Posted on 1 Comment

#Anarchism Temporary Autonomous Zones by Hakim #Bey

A book about Temporary Autonomos Zones (TAZ) by Hakim Bey.

TAZ-theory tries to concern itself with existing or emerging situations rather than with pure utopianism. All over the world people are leaving or “disappearing” themselves from the Grid of Alienation and seeking ways to restore human contact. An interesting example of this — on the level of “urban folk culture” — can be found in the proliferation of hobby networks and conferences. Recently I discovered the zines of two such groups, Crown Jewels of the Hlgh Wire (devoted to the collection of glass electrical insulators) and a journal on cucurbitology (The Gourd). A vast amount of creativity goes into these obsessions. The various periodic gatherings of fellow-maniacs amount to genuine face-to-face (unmediated) festivals of eccentricity. It’s not just the “counter-culture” which seeks its TAZs, its nomad encampments and nights of liberation from the Consensus. Self-organized and autonomous groups are springing up amongst every “class” and “sub-culture”. Vast tracts of the Babylonian Empire are now virtually empty, populated only by the spooks of MassMedia, and a few psychotic policemen.

Originally published by the Anarchist Library

TAZ-theory realizes that THIS IS HAPPENING — we’re not talking about “should” or “will be” — we’re talking about an already — existing movement. Our use of various thought — experiments, utopian poetics, paranoia criticism, etc., aims at helping to clarify this complex and still largely undocumented movement, to give it some theoretical focus and self-awareness, and to suggest tactics based on coherent integral strategies — to act the midwife or the panegyrist, not the “vanguard”!

And so we’ve had to consider the fact that not all existing autonomous zones are “temporary”. Some are (at least by intention) more-or-less “permanent”. Certain cracks in the Babylonian Monolith appear so vacant that whole groups can move into them and settle down. Certain theories, such as “Permaculture”, have been developed to deal with this situation and make the most of it. “Villages”, “communes”, “communities”, even “arcologies” and “biospheres” (or other utopian-city forms) are being experimented with and implemented. Even here however TAZ-theory may offer some useful thought-tools and clarifications.

What about a poetique (a “way of making”) and a politique (a “way of living-together) for the “permanent” TAZ (or “PAZ”)? What about the actual relation between temporariness and permanence? And how can the PAZ renew and refresh itself periodically with the “festival” aspect of the TAZ?

THE QUESTION OF PUBLICITY

Recent events in the US and Europe have shown that self-organized/autonomous groups strike fear into the heart of the State. MOVE in Philadelphia, the Koreshites of Waco, Deadheads, Rainbow Tribes, computer-hackers, squatters, etc., have been targeted for varying intensity-levels of extermination. And yet other autonomous groups go unnoticed, or at least unpersecuted. What makes the difference? One factor may be the malign effect of publicity or mediation. The Media experience a vampiric thirst for the shadow-Passion play of “Terrorism”, Babylon’s public ritual of expiation, scapegoating, and blood-sacrifice. Once any autonomous group allows this particular “gaze” to fall upon it, the shit hits the fan: — the Media will try to arrange a mini-armageddon to satisfy its junk-sickness for spectacle and death.

Now, the PAZ makes a fine sitting target for such a Media smart-bomb. Beseiged inside its “con-pound”, the self-organized group can only succumb to some sort of cheap pre-determined martyrdom. Presumably this role appeals only to neurotic masochists??? In any case, most groups will want to live out their natural span or trajectory in peace and quiet. A good tactic here might be to avoid publicity from the Mass Media as if it were the plague. A bit of natural paranoia comes in handy, so long as it doesn’t become an end in itself. One must be cunning in order to get away with being bold. A touch of camoflage, a flair for invisibility, a sense of tact as a tactic…might be as useful to a PAZ as a TAZ. Humble suggestions: — Use only “intimate media” (zines, phonetrees, BBSs, free radio and mini-FM, public-access cable, etc.) — avoid blustering-macho- confrontationist attitude — you don’t need five seconds on the Evening News (“Police Raid Cultists”) to validate your existence. Our slogan might be: — “Get a life, not a life-style.”

ACCESS

People probably ought to choose the people they live with. ”Open-membership” communes invariably end up swamped with freeloaders and sex-starved pathetic creeps. PAZs must choose their own membership mutually — this has nothing to do with “elitism”. The PAZ may exercize a temporarily open function — such as hosting festivals or giving away free food, etc. — but it need not be permanently open to any self-proclaimed sympathizer who wanders by.

THE EMERGENCE OF A GENUINELY ALTERNATIVE ECONOMY

Once again, this is already happening — but it still needs a huge amount of work before it comes into focus. The sub-economies of “lavoro nero”, untaxed transactions, barter, etc., tend to be severely limited and localized. BBSs and other networking systems could be used to link up these regional/marginal aeconomies (“household managements”) into a viable alternative economy of some magnitude. “P.M.” has already outlined something like this in bolo’bolo — in fact a number of possible systems already exist, in theory anyway. The problem is: — how to construct a true alternative economy, i.e. a complete economy, without attracting the IRS and other capitalist runningdogs? How can I exchange my skills as, say, a plumber or moonshiner, for the food, books, shelter, and psychoactive plants I want — without paying taxes, or even without using ally State-forged money? How can I live a comfortable (even luxurious) life free of all interactions and transactions with CommodityWorld? If we took all the energy the Leftists put into “demos”, and all the energy the Libertarians put into playing futile little 3rd-party games, and if we redirected all that power into the construction of a real underground economy, we would already have accomplished “the Revolution” long ago.

THE “WORLD” CAME TO AN END IN 1972

The hollowed-out effigy of the Absolute State finally toppled in “1989”. The last ideology, Capitalism, is no more than a skin-disease of the Very Late Neolithic. It’s a desiring-machine running on empty. I’m hoping to see it deliquesce in my lifetime, like one of Dali’s mindscapes. And I want to have somewhere to “go” when the shit comes down. Of course the death of Capitalism needn’t entail the Godzilla-like destruction of all human culture; this scenario is merely a terror-image propagated by Capitalism itself. Nevertheless it stands to reason that the dreaming corpse will spasm violently before rigor mortis sets in — and New York or LA may not be the smartest places to wait out the storm. (And the storm may already have begun.) [On the other hand NYC and LA might not be the worst places to create the New World; one can imagine whole squatted neighborhoods, gangs transformed into Peoples’ Militias, etc.] Now, the gypsy-RV way of life may be one way to deal with the on-going melt-down of Too-Late Capitalism — but as for me, I’d prefer a nice anarchist monastery somewhere — a typical place for “scholars” to sit out the “Dark Ages”. The more we organize this NOW the less hassle we’ll have to face later. I’m not talking about “survival” — I’m not interested in mere survival. I want to thrive. BACK TO UTOPIA.

FESTIVALS

The PAZ serves a vital function as a node in the TAZ-web, a meetingplace for a wide circle of friends and allies who may not actually live fulltime on the “farm” or in the “village”. Ancient villages held fairs which brought wealth to the community, provided markets for travelers, and created festal time/space for all participants. Nowadays the festival is emerging as one of the most important forms for the TAZ itself, but can also provide renewal and fresh energy for the PAZ. I remember reading somewhere that in the Middle Ages there were one hundred and eleven holidays a year; we should take this as our “utopian minimum” and strive to do even better. [Note: the utopian minima proposed by C. Fourier consisted of more food and sex than the average 18th century French aristocrat enjoyed; B. Fuller proposed the term “bare minimum” for a similar concept]

THE LIVING EARTH

I believe that there exist plenty of good selfish reasons for desiring the “organic” (it’s sexier), the “natural” (it tastes better), the “green” (it’s more beautiful), the Wild(er)ness (it’s more exciting). Communitas (as P. Goodman called it) and conviviality (as I. Illich called it) are more pleasurable than their opposites. The living earth need not exclude the organic city — the small but intense conglomeration of humanity devoted to the arts and slightly decadent joys of a civilization purged of all its gigantism and enforced loneliness — but even those of us who enjoy cities can see immediate and hedonic motives for fighting for the “environment”. We are militant biophiles. Deep ecology, social ecology, permaculture, appropriate tech..we’re not too picky about ideologies. Let 1000 flowers bloom.

