Friday, July 11, 2014

Activist Social Forum in Transylvania

* Ever wanted to visit Romania - known for its incredible wilderness, great food and wonderful summer weather?
 * Do you like music, arts, theatre, outdoor activities and summer festivals?
 * Want to find out how one small village in Romania managed to give rise to the largest social and environmental movement in that part of the world?
 * Does a campaigners' boot-camp in Rosia Montana this sound cool?
 * Interested in mining issues, citizen journalism, sustainable development, grassroots movements?
 * Free between 12-16th of August?

 Then keep on reading.

 We are organizing the 3rd edition of the *Activist Social Forum* – held  during FanFest, the hay festival of Rosia Montana. I want to invite you to *take part*, or help make it happen by holding a workshop (if you're eager to share some of your knowledge and experience  with civil society in that part of the world)

*Please have a look at this short presentation
 <%20http://issuu.com/saverosiamontana/docs/activist_social_forum__3> to
 find out what the forum is about. *

 Here's a short video about FanFest festival, the biggest
 activist multi-art festival in Eastern Europe (also free and based 100%
 on volunteering)
 

 Thanks for listening and have a great weekend!

 Oana

 Save Rosia Montana
 Mining Watch Romania

Friday, June 06, 2014

关于Libcom.org



libcom.org是一个信息资源网站,为那些愿意通过斗争以改善自己生活,社区,工作环境的人们建立。我们希望通过对已发生的事件进行剖析和思考,从中学习,摸索理论,增强作为普通人的我们,可以控制自己的生活的能力。


问题所在

我们每天醒来,上班,接过任务。我们坐着工作,计算着何时回家,何时周末,何时放假,做着白日梦。或者更糟糕,我们没找到工作,靠着 救济勉强度日。我们为一张账单焦虑不安,为赚取租金四处奔波,事实上每个月末我们银行存款只有那么丁点变化。我们怀疑能否在将来一天成家立室,想了想或许 是明年吧。我们为政府再次发起战争而愤怒,因为我们被无视了。我们看着气候变化的新闻,想象不出孩子的未来。1
问题在于,我们每天都在重建一个不服务于我们的世界,而且是失控的世界。我们不再是人类,我们是人力,是一个机器上的齿轮,这个机器只有一个目的: 利益。对利益的无尽追求使得我们深陷在枯燥的工作中,或者失业时四处游走寻找工作。这使得我们每月都要为房租或者房贷思虑。这使得这个星球环境灾害频发, 而世界领袖自命不凡。
在这个世界,每样东西都 有价格。每天,越来越多的东西进入市场。一个世纪前,这个东西是汽车,今天连DNA和地球空气都有价格。对于生命中愉悦我们的东西——友谊,爱,玩乐—— 有标上价格的想法那就是荒谬的,甚至是可憎的。这会令我们感到荒谬,是因为市场运作的原则与我们生活运作的原则并不相同。市场力量使得亿万饥荒和食物过剩 能同时发生。数百万人无法承担起治愈艾滋病的药物,而制药公司在营销和管理上花费过半的预算。市场不能辨别人类的需求,除非需求能用现金交易。获得现金的 唯一方法是为老板打工或者申请救济。为工资而工作,我们的身体和智力进入了市场,成为了可以买卖的东西。
当我们工作,我们创造的东西比放在市场上卖的还要多。但是我们没有得到符合创造价值的回报,否则就没有什么东西作为利润留给老板了。如果公司不能得 到足够的利润,它就会倒闭,我们被解雇,资金投资到别处。老板的利益和我们的利益不是一致的。市场的问题不是价格太高或者供应不足。问题是踏跺规则或者太 少。问题是所有物品都有价格。在市场的世界里,人们的需求多样只因那些富人能用金钱满足自己。所有政府为维护这个秩序而运作,有时抛出民主和福利的萝卜, 有时挥舞独裁和战争的大棒。这不是属于我们的世界。
每一天都有普通人在反击。工人组织罢工,占领反抗,在这个非人道的世界为人类需求而站起来奋争。这个网站就是为他们而建。你们。我们。除了劳动力没 有别的可以卖,除了枷锁没有别的可以失去的人们。被寂静的世界无时无刻不被吸着血的人们。当我们为我们的需求奋起抗争,我们能够预见一个不同的世界,一个 遵循“从人人各尽所能发展成人人各取所需的社会”原则的世界。一个属于自由和社区的世界——自由共产主义。

思想

libcom是自由共产主义(libertarian communism)的缩写,自由共产主义是我们认同的政治理念。自由共产主义是伴随人类社会发展,紧密绞合的互助和团结的政治表达。人类互助的倾向贯穿 整个社会。每天细微之处都可做例证,人们组织集体聚餐,在楼梯间帮助陌生人抬婴儿车。人们也可以更直白的方式表达自己,例如工人团结罢工声援另一地方的工 人团体,就像2005年英航行李搬运工为盖特美食公司员工做的那样。工人们也可以爆发并发展成社会中有影响力的力量,如同这些工人运动,2001年阿根 廷,今天的希腊,1980年韩国光州,1974年葡萄牙,1968年法国,1956年匈牙利,1936年西班牙,1917年俄罗斯,1871年巴黎……
我们首先认同工人们团结互助和抗争的历史,无论他们是不是作为一个自由共产主义者去运动(如西班牙革命的工人)。我们也受到别的理论上和实际上的传 统的影响,例如无政府共产主义,无政府工团主义,极左,左翼共产主义,自由马克思主义,议会共产主义等。我们支持撰写者和组织,包括卡尔马克 思,Gilles Dauvé, Maurice Brinton, Wildcat Germany, Anarchist Federation, Solidarity Federation, prole.info, Aufheben, Solidarity, the situationists, Spanish CNT等。
但是,我们意识到要在当前社会实现这些理念和组织形式有不少限制因素。我们注重于理解和转变此时此地我们经历着的社会关系,在每天的生活将它导向有益于环境和保护这个星球。同时从以往的工人阶级运动的成败和理念中吸取经验。

