What Would a Relevant Anarchist Politics Look Like?

ArgentinaMayDay.jpg picture by adam_freedom Workers and popular organizations connected to the anarchist movement rally on May Day 2009 in a public square in Argentina.

  What would an anarchist politics look like that spoke to the needs of today’s realities and to today’s movements? How can revolutionaries apply the values of anarchism to an understanding of building mass movements from below, an understanding of power, a vision of a future society with the understanding of the organization needed to reach it, coupled with a strong analysis of race, patriarchy, gender and issues of queer liberation?

 OvertownMiami.jpg picture by adam_freedom Miami Autonomy & Solidarity (MAS, pronounced like the word “más” in Spanish) is a small organization of revolutionaries based out of the fourth largest metropolitan areas in the US. While Miami is a hub of international trade and finance, it’s also the third poorest city in the US and with a majority immigrant and people of color population (nearly 60% were born outside the US). Much like the US/Mexico border, Miami is a city where the third and first world grate against each other. Interestingly, similar to the rest of the US South, the city lacks much of an established left as would other large metropolitan areas such as New York, Boston, Chicago and the Bay Area.

  The organization has been in a process of formation, study and debate for over a year prior to announcing themselves publicly in mid-May 2009. While there are certainly a number of well spoken and excellent individual thinkers in the anarchist milieu, MAS’s Points of Unity below represents one of the best collectively written organizational statements of anarchist politics in North America to this date in my opinion. A recommended read.

 

Miami Autonomy & Solidarity Points of Unity

  Miami Autonomy & Solidarity is an organization of people whom have come together for the purpose of developing a revolutionary organization that works within social movements, as well as on the revolutionary level with the ultimate goal of contributing to an autonomous popular class movement of the oppressed that will overthrow capitalism and the state, as well as ending all forms of oppression.    

Role of the Specific Revolutionary Organization 

  Our specific revolutionary organization is a group founded on and working towards theoretical and strategic unity, as well as tactical coordination amongst its members. These organizational principles serve to strengthen our efficiency and effectiveness in developing our ideas and strategies within the broader working class movement. It must be stated that the need for such a group arises out of the practical struggles of the working class to transform itself into a revolutionary class capable of overthrowing capitalism and the state; as well as building society along egalitarian, self-managed, and directly democratic lines.  

  Through our specific revolutionary organization we seek to contribute to the theoretical development of revolutionary social struggles. We engage in the creation of media that communicates the views and political line of the organization, and we directly participate in struggles based on a common strategic program and coordinated activity. The political organization helps keep a historical memory of struggle and ongoing organizational strategic assessments of struggle in mass movements . We strive to retain experiences of success and failures in order to strengthen the social struggle.

  However, unlike some political parties that try to use social movements as a tool to develop their own power, our organization’s relation to the social movement’s is reversed: our organization is a tool of our members and sympathizers within the social movement used to contribute towards the power of the social movements through the development of the autonomous consciousness, capacity, and solidarity of these movements.   We never seek to dominate, impose upon, manipulate, command or control the movements we’re a part of.  Rather we seek to participate as equals within the struggle, offering our ideas and methods as short and long term proposals for the movements towards liberation.  Continue reading

What’s Interesting in Upping the Anti #9

uta_8_final_cover.jpg picture by adam_freedom  Upping the Anti out of Toronto, Canada is perhaps the hottest and best radical left theory/movement journal since it first began publication in late 2005. Releasing its eighth issue as of May 2009, the journal has provided a steady content of articles, interviews, reviews and topic based roundtables by and with movement activists and organizers on the radical left.

  With the tag line “a journal of theory and action” the journal leans towards the more academic side. But unlike some of the more dense and long running left journals (Monthly Review comes to mind), the editorial collective and contributors are nearly all folks engaged in struggle and much of the theory and discussion comes directly out of movement organizing work. It’s not another left journal for radical college professors, but for folks in the movement trying to grapple with many of the difficult issues and conversations that those seeking to create revolutionary change should be. Perspective wise they maintain a pluralistic and non-party stance combined with anti-capitalism, anti-imperialist and anti-oppression politics (the three antis as they call them). Read reviews of issues #3 here and issues #2 and #3 here.

