It is with great joy that we'd like to report a long period of collective malaise and depression in the Bay Area perhaps coming to an end. Almost in spite of ever worsening conditions – rapid development, escalating police occupation, mass displacement, ongoing violence against black and brown people– social conflict here remained ominously quiet for over a year. While the anger throughout the cities by the Bay has become palpable and apparent everywhere, the response from the Left has been lackluster at best. For too long, we have come to expect only the usual lowest common denominator activism: the usual suspects marching in circles, 'blockades' of tech buses which end when the police show up, symbolic would-be media spectacles that aren't all that spectacular anymore, and finally of course, monumental amounts of energy sunk into a referendum for paltry reforms and progressive mayoral candidates (which needless to say, failed, and nobody cared about it anyways).
A young black person was killed, many people brave enough to take to the streets in the aftermath were injured and arrested, and the only real consequences the police will face will be changes designed to increase their efficiency at spinning the news or handling the crowds, the next time they kill someone. Because amidst all the inane controversies, that is one fact that no one can dispute: the police will kill again, and again, and again. A disproportionate number of their targets will be young people of color and transgender people, but they have also killed older people, like John T. Williams, Bernard Monroe, and John Adams, and white people too. The Right has seized on a couple cases of white youth being killed by cops, like Dillon Taylor or Joseph Jennings, throwing questions of proportion out the window in a crass attempt to claim the police are not racist.
Who’s Afraid of the Black Blocs? Anarchy in Action Around the World by Francis Dupuis-Déri is an attempt to objectively explore and examine the black bloc tactic by casting aside the stereotypes and political dismissals common both in the mainstream media and amongst various radical groups. The book draws on extensive research including interviews with black bloc participants in various actions over the past 15 years (the Quebec student strike in 2012, the Toronto G20 Summit in 2010, the Évian G8 Meeting in 2003, and the Quebec City Summit of the Americas in 2001), research into publications (communiqués, zines, etc) by black bloc participants, and observations garnered from the street.
Every year, between November 15 and 17, students, workers, and anarchists from all over Greece take over the Athens Polytechnic to commemorate the 1973 student uprising against the military junta that ruled the Mediterranean nation between the years 1967-1974.
A vast literature on the Spanish Revolution already exists, and one tends to think that everything about it has been written previously. This is just not true! Augustín Guillamón brings us new proof of how rich and complex this episode of history is and how full of contemporary relevance it remains. The author is an independent historian, who has already written several books on the period. Based on extensive archival research, Guillamón views these events from the side of the radicals. His previous books are centered on the autonomous activity of workers; in other words, the actions taken by workers independently of the organizations which claimed to represent them. In particular, he analyzes the actions, tactics, and strategies of the large institutionalized organizations from the perspective of the rank and file.
I can’t remember when I first read “The Story of A Proletarian Life.” I just know that one edition or another has been in and around my life for a long time. I read it most years, and usually I find myself reading it in a different way from the time before. Sometimes I read it as the voice of the immigrant experience and am moved by the image of Vanzetti, alone in the Battery, trying to make sense of where he was and realizing his essential loneliness and alienation from all that he saw around him.
Federico Arcos -- "Fede" as he's known -- is 94 years old and currently in a Windsor, Ontario, hospital recovering from a recent heart attack. Federico, an anarcho-syndicalist, is a living link to one of history's most remarkable episodes, the Spanish Civil War, and one of the most remarkable stories within this history: How the Spanish Anarchists, with a sizable following, were able to run a number of towns, villages, agrarian collectives and the entire city of Barcelona along anarchist lines, subscribing to anti-authoritarian principles. It didn't last long -- barely a year and wasn't entirely successful -- but it demonstrated some possibilities: If you removed the coercion inherent in any modern state (for example, cops) folks wouldn't necessarily be at each others throat.
Today a grand jury in New York decided to not indict a police officer in the death of Eric Garner. White police Officer Daniel Pantaleo was clearly videotaped choking Garner to death as Garner pleaded for his life. Garner was unarmed at the time.