PAZ TYPOLOGY

A “weird religion” or a rebel art movement can become a kind of non-local PAZ, like a more intense and all-consuming hobby network. The Secret Society (like the Chinese Tong) also provides a model for a PAZ without geographic limits. But the “perfect case scenario” involves a free space that extends into free time. The essence of the PAZ must be the long-drawn-out intensification of the joys — and risks — of the TAZ. And the intensification of the PAZ will be….Utopia Now.

Hakim Bey

D R E A M T I M E, A U G U ST 1 9 93

Posted on 7 Comments

#RefugeesGR Keep #CityPlaza Open. Refugee Hotel #Athens, #Greece

On the April 22nd 2016 refugees, volunteers and solidarity activists occupied City Plaza Hotel in Athens, Greece which had been closed for 7 years. About 400 people now live in City Plaza. The self-organised project needs support.

Written by Riot Turtle for Enough is Enough.

After the closure of European borders, almost 65,000 refugees are trapped in Greece. The Greek government created more than 49 detention centers, hotspots and camps. Because of EU border policies thousands of refugees are living in cold unheated tents. City Plaza offers a safe and dignified alternative to these places where the conditions are wretched, unclean and inhumane. 

The occupied building has 126 rooms on 7 floors. A reception, bar, dining room, kitchen, storage, play ground, health care center, roof terrace, classroom and library.  The self-organised CIty Plaza project is supported exclusively through political solidarity and individual donations.

400 people are living together at City Plaza.
The numbers: More than 100 families: 165 children, 100 men, 115 women, 35 locals, activists and volunteers. Refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Kurdistan, Iran, Iraq, Palestine, Pakistan & Gambia.

The philosophy of the self-organised City Plaza is clear. Refugees, locals, activists and volunteers live, work and struggle together.

International volunteers who have spent the last months at City Plaza started a  crowdfunding campaign to cover expenses.

The volunteers write that donations will go towards the essential working groups of City Plaza:

Kitchen
– 3 meals a day for all, that’s 1,200 meals a day
Health Care Center
– Daily appointments with doctors and nurses & coordination with public hospitals, working to resolve refugee-specific health care services
Storage space and distribution of supplies for basic needs
– Everyday the people of City Plaza are given supplies to provide for basic needs (toiletries, washing powder, supplies for babies etc) but supplies are currently low.
Maintenance of the building 
– A team of volunteers working for maintenance. City Plaza has not yet had enough funding to provide heating for the building.
Language Classes
– Greek for children, English for adults and children, German for adults and children.

All donations, big or small will.help, if you want to support the City Plaza project please visit the crowdfunding page: https://www.youcaring.com/refugeeaccommodationandsolidarityspacecityplaza-716186

Posted on 1 Comment

Final Straw Podcast: Peter Gelderloos on his book “Worshiping Power: An Anarchist View of Early State Formation”

On January 4th we reblogged Peter Gelderloos book How Nonviolence Protects the State. The Final Straw spoke with Peter Gelderloos.

Originally published by the Final Straw

Download The Podcast

Worshiping Power: An Anarchist View of Early State Formation

This week Gil O’Teen spoke with Peter Gelderloos, who is an anarchist and an author. His books include “The Failure of Nonviolence”, “Consensus”, “Anarchy Works”, and most recently “Worshiping Power: An Anarchist View of Early State Formation”, which is being released two days from now (January 10th 2017) from AK Press. Gil and Peter discuss the ideas in Worshiping Power, how states usually take root, the insidiousness of democracy, the concept of how salvation religions intertwine with the state, and much more.

Don’t forget about the presentation at Firestorm Books and Coffee entitled “Preparing for the Trump Era: An Anarchist Viewpoint” starting at 7pm on Tuesday January 10th. The presenters will explore various approaches to self-organization and self-defense, drawing on the principles of mutual aid and direct action. If you feel lost or uncertain about how to organize in these increasingly crazy times, come to this and get some ideas!

And here in Asheville on January 20th (INAUGURATION DAY) there is a day of activities being planned starting with a meetup and march at Pritchard Park at 10am on the 20th. After that in West Asheville, there will be free food, healing space, workshops, and a dance party/benefit in the evening. To plug in and see the most recent info, you can visit http://j20asheville.noblogs.org or you can plug in on fedbook by searching “J20 Day of Resistance & General Strike”

Playlist here

Posted on 1 Comment

Part 2 #Antifa 2017: We Need To Talk!

On January 5 we published part 1 of Antifa 2017: We need to talk! Today we continue with part 2.

Written by Riot Turtle for Enough is Enough.

John F. Nebel wrote a piece for German blog Metronaut in which he pleads for a united struggle against rightwing extremism and racism. Nebel wants us to fight for democracy. This is where his piece in Metronaut gets interesting, Nebel wants us to fight for the kind of democratic system that we as anarchists actually don’t consider as democratic. But as we wrote in Part 1, we do see the need to unite, so what are we going to do with Nebel’s plea to unite?

Liberals in Germany seem to understand more and more that the situation is alarming. Nebel writes in his piece that fear is spreading. Among his friends people are thinking about where they want to emigrate to when rightwing extremists take power in Germany. Nebel writes that this is a thought which would have been absurd only 3 years ago. This is how fast the times are changing. This is how fast certainty disappeared. Its dramatic.

Nebel didnt write an analysis. He thinks that analysis are important but they also batter and daunt us. The clock is ticking and Nebel writes that its about time “we” finally come into the offensive. I think the problem is that without an analysis it can easily happen people take wrong decisions when it comes to forming coaltions. We also need analyses to develope a good strategy and tactics.

Nebel is right when he writes that we all have to interfere when people spread racist views in a tram, or at Twitter or Facebook. We have to speak out and interfere at family celebrations and at work.

According to Nebel “we” are the majority of society and “we” have to act to make sure that “we” keep the majority. Nebel pleads for a big coalition and for big demonstrations against the far right.

Nebel pleads for a coalition with the conservative CDU, the radical left and all groups and parties between those two. In my view this is the point where Nebels plea gets problematic.

Apart from the fact that we, as anarchists don’t consider the current democratic system as democratic, Angela Merkel’s CDU and the German social democrats of the SPD are parties who are responsible for border policies that killed thousands of people in the Mediterranean sea. The parties in the German federal government also deport people to Warzones like Afghanistan and are responsible for the EU – Turkey deal, which shuts the door for refugees who want to come to Europe. SPD and CDU also introduced and implemented new asylum laws in Germany to restrict the rights of refugees. Under this government German police is carrying out more and more racial profiling operations.

We agree with Nebel that we need to unite to fight fascism, and we need to abolish sectarianism. We need to come out of our subcutural small world and liberals need to stop screaming when autonomous groups carry out direct actions against fascists. But we also need to look how a strong united coaltion against the fascists can be built.

It doesn’t make sense to build a broad coalition against the extreme right with political parties who have racist policies that kill thousands of people. Or with parties that support racial profiling by police forces. These parties are part of the problem and not the solution.

