We received the following report from the group that produced the French version of To Change Everything, Pour Tout Changer. They describe the situation in Paris before and after the attacks of November 13: the intensification of xenophobic discourse, the repression of homeless refugees, the declaration of a “state of emergency” as a way to clamp down on dissent, the preparations for the COP 21 summit at which demonstrations are now banned, and what people are doing to counter all this. It offers an eyewitness account from the front lines of the struggle against the opportunists who hope to use the tragedy of November 13 to advance their agenda of racism and autocracy. With demonstrations forbidden and the COP 21 summit around the corner, what happens in Paris will set an important precedent for whether governments can use the specter of terrorism to suppress efforts to change the disastrous course on which they are steering us.
While Putin tries to change the subject from insurrection to war (perhaps in fear that the contagion of unrest will spread inside Russian borders), we believe it is especially important for anarchists and others with a stake in social movements to learn from the revolution in Ukraine. Specifically, we want to study how nationalist and fascist elements were able to take the initiative, and how to minimize the likelihood of this occurring elsewhere in the future.
To that purpose, we present an interview here with a member of the Autonomous Workers’ Union in Kiev, who discusses why groups like Svoboda and Pravy Sector were positioned to take advantage of the social movement, and evaluates the effectiveness of the various strategies anarchists and anti-fascists adopted in this unfavorable context.
Shortly, we will present our preliminary hypotheses about what anarchists elsewhere around the world can learn the Ukrainian example, along with a reading list of primary source materials available in English.
Last weekend, a CrimethInc. operative participated in the first Anarchist Book and Propaganda Fair in Lima, Peru. Here follows his detailed report, including photographs and a few comments on the situation of anarchists in Peru.
This morning, environmental activist Daniel McGowan was taken back to jail despite his exemplary parole record, presumably in retaliation for his recent article on the secretive Communications Management Units the US prison system uses to silence political prisoners.
Daniel’s article cites court documents confirming that, during his incarceration for environmentally motivated direct action, Daniel was moved to a CMU to punish him for expressing his political views. Despite first facing the threat of a life sentence, and then serving years in the CMU with very little contact with the outside world, Daniel has never cooperated with efforts to incriminate other activists, nor ceased to speak his mind. The US government is determined to make an example of Daniel for this. We too might hold him up as an example, showing that no amount of threats and coercion can break the spirit of a person determined to stand up to oppression.
There are two and a half million people in prison in the US, more than there were in the gulags at the height of Stalin’s reign in the Soviet Union. As in the Soviet Union, the authorities do everything they can to keep this population invisible: to prevent them from communicating with the rest of society so most people never learn how much violence and coercion are necessary to maintain this social order.
We should respond to attempts to silence Daniel and others like him by listening to what they have to say about what is going on in America’s prisons–and by doing our part to make it impossible for the authorities to silence anyone.
Daniel’s original article from within the CMU, “Tales from Inside the US Gitmo”
Our overview of Operation Backfire, in which Daniel was arrested, “Green Scared?”
Daniel’s attorneys at the Center for Constitutional Rights just released this statement:
Daniel McGowan has been released from the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn where he was taken into custody yesterday and is back at the halfway house where he has been residing since his release from prison in December. Yesterday, Daniel was given an “incident report” indicating that his Huffington Post blog post, “Court Documents Prove I Was Sent to Communication Management Units (CMU) for My Political Speech,” violated a BOP regulation prohibiting inmates from “publishing under a byline.” The BOP regulation in question was declared unconstitutional by a federal court in 2007, and eliminated by the BOP in 2010. After we brought this to the BOP’s attention, the incident report was expunged.
On July 19, Kelly Rose Pflug-Back was sentenced to eleven more months in prison for her participation in the 2010 G20 protests in Toronto. She remains unapologetic about her role in the black bloc that caused so much disruption during the summit, demonstrating that the forces that impose capitalism and patriarchy are not invulnerable.
To support Kelly and the millions like her who are imprisoned for the inconveniences they pose to the powerful, we are proud to present her eloquent and thought-provoking memoir of the time she spent incarcerated after her original arrest: “Every Prisoner is a Political Prisoner.” In this account, Kelly powerfully evokes the experience of captivity and the importance of understanding all captives of the state as political prisoners.
Our friends Strangers in a Tangled Wilderness are publishing a book of Kelly’s poetry as a fundraiser to benefit her during her incarceration. Walt Whitman argued that “to have great poets there must be great audiences,” but audiences is precisely the opposite of what there must be. To have great poetry, there must be people who are willing to act on their ideals rather than just watch from the sidelines. We are deeply grateful to Kelly for finding the courage to live her poetry as well as writing it.
We’re thrilled to present the four-song debut release from Underground Reverie, Seattle’s premier anarchist electronic ensemble:
“Out of Isolation and into the Fray”
Four-Song Debut [27MB]
The release is free, of course—but if you can, please show your appreciation by making a donation to the legal fund of those arrested in last month’s building occupation in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. To do so, go to the defendant support site and donate to the arrestees’ legal fund; further inquiries can be addressed to ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’.
One of these songs appeared in our video coverage of the aforementioned building occupation. Since this is the digital age, we can already offer a review of the release, courtesy of Seattle’s excellent Tides of Flame [PDF]:
“Underground Reverie’s debut album is throbbing, haunting, and completely amazing. Samples from helicopters, owlish flutes, various films (including Network), and eerie old songs flesh out a skeleton of delicate electronic beats. The music is as much about the horrors of civilization as it is about the raw beauty of struggle. In the liner notes, UR reflects on anarchist praxis and encourages us to keep fighting.”
Contact Underground Reverie: email@example.com
Three years ago today, police in Athens, Greece murdered Alexis Grigoropoulos, a fifteen-year-old student. This touched off the first wave of unrest to follow the economic crisis of 2008, setting the scene for the upheavals that have followed since in North Africa, Spain, and elsewhere.
To commemorate Alexis’s life and the efforts of all who set out to avenge his death, we’re offering selections from an interview we did with comrades in Greece the following year, when the riots were over but momentum was still fresh. The interview serves as a sort of historical snapshot, documenting the heady optimism of the time but also the realization of how vast the barriers to revolution still were. A great deal has changed since then; Greece has witnessed a series of new tragedies and clashes, while Greek anarchists have simultaneously seen their tactics embraced by broad sectors of the population and lost the initiative as the shortcomings of their strategies became apparent. Yet this interview is timelier than ever, as it grapples with the question of how to make the most of a high point of struggle. This may be relevant in North America sooner than anyone expects.
We’ve just received the above video, an anonymously-edited collection of footage from the general strike in Oakland on November 2, 2011. The 15-minute video includes scenes from the afternoon anti-capitalist march, the subsequent blockading of the Port of Oakland, and the occupation of the Traveler’s Aid Society building in downtown Oakland later that night.
This is a mere snapshot of the events unfolding around Occupy Oakland, which are still ongoing; much remains to be discussed and debated. We’ll present more material on the subject here soon.
In the meantime, suffice it to say—things are heating up.
Our friends in the Mysterious Rabbit Puppet Army, whose work we’ve shared here before, just embarked on a month-long tour to present their newest shows. The feature show, “What Are Prisons For?”, uses shadow puppets to outline the history of the Prison Industrial Complex from chattel slavery in the South to today’s exploding prison population.