because of Oslo — a dead end, without any concrete achievements or the courage to admit it. The basic concepts that used to shape our understanding and our definition of our struggle have changed.

The Palestinian leadership’s deviation from the paradigm of liberation to one of state-building failed: it didn’t decrease the suffering of the Palestinian people, nor did it empower Palestinians to rethink their mobilization strategies, rebuild their struggle, and fortify their resilience. It also did not decrease the greed and hostility of the Zionist project, or attenuate its military desire to crush Palestinian resistance and threaten our existence in our homeland.

In fact, the opposite happened. The shift of the Palestinian leadership from the liberation paradigm — which conceived of Zionism as a colonial ideology to be confronted by an emancipatory decolonization vision — to a two-state process negotiated by soft diplomacy boosted Jewish fundamentalism in Israel. It also tragically criminalized resistance and confrontation with the occupying Israeli army as “terror.” This Palestinian capitulation accelerated a parallel move on the Israeli side: from a racist liberal Zionism to fascist settler fundamentalism.

With the deeply flawed Oslo Accords, racist liberal Zionists lost their relevance and power and became pale imitations of the Israeli right. The Right itself mutated into a settler fundamentalist elite (the true meaning of the “success” of the settlement project), and this has paved the way for a new fascist Israel.

This means that for Israel, this is definitely not the time for a two-state solution. It is the time for liquidating the Palestinian cause by forcing facts on the ground, shifting from Oslo crisis management of the conflict to enforced unilateral solution. So the Palestinian cause is reduced to a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, restricted local autonomy for Bantustanized Palestinian pockets in the West Bank, and delegitimizing refugee rights. In that way, Israel aims to end the conflict.

This pessimistic description of our reality is just part of the story — which is yet to be concluded. Ours is a bitter reality that can still be overcome by the political will of the Palestinian people. I will not enter into Palestinian internal obstacles for mobilizing toward popular resistance, but let me say this: it’s the PA (Palestinian Authority) itself that acts as an occupation agent and blocks political developments toward a mass struggle. Without this PA obstruction, we would be in a totally different situation now.

Bashir Abu-Manneh

What is your assessment of the latest Israeli elections results?

Haneen Zoabi

The result of the elections is clear. Israeli society and the spectrum of its political elite are continuing with the plan to crush Palestinians and their aspirations for statehood and justice. The annexation of Area C in the West Bank prevents any possibility of a two-state solution, or any other kind of Palestinian self-determination. The Palestinian Authority is complicit in this: it doesn’t challenge Israel and allows it not to be held internationally accountable for its crimes against the Palestinian people.

The opposition to Benjamin Netanyahu that Israeli society is looking for is not a political-ideological alternative. On the contrary, Benny Gantz and his new party, Kahol Lavan (Blue and White), are no different from Netanyahu in the security axis and share with him his deep hostility against the Palestinians. They just don’t share his views on the formal apparatus of the state, especially the judiciary, and the media. Gantz’s motto, “Israeli security,” means crushing Palestinians and Palestinian resistance. So no one should cultivate any illusions about Israeli opposition parties.

What will change Israeli politics isn’t the soft diplomatic approach of the PA but popular resistance in a new unified strategy of liberation.

Bashir Abu-Manneh

What, in your view, should be the role of Palestinian parliamentarians in Israel?

Haneen Zoabi

It should be part of an overall Palestinian leadership. The fact of being in the Israeli Parliament should not redefine your core role of representing your people and struggling for their rights. It should not change your political perception regarding the nature of the state as a colonial apparatus and ideology — which you are struggling against. Nor should it modify it, or mitigate or change your political mission of decolonizing the state.

So, you use Parliament as a very restricted yet important platform that allows you to be more vocal and raise political awareness about your people’s needs and aspirations. By doing that, you present a true democratic alternative, not only for your people but also for Jewish Israelis as well.

The Knesset is a tool, a medium, in a larger political project — not the be-all and end-all of politics. The Knesset gives you a wide platform to convey your messages to your people, and it is a crucial front in the clash with Israeli public opinion and the Israeli elite.

Of course, there are dangers here. Every tool has internal codes of performance and constraints that might alter its political content. Parliamentarians might be tempted to seek acceptance by Israelis, to internalize their weakness, to be subservient, and thus to gain Israeli legitimacy. Due to the structural pressures of location, there is, of course, a risk that you end up modifying your message, even your beliefs, and reframing your demands in ways that are more palatable to Israeli society. Since you are in the Knesset to demand certain services for your neglected and marginalized communities, political trade-offs are a real danger.

The real risk is orienting your demands around Israeli reference points and seeking “influence” in the current racist status quo, rather than upholding your own political program and interests.

But in the end, it’s our choice how we deal with the Knesset: whether we internalize the schizophrenia of serving in a totally hostile entity or we use it to consistently uphold our political principles. To be citizens in Israel is to participate in Israeli elections and to take up our seats in the Knesset. How best to manage this situation and defend our rights is the issue here.

Beside exposure to virulent Israeli public anger and hatred, the unique aspect of the work of Palestinian parliamentarians is that they are dealing with the most concrete and daily civil and national demands of the 1.5 million Palestinians in Israel. These demands concern health care, educational rights, housing rights, poverty, unemployment, and a whole range of everyday issues that are the concrete and practical content of their citizenship. That reflects our total dependency on Israeli institutions.

That’s why being in the Knesset matters to the substance of our citizenship. We cannot leave that in the remit of Zionist parties. A national mediator should be there to mediate between the Palestinian citizen and the state. Knesset members thus play a distinctive role in redefining citizenship — practices, rights, as well as people’s connections to history. It’s our way of addressing the tensions between being citizens in Israel and our Palestinian identity: that is, the contradiction of living in a state that destroyed our national society and continues to crush Palestinians.

Bashir Abu-Manneh

Your party, Balad, was the only Joint List coalition partner to refuse to endorse Benny Gantz for prime minister. Why?

Haneen Zoabi

The endorsement of Gantz for prime minister is a form of drowning in Israeli details, a total abandonment of the Palestinian dimension, and a way of intensifying rather than resolving the contradiction between Israeli citizenship and Palestinian identity and national belonging. It also undermined all our long-standing political attempts to reconcile between them.

For Palestinian politicians in Israel, the most difficult task is managing the many tensions that exist between identity and citizenship in a hostile state. Endorsing those who have committed crimes against the Palestinian people violated the moral dimension of our national work. This superfluous, seemingly pragmatic endorsement also violated the strategic dimension of our struggle. It completely misconstrued our role in Israeli politics.

Rather than challenging and contributing to changing Israeli politics, we accepted its narrow and racist parameters. Citizenship rights should not be conditional on whether the oppressor finds the political behavior and orientation of the oppressed acceptable or not. They are unconditional. Politicizing rights like that makes Palestinians vulnerable to future political exploitation by the Zionist parties.

Finally, the endorsement undermines the crucial link in liberation struggles between articulating self-dignity and self-respect and affecting political outcomes. If we are involved in a Palestinian national struggle — and not just in a civil rights struggle — then our political identity as belonging to the Palestinian people matters and has consequences. It also determines our relationship to the state, which is one of struggle against Israeli supremacy and not merely of gaining some citizenship rights in a flawed exclusionary entity.

Bashir Abu-Manneh

How do you see the relation between the struggle of Palestinians in Israel and the wider Palestinian national movement?

Haneen Zoabi

A very important question that I don’t have a clear answer for. We have the common ground of fighting as Palestinians against Israeli policies, meaning from the same historical and emotional position, opposing Zionism and its destructive consequences. But this fact is not enough to counteract the reality of political fragmentation.

Each section of the Palestinian people is currently fighting within its own political context, and doing it in the absence of any unified strategy or even a common political vision. After all, what is the meaning of a Palestinian people without a shared vision and shared destiny?

And how can we claim to be a people if we don’t share a common political project? We need that to forge peoplehood. Culture and origin are not enough. As Palestinian citizens in Israel, we cannot just struggle for our civic rights without connecting our struggle to ending the Israeli occupation, ending the siege of Gaza, fighting for the right of return, and fighting for a state for all of its citizens. Our micro struggle as Palestinians in Israel has to be part of a macro liberation struggle.

by Haneen Zoabi at October 23, 2019 11:56 AM

InterPressService (global south)

Governments & Internet Companies Fail to meet Challenges of Online Hate

David Kaye Credit: UN

By David Kaye
NEW YORK, Oct 23 2019 (IPS)

The prevalence of online hate poses challenges to everyone, first and foremost the marginalised individuals who are its principal targets. Unfortunately, States and companies are failing to prevent ‘hate speech’ from becoming the next ‘fake news’, an ambiguous and politicised term subject to governmental abuse and company discretion.

Online hate is no less harmful because it is online. To the contrary, online hate, with the speed and reach of its dissemination, can incite grave offline harm and nearly always aims to silence others. The question is not whether to address such abuse. It is how to do so in a way that respects the rights everyone enjoys.

States must meet their obligations by turning to key human rights treaties and the leading interpretations of human rights law by the Human Rights Committee and the 2013 Rabat Plan of Action.

Of particular concern is about governments that use ‘hate speech’ to restrict legitimate expression under the guise of ‘blasphemy’ or fail to define and enforce ‘hate speech’ rules according to human rights law’s rigorous standards of legality, necessity and proportionality, and legitimacy.

Governments and the public have legitimate concerns about online hate, but new laws that impose liability on companies are failing basic standards, increasing the power of those same private actors over public norms, and risk undermining free expression and public accountability.

Companies likewise are not taking seriously their responsibilities to respect human rights. It is on their platforms where hateful content spreads, spurred on by a business model and algorithmic tools that value attention and virality. They have massive impact on human rights and yet all fail to articulate policies rooted in human rights law, as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights call upon them to do.

The report provides companies with a roadmap for tackling online hate according to basic principles of human rights law. It especially highlights the absence of human rights impact assessments at all stages of product development, the vagueness of company rules, and the lack of transparency of company processes.

The human rights community has had a long-term conversation with social media and other companies in the Internet economy, and yet the companies remain stubbornly committed to policies that fail to articulate their actions according to basic norms of human rights law, from freedom of expression and privacy to prohibitions of discrimination, incitement to violence, and promotion of public participation.

The companies’ failure to recognise their power and impact, and to value shareholders over public interest, must end immediately. This report gives the companies the tools to change course.

The Special Rapporteurs and Working Groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organisation and serve in their individual capacity.

The post Governments & Internet Companies Fail to meet Challenges of Online Hate appeared first on Inter Press Service.


David Kaye is the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression

In a landmark report that reinforces legal standards to combat online hate, the UN’s monitor for freedom of expression calls on governments and companies to move away from standardless policies and inconsistent enforcement, and to align their laws and practices against ‘hate speech’ with international human rights law.

The post Governments & Internet Companies Fail to meet Challenges of Online Hate appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by David Kaye at October 23, 2019 11:01 AM

Deep Green Resistance News Service

Love Letter to a Fierce Revolutionary Community

By Max Wilbert

For the past 9 years, I have been part of a revolutionary social and ecological organization. In that time, I have made some of my best friends in the world. I have met some of the most incredible people I can imagine: true-hearted warriors with courage, conviction, and character.

These comrades are doing incredible work, around the world, every day. They are fighting coal mines and oil pipelines. They are sponsoring refugees and campaigning for women’s rights. They are advocating for revolutionary environmentalism. They are restoring land and fighting “development,” better known as destruction of the land. They are collaborating and allying with indigenous nations in decolonization and resistance.

They are also doing the everyday work of human beings. They are raising intelligent, articulate, capable children.  They are rewriting the rules of equal relationships. They are being good friends. They are creating local, sustainable food systems. They are building community over shared meals and shared ideals, then working to make their ideals a reality.

It has become a tradition in this community for us to support members and close allies who are going through difficult times. We send them notes of support, packages of food, herbal medicines, art. We care for one another.

It is not easy to be a revolutionary. Some of us have lost our jobs for our political views. Others have faced physical violence, ostracization, blacklisting. Taunts, jeers, death and rape threats: these are a regular occurrence for many of us. Many of us live under authoritarian governments and police states of one degree or another. Disappearance, trumped-up jail time, and solitary confinement in maximum-security is a constant threat.

Radical communities can be volatile. Personalities clash, ideals are tested, and the oppression of the dominant culture is never fully stamped out. As we grapple with the biggest problems ever faced by our species—mass extinction, global warming, toxification, militarism, patriarchy, racism—we struggle to form solidarity with each other.

We have had our share of problems. We make mistakes. We hurt each other. We make poor decisions. We have much to learn.