We can’t unite with forces in society that boost the export of arms and close the borders for the victims of these economic policies at the same time. Forces that blow away the livelihood of millions of people in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe and other continents with their neo-liberal policies and treaties. Again: these political parties are part of the problem and not the solution.

When we want to win the struggle against fascism, we need some fundamental changes in society. That brings us to the following question: Can or should we work together with reformist parts of society? I think the answer is complicated but, in the end yes I think we must. The far right is growing fast and already changing debates in society, and uniting in ways that the left refuses to. Nebel is right when he says the clock is ticking. A first step could be to start debates about a united front against the fascists between different groups of the radical left. There are some significant ideological differences between us, but we should create a basis for a united front against fascism with the points we can agree upon.

A united radical left against fascism would be stronger in a broader coalition against racism and fascism which also could include reformist groups. Apart from political parties like for instance CDU, CSU and SPD there are other reformists in society that have a clear anti-racist position. I think we should negotiate a broad coalition against racism and fascism with reformists who have a clear anti-racist position.

For revolutionaries this won’t go far enough, so how can they combine their revolutionary struggle with their work in a broad coalition consisting of revolutionary and reformist groups? Two days ago we reblogged a piece written by the Federación de Anarquistas Gran Canaria (FAGC). The FAGC wrote: “Get into the neighbourhoods, don’t be afraid of hostility, suspicion, quarrels and base passions, that, I assure you, you will encounter. Take advantage rather of the fact that the virtual recuperation penetrates even into those with an empty stomach.  Seek out those with no house, salary, health, assistance, hope. Convene a whole neighbourhood and confront it with the idea that it is in their hands to change the situation.  Continue to grow, one step at a time, with effective assemblies, free of pompous discourses.  Offer reality, naked and harsh reality.  And begin to take, take and take, until nothing remains that you don’t manage yourselves.” In my view this is exactly what we have to do. We have to go into the neighbourhoods and start to work with the people who live there. Working on solutions with people who need solutions. Step by step. In other words our work in a broad coalition against racism and fascism must be combined with an active role on the streets and squares in our neighbourhoods. 

 

These are just some thoughts and will hopefully start a debate about how to improve the struggle against capitalism and fascism. You can submit your contribution to the debate here:

https://enoughisenough14.org/submit/

Posted on 1 Comment

Errico #Malatesta: A Project of Anarchist Organisation – #Anarchism 

I recently happened to come across a French pamphlet (in Italy today [1927], as is known, the non-fascist press cannot freely circulate), with the title Organisational Platform of the General Union of Anarchists (Project).


Originally published by Anarchist Library

This is a project for anarchist organisation published under the name of a ‘Group of Russian Anarchists Abroad’ and it seems to be directed particularly at Russian comrades. But it deals with questions of equal interest to all anarchists; and it is, clear, including the language in which it is written, that it seeks the support of comrades worldwide. In any case it is worth examining, for the Russians as for everyone, whether the proposal put forward is in keeping with anarchist principles and whether implementation would truly serve the cause of anarchism.

The intentions of the comrades are excellent. They rightly lament the fact that until now the anarchists have not had an influence on political and social events in proportion to the theoretical and practical value of their doctrines, nor to their numbers, courage and spirit of self-sacrifice – and believe that the main reason for this relative failure is the lack of a large, serious and active organisation.

And thus far I could more or less agree.

Organisation, which after all only means cooperation and solidarity in practice, is a natural condition, necessary to the running of society; and it is an unavoidable fact which involves everyone, whether in human society in general or in any grouping of people joined by a common aim.

As human beings cannot live in isolation, indeed could not really become human beings and satisfy their moral and material needs unless they were part of society and cooperated with their fellows, it is inevitable that those who lack the means, or a sufficiently developed awareness, to organise freely with those with whom they share common interests and sentiments, must submit to the organisations set up by others, who generally form the ruling class or group and whose aim is to exploit the labour of others to their own advantage. And the age-long oppression of the masses by a small number of the privileged has always been the outcome of the inability of the greater number of individuals to agree and to organise with other workers on production and enjoyment of rights and benefits and for defence against those who seek to exploit and oppress them.

Anarchism emerged as a response to this state of affairs, its basic principle being free organisation, set up and run according to the free agreement of its members without any kind of authority; that is, without anyone having the right to impose their will on others. And it is therefore obvious that anarchists should seek to apply to their personal and political lives this same principle upon which, they believe, the whole of human society should be based.

Judging by certain polemics it would seem that there are anarchists who spurn any form of organisation; but in fact the many, too many, discussions on this subject, even when obscured by questions of language or poisoned by personal issues, are concerned with the means and not the actual principle of organisation. Thus it happens that when those comrades who sound the most hostile to organisation want to really do something they organise just like the rest of us and often more effectively. The problem, I repeat, is entirely one of means.

Therefore I can only view with sympathy the initiative that our Russian comrades have taken, convinced as I am that a more general, more united, more enduring organisation than any that have so far been set up by anarchists – even if it did not manage to do away with all the mistakes and weaknesses that are perhaps inevitable in a movement like ours – which struggles on in the midst of the incomprehension, indifference and even the hostility of the majority – would undoubtedly be an important element of strength and success, a powerful means of gaining support for our ideas.

I believe it is necessary above all and urgent for anarchists to come to terms with one another and organise as much and as well as possible in order to be able to influence the direction the mass of the people take in their struggle for change and emancipation.

Today the major force for social transformation is the labour movement (union movement) and on its direction will largely depend the course events take and the objectives of the next revolution. Through the organisations set up for the defence of their interests the workers develop an awareness of the oppression they suffer and the antagonism that divides them from the bosses and as a result begin to aspire to a better life, become accustomed to collective struggle and solidarity and win those improvements that are possible within the capitalist and state regime. Then, when the conflict goes beyond compromise, revolution or reaction follows. The anarchists must recognise the usefulness and importance of the union movement; they must support its development and make it one of the levers in their action, doing all they can to ensure that, by cooperating with other forces for progress, it will open the way to a social revolution that brings to an end the class system, and to complete freedom, equality, peace and solidarity for everybody.

But it would be a great and a fatal mistake to believe, as many do, that the labour movement can and should, of its own volition, and by its very nature, lead to such a revolution. On the contrary, all movements based on material and immediate interests (and a big labour movement can do nothing else) if they lack the stimulus, the drive, the concerted effort of people of ideas, tend inevitably to adapt to circumstances, they foster a spirit of conservatism and fear of change in those who manage to obtain better working conditions, and often end up creating new and privileged classes, and serving to uphold and consolidate the system we would seek to destroy.

Hence there is an impelling need for specifically anarchist organisations which, both from within and outside the unions, struggle for the achievement of anarchism and seek to sterilise all the germs of degeneration and reaction.

But it is obvious that in order to achieve their ends, anarchist organisations must, in their constitution and operation, remain in harmony with the principles of anarchism; that is, they must know how to blend the free action of individuals with the necessity and the joy of cooperation which serve to develop the awareness and initiative of their members and a means of education for the environment in which they operate and of a moral and material preparation for the future we desire.

Does the project under discussion satisfy these demands?

It seems to me that it does not. Instead of arousing in anarchists a greater desire for organisation, it seems deliberately designed to reinforce the prejudice of those comrades who believe that to organise means to submit to leaders and belong to an authoritarian, centralising body that suffocates any attempt at free initiative. And in fact it contains precisely those proposals that some, in the face of evident truths and despite our protests, insist on attributing to all anarchists who are described as organisers. Let us examine the Project.

First of all, it seems to me a mistake – and in any case impossible to realise – to believe that all anarchists can be grouped together in one ‘General Union’ – that is, in the words of the Project, In a single, active revolutionary body.

