Category Archives: Political

the real news usually isn’t on page one

So I found out today, after sorting my way through election nonsense, that illegal immigrants swept up in ICE raids are facing ridiculous charges.

The illegal immigrants arrested must plead guilty to lesser counts or face indictment on charges of aggravated identity theft and possible mandatory two-year prison terms.

That is to say that immigrants, who often use fake SS numbers, can be treated the same as someone who steals someone’s SS for the purpose of emptying their bank account. There is clearly a quantitative difference here.

As for the immigration issue itself, for anarchists it plays out fairly simple: we don’t respect the right of the nation-state to exist, let alone enforce arbitrary, war-won borders (most of the places inhabited by Mexicans, for example, are places that were historically part of Mexico). But let’s take it in a modern context… the anti-globalizationists problem with this insane level of immigration enforcement is the hypocrisy of opening borders to resources but not to people.

Immigration exploded after NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Act, which “liberalized” our monetary exchanges with Mexico. Basically what happened is that we, as the richer nation, gained the ability to extract resources from Mexico without paying tariffs or other fees that are used to insulate an economy. Within the USA, we can see how this plays out in ghettos: by putting in a McDonalds, we are essentially siphoning money out of the local neighborhoods.

So we’re able to take Mexico’s wealth, but when Mexicans come to the USA for a chance to earn a decent (hardly decent) wage, we throw them in jail as if they had stolen all of someone’s money?

Ah, the elections.

It’s like a car wreck: anarchist or no, you can’t help but pay attention to some degree to the upcoming election. But what I like to hear is anarchist strategy in regards to the election, and the good old Center For Strategic Anarchy has offered up an analysis of the election from an anarchist point of view.

we are far better equipped to take advantage of liberal disillusionment than liberal outrage. The last four years have been a testament to this, with the clearest beneficiaries of outrage being the Democratic party and the authoritarian Left (see: the anti-war movement.) Liberal disillusionment has been far kinder to anarchists. The C.S.A. is of the opinion that it is no accident that the surge of anarchist activity in the late ’90s overlapped with a Democratic administration in the process of moving to the right.

Four years ago, I put it to my uncle, a concerned and politically aware liberal. I asked him how he would convince me, an anarchist, to vote for president. And his primary response was that while yes, the president has little power to change things for the better, the tone they set “trickles down” (yes, my uncle intended that irony) to all levels of the system.

I’m certainly not of the opinion that anarchists need to rush off and go vote (except for in local elections… Oregon has got some seriously racist and classist initiatives that need shooting down), but there’s no denying that what happens in a couple weeks is going to affect everyone, probably everyone in the world.

What anarchists actually want, and our problems with the “democratic” system as stands, are pretty well summed up in this new zine by crimethInc: The Party Is Over.

And, of course, Bill Hick’s little speech still rings true:

Ah, insurgents. The PKK

This video is really interesting. It’s about the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, an insurgent army in Turkey that’s been fighting since the 70s. In this video, a CNN reporter is hanging out at one of their camps that reminds me quite a bit of a forest defense camp. There’ve been a few articles in the news recently about clashes with turkey, and more interestingly about the important role of women in the PKK [infoshop.org discussion].

Are these people freedom fighters or terrorists? The age-old question, right? They formed under marxist and maoist ideology, fighting for the freedom of kurdistan, hoping to form a socialist republic. Later, they stepped back a bit from communism and adopted more nationalistic and, it is argued, islamic beliefs. However, these days it looks like their main stance is actually a fight against the patriarchal world. Really quite interesting. Historically, however, they’ve been kidnapping tourists, utilizing suicide bombers on non-military targets, and generally being the kind of bastards that so many guerrilla groups are. If the wikipedia article is to be believed, a large number of their militants were given false promises of having their families taken care of. It’s harder to get a grasp on their modern ideology (at least for me, thousands of miles away and just looking at the internet as of this morning).

I always get my hopes up when I see videos like these. Here’s a guerrilla group that is dedicated to fighting for cultural independence, social reform, and gender equality. I want to like them, I really do. Turkey has pretty much wholesale banned speaking in kurdish, singing kurdish songs, really having any kurdish identity, despite 20% of their population being kurdish. But apparently there are reformist kurds attempting to work for greater kurdish representation in turkey’s government, and the PKK have assassinated a few of those people. The comparison in my mind would be if the ELF burned down the house of the president of Sierra Club.

And the PKK have apparently bombed shopping centers and other civilian targets, something which there is really no excuse for. There’s a 1998 documentary about the PKK and their old leader on youtube, 19 minutes long.

Every time I get my hopes up about a group like the PKK just to have them shattered I remember how much I love the EZLN.

I Hate Green Capitalism (first of a series)

I had never really looked at Treehugger.com, but today I did, finding a neat article there I just blogged below. Then I, just now, looked at the main site. Top post? Did you know that you can save money with an electric blanket?

This is my problem with green capitalism. It says: gee, if people turned down their thermostat they save energy and money. So far so good (I’m willing to admit saving money can be useful). But then, the solution. Get an electric blanket? How about insulating your damn house?

Green capitalism assumes that the solutions are found in products. That we just need more solar panels, not to use less energy. It’s insane. It’s not a solution. It’s just a smokescreen, to get everyone to think that the world can be saved if we just bought different things. The world cannot be fixed by buying new things! That’s the whole problem! Gah. I figure most of you know all of this anyhow.

[/rant]

Anarcho-Flarf Vandalism! (or, 3k+ pages of false poetry!)

Desolation
He loses the fingers, sudden as
arms
Sarah Gridley

That poem is on page 3076 of Issue 1, a wonderful jab at culture by forgodot.com (and possibly Steve McLaughlin), an experimental poetry group.