这个网站

这个网站涵盖了有关工人斗争的新闻及分析,讨论和过万文章的归档,这些文章由上万的历史,列传,理论原本,巨著和单行本领域的用户贡献。我们多年来 已经合并了其他几个在线归档,并且添加了数百则由我们自己编写或扫描的独家文本。我们完全独立于所有工会和政党。这个网站完全由候补志愿管理员和用户的捐赠来资助运行。
如果你和我们有共同情趣,为什么不注册并开始参加呢?
(请见本网站的中文资料库。)
  • 1. 这个简介的英文原文包括许多有关的链接,它们从中文版被省略。英文版在这儿。

libcom.org: an introduction

libcom.org is a resource for all people who wish to fight to improve their lives, their communities and their working conditions. We want to discuss, learn from successes and failures of the past and develop strategies to increase the power we, as ordinary people, have over our own lives.
This article in: Deutsch | Español | Français | Italiano | Kurdi | کوردی | Polski | Svenska | 中文


The problem

We wake up every day to go to work, taking orders from a manager. We sit at work counting down the minutes until we go home, counting down the days until the weekend, counting down the weeks until our next holiday, wishing our lives away. Or worse, we can't find a job, so we have to scrape by on benefits. We worry about paying the bills and making rent and we always seem to have the same bank balance at the end of every month. We wonder if we'll be able to put anything by to one day start a family, and think maybe next year. We get angry about the latest war the government's decided to start, and they're ignoring us again. We watch the latest news on climate change and wonder if our children have a future.
The problem is that every day we recreate a world that wasn't built to serve our needs and is not under our control. We are not human beings, we are human resources, cogs in a machine that knows only one purpose: profit. The endless pursuit of profit keeps us stuck in boring jobs, or looking for them when we're out of work. It keeps us worrying about the rent or mortgage payments every month when our homes were long since built and paid for. It keeps the planet on course for an environmental disaster as climate change accelerates and world leaders pontificate.
In this world, everything has its price. Every day, more and more things enter the market. A century ago it was automobiles, today even DNA and the Earth's atmosphere have a price. For those things which we enjoy most in life - friendship, love, play - the idea of giving them a price is absurd or even obscene. The idea strikes us as absurd because the market does not work by the same principles we do. 'Market forces' leave hundreds of millions starving in a world with surplus food. Millions die of preventable diseases while pharmaceutical companies spend more on marketing than basic research. The market does not recognise human needs unless they are backed up with cash. The only way to get the cash is to work for a boss or claim benefits. By working for a wage, our own bodies and minds enter the market as things to be bought and sold.
When we work, we create more things which can be sold on the market. But we don't get paid the full value of what we create, otherwise there would be nothing left over as profit for the bosses. If the company can't make big enough profits, it will shut down, we will be made redundant and the money will be invested elsewhere. The bosses' interests are not the same as ours. The problem with the market is not that prices are too high or supply too short. The problem is not too much regulation or too little. The problem is that everything has a price. In the world of the market human needs only feature if those humans happen to be rich enough to satisfy them. The world's governments all work to uphold this order, sometimes with the carrots of democracy and welfare, sometimes with the sticks of dictatorship and warfare. This is not our world.
Every day, ordinary people are fighting back. Workers organise, strike, occupy and revolt, standing up for human needs in an inhuman world. This site is for them. You. Us. Those of us with nothing to sell but our labour power and nothing to lose but our chains. Those of us whose lives this deadening world sucks dry like a vampire. When we stand up for our needs, we foreshadow a different world, a world based on the principle 'from each according to ability, to each according to needs.' A world of liberty and community - libertarian communism.

The ideas

The name libcom is an abbreviation of "libertarian communism", the political idea we identify with. Libertarian communism is the political expression of the ever-present strands of co-operation and solidarity in human societies. These currents of mutual aid can be found throughout society. In tiny everyday examples such as people collectively organising a meal, or helping a stranger carry a pram down a flight of stairs. They can also manifest themselves in more visible ways, such as one group of workers having a solidarity strike in support of other workers as the BA baggage handlers did for Gate Gourmet catering staff in 2005. They can also explode and become a predominant force in society such as in the events across Argentina in 2001, in Portugal 1974, Italy in the 1960s-70s, France 1968, Hungary '56, Spain 1936, Russia 1917, Paris 1871…
We identify primarily with the trends of workers' solidarity, co-operation, direct action and struggle throughout history, whether they were self-consciously libertarian communist (such as in the Spanish revolution) or not. We are also influenced by certain specific theoretical and practical traditions, such as anarchist-communism, anarcho-syndicalism, the ultra-left, left communism, libertarian Marxism, council communism and others.
We have sympathies with writers and organisations including Karl Marx, Gilles Dauvé, Maurice Brinton, Wildcat Germany, Anarchist Federation, Solidarity Federation, prole.info, Aufheben, Solidarity, the situationists, Spanish CNT and others.
However, we recognise the limitations of applying these ideas and organisational forms to contemporary society. We emphasise understanding and transforming the social relationships we experience here and now in our everyday lives to better our circumstances and protect the planet, whilst still learning from the mistakes and successes of previous working class movements and ideas.