We anarchists can all say that we are of the same party, if by the word ‘party’ we mean all who are on the same side, that is, who share the same general aspirations and who, in one way or another, struggle for the same ends against common adversaries and enemies. But this does not mean it is possible – or even desirable – for all of us to be gathered into one specific association. There are too many differences of environment and conditions of struggle; too many possible ways of action to choose among, and also too many differences of temperament and personal incompatibilities for a General Union, if taken seriously, not to become, instead of a means for coordinating and reviewing the efforts of all, an obstacle to individual activity and perhaps also a cause of more bitter internal strife.

As an example, how could one organise in the same way and with the same group a public association set up to make propaganda and agitation, publicly and a secret society restricted by the political conditions of the country in which it operates to conceal from the enemy its plans, methods and members? How could the educationalists, who believe that propaganda and example suffice for the gradual transformation of individuals and thus of society, adopt the same tactics as the revolutionaries, who are convinced of the need to destroy by violence a status quo that is maintained by violence and to create, in the face of the violence of the oppressors, the necessary conditions for the free dissemination of propaganda and the practical application of the conquered ideals? And how to keep together some people who, for particular reasons, do not get on with; and respect one another and could never be equally good and useful militants for anarchism?

Besides, even the authors of the Project (Platforme) declare as ‘inept’ any idea of creating an organisation which gathers together the representatives of the different tendencies in anarchism. Such an organisation, they say, ‘incorporating heterogeneous elements, both on a theoretical and practical level, would be no more than a mechanical collection (assemblage) of individuals who conceive all questions concerning the anarchist movement from a different point of view and would inevitably break up as soon as they were put to the test of events and real life.’

That’s fine. But then, if they recognise the existence of different tendencies they will surely have to leave them the right to organise in their own fashion and work for anarchy in the way that seems best to them. Or will they claim the right to expel, to excommunicate from anarchism all those who do not accept their programme? Certainly they say they ‘want to assemble in a single organisation’ all the sound elements of the libertarian movement; and naturally they will tend to judge as sound only those who think as they do. But what will they do with the elements that are not sound?

Of course, among those who describe themselves as anarchists there are, as in any human groupings, elements of varying worth; and what is worse, there are some who spread ideas in the name of anarchism which have very little to do with anarchism. But how to avoid the problem? Anarchist truth cannot and must not become the monopoly of one individual or committee; nor can it depend on the decisions of real or fictitious majorities. All that is necessary – and sufficient – is for everyone to have and to exercise the widest freedom of criticism and for each one of us to maintain their own ideas and choose for themselves their own comrades. In the last resort the facts will decide who was right.

Let us therefore put aside the idea of bringing together all anarchists into a single organisation and look at this General Union which the Russians propose to us for what it really is – namely the Union of a particular fraction of anarchists; and let us see whether the organisational method proposed conforms with anarchist methods and principles and if it could thereby help to bring about the triumph of anarchism.

Once again, it seems to me that it cannot.

I am not doubting the sincerity of the anarchist proposals of those Russian comrades. They want to bring about anarchist communism and are seeking the means of doing so as quickly as possible. But it is not enough to want something; one also has to adopt suitable means; to get to a certain place one must take the right path or end up somewhere else. Their organisation, being typically authoritarian, far from helping to bring about the victory of anarchist communism, to which they aspire, could only falsify the anarchist spirit and lead to consequences that go against their intentions.

In fact, their General Union appears to consist of so many partial organisations with secretariats which ideologically direct the political and technical work; and to coordinate the activities of all the member organisations there is a Union Executive Committee whose task is to carry out the decisions of the Union and to oversee the ‘ideological and organisational conduct of the organisations in conformity with the ideology and general strategy of the Union.’

Is this anarchist? This, in my view, is a government and a church. True, there are no police or bayonets, no faithful flock to accept the dictated ideology; but this only means that their government would be an impotent and impossible government and their church a nursery for heresies and schisms. The spirit, the tendency remains authoritarian and the educational effect would remain anti-anarchist.

Listen if this is not true.

‘The executive organ of the general libertarian movement – the anarchist Union – will introduce into its ranks the principle of collective responsibility; the whole Union will be responsible for the revolutionary and political activity of every member; and each member will be responsible for the revolutionary and political activity of the Union.’

And following this, which is the absolute negation of any individual independence and freedom of initiative and action, the proponents, remembering that they are anarchists, call themselves federalists and thunder against centralisation, ‘the inevitable results of which’, they say, ‘are the enslavement and mechanisation of the life of society and of the parties.’

But if the Union is responsible for what each member does, how can it leave to its individual members and to the various groups the freedom to apply the common programme in the way they think best? How can one be responsible for an action if it does not have the means to prevent it? Therefore, the Union and in its name the Executive Committee, would need to monitor the action of the individual members and order them what to do and what not to do; and since disapproval after the event cannot put right a previously accepted responsibility, no-one would be able to do anything at all before having obtained the go-ahead, the permission of the committee. And on the other hand, can an individual accept responsibility for the actions of a collectivity before knowing what it will do and if he cannot prevent it doing what he disapproves of?

Moreover, the authors of the Project say that it is the ‘Union’ which proposes and disposes. But when they refer to the wishes of the Union do they perhaps also refer to the wishes of all the members? If so, for the Union to function it would need everyone always to have the same opinion on all questions. So if it is normal that everyone should be in agreement on the general and fundamental principles, because otherwise they would not be and remain united, it cannot be assumed that thinking beings will all and always be of the same opinion on what needs to be done in the different circumstance and on the choice of persons to whom to entrust executive and directional responsibilities.

In reality – as it emerges from the text of the Project itself- the will of the Union can only mean the will of the majority, expressed through congresses which nominate and control the Executive Committee and decide on all the important questions. Naturally, the congresses would consist of representatives elected by the majority of member groups, and these representatives would decide on what to do, as ever by a majority of votes. So, in the best of cases, the decisions would be taken by the majority of a majority, and this could easily, especially when the opposing opinions are more than two, represent only a minority.

Furthermore it should be pointed out that, given the conditions in which anarchists live and struggle, their congresses are even less truly representative than the bourgeois parliaments. And their control over the executive bodies, if these have authoritarian powers, is rarely opportune and effective. In practice anarchist congresses are attended by whoever wishes and can, whoever has enough money and who has not been prevented by police measures. There are as many present who represent only themselves or a small number of friends as there are those truly representing the opinions and desires of a large collective. And unless precautions are taken against possible traitors and spies – indeed, because of the need for those very precautions – it is impossible to make a serious check on the representatives and the value of their mandate.

In any case this all comes down to a pure majority system, to pure parliamentarianism.

It is well known that anarchists do not accept majority government (democracy), any more than they accept government by the few (aristocracyoligarchy, or dictatorship by one class or party) nor that of one individual (autocracymonarchy or personal dictatorship).

Thousands of times anarchists have criticised so-called majority government, which anyway in practise always leads to domination by a small minority.

Do we need to repeat all this yet again for our Russian comrades?

Certainly anarchists recognise that where life is lived in common it is often necessary for the minority to come to accept the opinion of the majority. When there is an obvious need or usefulness in doing something and, to do it requires the agreement of all, the few should feel the need to adapt to the wishes of the many. And usually, in the interests of living peacefully together and under conditions of equality, it is necessary for everyone to be motivated by a spirit of concord, tolerance and compromise. But such adaptation on the one hand by one group must on the other be reciprocal, voluntary and must stem from an awareness of need and of goodwill to prevent the running of social affairs from being paralysed by obstinacy. It cannot be imposed as a principle and statutory norm. This is an ideal which, perhaps, in daily life in general, is difficult to attain in entirety, but it is a fact that in every human grouping anarchy is that much nearer where agreement between majority and minority is free and spontaneous and exempt from any imposition that does not derive from the natural order of things.

