Some thoughts on liberalism, identity politics and the left, by Mal Content.

As a contribution to this discussion on the South Essex Heckler:


The evolution of the ruling class.

The bourgeois revolution is incomplete, although it relied heavily on racism, patriarchy, hetero-normativity, nuclear families and a Christian work ethic to get underway, the logic of the market respects only the exchange of commodities. Our bosses are getting more diverse; the sixty-two individuals who control as much purchasing power as half of humanity are not all white, or male.

Meanwhile the ruling class hedges its bets; it offers on the one hand neoliberal ‘rainbow capitalism’ underpinned by a theoretical freedom and equality under the law but no safety net, and as a fallback position, what we might call ‘capitalism in one country’ with a degree of protectionism and social conservatism to reflect local norms. As the Class that must work for wages is only allowed to construe economics in terms of jobs and money it’s easy to see why the latter reassures a section of it. Wage labour is an abusive relationship however you dress it up, and the indignity of having your status defined by your abuse, relative to someone else’s, throws up some highly reactionary positions.

Both positions of course are bogus. Identities, like everything else, are marketable commodities and therefore must trade at different prices. The USA elected a black president who presided over the torture of Muslim prisoners of war, the enslavement of black workers in the prison-industrial complex, and the systemic assassination by cops of Working Class black youth. If there is ever a female president, a gay president, a trans’ president: they may become a rallying point for those communities but they will set no one free, it isn’t their job. The ANC revolution in South Africa created a new black bourgeoisie, which exploited exactly as before; their police gunned down striking workers as they did in the days of empire. The West is awash with goods produced in the sweatshops of recently independent Asian countries. As for protectionism, capital will always find ways to move around, and to reduce the price of labour to its minimum local reproduction cost.

There has never been, in any period of capitalism, an entirely free market without a heavy reliance on primitive accumulation (theft and murder) and military expenditure. Very expensive short-lived manufactured goods that do not have to compete in the market because the decision to buy them is taken by the executive. Corporations can always borrow money against this because it’s a blank cheque, underwritten by taxpayers, the bulk of whom are Working Class. It pays for technological innovations their bosses protect with patents. Virtually everything we take for granted in the modern world was developed this way, so above all, capitalism needs enemies.

For a century, this balance between market and state was maintained by the vanity projects of a handful of sociopaths: Bolshevism and fascism, the first almost immediately creating its mirror-image. ‘The end of history’ left two vacuums, one for the bosses and one for us. Post-war anti-imperialist movements, including the Middle Eastern ones, were mostly Bolshevik-influenced. Once the Soviet empire collapsed, ‘Radical Islam’ – which the West originally co-opted against it – proved an easier vehicle with which to rally marginalised and ill-informed populations against the tidal wave of global capital, with just a hint of the Maoist ‘protracted people’s war’ about it.

The left.

Since the mirage of state socialism evaporated, left-wing parties have been no more relevant than the flat earth society. They were deeply reactionary anyway; in 70 years of the U.S.S.R. they never managed to abolish racism, sexism, homophobia or religion, all those delusions resurfaced with a vengeance and they slipped seamlessly into a market economy with most of the same people in charge. In the UK it was the craft Unions who negotiated women out of the workplace after two wars, Labour governments that struggled in vain to keep the empire, then hold back migration from its former colonies.

“We are convinced that liberty without socialism is privilege and injustice; and that socialism without liberty is slavery and brutality.”

– Mikhail Bakunin: ‘Federalism, Socialism, Anti-Theologism’.

Insofar as ‘left’ refers to position in a representative assembly – which I would have no truck with – relative to the other representatives, we only use it to distance us from the right. Whereas the old left existed to contain Working Class anger and prevent it from disrupting capitalist power relations, the new left’s project was to speed the bourgeois revolution to its conclusion; maybe they wanted capitalism to succeed so they could take it over as a going concern. Maybe they just wanted their hands in the till and a cushy retirement. Ten years after thatcher abolished society, isolating our Class, a smug posh-voiced tosser named Tony Blair told us we didn’t exist. Where does that leave us? Without Class the worker is an isolated individual with no social relationship to anyone but the boss – wasn’t that the aim of the twin totalitarian projects? Either way it’s inherently nationalistic (I include ‘Eurocentrism’ in this.)

The failure of the statist left to see beyond transaction and coercion not only paved the way for fascism in all its forms but preserved capitalism long past its expiry date. We need to look back a century to the ‘Great Unrest’ and the currents of revolutionary syndicalism and self-organisation that developed in the Class to see anything like a viable alternative.

Intersectionality, privilege and the Working Class.

Liberal politics of aspiration and contempt, of ‘social mobility’ challenge you to escape from our Class rather than work together to liberate it. You are Working Class if you’ve got nothing to sell but your labour, but talk of ‘working people’ sets the bosses as gatekeepers to the Class and they’re quite comfortable using the term when they get to define it. If your measure of self-worth is being selected by some bourgeois to add value to their capital – thereby increasing their power over you – no wonder your messiah is a narcissistic parasite with a gold crapper.

Intersectionality contradicts liberalism; I define liberalism as that which postulates a theoretical freedom and equality under the law, but takes no account of structural oppression. The concept of privilege requires acceptance that:

a) Oppression is the norm, society oppresses us all by default then mitigates it for each to different extents according to how well they fit into the oppressive structure, and that:

b) No-one achieves anything entirely by their own efforts, but through their membership of a collective.

This makes it an incredibly difficult concept for many people. As difficult as understanding that the pound in your pocket is not a reward for what you did last week, but represents a complex web of social relations, and that its value is reinforced by the threat of violence.

The advantage of intersectional analysis is that it gives a sharper understanding of how and where systemic oppression is applied in practice. Its limitation is the shift in emphasis from collective struggle to individual conflicts and alliances. It reflects, and indeed encourages, a loss of confidence in the ability of individuals to appreciate, understand and fight inequalities that do not afflict them personally. Worse, in my view, is it defines the individual according to the boundaries created by the hegemonic group, which, for simplicity, I will continue to refer to as the ruling class. They have taken great pains to replace the dangerously homogenous strata of similarly oppressed peoples with a socio-economic continuum. In parallel, our focus on privilege and identity has lowered our sights from universal liberation to the temporary relief of the most vulnerable, allowing them to be taken as hostages to the economy. There’s no getting away from the fact that the greatest structural oppression is the money economy and most of the others are mediated through it.

