On their way to block the G8 summit in Heiligendamm, anti-capitalists from all over Germany and the world stop in Hamburg to confront the Asian-European Meeting (ASEM).
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By the Anti-G8 Action Faction
May 28th 2007
Finally, something was happening.
We were on the move again. It's been a while and we're a bit out of shape, but it's all coming back now. After linking arms in flanks for five hours straight in a huge, permitted march, we were getting antsy. As the first major demonstration in the lead up to the G8 summit in Heiligendamm, everyone wanted to start it off right. The city of Hamburg needed to send a message to the world that they have the "violent demonstrators" under total control. The cops must maintain discipline and it will all go smoothly. The protestors wanted to tear the city apart, to show the G8 leaders that they are not welcome here, and anyone who tries to host them will have to pay. With a thousand black clad anarchists in the front and thousands of others behind, the tension was thick. Screaming "fight the system, fight the state, fight capitalism, fight G8," the demonstrators were not willing to comprise either their vision or momentum. But who would provoke who first? Would the cops use the water canons? Would the anarchists break through the lines and go off the script?
Will the G8 2007 be the opening salvo of a new cycle of struggle against capital, perhaps the final one given the scope of the current ecological crisis? For two years the German autonomous movement in general and the Dissent Network in particular has organized across the world, from the USA to Turkey, for this coming week of action. The stakes have never been higher: until now the "War on Terror" has cast a pall over the movement, yet in Germany we anarchists and autonomists could again re-seize the stage of history by scoring a decisive victory against capital.
Move swiftly. Stop. Fight a bit. Grab something. Then Run. Turn around. Watch out for the Snatch Squad. Which ones are they? Wearing all black with red diamonds on their back. Shit, there they are. They're gonna try and grab us. Move! But who are those ones? Don't worry, it's just the green team. Green team? Yeah, green uniforms, they're like the national guard. They won't arrest you, they'll just tussle a bit. And them? Who? The darker green and dark blue. Oh them, well, they're here to stop you. Be careful.
The modern incarnation of the autonomous movement is distinctly anarchist, mostly young, and quite, quite punk. Even though the movement had been ebbing over the last few years, it appears the arrival of the G8 in Germany, combined with the police raids in early May on anti-G8 centers of activity, have united the often divided and self-critical Autonomen. To the chagrin of the police, the raids also backfired in the popular press, and now it appears that most of the media, and even much of the public, are on the side of the dissidents. Furthermore, in "Red Hamburg," the home of insurrections, pirates, and a famous anti-fascist football league, it is often hard to tell the locals from the Black Bloc while in the streets.
Shhhhhhh. What? Be quiet, they're looking for us. OK, hold it . . . hold it . . . NOW!
The police are nervous, very nervous. And rightfully so! For months, the cars of the officials have been burned, and now internationals are streaming into the well-run convergence center in Hamburg, the former theatre "Rote Flora" that has been squatted for nearly two decades. The dynamic of the police is Freudian to say the least: the police would like nothing better than to release their inner fascist and ruthlessly clear the streets of all protesters. Due to such factors as public opinion and their brutality backfiring on them in the courts, they simply cannot just beat the protesters without pretext. So, instead, the officers express their frustration with an anal-retentive attention to detail about the smallest of the rules regarding banner size, demonstrators masking-up, and so on; they often stop demonstrations for up to thirty minutes or more for the most minor of infraction of the "rules."
The bridge was a trap and everyone knew it. That's exactly where they wanted us to end up and there we were. Yeah some fireworks were shot off, rocks thrown, and a couple arrests, but come on, it was their turf. We had no chance. They've surrounded the Rote Flora. What? The convergence center, you know, that huge squat. Are they going in? Not likely, I think they'll get a beating if they try. Barricades are going up, let's get behind them. The water canons are coming out. Well, move. Down this alley way! Ok. Wait, are we all together?
This leads almost any march or demonstration to be an exercise in frustration, a chess game where both sides try to bend, but not break, the rules through a strict process of negotiation. Or at least until breaking the rules is advantageous. While marching, German anarchists more or less engage with the police in careful negotiations until the permitted demonstration gets as close to the desired location as possible (such as a financial district, a fascist demonstration, or in this case the EU-ASEM Summit meeting in the town hall), and then, all bets are off. The demonstration will then generally be aggressive towards police lines, attempting to wreck havoc by escaping off the official route as a bloc, or break into small affinity groups to build barricades and attack police cars. There is also an apparent tradition of regrouping the night of the action for even more fun in the streets.
I think I'm trapped. Don't panic. Look around. They're gonna do a mass arrest. Ok, black-clad cops over there. Try this. Nope, green cops. Damn, turn around. Fuck, the blue ones. Ok. Surrounded. Where's my group? Doesn't matter, I need to find a way out. Option 1: join the bloc and fight your way out. How many of us are there? Not enough. Option 2: act stupid and sneak by. Let's see if that works.
Police tactics in Germany seem to be a combination of psychological warfare and shows of overwhelming force, with the emphasis on "show," for they seem unable to act unless provoked and do not generally mass arrest protesters, but just surround the march on all sides to maintain "order." Police can be divided into distinct groups. First, there are the local and federal police, who wear blue and green. Within this group there are inexperienced "barrack-based" police who can be identified by an "A" on their helmets. However, the real reason to be worried is the intensive surveillance done by the police (although unlike the UK, there are few CCTVs anywhere), who send undercovers to demonstrations to identify those who have broken laws, and have uniformed cameramen directly outside to tape protestors and identify them (using rather clever techniques like identifying Black Bloc members by their shoes). There is also a special police snatch-squad unit, dressed all in black like stormtroopers, who will quickly and brutally move in and make arrests like sharks. However bad this sounds, it is important to note that the procedure German police use in crowd control is actually quite predictable, and as long as one stays in tight groups, one is unlikely to be snatched. The German police are far from invincible despite their pretensions, and a victory over them should be possible.
Close, too close. I know. We were gonna go back and get you. What? That's insane, they would've grabbed you too. Hey look, they're sending in more. Did they declare a state of emergency? I heard that too. Shit, there's waves and waves of them. Back to the Flora? No, its' not safe. Ok, then, disappear.
A massive thousand person Black Bloc at ASEM, cop cars destroyed, a skirmish in front of the convergence center - not bad for a day´s work. Now, there are many debates over what exactly to do over the next few days. The demonstrations are so decentralized and yet actively planned, that it is hard for even the German anarchists to predict where the sites of intense struggle will be: there are convergences in three cities, an anti-fascist counter-protest against a thousand fascists in the streets AND a huge rally in Rostock against the G8 on the same day, decentralized blockades of roads and airport blockades, as well as countless marches and demonstrations near Heiligdamm and in Rostock. Regardless of the particulars, the energy amongst anarchists in Europe has been built to a frenzied height, and if one thing can be assured over the next week- there will be a reckoning.
Thousands of us in the march. Hundreds rampaging in the streets. About eighty-five arrested. Not bad for a start. Nope, not bad at all.
here are some thoughts in the snow. they arose in response to another one of those discussions about "whether its effective or not", i.e., a discussion that always comes up during large anti-war protests about what they do. . .
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cause and effect:
we live in a nonlinear world . our actions and reactions forms a feedback loop where it becomes pretty impossible on a large scale to actually determine what is a cause and what is an effect. we can play games with language and temporarily assume such and such protest or campaign causes such and such victory or failure, but its near impossible. In a smaller time-scale, in a linear system, we can tell how x produces y and y produces z. we should remember that linear worlds are carved within nonlinear worlds, and not the other way around. but war is a large phenomenon with a large time-scale and our events and actions are thrown into the mix, forming one big assemblage where war and anti-war are part of the same nonlinear equation. what this means is that we don't actually know what we are capable of. we can discern patterns and probabilities, but thats it. anarchist theory and practice respects spontaneity and risk, and in mega-large issues, thats key. mega-organizing is effective when it produces conditions and moments for a real transition to occur, what physicists call a "phase transition." but political 'emergence' takes organizing, although its not sufficient. The spark that causes the prairie fire will shock us and much as it shocks them. lets just hope we aren't the ones rejecting it in favor of our 'theories' of how its 'supposed to go.'
Yet how do we know whether we're a cause or effect? this is the question that so much of our talks come down to: effectiveness. in solidarity work, its the same: are we being effective? Were we effective with oaxaca? are we effective with undocumented people? did we allow for enough possibility for a radical change to occur? But this question is different than "did we get x out of prison?" and "did we stop y from doing z?" those linear questions and issues we can achieve, we can fight for, we can win. But the question of a movement against neoliberalism is
much harder and much more humility is gonna have to go into our efforts to fight it than usual.
