Anarchism and Nonviolence: Time for a ‘Complementarity of Tactics’
by Randall Amster | Review by Steven M. Finger
The author of this article, Randall Amster, points to a ‘phenomenon’ that he says “has been regularly played out in North America since at least the WTO protests in Seattle in 1999.”(Keep that date in mind, I’ve a note at the bottom about it.). He describes it this way: “Antipathy toward anarchists seems to have increased steadily since then, not only from corporate elites and law enforcement officials, but from a number of fellow movement participants as well. Ironically, this comes at a time when interest in anarchism among activists has greatly expanded, and likewise when its impact upon American activism in general has seen a strong resurgence in recent years.”
The usual assumption is that non-violence and anarchy are each at an opposite polar point. However, an exercise that Amster conducted in a series of workshops, demonstrated some values that they have in common with one another: self-governance, rejection of domination, respect and mutual aid, antiwar and anti-oppression practices, solidarity, a radical egalitarianism, and the politics of “prefiguring” the future society.
The author also provides, from Josh Fattal in the Winter 2006 edition of Peace Power, an enlightening presentation of Mohandas Gandhi’s social and political philosophies. The epitome of an icon for those who profess non-violence, it tells of his favor for anarchy. If one comes away convinced that Ghandi is, indeed, an anarchist, then it is probable that they will then see how the two the terms may be conjoined and the activities of each become effective.
However, other examples are provided, and there is no statement put into stone that non-violence or what may be thought of as a tradition of violent anarchy are , in fact and always, compatible. Instead, the thrust of the article is its suggestion that we should consider a ““complementarity of tactics” in which the choices we make are mutually-reinforcing. This is particularly true in an era when provocateurs and propagandists alike can easily exploit the tensions among movement cohorts to denigrate all.”
The change that has already taken place, and the tactics that may come into use, because of the suggestion of an article like this and the workshops and classes already in gear, is worth, I believe, serious consideration.
As to the note that I promised… it was because of the protests of the WTO in Seattle, that Art Kunkin, our original Publisher, took a hand in creating Indiemedia.org here in Los Angeles. He and I celebrated that leap from print as ‘the’ medium of exposing social injustice to the use of the internet, at their 10th Anniversary Party last year. It was quite an occasion – that initial effort (as per wikipedia) grew: “By 2002, there were 89 Indymedia websites covering 31 countries (and the Palestinian territories), growing to over 150 by January 2006, not all of them currently active. Indymedia websites publish in a number of languages, including English, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, French, Russian, Arabic and Hebrew.
Not to divert your attention, but more can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indymedia the point, simply and solely, is that much can come from thinking how one mode can bolster another, not just to improve the system, but to fully change it. Without first burning it down.
Categories: Changing Society, Government & Politics, Social Change, Society and Culture, World Politics Tags: Anarchism, Anarchism and Nonviolence, Changing Society, Community, Nonviolence, Randall Amster, Social Change, Society and Culture
By David Sirota
The real problem facing the Greeks is not how to reduce spending but how to increase revenue collections.
Republicans who ran up massive deficits say the recession comes from overspending. Democrats who gutted the job market with free trade policies nonetheless insist it’s all George W. Bush’s fault. Meanwhile, pundits who cheered both sides now offer non-sequiturs, blaming excessive partisanship for our problems.
But as history (and Freakonomics) teaches, such oversimplified memes tend to obscure the counterintuitive notions that often hold the most profound truths. And in the case of the WRSTGD, the most important of these is the idea that we are in economic dire straits because tax rates are too low.
This is the provocative argument first floated by former New York governor Eliot Spitzer in a Slate magazine article evaluating 80 years of economic data.
“During the period 1951-63, when marginal rates were at their peak — 91 percent or 92 percent — the American economy boomed, growing at an average annual rate of 3.71 percent,” he wrote in February. “The fact that the marginal rates were what would today be viewed as essentially confiscatory did not cause economic cataclysm — just the opposite. And during the past seven years, during which we reduced the top marginal rate to 35 percent, average growth was a more meager 1.71 percent.”
Months later, with USA Today reporting that tax rates are at a 60-year nadir, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a Brookings Institution audience that “the rich are not paying their fair share in any nation that is facing (major) employment issues…whether it is individual, corporate, whatever the taxation forms are.”
In 1953, did Eisenhower say the words that Dylan caught blowin’ in the wind 10 years later? A 1967 experiment resulted in ‘learned helplessness’; is it about to make for a small turnout in the next election, has it already steered many of us away from much of what we could have accomplished? 102 years ago, ‘BP” got its start; who hurts more, Iran or the USA? (Not to worry / Britain seems ok). And, finally, a list – go to the pdf – of state by state questionable interference with our domestic activities. Game changers all.
by Stephen Kinzer
Only one industry in the world can make Wall Street’s earnings look like chump change: Big Oil. This is, after all, a business where a “slump” year for international oil giant ExxonMobil means annual profits of only $19 billion. A few years earlier, on the back of skyrocketing oil prices, the same company had netted $45 billion, the single largest annual profit in history, a sum that exceeded the gross domestic products of more than half the world’s nations. And as Exxon was drilling its way into the record books in the U.S. in 2008, Royal Dutch Shell was doing the same in Britain, hauling in $27.5 billion, or a mind-bending $75 million in profits daily. To keep the cash coming in, the five biggest oil and gas corporations have spent nearly $34 billion in the past three years on exploration. To keep American lawmakers off their backs or in their pockets, they’ve spent $195 million on lobbying over that same period.