The site

The site contains news and analysis of workers' struggles, discussions and a constantly growing archive of over 16,000 articles contributed by our 10,000+ users ranging from history and biographies to theoretical texts, complete books and pamphlets. We have incorporated several other online archives over the years, and in addition have hundreds of exclusive texts written or scanned by or for us. We are completely independent of all trade unions and political parties; the site is funded entirely by subs from our volunteer administrators and donations from users.
If you think you might agree with us, why not register and get involved?


Thursday, May 08, 2014

Anarchism in the context of civil war (on Ukraine)‏

For working links, check
http://avtonom.org/en/author_columns/anarchism-context-civil-war
 
Anarchism in the context of civil war
 
On Friday, the 2nd of May, the House of Trade Unions in Odessa caught on
fire. Altogether at least 42 people lost their lives during the clashes
in the city, most of them in the fire and the others in streetfights.
There is an excellent Russian language, eyewitness account of the events
available here.
 
Events began to unfold when armed pro-Russian AntiMaidan fighters
attacked a demonstration organised by football hooligans with
nationalist sympathies. This attack resulted in lethalities, but soon
the pro-Russians were overpowered. They escaped back to their protest
camp in the Kulikovo field, but pro-Kiev demonstrators followed and lit
the protest camp on fire. The pro-Russians then escaped to the House of
the Trade Unions, which soon caught on fire. The fire spreading, is
visible in this video. At the 2 minute mark, you can see a flame behind
a closed window, making it plausible that some of the fires were started
from the inside. For example, due to accidents with Molotov cocktails
which were used by both sides during the fight. However, you can also
see pro-Ukrainian nationalists throwing Molotov cocktails, making them
at least partially responsible for the fire.
 
There are doubts as to whether the core group of pro-Russians who
attacked the demonstration with firearms were outside provocateurs. But
certainly, there were people in the House of Trade Unions, who had
nothing to do with the attack. In a number of photographs, you can see
police protecting the core group of attackers. Otherwise, police were
very passive during the fire, and did not interfere in the events. Even
if the police were not part of a conspiracy, at the least, they acted
completely unprofessionally.
 
During the weekend, troops of the central government and local
«federalists» had been waging war in the city of Kramatorsk in Eastern
Ukraine. This means, that what is happening in the Ukraine can already
be considered a civil war. In the upcoming weeks, it will become clear
how widely the warfare will spread and if Russia will interfere.
I consider myself an expert on the Russian context as I lived in Moscow
for more than 12 years, but this does not mean that I am an expert on
the Ukrainian one. I have only visited the country three times in the
last years, and have hardly more than 20 friends there. Still, when
getting myself acquainted with the Ukraine, I quickly understood that
civil war could be a possible scenario there. All of my Ukrainian
friends, however, were absolutely certain, that nothing like that would
ever happen there. That even with all the differences between Eastern
and Western Ukraine, no-one was prepared to kill in their name. They
were convinced, that Ukraine could never become another Yugoslavia. All
of them had acquaintances, friends and loved ones on both sides of the
river Dnieper, both Ukrainian and Russian speakers. But if you only ever
take into consideration your own friends, you will fall into the trap of
scaling, obstructing those mechanisms which create hatred on a large scale.
 
War does not require personal hatred between people, geopolitical and
economical reasons are good enough for that. And in the Ukraine, the
geopolitical interests are far greater than in Yugoslavia. If you have
an interest in flaring up ethnic hatred or war, a rather small ethnic
rift is enough. A few abuses, murders, and kidnappings, and everyone
will be ready for battle. This has now succeeded now in Ukraine, just as
it has succeeded in many other places.
 
At the moment, the Western «left» seems to be pretty much clueless in
terms of the events taking place there. This is because the «left,»
broadly speaking, is not a very useful concept in the former Soviet
Union, as it can mean anything from social-democrats and anarchists, to
stalinists supporting Putin. Personally, I prefer to always write the
word in quotation marks. I identify with anarchists, not the «left,»
since, for quite a while now anarchists have been the only political
force in Russia which united the ethos of opposing racism, sexism and
homophobia to the ethos of social equality. Until very recently, there
had not been much of any Western «new left» in Russia, with the
exception of a handful of Trotskyists.
 
A split within the «left» in Ukraine is completely predictable and even
necessary. In Kharkiv the streetfighting, Stalinist organisation,
«Borotba» (meaning Struggle) has been on the opposite side of the
anarchists. In this region of the former Soviet Union, 99.9% of the
«left» will always support imperialism for the sake of «being with the
people.» It is about time that anarchists refuse the «left» label. We
have nothing in common with these people.
 
But anarchists, too, can be easily manipulated with buzzwords such as
«self-organisation» and «direct democracy.» For example, Boris
Kagarlitsky, a Russian intellectual widely known amongst the Western
«left» and a frequent guest of World Social Forums, has found favorable
ground in the West by using these buzzwords.
 
Apparently, the Ukrainian and Russian anarchists could not foresee the
developments which lead to the civil war. Maidan had only been discussed
from the point of view that it could offer something better than the
Yanukovich regime. It was not expected that Russia would react to a
Maidan victory with a conscious escalation of the conflict, and which
could eventually lead to civil war.
 
Whereas Russia is the major propaganda machine and arms provider in the
conflict, Western countries are not doing much better, as they only
acknowledge the interests of the new government in Kiev and present the
movement in Eastern Ukraine as mere Russian puppets.The armed wing of
the «federalists» are definitely Kremlin puppets, but if it were not for
the widespread discontent and protests against the new regime in Kiev,
this armed wing would not have emerged.
 
