Tag Archives: Anarchism

Last Night’s Art Auction In Baltimore

So eventually I’m going to start posting about events before they happen, even reasonably far before they happen. But last night was Red Emma’s first ever art auction, and it was a grand good time. Basically, they collected donations of art from tons of local baltimore artists and then auctioned them off, most of them as silent auction. I made like 10 pieces for them, and they all sold. And I forgot to photograph the pieces, of course.

Red Emma’s is baltimores worker-owned radical bookstore/cafe/infoshop, and it’s actually my favorite infoshop in the world. They are really passionate people, working incredibly hard in what is a rather dangerous, dirty city. There are a lot of radicals working really hard here, as a matter of fact. You have to. In baltimore, poverty and inequity are just so prevalent. But yeah, Red Emma’s is a wonderful place, and whenever I’m in town I spend almost every afternoon sitting around reading their books.

Harold Thompson (1942-2008)

I’m sad I only learned about Harold Thompson because of his death. He was an anarchist prisoner, but one I never heard much, if anything about. He was convicted of killing a man who had killed the mother of his son and was threatening to kill his son.

He became interested in anarchism early, but his beliefs solidified when he served in Vietnam. Upon his return, he was actively involved in anarchist struggle and worked with the veterans against the war. (The modern incarnation of which, the IVAW, includes quite a number of anarchist veterans at all levels of involvement.) Since going to jail he was involved in a number of escape attempts and was well known as a “jail house lawyer,” both admirable things. (Sad, of course, that his escape attempts never bore fruit.)

His support website has plenty more information about him, including his writings. I’m just looking at it all right now and I’m kind of sad that I’d never heard of him before. He seems like an amazing soul. Too often, we anarchists focus on our prisoners who are in jail for politically-motivated direct action and forget about other anarchist prisoners. Certainly, defending our loved ones from a murderer is the right of every human being, and it is very much within the realm of anarchist desires.

So yeah, Harold, may you rest in peace.

No Media Kings

I’ve been buried 10 tabs deep into No Media Kings, the self-publishing resource site run by Jim Munroe, an anarchist sci-fi author from Canada who I am embarrassed to have not heard about before now. There’s tons of information on here about self-publishing and writing, from a really awesome perspective. (including a freely downloadable how-to comic book, Time Management For Anarchists). Of particular interest is a project he and others undertook in Toronto a few years back in which they wrote one-page SF dystopias about local gentrification and posted them to poles around town!

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:

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

Desolation
He loses the ļ¬ngers, 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.

Murdered in Oaxaca *updated*


Sali, Marcella Sali Grace, was a young woman from Eugene that traveled the same circles I did. I’m not going to claim that I knew her well; we’d crossed paths, we’d spoken, and she’d been very dear to a number of my friends. She was found murdered, rather brutally, in Oaxaca, Mexico. The details aren’t pretty.

Sali was killed, at least in part, because she was a woman. I still to this day run across people who think that feminism is done, that women’s liberation has been won. But it’s not. And of course, liberty won’t come without a fight. I think most of you reading this blog already know this. But Sali’s bravery, her refusal to be cowed by a world that told women they shouldn’t travel alone, it’s important. Her living, her traveling, was an act of standing up for herself and for women everywhere. She, and so many traveler women I know, they forge ground.

*update* It looks like Sali’s friends and fellows in Oaxaca have worked to get the bastard responsible arrested. They put him under guard and traveled to mexico city to get an arrest warrant for him, it sounds like. Also, there are several more pictures of Sali now posted to the thread at Portland Indymedia.

Alan Moore Rejects “Watchman” Film

Alan Moore, the genius behind so many wonderful comics, is once again watching what should be his intellectual property taken by hollywood without his permission. And no, he’s still not happy about it, as he told the LA Times. I interviewed Mr. Moore about a year ago about his views on anarchism as well as his take on steampunk (which can be found in SteamPunk Magazine #3). Of particular note is that there is a film he’s supporting, a documentary about him and his projects called The Mindscape of Alan Moore (see the trailer or order it).