But we are serious, and we are committed. We know ecological revolution is perhaps the only remaining path to a livable future. We are facing the end of life on the planet; any risks are small in comparison to that nightmare. As we struggle externally, against the dominant culture, against the machine, we struggle internally as well. To be better people. To live up to our ideals. To be relentless in our love, our passion, our commitment. To personify the spirit of the revolution.

In this world in crisis, we know where we stand. We stand together, united, in defense of the living planet, and in defense of justice.

Max Wilbert is a third-generation organizer who grew up in Seattle’s post-WTO anti-globalization and undoing racism movement, and works with Deep Green Resistance. He is the author of two books.

by Deep Green Resistance Great Basin at October 23, 2019 11:00 AM

InterPressService (global south)

Swiftly Ending Tobacco Epidemic Requires Government Action, Not Empty Promises

By Mark Hurley
WASHINGTON DC, Oct 23 2019 (IPS)

New information published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report shows that action taken by just 11 countries – most of them low- or middle-income – has resulted in 20 million fewer adult tobacco users in 2017 compared with 2008. Seventy percent of the world’s tobacco users live in low- and middle-income countries.

This promising progress is a testament to strong government action and its effects are far reaching. Between 2008 and 2017, over 53 million fewer adults were exposed to secondhand smoke in indoor public places like restaurants, government buildings and healthcare facilities.

Exposure to secondhand smoke can result in lung cancer, heart disease, asthma and bronchitis even in people who do not smoke.

Other promising findings in the study indicate that more than 12 million adult tobacco users in the countries studied were considering quitting because of graphic warning labels on tobacco products, and that close to 100 million fewer adults were exposed to tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorships.

The remarkable progress in reducing tobacco use shown in this study is a dramatic affirmation that evidence-based policies can and have protected millions of people from the deadly harms of tobacco use.

These policies – many of which are called for in the World Health Organization’s international health treaty, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control – include eliminating tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, adding graphic warning labels to tobacco packs, and increasing tobacco prices through higher taxes.

All of the countries studied have signed on to the WHO treaty.

Virtually all of these life-saving policies have been passed in spite of fierce pushback from tobacco companies. In Uruguay for example, Philip Morris International challenged the country’s tobacco control laws in a World Bank tribunal. Philip Morris lost the challenge in dramatic fashion in a decision affirming that countries have the legal right to pass policies necessary to protect the health of their people.

Tobacco companies fight these policies because they know they work. Around the world, tobacco companies and their deadly marketing tactics remain the single greatest obstacle to curbing the global tobacco epidemic.

The companies continually find new ways to market cigarettes and other nicotine products to young people, fight life-saving tobacco control policies, and promote products such as e-cigarettes and heated cigarettes with unproven health claims.

The world’s biggest tobacco companies would have us believe that they desire a healthier world even while they continue to introduce and heavily market cigarettes and their e-cigarettes are being linked to explosions in nicotine addiction among youth.

Governments cannot let these products undermine progress on tobacco control, especially among kids. In the United States, a lack of regulation has led to a dramatic increase in youth use of e-cigarettes with one in four U.S. high school students using e-cigarettes.

In order to end the tobacco epidemic, governments must pass and implement the proven policies known to work to protect future generations from the harms of tobacco and nicotine addiction. Without urgent action, tobacco will kill one billion people this century.

The post Swiftly Ending Tobacco Epidemic Requires Government Action, Not Empty Promises appeared first on Inter Press Service.


Mark Hurley is Director of Global Communications for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

The post Swiftly Ending Tobacco Epidemic Requires Government Action, Not Empty Promises appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by Mark Hurley at October 23, 2019 10:35 AM

Surveying Archaeologists Across the Globe Reveals Deeper and More Widespread Roots of the Human Age, the Anthropocene

Not everyone is sure that today’s industrialized, globalized societies will be around long enough to define a new geological epoch. Perhaps we are just a flash in the pan – an event – rather than a long, enduring epoch.

Others debate the utility of picking a single thin line in Earth’s geological record to mark the start of human impacts in the geological record. Maybe the Anthropocene began at different times in different parts of the world.

by Ben Marwick at October 23, 2019 10:26 AM


International Freedom Battalion Fighters Evaluate War on the Serekaniye Front

International Freedom Battalion Fighters Evaluate War on the Serekaniye Front
International Freedom Battalion Fighters Evaluate War on the Serekaniye Front The internationalist, Rok Brossa, explains the situation after the evacuation of Serêkaniyê: The city of Serêkaniyê was finally evacuated yesterday through a convoy that arrived without media presence. The injured were taken to hospitals in Til Temir and others in the region since, according to […]


by InNero at October 23, 2019 10:15 AM

California Cotton Fields: Scaling Carbon Farming Practices with Bowles Farming Company

Farmers are interested in how they can be a part of this carbon economy, Michael says. “But it’s a risky thing to experiment with given all the other pressures they have to deal with. So we need to flesh out in greater detail how carbon sequestration would work, and what would be the incentives to do so. We’re getting closer.”

by Esha Chhabra at October 23, 2019 09:55 AM

Make Room for the Bus: Review

While new light-rail systems, subways, inter-urban commuter trains all have their place, simply giving buses preference on existing roads could improve urban quality of life while bringing carbon emissions down – long before the planning and approval process for new train lines is complete.

by Bart Hawkins Kreps at October 23, 2019 09:35 AM


The Coming Long-Term Care Crisis

Americans are aging, and millions will be unable to afford long-term care. The only way to avert social catastrophe is to implement a Medicare-for-All system with comprehensive long-term care benefits.

alt Nurse Stephen Van Dyke helps Mary Donahue, 100, with her exercises in her home on November 9, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. John Moore / Getty Images)

By 2050, one in five US residents will be of retirement age. As we hurtle headlong toward this reality, we face a choice: we can either invest public money in comprehensive long-term care for seniors, or not.

If we don’t, the consequences will be grim. The average annual cost for a home health aide tops $50,000. The annual cost of a private nursing home room now exceeds $100,000, and it’s rising. At present, Medicare does not cover most long-term care needs; seniors often find that their best option is to deplete their life savings so they can qualify for Medicaid. But even then, benefits are limited, and the costs of home health aides and institutional care are not fully covered. Private insurance that covers long-term care is too expensive for many seniors, leaving them at the whim of the threadbare social safety net.

Over the next decade, ten thousand baby boomers a day will turn sixty-five. Most of these people will need some kind of long-term care at some point. That means that tens of millions of people will soon be left to their own devices as they scramble to secure arrangements for themselves. Tens of millions more will be on the hook for figuring out how to care for them, or how to pay for somebody else to care for them. Baby boomers and their children will soon become preoccupied with the question of long-term care provision — and if we proceed apace, the system will prove impossibly expensive, endlessly difficult to navigate, and ultimately inadequate for nearly half the population.

The only way to forestall a national crisis is to intervene now. Luckily, we have an opportunity to do that. Two Medicare for All bills, one introduced in the Senate by Bernie Sanders and another introduced in the House of Representatives by Pramila Jayapal, include generous long-term care benefits. If we create a national single-payer program that comprehensively covers long-term care, we will be prepared to handle the aging of our nation’s population. If we don’t, social chaos awaits.

Because Medicare for All is a universal single-payer program, long-term care benefits would be open to anyone who struggles to look after themselves, including both seniors and people of any age with disabilities. Eighty percent of people who currently receive some type of long-term care live in private homes. The bills stipulate that anyone who experiences difficulty performing daily tasks due to injury, illness, or age would qualify for complete coverage of home- and community-based care, regardless of their income. This includes everything from a fully paid home health aide to necessary home improvements to make daily life easier and allow people to stay in their homes and communities longer.

Jayapal’s bill stipulates that the program will also cover the cost of residence in a skilled nursing facility, while Sanders’s leaves institutional care costs up to Medicaid. In this regard, Jayapal’s bill is stronger. But in both instances, a picture emerges of a social insurance policy — one we all pay into according to our ability, and qualify to benefit from according to our need.

At present, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the majority of long-term care is supplied in private homes by informal caregivers, mainly family members who donate their time and energy to look after loved ones. The majority of these unpaid caregivers are women; adult daughters provide twice as much care for aging parents as sons do. In both Sanders and Jayapal’s visions, Medicare for All would formalize those services, rendering them universally reliable and adequately compensating providers.

This would have three major benefits. First, everyone would have access to the care they need, not just those who are fortunate enough to have a willing and available family member nearby. Second, informal carers would receive necessary relief, allowing them to live their own lives with the knowledge that their loved ones are getting the care they need. (This has strong feminist implications, since adult women bear the brunt of informal care work.) And third, formalizing long-term care would create millions of new jobs, easing unemployment and stimulating the economy overall.

Those who claim this idea is unaffordable are missing the forest for the trees. Collecting funds through progressive taxation to pay for long-term care for seniors and people with disabilities is far more affordable in the long run, for both individuals and society as a whole, than leaving a huge swath of the population in the lurch. The only people for whom it’s genuinely less affordable are the private interests who make a killing, so to speak, off the current arrangement — companies that rake in huge amounts of money from desperate people willing to pay any price, down to their last penny, to ensure survival for themselves and their loved ones.

In March of 2017, the Wall Street real-estate giant Blackstone acquired sixty-four senior housing communities for just over a billion dollars. They and other profit-hungry companies that comprise the lucrative long-term care industry intend to receive a hefty return on their investment, regardless of the human cost. We can either let them own the future of aging, or we can own it for ourselves.

by Meagan Day at October 23, 2019 09:02 AM

Boodaville permaculture, Matarranya, Spain

Thank you Boodaville for welcoming me so full of kindness!

“Everything that is really, really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom” – Albert Einstein

My first impression about Boodaville as a volunteer: Arrive – Breath – Stop your thoughts – Start working from inner silence. The first half of the day I spent with daily tasks of the very basic life in boodaville with feeding the wormcompost, chickens, making woodchips for the foodforest, cooking, having inspiring conversations with other volunteers,… The second half of the day I hade the freedom to work on my inner processes. Everyone does this in a different way. I chose reading and meditating. Others use theyr time to learn spanish or connecting with the land by riding a bike. So there is a lot of space of self-development, what creates amazing conversations and projects from everyone! On the weekend we hade a great treeplanting project going on. I learned about permaculture-principles and step by step we tried to bring the soil alive again, from really harsh conditions, the cultural way of farming have left for us.

In general i feel Boodaville is a place you can learn to build a new form of living together as society and learn to come back to your basic needs, slowing down from stressfull life and reconnect with the environment by working with the land.

I really appreciate the people I met and the awareness of the freedom to choose every second from new on! .people I met and the awareness of the freedom to choose every second from new on! .

by boodaville at October 23, 2019 08:58 AM

InterPressService (global south)

Governments and Internet Companies are Failing to Meet Challenges of Online Hate

“Online hate is no less harmful because it is online...To the contrary, online hate, with the speed of reach of its dissemination, can incite grave offline harm...The question is not whether to address such abuse. It is how to do so in a way that respects the rights everyone enjoys.”

“Online hate is no less harmful because it is online...To the contrary, online hate, with the speed of reach of its dissemination, can incite grave offline harm...The question is not whether to address such abuse. It is how to do so in a way that respects the rights everyone enjoys.” Credit: UN

By External Source

States and companies are “failing” when it comes to combating online hate, the UN independent rights expert, or Special Rapporteur, on freedom of speech and expression said ahead of the launch of a landmark report to reinforce legal standards for internet spaces.

Cautioning that hate speech runs the risk of being devalued as a term, David Kaye stressed the real dangers posed by a lack of consistent policy when it comes to monitoring and stamping out hate speech in the digital age.

“The prevalence of online hate poses challenges to everyone, first and foremost the marginalised individuals who are its principal targets,” said Mr. Kaye, in the report to be presented to the UN General Assembly on Monday.

“The companies’ failure to recognise their power and impact, and to value shareholders over public interest, must end immediately”

David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of speech and expression

“Unfortunately, States and companies are failing to prevent ‘hate speech’ from becoming the next ‘fake news’, an ambiguous and politicised term subject to governmental abuse and company discretion.”

UN experts addressed the scourge in an open letter last month, warning that hate speech, both online and offline has “exacerbated societal and racial tensions, inciting attacks with deadly consequences around the world” and highlighted the correlation between exposure to hate speech and number of crimes committed as a result.

In June the Secretary-General put forth a new plan to identify and confront the growing scourge, which Mr. Guterres noted was launched at a time of a groundswell in xenophobia, racism, and anti-Semitism.

Moreover, “hateful and destructive views” are amplified “exponentially” through digital technology, he warned.

The UN Strategy and Plan of Action targets the root causes of hate speech – from violence, marginalization, discrimination and poverty, and advises bolstering weak national institutions.

Echoing the UN Chief, Mr. Kaye stressed that “online hate is no less harmful because it is online…To the contrary, online hate, with the speed of reach of its dissemination, can incite grave offline harm…The question is not whether to address such abuse. It is how to do so in a way that respects the rights everyone enjoys.”