Identity politics.

The working class is more than 50% female*, disproportionately black, migrant and/or minority ethnic. If you are black, you are more likely to be arrested, charged, convicted and incarcerated than if you are not; at each stage the odds are against you. If you have a mental condition, you are more likely to be homeless. We can only respond to these issues as a united, fighting Class. As a comrade pointed out last week, if the white Working Class don’t get it, it isn’t because we devoted too much attention to racism, sexism, homophobia etc, but too little. If you want to appeal to the white Working Class separately, why not the straight, white, cis, male Working Class? Further divide fully employed from unemployed and precarious, and you’re not far from the failed 20th century craft Union model. Personally, I’ve never identified as ‘white’ Working Class, I’m white in the sense that I’ve got no racialised characteristics. I’m also male, fit to work, with a skilled trade. I don’t need a university lecturer to tell me that’s a privileged position, and a potentially reactionary one, yet I’ve never wanted anything from this society but to witness its demise.

*Given the gendered disparity in income which, over a lifetime, exacerbates the gap in total wealth, by any socio-economic measure of ‘working class’, males will represent less that half. Single mothers and single retired women are especially disadvantaged in this respect.

Those groups who find themselves super-exploited fight the ruling class out of necessity; for the rest, what else is there to do? Some comrades defend Wetherspoons, X factor and a fetish for designer clothes as working class culture, now there’s identity politics! As an anarchist I’m not about to tell anyone how to express themselves; if a section of the youth decline to integrate with mainstream culture it’s because it has nothing to offer. I’ll defend the right to wear a Burqa because – just fucking try telling me what to wear.

I believe that a society based on mutual aid and solidarity can only be achieved through voluntary association, starting from a federated affinity group structure. Therefore I’ll not condemn anyone for choosing to organise with those who share their own experiences if it gets the job done. It will be fine, for a while, as long as there is a mechanism for communication and co-ordination so we’re not getting in each other’s way or duplicating effort. Post-capitalist councils of producers and users would of necessity call in delegates from groups with needs and interests that are not readily anticipated or understood by others.

So whilst I’m exasperated when privilege is played as a trump card to shut down discussion, it’s equally frustrating to have the ‘prolier than thou’ type refuse to engage with it altogether. We are dishonest with ourselves if we do not challenge oppression where we see it, and that may require some patience, but having two separate closed conversations about it serves no one but the oppressor.

“The problem is that left politics are perceived to be backward looking, while the right has ridden the tidal wave created by capitalism’s convulsions. That a significant proportion of our class see fascism as a viable alternative, we must accept as our failure. Even the anarchist movement, with which I identify, is too introspective and slow to provide practical solutions to everyday problems. What about building community solidarity by linking defence against hate crime with resistance to evictions over the bedroom tax, and general poverty relief, why are there no autonomous food banks?

In my view we need a message as simple as the EDL’s, only based on class unity, resistance to austerity and division, tying local struggles to global ones; and we need to make ourselves as visible and confident as they are.”

– ‘Life after Woolwich: a personal view.’ No Quarter issue 7.

RADICAL WORKERS’ BLOC AT TOLPUDDLE 2016.

captswing2Radical Workers’ Bloc at Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival and rally: Friday 15th to Sunday 17th July 2016. View map

We’re back again for the sixth year running, with the stall, Freedom Books, the Big Tent and our Wob Kitchen on the campsite catering for our comrades from Friday to Sunday (F.C.F.S). Camp with us, eat with us and march with us on Sunday. We will have a few of our new ‘Friends of Captain Swing’ T shirts made by the Sabcat anarchist workers’ co-op. If you fancy one for a tenner, let us know through the contact form and don’t forget to include your e-mail address and size. We may ask for a small deposit depending on how much we have to front up – we’re rubbish capitalists!

Pro

We’ve also got a limited number of these left in black or red, also by Sabcat, larger sizes only, but they do work best as a billboard!

Freedom Press

revenge of the working class!

Open Letter to BBC South Today from Palestine Solidarity Campaign

An interview with the DTK. Corporate Watch.

Workers at a honey cooperative near Wan (Van in Turkish). The Co-op was set up with the help of the Democratic Society Congress economic commission.

Workers at a honey cooperative near Wan (Van in Turkish). The Co-op was set up with the help of the Democratic Society Congress economic commission.

Democratic autonomy is a movement which aims to establish a network of grassroots assemblies in Bakur (the Kurmanji Kurdish word for the area of Kurdistan within the borders of Turkey). Corporate Watch carried out interviews with several of the organisations involved in the process of democratic autonomy in June and July 2015.

The democratic autonomy movement in North Kurdistan is part of the wider movements for ‘democratic confederalism’ in Kurdistan. In the writing of Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), ‘democratic autonomy’ is achieved when people begin to organise themselves through grassroots assemblies or communes. Following on from this, the term ‘democratic confederalism’ is used to describe networks of these local assemblies joining together in a confederation.

The most well known example of the application of the ideas of democratic confederalism is in Rojava, the autonomous largely Kurdish region in the North of Syria. However, people across the border in Bakur have been putting the ideas of democratic confederalism into practice since long before the Arab Spring. In around 2005 the PKK had created the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), an umbrella organisation aimed at uniting Kurdish people living within all four parts of Kurdistan and the diaspora and achieving democratic confederalism throughout Kurdistan.

The Democratic Society Congress (DTK), set up in Bakur in 2007, acts as an umbrella organisation, and aims to establish democratic confederalism in Bakur. It meets every three months and is made up of representatives of different ethnic groups and political parties as well as representatives of local assemblies. It operates as a parliament, and attempts to create a new society under the weight of repression from the existing one. Since the establishment of the DTK, local assemblies have been set up all over Bakur. The DTK has also set up regional commissions to deal with issues such as ecology, economy, education, language, religion, culture, science, diplomacy, women and young people.