Is a large march effective? is a direct action effective? Sure, as long as we know we're lying to ourselves in some sense - at least when we don't set scales of time, place, issue, and question. we use big linear words like 'society', 'war' 'anarchist' and 'people' to cover up the different nonlinear sets that compose them and confront them. Its a way of speaking, its how we get along. but can we afford to do that when we think politically? when we think and organize strategically? maybe we don't even know what strategy is.
strategy, tactics and operations:
Maybe a reason we're all so confused on what to do is because we don't know how to move beyond our strategy/tactics division. or because we've seen the current limit of our confrontational model (coordinated swarm direct actions) along with the current limit of the unified front model (mass antiwar protests) . We try to make tactics into strategies (which is, in the end, unsustainable for all of us) and we get our strategies by some logical deductions from anarchist ideas and history without much additions. we have a realistic vision of the world we want to see (unlike most) and we spend lots of time thinking and debating how we will act in this world and how to get to this world based on how we would act in that world (prefigurative politics; means and ends are same. etc). but although this tell us about our ethics, this doesn't tell us much at all about how to act right now in this world, or what is actually the best way to get from this one to that one. perhaps an anarchist method will never get us to an anarchist world, or a world where many anarchist worlds fit. I just don't know.
But the united front model vs the logic of confrontation model can't be the only two ways of
getting there. perhaps an 'anarchist method' is actually 'against method' as the anarchist scientist paul feyerabend wrote. if we are anarchists all the way down (like alejandro de acosta said at NCOR last year), then we have more possibilities in our hands for action then any other political or social movement in the world. but who is this 'we'? and how can we really be anarchists 'all the way down'? at the base of our politics is a rejection of the tendency to dogmatize our own politics. this is a good thing, and yet so difficult to follow through on. Being open to change, spontaneity and risk means allowing to learn from history and yet not allowing history to dictate our actions.
In military parlance, there's a third option between strategy and tactics; this is called operations, or operational theory. an architect wrote " "Strategy is the motivation, the overview. Tactics is the positioning of the parts ready for the implementation of the strategy. Operations is the carrying through." i know its seen as 'using the masters tools' to learn from the military, but i don't buy that. audre lorde didn't mean that literally, she meant figuratively that the masters tools are homogeneity, uniformity, conformity and that our tools cannot be the same. our tools are diversity, difference, creativity, nonhierarchy. remember ani: any tool is a weapon if you hold it right. so what is the 'carrying through' from our positioning to our overview. How do we carry through differently?
Paul Virilio wrote of Speed and Perception  as the most important elements of warfare. Speed is the real motor behind wealth and the power to perceive faster and at a greater distance is the real pivot point in warfare. Are we not in war situation? And i don't mean the middle east. How do we re-think speed? How do we perceive better then them? Or in Jacks article in fifth estate, how do we use the power of 'strategic surprise'? None of this is useful for all anarchist situations. doing childcare, labor pickets, or genderfucking is different than street scenarios. but maybe there is a resonance. listserves are not adequate anymore. its a genuine question whether they hurt or help anarchist organizing or organizing in general. we want to be transparent and yet effective. we want to take risks and yet not take responsibility. we want to have strategy and tactic, but no operations. Maybe its time to expropriate the language that the early State-form took away from early societies without a state: the language of warfare.
 see "1000 years of nonlinear history" manuel delanda
 see the new 'upping the anti' #3 editorial on this topic:
 see his "speed and politics" as well as "pure war"
NYC Indymedia - Why We Protested Newt Gingrich at the New School + photos | Video of Fire Alarm
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"Let the Poor Represent Themselves" was chalked on the ground outside Newt Gingrich's talk Sept 13th. What happened? Here's an analysis by some New School students of what went down and why.
See also: Newt Gingrich Talks to the New School About Poverty
Newt Gingrich was invited to the New School by Milano students specifically so he could be challenged on his political views. This is what the organizer of the event told me and many others. This reason is both respectable and flawed. It is respectable since it calls for a very powerful person to be challenged publicly in an open forum and to be held accountable to his words and actions. This is, ostensibly, what democratic dialogue is. However, there is a simple flaw here which stalks the discussions of "free speech" at the New School and wherever it is invoked. Usually, "free speech" is invoked as the only right that exists, it is used as a club, a tabula rasa idea which came from the universal blank slate of humanity, has no context, gives no context, and is absolute, pure, and unquestionable. That this idea hearkens back to classical liberalism is obvious; that it also runs through the critical theory embodied at the New School's is sad. The rub is that "free speech" NEVER exists in a vacuum, whether that be a vacuum or politics or power, race or gender, wealth or violence, or all of the above. What happens is that privileged people invoke "free speech" at the expense of other rights in order to silence action for the sake of a mythical "equality" of debate. Sure, everyone's equal, Newt Gingrich, Bob Kerrey, there just like you and me, and hence a debate between the two of them is an exact simulation of a debate between regular citizens. This myth of balanced objectivity sought in the tension of two equal and opposite viewpoints (the myth that runs throughout all major news stations which do debates only with government officials, think tanks, experts on the "right" or "left") already hides all of the choices we are not given; it already hides all of the power already exercised in the formulating of the terms; and most of all, it hides the power inequity inherent in giving someone like the former Speaker of the House another platform to shop his ideas around.
What does it mean to be a politician? First, it means you talk. A lot. That's what you do. Anyone who disagrees with this is living in a cartoon movieland where politicians are hero's saving the day from evil men with beards (or perhaps, that’s the News?). Talking is their life. Politicians are talking machines, and they plug themselves into events, spaces, cities, issues, nations, or whatever seems hot, relevant, important, or sexy enough that it passes through the filters of their secretaries and bureaucrats. Being talking-machines, politicians have more platforms to speak than most people could ever dream of. I mean that literally. The only challengers are Hollywood, Car Commercials, and the Mega-Media companies. But those aren't individuals; they are industries and corporations who have other roles than to just talk all day exp licitly about their political views. Their roles are to make money for their shareholders. Politician's roles, especially the ones with lots of clout, are to talk, persuade, convince, and control. To talk to everyone, persuade the public, convince their partners, and control the power. By some magical doing, this happens all equally with the best idea winning every time, just like the invisible hand of the Market making everything turn out alright. If you have studied anything at all at the New School, then you know just how powerful and deliberate this lie of the market is. It is powerful in that it mobilizes thousands of people to relieve their own power and collective strength for individual gain and drudgery. The myth of the market, like the myth of the equal, rational dialogue, ignored the violent and power-stained conditions which give rise to such particular events as individual markets and specific debates. There is no “market” in general and “debate” in general. Totalities like this cloud our thinking, allowing for ideological misuse. We have to think in the specific. How did this debate get formed? What were its conditions? Why were there no black people in the discussion? Why does the discussion invoke undocumented immigrants yet without any undocumented migrants there? What allows for politicians to get to power? Why? How did this specific commodity rise? What corporations, government subsidies and laws allowed it to form? What is its use and for whom was it made? Where does the money go? These are the simple, critical questions we are taught to ask and follow through with rigor and clarity, not generality and ideology.
So what happened when Newt Gingrich came to the New School?
First, people chalked up all over the sidewalks in front of the 12th street building and in the foyer between the 12th and 11th building. Chalk comes off with water, it is not illegal, it gets across a message, it is creative, beautiful, and fun (the very opposite definition, word for word, of politicians). What did the chalk messages say?
LET THE POOR SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES
FREE SPEECH IS FOR THE POWERLESS, NOT THE POWERFUL
YOU DON'T SPEAK FOR US
THE NEW(T) SCHOOL FOR CORPORATE RESEARCH
RACISM NEVER SOUNDED SO PC
CONTRACT FOR AMERICA? (OR JUST RICH, WHITE, MALES)
"I THINK ABORTION SHOULD BE ILLEGAL" - NEWT
"MULTICULTURALISM. . . .IS A PLAGUE ON THE NATION" - NEWT
LETS HAVE REAL FREE SPEECH, NOT MORE PLATFORMS FOR RICH WHITE, MEN
NEWT GINGRICH: SPONSORED BY NEWS CORP (WHICH OWNS FOX NEWS)
THE RICH DON'T NEED ANYMORE WELFARE, STOP STEALING FROM THE POOR
THE NEW SCHOOL: A CORPORATION
Let's go over some of them. Saying "Let the Poor Speak for themselves" is the most concise and straightforward critique of the entire event. Billed as a talk on "poverty" and the new "contract for america", we as social critics and engaged activists should prioritize the voices of those directly affected and involved in social issues and not those who already have the power and clout to represent them. Letting the poor represent themselves is not an abstract call to justice or America or free speech, it is a rather concrete demand or critique of how politics is done at the New School, in Academia at large, and the United States government. The voices of those who live poverty, who experience it, who write about it, who reflect, who suffer, who succeed, who struggle and who know what it means to fight poverty - the known and unknown individuals and groups across the country, especially in NYC, who fight poverty from poverty, or at least those directly affected in roles of leadership – these are the ones that are not invited to speak, not brought into the classroom unless someone has “studied them” or written an article or book. The logic of university research trains scholars to have an object of knowledge – “poverty” – that is separate from the researcher, capable of being analyzed, and also, interesting enough for people to read. Poverty as both a subjective condition and objective reality which is produced even by researchers and universities is not investigated. For this would call into question the moral righteousness of the researcher. How do you beat this inherited power-lens of social research? One way is to let people speak for themselves, which is “the fundamental lesson that Foucault has taught us” according to French philosopher Gilles Deleuze. The indignity of speaking for others - that was the moral space we inhabited the night of Gingrich’s talk and that ethical condition colored everything else.