I do not believe that a civil war was the Kremlin's aim. First of all,
it wanted to destablizie Ukraine to the maximum in order to have Kiev
give up any attempts to gain back control over Crimea. Now the situation
is out of the Kremlin's control, and it may have to send regular troops
to Ukraine in order to fulfill the promise of support it has given to
the «federalists.»
 
The government in Kiev has given so many «final ultimatums» which were
quickly forgotten, and has announced so many unexisting «anti-terrorist
operations,» that it is clear it has very few battle-ready troops. A few
times, the central government troops have actually taken action and the
results have been tragi-comic. Thus, the government understands that
it's still in question whether it would succeed in a full-scale civil
war. However, it also understands, that war can help discipline society
and stabilize the new order to the extent, that any promises given to
Maidan would be forgotten. With time, both sides have come to understand
that a full-scale war might be necessary for their interests, even if
neither was initially planning for this.
 
Disagreements within the anarchist movement
 
Over the course of events, the Ukrainian and Russian anarchist movements
have split into three different sides. A first group concentrated on
producing internet-statements against both sides of the conflict. For
them, keeping out of any social processes is a matter of principle, and
they only want to monitor and assess. Participation in the social
protest is not a goal for them, as they prefer to keep their hands
clean. Since every process has input from either disgusting liberals,
hated nationalists, awful stalinists, all three at the same time, or
other undesirables, one can never fully participate in anything and the
only alternative is to stay home and publish statements on the internet
about how everything is going from bad to worse. However, most of the
time these statements are just self-evident, banalities.
 
A second group, was made up of those who got excited about all the
riot-porn and anti-police violence in Kiev, without considering who was
carrying out this violence and in whose interests. Certain antifascists
drifted as far as to defend the «national unity» in Maidan, and
threatened particular Kiev anarchists due to their criticism of Maidan
and refusal to participate. Most of the people in this camp are just
fans of anti-police violence without any theoretical frame, but some
want to give Maidan an imagined anti-authoritarian flavor, by equating
the general meeting of Maidan («Veche») with the revolutionary councils
established during 20th century revolutions. They base this claim on the
social demands occasionally presented at Maidan, but these demands were
always at the periphery of the Maidan agenda.
 
One of these peripheral demands was the proposal that oligarchs should
pay a tenth of their income in taxes and was generally in tune with
nationalistic populism. However, the demands of the Kiev Maidan were
still far from returning the billions stolen by oligarchs back to
society. In Vinnytsa and Zhitomir, there was an attempt to expropriate
factories owned by German capital , but this was the only case going
beyond the national-liberal context that I am familiar with.
 
In any case, the main problem at Maidan wasn't the lack of a social
agenda and direct democracy, but the fact that people did not even
demand them. Even if everyone kept repeating that they did not want
another «orange revolution» like in 2004, nor for Yulia Timoshenko to
return, at the end of the day chocolate industrialist Poroshenko and
Vitaly Klitchko are leading the polls. This was the choice the people
made as they grew weary of the revolutionary path as proposed by the
radical nationalists of the Right sector. As of now, people want to
return to «life as usual,» to life before Yanukovich, and are not
prepared to make the sacrifices that further revolutionary developments
would demand. Representative democracy is indeed like a hydra, if you
cut one head, two will grow in its place.
 
However, none of the fears of «fascist takeover» have materialized.
Fascists gained very little real power, and in Ukraine their historical
role will now be that of stormtroopers for liberal reforms demanded by
the IMF and the European Union — that is, pension cuts, an up to five
times increase in consumer gas prices, and others. Fascism in Ukraine
has a powerful tradition, but it has been incapable of proceeding with
its own agenda in the revolutionary wave. It is highly likely, that the
Svoboda-party will completely discredit itself in front of its voters.
But anyone attempting to intervene, anarchists included, could have
encountered the same fate — that is, to be sidelined after all the
effort. During the protests, anarchists and the «left» were looking
towards the Right sector with envy, but in the end all the visibility
and notoriety, for which they paid dearly, was not enough to help the
Right sector gain any real influence.
 
If Kiev anarchists would have picked the position of «neutral observers»
after Yanukovich had shot demonstrators, it would have completely
discredited them. If after being shot, the working class, or more
exactly «the people,» that is, the working class along with the lower
strata of the bourgeoisie, would have failed to overthrow Yanukovich,
Ukrainian society woul have fallen into a lethargic sleep such as the
one Russian and Belarusian societies are experiencing. Obviously, after
the massacre there was no choice left except to overthrow the power, no
matter what would come in its place. Anarchists in Kiev were in no
position to significantly influence the situation, but standing aside
was no longer an option.
 
And thus, we come to the third, «centrist,» position taken by
anarchists — between the brainless actionism and the «neutral» internet
statements. The camp of realist anarchists understood, that even if the
Maidan protests pretty much lacked a meaningful positive program,
something had to be done or the future would be dire.
 
The limits of intervention
 
In Kiev, anarchists took part in a number of important initiatives
during the revolutionary wave — first of all the occupation of the
ministry of education, and the raid against the immigration bureau by
the local No Border group, which was looking for proof of illegal
cooperation with security services of foreign countries. But the most
succesful anarchist intervention was the one in Kharkiv, where Maidan
was relatively weak but also freeer of nationalistic influence.
Still, such centrism has its own problems. For one, you might
unintentionally help the wrong forces gain power, also discrediting
radical protest. A second problem would be that you might end up
fighting a fight which is not your own. When AntiMaidan attacked the
Maidan in the city of Kharkiv, its imagined enemy were not the
anarchists, but NATO, EU or Western-Ukrainian fascists. Since anarchists
had joined Maidan, it would have been cowardly to desert once the fight
started. Thus anarchists ended up fighting side by side with liberals
and fascists. I do not want to criticize the Kharkiv anarchists, after
all they made, perhaps, the most serious attempt among Ukrainian
anarchists to influence the course of events, but this was hardly the
fight, and these were hardly the allies they wanted.
And so, comes the point when desertion becomes imperative, and that is
when civil war begins. As of now, it's still too early to make any final
assessment of the anarchist attempts to influence Maidan, but after the
beginning of a civil war, Maidan will no longer play a role. From now
on, assembly will gradually turn to the army, and assault rifles will
replace Molotov cocktails. Military discipline will replace spontaneous
organisation.
 