We interviewed Hilmi Aydoğdu and Hasan Hüseyin, both directors of the DTK in July 2015. Read the full interview.

International Women’s Day events at W.I. Hall, North St. Bridport, Sat 12th March.

International Women’s Day Celebration focuses on Women Writers, all welcome.

5.30 for 6pm Play: Five Break the Spell  Join The Bookshop and members of Bridfem for a delightful evening of family friendly fun with a Participatory Pop-up Play where you can join in as actors or audience.  Our play, about a certain well-known British children’s author who set many of her adventures in Dorset, will be led by Beth Shaw, co-author of The Domestic Theatre Handbook.  The Bookshop will have a stall of books for sale by and about women. Admission Free/Donation, with tea and coffee.

8pm Autonomy Films presents: An Angel at My Table Jane Campion’s award-winning 1990 film of Janet Frame’s autobiography tells of her childhood in New Zealand and her triumph over mental illness to become a successful writer. (Colour, 2hrs 38mins)

Admission £3  or less if you’re skint Vegetarian soup on sale from  7.30pm.

Anti-State communities in Kurdistan. 14th December Bristol.

ASK2Caught between the expansionist ISIS and escalating oppression by the Turkish state is one of the largest and most interesting revolutionary struggles of our times. Rojava, comprising three regions of northern Syria, is home to 2 million people while across the border in Eastern Turkey an increasing number of villages and neighbourhoods are declaring themselves autonomous and committed to self defence. Within these areas is a social experiment that incorporates feminism, ecology, has survived four years of military assaults. For much of this time they have been the only successful opposition to ISIS.

At 6:30pm on Monday 14th of December in the Malcolm X Centre join us for an evening of info and films including a first hand account of the new anti-state communities and an update on British Kurdish prisoner Silan Ozcelik. facebook event

Message from Riseup: The Rise of the Surveillance State.

Hello Beautiful Riseup Users:

Are we still needing funding for the coming year? Yes! We have gotten $35,000 in donations, which is amazing. Thanks all, and please donate to Riseup today, if you can.

Did you know the NSA (National Security Agency) has built a map of the entire world via the communication links of all email, chat, and financial transactions? This map tells a story to them about all of us. It knows who we know. It knows who our activist allies and relationships are.

And, as if that wasn’t crappy enough, the NSA is trying to undermine the security of the internet as a whole by putting in back-doors and weakening encryption standards so that they can spy better. They spend $250,000,000 USD per year on this. This makes the entire internet less secure, and makes it easier for people, governments, and corporations to exploit, scam, and spy on each other.

While the NSA claims they are targeting terrorism, they have been targeting foreign politicians and companies, with evidence that this is happening particularly in Brazil and Mexico. This is plain old espionage and corporate spying. Terrorism is merely the justification for astounding encroachments on our civil liberties.

Last, we have to assume this is all the tip of an iceberg. We have to assume there are other spy agencies across the globe doing similar spy work that we don’t know about (yet).

What can we do about this? We can fight it legally, we can provide support for leakers and journalists, and we can invest in infrastructure (like Riseup) that is building alternative tools for social movements.

Thanks, Love, and Rage,
The Riseup Birds

https://riseup.net/donate

Message from Riseup, please support, we’d be buggered without them.

Dear Riseup Users,

Hello to you, and you, and you! This is our yearly user fundraising drive where we hope you will donate to Riseup and keep us going for our sixteenth year of existence. It has been a wild year of leaks around government and corporate spying, and while we finally don’t have to have boring conversations with everyone to prove why we exist, we are also serving a huge number of new users who became fed up with corporate services. Add to that the costs of doing some major security upgrades to our system, and, well, we really need money.

Donate

First though, here’s how we see our work at Riseup: there are many beautiful and important projects in this long march toward freedom and justice, and we are one tiny but important piece that provides the right for people and organizations to whisper. Not everyone needs privacy all the time, but organizing against dictators, running direct action campaigns against corporations, and journalistic autonomy are just a few places where privacy is essential. This, as we know, is hugely under attack. The way Riseup fights this is by providing good security embedded in our services all the time, so that when you do need privacy you don’t have to change your modes of communication (though you may want to use other security measures too, like GPG).

The Riseup collective loves building alternative tech infrastructures that at its roots are smart about surveillance and security. We love providing help services to troubleshoot any problems or questions you have. We love spending our Saturdays tinkering and upgrading at the hot and buzzing room where are servers live, and then going home smelling like heavy metals. As an act of mutual aid, we don’t charge for our services, even though they cost a lot in time and money. Therefore, we depend on those of you who can to donate money. Time and time again, you all have been amazingly generous in supporting us. This year we need $75,000 USD to cover our server and labor costs.

So, hello to you, yes you, with the big heart and dreams! Any donation is wonderful, but may we suggest a **recurring monthly contribution of $5-25 USD or a one-time donation of $15-$100?** That would be huge.

When you give to Riseup, know that you are also supporting a large portion of our users who rely on our services and are not in a position to give us money. Lots of folks live in the Global South, ie countries financially plundered by imperialism and neoliberalism, and we’d rather they donate to more local tech collectives. Likewise, lots of people deal with the ravages of poverty. We aren’t expecting or asking any of you to donate. But for everyone else who can throw a little mutual aid our way, your money not only supports our work, but the huge base of activists we support.

And, last, please know that we don’t ask for donations lightly. For anyone with money to give, there are so many places for it to go. If you can give to us, know that every dollar goes to collective members and/or our bills. We’ll be bugging you with some more emails over the next month, not because this is our idea of fun, but we really want to keep being part of the vital global struggles that you all are part of, too.

Love,

The Riseup Birds

There are many ways to give us money! Bitcoins! Gold dubloons! Or, you know, Paypal or wire transfers.