So if anarchists deny the right of the majority to govern human society in general – in which individuals are nonetheless constrained to accept certain restrictions, since they cannot isolate themselves without renouncing the conditions of human life – and if they want everything to be done by the free agreement of all, how is it possible for them to adopt the idea of government by majority in their essentially free and voluntary associations and begin to declare that anarchists should submit to the decisions of the majority before they have even heard what those might be?

It is understandable that non-anarchists would find Anarchy, defined as a free organisation without the rule of the majority over the minority, or vice versa, an unrealisable utopia, or one realisable only in a distant future; but it is inconceivable that anyone who professes to anarchist ideas and wants to make Anarchy, or at least seriously approach its realisation – today rather than tomorrow – should disown the basic principles of anarchism in the very act of proposing to fight for its victory.

In my view, an anarchist organisation must be founded on a very different basis from the one proposed by those Russian comrades.

Full autonomy, full independence and therefore full responsibility of individuals and groups; free accord between those who believe it useful to unite in cooperating for a common aim; moral duty to see through commitments undertaken and to do nothing that would contradict the accepted programme. It is on these bases that the practical structures, and the right tools to give life to the organisation should be built and designed. Then the groups, the federations of groups, the federations of federations, the meetings, the congresses, the correspondence committees and so forth. But all this must be done freely, in such a way that the thought and initiative of individuals is not obstructed, and with the sole view of giving greater effect to efforts which, in isolation, would be either impossible or ineffective. Thus congresses of an anarchist organisation, though suffering as representative bodies from all the above-mentioned imperfections, are free from any kind of authoritarianism, because they do not lay down the law; they do not impose their own resolutions on others. They serve to maintain and increase personal relationships among the most active comrades, to coordinate and encourage programmatic studies on the ways and means of taking action, to acquaint all on the situation in the various regions and the action most urgently needed in each; to formulate the various opinions current among the anarchists and draw up some kind of statistics from them – and their decisions are not obligatory rules but suggestions, recommendations, proposals to be submitted to all involved, and do not become binding and enforceable except on those who accept them, and for as long as they accept them.

The administrative bodies which they nominate – Correspondence Commission, etc. – have no executive powers, have no directive powers, unless on behalf of those who ask for and approve such initiatives, and have no authority to impose their own views – which they can certainly maintain and propagate as groups of comrades, but cannot present as the official opinion of the organisation. They publish the resolutions of the congresses and the opinions and proposals which groups and individuals communicate to them; and they serve – for those who require such a service – to facilitate relations between the groups and cooperation between those who agree on the various initiatives. Whoever wants to is free to correspond with whomsoever he wishes, or to use the services of other committees nominated by special groups.

In an anarchist organisation the individual members can express any opinion and use any tactic which is not in contradiction with accepted principles and which does not harm the activities of others. In any case a given organisation lasts for as long as the reasons for union remain greater than the reasons for dissent. When they are no longer so, then the organisation is dissolved and makes way for other, more homogeneous groups.

Clearly, the duration, the permanence of an organisation depends on how successful it has been in the long struggle we must wage, and it is natural that any institution instinctively seeks to last indefinitely. But the duration of a libertarian organisation must be the consequence of the spiritual affinity of its members and of the adaptability of its constitution to the continual changes of circumstances. When it is no longer able to accomplish a useful task it is better that it should die.

Those Russian comrades will perhaps find that an organisation like the one I propose and similar to the ones that have existed, more or less satisfactorily at various times, is not very efficient.

I understand. Those comrades are obsessed with the success of the Bolsheviks in their country and, like the Bolsheviks, would like to gather the anarchists together in a sort of disciplined army which, under the ideological and practical direction of a few leaders, would march solidly to the attack of the existing regimes, and after having won a material victory would direct the constitution of a new society. And perhaps it is true that under such a system, were it possible that anarchists would involve themselves in it, and if the leaders were men of imagination, our material effectiveness would be greater. But with what results? Would what happened to socialism and communism in Russia not happen to anarchism?

Those comrades are anxious for success as we are too. But to live and to succeed we don’t have to repudiate the reasons for living and alter the character of the victory to come.

We want to fight and win, but as anarchists – for Anarchy.


Malatesta

Il Risveglio (Geneva),

October 1927

Posted on Leave a comment

Memorial march and rally in remembrance of the death of Mohammad #Sillah in #Remscheid, #Germany

In memory of Mohammad Sillah who died on the 14th of January 2007 because he was denied medical help.

Originally published by Antifaschistische Aktion Remscheid

23-year-old Mohammad Sillah was a singer / songwriter from Guinea, who lived in the refugee camp Remscheid, Bergfrieder Weg. He was described by friends and acquaintances as a friendly and joyful person who was very creative and loved playing music.
At the beginning of January 2007 Mohammad sought primary medical help because of severe pain. He was told by the general practitioner that he would not be able to receive treatment until he had a health insurance certificate. Mohammed applied for the certificate at the local social service office, but was denied the document on the grounds that he would have to leave the country soon anyway.
On the 11th of January the pain became so strong that Mohammad asked the caretaker of his accommodation to call an ambulance. The caretaker refused, saying if Mohammed could walk downstairs by himself, he could get to the hospital on his own.
With the help of an African roommate, Mohammad tried to get to the hospital on foot. He collapsed on the way and was carried there on the shoulders of his companion.

 

Three days later he was transferred to a hospital in Essen where he eventually died.

 

The city of Remscheid and in particular Burkhard Mast-Weisz (who is today’s mayor of Remscheid and who was head of social services in Remscheid at the time) denied any complicity in Mohammed’s death, claiming that Mohammed would have never been refused a health insurance certificate by the department had he applied for one.

 

The public prosecution’s office in Wuppertal investigated briefly, but soon closed the case. Instead of further investigations, a raid took place in October the same year to intimidate and criminalize protesting refugees. The course of action by the police was later classified by several courts as unlawful.

To make sure that victims of institutional racism will not be forgotten and that such horrific events will not repeat themselves we will meet on 14th of January 2017, the tenth anniversary of Mohammed Sillah’s death, to draw attention to the chicanery and the exclusion methods of the city of Remscheid and the German government against fugitives and to demand solidarity, unity and equality!

In memory of Mohammad Sillah and all victims of institutional racism!
For free access to health care – for the closure of all collection and isolation camps!
For a society without racism, exploitation and wars !

 

January 14th, .2017 // 02:30pm (14:30) // Remscheid Hbf (Remscheid main train station), Germany

Posted on 1 Comment

#NoBorders: Enough is Enough! Come to #Zurich!

Refugees who are stuck and suffering because of border closures in Europe are losing hope. Earlier this week a refugee was frozen to death at the Bulgarian border. Its time to intensify the struggle for the freedom of movement. Enough is enough!

Image: Moria refugee detention center at Lesvos, Greece yesterday.

Written by Riot Turtle for Enough is Enough.

On Thursday Greek migration minister Greek Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas told journalists that :”there are no more refugees or migrants living in the cold.”  Yesterday pictures of refugee detention camps in Greece came out. The tents were covered by snow, and proved Yianis Mouzales was telling reporters blunt lies on Thursday.

Image: Moria refugee detention center at Lesvos, Greece yesterday.

EU and other borders were closed last year, leaving many refugees stuck in countries like Syria, Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary. In some of these countries, some of the refugees are being detained under appalling conditions.

