Saturday, 31 December 2011

2011 in anarcho-blogging

This year, with revolutions abound and class struggle escalating, an awful lot more people have been using social media. Twitter has kept us appraised of world events when the mainstream media wouldn't, whilst blogs have allowed us to see through the eyes of those in the thick of it rather than some reporter paid to be there. The importance of this cannot be understated.

I've tried to keep track of some of the more useful or relevant blogs, from an anarchist perspective, with my anarcho-blogging roundup. However, haphazard and selective as it was, it was far from comprehensive. As will this be, as I won't pretend to be able to offer links to blogs covering events across the entire year here. Instead, I'm going to share some of the blogs which have inspired or enlightened me in some way.

They are listed in no particular order.

Jay O Doom's Blog: On Human Nature
Arguments I see time and time again against left-wing politics is that “human nature will get in the way” or “it ignores human nature”. Recently I’ve even seen this argument trotted out by people on the left, that any future system must “take human nature into account”. It’s fairly clear what is meant here without asking too many questions. Human beings are selfish. Human beings only work in their own self-interest and that this is natural. But I believe this to be wrong. This blog post will hopefully explain why.

Read the rest of the post here.
Cautiously Pessimistic: When they kick at your front door, how you gonna come? – Pacifism versus reality
When the state sends its thugs to evict an occupation, there is only the choice of fighting back or allowing the state’s violence to rule the day. And it isn’t just committed revolutionaries who see a need for violence: the riots that shook many English cities in August showed that there are a lot of people out there who feel a burning desire to attack the world around them, whether we like it or not. I’m certainly not claiming that the rioters were principled anarchists: clearly they weren’t, and a lot of their actions were ugly and indefensible. But we can’t deny that their rage and appetite for violence exists, so if we don’t want to see more muggings and burnt-out homes, then we urgently need to find ways of reaching these people and turning their violence in a constructive class direction, because the absence of revolutionary class violence just guarantees that we’ll carry on seeing more anti-social, individualistic violence.

Read it in full here.
Infantile Disorder: Jared Loughner and Clay Duke - A Tale Of Two Shooters
While Loughner - an unemployed twenty-two year old living with his parents - could never benefit from his belief in right wing theories, the Tea Party politicians and their multi-millionaire backers such as Rupert Murdoch certainly could. In spreading such rhetoric, Murdoch, Beck, Palin and others hope to push both the Republican Party and the Obama administration even further to the right. Now, having taken their views on board, a vulnerable and disturbed individual has acted violently upon them.

Read the full thing here.
Joseph Kay's Blog: Thinking about unions: association and representation
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a union? A big, bureaucratic service provider with a cheap credit card offer? A relic from the past? Solidarity and strike action? The industrial militancy of the and flying pickets of the 1970s? The answer will of course depend on your experiences and your political perspective. And indeed, all of the above are partial truths. To help unpack this, I want to reconstruct the evolutionary path from syndicalism to anarcho-syndicalism. This path has been an uneven, multi-linear one, far too complicated to recount here in any detail. Instead, I want to focus in on one central tension, between a union as an association of workers and a union as a representative of workers.

Read the full thing here.
Rebel Cleaners: No war but glass war!
You may have heard of masked anarchists in Huddersfield, stalking the streets and growing bold enough to venture around in daylight hours in enemy strongholds and make strategic assaults on the wrongs that capitalism has brought to our town. With a bottle and rag in one hand and a soapy bucket in the other justice was done and continues to be done.

Truth can be stranger than fiction.

Read the rest here.
The Great Unrest: “Committing a protest”: The Charing Cross arrests
Yesterday morning I was arrested with nine others outside Charing Cross station, apparently to “prevent a breach of the peace.”

I was intending to go to the “Not the Royal Wedding” street party organised by campaign group Republic.

A British Transport Police officer spotted some republican placards one of us had in a bag and decided to search everyone, under the Section 60 that had been invoked around the royal wedding area. The placards weren’t out, we weren’t having a demonstration. We were standing on a concourse outside a station, doing nothing much.

Read the rest here.
Fires Never Extinguished: Reflections on a Crucifixion: the Arizona Immigrant Movement's Slow, Steady March to Oblivion
So, let me get back to this seer of the movement, the man who saw with total clarity before anyone else the purpose of those long -- many, many miles long -- hot, summer marches. Before I even figured it out, when I was just stoked at seeing so many people in the streets of Phoenix, even if we anarchists had to fight for them to be open to us. It's easy to forget the blistering heat of those marches, which repeated every so often, leaving from the same park and heading to the same, distant destination. People collapsing of heat stroke all around. The ritual of the march, the self-sacrifice of the struggle -- it all looks so obvious in hindsight, now that the excitement of the working class in motion has worn off and that same working class has been out-maneuvered, bored, exhausted and beaten down by movement leaders. But one man got it right from the get-go, from the minute we set foot to blacktop (or sidewalk, as the leadership tried so desperately -- and sometimes unsuccessfully -- to limit it).

I present to you this man.

Read the full post here.
selfactivity: Quick thoughts on London riots
There’s a video circulating Twitter showing a man who was beat up. A group of people pretend to help him up, and then steal the items from his backpack. There are similar incidents that are happening all across the Western world, in every American city, right now. About 15 blocks away, on a Monday night, there are probably drunken college kids doing the same thing. Yesterday, a 17 year old was shot twice in the chest while riding his bike on the street I’m painting a house on. Last night, a homeless man just trying to get some change from people so he could ride the bus downtown was detained by the police for pretty much no reason, right as I exited a bar. This is the violence of everyday life.

Read the full post here.
Solidarity Federation: North London Solfed's response to the London riots
The fury of the estates is what it is, ugly and uncontrolled. But not unpredictable. Britain has hidden away its social problems for decades, corralled them with a brutal picket of armed men. Growing up in the estates often means never leaving them, unless it's in the back of a police van. In the 1980s, these same problems led to Toxteth. In the '90s, contributed to the Poll Tax riots. And now we have them again - because the problems are not only still there, they're getting worse.

Police harassment and brutality are part of everyday life in estates all around the UK. Barely-liveable benefits systems have decayed and been withdrawn. In Hackney, the street-level support workers who came from the estates and knew the kids, could work with them in their troubles have been told they will no longer be paid. Rent is rising and state-sponsored jobs which used to bring money into the area are being cut back in the name of a shift to unpaid "big society" roles. People who always had very little now have nothing. Nothing to lose.

Read the full thing here.
The Trial By Fire: My body, my rules: a case for rape and domestic violence survivors becoming workplace organizers
TRIGGER WARNING: sexual violence

I was raped by a boyfriend on August 18th, 2006. The very next day I held back tears while I lied to a stranger over the phone about why I was unavailable to go in that day for a second interview for a job that I desperately needed. When I hung up the phone I saw a new text message. It was from him. “It’s not over. It will never be over between us…”

The next day I went in for the second interview. It was inside of the Sears Tower Starbucks in Chicago. I took the train to the interview constantly looking around me and shaking. I needed work. I had just been fired from Target two weeks prior and had no prospects. I knew I would have to go through a metal detector in order to enter the building so despite every instinct in my body I did not bring a knife with me.

Read more here.