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Archive for December, 2008

apocgraphic

Anarchist People of Color (APOC) is a political tendency made up of collectives and individuals across the United States and elsewhere who discuss and organize around projects of importance to people and communities of colour.

APOC came to visibility on February 20, 2001 with the founding by Ernesto Aguilar of an email list and website focused on APOC and various theorists and activists of colour. Its purpose is to give radicals of color the tools to agitate among communities of colour for anti-authoritarian solutions, and to give those who identified with anti-authoritarian political ideals a space of cultural acceptance and engagement.

While there was no explicit inspiration for APOC, work by Black anarchists such as Kuwasi Balagoon and Martin Sostre, and especially Ashanti Alston and Lorenzo Komboa Ervin, has been cited as a precursor. In the early 1990s, organizing by the defunct collectives Black Autonomy International (formerly Black Autonomy and previously the Federation of Black Community Partisans) and Black Fist has also been referenced as part of the roots from which APOC was created.

Not only does APOC need you to join the movement, but we need organizers, artists, theorists, activists, performers and everyone to help build the movement from the bottom up.

Where We Stand

APOC is an autonomous set of politics. Recurring themes in APOC’s politics include, but are not limited to:

  1. Grassroots organizing and agitating with/among communities of color around relevant issues.
  2. Building a revolutionary autonomous politics inspired by people of color, with respect to our voices, experiences and perspectives.
  3. Advocating global self-determination for people of color, including cultural respect in the context of anti-authoritarian ideals, and confrontation of white supremacy and white privilege.
  4. Supporting creation of organizing and political space for people of color, including people of color-only spaces.
  5. Demanding that political movements must sincerely and actively serve the needs of communities of color and impart anti-authoritarian politics in the process.

These principles have ignited a wide variety of organizing:

  • Local collectives that fight to serve the needs of communities of color and inject autonomous politics and vision to organizing, as well as press multiracial political movements on matters of inclusion and anti-oppression activism.
  • APOC Blocs at political demonstrations, such as the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas 2003 protests in Miami, organized to show the strength of united action by people of color.
  • Community outreach activities, such as for Hurricane Katrina, geared at putting grassroots organizing by and for people of color to practice.
  • Political education, film screenings, gatherings and other activities aimed at building solidarity and drawing out discussions about connections among oppressed people and internal colonies.
  • Speakouts and open critique of racism in political movements, as well as exposing attempts to avoid accountability for white privilege and to detract from potentially legitimate concerns over bigotry.

APOC-allied activists of color work to change the collective conditions of people of color and upend the dynamics as we know it. APOC needs you.

How to Get Involved

Today people of color — Black, Brown and Third World revolutionaries all — are on the streets, speaking out and organizing for revolutionary change. Police brutality, the prison-industrial complex and imperial wars are just a few of the issues facing our communities, and more and more people of color have had enough. There are many ways to get active:

To join a collective or announce the creation of a new collective visit http://illvox.org/.  Topics currently on illvox include; African Anarchism: The History of A Movement; Analysis on Politics & Race; Anarchism and the Black Revolution; Anarchist People of Color; Cuban Anarchism: The History of A Movement

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Chomsky on anarchism

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This interview with Ursula K LeGuin, the author of The Dispossessed and The Left Hand of Darkness among many other sci-fi anarchist/feminist classics, is taken from the book/zine Strangers In A Tangled Wilderness.

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SiTW: One of the things that I’m quite curious to explore is the role of the radical as an author of fiction. What do you feel like you’ve accomplished, on a social/political level, with your writing? Do you have any specific examples of change that you’ve helped initiate?

Ursula: I may agree with Shelley that poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world, but he didn’t mean they really get many laws enacted, and I guess I didn’t ever really look for definable, practical results of anything I wrote. My utopias are not blueprints. In fact, I distrust utopias that pretend to be blueprints. Fiction is not a good medium for preaching or for planning. It is really good, though, for what we used to call conscious-raising.

Within my field of work—imaginative fiction—I think I have had an appreciable effect on the representation of gender and of “race,” specifically skin color. When I came into the field, the POV was totally male-centric and everybody was white. At first I wrote that way too. In science fiction, I joined the feminist movement when it reawoke in the late Sixties, early Seventies, and we did away with the squeaking Barbies and began to write actual women characters. In fantasy, my heroes were colored people when, as far as I know, nobody else’s were. (And yet I still fight, every single fantasy jacket-cover, to get them represented as nonwhite).

SiTW: From the other direction, do you ever feel pressured from the “radical” crowd to be writing “more politically” or along certain lines?