While many people in countries like Serbia and Greece prepare for Orthodox Christmas, others in these countries are bedding down in freezing cold weather hoping to survive.

Temperatures in Hungary and Serbia have dropped to minus 20 degrees centigrade. Yet nearly 2,000 asylum refugees and migrants are sleeping rough in Belgrade, in front of Hungary’s “transit zones” on the Serbian border, or inside a tattered government-run tent camp in Hungary without enough aid. In Greece the situation for refugees isn’t much better, with minus 5 degrees centigrade in the Softex camp in Thessaloniki yesterday.

While people like Mike and Bego risk their butts, other activists also took a lot of risks as they did actions along European borders. But many people are also providing humanitarian aid to refugees.

Image: No borders action in Croatia in 2016. 

In a series of Tweets, Twitter account of Refugee Support (@refugee_supp) wrote yesterday: “People are freezing to death in EU detention camps. Living in tents with no real heating enduring snow storms.

But the problem isn’t only that conditions in detention camps, military camps, prisons are terrifying, it is just as well that people are detained in general!

1000s of refugees & migrants are stuck in detention, police cells & prisons just for having ‘wrong’ passport. This is institutional racism.
This will not be changed by just demanding better conditions in camps & prisons. The camps and prisons itself are the problem! #NoDetention
Of course it makes sense to raise awareness to conditions & call for heating etc.

But this is will never be enough – don’t forget that.

Don’t lower your demands / goals just because the conditions get even worse. It’s a damn trap!

We demand freedom of movement for all!
No Lager, no camp, no hot spot, no detention!

No deportation!

Break the chains. Until all are free, no one is!”

This series of Tweets are an important reminder that providing aid is important but the real struggle must be for the freedom of movement for all people and against borders.

Reece Jones, Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Hawai‘i and the author of Violent Borders: Refugees and the Right to Move said in an interview that “The root cause of border deaths are restrictive migration policies”. More than 30.000 people have now died at European borders and the number of deaths are continuing to grow.

Image: Over the Fortress demonstration against border closures at the Italian/Austrian border (Brenner) in 2016.

In 2016 actions took place at several borders in Europe but these actions need to be intensified.

From Friday January 20th until Sunday January 22nd will organise an info and discussions weekend in Zurich, Switzerland about the no borders struggle. Activists from Switzerland wrote: “An offensive struggle against this world of camps and prisons needs a language, that does not hide behind political phrases and goes beyond the habitual circles . A language, which shows itself in solidarity with other oppressed people in a militant way without degrading them to subjects. A language that does not consist of mere words, but is also understood through acts.”


Another part of the struggle for the freedom of movement is the fight against the growing number of deportations. The resistance against deportations is growing but needs to grow more.

Image: Demonstration with 1000 people against deportations in December 2016 in Dresden, Germany.

Again and again there are demonstrations against deportations across Europe. Sometimes these demonstrations take place at airports from where people get deported. But there are also groups trying to block buses that are transporting people who will be deported. Others are discussing to target companies who are making money with deportations and/or border surveillance.

The struggle for the freedom of movement has many faces and is taking place in a Europe where racist parties and opinions are growing. We need to work on our strategy, tactics and our independent media work in order to be more succesful. Come to Zurich!

Posted on Leave a comment

1500 People Took The Streets of #Dessau, #Germany to Commemorate #OuryJalloh

On Saturday more than 1500 people took the streets of Dessau, Germany to commemorate Oury Yalloh, who was burned alive in his prison cell on January 7th, 2005.

Written by Riot Turtle for Enough is Enough.

Yesterdays demonstration took place on the 12th anniversary of the day Oury Jalloh died. Oury Jalloh was arrested by Dessau police on January 7th, 2005 for no reason. Jalloh was incarcerated in ceramic tiled holding cell #5 where cops shackled him hand and foot to a mattress.

Unable to move, Oury Jalloh was burned to death. From the beginning, the German.”state of law”reversed the roles of perpetrator and victim, acting against all known facts and up to the highest judicial autgorities, they rubber stamped the un-proven thesis that Oury Jalloh burned himself to death.

12 years have gone since Oury Jalloh’s life was taken, the perpetrators are still being protected by manipulation, tampering of evidence, and such an unbelievable ignorance of the barrage of obvious evidence, that it defies logic. The family and the victim are mocked, and responsibility and justice are still being denied. The German state tries to silence those who fight to clarify the murder of Oury Jalloh with massive repression. 

Video from 2015: Institutional Racism in the State Organs (English & German):

In the summary of „Method critical statement of the fire test by Dr. Kurt Zollinger“ written by Ian Peck on the second of December 2016, Mr Peck wrote: “In an incident involving the death of a human being the wishes of the deceased family and friends ought to be given the highest respect and consideration by the state. In essence the state ought to work for the deceased family and therefore an open and honest examination of the known facts of the case and all hypotheses of how the fire started ought to be carried out and fully explored so that the family and friends can, as far as possible reasonably understand how the deceased died. In the case of Mr Jalloh’s death in police custody, it is our view that the examination of the evidence from the outset has been flawed. The withholding of information regarding the small scale burns, the scientific method, the materials used and the technical and analytical data further enhances this opinion. Perhaps if a more open and honest approach was taken to the examination of the evidence in the death of Mr Jalloh thena more reasoned explanation could be found. At present no meaningful conclusions can be drawn from the results of the test burn as the conditions inside cell 5 at the time of the fire in January 2005 were not replicated. It is our view given the large numbers of variables that the results are invalid.”

Mr. Peck’s summary ended with:”Even though the variables have been changed in what appears to be an effort to provide the maximum fire damage in the test cell, such as having a flow of air in the room and cutting various parts of the mattress, the resultant fire damage did not replicate the damage in cell 5. Therefore assuming this fire was started by the application of a flame to some exposed mattress foam then it does not provide the full answer as to how the fire was started in cell 5. Given this result the introduction of an ignitable liquid onto the mattress must now be considered.”

Yesterdays demonstration was a strong signal to all state authorities that racist murders by state officials will not be forgotten.

Posted on Leave a comment

Anarchism in the streets: Federación de Anarquistas Gran Canaria (FAGC)

Get into the neighbourhoods, don’t be afraid of hostility, suspicion, quarrels and base passions, that, I assure you, you will encounter.

Originally published by Autonomies

Take advantage rather of the fact that the virtual recuperation penetrates even into those with an empty stomach.  Seek out those with no house, salary, health, assistance, hope.  Convene a whole neighbourhood and confront it with the idea that it is in their hands to change the situation.  Continue to grow, one step at a time, with effective assemblies, free of pompous discourses.  Offer reality, naked and harsh reality.  And begin to take, take and take, until nothing remains that you don’t manage yourselves.  It may frighten, but it is the vertigo before a revolution that begins.  You only have to assume it.  You won’t be able to?  Well at least, dammit, you will have tried. … [I]f they exploit misery, then it is for us to organise it.

Ruymán Rodríguez, Anarquía a pie de calle

We return to the Federación de Anarquitas Gran Canaria (FAGC), with two texts describing the collective’s militant activity and a closing text byRuymán Rodríguez analysing the politics of okupation …

The housing crisis in spain – the numbers that mask the violence:

  • First trimester of 2012: 46.559 evictions, 517 per day
  • First trimester of 2013: 19.468 evictions, 216 per day (Wiki)
  • Since the 2008 crisis: 600,000 evictions (teleSUR)
  • In 2013, there were 3.4 million empty houses in spain (elpais)
  • … and so on …

Federación de Anarquitas Gran Canaria: Chronicle of an anti-eviction picket

(alasbarricadas.org 13/12/2016)

The cell phone rings.  It is 11:30 pm.  I have the number registered.  Is that of a family that we counseled in February.  We gave them legal advice and guidance, but they never contacted us again.  The voice on the other side sounds broken and alarmed.  I believe that the person is crying.  Rita (I chose this name so that we could tell her story) tells me that Thursday (today is Tuesday) she will be evicted; herself, her partner and her four children.

