Archive for anti government

Revolt Spreads Across the Globe as “Crisis” Continues to Unfold

Posted in Anarchy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2009 by Anarchy Library

After numerous European governments expressed fear that the unrest in Greece would spread to neighboring countries and perhaps around the world, the spreading global revolt has taken on another tone: that of confronting the elite for their manipulation of the economic “crisis” (which is really a systemic collapse) in order to consolidate yet even more wealth as the masses of the world suffer the brunt of the former’s greed. The spirit of the Greek revolt has not been forgotten, however, for it is clear whose interests the police serve and protect (as America was recently reminded in Oakland).

As Iceland became the first country to fall due to popular revolt against the economic elite, and then proceeded to elect their first female PM, who is also openly gay, things are heating up around the globe. Recently, over 1,000 protesters assembled illegally to protest the World Economic Forum in Geneva, Switzerland, and while the protests were overwhelmingly peaceful, fear of unrest prompted the police to systematically target and arrest known and identified militants and revolutionaries.

As GNN’s Grady reports, in China “2,000 workers and farmers held wage protests for twelve days outside of Shanghai” in December 2008, “striking workers and security guards clash in a textile factory in Dongguan” on January 15th, and on January 16th, “100 police officers stage a rally in Shenzhen after being sacked from their jobs.” The Times Online also reports that in the southern province of Guangdong, “three jobless men detonated a bomb in a business travellers’ hotel in the commercial city of Foshan to extort money from the management.” In the 12 days of mass demonstrations last December, the Times reports:

…angry workers besieged labour offices and government buildings after dozens of factories closed their doors without paying wages and their owners went back to Hong Kong, Taiwan or South Korea. In southern China, hundreds of workers blocked a highway to protest against pay cuts imposed by managers. At several factories, there were scenes of chaos as police were called to stop creditors breaking in to seize equipment in lieu of debts.

In France, an estimated 2.5 million people hit the streets in a national general strike in response to the global economic collapse, and in disdain of the handling of the so-called “crisis” by their country’s ruling-class economic elite. The Telegraph reported that “the streets filled with flag-waving protesters and in Paris protesters clashed with police, throwing bottles, overturning cars and starting a fire in the street. After a day of peaceful protests, violence erupted on the fringes of the Paris protest. Dozens of young men wearing scarves across their face were charged down by riot police after throwing stones and bottles, tearing up manhole covers and lighting fires in the Opera district.”

The Beeb reports

Across Europe, victims of the economic slump who are losing their jobs in their tens of thousands are furious that public money is being doled out to the banks. In some countries, they are more willing to vent their anger. As huge crowds took to the streets across France this week, in a national day of protests and strikes, the far left points to a boost in the number of its supporters in times of financial gloom.

Certainly, ministers in Paris are wary of some form of insurrection. Recent intelligence reports talk about an “elevated threat” from an “international European network… with a strong presence in France” and a “new generation of activists”, possibly a “re-birth of the violent extreme left”. A spokesman for the interior ministry, Gerard Gachet, told the BBC that the threat was real. “The term ‘ultra-left’ was used by the interior minister to set this group apart from the extreme left who turn up for elections and keep within the parameters of democratic debate,” he says. But talking of more radical groups, he points to recent pamphlets and books published anonymously, but sometimes with a circulation of about 20,000, with titles such as How to Start a Civil War and The Insurrection That is Coming. “They say that the fires of revolt will spread everywhere,” he says, “and we see acts like damage to bank branches or state buildings and claims of solidarity with the Greek rioters.

The Guardian reported that “the French government fears a wave of extreme left-wing terrorism this year with the possible sabotage of key infrastructure, kidnappings of major business figures or even bomb attacks. Last week hundreds of fly-posters around Paris called on young people ‘forced to work for a world that poisons us’ to follow the example of their Greek counterparts. ‘The insurrection goes on. If it takes hold everywhere, no one can stop it,’ the posters said.” In another article entitled “Governments across Europe tremble as angry people take to the streets,” The Guardian reported: “France paralysed by a wave of strike action, the boulevards of Paris resembling a debris-strewn battlefield. The Hungarian currency sinks to its lowest level ever against the euro, as the unemployment figure rises. Greek farmers block the road into Bulgaria in protest at low prices for their produce. New figures from the biggest bank in the Baltic show that the three post-Soviet states there face the biggest recessions in Europe.”