Some supporters of the Ukrainian organisation, Borotba (meaning
Struggle) and the Russian Left Front claim that they are attempting to
do the same things as the anarchists did at Maidan, that is, direct
protest towards social demands. But AntiMaidan has no structures of
direct democracy, not even distorted ones. It quickly adopted the model
of hierarchical, militaristic organisations. The AntiMaidan leadership
consists of former police and reserve officers. It does not attempt to
exert influence through the masses, but with military power and weapons.
This makes perfect sense, considering that according to a recent opinion
poll, even in the most pro-«federalist» area of Lugansk, a mere 24% of
the population is in favor of armed takeovers of government structures.
That is, AntiMaidan cannot count on a victory through mass demonstrations.
 
Whereas at its essence Maidan was a middle-class liberal and
nationalistic protest, supported by part of the bourgeoisie, AntiMaidan
is purely counter-revolutionary in tendency. Of course, AntiMaidan has
its own grassroots level. One could attempt to intervene, but an
intervention by joining would mean supporting a Soviet, imperialist
approach. The Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Borotba, the
Russian Left Front and Boris Kagarlitsky have all joined this Soviet
chauvinist camp. Intervening in Maidan made sense only as long as the
enemy were Berkut police forces and paid thugs. When the opponents are
mislead AntiMaidan participants, it no longer makes sense to fight in
the streets.
 
When looking at either side of the conflict one can see a dangerous
tendency, which every anarchist and anti-authoritarian will face in the
future: the recuperation of anti-authoritarian rhetoric and terminology
for the purposes of hierarchical ideologies. On the one side,
«autonomous nationalists» who have found sympathy amongst many
anarchists, and on the other, intellectuals such as Boris Kagarlitsky.
Both characterising warring factions with attributes such as «direct
democracy» and «self organisation.» In reality, these characteristics
are either present in a distorted form or not at all. When two different
flavors of nationalism are «self-organising» in order to maim and murder
each other, there is nothing to celebrate. Subsequent to the events in
Ukraine, it is clear that anarchists must explain the essential
difference between «self-organisation» and self-organisation to the world.
 
According to the opinion poll referenced above, in Eastern Ukraine as a
whole, only 12% of the population supports the «federalists'» armed
actions, whereas the Kiev government is supported by some 30%. The
remaining 58% supports neither, and in conditions of civil war, this is
the majority on which we should count. We should encourage desertion and
conflict avoidance. Under any other conditions, and if anarchists had
more influence, we could form independent units against both warring
factions.
 
Unarmed civilians have stopped bloodbaths in several places by moving in
between the troops as human shields. If not for this kind of civil
disobedience, a full-scale war would have been launched much earlier. We
should support this movement, and attempt to direct it against both
«federalist» and government troops simultaneously.
In case Russia reacts either by occupying parts of Eastern Ukraine or
the country as a whole, we could take the example of anarchist partisans
in World War II era France and Italy. Under such conditions, the main
enemy is the occupying army, as it will antagonise the whole population
very quickly. But it is also necessary to keep the maximum distance from
the nationalistic elements of the resistance, as any alliance with them
would hinder anarchists from realising their own program in the
framework of the resistance.
 
The events in Odessa are a tragedy, and it is possible, that among those
who died in the House of the Trade Unions were also people who played no
part in flaring up the violence. People who threw molotov cocktails at
the House should have understood the consequences. Even if the fire
igniting was not solely due to them, it is not for lack of trying.
 
In case civil war spreads, these deaths are just the beginning. No doubt
that on both sides the majority only wants a better life for their close
ones and their motherland, and many hate governments and oligarchs to an
equal extent. The more sincerely naïve people die, the greater the
pressure to support one of the factions in the war, and we must struggle
against this pressure.
 
Whereas it may occasionally be worth it to swallow tear gas or to feel
the police baton for a bourgeois revolution, it makes no sense at all to
die in a civil war between two equally bourgeois and nationalist sides.
It would not be another Maidan but something completely ifferent. No
blood, anarchist or otherwise, should spill due to this stupidity.
 