RESISTANCE AGAINST ISIS AND AL-NUSRA CONTINUES IN ROJAVA: 32 GANG MEMBERS KILLED

Re-Posted from Kurdish question

Resistance Against ISIS and Al-Nusra Continues in Rojava: 32 Gang Members Killed

2nd October 2015

ANF – News Desk

The YPG Press Office has released a written statement about the actions conducted by YPG/YPJ (People’s / Women’s Defence Units) against the ISIS and Al-Nusra gangs in the Aleppo and Hesekê regions. 32 members of the gang groups were killed, while a panzer and many armored vehicles were destroyed.

THe YPG stated that ISIS gangs have launched the heaviest attacks since their offensive to occupy Hesekê in the Mount Kizwanan region. Seven fighters of the Defense Units have lost their lives in intense clashes that are still going on.

The statement reported that attacks led by Al-Nusra gangs on the Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood of Aleppo also continue, in response to which YPG/YPJ put up active resistance and conducted effective counter-attacks.

CLASH IN SHEIKH MAQSOUD

The statement said a clash erupted between YPG/YPJ forces and the gang groups that launched an attack on the Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood at around 10:00 local time yesterday. Two pick-up vehicles, including a bomb-laden vehicle was destroyed, but the casualties left by the action couldn’t be clarified.

THREE MILITARY VEHICLES DAMAGED

Targeting the gang groups on the Bostan Paşa neighborhood and Cendol road from where they conduct their attacks, YPG/YPJ forces damaged three vehicles belonging to the gangs, yet couldn’t determine the number of casualties.

In another operation, Defence Units hit a gang group preparing for an assault on the Kastello road, leaving 4 gang members dead.

CLASHES IN KIZWANAN REGION CONTINUE

The statement reported that ISIS gangs have this morning conducted an expansive operation targeting the Bediî, Xerra, Xara, Til Hemam and Cefr villages to the northwest of Mount Kizwanan and the Radio hill on the mountain.

Describing the assault as the most expansive one launched by gangs in the Hesekê region since early August, YPG said Defence Units have put up steady resistance to the attack and inflicted heavy blows on the gangs.

According to the statement, gang groups have attempted two suicide attacks near wheat silos in Xerra village and in Til Hamam village. Both the bomb-laden vehicle and the motorcycle used in the actions by gangs were destroyed by Defence Units.

The gang groups that attacked the villages of Xerra, Xara, Cefr and Bediî, and the junction on Bediî-Alya road were also encircled by YPG/YPJ who eliminated the majority of the gangs involved in the attacks.

28 KILLED, ONE PANZER DESTROYED

The YPG/YPJ have destroyed a panzer belonging to the gangs at Bediî-Alya junction where at least 7 gang members were verified killed, and their bodies were seized. Three fighters of the Defence Units fell fighting here.

10 other gang members were captured dead in clashes in Xerra village where 4 YPG/YPJ fighters died. 11 other gang members were captured dead in the village of Xara.

Remarking that clashes with gang groups were continuing at four separate points, the YPG concluded that 28 gang members have been captured dead so far, while a panzer, a bomb-laden vehicle and a motorcycle belonging to them were also seized.

Edited by Kurdish question

From Genocide to Resistance: Yazidi Women Fight Back – By Dilar Dirik

yazidi_resistance_genocide4a.jpg_1718483346

Protest march of Yazidi women in the Sinjar Mountains on the first anniversary of the Islamic State group massacre

Having suffered a traumatic genocide, Yazidi women on Mount Sinjar mobilize their autonomous armed and political resistance with the PKK’s philosophy.

SHENGAL – The old Kurdish saying “We have no friends but the mountains” became more relevant than ever when on Aug. 3, 2014, the murderous Islamic State group launched what is referred to as the 73rd massacre on the Yazidis by attacking the city of Sinjar (in Kurdish: Shengal), slaughtering thousands of people, and raping and kidnapping the women to sell them as sex slaves. Ten thousand Yazidis fled to the Shengal Mountains in a death march in which they, and especially children, died of hunger, thirst, and exhaustion. This year on the same day, the Yazidis marched in the Shengal Mountains again. But this time in a protest to vow that nothing will ever be the same again.

Last year, the Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) promised the people to guarantee Shengal’s safety, but ran away without warning when the Islamic State group attacked, not even leaving arms behind for people to defend themselves. Instead, it was the guerrilla of the PKK, as well as the the Kurdish People’s Defence Units, or YPG, and its women’s brigade the YPJ from Rojava, who in spite of having Kalashnikovs and a only handful of fighters, opened a corridor to Rojava, rescuing 10,000 people. … Read full article at teleSUR.

Radical Workers’ Bloc at Tolpuddle: Martyrs Festival and rally: 17-19 July 2015

Radical Workers’ Bloc at Tolpuddle: Martyrs Festival and rally: 17-19 July 2015

radicalworkerspx

Radical Workers’ Bloc at Tolpuddle 2014, photo by Wheelz.

It’s our fifth anniversary! Usual deal: scaring the taxpayers, winding up the Tankies – Winning friends, influencing people and impressing them with our revolutionary praxis. Every year we welcome comrades from as far afield as Wales, France, Spain and the Midlands; we enjoy frank but good-natured debate with fellow trade unionists and activists alike. A small contingent doesn’t want us there, but sod ‘em – The Friendly Society of Agricultural Labourers was an example of working-class self-organisation – Stalin would have had them shot. Still we hope to extend our safe spaces policy to all festival-goers; their kids will learn to swear without our help and please be kind to the cosplay cops, the council would charge a fortune to close the public highway.

Visit our stall in the Martyrs Marquee, if you’d like to help run it, or you have anything you’d like to give away / accept donations for please contact us An advance party will pitch tents on Friday afternoon, we corral them together so that people can get to know each other. If you’re just marching with us on Sunday 19th July, Meet up as usual 1:30 pm outside the Martyrs Museum; bring your flags and banners, this year’s theme will be politicians heads on spikes…

View map Download flyer

Freedom Press

Support independent anti-capitalist Cubans of the Observatorio Critico.

Please share this campaign to raise money to support the trip of anarchist comrades from Cuba to Europe in June:

Gofundme – Observatorio Critico Cubano

Now that the border is opening after many years a time for change is coming, full of possibilities and danger for Cuban society and perhaps for all of us. We want to make our voices, our social views and proposals for self-managed co-operativism heard. We ask for your help to cover the expenses for our network of collectives and social initiatives in Cuba.

