Tag Archives: Anarchism

For Folks in the Seattle Area: Feb 4th Anti-Capitalist Smackdown

Several different anti-capitalist tendencies have come together in the Occupy movement. Now is a chance for us to meet publicly and clarify where we agree and disagree on a few key points.This event is free & open to the public. It will be audio-recorded, and selections will be published online for the benefit of anti-capitalists everywhere.

Participating tendencies (in alphabetic order)
– Anarcho-syndicalism
Black Orchid
– Communization
– Insurrectionary anarchy
– Nihilism

3-5PM: debates on
– The enemy (capitalism or civilization?)
– Revolution (ultimate goals and how to get there)
– Class & identity
– The role of revolutionaries

5-6PM: dinner break

6-7:15PM: debates on
– Unions & solidarity networks
– Prefigurative (anti)politics
– The Occupy movement

7:15-8PM: open discussion with audience

Submissions from the various tendencies are all being finalized and lateral responses are being formulated! This should be a great event!

DC interviews the Comité Organizador de la 3ra Conferencia Anual de la NAASN, Puerto Rico

The Comité Organizador de la 3ra Conferencia Anual de la NAASN, Puerto Rico accepted the heavy mantle of organizing the third annual North American Anarchist Studies Network Conference in Puerto Rico this year, which is scheduled for January 7-8th, 2012 in San Juan. The organizational committee includes two teachers, a farmer, an artist, a student, and a poet. In this interview they provide an in-depth introduction to the history of organizing the conference, the state of anarchism in America and Puerto Rico specifically, and the past, present, and future of anarchist studies.
For more background on the Committee and the Conference, see their mission statement.

Q Interest in having Puerto Rico host this conference began a long time ago – I know that in Toronto last year the idea was certainly floated around, and people on the listserv began suggesting it immediately afterwards.
What was the initial reaction to the idea among Puerto Rican anarchists?
Who picked up and ran with the idea in the early stages?

A We cannot speak of a concerted reaction among Puerto Rican anarchists because although there’s an always evolving non-written history of organizing, there isn’t that much of an anarchist milieu going on from where to draw any explicit opinion. Nevertheless, there are certainly some moderately small groups with different agendas, in addition to anarchists in other socialist organizations as well as individualists, who have nodded their heads in agreement, recognizing the importance of opening spaces for the discussion of such thinking on a bigger scale. At first, members of the ad hoc NAASNPR committee presented the project of housing the third NAASN conference to other groups akin to anarchist thought, but since they were mostly focused on other projects it was put on hold. The first formation of the organizational committee structured the foundations of what would be the conference itself (booking the first venue, the call for papers, the announcing of the event, etc.) and eventually other comrades got in touch to help volunteer with issues such as food, artwork, planning, logistics, writing, and transportation, among others.

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Food for Fraught

Over at Recomposition: Notes for a New Workerism an anarchist hospitality worker in New Zealand shares their story of life on the job. Having been a food service employee myself, I can relate to the profound alienation of that particular industry. Hospitality work is something I hope to never be reduced to again.

It’s not that preparing and serving food is inherently degrading work; in fact, I love that aspect of the job. The co-workers in restaurants frequently develop close bonds working in a fast-paced environment and doing a job well is rewarding in itself. As the author at Recomposition rightly points out, some tasks like chopping vegetables are even pleasantly relaxing.

However, the downsides that inevitably plague food service are the boss, the management, and the culture of entitlement from customers (which are brilliantly summarized in the pamphlet “Abolish Restaurants“). Minor indignities are par for the course when you’re a wage slave at a restaurant. It’s an entry-level job (for the most part), and in an economy full of competition for employment the boss can use your precarious position as leverage to pressure you into otherwise unacceptable situations. I remember being scheduled for a shift at a pizza restaurant an hour before the shift was supposed to start (which ruined my day and wasn’t an isolated incident). I’ve had a boss forge my signature on official documents. I worked a temporary part-time position for five months (I was working two other temporary part-time food service jobs simultaneously) where I was expected to show up for work at the lunch rush every day and was dismissed whenever there was a lull. The minimum wage I reserved for these two hours of work a day barely covered my expense paying for lunch myself, not to mention my commute. I’ve even worn a work uniform with a cartoon caricature of my boss embroidered on the chest. At times working at a restaurant feels like a humiliating parody of life.

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Love Life – December

A beautifully written reflection on anarchism from Jamie Heckert over at the Bella Caledonia website:

“I’m less interested in anarchism as political doctrine and more inspired by anarchism as one possible name by which we might refer to the awareness the hierarchy, domination and obedience are not the truth of life.”

via Love Life – December.

