This is a great video that describes the ups and downs of worker-owned collective businesses. I hope that someday i can be involved with such a business. I don’t like being “bossed” or managed, and much prefer to work cooperatively with others where every person matters. I think quality of life improves when people feel like their opinion actually matters and they have a voice in their place of work.
11:55 am |
June 12 2012
A Critique of the Black Bloc protestors at May Day in Chicago 2012
A critique of black bloc vandalism from the perspective of those who had worked hard to to create a consensus based May Day protest in Chicago. They felt that the Black Bloc protesters used authoritarian methods to over-ride and invalidate the consensus models used to organize protests into a peaceful demonstration.
“The actions of a small group of [black block] protesters could have undermined the success of the demonstration—and put fellow protesters, including many undocumented immigrants, at risk of arrest or worse.”
The affect of black block on the lives of the protestors, their families, and communities needs to be taken into consideration. Especially for undocumented workers. However, I am glad to hear that arrests did not take place and it sounds like the black block protesters were actually quite mild in their approach compared to what they could have done, such as setting cars on fire or smashing windows to businesses.
AS THE march progressed from the Near West Side toward Federal Plaza in downtown Chicago, masked Black Bloc activists and others who believed the march was too conservative—ignoring the appeals of march organizers—moved to the front of the demonstration, bypassing the lead banner, a contingent of disabled participants and a security line made up of union, immigrant rights, Occupy and faith-based activists.
Firecrackers thrown by some people landed among the marchers. From chants of “The workers united will never be defeated” and “¡ICE escucha! Estamos en la lucha,” the chant at the front of the march became “Fuck the police.”
Fortunately, the police didn’t attack the demonstration, and no one was injured. But there are a number of issues flowing from this experience that warrant further discussion.
It’s interesting to hear this critique from the perspective of those involved with the consensus based decisions that shaped the protest.
However, I do think it’s important to acknowledge the importance that the black bloc has in protests. They give more media attention and perhaps show more dramatically and drastically that there are people dissatisfied with the system. They also provide a direct attack to capitalism by destroying its good when they smash property. It’s as if they are saying, “NO we can’t have this anymore”. I’m still trying to understand the significance and what that means for me personally.
I am most certainly opposed to insurrectionary anarchism, which enables its practitioners to exploit and manipulate others, even innocent people, in order to reach their goals. I don’t see how exploitation of innocent people and those trying to work for positive change in the world is helpful.
My guess is that not all people that participate in Blac bloc protests are insurrectionary, and while these protests might have some insurrectionary elements to it, not all are organized in this way.
4:30 pm |
May 11 2012
Boring The May Day Smashup
Was the Spectacular Tip of
a Mundane Iceberg
The article provides a more in-depth look at what anarchism is about beyond the window smashing we hear about in the media. Anarchist sustainable social centers are described, as well as groups that don’t identify as anarchist, but act upon similar principles.
“They didn’t call themselves anarchists, Zerzan says, but they had basically founded an anarchist organization whose primary loyalty was to its membership and not the employers, the city, or the old-boy union leadership.”
The article also explains the reason why political vandalism is used by some anarchists, and how it has been successful in the past at drawing attention to businesses and organizations that were supporting the exploitation of others,
“Local anarchist Sean Carlson, for example, drew the attention of the Seattle Times in 1986 for smashing a window at a University of Washington regents meeting, which prompted an article about how the UW was investing in apartheid-era South Africa.”
We often here the argument that the world is not ready for anarchism. That to smash the state would leave us in total chaos. That people aren’t ready for it yet.
“You need to create a healthy community before you can get there,” he says. “You talk about smashing the state and getting rid of capitalism, but if you want to keep this level of complexity, you can’t have that. The only way you can have it is to get rid of mass society, of modern mass society.” Though he thinks the smashups are necessary to grab people’s attention and make them consider anarchism’s basic ideas, Zerzan’s vision—like Graeber’s—is a generations-long project of building up functional, self-regulating communities that will make the state as we know it irrelevant. (The old Greek word “anarkhos” doesn’t mean “no rules”—it means “no rulers.”)
I think this article is great publicity for anarchism! Saving for future reference.
6:07 pm |
May 10 2012
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