Protests are being held in New York City tonight, as well as in other cities. People are tying together protests against police brutality in the U.S., which is killing nearly 400 people a year, most of them people of color.
“Usually when people are sad, they don't do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change.” #MalcolmX #ThisStopsToday #myNYPD #EricGarner #BlackLivesMatter #ferguson — at Times Square NYC. ~ Photo: Mickey Z.
This muted effect is not because social media isn’t good at what it does, but, in a way, because it’s very good at what it does. Digital tools make it much easier to build up movements quickly, and they greatly lower coordination costs. This seems like a good thing at first, but it often results in an unanticipated weakness: Before the Internet, the tedious work of organizing that was required to circumvent censorship or to organize a protest also helped build infrastructure for decision making and strategies for sustaining momentum. Now movements can rush past that step, often to their own detriment.
As a primary care doctor, I spend my days taking care of patients with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and obesity. I also see “healthy” patients whose eating habits are starting them on the road to a future filled with doctor’s appointments and hospital visits.
If you were asleep in 2013, stop-and-frisk -- or as the NYPD would have it, stop-question-and-frisk -- was a policy under which New York police could interrogate and search people under extremely vague criteria of suspicion. (To get a sense of that vagueness, spend a minute browsing this Twitter account, which uses real stop-and-frisk reports.)
Maya Schenwar, a longtime journalist and editor-in-chief of the progressive website Truthout, recently released her first book, “Locked Down, Locked Out: Why Prison Doesn’t Work and How We Can Do Better.” It’s a quick-but-devastating read that reinforces what many of us already know: The criminal justice system is incredibly fraught and racially biased. Schenwar weaves her own research and reporting—collected over years of writing about prisons and policing—with a personal narrative about her sister’s repeat incarceration. The book also features the voices of other incarcerated people with whom Schenwar has corresponded over the years. I spoke with Schenwar via telephone to dive a bit deeper into some of the themes presented in the book.
Yesterday, demonstrations in solidarity with the Greek anarchist Nikos Romanos — who has been on hunger strike for 24 days to demand his right to educational furlough — were called in big cities and islands across Greece. In Athens, more than 10.000 people marched, proving that no one is to be left alone in front of the vengeful fury of the state. Once again, however, it was confirmed that, when the twisted justifications of the repressive state don’t work, the batons of the police are ready to do the job.
Penelope Rosemont is a surrealist painter, writer, photographer, and collagist. In 1965, she and her husband Franklin Rosemont co-founded the Chicago Surrealist Group, following a trip to Paris and meeting with French surrealist André Breton. The group, known for its radical politics and revolutionary aesthetics, went on to hold numerous exhibitions at the Gallery Bugs Bunny and the Gallery Black Swan. Penelope edited Surrealist Women: An International Anthology (University of Texas Press, 1998) and is the author of Surrealist Experiences: 1001 Dawns, 221 Midnights (Black Swan Press, 2000) as well as several books of poetry. In the course of our conversation at the Heartland Café (which has also exhibited the Chicago Surrealist Group), another Chicago (now Madison) surrealist, Lester Doré, stopped by. We began by talking about the short-lived Gallery Bugs Bunny.
The role of the technical intelligentsia in decision-making is predominant in those parts of the economy that are "in the service of the war technique" and closely linked to the government, which underwrites their security and growth.
It’s no surprise to discover that Kropotkin was interested in Christmas. In Russian culture, St. Nicholas (Николай Чудотворец) was revered as a defender of the oppressed, the weak and the disadvantaged. Kropotkin shared the sentiments. But there was also a family link. As everyone knows, Kropotkin could trace his ancestry to the ancient Rurik dynasty that ruled Russia before the upstart Romanovs and which, from the first century CE, controlled the trade routes between Moscow and the Byzantine Empire.
Standing outside the Ché Café, wedged in a hillside on the University of California San Diego campus, David Morales says “the radicals there terrified me” the first time he visited in 1987. Just 18 years old, Morales was bewildered by the political and music scene there. It was alien to his experience growing up in conservative San Diego, a major port for the U.S. navy sandwiched between the massive Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton to the north and the militarized border with Mexico to the south.