Here’s what they haven’t spent their largesse on: oil-spill response. BP, whose American operations may never recover from its Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, told Congress it spent about $9.6 million in each of the past three years on research into safer drilling technologies. ConocoPhillips spent an even more meager $1.3 million — and that was over three years. Congressman Ed Markey (D-Mass.) has ripped oil companies for their negligence, and called their preparations for future catastrophes “paltry.” Given the funding, it’s hardly a surprise that oil companies like BP are now stuck with antiquated and ineffective tools when a spill occurs, no less a spill a mile under the Gulf of Mexico’s waters. As the Associated Press reported recently, the main technologies being used in the Gulf — oil dispersants, offshore booms, and skimmers — are the very same ones employed to clean up the Exxon Valdez spill two decades ago.
Now that it’s helped create one of the great environmental catastrophes in history, BP has typically pledged to right its wrongs, including by giving $500 million to fund “independent research” into the impact of the Gulf spill on the marine and shoreline environment. Of course, you don’t need millions in funding to know that the effect of BP’s spill will reverberate throughout the Gulf coast region and along Florida’s white sand beaches for decades, possibly generations. As Stephen Kinzer, the acclaimed author of the newly published Reset: Iran, Turkey, and America’s Future, writes in his debut TomDispatch post, the Deepwater spill is hardly the first time BP has wreaked havoc on a nation and its people. Andy
BP in the Gulf — The Persian Gulf
How an Oil Company Helped Destroy Democracy in Iran
By Stephen Kinzer
To frustrated Americans who have begun boycotting BP: Welcome to the club. It’s great not to be the only member any more!
Does boycotting BP really make sense? Perhaps not. After all, many BP filling stations are actually owned by local people, not the corporation itself. Besides, when you’re filling up at a Shell or ExxonMobil station, it’s hard to feel much sense of moral triumph. Nonetheless, I reserve my right to drive by BP stations. I started doing it long before this year’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
My decision not to give this company my business came after I learned about its role in another kind of “spill” entirely — the destruction of Iran’s democracy more than half a century ago.
The history of the company we now call BP has, over the last 100 years, traced the arc of transnational capitalism. Its roots lie in the early years of the twentieth century when a wealthy bon vivant named William Knox D’Arcy decided, with encouragement from the British government, to begin looking for oil in Iran. He struck a concession agreement with the dissolute Iranian monarchy, using the proven expedient of bribing the three Iranians negotiating with him.
Under this contract, which he designed, D’Arcy was to own whatever oil he found in Iran and pay the government just 16% of any profits he made — never allowing any Iranian to review his accounting. After his first strike in 1908, he became sole owner of the entire ocean of oil that lies beneath Iran’s soil. No one else was allowed to drill for, refine, extract, or sell “Iranian” oil.
“Fortune brought us a prize from fairyland beyond our wildest dreams,” Winston Churchill, who became First Lord of the Admiralty in 1911, wrote later. “Mastery itself was the prize of the venture.”
Soon afterward, the British government bought the D’Arcy concession, which it named the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. It then built the world’s biggest refinery at the port of Abadan on the Persian Gulf. From the 1920s into the 1940s, Britain’s standard of living was supported by oil from Iran. British cars, trucks, and buses ran on cheap Iranian oil. Factories throughout Britain were fueled by oil from Iran. The Royal Navy, which projected British power all over the world, powered its ships with Iranian oil.
After World War II, the winds of nationalism and anti-colonialism blew through the developing world. In Iran, nationalism meant one thing: we’ve got to take back our oil. Driven by this passion, Parliament voted on April 28, 1951, to choose its most passionate champion of oil nationalization, Mohammad Mossadegh, as prime minister. Days later, it unanimously approved his bill nationalizing the oil company. Mossadegh promised that, henceforth, oil profits would be used to develop Iran, not enrich Britain.
This oil company was the most lucrative British enterprise anywhere on the planet.
Categories: Business & Finance, Government & Politics, Social Change, World Politics Tags: and America's Future, Anglo-Persian Oil Company, Big Oil, BP, Congressman Ed Markey, Iranian oil, Mohammad Mossadegh, Reset: Iran, Social Change, Stephen Kinzer, Turkey, William Knox D'Arcy
By Rady Ananda
The Law Union of Ontario Movement Defence Committee [MDC] has issued an appeal for broad political support for the G20 arrestees, estimated at nearly 500. Not arrested were members of the supposed anarchist group, Black Bloc, which is suspected of being a police psyops group ordered to start the G20 riot yesterday. Among the protestors, two professional journalists were also reportedly beaten and one arrested.
