Welcome to Athens, Obama

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A joint statement published on the occasion of Obama’s visit to Athens, Greece by Void Network and the CrimethInc. ex-Workers’ Collective. To respond to the inauguration of Donald Trump, click here.

Today, November 14, outgoing US President Barack Obama sets out for Greece. Speaking from both the United States and Greece, we call on every partisan of freedom to participate in the night demonstration called for Athens on November 15.

It is symbolic that Obama is visiting Greece on his farewell tour. The Balkans have served as a laboratory for neoliberalism and US military interventions since the late 20th century; Greece in particular has undergone a global experiment of crisis management and repression. As war draws closer and closer—Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, Turkey—the Balkans are expected to serve Europe and the US as a buffer zone while suffering the same abuse as the periphery.

Now that the pipe dream of universal economic growth has come to an end, giving way to a vista of chaos and climate catastrophe, we can see that the new order will only be stabilized by the empty promises of politicians and the brute force of the police and military. In a word, by the ballot and the bullet. The buffer zone is getting smaller and smaller, and the United States is not exempt—the same National Guard sent to Iraq have already been deployed in Baltimore. Now is the time to fight, before the situation grows any worse.

Continue reading.

And After the Election, the Reaction

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Could there be any better illustration of the shortcomings of representative democracy than this year’s Presidential campaign? For months upon tiresome months, the whole world has cringed as US voters struggled to identify the second worst of all possible evils. As anarchists who believe in bona fide self-determination, we have critiqued and mobilized against the reduction of freedom to electoral politics in every Presidential race since 1996. This time, it just seemed redundant.

But the 2016 election is practically over. What’s coming next is worse.

Read the analysis.

Anarchy and Democracy Reading Groups!

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This month, we are publishing a series exploring an anarchist analysis of democracy, including case studies from anarchist participants in directly democratic movements around the world. As an offline counterpart to the series, we invite you to organize discussion groups about the relation between democracy and anarchy. We’re not finished thinking through this topic, and we want your help engaging with these questions. Our hope is that together we can produce new ideas and tactics that can be put to use in the next wave of unrest.

To facilitate all this, we’ve prepared print-ready PDF of the flagship text in the series, “From Democracy to Freedom”:

From Democracy to Freedom imposed PDF [6.5mb]

To complement what we hope will be a network of such discussion groups, we’ve established a participatory forum utilizing our comrades’ platform Crabgrass, here:

we.riseup.net/democracyandanarchy

Here’s how to use the forums:

  1. Visit we.riseup.net and make yourself a user profile.
  2. Click on the “Settings” tab and configure your profile to match your needs.
  3. Click on the “Groups” tab at the top left of the page (next to the raven icon).
  4. From the “Groups” tab, select “Search” from your options on the left. Type “democracyandanarchy” into the search box and click “Search.”
  5. Join the “democracyandanarchy” forum by clicking on it and then clicking “Join Organization” on the left. This enables you to read and contribute to discussion threads.
  6. Commence critiquing the articles, posing and answering hard questions, summarizing the discussions you’ve had offline, and more!

Ideally, we’d like people to meet in person to discuss the texts, even in groups as small as two, and to use the online forum to compare your thoughts with other groups and pose each other questions. If you lack offline community, or want to share the discussion from your local group, we hope the forum can connect you with others who share your interests. The Ex-Worker podcast will draw material from the discussions on the forum to include in future episodes of the podcast.

You can draw from and add to a list of discussion questions for reading groups at the forum site. If you have technical questions about using Crabgrass or other Riseup services, try the Crabgrass Help Pages. You can also email us at rollingthunder@crimethinc.com.

Read on here for some discussion questions.

Steal Something from Work Day 2016

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Today we take a break from our ongoing series about the anarchist critique of democracy to observe an annual day of action, Steal Something from Work Day.

Today is April 15—in the US, the day that taxes are usually due to the federal government. Ironically, this time tax day has been moved back to Monday so the IRS can celebrate Emancipation Day—which the rest of us have no opportunity to celebrate, chained as we are to the grindstone. Slavery has been abolished, but wage slavery persists.

The government steals a part of our labor in the form of taxes. Our employers steal a part of our labor in the form of profit. And the necessity of working steals our lives, one day after another—it steals us from each other, forcing us to toil to keep the bills paid rather than being creative together or spending time with our children.

We can build towards a worldwide movement to abolish the imposed scarcities and controls that force this situation on us. But in the meantime, we have to be pragmatic, to do the best we can with the opportunities available to us. That’s why people all around the world celebrate April 15 as Steal Something from Work Day.

For this year’s heartening account of workplace theft and a selection of Steal Something from Work Day resources, read on.

From Democracy to Freedom

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Billions around the world have watched the familiar pageantry of the US Presidential race: Trump, the champion of the new extreme right, laying the groundwork for the despotism to come; Sanders, the partisan of an impossible dream, who nonetheless succeeded in luring disaffected millions back into electoral politics; Clinton, the despised representative of the status quo—around whom the hapless majority are forced to rally, since the future is sure to be even worse. Contemplating this bleak spectacle, some people object that this isn’t real democracy.