V. Garcia ❧ “Anarchism in Japan”

“Anarchism in Japan” by V. Garcia (AKA Victor Garcia, born in Spain as Tomás Germinal García Ibars, see obit.). This article was originally published in RED AND BLACK 3, (Sydney: Winter 1967).  I haven’t seen this online before, which might be because it’s a little limited (dated, inconsistent transliteration, hagiographic movement publication, etc.). Yet, it’s nice to uncover some more anarchist historiography. Transcribed by D.C.

The text can be found here.

Eugene Travaglio’s “Trials of a Noble Experiment”

Jay Fox (1870-1961) in the offices of the Agitator

The following was written in 1966. Eugene Travaglio, Italian-born American anarchist and friend of the Home Colony, drafted it from memory at the age of 90. (He would pass away in July of 1968.) I obtained the manuscript from the Tacoma Public Library. Transcribed by D.C.

The text can be found here.

Mike Davis’ “Ten Immodest Commandments”

Mike Davis, New Left Review editor and former Students for a Democratic Society activist, gave today’s activists a list of guidelines for our present revolutionary struggles. I’ve taken the liberty to select and reprint them here:

First, the categorical imperative is to organize or rather to facilitate other peoples’ self-organization. Catalyst is good, but organization is better.

Second, leadership must be temporary and subject to recall. The job of a good organizer, as it was often said in the civil rights movement, is to organize herself out of a job, not to become indispensable.

Third, protesters must subvert the media’s constant tendency toward metonymy — the designation of the whole by a part, the group by an individual. (Consider how bizarre it is, for instance, that we have “Martin Luther King Day” rather than “Civil Rights Movement Day.”) Spokespeople should regularly be rotated and when necessary, shot.

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How to Strangle Anarchists

Tokyo: September 1st, 1923 — A cataclysmic earthquake rocks the foundation of Japanese political and social life. Tremors, shocks, and a cloud of fire that engulfs the city kill thousands; many more are butchered by reactionary mobs lashing out against resident foreigners, the working poor, and political dissidents. Weeks later as the bedlam subsides and the city slowly recovers its composure, the bodies of Ito Noe, Ōsugi Sakae, and their six-year old nephew, Tachibana Munekazu, are discovered, naked but wrapped in tatami mats, in an abandoned well. Government authorities launch an investigation into their deaths, quickly bringing a young lieutenant to trial. Though Ito, Ōsugi, and certainly Tachibana were innocent of any crime, they were arrested and murdered by a government gang without trial in the Great Kanto Earthquake’s chaotic aftermath. Implausibly, only two men were ever held responsible for the killings: the lieutenant, Amakasu Masahiko, and his subordinate, Kamoshida. Later known as the Amakasu Incident, the murder of these three can help to foreground an analysis of state repression more broadly.


May Fourth and the Pivot of Chinese Socialism

This essay analyzes the reception of communalism in China in the context of the powerful currents that contributed to and shaped it: the New Village Movement, anarchism, and Communism. Following on the heels of the fall of the Qing dynasty and the end of World War I, the May Fourth period was a time when China appeared threatened by imperialism from without and social war caused by the inequalities and instabilities of modernization from within. The former also shaped the latter, as clearly exemplified in the Boxer Uprising. However, for many Chinese intellectuals the solution to their national problems was not simply a matter of rejecting the globalizing world or of opposing it with force as the Boxers had done; rather, they sought to transform themselves into a society in consonance with modernity by studying foreign ideas. These ranged from Western science and democracy to religion and philosophy. Below is an investigation into communal living in the May Fourth period, a specific method of social transformation that synthesized and adapted elements from the New Village Movement, anarchism, and humanism. As a response to geopolitical and transnational intellectual movements, this communalism is particular to the May Fourth period in China. It marks the May Fourth period as a time when the possibilities for political action were not limited by the party form or by ideology.


Atarashiki mura Utopianism in Interwar Japan

Interwar Japan witnessed the founding of one of the longest running  secular intentional communities in the world, Atarashiki mura. Yet the historiography of twentieth century Japan seldom includes the story of this project. Over ninety years after its founding it continues to operate espousing its original goals of humanism and individualism, albeit in constant financial trouble and in a location different from where it was established. Historians of Japanese political thought generally ignore this movement, focusing instead on either the intrigues of Taisho party politics or the threat (or possibility, depending on one’s disposition) of radical socialist movements and intellectuals. This has led to a dominant narrative of contested liberalization, preceding the authoritarian hypernationalism of Hirohito’s reign. From this picture of the time period the reader is left to conclude that there were at most two distinct sides to the interwar political spectrum, the party/Imperial oligarchy and the socialist movement that was progressively beaten down and wiped out by the state. Once this oppositional element was eliminated, the state could expand unhindered into totalitarianism.