“The Toronto Police and the ISU appear to have lost control of their ‘prisoner processing center’, denying arrestees meaningful and timely access to counsel while beating and arresting those peacefully protesting their detention outside,” the MDC said in its press release today.
As of 9 am Sunday, the Integrated Security Unit reports that at least 480 people have been arrested on charges including “breach of peace, obstruct police, assault, assault peace officer, cause disturbance, incite riot, mischief, and participate in an unlawful assembly.”
Police attacked at least two professional news journalists during yesterday’s melee. Jesse Rosenfeld of The Guardian was reportedly arrested and beaten late Saturday night. In his last report filed with British news outfit, Rosenfeld wrote:
“[A]cross the country indigenous communities continue to resist government expropriation and environmental destruction of their land for mineral and resource extraction.
“Meanwhile Canada intends to use the G20 to expand the free trade of these mineral and resource commodities….
“[W]hile the Canadian state is using draconian colonial tools to present a veneer of representative legitimacy on the international stage, the streets of Toronto on Thursday asserted an alternative to the top-down style of forcing international consensus.”
Canadian police also beat Jesse Freeston of The Real News Network. Anchor Paul Jay questioned authorities about the incident:
While security for the event cost in the range of $1 billion, police were nowhere to be found when the ‘Black Bloc’ began smashing windows and burning police cars, according to several on scene reports.
One blogger noted that “the police car may have been abandoned there by the Toronto Police as a distraction (or as an excuse for agent provacateurs to act violently).”
Terry Burrows of Global Research asserts, “As events unfold, it is becoming increasingly clear that the ‘Black Bloc’ are undercover police operatives engaged in purposeful provocations to eclipse and invalidate legitimate G20 citizen protest by starting a riot.”
One camera caught a Black Bloc member changing his clothes after the riot, revealing a clean-cut man with a military style haircut:
The Globe and Mail published photos of Black Bloc members wreaking havoc. Burrows notes the new, military style shoes:
Whether or not Black Bloc is a group of paid police provocateurs, at least one corporate media station in Canada, CTV News, assured its audience that the bulk of protestors behaved peacefully, calling it a party atmosphere. In response to police brutality, protesters sang O Canada, hoping to shame police into good behavior.
Regardless of the violence, the message of resistance against G20’s predatory capitalism which is destroying the biosphere and indigenous cultures penetrated the media, as this report reveals:
“Activists and community organizers represented rank-and-file labour, migrant justice, indigenous solidarity, anti-police brutality, ecological justice, anti-war, anti-occupation, queer and trans justice, anti-poverty, anti-capitalist, feminist, anarchist, and many more struggles and campaigns. We are united together, learning from each other and inspired by each other. We are rooted in our communities.”
Rady Ananda’s work has appeared in several online – including the Los Angeles Free Press – and print publications. She obtained a B.S. in Natural Resources from The Ohio State University’s School of Agriculture in 2003.
Categories: Business & Finance, Civil Rights, Government & Politics, World Politics Tags: 4th Estate, Civil Liberties, corporatism, economics, economy, Environment, g20 black bloc are agent provocateurs, G20 free trade, g20 riot psyops, Human Rights, Land Rights, nwo, profits vs people, Psy-Ops, Rady Ananda, resistance, resource extraction
AGADIR, Morocco – Sperm whales feeding even in the most remote reaches of Earth’s oceans have built up stunningly high levels of toxic and heavy metals, according to American scientists who say the findings spell danger not only for marine life but for the millions of humans who depend on seafood.
A report released Thursday noted high levels of cadmium, aluminum, chromium, lead, silver, mercury and titanium in tissue samples taken by dart gun from nearly 1,000 whales over five years. From polar areas to equatorial waters, the whales ingested pollutants that may have been produced by humans thousands of miles away, the researchers said.
“These contaminants, I think, are threatening the human food supply. They certainly are threatening the whales and the other animals that live in the ocean,” said biologist Roger Payne, founder and president of Ocean Alliance, the research and conservation group that produced the report.
The researchers found mercury as high as 16 parts per million in the whales. Fish high in mercury such as shark and swordfish — the types health experts warn children and pregnant women to avoid — typically have levels of about 1 part per million.
The whales studied averaged 2.4 parts of mercury per million, but the report’s authors said their internal organs probably had much higher levels than the skin samples contained.
“The entire ocean life is just loaded with a series of contaminants, most of which have been released by human beings,” Payne said in an interview on the sidelines of the International Whaling Commission’s annual meeting.
Payne said sperm whales, which occupy the top of the food chain, absorb the contaminants and pass them on to the next generation when a female nurses her calf. “What she’s actually doing is dumping her lifetime accumulation of that fat-soluble stuff into her baby,” he said, and each generation passes on more to the next.
Ultimately, he said, the contaminants could jeopardize seafood, a primary source of animal protein for 1 billion people.
“You could make a fairly tight argument to say that it is the single greatest health threat that has ever faced the human species.