This talk about real democracy will be familiar to anyone who lived through the Occupy movement or one of its overseas equivalents. In 2011, from Tunis to Madrid and New York, movements triggered by the economic crisis turned into experiments with new forms of governance. By 2014, the luster of real democracy had begun to wear off: the Ukrainian revolution confirmed the right-wing appropriation of the discourse, while the movement that spread from Ferguson began with a riot, not an assembly. But next time revolution is on the agenda, we’ll surely hear more calls for “real” democracy. As long as democracy is the only paradigm we have for change, even anarchists will demand it.

Reflecting on the revolts of the preceding decade, we decided it was high time to get to the bottom of what democracy really is—and whether it’s what we want, after all. After years of research, discussion, and experimentation, we are excited present our conclusions in a massive new feature: From Democracy to Freedom.

In this text, we examine the common threads that connect different forms of democracy, trace the development of democracy from its classical origins to its contemporary representative, direct, and consensus-based variants, and evaluate how democratic discourse and procedures serve the social movements that adopt them. Along the way, we outline what it could mean to seek freedom directly rather than through democratic rule.

This is the flagship text in a series we will be publishing over the next several weeks, including testimony and critical analysis from participants in directly democratic movements around the world.

Read the feature.

From Germany to Bakur

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Since their successful defense of Kobanê against the Islamic State a year ago, the Kurdish resistance movement has captured international media attention. Meanwhile, their experiments in forming a stateless society in the autonomous cantons of Rojava have fascinated anarchists across the world. But in order to understand the Kurdish resistance in Rojava (western Kurdistan), we need to take a broader look at struggles for freedom and autonomy across the region. We interviewed two members of a network of internationalist anarchists in Germany who have spent time in Bakur (northern Kurdistan), learning from the struggles taking place there. Beginning with a historical overview of the emergence of the Kurdish movement and the PKK’s “new paradigm” of the last decade, they describe how their experiences in Kurdistan have reframed their understanding of anarchist struggles elsewhere across the globe.

Read the interview.

Next Time It Explodes

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A year has passed since the murder of Michael Brown, one of over 1100 people, disproportionately black and brown, killed by US law enforcement in 2014. The movement against institutionalized white supremacy and police violence has spread and escalated, gaining leverage on the authorities and the public imagination despite repeated efforts to coopt it. At the same time, we are seeing extra-governmental white supremacist violence reemerge as a force in the US, as it always does whenever state strategies for imposing white supremacy reach their limits.

The illusion of social peace is evaporating. Over the past year, the National Guard has been called out three times to quell anti-police rioting. White racists have retaliated with church burnings and murders, while raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to support murderers in uniform. The lines that are being drawn may determine the geography of racialized conflict in the US for a long time to come. How did we arrive here from the first demonstrations in Ferguson? And how should we position ourselves in these struggles?

Read the feature.

The Secret World of Terijian zine

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To warm the hearts of children and enivironmentalists everywhere, we present an imposed pdf of our children’s book, The Secret World of Terijian, ready for grassroots printing and distribution. The Secret World of Terijian tells the story of two children who set out to defend the wilderness in their back yards, and the comrades they meet along the way.

The best review of The Secret World of Terijian is still probably the one penned by Kirk Engdall, United States Attorney for the District of Oregon, in his response to Daniel McGowan‘s Motion for Amended Judgment: “The story line of this children’s book romanticizes the criminal activities of the Earth Liberation Front and encourages children to become involved in similar criminal conduct…” We hope this zine version will be useful to everyone who is organizing events for the June 11 day of solidarity with Marius Mason and all long-term anarchist prisoners. Print some copies to raise donations for Marius and everyone else behind bars in the struggle for a better world.

Imposed PDFs for print reproduction (4.7MB): B&W : Color

Standard PDF for reading on screens (2.2MB)

This is at least the fifth edition of The Secret World of Terijian since it appeared a decade ago. It features the illustrations by Ingi Jensson that were originally published in the Icelandic translation, Hulduheimur Heiðarlands, in 2010. The photo above shows the Slovakian version, published earlier this year.

Beyond Whistleblowing

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Citizenfour is just the latest expression of public fascination with the figure of the whistleblower. Jesselyn Radack, Thomas Drake, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden—the whistleblower defects from within the halls of power to inform us about how power is being misused, delivering forbidden information to the people like the holy fire of Prometheus.

But can the whistleblower save us? Is whistleblowing enough? What limitations are coded into a strategy of social change based around whistleblowing, and what would it take to go beyond them?

Continue reading after the jump.

CrimethInc. in Scandinavia and the Balkans

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This coming month, CrimethInc. operatives will offer two presentations in Scandinavia about the new wave of global revolts and a three-week speaking tour in the Balkans on the theme “After the Crest,” discussing the life cycle of social movements. Catharsis, one of the flagship bands of passionate anarchic hardcore, will also be playing a rare handful of shows in northern Europe.

Hope to see you at one of these events!

Consult the event descriptions and tour dates.