Across Russia, thousands of protesters demonstrated against their government’s economic policies and response to the global economic crisis, echoing the grievances of others around the globe. Al Jazeera reports that “Russian police forcefully broke up many of the anti-government protests on Saturday, arresting dozens of demonstrators.”

In Mexico City, the BBC reports, thousands of people “protested against what they say is the inadequate response by the government to growing economic problems in Mexico.”

As the global economic collapse continues to unfold, the spirit of revolt and resistance is being rekindled within the hearts of the masses, and the people of the world are rising up. Resistance is spreading from Athens, Riga, Paris, Budapest, Kiev, Reykjavik, China, Mexico, and elsewhere.

Chris Hedges recently wrote that “the daily bleeding of thousands of jobs will soon turn our economic crisis into a political crisis. The street protests, strikes and riots that have rattled France, Turkey, Greece, Ukraine, Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria and Iceland will descend on us. It is only a matter of time. And not much time.” He continues:

At no period in American history has our democracy been in such peril or has the possibility of totalitarianism been as real. Our way of life is over. Our profligate consumption is finished. Our children will never have the standard of living we had. And poverty and despair will sweep across the landscape like a plague. This is the bleak future. There is nothing President Obama can do to stop it. It has been decades in the making. It cannot be undone with a trillion or two trillion dollars in bailout money. Our empire is dying. Our economy has collapsed. How will we cope with our decline? Will we cling to the absurd dreams of a superpower and a glorious tomorrow or will we responsibly face our stark new limitations? Will we heed those who are sober and rational, those who speak of a new simplicity and humility, or will we follow the demagogues and charlatans who rise up out of the slime in moments of crisis to offer fantastic visions? Will we radically transform our system to one that protects the ordinary citizen and fosters the common good, that defies the corporate state, or will we employ the brutality and technology of our internal security and surveillance apparatus to crush all dissent? We won’t have to wait long to find out.

Joshua Holland, in a recent piece on AlterNet entitled “The Whole World Is Rioting as the Economic Crisis Worsens — Why Aren’t We?,” reported that “explosive anger is spilling out onto the streets of Europe. The meltdown of the global economy is igniting massive social unrest in a region that has long been a symbol of political stability and social cohesion. It’s not a new trend: A wave of upheaval is spreading from the poorer countries on the periphery of the global economy to the prosperous core.” He continues:

Over the past few years, a series of riots spread across what is patronizingly known as the Third World. Furious mobs have raged against skyrocketing food and energy prices, stagnating wages and unemployment in India, Senegal, Yemen, Indonesia, Morocco, Cameroon, Brazil, Panama, the Philippines, Egypt, Mexico and elsewhere. For the most part, those living in wealthier countries took little notice. But now, with the global economy crashing down around us, people in even the wealthiest nations are mad as hell and reacting violently to what they view as an inadequate response to their tumbling economies. At least in Western Europe, cries of “burn the shit down!” are being heard in countries with some of the highest standards of living in the world—states with adequate social safety nets; countries where all citizens have access to decent health care and heavily subsidized educations. Places where minimum wages are also living wages, and a dignified retirement is in large part guaranteed. The far ends of the ideological spectrum appear to be gaining currency as the crisis develops, and people grow increasingly hostile toward the politics of the status quo.

How will the people of America respond to the systematic consolidation of wealth within their own country, coupled with environmental degradation and the unfolding police state? At what threshold will the people of America have had enough? At what point will we stand up and resist our own destruction? The choice is ours.

You shouldn’t be so timid—you are not alone. There are millions of us waiting for you to make yourself known, ready to love you and laugh with you and fight at your side for a better world. Follow your heart to the places we will meet. Please don’t be too late.Fighting For Our Lives

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Governments across Europe tremble as angry people take to the streets

Posted in Anarchy with tags , , , , , , , on February 2, 2009 by Anarchy Library

Reclaim The Streets

France paralysed by a wave of strike action, the boulevards of Paris resembling a debris-strewn battle. The Hungarian currency sinks to its lowest level ever against the euro, as the unemployment rises. Greek farmers block the road into Bulgaria in protest at low prices for their produce.