Antti Rautiainen

Monday, May 05, 2014

About the Autonomous Workers' Union of Ukraine



About AWU
The group called Autonomous Workers’ Union was formed in 2011 by activists who had been participating in different unions (students’ syndicate Direct Action, Media Union), anarchists, libertarian Marxists. Political philosophy and practice of the AWU is defined as revolutionary syndicalism. The group is not very large, but it represents people from various trades: workers of art and media, trade and services, construction, engineering, science and education, self employed entrepreneurs.
The AWU doesn’t have three activists at any given enterprise (which is a required condition for officially registering a union). Furthermore, many AWU activists are forced to work illegally, their jobs not being protected by law. The AWU is not an officially registered union, but it operates as a syndicalist initiative.
Since 2008, many activists who later joined the AWU had taken active part in the campaign against the new Labour Code, which could have legalized the 48-hour work week and 10-hour work day. This law would have also made it easier to fire workers. Four years later, the law is still not approved by the Parliament.
The tactics of extra-parliamentary pressure and the experience of the struggle against the Labour Code inspired creation of the AWU. “Realistic” political action is possible without creating a centralized political party, and an active minority has the power to push back the state if it’s persistent and resolute.
We continue campaigns against a number of other similar anti-labour bills and initiatives. We also campaign against the new Housing Code, against privatization of the railways, against bill No 2450 which aims to limit the right of assembly. Our union staged demonstrations against the pension reform; unfortunately, the first stage of this “deform” has been implemented.
The AWU organized demonstrations to support precarious workers of art and culture sector, show solidarity with the victims of the Zhanaozen massacre in Kazakhstan, and protest against the Customs Union with this country. Also, the AWU held solidarity rallies with the maintenance workers of the Reuters office in London and with the strikers of Chung Hong Electronics in Poland. The organization plays an active role in supporting social and political prisoners and other victims of repressions in other countries.
The AWU holds educational and cultural events. The organization’s website propagates libertarian theory, gathers and analyses information on class protests, publishes materials on legal aspects of employment. The AWU is growing and developing despite the unfavorable and quite difficult conditions in Ukraine. Social apathy, advancement of capital, and increase in popularity of the far-right forces are putting serious brakes on these processes.

The Kharkiv branch of AWU was created on May 6, 2013. It’s been the result of the crystallization of the Kharkiv libertarian community segment, which is determined to employ syndicalist methods of the social struggle. The AWU federation was joined by former activists of the Kharkiv Direct Action syndicate, unaffiliated anarchists, and libertarian Marxists. Such choice was determined, inter alia, by the economical and social infrastructure of the second largest city of Ukraine, a big industrial and educational centre.
Today, the Kharkiv branch takes active part in various campaigns of local, national and international significance. They have carried out and continue to stage protests against shale gas development, abortion bans, privatization of the railways, to support affordable and high-quality transportation system, and to show solidarity with foreign comrades (MPRA union workers of the Volkswagen factory in Kaluga, activists of the Action union in Izhevsk). The Kharkiv AWU organized the permanent campaign against the new Labour Code.
Participants of the Kharkiv branch take active part in local libertarian initiatives and, as a rule, they are the driving force behind the local anarchist community. The AWU activists co-organize the annual May Day marches (2012, 2013), feminist projects (Feminist Studies), and environmental “subbotniks;” they participate in organizing counter-cultural events (punk and hardcore concerts, presentations of libertarian literature). Their priorities are the student and feminist movements; the resistance against the precarization of employment; the struggle against the destruction of the social infrastructure (affordable and high-quality education, health care, public transportation); and the formation of the national network of libertarian collectives (Libertarian Coordination project).
The AWU is a class union uniting representatives of the working mass that are exploited by capital.
The AWU is a self-governed organization, which bases its activity upon participation by all its members in the management of the union, not allowing for the emergence of a separate apparatus above the mass of rank-and-file members.
Basic form of the AWU’s struggle for the interests of workers is extraparliamentary activity – strikes, rallies, demonstrations.
AWU concentrates its efforts on the struggle for vital economical and political interests of workers, cooperating with organizations whose activity does not contradict the tactical and strategic tasks of the Autonomous Workers’ Union, and implementing political initiatives supported by the majority of the union members.

http://avtonomia.net/
http://avtonomia.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/header.png

Monday, March 31, 2014

Anarcha-Feminist Gathering in Kiev‏ - GNMP 2014

GNMP-2014
 
For the 24th to 28th of april 2014 the 3rd “good night macho pride”
anarcha-feminist gathering is announced to take place in kiev, ukraine.
At the gathering will be theoretical and practical discussions related
to anarchist and feminist topics such as relations and way of talking in
groups, how to deal with insultings, consciousness of sexist behaviour
and preventation against burnout. Beneath that it is a good option to
get in touch with other anarcha-feminist groups and activists.
One important point will be presentations about anarcha-feminism and
gender related topics in the anarchist movement in the former USSR.
Another is the exchange of experiences and strategies to overcome
patriarchy.
 
If you plan to participate, write to gnmp@riseup.net until the 1st of
April, so that activist@s can plan the event.
 
More details in Russian: http://svobodna.org.ua/afisha/gnmp-2014/
 
http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lgxp1agnQA1qbrntno1_500.jpg 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Prague Anarchist Bookfair - program, video etc.

{More details on the previous announcement}

2. Prague Anarchist Bookfair – invitation, video and a call for participation

Prague second anarchist bookfair is taking place on April 19.-20th. The main topic for the bookfair is „how could anarchists contribute to current massive social revolts?“
2. anarchistický festival knihy v Praze / 2nd Prague Anarchist Bookfair from Anarchistický festival knihy on Vimeo.
Video invitation here: http://vimeo.com/89827221

There are many international guests from revolting countries coming to bookfair. Their lectures are taking place both days of the bookfair since 12 till 19 o´clock. List of lectures + annotations follows below. All lectures are in English.

On Saturday evening the party with a couple of bands - First World Problem (xfirstworldproblemx.bandcamp.com), Friend Crush (https://soundcloud.com/friend-crush) and Still Breathing (https://still-breathing.bandcamp.com/) and a Djs is taking place at the venue.

Throughout both days anarcho-folk interprets would perform right between the books. Couple of workshops is also taking place throughout the day.

Included in the program is also guided Prague anarchist history walk.