Rooted in human rights

The report urges States meet their obligations by rooting their efforts in rights’ treaties and international human rights law, in accordance with the UN Human Rights Committee, and the 2013 Rabat Plan of Action, a framework by the UN human rights office (OHCHR) which aims to clarify State obligations prohibiting incitement of hatred and discrimination.

New laws imposing liability on companies “are failing basic standards” Mr. Kaye said, and companies are not “taking seriously their responsibilities to respect human rights”, despite hate speech fermenting on their platforms.

The roadmap to tackling online hate in the new report also underscores the impact of leaving human rights best practices out of company culture.

“The human rights community has had a long-term conversation with social media and other companies in the Internet economy,” the independent expert said, “and yet the companies remain stubbornly committed to policies that fail to articulate their actions according to basic norms of human rights law.”

The landmark report comes at a time when social media giant Facebook, which owns other popular social platform, Instagram, has reportedly been pushed to address violent content spreading on its services, in addition to false news reports and disinformation, which has prompted discussion around the role of social media overall in the spread of hate messages.

“The companies’ failure to recognise their power and impact, and to value shareholders over public interest, must end immediately,” Kaye said. “This report gives the companies the tools to change course.”

The Special Rapporteurs and Working Groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world.

Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organisation and serve in their individual capacity.

The post Governments and Internet Companies are Failing to Meet Challenges of Online Hate appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by External Source at October 23, 2019 08:19 AM


Italy: “Scripta Manent” operation – Anna was transferred to the prison of Lecce

Italy: “Scripta Manent” operation – Anna was transferred to the prison of Lecce
Received 23/10/2019 Italy: “Scripta Manent” operation – Anna was transferred to the prison of Lecce (October 21st, 2019) We received news of Anna’s transfer, which took place yesterday, October 21st, 2019. She was transferred from L’Aquila to the “Borgo San Nicola” prison in Lecce. Below is the address taken from the ministerial sites, to be confirmed with precision […]


by InNero at October 23, 2019 07:46 AM

Pittsburgh Anarcho-Punk Compilation Album // Filler Distro


Filler Distro Presents: A SCAM FOR THE BIG IDEA

A SCAM FOR THE BIG IDEA is a Pittsburgh anarcho-punk compilation album benefiting The Big Idea Cooperative Bookstore & Cafe.

You can buy or stream the album on bandcamp. It’s also available for streaming on spotify, youtube, and a bunch of other sites. All proceeds go directly to The Big Idea.

Over the last 18 years, The Big Idea has become a second home for many Pittsburgh anarchists. The space’s rent got jacked up recently, and it’s likely to get raised again in the coming months. With that in mind, some Filler kids figured it was time we pay The Big Idea back for all the coffee, books, zines, pins, patches and vegan goodies that we’ve nabbed over the years.

We found some cheap recording equipment and decided to hit up our friends to see if anyone wanted to record a track or two for a benefit compilation album. Now that the album’s done, we’re offering free recording to anarchist bands/musicians living near the three rivers, so hit us up for free recording!

The accompanying zine will be released in the coming weeks, be sure to check it out! It’s gonna have art/lyrics for every track, as well as some perspectives on anarchy in the East End.

by anon at October 23, 2019 06:30 AM


(en) Czech, AFED: "Anniversary" of the Network - Anarchists in Russia have been facing a fabricated accusation for two years. [machine translation]

On Saturday, October 19, 2019, events were held in Moscow and St. Petersburg to commemorate the fact that it had been two years since the police had embarked on a brutal taboo case against the anarchists, the Network. ---- Two years ago, on 19 October 2017, Ilya Sakursky and Vasily Kuksov were arrested and beaten up in Penza. They were followed by arrests of others subsequently accused in the Network case: Dmitry Pchelinceev, Andrei Chernovov, Arman Sagynbayev, Yulia Bojarsinov, Viktor Filinkov, Igor Shishkin, Maxim Ivankin, Mikhail Kulkov. ---- It has been two years since the anarchists and anti-fascists have been in St. Petersburg and in the Retirement Pensions, many have been subjected to torture by the FSB during that time. There is an intense trial in Penza every day, and a court in St. Petersburg has been stretched for an indefinitely long time. Two years are ...

by A-infos ( at October 23, 2019 06:29 AM

(en) Czech, AFED: Minsk - No war in northern Syria! - Solidarity Action with Rojava at the Turkish Embassy in Belarus [machine translation]

Autonomous events in Rojava are held around the world. You can read about the big ones, especially in Western Europe, with a little internet search. However, not even the manifestations of solidarity, which are not so numerous but take place in countries as autocratic and repressive as Turkey, which attacked Rojava, should not fail. ---- Also in the center of the capital of Belarus came several anarchists to express their opinion on the current situation in northern Syria with the slogans "Erdogan fuck off" and "Revolution in Kurdistan will prevail". They distributed leaflets calling for the cessation of Turkish aggression in Rojava and chanting slogans such as "Freedom of Rojava, Death to the Turkish Empire!" Or "Death to Turkish Fascism!". In a megaphone, they explained, "We are here to express solidarity with the people of Kurdistan who fought for ...

by A-infos ( at October 23, 2019 06:29 AM

(en) France, Union Communiste Libertaire AL #298 - " Safe city " We will not be your guinea pigs (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]

In September, the Libertarian Communist Union co-signed the manifesto for launching a unitary campaign bringing together associations, unions and organizations around the fight against " technopolis ". Below, we relay and comment on this manifesto. ---- The manifesto Resist the total surveillance of our cities and our lives launching the unitary campaign against the " technopolis " [1], at the initiative of La Quadrature du Net and signed by the Libertarian Communist Union among others, is part of the observation next: " Across the French territory, Smart City (or" smart city ") reveals its true face: that of a total surveillance of the urban space for police purposes. " ---- A security news that pushes to mobilize The recent experiences of video surveillance " based on the automated processing of video ...

by A-infos ( at October 23, 2019 06:22 AM

(en) liberta salonica: NTU-Rubikonas Invasion of the Turkish Consulate in Thessaloniki [VIDEO] machine translation] ---- On the morning of Tuesday the 15th of October, twenty-two companions of the Black & Red - Libertatia groups (members of the APO) intervened at the entrance of the Turkish Consulate in Thessaloniki as a solidarity movement in the struggle of the Rojava people and against the invading Turkish people . ---- Banners were opened and slogans were shouted in favor of Kurdish fighters defending the territories and conquests of the Confederate model of self-government in their area. ---- The MAT squads guarding the Consulate attempted to overwhelm their initial surprise by showing excessive zeal for the repatriation of those gathered on the opposite sidewalk. They typically pushed the comrades over the main street of Agios Dimitrios while passing cars. ...

by A-infos ( at October 23, 2019 06:22 AM

(en) France, Union Communiste Libertaire - Facing transphobia: let's organize resistance! (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]

This 19th of October will take place the 23rd ExistransInter march, a march of protest for the rights of trans and intersex people. This march aims to defend the self-determination of trans people and / or intersex and denounce the trampling of their rights and their health for decades. This year, trans, intersex people and their allies are calling for support for access to trans migrants' rights of residence, access to the PMA for trans people and condemn the mutilation of intersex people, racist laws on immigration who imprison, expel trans and intersex people seeking asylum and limit any recourse. ---- The eviction of trans people from the PMA and the half-hearted measures of the government for the trans people (insufficient circular on the change of first name, maintenance of the change of civil status in a judicial procedure demedicalized only theoretically) reflect ...

by A-infos ( at October 23, 2019 06:16 AM

(en) On October 19, the second stage of the marches in defense of the public and social railway (Andalucía Railway Sector) (ca) [machine translation]

The PTRA platform (Platform for the Andalusian Rural Train), of which CGT is part, will begin in Fuente de Piedra (Málaga) the second stage of the planned ones, stages that one by one will lead us to conclude with a large demonstration in Seville in defense of the public and social railroad on December 14. ---- The stages, which began on October 12 in Bobadilla, will be held every Saturday until reaching Seville and are intended to raise public awareness of the Government's intentions to eliminate the backbone of Rural Andalusia leaving only connections between large cities via AVE or Avant ---- The first stage took place between Bobadilla Estación and Fuente de Piedra on October 12 and tomorrow October 19, at 10 am, the second stage will depart from the Fuente de Piedra station on the way to La Roda de Andalucía. Two stations that we will connect on foot to ...

by A-infos ( at October 23, 2019 06:16 AM

(en) Spaine, alas barricadas: CNT statement regarding the current situation in Catalonia (ca) [machine translation]

We are people, we are neighbors and neighbors, we have the right to decide our future and our lives ---- In Catalonia we have a problem and you don't have to be very ready to reach this conclusion. We will not enter here to analyze the causes nor will we take a political position on either side; In our organization we have different points of view regarding the claim of the Catalan people to exercise their right to self-determination. ---- But if there is something that defines the trajectory of the CNT, both at the state and Catalan level, it is our rejection of repression. ---- The Spanish State has demonstrated once again that no matter how much the word "democracy" comes out of its mouth it is anything but a democracy. After inadmissible leaks of the sentence to various media, evidencing the falsity of the separation of powers, finally today comes a sentence that, beyond the ...

by A-infos ( at October 23, 2019 06:13 AM

(en) Poland, Workers Initiative: Christmas bonus at Amazon - trade union announcement (National actions)

Trade union announcement about the Christmas bonus at Amazon ---- On October 18, both trade unions operating at Amazon OZZ "Inicjatywa Pracownicza" and NSZZ "Solidarnosc" gave the employer a joint position regarding the introduction of "Bonus Bonus for Holidays". During several weeks of difficult negotiations, we managed to shorten the bonus period and increase the bonus amount to PLN 1,500 gross, as well as expand the catalog and increase the number of incidents that do not affect the bonus. Thank you to everyone who supported us during the talks with the employer. Your adamant attitude has strengthened the unions at the negotiating table. ---- The right to the Bonus is acquired separately for the period from November 24, 2019 to December 7, 2019 ("The first bonus period") and for the period from December 8, 2019 to December 21, 2019 ("The second period bonus ''). The bonus ...

by A-infos ( at October 23, 2019 06:13 AM


Industry dominates Trump’s new council of science advisers Industry dominates Trump’s new council of science advisers

Industry dominates Trump’s new council of science advisers
By Ben Guarino
Oct 22 2019

President Trump revived the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology on Tuesday after nearly two years without it.

“Under this administration, science and technology in America continues to advance by leaps and bounds,” said the president’s science adviser, Kelvin Droegemeier, who will chair the council, in a statement. “PCAST will be critical to our continued efforts, with each member bringing a unique expert perspective to the table.”

PCAST’s members investigate the country’s pressing scientific questions at the president’s direction. Typically, academic members of a PCAST  outnumber its industry scientists. This was true for the councils under George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

Industry veterans dominate Trump’s inaugural PCAST, as they did under George W. Bush. Only one of Trump’s seven new PCAST members works in academia. Two members do not have doctoral degrees.

The newly announced members are: Catherine Bessant, the chief technology officer at Bank of America; H. Fisk Johnson, chief executive at S.C. Johnson & Son; IBM Research director Dario Gil; Cyclo Therapeutics vice president Sharon Hrynkow; A.N. Sreeram, Dow Chemical’s chief technology officer; HP Labs’ chief technology officer Shane Wall; and K. Birgitta Whaley, an expert in quantum information at the University of California at Berkeley.

Trump’s PCAST will eventually expand to 16 members, according to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy,including additional academic scholars.

George H.W. Bush chartered the first PCAST in 1990, following a tradition dating back to World War II of soliciting scientists and engineers to advise the White House. Trump’s PCAST comes unusually late in his administration. George W. Bush and Clinton announced their first waves of PCAST appointees within their first year as president. Obama named several scientists to his PCAST in December 2008, while president-elect.

During the Obama administration, PCAST issued 40 reports on topics such as drinking water safety, forensic science and data privacy.

A landmark 2012 PCAST report recommended freeing parts of the radio frequency spectrum that belonged to the government. The Federal Communications Commission adopted spectrum sharing in 2015, and commercial trials are underway; Google tested new wireless technology on the 3.5 GHz band, once restricted to Navy systems, at four NASCAR races in 2017.

After PCAST recommended in 2015 that some hearing aids should be available over-the-counter, the FDA began a regulatory process to allow their sale. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) cited the PCAST report when she introduced legislation in 2017 to support nonprescription hearing aids.

by wa8dzp at October 23, 2019 06:05 AM

October 22, 2019


Fraude et Lutte : des émeutes éclatent contre l’austérité au Chili : Un reportage sur la situation dans les rues de Santiago

Au Chili, en réponse aux protestations étudiantes contre l’augmentation du coût des transports publics, le président a ramené le pays à l’époque de la dictature et de la loi martiale, en déployant les soldats dans les rues et en menaçant les manifestant·e·s de dizaines d’années de prison. Le reportage qui suit nous vient directement des rues de Santiago, à l’épicentre des combats.