Ursula: I don’t put myself in a position to get much pressure from anybody. I am not a joiner, and I lay low in public (except for stuff like protest marches, which I have been doing for the last millennium.) Of course I have been scolded by Marxists for not being Marxist, but they scold everybody for not being Marxist. And activist anarchists always hope I might be an activist, but I think they realise that I would be a lousy one, and let me go back to writing what I write. Jefferson thought we already had liberty as an inalienable right, and only had to pursue happiness. I think the pursuit of liberty is what the Left is mostly about. But also, I think if you really want to pursue liberty, as an artist, you cannot join a movement that has rules and is organised. Regarded in that light, feminism was fine—we mostly realised we could all be feminist in our own way. The peace movements, very loose and ad hoc, have been fine. And I can work for things like Planned Parenthood or Nature Conservancy, or a political campaign, but only as an envelope stuffer: I can’t put my work directly in their service, expressing their goals. It has to follow its own course towards freedom.

SiTW: Have you encountered any problems, publishing in the mainstream fiction world, on account of your political nature?

Ursula: Not that I know of. It is possible that Charles Scribner, who had published my previous book and had an option on The Dispossessed, didn’t like it because he didn’t like the anarchist theme; but I think he really just thought it was a huge boring meaningless clunker and didn’t understand it at all. He asked me to cut it by half. I said no thanks, and we broke contract amicably, and Harper and Row snapped it up—a better publisher for me then anyhow. So I can’t say I have suffered for my politics. SF and fantasy slip under the wire a lot, you know? People just aren’t looking for radical thought in a field the respectable critics define as escapist drivel. Some of it is escapist all right, but what it’s escaping is the drivel of popular fiction and most TV and movies.

SiTW: I feel like you do an excellent job of presenting quite radical concepts in stories that don’t feel like propaganda. For example, in the story “Ile Forest” in Orsinian Tales, I believe you undermine the reader’s faith in such ideas as codified law.

Ursula: Hah! That pleases me! It is such a romantic story, I never thought of it as having a subversive sense, but of course you’re quite right, it does.

SiTW: I might be mistaken, but I’m under the impression that the modern fantasy/sci-fi culture intentionally shies away from politics more than it used to. A lot of magazines, for example, specifically list that they are not interested in works that deal with political issues.

Ursula: They do? Wow. That is depressing beyond words. They’re setting up their own wire.

SiTW: Have you seen a change in this direction?

Ursula: I am just not looking at the market any more. I haven’t written short stories now for quite a while, and if I did, it would be my agent who figured where best to send them.

But maybe this is one of the reasons why I’m not reading much SF any more. I pick it up, then I put it down. Maybe I just o.d.’d on it. But it seems sort of academic, almost, lately. Doing the same stuff over fancier, more hardware, more noir. I may be totally wrong about this.

SiTW: You’ve perhaps coined one of my favorite one-line descriptions of what an anarchist is: “One who, choosing, accepts the responsibility of choice.” Would you describe yourself as an anarchist?

Ursula: I don’t, because I entirely lack the activist element, and so it seems phony or too easy. Like white people who say they are “part Cherokee.”

SiTW: I hope you don’t mind that a lot of us claim you, in approximately the same way that we claim Tolstoy. (Who I believe can be quoted as saying “The anarchists are right … in everything except their belief that anarchism can be reached through revolution” although I’ve only read this quote, and not his original essay.)

Ursula: Of course I don’t mind! I am touched and feel unworthy.

SiTW: What were your first interactions with anarchism?

Ursula: When I got the idea for The Dispossessed, the story I sketched out was all wrong, and I had to figure out what it really was about and what it needed. What it needed was first about a year of reading all the Utopias, and then another year or two of reading all the Anarchist writers. That was my main interaction with anarchism. I was lucky: that stuff was hard to come by in the Seventies—shadows of Sacco and Vanzetti!—but there was a very-far-left bookstore here in Portland, and if you got to know him he let you see his fine collection of all the old Anarchist writings, and some of the newer people like Bookchin too. So I got a good education.

I felt totally at home with (pacifist, not violent) anarchism, just as I always had with Taoism (they are related, at least by affinity.) It is the only mode of political thinking that I do feel at home with. It also links up more and more interestingly, these days, with behavioral biology and animal psychology (as Kropotkin knew it would.)

SiTW: Several books I’ve read or seen—overviews of anarchist history—attribute the first “anarchist” literature to an early Taoist thinker, and include the essay, although I can’t for the life of me remember the title or author. I find the connection quite interesting, however.