Why is it interesting? Because Sarah Gridley, whoever she is, didn’t write that poem. In fact, none of the 3,000+ authors listed wrote the pieces that are attributed to them. It’s a 3785 page PDF file poetry anthology of beautiful lies and blasphemy!

One of the most fun parts is reading all of the writers respond in the comments. Tons of them are hopping mad. Others get it.

Silliman (whoever that is), is worried about his good name and makes vague threats about suing the editors. He also calls it “anarcho-flarf vandalism”. And all I gotta say is, go anarcho-flarf vandalism! I wonder what the anarcho-flarf flag would be. Maybe black and newspaper print? I could get down with that.

Honestly, I haven’t been excited about poetry in years. Or art, really, though I have to pretend like I am. Dada and surrealism got sucked into mainstream art, what’s left? Well, for starters, 3,000 poem anthologies of god-knows-what.

One poet that took it well and spoke reasonably on the subject is Sharanya Manivannan, who explains a bit more about the nature of the project and also the root of the word “anarcho-flarf”.

Janis Zhaklis – The Real Peter The Painter

Thanks to a comment from Ben, I’ve come to learn the real identity of Peter the Painter. He was a latvian named Janis Zhaklis. Ian Bone has covered the story and has an audio interview with Philip Ruff, who traveled to Latvia numerous times to uncover the story. (You can also watch the interview on youtube).

And there’s also an interesting bit about the story of uncovering the truth from the kate sharpley library (pdf).

The short of it is that Peter the Painter was not a damned bolshevik, and he most certainly wasn’t the bolshevik responsible for the literal eradication of the anarchists in soviet russia. That’s a relief. We get to keep our folk hero.

Folk Hero, Cop-Killer Anarchist Gets Plaques In London


Update: This is not a picture of Peter afterall! See the new post!

Peter the Painter, a notorious latvian revolutionary who holed up in London for a bit, has been honored with two commerative plaques on housing projects that have been named after him, much to the ire of the police.

Peter the Painter was the possibly fictional person responsible for the shooting death of three police officers… he and his gang (I find it humorous that all accounts talk about the “leader” of this or that anarchist gang) had been robbing a jewelry store to fund their revolutionary activity when they were stopped by police. They won that shoot-out.

Then there was the Siege of Sidney Street. The police tracked down Peter and his gang to a house on Sidney street and well, you guessed it, laid siege. In a perfectly Waco-like moment, “a fire broke out” and the firefighters were prevented from putting out the fire. Winston Churchill himself was present and nearly got pwned when a bullet flew through his top hat. Apparently, this moment was caught on film. I’d love to see it. So anyhow, there was a fire, but the anarchists inside didn’t just surrender out the front door. When police finally entered, they found Fritz Svaars and William Sokolow, anarchists, dead on the floor. No Peter the Painter.

Unfortunately, there’s a chance that Peter was another name for Yakov Peters, who was actually tried and acquitted (7 people, 5 men and 2 women, were tried and acquitted in the aftermath of the siege. None of them cops.), went on to go the Bolshevik route, ruining any good reputation he may have had, and helping form the Cheka, the first soviet secret police. He got his comeuppance in the great purge of 1938.

Now of course, the police in london are calling these plaques an outrage since they defend a “murderer”. Obviously, who gets to call whom a murderer is a matter of who wins the fight in the end… are revolutionaries murderers? Perhaps some of them. Perhaps even all of them. But if so, so are police, presidents, soldiers, executioners (hell, judge and jury at that)… the list goes on. Here were people committed to a purpose, one they considered noble, of human emancipation, when agents of the state came to try and take away their freedom. They defended themselves. I’m glad they’ve got a plaque or two.

Indian CEO Gets Pwned by Workers


Okay, so I’m not usually one to revel in violence and/or bloodshed. I truly believe that you can’t blow up a social relationship. But in India just now, a CEO was shown why you can’t treat people as objects [TimeOnline article]. After firing hundreds, the head of Indian operations for Graziano Transmissioni, an italian car-parts manufacturer, was killed by the angry mob of workers. What’s important to realize is that this is not a “murder” that has happened in a vacuum (as the Times article indicates by linking it with postal violence from the 80s). Globalization has been tearing apart India’s financial independence and the recent economic boom hasn’t done shit for the poor, at least what I can tell. Hell, even the minister of labor has declined to condemn the attack.

The murder has left much of corporate India in shock. However, Oscar Fernandes, who heads India’s Ministry of Labour and Employment, declined to criticise the attack.

The minister said: “Workers should be dealt with compassion … Workers should not be pushed so hard that they resort to whatever happened.”

Told You So


Last year I wrote an article for SteamPunk Magazine describing various end-of-the-world scenarios. And of those scenarios, the one that scared me the most was the melting permafrost = methane gas that cooks us all in the atmosphere. And it looks like that has started to happen. Basically, since the last ice age there’s been a whole bunch of ice that is trapping a whole bunch of methane. And methane is 20 times the global warmer than carbon dioxide. And that ice is melting. Runaway global warming. There’s an interesting analysis of the article at the very interesting site worldchanging.com.

As for solutions, scientists are looking at massive crazy experiments that might work or might make everything worse. Worldchanging.com is arguing for a “one world civilization”. Personally, I say civilization is what got us into this mess. I advocate actual sustainability, combined with bio-regionalism and decentralization. But mostly, I advocate enjoying the hell out of your increasingly short lifespan.

Oh, that picture, by the way, is from these bastards who actually want to mine the stuff and burn it actively as fuel. There might not be good and evil in an objective sense in this world, but there’s stuff that is globally suicidal.