International distributions and publishers are welcome – get in touch beforehand at anarchistbookfaircz@riseup.net

Looking foward to see you in Prague! All info in English is being updated here: http://anarchistbookfair.cz/english/

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Peter Gelderloos (USA/Spain) – The struggle for the streets of Barcelona

In the last few years, Barcelona has experienced an explosion of self-organized activity in the streets, with general strikes, plaza occupations, assemblies, hospital occupations, transport and student strikes, eviction resistance, and riots. Anarchists have debated about the role they should play within these struggles, and employed different practices to encourage practices of self-organization and prevent the recuperation of these movements by political parties. A comrade from Barcelona will speak about some of the successes and failures in this process.


Anarchist from Ukraine – Ukraine uprasing in the eyes of anarchists

Group of anarchists from Kyiev would talk and discuss on the recent events at Ukraine, analyse pros and cons, discuss the role or Pravij Sector, Putin and Russia etc.


Adina (Bosnia) - Role of anarchism in Bosnian uprising

After 20 years of total silence in Bosnia and Herzegovina, flame of social uprising was ignited. In February began protests that last longer than a month and experiments with direct democracy. Till today nationally divided B&H society united in the class solidarity. Protest movement today is in critical stage - in one hand it's under police repression, charges of

terrorism which take protesters in police stations every week and media propaganda and in other hand is NGOisation of part of movement and internal conflicts between peaceful protesters and protesters who don't want to stay silent and ignore police violence.


CrimethInc (USA) – Anarchism and the New Global Revolts

From Brazil to Ukraine and Bosnia, rebellion is expanding in both exciting and frightening directions. What common threads connect the occupied squares and torched police cars? A rogue operative from the CrimethInc. Ex-Workers' Collective returns to Europe to offer reflections on anarchy in the new era of global revolt! This dynamic presentation will explore today's global uprisings in relation to policing, citizenship, and democracy. As economic crises necessitate ever wider policing, what new opportunities for revolt will arise? As conflicts over nationality and migration intensify, what alternatives can we present to liberal notions of citizenship? As trust in government erodes, what visions can anarchists offer beyond representative democracy? Our struggles must spread narratives and tactics that contest the legitimacy of these forces – and the future of freedom hangs in the balance.


Anarchist Black Cross Belaruss – Presentation on the book „Going to Magadan“

Anarchist prisoner Ihar Alinevich was kidnapped by plaincloth cops in Moscow and illegally extradited to Belarus, where he was imprisoned for 8 years with incrimination in group hooliganism and intentional destruction of property. In 2013 the book “On the Way to Magadan” compiled of essays from his prison letters was released. Magadan is the city on the far East of Russia which during Stalin times was a major transit point for political prisoners sent to labor camps. Uhar Alinevich is making some comparisons of the prison conditions and his own state between Belarus and Magadan.


International ABC collective – Global week of sildarity with political prisoners

Opening speech „Why to start and what to do?“ and discussion about a global week of solidarity with anarchist political prisoners, which is taking place on 23-30 August 2014


Support-group Solidarity Against Repression Vienna - Criminalization of refugee protests in the broader context

In Austria there is a trial going on against eight people accused of being part of a criminal organization of „human smuggling.“ Some of the accused were involved in the refugee-movement Vienna, they were arrested end of July 2013, after big protests against the deportation of several activists of the refugee-movement. Since then they have been imprisoned, in March 2014 the trial has started.

This trial is a criminalization, not only of a strong anti-racist movement, but of all undocumented border-crossings. The lecture will inform about this ongoing trial in Vienna and bring it to a broader context of repression against social movements, racism, criminalization of migration and the fight for freedom of movement.


Panel discussion on the main topic of the bookfair („how could anarchists contribute to current massive social revolts?“) with Peter Gelderloos, CrimethInc, Adina from Bosnia and anarchist from Ukraine