We are the Observatorio Crítico Cubano. Our projects include years of work for non-violence, the struggle against racism, LGBT rights, the recovery of our Indigenous and Black original heritage, Ecology, the development of Open Source computer culture, communities for mutual aid in mental health, support for childhood education by means of non-competitive and non-adult-centered child play, cultural research, promoting self-managed socialism, and the crafting of proposals for building Cuba’s future from an anarchist perspective.

We work towards a world where the public space is the birthright of all the people, not just a few powerful minorities. A world where those decisions, which affects the people, are not discussed and arrived at out of sight of the majority. In this world the highest praise is reserved for those initiatives where neighbors gather spontaneously to give their communities the best they have to offer, via the arts, ecological activism, the remembrance of historical and cultural traditions, the promotion of popular education. A world where the workers are the true owners of the means of production. Contrary to today’s prevailing logic, profits, manipulation and the rule of the mightiest are not prioritized; instead we advance dialog and the search for consensus on the important issues of social life. In this world we are building all consciences are respected, and in ecumenical fashion the representatives of the different manifestations of spirituality participate as equals.

What we are attempting:

In July this year we are organizing a tour of several European countries (France, Spain and maybe a couple more still to be decided) in order to take part in various international forums we have been invited to, where we will be able to show Cuba’s social and cultural reality, for the first time in many years, straight out of the hearts of the people of the Island and outside the official discourse of the Cuban government or international interests which seek to silence the people’s daily struggle for a better and more just world for ourselves and for humanity. For that we need your help.

What we need:

  • Visas, custom duties and air fare to France for two members of our collective: 3000 EUR.
  • Transportation for four people by land to three or four countries: 1000 EUR.
  • Room and board expenses for those four people in those countries for the 20 days the tour will last: 1000 EUR.

Why we ask:

We receive no financing from any government, official institution, or NGO. We don’t want it either, in order to safeguard our total independence and not be subordinate to any external agenda. Occasionally we get small donations from collectives and people close to our principles, unconditionally and with no strings attached. Our activity doesn’t generate profits of any kind rather it is the opposite.

It is also well known that with the Cuban median salary ($20 per month) it is impossible to cover the large expenses a trip like this incurs.

What we will give in return:

  • We don’t have material things to give in exchange, just our gratitude and good vibes.
  • For those who wish to make their names public, we’ll have a list of appreciated  donors in our website with the names of those people who helped make our effort real.
  • Also, if you will allow us, we will include your email addresses in our distribution list, so that you will receive the newsletters our collectives publish.
  • We will give you a recap of our trip, as well as a thorough report regarding the way donations have been spent.

Salud y Anarquia!

apoyoalobservatoriocritico – wordpress blog

BEING LABELLED A WOMAN…

Re-blogged from irate

Being a feminist for me didn’t come from reading academic theory. It also didn’t come from a hatred of men. It just came about from being a woman in this society and not understanding the way I was treated on a day to day basis; from the casual sexism of school playgrounds to being ignored in meetings as an adult, talked over, patronised and put down. It may sound simplistic, even trivial, but living in a world where women are constantly undermined and under-represented, makes those everyday ‘soft sexisms’ really hard to bear. Often too difficult to prove, often too vague to explain, often too complex to tackle, but always extremely difficult to bear.

These everyday manifestations of a male dominated society are at the thin end of a large social wedge, where the majority of low paid exploited workers are women, where women still take on the majority of care and household responsibilities, one in four women will suffer from domestic violence and one in three are raped. We are bombarded with unhealthy images, which make us hate our own bodies; made to feel guilty for controlling our reproduction; dirty for enjoying sex; and perhaps worst of all, labelled hysterical or monstrous, when we demand our rights.

Faced with this, it’s all too easy to see women as the passive victims of society but in doing so we forget that throughout history women have actually been at the forefront of political struggle. We must not fall in to the trap of rendering women and women’s labour invisible. Whether it be the early trade unionists like the Match Girl Strikers of 1888, the suffragettes fighting for their right to vote, women demanding abortion provision, the Women Against Pit Closures, the Wages for Housework Campaign, the Grunwick Strikers and the more recent Gate Gourmet workers, time and time again women have heroically fought to improve their lives, often faced with the most difficult circumstances. The fight for women’s liberation is, and has always been, at the heart of the labour and anti-capitalist movements’ fight for a world in which we can all realise our true potential, living in a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many not the few.

So what is the role now for feminists? Well for most women, it’s not enough simply to get more women to parliament, as New Labour has smugly delivered, or espouse rhetoric supporting increasing women’s representation, which even now the Tories have donned. Questions about whether or not we should wear high heels and how ‘to have it all’ (being a successful professional, perfect mother and style icon all at the same time) as important as they are, fail to fully deal with the reality of most women’s lives – not least that of the cleaner or nanny employed by these middle class women to ‘free’ them from household drudgery. Admittedly, it is a victory of some kind that this type of feminism is quite prominent in the media now (from columnists like Julie Birchell and Susan Moore to ‘pop’ politics books by the likes of Caitlin Moran and Kat Banyard) – signifying that it is no longer acceptable that issues arising from gender are completely silenced.

Yet we know that the career or liberal feminist outraged pursuit of legal equality is woefully inadequate. Different people have different access to (and indeed, some explicitly denied) these ‘human rights’. Popularism for these feminists invariable means opportunism. More importantly, whatever value their otherwise often valid and accurate analysis has to offer, is tragically diminished by their illusions in ‘tinkering’ around the edges of society’s structures, changing laws; reforming capitalism to included women. And of course, what this in the end becomes, is to fight to include white middle class women, who indeed are still oppressed in relation to their male counter-parts, in to the system. Why can’t they be rich and powerful too?