It’s a snapshot of a single day – yesterday – in a Europe sinking into the bleakest of times. But while the outlook may be dark in the big wealthy democracies of western Europe, it is in the young, poor, vulnerable states of central and eastern Europe that the trauma of crash, slump and meltdown looks graver.

Exactly 20 years ago, in serial revolutionary rejoicing, they ditched communism to put their faith in a capitalism now in crisis and by which they feel betrayed. The result has been the biggest protests across the former communist bloc since the days of people power.

Europe’s time of troubles is gathering depth and scale. Governments are trembling. Revolt is in the air.
Athens

Alexandros Grigoropoulos, a 15-year-old middle-class boy going to a party in a rough neighbourhood on a December Saturday, was the first fatality of Europe’s season of strife. Shot dead by a policeman, the boy’s killing lit a bonfire of unrest in the city unmatched since the 1970s.

There are many wellsprings of the serial protests rolling across Europe. In Athens, it was students and young people who suddenly mobilised to turn parts of the city into no-go areas. They were sick of the lack of jobs and prospects, the failings of the education system and seized with pessimism over their future.

This week it was the farmers’ turn, rolling their tractors out to block the motorways, main road and border crossings across the Balkans to try to obtain better procurement prices for their produce.
Riga

The old Baltic trading city had seen nothing like it since the happy days of kicking out the Russians and overthrowing communism two decades ago. More than 10,000 people converged on the 13th-century cathedral to show the Latvian government what they thought of its efforts at containing the economic crisis. The peaceful protest morphed into a late-night rampage as a minority headed for the parliament, battled with riot police and trashed parts of the old city. The following day there were similar scenes in Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital next door.

After Iceland, Latvia looks like the most vulnerable country to be hammered by the financial and economic crisis. The EU and IMF have already mounted a 7.5bn (6.6bn) rescue plan but the outlook is the worst in Europe.

The biggest bank in the Baltic, Swedbank of Sweden, yesterday predicted a slump this year in Latvia of a whopping 10%, more than double the previous projections. It added that the economy of Estonia would shrink by 7% and of Lithuania by 4.5%.

The Latvian central bank’s governor went on national television this week to pronounce the economy “clinically dead. We have only three or four minutes to resuscitate it”.
Paris

Burned-out cars, masked youths, smashed shop windows, and more than a million striking workers. The scenes from France are familiar, but not so familiar to President Nicolas Sarkozy, confronting the first big wave of industrial unrest of his time in the Elys’e Palace.

Sarkozy has spent most of his time in office trying to fix the world’s problems, with less attention devoted to the home front. From Gaza to Georgia, Russia to Washington, Sarkozy has been a man in a hurry to mediate in trouble spots and grab the credit for peacemaking.

France, meanwhile, is moving into recession and unemployment is going up. The latest jobless figures were to have been released yesterday, but were held back, apparently for fear of inflaming the protests.
Budapest

A balance of payments crisis last autumn, heavy indebtedness and a disastrous budget made Hungary the first European candidate for an international rescue. The $26bn (18bn) IMF-led bail-out shows scant sign of working. Industrial output is at its lowest for 16 years, the national currency – the forint – sank to a record low against the euro yesterday and the government also announced another round of spending cuts yesterday.

So far the streets have been relatively quiet. The Hungarian misery highlights a key difference between eastern and western Europe. While the UK, Germany, France and others plough hundreds of billions into public spending, tax cuts, bank bailouts and guarantees to industry, the east Europeans (plus Iceland and Ireland) are broke, ordering budget cuts, tax rises, and pleading for international help to shore up their economies.

The austerity and the soaring costs of repaying bank loans and mortgages taken out in hard foreign currencies (euro, yen and dollar) are fuelling the misery.
Kiev

The east European upheavals of 1989 hit Ukraine late, maturing into the Orange Revolution on the streets of Kiev only five years ago. The fresh start promised by President Viktor Yushchenko has, though, dissolved into messy, corrupt, and brutal political infighting, with the economy, growing strongly a few years ago, going into freefall.

Three weeks of gas wars with Russia this month ended in defeat and will cost Ukraine dearly. The national currency, at less than half the value of six months ago, is akin to the fate of Iceland’s wrecked krona. Ukrainians have been buying dollars by the billion. In November the IMF waded in with the first payments in a $16bn rescue package.