Writing "Free Speech is for the Powerless and not the Powerful" reiterates the point that giving the microphone and platform to Newt Gingrich - someone who is sponsored by and works for The News Corporation (the Mega-Mega Media Conglomerate owned by Rupert Murdoch which owns Fox News), someone who spent years promoting his "conservative opportunity society" during the days of the republican revolution, someone was has hinted at the presidency in '08, someone who is part of the arch-conservative American Enterprise Institute, someone with many books, speeches, publicists (like Rick Tyler!), donors and more - does not signify in any meaningful way "FREE SPEECH." It might signify Free Speech in an unmeaningful way - an empty phrase for politicians, liberals, and conservatives to use as a weapon against structural and formal critiques, criticisms that include the frame of the debate within them.
“Kerrey/Gingrich ’08” highlighted the presidential campaigns that both have mentioned as well as the non-difference between both of the political views.
“Racism never sounded so PC” highlight how politicians and others have coated/coded their language consciously or not to avoid explicitly racist claims in favor of implicit racist claims which needs the work of the reader/audience to decipher. I applaud the speak for thinking so highly of us, but I doubt that’s what he had in mind. For instance, who was the subaltern in the room? What was the category of human that overshadowed the whole debate, yet was avoided by calls to statistics and chance: young black males. The figure of the young black male – the scariest image for white America today, only recently supplanted or accompanied by Arab and Muslim men – was the problem, the issue to be discussed. His trace was everywhere, yet nowhere. How do we solve the young, black male problem? Hmm, sound familiar to any other problems or questions throughout history that politicians have asked their populace about a race or ethnicity? But is it really a problem of young, black males or is it of rich, white men? Is maybe America itself the problem? Or maybe its not rap and drugs, but the Prisons and Drug War themselves?
Concerning the other chalkings, think to yourself what they mean and see if they hold.
Second, students gave out a (fake) program for all to see stating the points of disagreement not only with Newt Gingrich, but with Kerrey and the New School for using the school as a platform for a simulated political debate that has nothing little or nothing to do with the school. Except, in one respect. Like Parsons, Newt will probably bring lots of money into the New School through donors and trustees. “Look, we’re so great, we can even bring the far right into our house and have tea with him too!” A crowd pleaser, for sure.
Third, a banner was dropped saying "Gingrich not welcome." Up for at least an hour on the 12th street side, it was clear and to the point. Not sure who did it, but thank god some students spoke up.
Fourth, some students tried to get up in the middle and voice their dissent. With almost no support from the mostly older-white person crowd, they were immediately removed and booed down before they could even talk. This was the only genuine democratic part of the night. No other real dialogue took place. No other challenge to power took place. What is the only ethical constant then runs from the birth of the school to the content of the classrooms today? ONE MUST CHALLENGE POWER. How and why is up to every individual and group, but the ethical imperative of challenging the strongholds of power is what keeps the force of the New School alive. But alas, I spoke too soon. It's what kept the force of the school alive. Now, and perhaps for longer than we think, challenging power only means doing it through books, articles, classroom discussions, and simulated critique. Anything more or less is "not the proper form of dissent." Thank you for determining our channels of dissent. That is what everyone in power does: determine the conditions for politics to occur, and if you challenge not the content but the conditions, you are outcast from the citadel of power. No wonder Ranciere calls modern politics “policing”, for that is exactly what happens.
I didn't stand up, but I wanted to scream so loudly at every word coming from his mouth that I almost fainted. When he began by blaming the "uneducated" residents of the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans for their own deaths (for not being educated enough in how to get out), I almost puked, cried, screamed, and committed suicide. But I'm an organizer, not a whiny liberal, so I held my breadth and waited for the question and answer period to (not) say what would have been this: "HOW DARE YOU invoke the citizens of New Orleans! The citizens of the lower 9th did not die because of their "inabilities", they died because a) they were being shot at by both the National Guard and private contractors like Blackwater, b) because the richer citizens of New Orleans took all their big cars with them or locked them so they would drown, c) because the city let hundreds of buses drown in the water when it was protecting the richer neighborhoods. Please read any articles by Jordan Flaherty on this, or talk to Malik Rahim who lives there, or to the People's Hurricane Relief Fund who organizes there. If you would have understood the concept of letting the poor represent themselves, then you would have known this. But alas, you blame the victims. Like in a rape case, you have blamed the victim for her clothes, her style, her education. The only difference is that this rape is still going on. This metaphor of New Orleans has determined the entirety of your speech: we have to educate the poor so they don't do what they're doing (going to jail and doing drugs). This is the most common and distasteful argument of the right and left concerning poverty. This argues that Drugs and Jail themselves are bigger problems then any individual could ever be. Not once did you mention the prison-industrial complex or the Drug War - both which are powerful tools in the continual oppression of black communities. You will NEVER get rid of poverty, violence, and bad education until you stop the government and industrial incentives to make money off of poor people. And yet you avoid this. Saying what we need is more "marine training schools", which is so perfect: send black youth to die for more greedy white men. This gets rid of two problems: conquest abroad and repression at home, which - as founding and former chair of anthropology at the New School Stanley Diamond once said - "are the founding hallmarks of civilization." "
Did Bob Kerrey really challenge any of this? HA! He agreed with him on nearly everything except minor points like the budget of a local school. The frame of the debate was NEVER questioned: that the war in Iraq and on terror is just; that poverty happens only because of bad education. This was nothing like a debate and I’m ashamed that it happened at the New School without any challenges. I take that back, it did go challenged, just with so little support that the exception proves the rule. Newt is on the far right and Kerrey is on the less far right. But as they say, Kerrey is the "liberal", Newt is the "conservative." What a skillful, manipulative joke. Yet, this is what freedom (and free speech) is today. The (non)choice of two products with superficial differences. The Supermarket is the perfect image for freedom in America, for it signifies the ability to choose one’s chains in the process of believing to choose freedom. Galbraith, a famed economist whose ideas are taught at the New School, argued that the creation of “wants” through advertising is central to American business interests. This is not even controversial (any advertising class will tell you this), but we have forgotten is it’s political application: the skillful creation of wants grants the illusion of freedom at the expense of consensual agreement. .
Fifth, someone pulled the fire alarm. This was totally unplanned and unknown to the students inside the auditorium who were planning on criticizing Newt and doing a performance, and also to all the students outside who did chalk and programs. But it was great. The look on their faces dropped, they, like real political differences, tried to avoid it and smooth it over. It was pure hyperreality, with lights flashing and loud beeps breaking the facade of the "political debate" with a drill that signifies a rupture, yet pulled as a simulation in order to break another simulation. Now whoever did this had the guts to go beyond the simulation of free speech and actually cause a disruption that would call into question the conditions for people like Kerrey and Gingrich to debate in the first place. It puts a force to the debate and this is it: we don't have a say, we can't have a say, so we will say something without saying it. It didn't stop the talk, but it did subjectively cause the audience and politicos to re-think their justifications for the entire show. "Why would someone go that far?" one might ask. But most likely, they probably though to themselves "Freedom-hating-Nazi-islamo-fascists!"Now do I agree with this action? Yes and No. Yes because there was literally no other venue to voice dissent during the whole event, and it challenges the event as a whole, and not just one part. No because I really wanted to tear Newt to shreds in the Q & A. But Kerrey took the Q &A in a non-debate. So what was there left? Now, we in the auditorium were a bit shocked at the whole thing, but it exposed the ridiculousness of it all. Was this really politics? Are we repeating the McCain debacle already? First as tragedy, second as farce? What will be third? As revolt?
Sixth, Kerrey took away the Q & A. This thoroughly pissed off the liberals in the crowd and the few students who actually came to debate what was nominally labeled a "conversation." Thankfully, people spoke up, shouted at Kerrey, and he was forced to respond, albeit with no real answer except "it's not my event. We scheduled something else." If Clinton is caught for saying "I did not have sexual relations with that woman", and Bush for saying "Saddam Hussein has Weapons of Mass Destruction", then Kerrey's would be "this is not my event." A sentence that captures everything meaningful about the performance of politics done by Kerrey by exactly reversing its meaning. It was ONLY his event; it always was and always will be. The intonation of his stutter "it's not- -my--event" was caught by the perceptive audience members to signal exactly what was going on. Who really had the power that night? Who really controlled "Free Speech?" What owned the floor? What really was the purpose of the event?
