The Ex-Worker #45: 2015 Year in Review!

1a

#44: 2015 Year in Review! In our first episode of the new year, the Ex-Worker looks back over 2015 and its highlights, lowlights, and everything in between. We summarize some of the year’s key news developments, including tech developments and struggles around gender, anarchist publishing and media, a hilarious look at mass media coverage of anarchism, and our reflections on the last year of the podcast itself and our new year’s resolutions. You’ll also hear some analysis of some of the important themes within anarchism and revolutionary struggles in 2015, including an extended discussion on identity and solidarity, a review of the AK Press anthology “Taking Sides”, and reflections on our relationship to mass movements. The anarchist news website “It’s Going Down” contributes their end of year thoughts, a new project called “The Spaces Between” sets out to document US anarchism outside of its major urban hotspots, and a supporter offers an important update on NATO 3 prisoner Jared “Jay” Chase. We also received a number of detailed and inspiring year in review reports from anarchists around the world… but we’ll save those for our next episode.

You can download this and all of our previous episodes online. You can also subscribe in iTunes here or just add the feed URL to your podcast player of choice. Rate us on iTunes and let us know what you think, or send us an email to podcast@crimethinc.com. You can also call us 24 hours a day at 202–59-NOWRK, that is, 202–596–6975.

Report: To Change Everything US Tour

1a

Last month, we concluded the To Change Everything US tour, bringing together anarchists from Latin America, Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and North America to compare notes on the uprisings and social movements of the past decade. In the course of 65 days, we presented 59 events in 57 towns, speaking with well over 2000 people altogether. To hear an audio recording from one of the presentations, tune in to episode 44 of the Ex-Worker Podcast.

Many people have seen the booklet and video we are distributing on the theme To Change Everything; we wanted to follow up by initiating intercontinental conversations about strategy and liberation. In the digital age, it is more important than ever to meet and debate and form bonds in person. If you met us on this trip, please stay in touch and help brainstorm what we should do together next.

We had a wonderful tour. For those of us from the US as well as overseas, it is instructive to take in the entire country in a single continuous trip. It gives you the lay of the land. Here is what we saw.

Read the report.

The French 9/11

1a

We participated in the following dialogue with members of the French news source Lundimatin, comparing the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States with the situation in France today. This interview is available in French on their site.

Bonjour, France, and welcome to team War on Terror! For fourteen years, you’ve looked askance at us across the Atlantic, raising your eyebrows at US foreign policy. Now you get to have your own state of emergency, your own far-right party in power, your own warrantless wiretapping and waterboarding scandals and Department of Homeland Security. Where will you put your Guantanamo Bay? (Finally, French fries and Freedom fries will mean the same thing!) For maximum effect, consider starting a new war that has nothing to do with the cause of the attacks, so you can destabilize another region and draw additional populations into the conflict.

We Americans know all about this stuff. For decades now, the US has been the policeman of the world, while social democratic France has been its comfortable bourgeoisie. But in the 21st century, everyone has to take part in policing. To preserve France, the liberal alternative to the US, it is now necessary to copy the US model of anti-terrorism. Permit us to show you the ropes.

Read the discussion.

Ex-Worker #43: Borders and Migration, Part I

1a

#43: Borders and Migration, Part I: Europe’s “Refugee Crisis” – One of the major news stories of 2015 has been the flow of hundreds of thousands of migrants from Syria and beyond into Europe, and the social and political crises this has precipitated. In Episode 43 of the Ex-Worker, we take a look at Europe’s so-called refugee crisis from an anarchist perspective. This episode adopts a “mix tape” format, pasting together excerpts from a variety of sources to offer an impressionistic look at how and why people move across the world, the barriers thrown up by states to impede and control them, and popular resistance against the system of national borders. We begin with reflections from the CrimethInc. Contradictionary, To Change Everything, and past Ex-Worker episodes on borders and continue with excerpts from interviews with No One Is Illegal activist Harsha Walia, author Vijay Prashad, and a Swiss anarchist active in migrant solidarity struggles in Europe, as well as essays from an activist convergence against climate change, Calais Migrant Solidarity, and Mask Magazine’s “Asylum” issue; and conclude with reflections on the Islamic State attacks in Paris from the CrimethInc. blog. You’ll also hear updates on anti-anarchist repression in Spain and anti-government demonstrations in South Korea, a report-back from the Rebel! Rebuild! Rewild! action camp in eastern Canada, and an announcement for a new prisoner publication, plus news, upcoming events, and more, in one of our most packed episodes yet!