The vicious power struggles between Yushchenko and the prime minister, Yuliya Tymoshenko, are consuming the ruling elite’s energy, paralysing government and leaving the economy dysfunctional. Russia is doing its best to keep things that way.
Reykjavik

Proud of its status as one of the world’s most developed, most productive and most equal societies, Iceland is in the throes of what is, by its staid standards, a revolution.

Riot police in Reykjavik, the coolest of capitals. Building bonfires in front of the world’s oldest parliament. The yoghurt flying at the free market men who have run the country for decades and brought it to its knees.

An openly gay prime minister takes over today as head of a caretaker government. The neocon right has been ditched. The hard left Greens are, at least for the moment, the most popular party in the small Arctic state with a population the size of Bradford.

The IMF’s bailout teams have moved in with $11bn. The national currency, the krona, appears to be finished. Iceland is a test case of how one of the most successful societies on the globe suddenly failed.

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A statement from the Icelandic anarchist collective Aftaka on the recent collapse of the Icelandic government

Posted in Anarchy with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 31, 2009 by Anarchy Library

The Icelandic Government has collapsed and some people talk about a revolution. In a way it is true. Simply ordinary people turned this government down by writing articles, holding speeches, noise demonstrations, bonfires, car horns, direct action, civil disobedience and sabotage. A nation that before had no sign of life, only citizen obedience and servility, finally stood up and said: “No thanks! No more shit.”

But what will follow? Have we reached the goal? Is the minority government of the Left Greens (Vinstri Grænir) and the Social Democrats (Samfylkingin) enough? Are we just going to be happy with new elections this spring?

From the beginning of the economic crisis, following the collapse and nationalization of the three major Icelandic business banks, loud voices have been heard, demanding that the government would resign and elections would take place as soon as possible. The same voices have as well demanded that the boards of the financial institutions would be changed; in the Central Bank, Financial Supervisory and the three recent state owned banks. Hörður Torfason and his fellows from the organization Raddir Fólksins (The People’s Voices) took the first step by organizing weekly demonstrations where sharp and variously good speeches have been held, followed by the public’s jubilation.

At the same time more radical actions have taken place. Anarchists and other radicals have used direct actions, tried to stop the government from having meetings, stopped formal parliament meetings, attacked the police station and stopped worked in the banks and the Financial Supervisory. These two formations than came together on Tuesday last week, January 20th, when thousands of people gathered by the parliament with the aim to disrupt and hopefully cut the first parliamentary session of the new year – and did so. During the next seven days bonfires, industrial samba-bands and noise demonstrations became daily events.

The pre-event of this collaboration of radicals and the “ordinary” citizens was by Hotel Borg on the last day of the year, where protesters cut a live broadcast of a annual party political TV show where the heads of the political parties discuss the recent political year over champagne and herring. The original plan of the protest was to disrupt the broadcast with noise and torches, but soon it became clear that that it would not happen without people taking the next step. So people climbed over gates, fought with “innocent” staff that tried to stop people from entering the hotel, pulled apart and burned TV cables and cut off the broadcast. It was a good start.

There was an obvious common demand during the demonstrations over the last week and was highlighted in the slogan that resounded over the city for a whole week: “Disqualified government!” But this slogan says nothing about what is about to come, what people want else than just getting the government away.

On Wednesday night, January 21st, after the police had shot couple of teargas bombs on the protesters, the group moved to the Government’s office. Once again people lit a bonfire and protested against the government. When the police turned up some people started throwing bricks at the cops like before that same evening. At one point young angry man walked to the police, who has well armed with shields, helmets, clubs and pepper spray, and threw a stone at them and shouted: “Just give us permit to vote” he shouted and continued: “then these protests will quit.”

These words came as a surprise to a lot of people. “Just give us the permit to vote!” Is that really the main demand? And does it make one so angry not to be allowed to vote, that throwing stones becomes the tactic to propel elections?

Of course, there are different opinions and ideas about what the planned elections this spring will lead to. Some people believe it is enough to vote for the Left Greens, that it will lead to positive changes. Others believe that it is possible to change the system from inside, want to push forward new political parties in the upcoming elections, which will than hopefully draw the lines of changes in the constitution and the system. Even others want the party-system away and encourage individuals’ candidatures.