Seventh, at an after dinner, a brave student, who agreed with the speech a lot nonetheless, directly confronted Kerrey about the handling of the "conversation." Being more disappointed that day with the New School than ever before, he said "that Democracy was not displayed here tonight." And this was an organizer of the event! (Or at least, someone privileged and respect enough to be let into the after dinner.
And last: the future. It's up to us. What will happen in times to come? Will more powerful, rich, white, male politicians come here to perform free speech for us, like a scripted reality TV show does to its passive audience member? Will students and faculties organize, discuss, debate? Will they push the questions farther? Will they make more creative actions to get the message across when it's not allowed? But there are bigger questions here. Where is the New School going and where has it gone? Is it really, as the chalk said, becoming more of a corporation and less of a school? Can we change it? Can we re-invigorate the spirit, fury, rigor, creativity, unpredictability and radicality that this school so vacuously invokes every time it's thoroughly challenged? Or should we move on? Must we stop looking backward for empty nostalgia and start looking at the present for what we are and why? Is it time to finally smash the gap that characterizes our words vs. deeds, faculty vs. administration, content vs. form, past vs. future? That gap is the present, and it only there that change will occur.
From the fantastic energy news site clearing house EnergyBulletin.net
How cities are preparing for global warming & peak oil
Published on 10 Sep 2006 by HopeDance. Archived on 10 Sep 2006.
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A collection of essays on the idea of Militant Research can be found at the awesome webjournal Transversal, 4/2006 issue. Each essay is in three languages such as the Colectivo Situaciones piece, On the Researcher-Militant, and the piece by Marta Malo de Molina (translated by the lovely Maribel and Sebastian of the Notas Rojas radical translations collective) Common notions, part 1: workers-inquiry, co-research, consciousness-raising. I've been thinking a lot about this lately, and I'm actually working on an essay about applying the unmethodolodical methodology of militant research at the New School for the upcoming DisO guide.
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This is the editorial introduction to the issue:
Workers inquiry, joint research, militant research
Since Marx published his questionnaire for workers in the Revue Socialiste in 1880, there have been countless initiatives (especially in the last fifty years) that have sought to not only interpret the world, but to change it through a new production of reality. What all of these initiatives of militant research have in common – partly using differing terminology – is that they endeavored to overcome the hierarchy between theory and practice, the investigators and the investigated, the political and the personal. In this way they did not simply counter the old institutions of knowledge production with new ones, but instead tested practices of producing collective knowledge that traversed the institutions.
Whereas the majority of historical experiences in the 1960s and 1970s arose from a climate of social upheaval and mass mobilization, the context of current initiatives is a different one: in cognitive capitalism knowledge production takes up a greater and greater portion of overall production; at the same time, the terrain in which current forms of militant research move appears more fragmented, atomized and changeable.
This issue of the web journal transversal attempts to gather various approaches to militant research on the basis of survey texts, historical essays and reflections on current projects.
Rich and I did a presentation here last year on Borders and this year I'm on a panel about "International Solidarity Inside Fortress North America" with Stef Gude (urban settler solidarity with the Six Nations land reclamation), Frank Yong (solidarity with Grassy Narrows: a critique of the Highway 17 takeover), Mostafah Henaway (taxi driver organizing), and me (o.r.g.a.n.i.c. collective’s migrant justice work) Should be good. If i had my shit together, i would have proposed a talk on one of the following themes: "Dismantling the Border-Security Complex" on strategies for both understanding the multi-layered oppression of the border and strategies for resisting it in it's different autonomous fields. Also, I've been thinking about something like "Oil and Borders: Connecting Indigenous, Migrant and Anarchist Struggles." Or perhaps something on the balancing political activism within and without the academy. A couple philosophy-types are doing interesting pieces on radical ontology, autonomism, and immanence. I'd like to do something on complexity and self-organizing non-linear systems and its relation to anarchist analysis and organizing, but i ain't got the knowledges necessary for that yet...
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Renewing the Anarchist Tradition Conference
September 29 to October 1, 2006 at Goddard College, Plainfield, Vermont
September 1, 2006 updates:
1. (Almost-Complete) List of Presentations
2. Register Now (Deadline: September 8)
* * *
LIST OF PRESENTATIONS
The RAT conference, a project of the Institute for Anarchist Studies, aims to provide a scholarly space
in which to both reexamine and reinvigorate the social and political tradition of anarchism, and to assist in
nurturing new generations of antiauthoritarian public intellectuals. It brings together anarchist and
libertarian left peers to raise provocative questions in a participatory environment. For more info, see: http://www.homemadejam.org/renew.
Below you’ll find a listing of this year’s presentations--or most of them--in no particular
order. We’ll be figuring out the final schedule within the next few weeks, but note that the conference runs
from late afternoon on Friday to late afternoon on Sunday, and we highly encourage everyone to join in
the full weekend’s conversations. Also, if you feel alienated when you look at this list, or think that
important issues that should be considered through an anarchist lens are being left out, please send us a
proposal by or before September 15, as we’re willing to add two or three more presentations in order to
fill out the RAT program. Here goes:
Creative Disruptions of Space, Memory, and Power
Bettina Escauriza and Dara Greenwald
Queering the X:
James Baldwin, Malcolm X, and the Third World
On the Problems of Ownership: The Question of
Property in Twenty-First-Century Anarchist Organizing
The Anarchism That Failed:
And Isn't It about Time We Started Winning
Multicultural Feminism and Anarchism
Psychology, Ideology, Law, and Justice
Dan Aalbers and Dennis Fox
Living Emma Goldman:
Anarchist Popular Theater in Montreal
Blandine Juchs, Aaron Lakoff, Amy Miller,
and Martin Deshaies-Jacques
Toward a Doctrine of Experimental Communism:
The Problem of Political Consistency and
the Anarchist Categorical Imperative
Anarchists on the Road:
Moving within and without the Movement
Lebanon-Quebec: Working in Solidarity with
Islamic-Based Popular Movements
Mary Foster and Dima Ayoub
Rethinking Individualist Anarchism:
The Status of Community in the Social Thought
of Josiah Warren and Stephen Pearl Andrews
French Toast: Lessons from the Burning of France
The Promise and Peril of the "Political"
History of Queer Anarchy
Militant Investigations, Radical Research
Erika Biddle, Sandra Jeppesen, Stevphen Shukaitis,
and Marina Sitrin
Power, Revolution, and Autonomy
Wayne Price, Seth Weiss, and Graciela Monteagudo
Debord, Ressentiment, and Revolutionary Anarchism
Yearning for the Spiritual, the Erotic, and Love:
The Kindred and Guiding Spirit of Gloria Anzaldúa
No Exit: Bringing the World Home
Anarchism of the Other Person
Anarchists Rethinking Self-Defense
Ariel Celeste and Leona
The Stirner That Eats Gods
Alejandro de Acosta.
Anarchism, Aesthetics, and Literary Fashion
Joel Kuszai (moderator), Rachel Levitsky,
and Bill Marsh
The Legacy of Freedom in Murray Bookchin’s Work
Radical Ontology, Anarchism,
and Autonomism: Why Immanence?
Jack Z. Bratich, Will Weikart, and Stevphen Shukaitis
Societal Movements: Learning from Bolivia
Animals, Anarchism, and Capitalism
Jenna Torres, Bob Torres, Ramsey Kanaan,
and Heather Fife
Disabling Capitalism and
Supporting an Anarchism of Difference
Liat Ben-Moshe and Anthony J. Nocella, II
Lucy Parsons and the Chicago Anarchist Movement
Anarchist Perspectives on Prisoner Solidarity
Helen Hudson, Sara Falconer, and Mostafa Henaway
A Conversation on Words and Revolution
Propaganda and the Anarchist Revolution
Charles Weigl and Isaac Ontiveros (moderators);
Erika Biddle, Kyle Harris, and other panelists TBA
The Roots of Postanarchism:
Revolution as Festival for the Situationist
International and the College of Sociology
Solidarity: A Three-Part Series
I: International Solidarity Inside
Fortress North America
Stef Gude (urban settler solidarity with the Six
Nations land reclamation), Frank Yong (solidarity with
Grassy Narrows: a critique of the Highway 17
takeover), Mostafah Henaway (taxi driver organizing),
and Onto (o.r.g.a.n.i.c. collective’s migrant justice
II. Solidarity between Axes
Stefan Christoff (Lebanon), Jonah Gindin (Venezuela),
and Mark Lance (Palestine)
III. Plenary: Building Strategic Solidarity
a conversation with panelists and guest resource
people, facilitated by Andrea
* * *
(deadline: by or before Friday, September 8)
You must register and pay in advance, and do so soon, as the conference space is limited to 200 people—and
RAT must prepay all food, housing, and room rental fees in advance (the conference has no outside or
independent funding source other than registration fees).