This is not to say that engaging in these reformist campaigns are superfluous, when, in fact, they impact greatly on our lives. Only, lessons of the Women’s Liberation Movement, have shed light on the tendency of certain ‘feminists’ to silence difference through their ‘universalising’ narrative. A story based on their own unrepresentative experience. The ones who get to speak on behalf of us all. To be ‘heard’ loudly and clearly – becoming the columnists, academics, lawyers, journalists (and so forth) – as the establishment accepts them more readily because in many ways they are from the establishment (or at least less of a threat). Feminism in this light becomes alienating and excluding for anyone who can not relate, or indeed have diametrically opposing interests, to this middle class white privilege.

Of course the conditions created by capitalism create and utilise a myriad of complicated oppressions which divide us. Oppression and exploitation are linked in a whole host of ways – there is always something of the idealogical in exploitation and something material in oppression. Arguably capitalism did not just inherit systems of oppression from previous societies but that these systems have actually helped to shape its social manifestation. As a result we socially and personally negotiate complex and unique identities. There is a constant struggle between being defined and defining ourselves. It seems crucial that these processes are engaged with and that we all need to reflect – consciously, sensitively, individually and collectively – on both our own and other’s sense of self (and how we relate to each other). Diversity is a massive resource of our movement and yet it goes to waste as we often reproduce the crushing limitations that oppression inflicts on individual lives.

On the other-hand we want to resist fetishing and exotising difference by creating mysterious unknowable others. Not only can become very unhelpful but is often leads to pointless (in my opinion) competitions about who is more oppressed. Most importantly of all, we need to understand our society in order to change it. Understand what drives these oppressions; what drives everything. It is Marxism that offers us not just a ‘critique’ of the material reality but more importantly a future. A way forward beyond lifestyle individualism.

We need a type of feminism which is able to address the conditions in which the majority of women live. One that is able to take account of the multiple different oppressions people experience (from race to disability to gender to sexuality and so on) and represent our multiple identities. One that goes beyond a, far too often limited, critique of patriarchy but has the capacity to imagine and create a fundamentally different society. It is becoming increasingly clear to many, that we need revolution not reform and only an anti-capitalist intersectional feminist movement will be able to truly deliver.

Introduction to Feminist Self Defence, 17th January 2-5:30pm, Albany Centre Bristol.

Bristol Community Gym, The Albany Centre, Shaftesbury Road, Montpelier, Bristol, BS6 5LT

  • Do you want to learn about basic self-defence?
  • Do you struggle with confidence in a mixed training environment?
  • Want to revise techniques you have learnt previously?

A one-off session to learn feminist self-defence for all self-defining women. We will look at common barriers and boundaries and work together to consider practical ways to overcome them.

-assertiveness
-use of voice
-stance
-force
-basic strikes
-fighting from the floor

You don’t need to be super fit, or have prior experience. The session will combine physical techniques and discussion, so please wear comfortable clothes and bring something warm. There will be cake and hot drinks available.

Please email Bristol Community Gym for more info. We will ask for a donation of £3-£5 to cover the cost of venue hire. Booking essential so we know how much kit to sort.

Please spread the word among your networks.

AUTUMN 2014 RESISTANCE #157 is out.

Paper of the Anarchist Federation. We don’t always get round to sharing but back issues can be had Here.

ANGRY WOMEN WIN, SPECIAL ISSUE: Ireland and Spain abortion struggles, Legal battles, Gender and Factory Resistance in China, Women & LGBTQIA in Ukraine, Free Women of Spain – Mujeres Libres 1930s. Sexual harassment at work, Transgender tipping point, Angry Women of Liverpool, Single mothers fight social cleansing in East London. 12 pages. Download RESISTANCE bulletin issue #157 Autumn 2014

Revolution will win in Kobanê! Statement of Revolutionary Anarchist Action-DAF

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Statement of Revolutionary Anarchist Action-DAF affiliated to International of Anarchist Federations

Published on Thursday, 09 October 2014 16:14

Our Comrades in Boydê Village Reports

It’s the 24th day of ISIS attacks on Kobanê. While people’s defending forces in all border villages are on human shield sentry for Kobanê against attacks, everyone, everywhere in the region we live, rised up not to let Kobanê fall.

We have been on human shield sentry for around three weeks in Boydê village west of Kobanê. In the last two days, explosions and sounds of clashes got intense in Kobanê’s outer districts and town center. During this period of intense clashes, military forces increased their attacks on human shield sentries at border villages. Soldiers of Turkish State has been attacking with gas bombs to those who approach the border from both sides, including the village that we are in, which was attacked on Tuesday. Soldiers also used live ammunition from time to time in their attacks and wounded people.

These attacks on border villages especially mean that ISIS forces are allowed passage through the border. Republic of Turkey’s support to ISIS is clearly visible here as it is there. Of course that’s not the only thing that is clear. We have learned that one of the ISIS leaders commanding the attack on Kobanê got killed by YPJ/YPG forces. Meanwhile clashes today are as intense as before and continued all day long. Sounds of clashes almost never stopped today. However now we know that explosions are made by YPJ/YPG forces. It’s reported that YPJ/YPG forces tactically emptied the streets of Kobanê at town center and ambushed ISIS, neutralizing them with successful tactics.

Everyone’s excited by what’s told at village meetings; one of them is ISIS’ fear of women guerillas. ISIS represents the state, the terror, the massacre and also the patriarchy of course. Because of their belief that they cannot be so-called “martyrs” when they get killed by a women guerilla, a YPJ fighter, they are scared of encountering YPJ forces. Because when they encounter them, the women who “fight” against them show no mercy to the ISIS lot. This is the freedom against patriarchy created by YPJ fighting.

The rebellion that rises in all of Kurdistan and all cities of Anatolia in the last two days, makes us feel the invincibility of organized people. These rebellions increase the confidence in revolution for everyone in Kobanê, in villages at Kobanê border, and in all of Rojava. Whenever a sister or brother falls, although we feel the sorrow, it intensifies everyone’s anger and power here. Requiems that start with hitting on knees turn into halay dance with feet kicking fast and strong enough to crack the earth. Thus our sorrow bursts into anger, fast and strong.

This is just what everyone needs here. For the freedom and revolution that’s craved, despite everything.

Long live the People’s Kobanê Resistance!

Long live the People’s Rojava Revolution!