You can download this and all of our previous episodes online. You can also subscribe in iTunes here or just add the feed URL to your podcast player of choice. Rate us on iTunes and let us know what you think, or send us an email to podcast@crimethinc.com. You can also call us 24 hours a day at 202–59-NOWRK, that is, 202–596–6975.

The Borders Won’t Protect You

1a

In Paris, on November 13, 129 people were killed in coordinated bombings and shootings for which the Islamic State claimed responsibility. European nationalists lost no time seeking to tie the attacks in Paris to the so-called migrant crisis, even though many of the refugees are fleeing similar attacks orchestrated by ISIS.

Tighter border controls won’t protect us from attacks like the one in Paris, though they will go on causing migrant deaths. Airstrikes won’t stop suicide bombers, but they will produce new generations that nurse a grudge against the West. Government surveillance won’t catch every bomb plot, but it will target the social movements that offer an alternative to nationalism and war. If the proponents of Fortress Europe succeed in suppressing and segregating us, we will surely end up fighting each other: divide and rule. Our only hope is to establish common cause against our rulers, building bridges across the boundaries of citizenship and religion before the whole world is carved up on the butcher’s block of war.

Read the complete editorial.

From Germany to Bakur

1a

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.

Understanding the Kurdish Resistance

1a

In this new feature on the struggle in Rojava, we offer an overview of the history of transnational Kurdish resistance, culminating in the present moment of crisis in the conflict with ISIS and the Turkish state. Drawing on repeated trips to Kurdistan during which he met with youth militias in Cizre and visited Kobanê immediately after its liberation, our correspondent traces the trajectory from the founding of the PKK to the Suruç massacre, spelling out exactly what is at stake in this struggle.

Read the feature.

Report from South Korea

1a

We received the following report and request from our comrades in South Korea, who recently published a Korean version of To Change Everything and are active in a variety of struggles there.

Starting in spring, the anarchist appeal To Change Everything was adapted into Korean and distributed in paper and online in South Korea. Many welcomed it; the first printing ran out quickly.

It also provoked a strong reaction when the country’s major corporate news agency reported on it and on a project appearing on the appeal’s blog to gather and distribute songs against the National Security Law. The journalist even went to the prosecutor’s office, inquiring whether these activities constituted “aid to the enemy” (in other words, treason), which is what the National Security Law targets. The official’s response was that the answer “depends on an eventual analysis of whether this is part of an intention to threaten the national order.” In the corporate media, the numerous comments posted online with the article expressed a unanimous condemnation of these “pro-North Koreans” that we supposedly are (ignoring the “anarchist” reference), demanding even severer laws and repression. For example, “These pro-North Koreans should be sent to the good old ‘re-education camp’ to be reminded the fact that this country is still at war.”

Continue reading.

Next Time It Explodes

1a

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.

Reflections on the Ferguson Uprising

1a

In February 2015, after months of confrontations in response to the murder of Michael Brown, a number of anarchists from the St. Louis area gathered to reflect on their experiences in the streets, their role in predominantly black struggles, and the ramifications of arson and gunfire in protests. We had sent some discussion questions to get the ball rolling, but mostly they let the conversation take its own course, speaking with admirable frankness and vulnerability. The result is an important historical document, of interest to anyone who might one day participate in something similar.

This transcript originally appeared in the 12th issue of Rolling Thunder, which examines the movement that spread across the United States from Ferguson in great detail. It is the first of a series of texts we will be publishing this week to commemorate the anniversary of the uprising.

Read the discussion.