You occasionally read a totally mind bending book that opens up a whole new world for you. The Failure of Nonviolence by Peter Gelderloos is one of them, owing to its unique evidence-based perspective on both “nonviolent” and “violent” resistance. It differs from Gelderloos’s 2007 How Nonviolence Protects the State in its heavy emphasis on indigenous, minority, and working class resistance. A major feature of the new book is an extensive catalog of “combative” rebellions that the corporate elite has whitewashed out of history.
A year ago, on February 28, 2013, at an event titled "Patriarchy and the Movement," I watched as a friend of mine attempted to pose several questions based on her experience trying to address domestic violence and other abuse in the context of radical organizing.
The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University today announced its acquisition of the papers of Italian writer and activist Gianfranco Sanguinetti, a key figure in the Situationist International avant-garde protest movement in the 1960s and 1970s.
On November 6 I was able to attend a speech given by ex--Weather Underground Organization (WUO) cadre and educator Bill Ayers in Berkeley. The WUO was one of many urban guerrilla groups that emerged from the New Left in the 1960s and '70s, though one of the more prominent because of its membership's leadership in the 100,000 strong Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and the length of it's campaign against the U$ government and its racism both here, in Vietnam and elsewhere especially in Latin America. After getting on to the complimentary seats list on behalf of Slingshot, I grabbed a stack of 100 copies of the paper from the Long Haul Infoshop and meandered to the Hillside Club. The usual gauntlet of beady--eyed sectarians distributing pamphlets to the masses outside was sparse. A couple Spartacists who for a change didn't hassle me for not taking up exactly their line and someone from KPFA, the local Pacifica station that this was a benefit for and I were it compared to the Commie alphabet soup I'm used to from places like Chicago and Cleveland.
The response to my previous article has been overwhelming and humbling; indeed, the various social media responses left me with vertigo as I looked down mile-long threads. To everyone who shared the piece, who added their experiences to its abstractions, who disagreed thoughtfully and respectfully, who vowed to speak up more often, I thank you.
The wages of rage in our communities, and the often aimless, unchecked anger striking both within and without have created a climate of toxicity and fear that not only undermine our highest ideals, but also corrode the comforts of community for the very people who most need it. One of the most leaden wages of that culture of rage is, indeed, fear. I have been praised for my voice by many in this community and called “brave” by more people than I can name, count, or thank; and yet sitting in my My Documents folder is a number of articles, some finished, others not, that are “on ice.”
Adam Eidinger’s most recent arrest was on Oct. 10, 2013, the 10th day of the federal government’s shutdown. It began with a trip in a van. He was in the back, and Alexis Baden-Mayer was driving. They were arguing. Baden-Mayer and Eidinger used to be married, and Eidinger had told me a few days before that there was no person he’d rather be arrested with than his ex-wife.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about the ways that the movements for social justice of which I am a part deal with mistakes folks make publicly. I’ve been thinking and talking with my friends about how quickly we shun and publicly shame our folks that are in a different place from us politically, how our cynicism is serving to limit us.
Becoming an activist can be an incredibly positive experience: creating community, inspiring change, feeling empowered. While most humans choose instead to use their meager time chasing money, collecting possessions, and obsessing over pop culture, the activist sees a bigger picture, a longer view, a deeper connection.
New from Combustion Books: The final 108-page issue of Occupied London, an anarchist journal of theory and action, is complete- put out by the minds behind From the Greek Streets, the premiere source of English-language updates and analysis related to the crisis in Greece.
Over the past few years we've grown used to the iconography of protest. In the wake of the Arab Spring, images of angry young street demonstrators shouting slogans, wielding signs, and confronting security forces have become almost commonplace. But just as often we've seen campaigns of public protest flounder or go into reverse: just look at Egypt and Libya, to name the most prominent cases. The recent surge of street demonstrations in Sudan once again confronts us with a fundamental question: How does public protest undermine authoritarian governments? Are demonstrations really the key to toppling autocrats?
One expression of the recent revitalization of Sweden's venerable 100 year old libertarian union, the SAC, is the organization's 2013 summer tour, a recruitment campaign which has helped SAC come grips with criticisms of being all too focused on the country's three largest cities and in addition led to the formation of new locals who are now joining the federation.
Volumes have already been written about the protests in Oakland that exploded after the Zimmerman verdict on Saturday, July 13. I won’t delve deeply into some of the so-called “controversies”, because they are political constructs created by city officials and OPD. Trying to camouflage their own complicity in maintaining the system of police and systemic violence that engender rage among Oakland’s Black and non-White people, these same institutions claim that Zimmerman verdict protest actions are the manufactured product of “outsider agitators”.
The corporations raping our eco-system don’t hope they can steal more land, exploit it, despoil it, and make boatloads of cash off of it. They make a plan and they make it happen. (You might even call it "direct action.")
Historians examining our era will marvel at the proliferation of street protests around the world. Blessed with hindsight, they will probably not struggle as much as we do to grasp their broader meaning -- one that goes beyond specific provocations in each case (an increase in bus fares in Brazil, or the destruction of a landmark in Turkey).
It is a truism common among Western anarchists, and the revolutionary left more generally, that militancy is in short supply these days. This sentiment is often expressed in a rather offhanded way, as a lazy excuse to rationalize decades of working-class defeats, or else through fiery polemics denouncing the cautious reformism exhibited by trade unions, “progressives”, liberals and social democrats. Far too infrequently is an honest attempt made to clarify precisely what we mean by the term militancy—or better yet, how we can help qualitatively develop this characteristic within movements struggling for social and economic justice. Instead, militancy is often presented uncritically, as though it were some sort of esoteric derivative of political ideology, a synonym for violent tactics, or even as a tactic unto itself—a vital and yet somehow unattainable sine qua non of radical change.
Feeling anxious about life in a broken economy on a strained planet? Turn despair into action.
In December 2008, Tim DeChristopher attended a protest at a federal auction of drilling rights to Utah wilderness lands. He found a better way to disrupt the auction when he picked up a paddle and began bidding on the leases as “Bidder 70.” He won $1.8 million worth of parcels and inflated the price of many others. When it was discovered that he had no money to back his bids, the auction had to be shut down.