These ideas have one thing in common, they are all based on the idea that reforms inside the current system are steps in the right directions, step towards a more just society. They do not demand radical changes – revolution. An therefore it is strange to see people standing on Austurvöllur (the square in front of the parliament) shouting slogans like “Long live the revolution!” – no revolution has taken place apart from the fact that the government has collapsed.

When we will get closer to the upcoming elections we can expect the same thing as usual. The political parties will lounge their image campaigns, compete in advertising, which has the best designers and computer technique. That’s how it always is. And then one there is one thing that matters: Money. Those who have the most money or the political party that has the best access to money is going to be the most visible force in the election campaign. And same story will continue if the elections will be between individuals instead of parties. While we stay inside the system we have lived in until now, individuals’ results will be based only on who has the most money.

The reasons for the collapse of the government and the discussion about it show very well what today’s politics are about. Sjálfstæðisflokkurin (The Independence Party, right wing conservatives) refused to fire Davíð Oddsson from the board of the Central Bank, because of his fearsome hold on the society. Even though he is hidden in the Central Bank, he still sits on the top – or at least sat there before the collapse – of Icelandic authorities and no one is allowed to alter with him or his opinions. Fearing the impact of firing Oddsson from the Central Bank, the Independence Party could do nothing. Therefore it is going to be extremely interesting to see if a new government will dare to fire Oddsson and what impact it will have on the Icelandic society, since it is clear the Oddsson has a serious blackmailing force in Iceland.

And then the two parties – The Independence Party and the Social Democrats – argued about which of them should get the prime ministry. And those arguments were enough take down the government. The collapse is a result of endless power mongering. That’s what today’s politics are about – to receive and remain powers. It is not about creating a society based on justice and equality, freedom and co-operation. It is not about trying to create a healthy society, but first and only about power.

These fights expose the politics and show even better what they are about: A stupid game of power, competition about popularity and power; untruth and treachery against those who have no power; those who are oppressed from the beginning of their lives through the education system and other systems of the society. Politics are a game of lies.

We have to resist this game and this corrupt system. That particular resistance is the premise for changes.

If we want new changes we have to turn our backs to the time that used to be and use our imagination. It does not mean we have to fundamentally forget history, but rather learn from it, both mistakes and victories. We have to widen our imagination and not only demand the impossible but first of all do the impossible.

The changes we want to get through have to be built on ideas about international resistance and solidarity. We are not alone on this island; we are only a tiny bit of global struggle of those who have no power against those who have all power, struggle for a world without authority. Everywhere in the world – in Mexico, Greece, Palestine, Iraq, Japan, Belarus, the USA – everywhere does this struggle exist. Of course is it on different stages and the same can be said about authorities’ reactions against it. There is no reason to put together our struggle and the struggle of oppressed Palestinians, except up to the level where it really is common.

What unties us is the fact that we are powerless and we stand against those who have the powers, in a struggle against them and against the system which allows few individuals to receive this power. We fight for people to take control of their own lives and the organization of the society, and destroy all power structures that oppress and kill.

And though the situation often looks bad and way too many people are blinded by authorities’ propaganda about the necessity of the power to remain in their own hands, the fact is that our united struggle against them is real and the solidarity as well.

Last Saturday, fliers were distributed during the weekly demonstration by the parliament, encouraging people to concern more for each other, during radical actions as well as during people’s daily life. It also said that people should not even dare to think that it is more necessary to break down the government than to destroy the patriarchy and fight against all injustice towards those who have another skin color than most Icelanders and those who do not identify themselves straight.

The society is full of class division and injustice, based on ideas stating that some people are higher than other. Muscularity, white color of skin and heterosexuality are the highest values of the society and all individuals that do not fall under them then become automatically lower and therefore become the targets of prejudices, irritation and violence. These ideas have been completely got into the system and will not be broken inside it. We need to destroy the whole system.