We’re offering a sliding-scale registration for the following three options:
1. Registration and six meals (for locals and
others not requiring housing): $40 to $60
2. Registration fee, six meals, and shared
dorm room: $80 to $100
3. Registration fee, six meals, and single
dorm room: $120 to $150
Registration includes six meals (Friday dinner; Saturday breakfast, lunch, and dinner; Sunday
breakfast and lunch); please specify vegan, vegetarian, or meat when you register. Rooms are
single or shared dorm space, and include linens and towels. If you request a shared dorm room, please
indicate any roommate preferences such as a specific person or gender. If needed, child care is available;
ask for details when registering.
NOTE: we cannot custom-tailor registration fees to include, say, only four meals, and we cannot refund registration fees.
To register, please e-mail:
A limited number of partial scholarships are available to subsidize RAT conference fees for those with
limited resources. We will do our best to offer assistance to those who need it.
These scholarships are made possible because of the generosity of other RAT participants. If you can
afford to pay the higher end of our sliding-scale registration fee or want to donate more beyond that,
we will pass along the extra funds to those needing financial aid to attend RAT.
GETTING TO RAT
RAT takes place on the Goddard College campus in Plainfield, Vermont, about nine miles east of the
state capital, Montpelier, and easily accessible by car off I-89 North or South.
Both Amtrak and Greyhound or Vermont Transit (www.vermonttransit.com) offer train and bus service,
respectively, to Montpelier. Limited pick-ups and drop-offs will be available, or you can call a taxi (K
C Taxi at 802-476-0882 or Payless Taxi at 802-476-4097) during the daytime hours. Please check
with us about your travel arrangements before assuming that a pick-up or drop-off in Montpelier is possible.
There is an airport in Burlington, Vermont, about an hour’s drive from Plainfield. We will be unable to do
any airport pick-ups or drop-offs, however. If you fly to Burlington, please arrange your own ground
transportation. There are several car rental agencies at the airport (www.vermontairports.com/btv.html). In
addition, there is limited bus service between Burlington and Montpelier on either Vermont Transit
(www.vermonttransit.com) or Chittenden County Transit Authority and the LINK Express (http://www.cctaride.org/main.php).
A number of bookstores and publishers will table at RAT as part of our annual mini-bookfair. Tables are
available for bookstores, publishers, and others selling literature/materials for a sliding scale of
$20 to $35; you must reserve and pay for a table in advance. Tables will also be available at no charge
for free literature or other giveaway materials (zines, patches, art, and so forth).
STILL HAVE QUESTIONS?
Or do you want to be added to our e-mail list?
Please e-mail us at:
The co-organizers for RAT 2006 are Cindy Milstein, Andrea Maria, Spencer Sunshine, and Joshua Stephens.
The conference is a project of the IAS (http://www.anarchist-studies.org/).
There's a Peak Oil conference coming up in Boston in October. It's funny how they have no section on "Politics." Maybe some anarchists should go and have a guerilla workshop on autonomous organizing, permaculture, and anarchist strategy/vision. Seems like someone needs to challenge the overemphasis on top-down, state-backed initiatives for problem solving....
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Boston – The Association for the Study of Peak Oil-USA (ASPO-USA) and Boston University (BU) will co-sponsor the 2006 World Oil Conference, Time for Action: A Midnight Ride for Peak Oil, on the BU campus October 25-27, 2006.
The Conference will bring energy experts from around the world to discuss the likely timing, impacts, and intelligent responses to the growing Peak Oil challenge. Virtually every sector of our society and economy will be affected by Peak Oil, from transportation, manufacturing, airfreight, and agriculture, to homebuilding, city planning, and finance.
“What better place than Boston to hold A Midnight Ride for Peak Oil?” asks Matthew Simmons, Chair of ASPO-USA’s Advisory Board. “We are recruiting the best minds in the business - geologists, industry experts, academics, and environmentalists – to take up arms with scientific data to meet the historic challenge of Peak Oil.” Simmons is author of the WSJ-listed best seller, Twilight in the Desert – The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy.
For Conference details, please see: www.aspousa.org/fall2006/index.cfm
In addition to Matthew Simmons and Robert Kaufmann, conference speakers will include Ali Samsam Bakhtiari of the National Iranian Oil Company (retired); Roscoe Bartlett US Congress Rep from Md., and more than 20 others. Peak oil writers Richard Heinberg and Michael Klare will also be speaking. The full list of speakers may be viewed at the Conference Website.
Conference topics include:
* Oil & Gas Depletion (What's the evidence on Peak Oil? What geologic, political, economic and technical constraints limit oil production? Why is forecasting a date for Peak Oil an inexact science?)
* Mitigation (What responses are available and when can they be implemented?)
* Alternative Energy (What unconventional petroleum and non-petroleum energy sources are available, and can they fill the depletion gap?)
* Economics (What economic challenges do decreasing energy supplies present?)
* Transportation (What is the future direction of personal transportation, its limitations and prospects, and how should planners and fleet managers respond?)
* Net Energy (What’s the meaning of energy return on energy invested (ERoEI), and why is it critical to intelligent responses to the Peak Oil dilemma?)
* Energy Security (Can we achieve energy security in a world of escalating competition for a finite resource?)
* Government Policy (What is the direction of energy policy at the local, state, and federal levels? Do these policies need obvious tweaks, or a massive overhaul?)
ASPO-USA (www.aspo-usa.com/ ) is a broad-based, non-profit, non-partisan coalition of energy experts, scientists, educators, and members of environmental, business and non-profit organizations. The Boston Conference is part of ASPO-USA’s mission to support research and public education initiatives aimed at mitigating the impact of Peak Oil on our society and economy.
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9/08 | What do you do when an ex-PM of Israel comes to town to talk about democracy? Chalk the Sidewalks!
When we heard that ex-Prime Minister Benyamin "Bibi" Netanyahu was coming to NYU at Astor place to speak for the annual "Caravan for Democracy" tour, we knew we had to do something.
With little time to prepare, we came with some chalk and covered the sidewalks to the brim. There were arrows pointing to the room where "War criminal is speaking now" to quotes form Bibi himself about settlements and expulsions, with statistics about him and israel, and words from all different kinds of groups there, including the Ad-Hoc Coalition for Justice in the Middle East, Jews Against the Occupation, The Divestment campaign, NYU groups, and more. The people who waited in line to see him speak had to walk by the chalk, sometimes directly over it. Waiting in line through the windows, they could see the chalks on the ground. "Lies: This way." "A Ghetto is a Ghetto". "Tear Down this Wall". "American Jews Say Enough!" and more. As it got closer to the time, more groups showed up with signs, chants started, flyers were dispersed, and miraculously, the cops (mostly NYU ones) didn't touch us. That was until the real pigs showed up and tried to put us all in a pen. Some went in, others stayed out. Lots of friendly discussions happened, and lots of people yelled dirty words at us. I remember one Jewish guy said to me, after i tried to give him a flyer, "Go to Hell!" I wanted to say, "But we Jews don't believe in hell!", but alas, my wit is not that fast. High school groups showed up to the event, and were stunned at our presence. Not sure if the political message got through (or even the radical message that you can BE jewish and BE against the occupation of Palestine by Israel), but we couldn't be ignored.
I remember seeing Bibi arrive. I knew what gate he was going through (its always the 3rd middle gate on astor, not the corner ones), but the protestors stayed on their corner. I saw the secret service everywhere surround him, the black car stopped, he had to walk a few feet to the gate (which happened to be the sidewalk area that we didn't chalk!!), so we yelled "WAR CRIMINAL! ARREST HIM!" He looked right at us, we looked at him, and he went on. Then the cop threatened to arrest us. So we left. Later, during his speech, we went back to that area where we knew he had to walk and did chalk outlines of bodies on the ground, so that he had to walk over them on the way to his car. After the cop called us stupid and threatened to arrest us again, we dashed, in joy, at a successful action.
I don't think anything happened inside, or afterwards, but i was gone by then. I was hoping people inside would stand up and say something, have a banner or whatever. Guess not.
Overall, quite a spectacular day. Here's to you, Bibi! Cheers . . . you fucking murderer.
See More Photos Here
Jews Against the Occupation
Interested in becoming more involved with JATO?
If you are interested in becoming more involved with JATO, we would like to invite you to an orientation/discussion/kibitz/nosh to learn more about JATO - how the group works, what we do, how we position ourselves politically, etc. and for us to learn more about you.