« Nous payons le salaire des flics et le prix du billet, et les voilà qui se dressent contre nous ». « Le peuple uni ne sera jamais divisé ».

La conflagration de vendredi dernier a eu lieu après une semaine d’action contre la hausse du prix des billets de transport sous le slogan de « fraude » ou evade y lucha (« fraude les transports et lutte » ), slogan désormais tagué sur presque tous les murs du centre-ville. Tout a commencé comme une réponse ludique à la décision prise par le gouvernement d’augmenter le prix des transports, ce qui a entraîné une hausse généralisée du coût de la vie. Presque entièrement menée par les étudiants, la mobilisation s’est notamment traduite par des actions de fraudes massives dans les stations de métro. Actions au cours desquelles, les étudiants passaient les tourniquets en courant et maintenaient les portes ouvertes pour encourager toutes les autres personnes présentent à faire de même et à rejoindre le mouvement en utilisant gratuitement les transports en commun. La police a réagi en utilisant gaz lacrymogènes et matraques.

« Fraude, ne paie pas—une autre façon de lutter ».

« Fraude et Lutte »

Vendredi, les manifestant·e·s ont répondu en prenant pour cible les stations de métro, détruisant portes et tourniquets, et allant même jusqu’à utiliser ces derniers comme armes pour se défendre contre les attaques de la police. Par conséquent, de nombreuses lignes de métro ont fermé, et en milieu d’après-midi, nous avons appris que le métro serait complétement fermé pendant toute la durée du weekend.

Comme certains autobus étaient toujours en service, les files d’attente aux arrêts desservis ont continué à grossir jusqu’à déborder, provoquant de longs temps d’attente. Au fur et à mesure que les stations de métro fermaient, des marches de protestations commencèrent à se former dans les rues, causant encore plus de retard pour les bus qui transportaient encore des passagers. Aux vues des événements, beaucoup de personnes décidèrent tout simplement de marcher au milieu des routes ; la situation commençait à ressembler à celle d’un jour de neige, où tout le monde sort de chez soi pour se retrouver dans les rues, dans une énergie étrange et extasiée.

Pendant ce temps, des images difficiles à supporter ont commencé à circuler. Ces dernières montrent la police en train de tirer à balles réelles sur une étudiante lors d’une des manifestations contre la hausse du prix des tickets. Son état de santé reste inconnu. Il a été rapporté que des troubles et des affrontements particulièrement intenses ont eu lieu à las Parcelas, le quartier dont est originaire l’étudiante. Au moment d’écrire ces lignes, il y a de multiples signalements de personnes qui se sont faites tirer dessus par la police.

Alors que le soleil se couchait, la ville s’est embrassée. Pendant que des bus été incendiés, des barricades et autres barrages sont apparus dans les rues de nombreux quartiers. Les voisin·e·s sortaient de chez elleux pour frapper sur des casseroles (une forme traditionnelle de protestation connue sous le nom de cacerolazo), ainsi que pour mettre le feu à des canapés, des pneus et à tout ce qu’iels pouvaient trouver dans les environs. La rébellion s’est répandue dans toute la ville, bien au-delà des premières stations de métro attaquées. Tout au long de la nuit, les affrontements avec la police se sont intensifiés jusqu’à ce que le président déclare l’État d’urgence, rappelant la dictature militaire de 1973-1990 au cours de laquelle des milliers de personnes ont “disparu” et ont été assassinées.

Le siège de la compagnie énergétique italienne Enel, haut d’une douzaine d’étages, a également pris feu. Notons que la cause de l’incendie n’a pas encore été confirmée. Alors que certains supposent que des pyromanes seraient à l’origine du feu, d’autres avancent l’hypothèse selon laquelle ce serait une grenade lacrymogène qui aurait déclenché l’incendie.

L’entité qui contrôle le réseau du métro de Santiago a déjà confirmé qu’il n’y aurait pas de service assuré ce week-end, et la fédération étudiante chilienne a appelé à une grève nationale pour lundi. Pour l’instant, il reste à voir si les troubles vont se propager et s’aggraver. Mais une chose est sûre, si les militaires tuent quelqu’un, le pays est voué à exploser. Les souvenirs de la dictature sont trop frais et trop bruts pour que les gens restent passifs.

Les Chilien·ne·s se souviennent trop bien des trahisons de la démocratie pour être apaisé·e·s par une simple réforme telle qu’une réduction du prix des transports en commun. Après des affrontements massifs en Equateur, il semble que les choses reviennent progressivement à la normale dans le pays maintenant que le président équatorien a fait marche arrière par rapport aux mesures d’austérité prévues dans sa proposition budgétaire ; mais cette vague de défiance montre que la colère couve depuis longtemps au Chili, et qu’il ne sera pas facile de la faire taire.

En matière de luttes sociales, le Chili a une longue histoire qui remonte à ses origines coloniales. Les mouvements sociaux combatifs d’aujourd’hui sont issus de la résistance à la dictature militaire meurtrière d’Augusto Pinochet. Leur lignée s’est poursuivie sans interruption et ce, parce que la transition vers la démocratie en 1990 ne s’est accompagnée d’aucun changement significatif que ce soit dans les politiques économiques ou dans les pratiques violentes du maintien de l’ordre. Ces dernières continuant d’imposer des disparités extrêmes en termes de richesse et de pouvoir. Cette révolte particulière rappelle le soulèvement au Brésil en 2013, quand un million de personnes sont descendues dans la rue pour protester contre l’augmentation du coût des transports publics.

Nous verrons bien ce qui se passera ensuite.

Pour voir des images des affrontements, ces quatre comptes Instagram ont fourni des mises à jour régulières.

Pour en savoir plus sur les mouvements sociaux combatifs de longue date au Chili :

The Student Movement in Chile: From Dictatorship to Democracy, the Flame of Revolt

The Chicago Conspiracy—Un documentaire sur l’héritage de la dictature militaire au Chili, revisitant l’histoire des jeunes tué·e·s par le régime Pinochet comme toile de fond de l’histoire de la dictature militaire. Le film suit ce fil conducteur au sein des formes actuelles de conflits sociaux, incarnées entre autres par : le mouvement étudiant, les quartiers qui ont résisté à la dictature et qui continuent de résister au capitalisme et à l’oppression de l’État, et la défiance continue du peuple mapuche autochtone.

October 22, 2019 09:17 PM

Chile: From protest to insurgency

From a las barricadas via Autonomies

Every protest against inequality, or the perceived assault on former “equality” and the arrogance and blindness of politicians, is today a potential spark for rebellion and insurrection. Today it is chile, lebanon, hong kong; just yesterday, it was ecuador, haiti, nicaragua, france. And if we push back the calendar to the beginning of this century, then it may rightfully be said, with Alain Badiou, that we live in times of riots.

Yet, we believe that there is more at stake here than an “awakening of history” or the need for “political organisation” capable of transforming riots into insurrections and history. But this something more we will have to return to in a future post.

For now, news from Chile’s growing insurrection …

Chile under a state of emergency

A las barricadas (21/10/2019)

Since Saturday, Chile has lived under a state of emergency in 5 regions of the country. The military is patrolling the streets and there are reports of police and military abuse of all kinds. After a week of protests due to the fare rise for public transport, President Piñera wanted to pull off a “coup d’etat” and end the protests on the fast track. Not only has he not succeeded, but he has opened a crisis in the country of great proportions. Tomorrow [today], Monday, an attempt will be made to carry out a general strike, initiated by the port unions. To follow the events of Chile, the following twitter tweets are recommended:


There is an environment of psychosis environment in the air, fueled by the media, with organised looting of distribution chains, banks or markets and also attacks on police stations and banking centers. However, in neighborhoods won by drug traffickers, there is fighting among those at the bottom, giving the feeling of chaos. These cases are used to justify the presence of the military in the street. At the moment there are 3 dead in a fire [as of today, 8 dead, with five more dead found in a burnt warehouse; The Guardian 20/10/2019] and more than 700 people arrested.

In this climate, leftist organisations also intend to move forward. The port unions announced a strike from Monday on, to which they will try to bring other labour sectors together, in a national strike. This crisis may end up breaking the bipartisan center-right and center-left system that has governed the country since the end of the dictatorship.

In Chile, some libertarian organisations have set out manifestos:

Before the social revolt registered during the last days in the Chilean region, the Santiago Anarchist Federation declares:

1- We are witness to the collapse of the neoliberal experiment, thousands of voices echo in the streets demanding dignity. This outbreak is not accidental, it is the dignified response of the people to the precariousness of our lives, the looting of nature, the devastation of territories and ecosystems.

The struggle that has been unleashed in the streets is not only because of the increase in the price of the underground, but for all of the years of humiliation, deprivation and mockery by the bourgeoisie. Today peoples have risen in all territories, dignity will never again be taken from us.

This social fire was produced by the recurring and rebellious action of secondary students, who have been subjected to the militarisation of their educational spaces. Young people without fear, full of rebellion and courage, have generated this spark that has burned “the oasis of democracy” in Latin America.

2- The government’s response has been the most savage and extreme repression; decreeing the state of emergency and night curfew, and in turn, having filled the streets of their lackeys, police and militias, they have once again pointed their weapons against our class.

We will not be intimidated. Yesterday, Saturday, all the territories resisted in the streets, ignoring state terrorism. Full of courage we have protected our populations from unleashed repression.

Unfortunately the repression has hit us hard; thousands of arrests, injured and dead people, has been the balance of terror launched on our peoples. Again the minions of the State/Capital have fired against the peoples in struggle, fulfilling their historical role of defending the bourgeoisie and their property when the class demands their rights; they will be eternally despised.

3- It has become absolutely necessary to articulate autonomous and grassroots organisations; assemblies and territorial coordination are the organisational spaces that we must raise up in order to project the fight and prevent this social explosion from being co-opted by political parties, who in a faint-hearted and opportunistic way have been absent from the streets and have only yelled through social networks. The construction of organised community is necessary in order to strengthen our struggles and to parry those who have sold us for positions of power.

4 – We call to maintain the mobilization and making a qualitative leap by calling the GENERAL STRIKE, which allows us to articulate the different sectors in struggle; students, settlers, workers and marginalized. The struggle will deliver to us what the bourgeoisie denies us. We call to continue fighting to advance the recovery of our social rights, eliminate the AFPs, abolish the water code, reject the Social Integration Law and the TPP-11, socialize the transportation system and put an end to laws and measures repressive such as; safe classroom, anti-terrorism law, state internal security law, State of Exception and curfew.

Clear the streets of the police!

General Strike Now!

To root Anarchism!

To build organized community!

Long live the struggle of the peoples!


While evading payment for the subway is criminalised, the ruling class evades taxes in the hundreds of billions. While the recovery of the poor before the multinationals is repressed, the ruling class pillages the territories. For this reason, it is no longer only the secondary students who lucidly and combatively mobilise against the rise in transport costs that drains the working class. And it is not only against the rise in fares of the subway that we mobilise; it is also against the theft of the AFPs [Chilean national private pension system], for access to health and housing, for the defense of territories, water and land.

We say to the secondary students who started the movement: They will never be alone again in the revolt.

As the Sindicato de Oficios Varios [Trade Union of Various Trades], an organisation that has its roots in the struggles of anarcho-syndicalism, we join this concentration for Monday, November 21 in Plaza de Armas, 6:00 p.m.

Against capitalism and the repression of the State:


SOV Santiago

From the CrimethInc. Collective (19/10/2019) …

Evade and Struggle: Riots Break Out against Austerity in Chile

A Report from the Streets of Santiago

In Chile, in response to student protests against an increase in the cost of public transportation, the President has returned the country to dictatorship-era martial law, putting soldiers on the streets and threatening protesters with decades in prison. The following report comes directly from the streets of Santiago at the epicenter of the fighting.

Friday’s conflagration took place following a week of action against fare increases under the slogan “evade” or evade y lucha (“dodge the fare and struggle”), which now appears on nearly every wall downtown in spray paint. It all started as a playful response to the government increasing the cost of living by hiking transport costs. Almost entirely student led, the mobilization has included mass evasions in metro stations in which students run through the turnstiles together and hold open the gates to encourage everyone else to join them in riding for free. Police have reacted with tear gas and batons.

On Friday, protesters responded by targeting the stations themselves, breaking apart the gates and turnstiles and even using them as weapons to defend themselves from police attacks. Many metro lines shut down; mid-afternoon, we received word that the metro will be shut down for the whole weekend.