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Goodbye to the future

Goodbye to the future
An environmentalism that appeals to the future will come too late.
Everyone knows that the past is a foreign country, far fewer realise that the same is true of the future. The ability of humankind to engage with the future is, in fact, even more limited than their ability to engage with the past. This is not illogical, for whilst the past is concrete, real, the future is a tangled web of potentialities and causalities, with everything that does happens colliding with everything else that could happen. Quite simply, the future is a fucking mess.
Sadly it is upon this fucking mess that the environmental movement has chosen to construct its entire argument. “We must act today to save tomorrow” is the cry of the global greens. Great sacrifices must be made immediately for a reward launched far into the distant future. But such a reward it is! Yes, it may be far away now, but one day, dear friend, you may not be flooded! You may not starve! You might not even suffer more than you do already!
Such is the dismal promise of environmentalism. It is on this territory that it fought, and it is on this territory that it lost. There are many reasons, but most fundamental amongst them is this question of temporality. “We must act today to save tomorrow” is a slogan as catchy as it is cataclysmically wrong. Firstly, humans will not fight for the distant future. They might struggle for a better wage tomorrow, the protection of a local park or the preservation of their children’s school. The potent and popular struggle against fracking proves this point. Couched in the cold reality of a hulking rig in your backyard, anti-fracking has become the lifeblood of the European environmental movement. People will willingly put their livelihoods and even their lives on the line to prevent immediate material threats, but they will not do the same for the sake of the world in fifty years’ time.
But even if they did, even if humanity upped its cognitive sticks and redefined the territory of its groupthink, the exercise would be utterly pointless. Let us presume such a thing as a “green capitalism” is possible, that the relentless search for surplus is compatible with the preservation of the planet. Whatever this reformed system might look like, it is clear we are very far from it today. In order to leap into this brave new world, a transition of gargantuan proportions is necessary. Firstly we would need to see some of the largest energy companies on earth give up fossil fuels in favour of renewables. In 2012 Exxon Mobil had net profits of $44.88 billion, its total assets amounting to $333.795 billion.1 To bring these numbers into perspective, compare them with the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer, Vestas, who in 2010 reported net profits of €156 million and total assets of €7.066 billion.2 We mention assets in this context as it is worth thinking of the huge carbon stockpiles possessed by the big energy companies. Exxon Mobil's reserves were 72 billion oil-equivalent barrels at the end of 2007.3 In 2013, Mobil announced it was replacing these reserves at a rate of 115%.4 That Mobil would willingly leave these resources in the ground for a notional payment of 50% of their value, as some have proposed, seems hopelessly utopian.5 Secondly we would have to see a global commitment to sustainable resource extraction. Mining, forestry, fishing, the industrialised harvesting of Earth’s bounty would have to be greatly limited. Given the amount large companies have invested in the means by which these processes are carried out, it seems highly unlikely this will happen anytime soon.
Thus the crux of the matter is not “can you build a green capitalism” but “can you build a green capitalism in time”? This is not an abstract academic exercise, but a race in which there are definite deadlines. Primary amongst these is the 2 degrees Celsius rise in global temperature, which, under current projections, will need to be revised upwards within the next decade.6 This 2 degrees change signals the point at which "dangerous climate change” is unleashed. Given the amount of devastation that already surrounds us, it is sobering to think what “dangerous climate change” might actually look like. In addition to this we have the prospect of global collapse of integral ecosystems. As early as 2006, a third of the worlds fisheries had collapsed, by 2050 it is eminently possible that every single fishery on Earth will have followed suit.7
All the available evidence points to a simple conclusion; even if green capitalism is possible, it cannot be adopted in time to stave off increasingly severe collapses.
Unfortunately, the situation is actually even worse than this. In July 2011 the respected climate scientist Kevin Anderson made a speech in which he said that averting dangerous climate change is no longer possible.8 The potent effects previously associated of the 2 degree rise were actually based on a series of miscalculations.9 In reality it would only take a 1 degree rise in global temperatures to trigger “dangerous climate change”. 10 Up till now humanity has been cowering from a bullet we thought was speeding towards us. It turns out we’re in shock. The bullet isn’t in flight, its already hit us. The disaster we thought was in the future has actually already happened, now we have a matter of moments to save ourselves. Tomorrow is too late, for we will bleed out long before then. Everything must be done at a ferocious, frantic pace. No future, to survive we must act now.
As an utter necessity we must abandon the future, for we cannot win there. No future, for we will never convince the majority to fight for the sake of a time they cannot imagine. No future, for capital will always defeat any strategy based on a next-ness, for against airy notions of tomorrow’s world, they can posit the cold hard facts of today counted out in wages and jobs. No future, because, right now, there is literally no future, right now we are condemned to collapse.
But “no future” alone is a nihilistic thing to cry. To survive we must couple bleak reality with the utopian impulse. No Future, Utopia Now. Let us jettison the notion of gradual change. There is no time for a transition. Let us pledge ourselves unflinchingly to a utopia. Not a distant one, not an imaginary thrown out into the future, but one we can build right now. One in which work is all but abandoned, in which the liberation of every minority is a priority, in which collective well-being is the only ideology. In which the machines which previously worked against Earth and its inhabitants are turned into the mechanisms of their preservation and emancipation.
The new utopian movement will not be Eurocentric. It will incorporate that which is vibrant right now, the indigenous awakening which dwarfs the struggles in Europe. Idle No More in North America and the anti-dam struggles in the South, have shown a nascent potency which only blossoms when the government sends in cops or troops. Real hope is revealed in the light from burning cop cars outside Elsipogtog.11 The new movement cannot limit itself to that which is legal. As things stand, the destruction of Earth stands well within the law. Actions for its preservation, much less so.
The current system of production poses an existential threat, a threat against which collective action is our only hope. Thus we come to the Luddites - and not out of a primitivist desire for a return to a pre-industrial utopia. What is important about the Luddites was that they recognised that their own welfare existed in contradiction with the welfare of current industry.
“Around and around we all will stand
And eternally swear we will,
We'll break the shears and windows too
And set fire to the tazzling mill.”
How Gloomy And Dark. Luddite Song.
To propose a modern environmental movement based on frame-breaking may sound an absurd anachronism. However, on the day we began to write this piece, villagers in Baha, south-western China stormed a factory that had been polluting their land, smashing its offices and equipment. One of the villagers who participated in the attack is quoted as saying; "we have been living with the factory for 14 years, and we live in dust almost every day and can't sell our rice and other farm products… We need to live."12 Such a lucid conception of the incompatibility of this system of production with the wellbeing of those who live under it must be generalised. Despite this, it is worth remembering that the system is vulnerable in a thousand ways. Just as potent as an anti-industrial strategy would be an intelligent industrial one. When the capitalist class attempted to destroy the green spaces of Sydney in the 1970s, the city’s inhabitants turned to the syndicalist New South Wales Builders Labourers Federation (BLF). The BLF passed Green Bans upon the spaces at risk, agreeing that none of its members would work on the sites. The bans would eventually hold up as many as 40 developments worth over $5 billion.13
Despite the bleak reality, there is hope. There are those willing to give up their lives to destroy this collapsing dystopia and build anew amidst the ruins. What we need is a message which captures this willingness, and mechanisms by which it may be challenged to alternately destructive and constructive ends. More than any struggle before this, we need a variety of weapons and tools. We need to materialise solidarity with those still fighting the settlers on their land, and link their struggle with the global battle for survival. Paradoxically, this is a struggle we cannot win as long as we define it in terms of survival alone. We must promise the earth to all those willing to save it.
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[Footnotes and discussion here:  http://libcom.org/blog/goodbye-future-24022014  ]
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