If you would like to be invited to a future orientation please send an e-mail to:
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Human sacrifice is typically assumed to be a “primitive” institution, one that long ago vanished from Western civilization. Unfortunately, quite the opposite is true. The institution of sacrifice lives on. Although much of it is hidden from view in unexpected forms, it remains an essential part of first world everyday life, politics, and economy. . . . - Human Sacrifice in a Rational Economy from Electronic Civil Disobedience by Critical Art Ensemble
I started out biking from Brooklyn to Union Square to catch this months critical mass bike ride. Saw a friend on the bridge. "I'm heading off to Seaport to see Ted Leo". "Cool, I'm going to Critical Mass." "Have fun." "Later". I made it to Union Sq north by 7pm. Chilled for an hour listening to the Rev Billy give his shpiel with the Hungry Marching band behind him. Flyers galore, beautiful bikes and beautiful people too. About 30 scooter cops on Union Sq. east waiting. Another batch on broadway waiting to snatch us. Fuck it. Let's go
I started out biking from Brooklyn to Union Square to catch this months critical mass bike ride. Saw a friend on the bridge. "I'm heading off to Seaport to see Ted Leo". "Cool, I'm going to Critical Mass." "Have fun." "Later". I made it to Union Sq north by 7pm. Chilled for an hour listening to the Rev Billy give his shpiel with the Hungry Marching band behind him. Flyers galore, beautiful bikes and beautiful people too. About 30 scooter cops on Union Sq. east waiting. Another batch on broadway waiting to snatch us. Fuck it. Let's go.
I'm near the west side of the square. Looks like we're going this way. Ah shit, here we go. Down 17th. Almost made it. Fuck, coppers. OFF the bikes. TURN around. SPLIT up. Its already chaos. But a nice chaos. The front turns left on 5th and left again on 16th and we're back to Union Square to cartch the end of the ride which is now the front. The mass swarms together and we're off.
We keep going. Up 6th I think. Its pretty fun. Eventually, on some street where we turn right, the cops are there. I turn around, and fuck, more cops. I'm off my bike, and walking with it, write into the cops. This one guy grabs me and says, "Why you running away?". "Because you're chasing us!", I shout. Then he gets closer, and whispers into my ear, "Just play stupid." A bit shaken up, I do what he says and I just kinda fake being an outsider caught up in it all. He lead me to the corner, grabbing my bike with me, and then lets me go. Sheesh! That was close.
It takes me about 30 minutes to find the mass again. I find an arkansas imcista, and after some phone calls, and following the green hats and a mini mass down 12th (escorted by scooters!), we're back in the mass. Nice! Going up Ave A past tompkins and its beautiful. We head west to 1st ave, going slowly and its great. Open. But we're so slow, waiting for all the lights. Sitting ducks. And we're trapped again. That fuckin big white shark copper with a neck that breathes grabs some friends. TURN around again. Off the bikes! And its 9pm or past and I think we're done. We never made it to Grand Central, or the east river, but it was alright.
"How was your ride?" I say to a friend on the phone. "Good, but we both got tickets." "Fuck. Well, i'll meet you at a bar in brooklyn and we'll share stories." "Ok, see you there."
On the way to the Williamsburg bridge, a group of 4 of us are together, sharing stories of the night. "You used to live in San Diego, also? Cool." "The mass isn't that big out there, but they got a nice pirate radio." "What are you doing out here?" "Interning with Times Up actually." "Awesome." We're about to go the downhill side now. "Is your friend ok on that fixed gear?" "He's never ridden one before. And theres no brake." We see if he wants to switch, but he's ok. Down the bridge, I'm off to the bar, ask her if she wants to come. "Maybe." Ok, see you later.
Meet up at the bar. Tell our stories. Drink and eat some veggies from his bag. A girl comes in that I've met before. We look at each other, and try to figure out how we know each other. A half-hour later, we still can't figure it out, although we found a mutual friend. Getting hungry, we're off to get some tacos, and see more friends. She invites us to a "swing" party in central park in the future. "Cool. See you later."
My one friend just returned from Argentina. His stories are incredible. The educacion popular, the stencils, recuperated factories, assambleas, piquetes, and daily struggles of ordinary people breaks down the mental barriers to what we think is possible. "Can it happen here?" "It has before."
On the way home, a friend yells my name and i stop on the road. "Later!" I scream to the other friends are long gone by now. On the right side of a two way street. On the side but a little in front of a parked car, right beyond an intersection. I'm facing the direction that traffic is going in. My back is to the cars coming at me. This friend and I talk a little. Haven't seen him in a while. Forgot that he moved here. Its nice. A friend calls, and damn, its M. I haven't talked to him in a long time. Say goodbye to my friend right there, pick up the phone, standing with my bike, and we're chatting. "Whats up!?" "Nothing, just got back from S." "Cool, are you going t-ughghhg shit" ....screeeeeeeech......plop.... "Are you ok? What the fuck was that?" My back is wet. My bike got pushed into me leg; something hit me. That car is screeching away. What the fuck is going on? "I'm ok, M. Its just, (turning around), oh shit. Let me call you back." YOU OK?" "Yeah, i think this guy just got hit. Later."
I saw him fall on the ground. I didn't know if he got hit on the street or thrown from the car. I didn't hear anyone walking behind me. FUCK. He's bleeding from his head. Bright red. Its forming a puddle, heading toward my bike. SHIT! SOMEONE CALL 911. The blood by his mouth is bubbling. "IS HE BREATHING?" A nurses assistant checks and thinks he's breathing." "Are you OK?" onlookers say both to him and me. I respond; he doesn't. WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED? The side mirror of the parked car is smashed. Some car hit this pedestrian, smashed him against the side of the parked car right behind me, and then a bottle flew out of hand, getting my back wet; then he pushed into my bike pushing into me. I think thats it. SHIT. He's dying. The cops, firetruck and ambulance are there in minutes. "What color was the car?" "Black." "What kind was it?" "I don't know." "What was the license plate?" "I don't know."
They lift him up on stretchers and take him off. Someone interviews me. They ask me again about the car. A chief or something says to me, "He's probably not gonna make it." He's already lost a couple pints of blood.
Before the cops came, all of us bystanders were thrown into this situation together. Figuring out what to do next. Its all been seen before on TV. But the bright color of the blood hits you and you know this shit is real. And this guys family is gonna be torn. And the driver who hit him is gone. He'll probably get caught soon. What is manslaughter these days? 25 years-life? And if he's not car, he'll be plagued by it in his dreams.
And all this on a night where i was celebrating bikes. The damage of cars to the planet is sometimes so abstract because we're forced to just make due and live with it. Railing against global warming and pollution, the global death urge, feels different than seeing a car murder someone in your face. But is it so different? On the way home, after the sirens and interviews were done, I thought to myself, "What am i supposed to think? How am i feeling?" I felt lucky to be alive, I felt horrible that this other guy was dead, I felt mixed feelings about the driver who killed him. Should he go to jail forever for this? I felt confused about the car. Should we punish the carmakers and not the drivers? Who's really driving us to death? Why is this so common?
I heard once that an artist proposed to add something to the vietnam memorial in washington DC: a printer spooling out lists of all the dead killed in car accidents. Our "other" sacrifices. Sacrifice sometimes seems like the only word to describe it. The random bodies thrown to the gods, the acceptable lot of death that only smoothes the pavement more. We seem to think secular society gave up sacrifice years ago, or that sacrifice only occurs by soldiers in war to consecrate the nation. I don't know though. More people die in car accidents than all our wars combined.
Who are the real victims of sacrifice? Who is really consecrating the nation, making it sacred? Or are we consecrating something else? What? Cars? Transportation? Speed? Oil? Technology? Individuality? What is the meaning that all these bodies, like the one I saw last night, give and to whom or what do they give it? Its easy to say thats its meaningless death. I don't think so though. The consistency, normalcy, complacency, and universality of such deaths in the USA are too blatant to ignore. If the highway is our national graveyard, the cars the tombstones, the police and ambulances the priests, then what is the prayer that ties it all together?
Some will say, the violence of our subconscious. The violence of capitalism. The violence of nation-states. The violence of patriarchy. But the violence of car accidents, the violence that kills cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers daily, is, in some strange way, a guarantor of safety and peace. "At least, we have something stable in this country." Human roadkill. Our gift to the roads that separate and connect us. A common melody within a world of chaotic change. Our sacrifice. Our sick, fucking sacrifice.
somehow, i ended up in jail in san diego for a day. an interesting story of minutemen and protest which i'll share after the case drops, or maybe sooner. during that time, i got a lot of comments on my last post about palestine and israeli nationalism (the picture seems to have disappeared though). my desire to reply slowly evaporated as the summer winded down. instead, read this, this, and this and watch this video and thats good enough. more to come...
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I like books.
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So I've been up and around these last couple weeks. So many things have been going on that I get too overwhelmed to try to write about them all in a journal. But here are a couple of photo sets of where i've been.
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A while ago, our friend Maka from Mexico City came to visit. An amazing woman from the Centro de Medios Libres in DF, she shared videos and stories about what was going on in Atenco.
After that, our house had a Garden Party in our backyard, inviting tons of people over to work, play, eat, make art, mosaic, drink, and build a garden. It turned out fabulous. And we got two new roomates in the process. (Although one got jumped and we had to replace him immediately.)