With some buses still running, the lines at bus stops swelled to overflowing, with long wait times. Protest marches began taking the streets as metros were shut down, causing more delays for the busses still transporting people. Many people started walking on the roads instead; it began to feel like a snow day, when everyone is just out and in the streets, a strange and ecstatic energy.

Meanwhile, harrowing footage circulated showing a student shot by police with live rounds during a fare protest. Her condition remains unknown. Unrest was reported to be especially intense in her neighborhood, las Parcelas. As of this writing, there have been multiple reports of people shot by police.

As the sun went down, the city caught fire. Busses burned. Blockades appeared in the street in many neighborhoods where neighbors came out to bang pots and pans (a traditional form of protest known as cacerolazo), burning couches, tires, and whatever else they could find in the area. Rebellion spread throughout the city, much farther than the original metro centers. Clashes with police escalated throughout the night until the president declared the state of emergency, recalling the military dictatorship of 1973-1990 during which thousands of people were “disappeared” and murdered.

The headquarters of the Italian energy company Enel, over a dozen stories high, caught fire, though the cause is not confirmed yet. While some assume it was torched by arsonists, others speculate that the blaze may have been ignited by a tear gas canister.

The entity that controls the Santiago Metro network has already confirmed that there will be no service over the weekend, and the Chilean student federation has called a nationwide strike for Monday. As of now, it remains to be seen whether the unrest will spread and deepen, but if the military kills someone, the country is bound to explode. The memories of the dictatorship are too fresh, too raw, for people to stand by passively.

Chileans remember the betrayals of democracy too well to be appeased by a simple reform like a reduction in public transit fare. After the massive clashes in Ecuador, it appears that things are returning to normal now that the Ecuadorian president has walked back the austerity measures in his budget proposal; but this outbreak of defiance shows that anger has been simmering for a long time in Chile, and it will not be easy to silence it.

Chile has a long history of social struggle dating back to its colonial origins. Today’s combative social movements are descended from the resistance to the mass-murdering military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet; their lineage has continued uninterrupted because the transition to democracy in 1990 was not accompanied by any meaningful shift in the economic policies and violent policing that impose extreme disparities in wealth and power. This particular revolt is reminiscent of the uprising in Brazil in 2013, when a million people took the streets to protest an increase in the cost of public transportation.

We will see what happens next.

For images of the clashes, these four Instagram accounts have provided consistent updates.

For background on Chile’s longstanding combative social movements:

The Student Movement in Chile: From Dictatorship to Democracy, the Flame of Revolt

The Chicago Conspiracy—A documentary addressing the legacy of the military dictatorship in Chile, revisiting the stories of the young people who were killed by the Pinochet regime as a backdrop to the history of the military dictatorship. The film follows this narrative thread into current forms of social conflict including the student movement, the neighborhoods that resisted the dictatorship and continue to resist capitalism and state oppression, and the continuing defiance of the indigenous Mapuche people.

by thecollective at October 22, 2019 06:59 PM

Anarchist Medics in Rojava Speak + Solidarity with SC Prisoners

From The Final Straw Radio

This is a show with two parts, firstly I got to sit down with two members of Blue Ridge Anarchist Black Cross about the ongoing and increasingly dire situation in South Carolina prions. I won’t take up too much space here with an intro because we have a pretty packed show, but they outline some upcoming actions coordinated at the behest of people incarcerated in SC, a phone zap scheduled for tomorrow (Monday the 21st), and about organizing as anarchists doing prisoner support/solidarity.

Phone Zap information:

“What you can do:

-On Monday (October 21): Call Head of SCDC Bryan Stirling at 803-896-8555 to tell him about this multi-city, international action. Let Stirling know that his department is now not only a national embarrassment, but an international one as well!

-All week, October 21-28: Follow and spread the hashtag #SunlightIsAHumanRight

-Ongoing: Document what you and your loved ones are experiencing; evidence and testimony will help us prepare a formal complaint”

Get in touch with BRABC at

Blue Ridge ABC

c/o Firestorm Books and Coffee

610 Haywood Road

Asheville, NC 28806

Anarchist Combat Medics in Rojava Speak

Secondly, Bursts got a chance to connect to a couple of anarchist comrades working as combat medics engaged with the SDF in Rojava. In this episode, they speak briefly about the work they’re doing, their experiences in the recent Turkish invasion into Syria. Here are a few news sites you can keep up with on what’s been going on, also check out the recent interview on fellow Channel Zero Network affiliates, with CJ, a Syrian anarchist in Qamishlo, as well as the recent series by crimethInc, also of Channel Zero Network, on background of the Rojava revolution and anarchist approaches to it.

Teem Propaganda Workshop

Teem seeks to educate students in digital design skills, image preparation, printmaking techniques, dissemination methods and visual strategy to sharpen our movements’ ability to communicate, disrupt and intervene in spectacle society.

For four days, students will be hands on learning screen-printing, risograph, offset lithography, publication layout, design for print as well as partaking in conversations and lectures to connect practical with theoretical knowledge. We will exercise, eat, and take care of the space together while producing material. Participants will leave the program with not just the printing and design skills to produce effective propaganda, but also a know-how about starting (and continuing) an autonomous printshop.

To register email

More information on this event can be found at

. … . ..

Music for this episode found on a Solidarity with Rojava playlist, musical loop by William.


by thecollective at October 22, 2019 06:54 PM


From The Libertarian Labrynth

The question, raised again in the last installment of this series, of how contexts have shaped our perception of anarchist history is one that will be hard to avoid when we turn our attention to developments in English-speaking circles in North America. In that context, 1865 marks the end of the American Civil War and the return to civilian life of a number of key figures in the story to come.

There are important individual stories to be told. We’ll track the journey of Dyer D. Lum to anarchism and the post-war exploits of William Batchelder Greene. Ezra and Angela Heywood will feature prominently, as we account for the relationship between The Word and the emerging anarchist movement in the 1870s. There will be a lot of apparent diversions into the spiritualist press, adventures among the free religionists and free lovers, as well as plenty of exploration of the “Yankee International” and the associated organizations. We’ll say goodbye to figures like Calvin Blanchard.

In general, I think, we’ll find this period in the radical history of the United States full of interesting characters and episodes, many of which related to more familiar sorts of anarchist history, but also a bit hard to make sense of as a whole, if only because familiar attitudes towards government, authority and hierarchy will so often be found in contexts that do not seem to be “ours.” Hopefully, there will have been opportunities in the first volume to redraw the boundaries of “proper contexts for anarchistic thought” in earlier times and other settings, but, ultimately, there is no escaping the fact that the pursuit of the anarchist idea has often not been neatly separate from pursuits that seem decidedly cranky and weird.

But perhaps there are lessons to learn about the practical side of anarchy from an examination of cranks who were every bit as serious and organized as they were eccentric and diverse. In any event, we probably can’t set the question aside if we want to take a closer look at the various “reform leagues” that were a vehicle for comparatively “big tent” organizing in support of a variety of radical agendas.

Of those, the New England Labor Reform League, established in 1869, is probably the best known, best documented and the closest, in terms of those involved, to familiar accounts about anarchism’s emergence in the United States. So some effort to identify the major players and explore their varied careers will be a priority. But we’ll also check in on the New England Anti-Death League and various other lesser-known radical organizations.

Expect accounts of the struggle against postal censorship, some clarification of Josiah Warren’s views on spiritualism and an exploration of the mutualist feminism of Angela Heywood, as well at least a lengthy mention of the gold-bug, spirit-inspired equitable commerce launched by some NELRL members in competition with Josiah Warren’s ideas.

Then, as our narrative reaches 1872 and the introduction of a young Benjamin R. Tucker to the grand old men of the NELRL, expect increasing attention to the emergence of the modern individualist anarchism that would eventually pose itself as the rival to the communistic “modern anarchism” of Kropotkin & Co.

For years, I’ve dreamed about really spending the time and doing the research that would be necessary to track Tucker through his early encounters with labor reformers and free religionists on the road to anarchism. How successful I am this time around may depend on whether I can put together the funds for some research travel in New York and Massachusetts. But I have, over those years, at least established the outlines of the story of Tucker’s early years and the assembly of talent and viewpoints that made his Radical Review as simultaneously fascinating and puzzling as I think it is.

Simply attempting to cover the most interesting and important Tucker-related episodes might threaten to swamp both this volume and the next, so any successes I have in sketching out the story of his development will undoubtedly be only partial. And it will be necessary to also introduce quite a number of the other individuals who were instrumental in the rise of anarchist individualism in the United States. Fortunately, both What Mutualism Was and Our Lost Continent and the Journey Back will cover parts of this story. What goes into which narrative will be something to work out as the research progresses, but expect the episodes here to be particularly focused on how Tucker and his fellow-travelers understood the concept of anarchy and how they understood their place in the emerging anarchist movement.

In this volume, which ends with the events at the Chicago Haymarket, I’ll be particularly interested in comparing the emergence of communistic “modern anarchism” as an alternative to the nascent Proudhonian anarchism with the establishment of anarchist individualism as some kind of continuation of it. My (undoubtedly contentious) working assumption, at this stage in my research, is that anarchist communism and anarchist individualism were in many ways very similar kinds of “modern” responses to the proto-anarchism of figures like Proudhon, Bakunin, Greene, Warren, etc., emerging from a shared “modern” set of assumptions and sensibilities quite different from those of their predecessors.

We will, of course, only begin our encounter with Tucker in this portion of the study. He lived until 1939 and remained in at least sporadic communication with other anarchist individualists, so he will remain at least a potential subject of further study throughout the remainder of the work. His heyday is probably the third of the four periods we’ll cover, between Haymarket and the First World War. In this volume, he features particularly as one of the most important figures to try to build something distinctly “modern” from the rather scattered remains of the Proudhonian period—and we will follow his career through the building stages of that project.

by thecollective at October 22, 2019 06:49 PM


Chileans Have Launched a General Strike Against Austerity

Chile is the original home of neoliberalism, first begun after the overthrow of President Salvador Allende in 1973. If you listen closely to mass protests on the streets today, you can hear Allende's last words: “The people must defend themselves.”

alt Demonstrators wave flags during a protest against President Sebastian Piñera on Monday in Santiago. (Marcelo Hernandez / Getty Images)

In Chile’s main cities, armed forces and tanks are filling the streets. But civilians are holding their ground, refusing to abandon public space. Official reports indicate eleven fatalities so far, though there are indications that the number is higher. The president has taken to national television to announce that the country is “at war with a powerful enemy who is willing to use violence without any limits.” There are blackouts all across the country. This is October 2019, but it could just as easily be 1973, when socialist president Salvador Allende was overthrown in a coup, replaced with dictator Augusto Pinochet.

Last Saturday, the right-wing president, Sebastían Piñera, decreed a curfew in Santiago that would soon extend to other regions and cities across the country. He has since granted expanded powers to the chief of the national armed forces, Javier Iturriaga, who he has charged with reestablishing order. In this state of emergency, Piñera has effectively banned the right to assembly — a measure not seen since the days of Pinochet.

Despite these strongman measures, a pluri-national (in recognition of Chile’s indigenous communities) general strike is now in full swing across the country. A new day of mass protests is expected tomorrow.

The spark that lit the fire was a fare hike in Santiago’s subway in response to Chile’s incredibly expensive transit systems, some of the most expensive in the world. A student-led movement responded with a campaign of fare-dodging, which quickly spread to the wider population and was successful in crippling one of the capital’s primary strategic services.

The fare hikes came on the heels of a general increase in the cost of basic services, foisted on the Chilean people with routine arrogance. Chile’s transport minister haughtily suggested that commuters “just wake up earlier.”

A Neoliberal Laboratory

Chile’s protest movement is taking to the streets just days after the popular, if partial, victory in Ecuador against the International Monetary Fund–imposed adjustment program. Despite the widespread idea that Chile is a stable democracy driven by a healthy economy — an image cynically forged to act as a counterpoint to other South American nations — the reality is quite different. It is a nation that has suffered the lash of neoliberal capitalism just as much as, if not more than, its neighbors in Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina, and Peru.

Chile is the original and perpetual laboratory for neoliberalism, with more than thirty years of economic shock policies under its belt and a steady, low-intensity war waged against the nation’s popular classes. The infamous Chicago Boys — the University of Chicago–trained economists who were so influential in spreading neoliberal measures during the Pinochet regime — are still at work. And Milton Friedman, who knew a thing or two about creating widespread crisis as a pretext for suspending democratic mechanisms, remains a key reference point.

These same forces now have new tools at their disposal. As in other Latin American countries, the Right has weaponized social media to declare war against a sector of Chile’s own population, which they label as “vandals,” “criminals,” and even “lumpens.” Such attacks are pitched to those communities who are already feeling vulnerable. Piñera’s is a cynical tactic intended to instill the idea that peace can only be established via war. In this context, police have in the last days made fifteen hundred arrests; eighty-five people have been injured. Civil society organizations estimate that fifteen people have been killed, though the number could easily be higher.