The last months, she has wasted with incompetent lawyers, fruitless negotiations with the landlord (a real-estate speculator with numerous properties) and attending a few meetings with collectives and platforms where she found no response (either because she was a tenant or because they wanted to take her case to the media and the family wanted to avoid the publicity).

The notification of eviction arrived 26 days earlier.  The ex officio lawyer and another literate “friend” told them that there was nothing to do, that they leave.  The “negotiations” had been made up of pleas and supplications to the owner, desperate but useless efforts.  Tuesday, with no further ammunition, a housing activist reminded them of the anarchists.  “They are what they are, but they have never failed to stop an eviction”, he told them.  But, was there time to do anything, they asked themselves and I asked myself.  I told Rita that we should meet tomorrow morning, early.  I call the comrades [los compañeros] to hold an exceptional assembly.  Almost no one can attend.  The majority, informally, don’t see how anything can be done.  And I agree.  We will however attend the meeting to be better informed.

On Wednesday, Rita explains to us again the case.  She reminds us of what she had said in February.  Her companion does not speak.  Broken, exhausted, he abstains.  The landlord is a rentier with many properties.  At the age of 50 (more or less), he has acquired various properties, apartments on the south of the island and at least two chalets.  Almost everything inherited.  He has never worked.  He obviously does not need the apartment to live.  Knowing the details of the case, I don’t think that we can remain idle.  The rest of the comrades think the same.  We consult each other and we decide to go forward.  The FAGC gives virtual support, but physically, only four of us can go.  For reasons of work, or personal matters, it is impossible to gather more people in so little time.

We study the house, the entrances, the kinds of doors, the situation of the street and the neighbourhood.  We ask about possible neighbourhood support.  It seems minimal, especially with so little time.  We gather together material in a hurry and leave everything ready for the next day.  It doesn’t look good.  Fear, nerves, doubt.  It may be the first eviction that we don’t stop.  New arrests and new fines.  One comrade understands it thus and prefers not to participate.  Three of us remain, along with Rita and her companion.  Other family members will not be present.  They at least accept to take in her children.

There is no time to call a press conference to document the likely lynching.  We contact a journalist whom we know.  Its too premature, he tells us, he will not come.  We are alone.

We sleep little and poorly.  On Thursday, at 6 am, we are present.  Coffee for 5.  The family is anxious.  Eyes teared.  The atmosphere is tense.  More doubts and more fear.  Again, it doesn’t look good.  However something arises from within: “Lets go, there is no time”.  We don’t think.  We pull ourselves out of automatisms.  We inform the neighbours that we are going to barricade ourselves inside, so that they may leave if they have to.  Like professional picketers, like a small gang of workers, we move quickly and well.  We move struts, nail tacks and slats, weld metal plates, fix the window.  The atmosphere relaxes, the tension breaks.  Laughs surface.  I play the clown, and it has some effect.  It feels as if we are in a sailboat, like in a pirate film.  “Reinforce the hatch, boatswain”.  Slowly but surely, the fear becomes a strange, contained euphoria.  We sing a special version of “A las barricadas”, that we have continued to adapt with each eviction.  Those affected are freaking out.  We continue to work.

We notify a neighbour, whose window gives out onto the street, to let us know when the judicial cortege arrives.  We give her my cell number.  And so we sit, waiting for the “wasap” that tells us the baddies have arrived.  On the half hour, they appear.  There are local police, a judicial clerk and the landlord’s lawyer.  They knock.  We tell them that we are a picket and that they will never take us out alive (yes, we play on the drama).  A locksmith arrives; he can’t open the door even though he breaks the lock.  The local police try.  Then, an hour and a half later, the national police.  They are unable.  Heat inside, insults and curses outside.  They break hinges.  Worries.  “Does everyone have the number of the little lawyer in their pocket?”, I ask.  All confirm that yes.  Waiting for the welding to hold and that the last barricade of junk do so after, so that we can record how they enter.  Another hour.  Nothing.  A paper passes through the lateral slit of the battered door.  The landlord’s lawyer wants to negotiate.  He offers another 6 months of rent, then they will have to leave.  We advise against.  The family is delighted, euphoric, they hug each other in joy.  They accept.  A bitter-sweet sensation.  They ask us to leave, but in this case, yes, we impose our conditions.  We will do so at 2:00 pm, and when the street is completely deserted.  At 2:00 pm, we gather the welding tools and cut the metal plates so that the neighbours may leave.  We say goodbye to the couple, very thankful, who feel as if they have won.  We don’t celebrate.  We are satisfied to have come out unscathed, to have survived.

We continue in this battle of silent warriors, fighting battles that will not be carried in any media and winning some time for the oppressed to be able to breath.  One day, surely, we will not be able to.  But that day has still to arrive.

FAGC

Las Masías” are born

[“Las Masías“: “The Farms”, in Catalonia and Aragon]

These last few weeks, a group of migrant families got into contact, desperately, with the FAGC.  They had lived extremely difficult situations of social and institutional racism.  They saw themselves without home, without any refuge, living as if proscribed, persecuted, harassed, without any sanitary assistance of any kind, without any network of support beyond their compatriots.  Thanks to the latter, they managed to contact us.

In a common labour, one in which they were the first to commit themselves, we occupied two buildings.  One is an abandoned chalet and the other is a building with 6 apartments, newly constructed, in the same situation.

The 9 re-housed families (3 in the chalet and 6 in the apartment block.  A total of 31 persons, 18 of them children) came to manage, directly, both structures.  From the FAGC, we shared with them all of the guidance possible and we provided them with some basic rudiments.  But after our own experience, and after also comparing with other experiences of housing okupation in Spain, we decided not to interfere in any way with the internal management of the building.  Today, all of the occupations in which the FAGC has intervened are managed 100% by those re-housed.  With worse or better results, these have to be assumed as the risks of autonomy and self-management.

Why are they called “Las Masías” (I y II)?  Well, the economic situation of the FAGC is disastrous.  Fines, seizures, lawyers, etc.  But on our last trip to Catalonia, to tell of our experiences, the CNT of Sabadell (and also the PAH from there) organised a fundraising event for our struggle, and thanks to that, we told them openly, these 9 families have a home.  With what was raised, we were able, for example, to buy material that allowed these families to have water and electricity.

The FAGC as a collective finds itself in a paradoxical moment.  There are fewer and fewer anarchists participating, but more and more people rising up (the more excluded among them), such as those with social or educational concerns who show greater interest in our federation and who approach it to collaborate.  Our interpretation is that the anarchists are interested in other things, just at the moment when people need and require our tools.  However, this does open up a debate and a reflection within the FAGC.  Can there be an anarchist federation without anarchists?  Should we convert ourselves into a broader tenants’ union and send the FAGC to the corner to think for a while?

While we look for the answer, we continue to work.  And while we can, on the island examples like “Las Masías” will continue to emerge.  One can struggle against the CIEs [Centro de Internamiento de Extranjeros/Centres of Internment for Foreigners], denouncing them and protesting, but one can also help to keep people from their clutches.  We are in this.

FAGC (12/11/2016)

The Chiaroscuro of okupation

To okupy, as a verb, has the connotations of to demand, to claim.  It is to take what is not being used, what is abandoned, and give it use.  It is to point to the disproportionate importance given to private property over a good that is a first necessity, as is housing.  There are however many frameworks through which to interpret it.