There were all the immigrant rights demos in the last couple months too. The first one is good, the second one sucked, and the third was amazing.
Protesting the minutemen/anti-immigrant groups is always a blast, especially when its outside of a commie book store!
At the Manhattan, some folks were exposing Victoria's Dirty Secret, and they almost got a huge ballooned banner inside the store! I took some video too.
According to my virtual traces, i probably seem like a protest junky. But alas, my days and nights are filled with food, bikes, stars, chess, water, gardens, books, meetings, travels. The subway characters in this city are amazing. I met two guys on the way home from shabbas who invited me to stay with them in their homes in Morelia, Mexico. Childcare is fun. The kids are great, even when they cry and pee. I never uploaded photos of the SisterFire Encuentro Childcare bonanza, which rocked, but maybe i will oneday. Having dinner with my ESL teachers was great, as we sat around our ceviche sharing stories, and listening about the customs of Peru and the sweatshops of the Domincan Republic. Celebrate Brooklyn! in Prospect Park is free and gorgeous. I just saw nortec collective last week, who are a techno-norteno-geek-vj band, and awesome.
So, after these days and nights, I went for a trip south, to Sao Paulo, where I met with some folks from chile, uruguay, argentina, germany, san francisco, netherlands, australia, and all over Brasil about tech issues and indymedia. Whats a better way to spend time in Brasil then in a room with techies talking about SSL?
After drinks, futbol, , graffiti tours, free Radio Muda and free tv's, we went to the USP to look at techporn with this amazing professor, Etienne, who reuses thrown away hardware in order to "unfreeze" the knowledge concentrated in microchips. He has an awesome lab where he helps students build computers from start to scratch out of junk, to teach them the lessons of symbolic value in the age of microprocessors.
From Brasil to Indiana, I went to a Ruckus Camp called Freedom from Oil. An amazing place in the woods with incredible people from all over the continent working on oil issues, the camp focused on:
* Jumpstart Ford
* Separation of Oil and State
* Climate Justice
* Green Energy Campus Organizing
* Strategic Campaigning
* Media & Communications Training
* Nonviolence Philosophy & Technique
* Action Climbing Techniques
* Direct Action Imagery
* Internet/Digital Activism
* Community Organizing
* Action Planning & Strategy
* Sit Ins, Blockades & Support Roles
* Banner Construction & Rigging
* Political Theater
* Legal Considerations for Direct Action
Role plays, fresh organic vegetarian food, compost toilets, rain, ponds, animals everywhere, art, a ropes course: it was quite a small world in there. Now I can tie a prussik hitch, climb trees, do better blockades, organize campaigns, and talk about oil extraction and refinement in its relations to indigenous communities, air quality, global warming, car emissions and peak oil.
Coming back, war erupted in the middle east again. A protest at the Israeli mission to the UN. I'm tired. Got so much work to do. Summer is half-way over and its dripping hot. I can noxious just standing up.
holy shit i´m in Sao Paolo, brazil at at indy conference called Techmeet!. indy techies from all over the world chillin in toyas house. talking servers, security and futbol until the sun comes up. finally meeting imcistas from chile, argentina, germany, brazil, uruguay and netherlands...
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todo ben? todo bem.
Here are TWO pamphlets made just for mayday by different groups in the US. PLEASE PRINT AND DISTRIBUTE!!
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"Individuals involved with Arizona Indymedia, San Diego Indymedia and Delete the Border produced this bilingual pamplet, providing a radical analysis between May Day and pro-immigrant actions. Please distribute widely. It is an 11'' x 17'' pdf that is easy to print and fold. There is a "generic" version which allows you to include local details in the document before you print it. You can download the pamplet at: http://sonoranstyle.net/mayday"
The Beehive Collective is coming to The New School to present their trilogy of graphic designs on MesoAmerica and Resistance, including work on Plan Puebla Panama, Plan Colombia and the FTAA. Please come and see!
Thurs, April 27th, 6-9pm
65 Fifth Ave, Room 201
New School Direct Action Networking Collective (DANCe)http://nyc.indymedia.org/en/2006/04/68464.shtml
A swarm is coming! The Beehive Design Collective- a non-profit,
volunteer driven, political arts organization based in eastern Maine is headed this way. The group's mission is to "cross pollinate the
grassroots" through the creation of images as an effective medium for deconstructing and educating the public about complex geopolitical issues.
Most interesting is their methodology. The bees create collaborative, hand-illustrated posters of dizzying intricacy which are patchwork "quilts" of personal stories related to them in their travels. Before setting pen to paper, the hive does extensive touring and field research. Interviewing community members about the effects of globalization on their situation is a crucial component of the collective's investigative process. "We feel it's extremely important to gather our information from as close to the source as possible," an anonymous worker bee says. The imagery comprising the visual metaphors of the posters, featuring characters exclusively from the animal and plant world, are requests or edits from collaborators in Latin America.
Their trilogy is an engaging venture through a larger than life versions of the Collective's graphics using banners that dwarf the presenters and a six foot tall fabric flip-book. In a format they've dubbed "picture lecture," the bees take participants through their own story before the plunge into their graphic trilogy: the Free Trade Area of the Americas, Plan Colombia, and nigh-complete Mesoamerica Resiste works are presented in sequence. Interwoven throughout are anecdotes and statistics that perforate dubious "drug war" rhetoric and expose the connections between militarism and resource extraction in the Western Hemisphere. The Beehive Collective heavily encourages audience participation, "We feel
people are visual learners, and that interaction is a learning
device. You can only absorb so much from the standardized, one-way, 'talking head at the podium' setup."
In their presentation, Mesoamerica Resiste, their final and most
intricate and comprehensive graphic in the trilogy is unveiled as a
nearly complete work of incomparable detail. The graphic unfurls a host of stories of resistance to the panoramic Central American megaproject known as Plan Puebla Panama. The piece is previewed with a thorough account of its creation and the bees' tactics and is slated for final release in Fall of 2006.
The Collective bristles with activity; working on numerous fronts to
tackle issues as diverse as biotechnology, the prison system, corporate globalization, the replacement of agriculture with agribusiness, infrastructure megadevelopment, and the umbrella of colonialism. Their current focal project is the completion of a graphic trilogy depicting the effects of and resistance to globalization within the western hemisphere. Their body of work is distributed as "anti-copyright" cultural tools: individuals and organizations are encouraged to reproduce their graphics for non-profit use as a means of circulating information and awareness.
The all-volunteer Beehive Collective is currently on tour through the United States to raise funds for the printing and distribution of their trilogy finale graphic.
For more information visit www.beehivecollective.org
Beehive Design Collective
3 Elm Street
Machias, ME 04654
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Imogen passed away this week. I can't believe it. She's incredible. She was incredible. I don't know the tense to use yet. She was in a coma for the last 6 weeks. Noone knows what happened. We had a class together. She was brilliant. She is brilliant. A scholar, activist, intellectual, friend. She wanted to work with the UNHCR with refugees on the Spain/Morocco border. We shared stories about the US/Mexico border. We met online before we met in person. We were going to meet at a PGA (peoples global action?)-style salon at chelsea's house to talk about immigration and detention in the us. I couldnt make it that week. She wanted to sign up for the anarchist reading group, but she had a class during that time. But, alas, we ended up in the same anthro class on immigration law. She said "lets make it good" i remember. and it was. I saw her at the dumpling party at Joseph's house on Chinese New Years. We talked. Made dumplings together. Shared stories of globalization. She was radiant. People listened to her. I didn't even know her well but i could tell that she was a force, a star. I can't believe that she's gone. One day, she fell into coma. One day, she's out of the country. One day everyone's crying. Class goes on. People still work. And she dies. What?
But I won't stand dumbfounded too long. Death is fulfillment, not just end. Completion, totality. Maybe. Death exceeds imagination. exceeds thought. Hence the desire to do art, poetry about death. But death is more natural than that. Whats unnatural is time, when it happens and when it doesn't. Why now? Why her? Its almost mystical. She was fine, and then-. How? I can't go on, I'll go on.
With so much love, we'll miss you Imogen. Thank you for all you've given.Imogen Helen Clinch-Bunting, an MA student at The New School for Social Research, a Prize Fellow in the Anthropology Department, and a beloved member of the university community, died in Exeter, England, on April 23 at the age of 25. Imogen was recovering from a massive heart failure, which she suffered in New York City on February 10, followed by a coma, from which she awoke only several weeks ago. A commemorative event for Imogen is being planned by the university and will be announced in the coming weeks.
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The Jewish Poor: Recent Immigrants in NYC and the Challenge of Community
from the recent issue of New Voices Magazine
by jacobito with infinite help from ilana
We’re not poor, but we used to be. Back in Europe, Spain, the Middle East, Russia. Not anymore. Now we Jews live in relative comfort. Our parents and grandparents have struggled to make this place called America home. They’ve worked hard, and gained the following generations a place in the middle and upper classes. We can now relax, practice Judaism in safety, eat well, dance, go to school, get jobs, teach, own a home, and raise children all without worrying over economic issues or material needs. Those days are over. Free at last, thank America almighty, we’re free at last.