Chileans have been widely criminalized by this government. To take just one example, Piñera’s government recently approved a bill to install a significant police presence both in primary and secondary schools. It is no surprise that high school students have taken the lead in the fare-evasion movement.

This week’s uprising is in some ways a reprise of the 2011 mass mobilizations in the country in favor of public, non-denominational, free education. Though it seemed then that authorities had successfully defused the movement, it is now apparent that those forces have been gathering strength, working to combat the intensified conditions of precarity, privatization, and dispossession.

The conflict unfolding today in Chile, against the backdrop of martial law, is the expression of a society that has reached a breaking point. Chileans are exhausted. For years they have been waiting for justice, democracy, peace, and a dignified standard of living. Neoliberal administrations have responded with fragmentation, cooptation, and the technical management of general social distress. And still, in the weeks leading up to the latest crisis, Piñera had the audacity to refer to Chile as “an oasis of stability and democracy,” revealing his own confidence in the face of the country’s acute political and economic crises.

Battle for Chile Redux

Unlike the more restrained movement of 2011, the demonstrations of 2019 cannot be so easily contained. In cities across the country, the curfew is being resisted. Even the government’s decision over the weekend to revoke the transport price hikes has not deterred protestors; it appears instead to have fanned the flames, with protests only spreading further. Amid the familiar chant, “El pueblo unido jamás será vencido,” new slogans can now be heard: “the curfew can stay at the Alameda” (an allusion to the address of the presidential Palacio de la Moneda) and “evade, don’t pay, struggling in a new way.”

The Chilean right — a bloc encompassing the government, the business class, the military, and the corporate media — marches in lockstep in its neoliberal pursuits. Nonetheless, this week’s mobilizations are enjoying popular legitimacy and find support from various unions and social movements, among them the trade union of subway workers (and other branches of public transportation), as well as port workers. In addition to calling for subsidized train fares, the subway workers’ union has called for the outright nationalization of public transportation.

A new social bloc that includes trade unions, student, feminist, and environmentalist groupings have proposed a set of demands that is “transversal” (non-sectoral) and extends across the whole nation. In addition to calling for Piñera’s resignation, among the protesters’ demands are a call for pay rises and cheaper basic services, a forty-hour week, the restoration of union rights and sectoral collective bargaining, the nationalization of both public services and strategic energy sectors, student-debt forgiveness, the annulment of the country’s private-sector pension fund, the cancellation of the odious free market “water codes” signed into law by Pinochet in 1981, progressive tax reform, and a new migration policy. Perhaps most dramatically, the demonstrators are calling for a new constitution to be drafted by the Constituent Assembly.

The scenario is still unfolding unpredictably. Additional curfews are announced daily, flights have been cancelled, services and workplaces shuttered. Staring down an increased military presence on the streets, people are continuing to resist the curfew, and the ranks of workers joining the general strike continues to swell. As a result, the main trade unions and civil-society organizations are joining the call for tomorrow’s general strike.

If one listens closely on the streets today, one can make out the echo of the last words of Salvador Allende: “The people must defend themselves, but they must not sacrifice themselves. The people must not let themselves be destroyed or riddled with bullets, but they cannot be humiliated either.”

by Francisca Gómez-Baeza at October 22, 2019 06:11 PM

InterPressService (global south)

Europe Should Rethink Assumptions about African Migrants: UN

Workers with the United Nation’s body, the International Organisation for Migration register returned migrants at Yaounde Nsimalen Airport in Cameroon. United Nations researchers interviewed 1,970 migrants from 39 African countries who had traveled without official papers and lived in 13 European nations and found many migrated primarily for job prospects and were not seeking asylum. Credit: Mbom Sixtus/IPS

By James Reinl

Sub-Saharan African migrants who risk perilous sea crossings to Europe are often assumed to be illiterate, jobless chancers in desperate bids to flee stagnation and rampant corruption in their home countries. But a survey of some 2,000 irregular African migrants in Europe found them to be more educated than expected, while many of them were leaving behind jobs back home that paid better-than-average wages.

While economic factors do indeed drive many Africans to irregularly migrate across the Mediterranean Sea, a new United Nations report provides some startling data that could change the way migrants are perceived in Europe.

“The report finds that getting a job was not the only motivation to move and that not all irregular migrants were poor in Africa or had lower education levels,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters on Monday.

“Over half of those interviewed were employed or in school at the time of their departure, with the majority of those working earning competitive wages.”

The report, called Scaling Fences: Voices of Irregular African Migrants to Europe, also found that more than 90 percent of those surveyed were undeterred by risky sea crossings and other dangers and would brave such a journey again.

Researchers interviewed 1,970 migrants from 39 African countries who had traveled without official papers and lived in 13 European nations. They had migrated primarily for job prospects and were not seeking asylum.


They found that the undocumented migrants had often not been struggling by sub-Sahara African standards. Some 58 percent either had a job or were in school at the time they decided to take a risky journey north.

On average, the respondents had three more years of education under their belts than peers. For those who were leaving jobs in their African homelands, they tended to have commanded better-than-average wages.

Still, money was a big motivating factor to leave. About half of the respondents who left jobs said they had not been earning enough. Wages earned in Europe were typically much higher than those paid back home.

“The report is meant to paint a clearer picture of why irregular migrants move from Africa to Europe,” added Dujarric. 

“The report calls for more opportunities and choices in Africa while enhancing opportunities to move from ungoverned to governed migration.”

According to researchers, jobs and money were not the only factors. Of those surveyed, 77 percent said they lacked a political voice back home, and 62 percent said they had been treated unfairly by their governments.

Achim Steiner, Administrator of the U.N. Development Programme, said the 71-page report showed how African migrants often left home because of “barriers to opportunity” and “choice-lessness” in graft-ridden economies.

“Migration is a reverberation of development progress across Africa, albeit progress that is uneven and not fast enough to meet people’s aspirations,” said Steiner.

The European Union has witnessed mounting migrant flows in recent years, with folks drowning at sea during perilous crossings in rickety boats and often getting stuck in sprawling, unsanitary camps in Greece and elsewhere.

This has raised political tensions across the 28-nation bloc, with Italy and others adopting anti-immigrant policies and members struggling to agree on how to process and host new arrivals.


“As it stands, the bloc has no system through which member states can share responsibility for hosting migrants in a fair manner,” Shoshana Fine, a fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations think tank, said in a report this month.

“As a consequence, they continue to wrangle with one another over which of them should host the asylum seekers and other migrants who reach Europe’s shores.”

The post Europe Should Rethink Assumptions about African Migrants: UN appeared first on Inter Press Service.

by James Reinl at October 22, 2019 05:36 PM


The Ex-Worker #68: Defend Rojava! Part 3, The So-Called “Ceasefire” and What’s at Stake : Analysis of the “ceasefire”; interview with anarchist from solidarity delegation

Listen here. The revolutionary social experiments in the Kurdish territories of northeastern Syria remain under attack. As SDF forces mount fierce resistance in Sêre Kaniyê and waves of outraged protest sweep the world, the news in recent days has been full of the “ceasefire” negotiated by Turkey and US Vice President Pence. But what is really going on? And why is it so important to aspiring revolutionaries around the world? In Episode 68 of The Ex-Worker, we begin by deconstructing this so-called ceasefire, drawing on an account and analysis shared by anarchist volunteer currently in the war zone. But the bulk of this episode consists of an in-depth interview with an anarchist from the US who participated in a solidarity education delegation in Rojava this summer. She offers detailed insights into daily life amidst revolution and war, the council system and other social and political institutions, the role of military veterans and martyrs in public life, processes for absorbing criticisms and revising revolutionary praxis, and the lessons learned for organizing back in the US. We conclude with a message from another internationalist volunteer sent days ago as the bombs began to fall in Sêre Kaniyê, appealing for action. This episode continues tomorrow as we release a second installment featuring more interviews exploring armed struggle, gender roles, and daily life in Rojava.

Even though we’re focusing on the crisis in Kurdistan again for this episode, let’s not forget that even as the Turkish bombs are falling, other important rebellions are taking place across the world—in Chile, in Catalunya, in Ecuador, in Haiti, in Lebanon, in Hong Kong, and beyond. We’ll have more coverage of these and other revolts through the Ex-Worker and on the CrimethInc. blog in the days and weeks to come, so stay tuned!

October 22, 2019 05:31 PM

Hotwire / The Ex-Worker

#68: Defend Rojava! Part 3, The So-Called “Ceasefire” and What’s at Stake

The revolutionary social experiments in the Kurdish territories of northeastern Syria remain under attack. As SDF forces mount fierce resistance in Sêre Kaniyê and waves of outraged protest sweep the world, the news in recent days has been full of the “ceasefire” negotiated by Turkey and US Vice President Pence. But what is really going on? And why is it so important to aspiring revolutionaries around the world? In Episode 68 of The Ex-Worker, we begin by deconstructing this so-called ceasefire, drawing on an account and analysis shared by anarchist volunteer currently in the war zone. But the bulk of this episode consists of an in-depth interview with an anarchist from the US who participated in a solidarity education delegation in Rojava this summer. She offers detailed insights into daily life amidst revolution and war, the council system and other social and political institutions, the role of military veterans and martyrs in public life, processes for absorbing criticisms and revising revolutionary praxis, and the lessons learned for organizing back in the US. We conclude with a message from another internationalist volunteer sent days ago as the bombs began to fall in Sêre Kaniyê, appealing for action. This episode continues tomorrow as we release a second installment featuring more interviews exploring armed struggle, gender roles, and daily life in Rojava.

Even though we’re focusing on the crisis in Kurdistan again for this episode, let’s not forget that even as the Turkish bombs are falling, other important rebellions are taking place across the world—in Chile, in Catalunya, in Ecuador, in Haiti, in Lebanon, in Hong Kong, and beyond. We’ll have more coverage of these and other revolts through the Ex-Worker and on the CrimethInc. blog in the days and weeks to come, so stay tuned!

{October 22nd, 2019}


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




October 22, 2019 05:31 PM

Channel Zero

#68: Defend Rojava! Part 3, The So-Called “Ceasefire” and What’s at Stake

This post was originally published on this site

The revolutionary social experiments in the Kurdish territories of northeastern Syria remain under attack. As SDF forces mount fierce resistance in Sêre Kaniyê and waves of outraged protest sweep the world, the news in recent days has been full of the “ceasefire” negotiated by Turkey and US Vice President Pence. But what is really going on? And why is it so important to aspiring revolutionaries around the world? In Episode 68 of The Ex-Worker, we begin by deconstructing this so-called ceasefire, drawing on an account and analysis shared by anarchist volunteer currently in the war zone. But the bulk of this episode consists of an in-depth interview with an anarchist from the US who participated in a solidarity education delegation in Rojava this summer. She offers detailed insights into daily life amidst revolution and war, the council system and other social and political institutions, the role of military veterans and martyrs in public life, processes for absorbing criticisms and revising revolutionary praxis, and the lessons learned for organizing back in the US. We conclude with a message from another internationalist volunteer sent days ago as the bombs began to fall in Sêre Kaniyê, appealing for action. This episode continues tomorrow as we release a second installment featuring more interviews exploring armed struggle, gender roles, and daily life in Rojava.

Even though we’re focusing on the crisis in Kurdistan again for this episode, let’s not forget that even as the Turkish bombs are falling, other important rebellions are taking place across the world—in Chile, in Catalunya, in Ecuador, in Haiti, in Lebanon, in Hong Kong, and beyond. We’ll have more coverage of these and other revolts through the Ex-Worker and on the CrimethInc. blog in the days and weeks to come, so stay tuned!

{October 22nd, 2019}






by CrimethInc Ex-Workers Collective at October 22, 2019 05:31 PM

Rap for rapper


London drill rapper Rico Racks has been jailed for three years for drug offences and banned from using certain words in his rap songs.

This is not the first time rappers have been told by the courts to exclude certain words from their music, and this type of legislation has been criticised by Index CEO Jodie Ginsberg.

Read the full story here

The post Rap for rapper appeared first on Index on Censorship.

by Index on Censorship at October 22, 2019 04:11 PM


Latin America’s Pink Tide Isn’t Over

In today’s Bolivian election, Evo Morales is running for a historic fourth term as president. Vice President Álvaro García Linera spoke to Jacobin about how their Movement for Socialism can make their revolution permanent — and stop the rise of the far right in Latin America.

alt Bolivian vice president Álvaro García Linera (left) with President Evo Morales.

This year is proving to be a decisive one in Latin America. On the one hand, various conservative and far-right governments have been mired in crises. These have ranged from the mounting protests against Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil after the Amazon fires, to the popular uprising against Lenín Moreno’s turncoat government in Ecuador and its IMF-sanctioned economic reforms, and continued setbacks for Mauricio Macri’s neoliberal administration in Argentina.