Let’s not celebrate when a woman (and even more: a homosexual woman) will now become a prime minister for the first time here in Iceland. Let’s not celebrate when women get high and respected positions of power. Let’s not celebrate when a black man becomes the president of the USA for the first time. Let’s not celebrate these reforms that help the system remaining. Let’s not celebrate when women, homo- and bisexual and non-white individuals manage to work themselves up to the role of the average white straight man. No!

Let’s instead fight against this system, which rows people up in differently high positions and oppresses those how are situated in the lower positions. Let’s fight against the system that allows few individuals to oppress others. Let’s fight against all power pyramids and abuse of power. Let’s fight against unequal distribution of finance and natural resources. Let’s fight against all ideologies that have changed life necessities into to luxury products for the rich.

Then we can for the first time talk about justice and equality. Then we can start talking about real changes. Then we can finally talk about a revolution.

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The First to Fall: Protesters Topple Icelandic Government

Posted in Anarchy with tags , , , , , , , on January 30, 2009 by Anarchy Library

Unrest has spread across the globe as people are losing their jobs, watching their savings vanish before their eyes while banks and other multi-billion dollar institutions are bailed our by their governments. Iceland, a typically tranquil country, has been turned upside down with social unrest, and recently gained the notoriety of being the first government toppled by its people through street protests.

The country had the world’s fifth highest per capita income in 2007, but is now experiencing Unemployment, once at zero, is expected to soar after Iceland sought a bailout from the International Monetary Fund.

A small island country of just 305,000 people is generally laid back with little conflict but after Iceland’s currency, the krona, collapsed and the banking crisis left many Icelanders with unpayable debts, the country fell into almost daily protests. Eggs and toilet paper were thrown, youth scuffled with riot police and for the first time since 1949 the government retaliated with tear gas on demonstrators.

When parliament reconvened after Christmas Break, the politicians were barricaded inside for hours as thousands of protesters smashed windows, set off smoke bombs, banged pots and honked horns demanding the resignation of the ruling conservative party. Many of the other protests took on similarly confrontational tones- including protesters pelting the car of the prime minister (who has now resigned) with eggs and paint.

On January 26, after denying the possibility of holding early elections, Prime Minister Geir Haarde announced the resignation of his cabinet and the collapse of the current coalition government. Social Democrat Johanna Sigurdardottir is expected to fill the vacancy, becoming the first openly gay head of state. Still, despite new leadership and promises to also dispense of the now loathed Central Bank of Iceland, this will unlikely satisfy the protesters, who have widely reached the point of losing faith in all politicians, echoing the sentiments of the Argentinian protests of 2001 that were so well encapsulated in the popular chant “Que Se Vayan Todos- They All Must Go.”

The future of this small island nation is unsure, though it is certain that popular resistance has already forced large concessions to the people of Iceland, sending shockwaves to the leaders of neighboring countries, who have anxiously watched the first government fall to the monumental failures of capitalism.

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An Anarchist Perspective on the “Violence” of the Oscar Grant Riots

Posted in Anarchy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 12, 2009 by Anarchy Library

The news of the riots that followed the shooting of 22-year-old Oscar Grant has sensationally occupied the headlines of Bay Area newspapers and television programs over the last week. These reports have focused almost exclusively on the vandalism of local businesses and cars and have remained chillingly silent on the topic of the police violence that occurred that evening. The troubling assumption made throughout all of the reportage is that the destruction of storefront facades and car windows somehow equates to the horrific execution of Oscar, and that it justified the police violence against demonstrators that night.

As anarchists who were involved in the demonstrations, we fully reject the notion that the vandalizing of private property could ever be weighed against the violence committed against not only Oscar Grant, but against youth of color every day by police and the prison system. This way of thinking, that gives property more value than people, is what allows the violence of the police to become dangerously normalized and unquestioned.

