Occupy Wall Street activist Cecily McMillan, on whose imprisonment Freedom has reported recently, was freed from Rikers Island jail in New York City in July. A short time afterwards a report by the ‘New York Times’ exposed the extent of brutal attacks by prison officers there. New York city’s health department carried out a secret study and found that abuse was widespread and routine.
At the time of writing (12th August 2014), Nick Hardwick, the Chief Inspector of Prisons, has come to the conclusion that much of the country had come to months ago- that Tory policy on prisons is dehumanising, that being imprisoned makes you ‘uniquely vulnerable’, and that our current public discourse in regards to prisons is myth-laden and exasperatingly underdeveloped. Mr. Hardwick has a decent attitude toward the purpose of the prison system: ‘you’re sent to prison as punishment, not for punishment’, but he’s also hardly an anarchist. Nevertheless, I believe that any reform of the prison system ought to consider what Peter Kropotkin had to say on the matter, in his work ‘Prisons: Universities of Crime‘, originally read to the British Medical Association in 1913.
What happened to Mike Brown is a tragedy that can’t be put into words. A less spoken tragedy is that it’s the day to day reality for so many of us–especially those of us who are young, who are people of color, who don’t fit the cops’ idea of an acceptable, law abiding citizen. How often do the police kill someone? In St. Louis, it seems like almost every month. We often don’t do anything about it, or feel like we can. The last few days have been different.
This is not a call to storm the hospitals and switch off people's life support systems, burn down pharmacies, or dismantle all wheelchairs. While this article is part of a growing call to view technology’s ubiquitous presence with a much more critical eye, it does not mean we're arguing for rounding up people at gun point and forcing them to hand over their smart phones; nor are we on a crusade to deny people access to hormone therapies, [modern] abortions or other tech advances used to sustain and improve quality of life.
China Labour Bulletin, a workers’ rights group in Hong Kong, has documented 235 incidents of strikes or worker protests in the second quarter of 2014. This represents a 49 per cent hike over the same period last year, and 180 per cent more than in the same period in 2012.
In remembrance of the one-year anniversary of the Lac-Mégantic oil train tragedy that killed 47 people, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) raised a banner from cranes today calling out unfair labor practices and protesting unsafe oil at the Port of Vancouver in Washington.
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union raised a banner from cranes calling out unfair labor practices and protesting unsafe oil at the Port of Vancouver in Washington.
Over the course of a few years, local police in a seemingly coordinated effort have put forth narratives designed to stop radicals from lending unmediated support to impacted communities during times of crisis. The pattern of this counterinsurgency strategy is simplistic yet fairly effective. A decade of intense militarization, economic decline and an overall breaking system has created a need for the state to stop uprisings before they take hold. Their strategy is two fold, divide the impacted community into good and bad protesters while concurrently attacking the anarchist movement.
A few months ago, I was walking across Dublin to meet a friend. At the top of Grafton St., a woman from some religious group or other was handing out glossy leaflets titled something like “Reasons to go on living”. How absurd. I wanted to take her aside and explain to her that, while she probably means well, anyone who is actually considering suicide has a complex and personal web of problems in their life that couldn’t possibly be addressed by a one-size-fits-all pamphlet of generic reasons why life is worth living.
As you may have heard, a young black man named Michael Brown from Ferguson, Missouri was shot many times and killed by a police officer on August 9 of this year. A bit of a caveat before my rant: I'm angry and it comes out a bit here. Sorry not sorry.
On Gaza, MIT Professor Noam Chomsky says the debate inside the Israeli government is whether to allow "bare survival" or to inflict "misery and starvation," as a former Israeli national security adviser recently proposed. "Israeli experts have calculated in detail exactly how many calories, literally, Gazans need to survive, and if you look at the sanctions that they impose, they’re grotesque," Chomsky says. "I mean, even John Kerry condemned them bitterly, they’re sadistic — just enough calories to survive."
NEW YORK, NY - The Industrial Workers of the World, Starbucks Workers Union released a report today, “Low Wages and Grande Profits at Starbucks” with an analysis of company performance over the last decade. The report describes how Starbucks has dramatically improved profitability at the company since the Great Recession of 2008-2009, and that the company has enriched shareholders at the expense of its nearly 200,000 workers.
A good friend, someone who is working towards the transformation of our society into something resilient, equitable and beautiful, told me the other day that they can’t actually imagine what a transformed society would look like, and that they felt that that was impeding their ability to stay motivated. I couldn’t believe it. For me what we’re working towards is so vivid and real, and that’s part of what’s helped me to not just imagine a better future and stay motivated, but to share that vision with others and motivate them.
According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s recently released long-term predictions for the global economy through 2060 (Paul Mason, “The best of capitalism is over for rich countries – and for the poor ones it will be over by 2060,” The Guardian, July 7), economic growth will stagnate to something like two-thirds its present level and economic inequality will increase. But growth will continue at a higher level in the developing countries until mid-century, because there are still significant gains to be achieved through the diffusion of the West’s existing technological advantages to the rest of the world. Still, the price for even this level of economic growth — obviously, from the perspective of the neoliberal wonks at OECD — will be growing inequality.
It’s no secret that the publishing world is being wrenched apart by forces well beyond its control. Between the ever-shrinking attention span of the average American and the arrival of an entire generation brought up on digital storytelling in video games, on the web and T.V., the book as a means of entertainment seems rather quaint, almost an affectation.
On the afternoon of Saturday, August 9th, 2014 an 18 year old, unarmed teenager named Mike “Mike Mike” Brown was murdered by a Ferguson Police Department cop. He was shot in the back and the head, as he knelt on the street with his hands in the air in the middle of a densely populated apartment complex. Hundreds of residents immediately gathered around the site of his murder, spilling out onto the main street, W. Florissant, and partially blocking it. Mourners at the site were met with assault rifles and police dogs, while police shut down access to the city. The following night, Sunday, August 10th, another candlelight vigil was called. This event, attended by over a thousand, quickly and naturally evolved into something else. What follows is a compilation of first person accounts of the event.
Cesare Lombroso, one of the influential founding figures in criminological social science, dedicated a great deal of his research, study, and writing to the analysis of anarchists, as, in his view, prototypical agitators. Indeed, the centrality of concern over anarchism in his work is often overlooked or forgotten. The anarchists provide one of the primary resources for Lombroso’s multisectional “Illustrative Studies in Criminal Anthropology.” Indeed, Lombroso suggests that the study of the physiognomy of the political criminal provides perhaps the most practical application of Criminal Anthropology (capitalization in the original). Lombroso’s interests in anarchists as a significant criminal type emerge very early on in his work. He develops a lengthy discussion of the anarchist criminal figure in 1891 in his article “Illustrative Studies in Criminal Anthropology. III. The Physiognomy of the Anarchists” published in the journal The Monist.