On the other hand, progressive and left-wing forces are still regrouping after years of coups, electoral defeats, and continued media onslaught. There are some positive signs: AMLO’s government in Mexico is making crucial reforms to the state and investigating the disappearance of forty-three students in Guerrero state, while in Argentina the left-Peronist “Front for All” seems assured of electoral victory after a strong showing in August’s primaries. Yet Uruguay’s “Broad Front” faces an uphill battle in the coming elections, and despite promising changes in Chile heralded by Camila Vallejo’s fight for a forty-hour workweek and the political rise of Daniel Jadue, the Communist mayor of Recoleta, the Left remains divided.

The other key electoral battleground is a land at the heart of the recent Pink Tide in Latin America, namely Bolivia, which heads to the polls today. President Evo Morales, the country’s first indigenous leader since Túpac Katari in the eighteenth century, is seeking his fourth consecutive term. The man who began his political life as a trade union activist and the leader of the coca growers’ union has so far proven to be one of the most successful presidents in the country’s history.

Since taking power in 2006, his Movement for Socialism (MAS) government has taken a number of transformative measures. These have ranged from the nationalization of a significant part of the country’s decisive hydrocarbon industry; the rewriting of the constitution and the recognition of the country’s unique “plurinational” indigenous identity; the recognition of the rights of pachamama (mother nature); the redistribution of the country’s natural wealth through massive spending on social infrastructure (such as the Teleférico cable car system in La Paz), health, and education; and the creation of a number of social programs (such as Bono Juancito Pinto and Renta Dignidad).

This has resulted in vast poverty reduction in South America’s poorest country. Indeed, Bolivia’s poverty rate has fallen from 60.6 percent in 2005 to 34.6 percent last year, with extreme poverty falling from 38.2 to 15.2 percent in the same period. During Morales’s rule the Gini coefficient measuring inequality has been cut from 0.6 to 0.45, and in recent years the country has also enjoyed the region’s most consistently high levels of economic growth.

Yet despite such successes, electoral victory is far from assured for Morales. A defeat in the 2016 referendum on presidential term limits has fueled the opposition, particularly in the historic right-wing bastion of Santa Cruz, while a pseudo-environmentalist campaign backed by American foundations and “activists” like Jhanisse Daza has sought to blame Morales for fires in Chiquitania province. His opponents in today’s contest, representing different factions of the right-wing and neoliberal consensus that ruled Bolivia before 2006, include former president Carlos Mesa, the leader of the “Bolivia Says No” movement Óscar Ortiz, and the evangelical-backed, far-right newcomer Chi Hyun Chung.

Most importantly of all, Morales faces the challenge of continuing a revolutionary project opposed to capitalism and neocolonialism, whose long-term survival depends on simultaneously fulfilling the expectations of the country’s powerful indigenous social and trade union movements, while implementing a program of industrialization and growth in a land traditionally dependent on exporting natural resources. Journalists Denis Rogatyuk and Iago Moreno sat down with the country’s vice president, Álvaro García Linera, to discuss the coming elections, the record of Morales’s government, and the bases of future transformative change.

Iago Moreno
Denis Rogatyuk

We’d like to begin with some analysis of the current political landscape in Bolivia. What is the situation today as compared to the last election in 2014 — has MAS’s political space been reduced by the emergence of figures like Carlos Mesa and Óscar Ortiz?

Álvaro García Linera

Each election is particular, and no situation simply repeats itself. The opposition today has different faces to five or ten years ago, but one thing has stayed the same — the lack of an alternative state project for the economy and society.

That’s their main weakness. Indeed, beyond their particular faces, party names, or rhetoric, the conservative forces’ great limit is that they have not been able to rise to the new era characterized by the plurinational state.

That is, they do not have a distinct state project for the articulation of the popular classes and the ruling classes. They do not have a distinct economic project that confronts or overcomes the current presence of the state as the main economic actor and distributor of wealth. Nor are they — openly at least — able to propose an alternative to the present empowerment of indigenous peoples within the construction of the plurinational state.

So if we call these things the three arms of Bolivia’s economy and politics over the last decade, we see that the conservative forces have no alternative project of their own. In this sense, the situation looks similar to five years ago.

We will have to see how this plays out in terms of how people vote. But we are confident that the fundamental bases of our project, and the hegemonic structure of the plurinational state, will endure.

Iago Moreno
Denis Rogatyuk

For years, what you described as the ideological media effort to assert an “end of the cycle” sought to project Latin America’s future as an inevitable return to the long night of neoliberalism. Yet AMLO’s unprecedented victory in Mexico and the surprising advance for the Frente de Todos (Front for All) in the Argentinian primaries seem to have shown that this supposedly “inevitable” move back into line was in fact a chimera. What role do you think Bolivia will play in the new regional alliances — and what possibility is there of a new continental power bloc?

Álvaro García Linera

There has been a curious kind of marriage or philosophical coincidence between the discourse of the end of history, put forward by liberal currents in the 1980s, and certain leftist or progressive currents who have spoken of the end of the progressive cycle in Latin America.

I say “coincide” because they share a teleological view of history, as if based on laws that stand above human action. Yet the evidence of history is that it does not move according to laws, and there can be no teleological philosophy of history without contingency. History always also includes the novel, the unpredictable, the sense of possibility.

Hence even when some people were already repeating that the left-wing cycle was over and that a new conservative era was on its way, there came the victories in Mexico. So they said that even this was just the last hurrah of the progressive cycle. But then came Argentina, and we may expect victories in Bolivia and Uruguay, too.

What these fantasy readings do not understand is that historical processes do not move through cycles, by way of “laws” independent of human action, but rather in tides. Collective actions and social struggles arise in tides — they arrive, they advance, they make ground, conquer, reach a limit, stop, retreat, but then they can come back again to drive a fresh tide and then another one.

I believe that we are seeing a fresh tide of progressive processes in a world and a Latin America which are looking for alternatives to inequality, misery, and exploitation. We should see that concretized later in October.

The second aspect of this reading is that it conceives of conservative victories — this return of neoliberalism — as the beginning of a long cycle that could last for ten or twenty years. Yet that is not how things really are.

The big problem of this neoliberalism 2.0 is that it is not a project for society but, above all, a kind of revenge, an attitude of settling accounts. It is not about enthusing people but rather agitating people’s harshened emotions in order to offer easy scapegoats for their problems. Yet this is thin gruel.

It is not possible to build a lasting hegemony — a moral tolerance of the governing by the governed — on the basis of hatred and resentment alone. So this neoliberalism 2.0 has very limited possibilities, for it has not created a new proposal for society and how we should live.

That’s what it did in the 1980s — and that was its strength. While others sought to conserve what already existed, the neoliberals said, “We’re going to change the world, with free enterprise, globalization, the free market economy, and free trade deals.” This was a proposal for life, for society, which captured the enthusiasm, the agreement, and the active support of subaltern sectors of the popular classes. But today the neoliberals are not doing that.

Moreover, this neoliberalism 2.0 emerged in a moment in which the whole world is seeing a collapse in the belief in the end of history — a belief based on the neoliberal precepts of Britain and the United States. Thirty years ago they were the champions of free trade but today they are protectionists while China, with its one-party state and planned economy, is the standard-bearer of free trade.

The communists have become free-traders, and the champions of the free market and liberal democracy have turned into protectionists — everything is upside down. So the neoliberal offer and its models are not attractive. If the United States and Britain were once used as the horizon we ought to chase, now they are rather more against the current.

In this scenario of generalized chaos and the collapse of the neoliberal, pro-globalization narrative, the neoliberal projects developing in certain countries no longer have the same sparkle, the strength, the sense of conviction, or the all-encompassing that they once did — and nor are they firing people’s enthusiasm.

They may last for years in order to settle accounts, so that the upper classes can take revenge on the middle or popular classes. But they cannot attract the collective spirit of society in any enduring way. They are short-term projects, and sooner rather than later they will be confronted by new waves of popular discontent, for what they are creating is rising poverty.

Iago Moreno
Denis Rogatyuk

MAS’s project has combined various dimensions of revolutionary politics: the management of the state, the political struggle against the opposition, meeting social movement demands, and fulfilling and updating revolutionary tasks. What are the main centers of gravity of political power within MAS, and what are the main challenges presenting Evo Morales’s government?

Álvaro García Linera

One of the many lessons that Bolivia has drawn is based on the fact that you can’t build governability or social and political stability only through parliamentary force. It is built through collective action, with a territorial presence in the streets. That’s decisive.

The pillars of governability that we have built obviously include a parliamentary majority but so, too, a social majority in the streets. This collective action is a key element for understanding the new forms of democratization. The other pillar is the complex and flexible articulation of social organizations in the structures of power and decision-making. Trade unions, professional associations, peasant and indigenous federations, and neighborhood associations form a power structure within the state.

By “flexible” I mean that sometimes these organizations withdraw or are again reincorporated: the structure of government is a flexible confederation of social organizations. MAS is less a party than a fluid, loose, negotiated organization of social organizations. This is another novelty in the forms of collective organization which (as Antonio Gramsci put it) become the state, become the government, and give a different dynamic to the Bolivian political process.

As for the challenges, there are several. The fact that plebeian Bolivia today has access to positions of power, of decision-making in parliaments, ministries, town halls, and regional governments from which they had been permanently excluded, has driven a healthy appetite for participation, to make a kind of career from workers’ leader to councilor, MP, or minister.

I am not criticizing this attitude. After five hundred years of marginalization, in which the handling of questions of government was limited to a few families, this marks an expansion of the right to be recognized and to make decisions. But this generates a problem in social organization. For when these militants, trade unionists, workers, peasants, and indigenous Bolivians make their rapid rise through the ranks in social administration, passing over to state politics, this deprives the unions of political cadres. This translates into a slow depoliticization of the country’s social structures, and in the longer term this could prove very complicated.

Necessary, then, is a permanent repoliticization of social sectors. In Bolivia we replace 98 percent of our MPs, senators, mayors, councilors, and regional assembly members every five years. This is a very fast rate of turnover in our political cadres, and at the intermediate level of leadership there are people with less training, shorter careers, less experience, which can in part weaken the unions’ organizational structure.

For me, this is one of the risks ahead of us. And that demands that over the next five years we support the repoliticization of trade-union life and the training of the leading cadres in unions, professional associations, and peasant and indigenous communities. This is the first challenge we must face.

Iago Moreno
Denis Rogatyuk

In 2017 you said you wanted to free up more time and space to dedicate yourself to what you called “the goal of training up new communist cadres.” But the demands of the Bolivian process have required you to stay on as vice presidential candidate for another term. Nonetheless, this continues to be one of the big plans in your thinking, and one of the fundamental tasks in the project’s long-term survival. What would you see as the main contours of this permanent work of training up cadres, and what role will be played by youth organizations around MAS like La Resistencia, Generación Evo, Siglo XXI, and Columna Sur, as well as its international ties?

Álvaro García Linera

These youth structures are a great achievement, a vital force that enriches and constantly renews ideas and leaderships. So these structures have to be empowered. But it is also necessary to strengthen collective political and ideological training, leadership development and opinion-formation in trade unions, in peasant communities and in neighborhood leaderships.

The MAS is, fundamentally, a plebeian structure uniting various social organizations, and the decision-makers in MAS belong to these social sectors. It is here, then, that more direction in cadre development is necessary. I have every intention of creating a cadre school over the next five years, for young people of various social sectors but also of trade unionists, members of residents’ associations, and both manual and intellectual workers.

It should not be forgotten that the first generation who entered governmental structures with MAS came from two different fields — from the old left-wing training done by the socialist and communist parties and the party-political left, and from the old cadre-formation in the unions that came through mass marches, road blockades, persecution, and jail. This was the “youth academy” that provided the first generation of personnel for MAS in government.

Now there are no longer big marches and blockades — and that’s a good thing. But that means there also isn’t the “school” that marches and blockades provide in terms of training cadres, and the formation that the forces of the Left provided over the decades has also been greatly weakened, for MAS has absorbed them. So, we haven’t seen the continuation of the old small-scale but very dense activism. The new situation demands work on both fronts: among youth, yes, but also with social organizations, in the perspective of developing new, ideologically well-trained and politically well-prepared leaderships in the battles ahead of us.

Iago Moreno
Denis Rogatyuk

After years of US interference in the change process in Bolivia, today’s new “Condor Plans” seem to be betting on orchestrating a kind of “color revolution” financed and supported from the outside. The takeover of certain universities by the opposition, the disinformation campaigns around the fires in Chiquitania, and the resurgence of opposition violence and lockouts evidence this same tendency. What mechanisms of democratic self-defense do the peoples of Bolivia have to stand up for themselves against this type of ideological-cultural siege?