  With this issue UTA brings us an interview “Contour of the Crisis” with three political economy instructors at York University in Toronto on the realities and opportunities for the left in the current financial meltdown (discussed above);  “Movements Where People Can Grow” is an interview/discussuion with Helen Hudson (who among other groups is a board member of the Institute for Anarchist Studies, see their new spiffy website here) with her thoughts on building long-term and sustainable movements; a roundtable with former activists of SLAM (Student Liberation Action Movement, audio archive here) active in opposing tuition increases in the New York public university system in the 1990’s and discussing their strong leadership from women of color; and another roundtable with members of various study groups/circles taken up by radicals in a number of cities.

Helen_Keller.jpg picture by adam_freedom Also, here’s a quote from the back cover of this issue that warms my heart from Helen Kellar, the advocate for the blind. Often left out of history is her radical politics as an anarchist and member of the IWW.

  Capitalism will inevitably find itself face to face with a starving multitude of unemployed workers demanding food or destruction of the social order that has starved them and robbed them of their jobs. in such a crisis the capitalism class cannot save itself… Its police and armies will be powerless to put down the revolt. (1918)

  Here is also a quote on how she first moved towards radical politics from her Wikipedia entry…

   I was appointed on a commission to investigate the conditions of the blind. For the first time I, who had thought blindness a misfortune beyond human control, found that too much of it was traceable to wrong industrial conditions, often caused by the selfishness and greed of employers. And the social evil contributed its share. I found that poverty drove women to a life of shame [referring to prostitution and syphilis] that ended in blindness.

Happy May Day!

Happy May Day – International Workers Day!

¡Felecidades El Primero de Mayo –

Día de Trabajo Internacional!

Por los derechos laboral y contra todos  fronteras.

hacialahuelgageneral.jpg Hacia la huelga general picture by adam_freedom

If you love soccer…

If you’re a lover of the sport of soccer then these two sites are made exactly for you- those who see the game as not just a sport, but a passion and life calling of sorts. These two friends and comrades do not just exemplify this ethic, but want to spread it to everybody else in the world as well. 

 

emerson.jpg picture by adam_freedomFirst is Leftwinger, which dedicates regular commentaries to the love of the Brazilian soccer team Falmengo along with short political commentaries, such as this one on the state of the labor movement and the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) and this one on Obama and the Somali pirates incident. Also worth keeping an eye out for are future additions is the begining of some fictional work.  

 

earthquakeslogo.gif picture by adam_freedomNext, is Under the Blue Banner, which bills itself as “the only live radio show and podcast for your San Jose Earthquakes.”  Producing a weekly online radio show that invites fans to call-in live by phone and participate in an online chat board during games, hosts Ian Martin and Alex Davidson, give a “for the fans, by the fan, all for the love of the Quakes” perspective.

 

Appeal from Staughton Lynd and Machete408 Name Drop

Below is an appeal by radical labor historian Staughton Lyn to help get his recent co-autobiography with his wife, Alice Lynd, into libraries and into paperback form. But readers of Machete408 might be excited to read him quoting from a previously posted article  “Building Radical Unionism” by yours truly discussing the dynamics of building vertical vs. horizontal relationships between workers. Read below. -AW

happygirls.jpg picture by adam_freedom

 

 Dear Fellow Workers, brothers and sisters,
       Greetings.  Many of you know me.  Some of you may have heard the remarks I offered at the centennial gathering in Chicago in 2005.  Others, I hope, will have read the new book about “solidarity unionism” co-authored by Daniel Gross, an organizer in the Starbucks organizing campaign, and myself:  Labor Law for the Rank and Filer: Building Solidarity While Staying Clear Of The Law (PM Press, P.O. Box 23912, Oakland CA 94623, www.pmpress.org.)
       I’m writing because I need your help.  I would appreciate your sharing this message with members of your branch and readers of your local newsletter, if you have one.

Continue reading

Announcing “Ecos de Libertad” Radio Show

 Echosdelibertad.jpg picture by adam_freedom

Check out this new radio by some some of our friends in LA have recently started….

 

Ecos De Libertad transmits “radical & anarchist thoughts and feelings through music, discussion and information.” You can listen to Ecos De Libertad online every Friday, 6-8pm Pacific Time at http://www.killradio.org/, or subscribe to the show’s podcast at http://ecosdelibertad.podomatic.com/ and read a summary of each episode.

 

Summaries of their shows…

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