Or at least that’s how the myth goes.
Jewish poverty, in fact, is a huge problem, and it’s not going away. The myth of Jewish economic comfort does nothing to alleviate the suffering of American Jews in dire need, but rather, only helps to marginalize them further. The fact that most Jews in America who do live in poverty are recent immigrants who speak over 200 different languages and don’t necessarily share light skin privilege doesn’t help. Indeed, the intersections of race, class and language make the issue of Jewish poverty particularly difficult to untangle.
Scraping by in New York City
So who are the Jewish poor and how many are there? Let’s focus on New York City, the largest Jewish community outside of Israel. According to the January 2004 Report on Jewish Poverty commissioned by the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty and the UJA-Federation of New York, approximately 311,700 Jewish households in the city are poor, which is defined as living on one-and-a-half times the income of someone at the poverty line.
That means that in 2004, the most recent year for which information is available, 20 percent of New York Jews were living at one-and-a-half times the $18,850 poverty line for a family of four. One-in-five Jews from the land of the Bergdorf-Goodman department store, the grand Park Avenue Synagogue, and H & H Bagels come from families making less than $21,678 per year. Another 85,000 are “near-poor,” who do not qualify but still cannot feed their families. There are 226,000 Jewish people in New York City poor enough to qualify for government assistance programs.
That means one in every five Jews in New York City is poor, which is a proportion that nearly equal to the percentage of all New Yorkers who are poor (20.4 percent). Where are the Jewish poor of NYC located?
69 percent are located in Brooklyn (156,200 households), 19 percent are in Queens (42,700 households), six percent are in Manhattan (12,800), five percent are in the Bronx (10,400 households), and two percent are located in Staten Island (3,900 households).
The concentration of Jewish poverty in Brooklyn and Queens mirrors the areas where concentrations of Hasidic Jewish families and recent Russian and Soviet immigrants live. According to the report, poverty is more prevalent among seniors, people who are unemployed, people who are unable to work due to physical limitations, people without college degrees, Orthodox households with large families, and recent Russian-speaking immigrants.
The recent immigrants from the former Soviet Union are living mostly in far-out Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods like Brighton Beach, Coney Island, Bensonhurst, Borough Park, Flatbush, Canarsie, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, and Rego Park. Other neighborhoods that host significant numbers of Russian Jews are Washington Heights, the long-time center of Ashkenazi life of upper Manhattan, and Pelham Parkway in the Bronx.
The differences between established Jewish centers like the Upper West Side and neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens transcend finances, and, as we will see, can complicate Jewish organizations’ attempts to work with recent immigrants.
Upon immigrating from Leningrad to Queens with her family ten years ago, 22-year-old Masha Lisak “discovered that the secular American Judaism was very different than the secular Russian Judaism,” she said in a phone interview.
Despite receiving a flurry of postcards from Jewish organizations, she almost never went to the events.
Feeling more Jewish than Russian in the former Soviet Union, yet more Russian than Jewish in the United States, recent immigrants like Lisak are rarely tempted by what organizations like the Jewish Community Centers (JCC), UJA-Federation of New York City and other have to offer.
The only Jewish group Lisak remembers her family being involved with was Workmen’s Circle, the secular organization with roots in Yiddish immigrant politics and culture. Their English classes, she recalls, were “far more helpful” than the holiday and cultural parties thrown by the JCC.
From Babylonia to Bukharian Broadway
Lisak’s Russian family is in the minority in her neighborhood. Jews from Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Georgia and Chechnya comprise the majority of the population. According to a New York Times article by Julia Moskin, from January 18 of this year, there are over 40,000 Jews from Uzbekistan, who are known as Bukharian Jews, living in Queens, which is 90-95 percent of the entire community.
“Neither Ashkenazi nor Sephardi (the two major groups of Diaspora Jews),” Moskin writes, “the Bukharians say that their lineage goes directly back to the Babylonian captivity, before 500 B.C. ‘Our people are the ones who did not return to Jerusalem afterward, but remained in Asia,’ said Peter Pinkhasov, a paralegal at a Manhattan law firm who immigrated with his family from Tashkent in 1993.”
The members of this isolated Central Asian Judeo-Persian community now live in Rego Park, Forest Hills and Kew Gardens, Queens, and have established 108th street as “Bukharian Broadway,” a strip packed with kosher restaurant. Bukharian Jews are overwhelmingly uneducated, poor, Orthodox and lacking in English. Their needs are deep, but they are notably absent from most network of local Jewish organizations. Lacking representatives, programs or voices in all major Jewish organizations and media, the Bukharians survive from their own strength of will.
Shelly Goldman of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ), a New York City, membership-based social justice organization, described a phenomenon known as “double migration.” Thousands of individuals and families in New York immigrant communities emigrated from their places of birth (the Soviet Union, Ethiopia, et al), to Israel, and then from Israel to the United States.
“The double culture shock” Goldman said in a phone interview, “makes it especially hard for some immigrants to acclimate to life in New York.” Finding a job, eating, finding affordable health care, and getting an education can become almost insurmountable obstacles, and though financial help is sometimes available from the established Jewish community, solidarity may be lacking.
Institutions Working for Change
As the needs of poor in realms like English-language education, affordable housing, health care, and childcare are rising, the Jewish community is attempting to rise to the challenge. A host of organizations, seemingly contradictory in mission, seek change.
Organizations like the UJA-Federation of New York City and the Jewish Community Center of Manhattan are devoted entirely to meeting the resource needs of Jewish communities.
Laurie Pine, the director of communications at the UJA-Federation, reported in a phone interview that the organization raises over 130 million dollars a year. She describes it as an “umbrella for one hundred agencies in New York, Israel and the former Soviet Union.”
As a fundraising organization, much of its work in the Russian community is done through its Russian division, which raises funds that are then distributed to organizations aimed at education, Jewish renewal, legal aid, and financial assistance. The UJA-Federation’s work is not with the day-to-day lives of the people in communities they support, but with people and foundations who wish to donate money. Their work stems from recognizing the material needs of the Russian immigrant community, and their approach is to go through the powerful to ultimately distribute money to the needy.
The perspective of UJA-Federation, Goldman asserts, is consistent with the traditional fundraising approach of the Jewish community. Whereas Jewish tradition discusses fundraising “from wealthy members to distribute money to poor members,” JFREJ tries to “imagine a larger social change possibility.”
Like JFREJ, UJA-Federation works with the Council of Jewish Émigré Community Organizations (COJECO), which “strive[s] to represent and advocate for Jewish émigré needs, concerns, and priorities to the established New York Jewish community,” according to their mission statement. Though UJA-Federation and JFREJ have differing approaches and missions, both work with COJECO to learn more about the community’s needs.
Committed to “working with all Jews on an equal footing,” JFREJ’s Jewish Immigrant Justice Campaign sets out not to distribute funds, but to “listen very closely to what the immigrant community members say the need, and to work as equals to get it.” Part of their approach entails facilitating conversations within Bukharian and Russian Jewish communities, and to work with them in forming groups that will fight for changes they need, like expanded, affordable child care.
Though often seem as opposing forces, UJA-Federation and JFREJ have missions that, in the case of the Russian Jewish émigré community, can compliment each other. The cultural, geographic, and socioeconomic diversity of Jewish experiences demands the big institutions of the Jewish world follow the lead of grassroots organizations which speak from and for their own communities.
JFREJ is just one of many organizations using Jewish funds in fighting classism, poverty, and discrimination in the Jewish community. For example, the Food Bank for New York City in 2003 provided approximately 4.5 million pounds of kosher food to kosher community food programs. There’s also the impressive Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty in New York City, which uses almost its entire budget (98%) of $20 million directly on anti-poverty programs and services. Others include Avodah: The Jewish Service Corps, Jewish Community Action (Minnesota), Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, the Jewish Fund for Justice (NYC), Jews United for Justice (St. Louis), Jews United for Justice (Washington, D.C.), Jewish Youth for Community Action (Berkeley), the Progressive Jewish Alliance (Los Angeles), The Ark (Chicago) and many others.
And this brings us back to the question of class. Does class determine how Jewish we are and how Jewish we can be? Of course we want to say no. It may be uncomfortable to believe our cultural spaces and ritual practices are guarded by entry fees, housed in the wealthier districts, or rarely accommodating to non-European Jewish practices, that what it means to be Jewish may be stained by class as much as any other factor of Jewishness.
Looking back on my life as a Sephardic/Ashkenazi mutt growing up in San Diego, it would be impossible for me to afford any of the Jewish schools I started attending 20 years ago. But despite the chasm between that life and the life of Bukharian Jews in America, and the pressing need for immediate change, there is plenty opportunity for the Jewish world to address its own poor, now.