Long live our Revolutionary Anarchist Action!

Revolutionary Anarchist Action-DAF

DAF_in_Kobanê_10

How you can help Kobane.

YPJFrom the Facebook page The Middle Eastern Feminist

Friends/hevals, a large number of you are asking “how can we help Kobane?” I have compiled a list of things that you can do to help:

1- Be informed and keep up with the news. We do not recommend any of the Western sources as they are lagging in information release, and do not have the finer details. I recommend the following news sources:

http://en.firatajans.com/
http://pydrojava.net/eng/
http://en.xeber24.net/

2- The following Facebook pages are up to date on Kobane and post regularly: *You may need to be logged in to access them, WS*

https://www.facebook.com/rojavabreaking
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kurdish-Resistance-Liberation/1480960568841619

3- If you are on Twitter I recommend a number of people who are informed and produce up to date, and often live news:

https://twitter.com/DefenseUnitsYPJ
https://twitter.com/DefenseUnits
https://twitter.com/ColdKurd
https://twitter.com/geehall1
https://twitter.com/reband_kurd
https://twitter.com/AJANSAMED
https://twitter.com/ArjDnn
https://twitter.com/MEasternfeminst (my own twitter)

Additionally, if some of us have some cash to spare I recommend this aid organization only. They are the official regional wide Kurdish organization operating in Europe. Their reach goes into all four Kurdish provinces including support for the people of Kobane:

http://www.heyvasor.com/en/alikari/

The most important thing is that you help us to highlight what is happening in Kobane. Please speak! Share information. Support the aid organization if you can spare some money. To speak is to resist! To speak is to be visible. To speak is to exist! and existing right now for the Kurds is resistance and a revolutionary act. Please stand with us in speaking about Kobane as much as you can.

Finally, learn about who the Kurds are. Learn about their plight and why they are in this situation. Learn about the genocide of the town of Halabja that was the target of Chemical attacks (my own family escaped being killed in Halabja by just an hour or so). Learn about the Anfal campaign against the Kurds. Learn about the oppressive nature of the regimes (Iran, Turkey, Iraq, Syria) in which the Kurds have been divided in, and the violent assimilation and ethnic cleansing policies of these regimes towards the Kurds, which has produced resistance movements such as the PKK. It would also be an immense help and of respect if you start recognizing, speaking and voicing the names of the different parts of Kurdistan and use the Kurdish names for the Kurdish cantons and provinces:

1-Rojava (Kurdish word for Sun-set is located in Syria, and is known as Western Kurdistan). This is where Kobane is located.

2- Roj-halat (Kurdish word for sun-rise is the Kurdish canton in Iran, and is known as Eastern Kurdistan)

3-Basur (pronounced ba-sh-ur, is the Kurdish word for South and is south of Kurdistan in northern Iraq). This is where I am from.

4-Bakur (is the Kurdish word for north and is northern Kurdistan in Turkey)

Thank you friends and feminists for standing in solidarity with us.

Press release from the Y.P.J.

YPJpr

Left events this Saturday: 4th October. Portsmouth and Dorchester.

pompradhist

From the battle to keep common land to women campaigning for the vote, from mutinous sailors to the fight against racism, the past struggles of local people are a source of huge inspiration and interest. 

Portsmouth Socialist Network invites you to a day dedicated to the radical history of our city. Facebook event

Dorset Socialists meeting Saturday – CHAOS IN IRAQ: the bitter fruits of imperialism.

Saturday 4th October, 1.30pm at the Colliton Club (opposite County Hall), Dorchester.

“Iraq is in a mess, and the Western leaders, who have been in effective charge since the invasion of 2003, have no idea of what to do about it. A region of relative wealth and prosperity, with above average women’s rights for the region and minimal sectarian conflict has been turned into its polar opposite.

An admittedly repressive dictatorship has been replaced by a Shia regime which is entrenched in sectarianism and up to its neck in corruption. And all under the supposedly liberating Western occupation. The naked pursuit of oil profits has plunged the whole country into a crisis which threatens those very same petrochemical interests, and threatens to drag us all back to a boots on desert fighting was. A renewed war can only make matters worse.

Join us to discuss what is to be done.”
DS

Tolpuddle 2014.

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Photo by Wheelz.

We take a moment to salute our illustrious comrade John Flower (see below 4th July) who passed away in June, we left a small memorial to him at the annual International Brigades ceremony and antifascists from Wessex, Portsmouth and Southampton attended his funeral.

But life is for the living and we had another cracking weekend! We were delighted to welcome four comrades from CNT-AIT Caen this year.

Minor drama on Saturday when some prat tried to trash the stall after a specious argument about royalties. His objection was to our use of the ubiquitous John Harris photograph of Lesley Boulton at Orgreave, on this the 30th anniversary of the Miners’ Strike, which could be seen adorning T shirts all over the site. He was safely and efficiently restrained by one of the older members of our group, who also happens to be a photojournalist. We have several NUJ members in the collective who questioned him about his motives. All became clear when we visited his stall which carried similar images at four quid a pop! It turned out he was just some bourgeois flogging lefty posters for the benefit of no one but himself, and he was upset that we were giving away something he was trying to sell.

The unseemly fracas didn’t do us any harm as people queued up to tell us – and him, what a prick he was, and our now slightly disheveled literature flew off the stall. He approached the organisers (not us) to offer an apology, and we replied that since he cares so much about money, he could make amends by sticking some in our donations jar, this he failed to do.

The stuff we carry on the stall is only there because we want people to read it; we produce it ourselves and we only take donations for it to cover our costs so we can do it again next year. The cash we take for Freedom goes to Freedom. Revenge was foregone as we were reluctant to relinquish the moral high ground we occupied, but if you’re doing a class-based event keep an eye out for this arsehole who just might decide to barge in and fuck shit up. Stocky bloke with white hair, gold-rimmed glasses and beige trousers. This is from his web site, ‘Past Pixels’ click on it to go there:

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Numbers on the march down a bit on last year but it was good to welcome some new faces.

Autonomy Film show in Bridport Saturday 10th May 2014, 7pm for 7.30pm.