At the time of this writing, the police officer that executed Oscar Grant in cold blood still walks the streets without criminal charges, while some of those arrested during the demonstration are locked away in prison awaiting trial and will likely face harsh sentences. The violent system that so quickly punishes those who demonstrated while simultaneously protecting the murderer of Oscar Grant should be the target of our collective criticism and condemnation, not the angry youth who reacted to the shooting in the streets that night. While Bay Area journalists have presented themselves as being objective reporters of the aforementioned events, their reports and broadcasts repeatedly reveal their bias in favor of the police when recounting the evening of the demonstrations. The endless images of smashed windows and burned cars, and the litany of condemnations of “lawlessness” and “destruction” serve to obscure the most violent events of the night, and indeed the only violence perpetrated against human beings: the brutal police beatings of protesters. One witness described a police officer beating a protester on the head so severely his bike helmet was split in two. Another described how police made over 70 protesters lie down on their stomachs in positions that eerily echoed Oscar Grant’s pose as he was shot. A visibly pregnant woman was screaming in pain after being attacked by police. It is clear to us that the police were protecting private property and not human beings that night. We are disgusted by this, and we condemn Bay Area journalists for being complicit with police violence by attempting to justify their actions.

A very distorted and troubling view of what constitutes violence in our society is perpetuated by the current coverage. A car does not scream in agony when it burns, and similarly a storefront facade does not sob when its plate glass window shatters to the sidewalk below. It is true that the cost of replacing cars and windows may be a burden for the working-class people who were affected, and that is certainly regrettable. However, there is simply no comparison between those costs and the brutal consequences of police violence. The youth who were brutalized by police the night of the demonstration will have to live with their injuries and traumas for years to come, and Oscar Grant cannot be replaced. We call on the public to recognize the real violence in our society – the violence of the police, the prisons and the politicians. As long as police and corrupt politicians protect the cop that killed Oscar, as long as youth of color are continuously attacked and criminalized by the police and court system, as long as property is valued over people – we will not grieve over the property vandalized on Wednesday night.

Signed,
Bay Area Anarchists

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Come Out: An anarchist protest of the Presidential Inauguration

Posted in Anarchy with tags , , , , , , , , on January 12, 2009 by Anarchy Library
We are Ungovernable

We are Ungovernable

An anarchist protest of the Presidential Inauguration

The recent economic crisis has shown us what happens when a small group of wealthy individuals is able to make decisions with long-lasting consequences for the welfare of the American people. Bankers and investors single-mindedly pursued the accumulation of short-term profits, ignoring the devastating effects their behavior could have on the general economy. Now we are preparing to handover the country’s welfare to another small group of wealthy of individuals: the Obama administration. They have consistently and without reservations supported President Bush’s bailout project, and plan to fork over more public money to the same institutions that started the crisis in the first place.

These are bad decisions. They put the welfare of businesses above the welfare of the American people. Businesses do well by slashing wages and cutting jobs in an endless struggle to meet the bottom line, and in doing so screwing over the mass of workers who produce the majority of their wealth. And yet they are also the main provider of employment and healthcare in this country. It is therefore understandable why our government has seen the rejuvenation of the private sector as the key ingredient to improving the welfare of everyday Americans.

This is a protest in support of a different solution: anarchism.

Anarchism is a political movement made up of people obsessed with public accountability. Anarchists…

(1) … believe decisions concerning the production and distribution of goods and services should be made democratically. Our current system, capitalism, puts the majority of our country’s resources in the hands of a few wealthy individuals who have no vested interest in the well-being of the great majority of Americans. As we have seen with the economic crisis, eventually the whole nation suffers. Rather than strap businesses with taxes and regulations to limit their most grievous behavior, anarchists believe we should scrap capitalism altogether and substitute a set of democratic enterprises.

(2) … applaud what little accountability our government has and demand more. But when anarchists talk about democracy they are not referring to our current form of representative democracy, where the people elect officials to make public decisions for them. Anarchists stand for direct democracy, where public decisions are entrusted to the assembly of all individuals who chose to participate. And for anarchists, all decisions affecting the general populace are public.

The anarchist solution can be summarized in this way: let the people decide, and their interests will be guaranteed. Unlike our Founding Fathers, who in the words of James Madison, designed a government to protect “the minority of the opulent against the majority”, anarchists think the American people possess the ability to make sound decisions down to the very foundations of our society. If you believe that government “of the people, by the people, for the people” means more than a choice between two parties every four years, come out in support of real democracy.
We are holding a planning session for the protest on Saturday, January 3rd at 6 PM. Please come– we need your input!

Location

7310 Columbia Ave
Apt 3
College Park, MD 20740

By Metro

Take the Green Line to College Park Station. Make a right at the station exit and head through the tunnel. The building is on the first street parallel to the train line and is directly across from the station.

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