I always thought that to okupy had an intrinsically vindictive character and that it was unimportant which house you okupied, as long as it was abandoned.  Reality forced me to broaden this perspective.

When we started (the FAGC) to intervene in housing, we specialised in stopping evictions with pickets (even though we had taken our first steps in okupation).  We wanted to create an alliance with the local PAH to address the legal aspect and with the Okupy Movement so that they might help us with re-housings.  The first were not keen on this kind of work, and the second, even though they tried, were unable to change their dynamic.  We thus found ourselves brooding over the Penal Code and specialising in opening houses.

I remember the case of a family with 4 children recently evicted who sought us out too late.  We went to a nearby okupied squat to ask if they could house them for a couple of nights until we could open up an emergency house (we didn’t have at that time the surplus of expropriated buildings that we would come to have after).  The members of the okupied house told us, doing nothing but opening the door, that it was impossible.  The rooms that they had free were for “travelers” (people of the general okupy movement who would come for some music festival, vacations or Erasmus students) and the remainder were spaces of meditation.  I realised then how distant this kind of professionalised okupation was from real demands, how distant it was from the streets, of the needs of people in the streets.  That night, hurried and anguished for this family, frustrated and pissed off at the insensitivity of those with “consciousness”, I opened a house without taking any precaution and almost, in the process, lost a foot (at the entrance to the door was an enormous hunter’s trap that in the darkness, I did not see; since then I never enter a house in the dark).

To realise that one had to choose who to expropriate was, nevertheless, in part strategy and in part confrontation with reality.  Often we sought the complicity of the neighbourhood where we intervened so that the okupation could prolong itself in time.  When the house belongs to a particular individual, unless no one knows even her/him, or the house has been empty for decades, the neighbours don’t approve or even call the police.  By contrast, in the case of a bank, no one objects, except the politicians.  In such cases, the neighbours themselves invited us to enter and even threw themselves into the work of opening the door or providing supplies.  It was in this way that we saw that not only was private property attacked in okupying, but that it was necessary to cause damage to financial power, for it showed itself to be important practically speaking.

However, okupation can also be a closed circle in an other respect.  When one okupies for necessity, one can be spared much of the nonsense that I spoke of earlier, but other problems arise.  To okupy by necessity can also presuppose that when the necessity is satisfied, the okupation may also come to an end, by implication.  We believe that mutual aid and sharing the tools of autonomy by themselves assume emancipation, and this is an idealisation.  The person whom you help to open a house can denounce you in all tranquility if you tell her/him that you can’t provide electricity.  I know what I am talking about.  Capitalism has diffused itself in such a perfect way among the population that those in necessity also, when they cease to be so, quickly learn to apply social darwinism.  I have witnessed how the old pariah, which thanks to having a house, is able to reunite her/his family and guarantee to her/himself a subsidy, comes to consider her/himself a potentate in having a few sources of income, even modest, that can be completely invested in consumption.  I have seen how after this situation is produced, the same person who fled poverty now denies the presence of okupiers, the poor and migrants next door and wants no house expropriated next to hers/his.  I have seen how obscure and unfathomable are the innards of persons mass produced by capitalism.

Everything that I speak of is difficult and perhaps surprising if I say that at times, when you know the lives of the people, you can even arrive at understanding the roots of these attitudes.  Consider an example: a young man of 20 years who had just become a father contacted us because he did not have a house.  After helping him to get one, not only did he not collaborate, but transformed himself into a saboteur that did not hesitate in calling the police when he was contradicted.  He became the enemy and no one, obviously, wished to have anything further to do with him.  The contempt was mitigated when I came to know his story: we are speaking of a person who suffered sexual abuse since childhood at the hands of almost everyone in his family, whose parents were drug addicts and who between the age of 7 and 18, was in a shelter.  He left there accustomed to doing damage just so as not to be crushed, to deceive so as to get a little more, to exploit his equals and to maintain a relation of resentful submission to authority.  Periodically medicated, mistreated and humiliated, all of his life developed in a centre that was simultaneously prison, school and NGO; all institutions that should be abolished.  They taught him nothing and during the greater part of his childhood and adolescence the only thing that he knew was that he had guaranteed a bed and three meals a day, without affection or empathy, without anything that might stimulate a creative disquiet.  Alienated, he never knew from where things came, nor who produced them, nor why they arrived in his hands; his only desire was to make it to the next day, dragging his rancour and to enjoy someday the hedonistic life sold by television.  I neither excuse him nor justify him, but what is strange when you extend your hand to someone who has gone through all of this is not that they don’t take advantage, but that they don’t rip your hand off.  The people who have so lived, their consciousness produced by the violence of the System, should throw themselves at the jugular of their fellows and tear them apart, and yet they don’t and they resign themselves to mutually devouring each other.

These experiences have convinced me that okupation should be understood not only as expropriation, but also as socialisation.  If there is not behind it an aspiration and a revolutionary project that assumes the recuperation of the goods of consumption, slowly or more ambitiously, okupation can become an exclusively onanistic activity.  Pedagogy is lacking among those who okupy, but this is not a panacea.  Compromises have to be demanded if one wants to receive help, and if there is no compromise, then they may as well continue on alone; anyone can kick in a door.  There has also to be a concern with whom the discourse is directed at, if to the converted who don’t need it or those who have needs but who are not convinced.  The answer is not easy, but on it depends whether or not okupation is an endogamous activity of self-consumption or an activity, which confronting a thousand challenges and defeats, can minimally transform its surrounding world.

Ruymán Rodríguez/FAGC (08/11/2016)

Posted on 3 Comments

#J20 #J21 European ENF Fascists Will Come To #Koblenz: #Antifa Announced Counter Protests

​The fascist ENF (Europe of Nations and Freedom) group, the fascist group in European Parliament, will organise an event in Koblenz, Germany on January 21. Antifa groups announced counter protests.

Submitted to Enough is Enough

The ENF group in European parliament consists of 39 MEP’s from the National Front (FN, France), Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ, Austria), Flemish Interest (VB, Belgium), Alternative For Germany (AFD, Germany), Northern League (LN, Italy), Party For Freedom (PVV, Netherlands), Congress for the New Right (KNP, Poland) and 2 independent members from Romania and the UK. 

Marcus Pretzell MEP for German AFD is pushing the cooperation between European fascists. According to German daily newspaper “Rhein-Zeitung” up to 1000 people will attend the ENF event on January 21 in the Rhein-Mosel-Halle in Koblenz, Germany. Apart from Pretzell, FN leader Marine Le Pen will likely also speak at the fascist event.

One year ago AFD’s Pretzell organised a similar event in Düsseldorf, Germany. During last years event an alliance between German AFD and Austrian FPÖ was agreed upon, called the “blue alliance”. One of the goals of the event on January 21 could be a similar alliance between the AFD and the French FN. 

Counter protests

Antifa groups are mobilising for counter protests in Koblenz. On the day anti-fascists in the US take the streets to disrupt Donald Trump’s inauguration, January 20th, there will be a pre-demo in Koblenz. Antifa groups will turn on the bass during this demo to “base the fascists out!” This demo will start at 07:00pm (CET) at Koblenz main train station (Hbf).

The Antifa Koblenz ask people to come already at January 20th, so people can start fresh and early with counter protests at January 21th. If you need a place to sleep or if you have logistical questions please write an email to Antifa Koblenz:  antifa-koblenz@riseup.net. Dont forget to write how much sleeping places are needed.

Here you will find the PGP key of the email adress above.

No Pasaran for European Fascists!