The Happy Lands flyer

W.I. Hall, North Street, Bridport 7pm for 7.30pm .

JOIN OUR DISCUSSION OVER FREE CAKE AFTER THE FILM

EVENTS ORGANIZED BY OTHERS:

Stir presents film showing of ‘Grasp the Nettle’ Wednesday 21st May 6.45pm for 7pm W.I. Hall, North Street, Bridport.

“A vital grassroots documentary which grapples unflinchingly with activism and protest in austerity Britain” – Leeds Film Festival The film will be followed by a Q & A session with the film-maker Dean Puckett

*landrights**self-sufficiency**eco-village**food**squatting*

Open meeting of Bridfem (Bridport feminists) Discussion on ‘What do we mean by feminism?” Wednesday 7th May 7.30pm upstairs at Beach & Barnicott, 6, South Street, Bridport. All welcome, meetings are friendly and lively.

Security Thought Experiment, from Riseup.

Imagine you just found out a member of your project is actually a police informant. What project resources do they have access to? How will your group go about locking them out and protecting yourself? Is there any one person who could bring your project to a halt because they are the only one with certain passwords, access to mailing lists, or databases? Is there anyone who has access to a lot of data who doesn’t need it? (Which isn’t to say they are suspicious, but that a good security practice is limiting access only to people who need the information.)

Are there any changes you could make right now that would make an informant less of a problem?

For sure, this kind of thing seldom happens, but the more prepared we are, the stronger our group will be, and the more trust there can be between the members of the group.

Events in Bridport Feb / March 2012 incorporating International Women’s Day.

Thurs 27th Feb 6.45pm

Meeting about Re-opening of Detention Centre Indefinite prison in Weymouth for detainees St Johns Church, Green Hill, Weymouth DT4 7SS

The fun for International Women’s Day continues…

ALL GENDERS WELCOME !

Saturday 1st March 2014 7pm for 7.30pm

Autonomy Films present Whale Rider W.I. Hall, North Street, Bridport

£3, or less if you can’t afford it Vegetarian soup on sale from 6.45 pm

Saturday 1st March 9.30pm Same night,

Frolic for Feminism FREE Disco at Beach & Barnicott, South St

Friday 7th March 7pm

‘The Bronte Sisters’ FREE Community Pop-up Play Upstairs at Avenue Restaurant, West St Take part or join the audience! Hosted by Beth Shaw, co-author of the play and of ‘The Domestic Theatre Handbook’

Saturday 8th March 10am on

Stalls, women singers and musicians Bucky Doo Square (and at 12pm midday a Surprise!!)

Sunday 9th March 1pm

Songs for Peace FREE Sing along with local choirs: The Chapel in the Garden, East St. Listen and join in with favourite peace songs to mark centenary of 1914.

Wednes March 12th 7.30pm

Women’s Day Open Mic. FREE Come along to read up to 4 minutes of poetry or prose – all welcome Beach & Barnicott, South St. With poet Anna Freud.

Wednesday March 12th 7.15pm Same night,

Organized by STIR to Action:

Three Acres and a Cow: a history of land rights and protest in folk song/story featuring Robin Grey and Tim Laycock with local food and craft beer: W.I. Hall, North St. £12, less for under16s.

Autonomy film show in Bridport, Saturday 9th March 2013.

7.00pm for 7.30pm W.I. Hall, North Street, Bridport

£3 Entry (less if you can’t afford it)
+ Vegetarian soup on sale from 6.30pm

Some other interesting local events organised by others:

For International Women’ Day: Friday 8th March 7.30 pm Beach and Barnicott, South St, Bridport

‘The World’s Wife’ – Carol Ann Duffy’s poems performed by Sinistre Theatre Company. No charge, donations for Womankind Worldwide. Followed by music & dancing till late.

Saturday 9th March 9.30 – 1pm Bucky-Doo Square, Bridport Stalls, women buskers and performers.

3pm Arts Centre Cafe, South St, Bridport Workshop ‘Feminism Today’ Tea and cake 3pm, workshop 3.30pm, £2 donation requested.

Wednesday 20th March 7 – 9 pm Dorford Centre, Dorchester (near Top of Town) ‘No Fracking in Dorset!’ public meeting organised by Frack-Free Dorset.

Friday 5th April 7.30 pm for 8 pm Lyric Theatre, Barrack St, Bridport ‘Can there be a Political Theatre?’ talk by Roland Muldoon, author of ‘Taking on the Empire: How we saved the Hackney Empire for popular theatre’ organised by Lectures on Everything, Autonomy Films and Just Press.

Autonomy Film show and talk in Bridport – 2011 Riots: Sunday 11th November 2012.

7.00pm for 7.30pm, St. John’s Ambulance Hall, Rax Lane, Bridport.

£4 entry (less if you’re skint)

Autonomy Films
Bristol Radical History Group

Our future event dates, Bridport
Saturday December, 15th, 2012
Sunday January 13th, 2013

Other Events

3rd November Dorset Socialists meeting; The Resistible Rise of European Fascism. Speaker: Martin Smith (Unite Against Fascism)
Colliton Club, Dorchester. 1:30pm.  Free Admission.

6th November Yeovil and West Dorset Stop the War meeting;
Speaker; Lindsey German, national convener of Stop the War Coalition.
Unity Hall, Central Road,Yeovil, BA 20 IJL.
7pm. Free Admission.

7th November Bridport Feminist Network talk;
Women in Prison. Speaker; Rachel Halford director of Women in Prison.
Chapel in the Garden, 49 East Street, Bridport DT6 3LX.
7:30pm, Everyone welcome. £3 suggested donation.

11th November United Nations Association UK; Remembrance day parade with White Poppies.
Meet East St, between the Greyhound and Chancery Lane, by the flag of the United Nations Association( Independent of the UN).
10 – 10:30am, Procession in Armistice Day parade to St Mary’s Church for two-minute silence at 11 am.
All welcome to join with the Bridport Quakers who question military solutions and the militaristic nature of the parade.

If you want us to announce an event please email autofilm1@gmail.com at least 6 weeks in advance; or contact us to join the film mailing list.