A bunch of links, and then some rambling about the US.

I still don’t really have any particularly original thoughts on recent events, but here’s a big list of various events and articles that’ve caught my eye over the last week or so:
First of all, last week I complained that there didn’t seem to be any good source for translated texts from the current Spanish movement comparable to Occupied London. Well, there now seems to be quite a decent one in the form of From the Plazas. Also on the Spanish movement, Peter Gelderloos and CrimethInc have produced articles examining the situation in depth.
In North America, the situation in Wisconsin seems to have heated up again, with direct action disrupting a vote on the state budget, a tent city forming, and an attempted blockade of the Capitol Square. Over in Canada, postal workers went out in a wildcat strike, supported by local anarchists. Meanwhile, Asia’s seen a wildcat strike in India, power shortages caused by an energy strike in Pakistan, and heated class conflict in Sri Lanka and China. The situation in Greece is still pretty volatile as the country moves towards a massive general strike on June 15th.
On a more reflective note, here’s two pieces about the revolt in Egypt and the Arab countries more generally, and the always-interesting DSG have a new piece about current conflicts in the internet. Some of the claims they make about the importance of these events seem a bit overblown to me, but who knows?
Closer to home, there’s also been a lot going on: Ken Clarke’s constituency offices have been redecorated (just to make it clear, I don’t think this kind of individual vandalism is any kind of a political way forward or substitute for collective action, but if people are going to do it, then they should at least target it well, and this seems like a pretty good choice), police repression against anti-cuts and feminist campaigners continues in Glasgow, while the campaign against police repression in Newcastle has called a demo for this Saturday. This recent piece by a Scottish anarchist gives a good argument as to why we shouldn’t be surprised by this kind of behaviour, which is just the police carrying out their normal function in society. On the workplace front, there’s been a lot going on, with industrial action at tax offices, a successful wildcat strike by posties, and new strike dates announced on the tube. Of course, the most important strike coming up is still the big joint one on June 30th, and SolFed have kindly produced an array of different posters and flyers without any branding on as a useful resource for all of us at the radical end of the anti-cuts movement. This week’s also seen some impressive success in the ongoing struggle against workfare and benefit cuts, as a workfare conference has been cancelled due to pressure, and new legal advice has suggested that workfare (or “forcing people to work for less than the minimum wage”, as it’s also known) may in fact be illegal. The pressure’s also being kept up on the parasites of Atos, with a 50-strong picket of a recruitment event in Glasgow and upcoming pickets planned in Cambridge and Manchester. But work and benefits aren’t the only area of struggle, as the Slutwalk phenomenon spreading to London, Manchester and Edinburgh has shown. As well as determined champions like Laurie Penny, the Slutwalks have also attracted a substantial amount of criticism from more traditional feminists. I’m not entirely sure where I stand in this debate myself, but I do think that, as with other movements like the Spanish camps or the struggle against cuts, it’s important for critiques to be supportive and engaged with the movement, not just standing outside denouncing it for not immediately springing up with perfect politics. Finally, internal conflict’s flared up between the two major factions in the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts. (By linking to one side’s version of events, I am in no way endorsing them, since I really can’t see much to choose from between the authoritarians of Workers’ Power and the authoritarians of the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty.) There’s a limit to how much this matters, since the brief moment when the NCAFC was able to mobilise huge militant demonstrations has long passed, but it’s still slightly sad to see an organisation that was once able to play a useful role destroying itself like this.
Last of all, this isn’t news by any definition, but I think this statement from the newly-formed First of May Anarchist Alliance is worth a read. Class-struggle anarchist organisation in North America’s been quite weak for a long time, as tendencies like primitivism and individualism have exercised considerably more influence than they do in most places, and those anarchists who do uphold revolutionary class politics often seem to be polarised between insurrectionists who have a lot of worthwhile ultra-left critiques, but often seem to be totally anti-organisation, as well as having an excessive fondness for various forms of offputting and incomprehensible jargon, (it’s not my revolution if I can’t work out what you’re talking about!) and groups influenced by the platformist/especifismo/Anarkismo tradition, who have a very commendable focus on class politics and building mass movements, but sometimes abandon vital anarchist critiques of the trade unions and nationalism along the way. (This is a very brief sketch, written by someone who lives on a different continent, so apologies if I’ve distorted or misrepresented anything there.) Coming from that context, I thought the First of May statement shows a really valuable commitment to working out an independent anarchist politics without just reproducing any of the existing traditions wholesale, comparable to a more specifically anarchist equivalent of the Commune. I don’t agree with everything they say (for instance, I think their blanket rejection of “Marxism” comes a little too close to dogmatism), but they certainly seem to be asking the right questions.

About nothingiseverlost

"The impulse to fight against work and management is immediately collective. As we fight against the conditions of our own lives, we see that other people are doing the same. To get anywhere we have to fight side by side. We begin to break down the divisions between us and prejudices, hierarchies, and nationalisms begin to be undermined. As we build trust and solidarity, we grow more daring and combative. More becomes possible. We get more organized, more confident, more disruptive and more powerful."
This entry was posted in Anarchists, Disability, Gender, Internationalism, Internet, Protests, Repression, Strikes, Students, The left and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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