Álvaro García Linera

I think in politics the enemy will always do everything possible to weaken you — by definition. If not, they wouldn’t be enemies. Even if you don’t see it, they’re doing it: you have to assume that.

I also believe that when someone throws a heavy object at a vase, what causes it to break is not the object being thrown but the fragility of the vase — that is, you have to construct something unbreakable that will resist when something is thrown at it. That’s how I imagine revolutionary processes: you’re always going to have attacks coming from one side or another, from foreign countries and imperial interests. It would be naive not to expect such actions. But we then need to build something able to withstand this.

That is what we have tried to do these last thirteen years — to build a vase that will not be broken by the blows coming from the outside. It’s clear that in recent times conservative forces and the conservative intelligentsia around the world have improved their tactics, in a certain sense becoming more Gramscian. They also use culture, the built-up sediment of common sense, and seek to build consent and lasting support. This is just what the Left did. Having long been marginal, we strove to build strong ideas, little ideas that could capture part of the collective imaginary.

Tell me how much influence you have over common sense, and I’ll tell you what your political strength is. The Left started from that. Our theoretical debates, our training programs, and our capacity to analyze the concrete situation were used to establish key ideas that could spread more broadly and capture people’s imagination. The Right knows this and is trying to do the same, replacing the hard coup and dictatorships with a battle over key ideas, the dominant common sense, the logical, moral, procedural, and instrumental order of people’s everyday lives.

So they, too, are now more sophisticated, and as the Left our battle now is more complicated. But no matter — for unless you face an intelligent adversary, you yourself will come to have clear limits. It is your adversary’s strongholds, their strategic advantages, that oblige you to develop your capacities in order to confront and defeat them.

I am not surprised by the opposition’s tactics, we expected them, but that demands that we reply with our own new strategies and tactics that can both overcome this offensive and recapture the general outlook on the world and the future from the progressive side. What we’re living through now is new but not surprising.

Iago Moreno
Denis Rogatyuk

Speaking of future strategies and the new maneuvers by your opponents, we wanted to ask you about the new challenges linked to social media. The last Brazilian election demonstrated the dangerous turn in this field: after years in which the internet was optimistically given the aura of democratic debate, it has turned out to be controlled by a minority of transnationals and global powers. Today networks like Facebook and WhatsApp are the base for the intensive deployment of bots and trolls, and indeed are the spearhead of massive disinformation campaigns. According to many critical voices, the lack of democratic antibodies on the internet in Bolivia has been reflected firstly in the referendum defeat of February 21, 2016 (a failed bid to loosen presidential term limits) and secondly with the ease with which the opponents of the plurinational state have managed to fill social media with disinformation on Chiquitania. Will the next term also be a period of cyber-sovereignty? Does Bolivia’s change process also have to become millions-strong online?

Álvaro García Linera

Certainly, social media has introduced a new platform in the political arena, a new technical basis for the construction of public opinion. First, we had the face-to-face, verbalized forms of building public opinion that go back millennia, and then came the printing press, newspapers, radio, television, and now the internet.

These are five fundamental technical platforms for communication, and each has its own complexities, its own characteristics, its own virtues, limits, and forms of manipulation. Social media is new and has to be understood. But I’m not one of those who believe that it can reinvent the wheel. It can create imaginaries, distort realities, and reinforce certain prejudices, just as newspapers, radio, and television did in their time.

Just as in the case of other platforms, whoever has more cash will exert more power. Those who can use AI to profile the electorate, even according to your favorite film and the colors you like, can send you messages in the right colors at the right moment to catch your attention.

But they can’t just make anything up — and it’s not as if AI can manipulate your brain so that after previously thinking one thing you instantly change and think something else instead. Television, too, used to be called the idiot box. But people aren’t fools, or a sponge that absorbs just anything. Human beings are always creatures of belief, and clearly the web is a fantastic arena for manipulating and reorienting what people think. But to work, these beliefs must be framed in terms that have some material connection with reality.

The web plays an important role in informing and misinforming people, but it cannot create a perfectly manipulable world totally different from what the citizen lives in their everyday life. After all, you compare the information you’ve seen online with your own life: when you go to buy bread, when you get on a bus, when you speak with your workmates, ultimately you are left with what is most substantial and most connected to your own experience.

So now we have a new platform with new rules, new technologies, new forms of organization, of collective will, of information, that are more sophisticated, more complicated, and more difficult to navigate. But this is also part of a system of platforms that humanity has been building for thousands of years. We have learned about the important role they play and are gradually making our own incursion onto them.

Faced with the manipulations of AI by some foreign government, business, or over-financed political party, we have to compensate by using AI to spread more reliable and accurate information. A new world has, indeed, opened up with the web, but it’s a new world whose rules of engagement and tactics are not so different from those that Sun Tzu confronted 3,500 years ago.

Iago Moreno
Denis Rogatyuk

I’d like to conclude with a more personal question. You have been a trade unionist, a guerrilla in the Ejército Túpac Katari, a professor, and a vice president. So, who is Álvaro García Linera? How has your political trajectory evolved? And what intellectual reference points have most influenced you?

Álvaro García Linera

Since my teenage years, I’ve been a socialist, a communist, a man who understands that the life worth living is that which helps transform people’s conditions of existence in the interest of greater equality, justice, and freedom. And all the rest is just secondary considerations, temporary tools, contingent to this labor that defines the communist or the socialist.

By socialism and communism, I don’t mean party activism, but activism in the service of a certain horizon for society. In the Bolivian case, you cannot be a socialist, a communist, if you do not understand your reality, including Bolivia’s own workers’ movement, its indigenous movement, and its indianismo (championing the indigenous peoples of Bolivia). You cannot be a communist in Bolivia unless you are also an indianista.

I am constantly working to take on board the contemporary debate, ideological battles, and advances in the various areas of the social sciences. I like to absorb this knowledge, but it’s also clear that this cannot be useful as a mere exercise in logical reflection, words, and ideas, which is rather too simple. Rather, I can study all this in order to delve deeper into what is happening in Bolivia, Latin America, and the wider world, among indigenous (and nonindigenous) Bolivians, workers, and to understand subjects like poverty, social malaise, elites, interference, and colonialism.

I have always fused these ideas with others borne from our own experience. This ideological and spiritual articulation began at the start of my activism back in high school. And I’ve never changed in that sense. Sometimes there are certain authors that influence me more and certain political actions that I see as more relevant. But as time passes, others do more to attract my attention, surprising me with their politics, and they’re the ones who enthuse me most. But there’s a constant red thread, which is this socialist, communist, indianista activism. I don’t think I’ve changed in that regard — that is what will sustain me so long as I live. What comes after that, we don’t know.

by Álvaro García Linera at October 22, 2019 04:06 PM

The NDP Must Stay the Course

Canada’s New Democratic Party performed worse than expected in yesterday’s elections. But the party can’t take those results as a sign to water down their message — the NDP must continue to offer a left-wing program of taxing the rich and combating climate change.

alt Canada's New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh at the Toronto Pride Parade in 2017. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The polls in the closing days of the Canadian federal election were not completely wrong: they predicted a minority government. But how we got to such a government was unexpected. The Liberals managed to win a plurality of seats and will receive the first shot of forming a government. However, the Conservatives won a plurality of the votes. From the early vote totals, it also looks like the voter turnout is down from the 68.3 percent that it was in 2015.

This kind of result is rare but not unprecedented in Canadian politics, where 1979 was the last time the party that won the most seats did not have a plurality of votes. Such is the reality of a first-past-the-post electoral system.

The polls also correctly captured the fact that the recent Green Party surge had ended. Although some polls had the Greens at over 10 percent, they ended up with just over 6 percent. While their three seats are the most they have ever won, the result demonstrates that they faded over the course of the campaign season.

The far-right People’s Party did not manage to win a seat, with its former Conservative foreign minister leader Maxime Bernier losing his. This is a blow to the far right at the electoral level, though the party could come roaring back if little is done to offer a left-wing alternative to the status quo.

The New Democratic Party’s (NDP) result, however, did not live up to what the polls predicted. Some polls had the NDP at 18 to 20 percent of the popular vote, winning thirty to thirty-five seats. In fact, the party ended up with 15.8 percent of the vote and twenty-four seats. The NDP’s loss of seats was to be expected — the beachhead the party held in Québec was always precarious, and it only managed to hold on to one of their previous sixteen seats there.

That poor result in Québec is tied to the situation around Bill 21 there. This bill would have prohibited public servants from wearing conspicuous religious symbols like a hijab or a kippah. NDP leader Jagmeet Singh is a Sikh who wears a turban, and he experienced racism while campaigning in the province — and elsewhere, for that matter. The Bloc Québécois surged during the campaign, going from ten seats to thirty-two, focusing on provincial pride and barely veiled racist appeals.

The NDP managed to pick up some seats in the rest of Canada, but it also lost some there, too. The thirty or more projected seats did not materialize. Why? It is certainly possible that Singh suffered from the Bradley Effect, in which voters tell pollsters they will vote for a candidate of color but don’t once they reach the polls. But it is also possible that the Liberals’ classic fearmongering over strategic voting to stop the Conservatives prevented the NDP from picking up seats in the Toronto and Vancouver areas, where it looked like the party had a chance of some gains.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s many scandals seemed to have hurt him at one point, and likely cost him a majority government. But the NDP was unable to translate that into a massive wave in their favor.

The NDP’s decline should not be laid at the feet of Singh, though. When the election started, the polls were bleak. There was talk that the NDP would end up with less than twelve seats, which would have seen it lose official party status in the House of Commons. Singh ran a good campaign, and his performance in the debates helped to save the NDP from a wipeout. He will almost certainly stay on as leader, and deservedly so, given the circumstances and his strong campaign presence. And, frankly, there is no one who could realistically replace him.

The NDP ran on its most left-wing platform in years. Its climate plan and its calls to tax the rich were well received. There were limitations, of course, like the plan to make dental coverage means tested and limited to households making less than $70,000 a year, despite the fact that targeted social programs are easier to undo than universal ones.

But Singh inherited a party that was in disarray. Its previous leader, Thomas Mulcair, was an ex–Québec Liberal who was recruited to the party to win seats in Québec. He was a very effective parliamentarian, but he was no social democrat.

Mulcair botched the 2015 election by promising no deficit — despite the Liberals announcing they were willing to run one to protect jobs and the economy. Mulcair was turfed at a party convention in 2016, and the party languished in the polls and saw its fundraising drop. Singh won the NDP leadership race with a strong showing, but he had jumped from provincial politics, where he was a member of the third-largest party in the Ontario legislature, to leading a federal political party. He proved to be an incredibly effective campaigner, however, once he gained experience and hit his stride during the election.

On the campaign trail, some chatter suggested a government coalition between the Liberals and the NDP. Canada has not had a coalition government since World War I. But the position that the NDP finds itself in is not new. It has enough seats to prop up a Liberal minority government.

This has happened several times before. When there were Liberal minority governments in the mid-1960s and early 1970s, the NDP played key roles in the passage of Medicare, the Canada Pension Plan, and the creation of Petro-Canada (now since privatized). The irony in these situations was that the Liberals ended up winning majority governments after these periods of confidence and supply from the NDP. Now, these accomplishments in building the Canadian welfare state are often attributed to the Liberals alone.

As a result, the NDP must tread carefully or find itself losing even more ground. The party must clearly state its priorities. Given the campaign it ran, it could try to force electoral reforms (which Trudeau infamously reneged on in February 2017) on the Liberals, as well as providing clean water to Indigenous communities, canceling the Trans Mountain Pipeline, and instituting a national Pharmacare program.

Given the fact that the Liberals spent significant political capital on buying the Trans Mountain Pipeline to reassure the forces of international capital that the Canadian energy sector was still open for business, canceling it may be difficult even in the situation of a minority government. But for the NDP to retain its credibility, it cannot compromise on the issues it focused on during the campaign, especially given the amount of climate activism that has taken place recently. Such activism, and the NDP’s embrace of an aggressive climate plan, likely helped them to prevent worse losses.

Most federal minority governments in Canada last around two years or less. The country will likely be going back to the polls sooner rather than later. Such circumstances have not always been kind to the NDP, with the exception of the 2011 election, in which the party won the greatest number seats in its history. In that case, though, the Liberals had experienced a complete meltdown, winning fewer seats than ever before. That’s unlikely to happen in the next election.

But for the NDP to buck broader historical trends, it must continue to offer a left-wing program of taxing the rich and combating climate change. A strong left-wing program is not an automatic guarantee of success. But making too many compromises to keep the Liberals in power will almost certainly undermine any chances for the NDP’s renewal.

by Gerard Di Trolio at October 22, 2019 03:21 PM