Ursula: Well, parts of Lao Tzu’s book the Tao Te Ching, and parts of Chuang Tzu’s book, which is mostly just called by his name, are clearly and radically anarchistic (and Chuang Tzu is funny, too.) The best translation is Burton Watson. I did a version of Lao Tzu which brings out the anarchism pretty clearly, and I also managed to remove the sexist language, which was fun (and not too outrageous, since ancient Chinese generally doesn’t specify gender.) I would send you a copy but I’ve run out of them. Shambhala is the publisher. Those are the two big names in “philosophical” Taoism (i.e. not the Taoist religion, which is quite a different matter.)

SiTW: When did the singular “they” fall out of written English? It’s nice to be able to defend the practice.

Ursula: Grammarians in the 17th and 18th century, trying to kind of cut a common path through the wild jungle of Elizabethan English, regularised a lot of usages—including spelling—not a bad idea in itself; but they admired Latin so much they used it as their model, rather than looking at how English actually solved some of these problems. “The reader” or “A person” doesn’t agree in number with “they,” and in Latin it is genuinely necessary that subject and verb agree in number . . . so they said it was necessary in English. (Actually it isn’t always, because we have other ways of making the meaning clear, like word order, which is almost irrelevant in Latin.) So colloquial usages such as “he don’t” (which my father, a professor, sometimes used) were frowned out of the written language, and so was the indefinite “they,” even though it turns up in Shakespeare. But the grammarians couldn’t get it out of the spoken language. It is perfectly alive and well there. “If anybody wants their icecream they better hurry up!” So it doesn’t take an awfully big jolt to just slip it back into written English.

It is funny how the people who object most furiously to “incorrectness” like that almost always turn out to be far right politically and/or socially insecure.

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Christmas at Raytheon

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Supporters rallied at the Raytheon office building in Bristol and passed up a seasonal fare on the end of a rope.

Christmas music blared out across the sterile corporate landscape – provided by linking a radio to a megaphone. The protesters, wearing Santa hats and coats, enjoyed their dinner sitting on a balcony on the side of the Raytheon building.

One protester said – “We looked out for Santa flying by on his sleigh. But the only Christmas present we’d want would be an end to the arms trade”

Another protester said – “This may be the season of goodwill. But we haven’t forgotten that for companies like Raytheon its business as usual. They manufacture and sell these horrific weapons which are illegal under international law. And they have their offices here in our city. We feel it is our civic duty to bring this to the attention of the public by doing this protest.”

Later in the afternoon, when the police and security guards were conspicuous by the absence, the protesters came down to ground level to stretch their legs. They joined in a game of football – a joking parallel to the football played between opposing troops in the Christmas lull during the First World War. Later supporters and protesters sat round a camp-fire eating mince pies and drinking mulled wine.

 

The protesters pledge to continue their rooftop occupation indefinitely. They have recently been donated heavy-duty steel lock-on equipment which they intend to use to resist any attempts at eviction.

THEY PARTICULARLY WELCOME VISITS FROM WELL-WISHERS AND FOR SUPPLIES.

These will be particularly important over the next week or so while the business park is tediously quiet.

Visit anytime, day or evening (they’re always there!)

The wish-list is:-

Water
Thermos flasks of hot drinks
Food supplies, both immediate and long-life
Any other imaginative treats
Rolling tobacco and papers
Candles and lighters
Plastic carrier bags, loo-roll and paper hankies
Useful banner making equipment
Eight “C” size batteries for megaphone
Packs of “AA” for radio and mobile phone
Cash donations very very welcome

The campaign is especially appealing for offers of help for legal and business research.

The Raytheon office is at Argentum House, Bristol business Park Frenchay. Turn off the roundabout on Coldharbour Lane in front of UWE Frenchay Campus. Turn left into the Business Park and the protest is about fifty yards along this road on the right. Just look for the office building with the tents on the roof and slogans painted on the tiles!

Many thanks from the Raytheon Roofies!

 

Bristol vigils against attacks on Gaza

 

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Bristol PSC and supporters will continue the vigil on the Centre 12.00-2.00pm Sunday

And then every weekday with the Peace vigil 5.00 – 6.00pm until further notice.

Israel has pledged to continue these attacks and is threatening a ground offensive, so it is important to maintain the protests.

 
For those unable to attend the vigils please protest to your MP and MEPs. This is most easily done using www.writetothem.com/

If they are flooded with complaints they just might be a bit less supine.

You can keep in touch with the vigil and other Palestine related events in the area at
http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/Bristol-PSC/

ANARCHISTS AGAINST THE WALL

Who We Are

Anarchists Against the Wall (AATW) is a direct action group that was established in 2003 in response to the construction of the wall Israel is building on Palestinian land in the Occupied West Bank. The group works in cooperation with Palestinians in a joint popular struggle against the occupation.

Since its formation, the group has participated in hundreds of demonstrations and direct actions against the wall specifically, and the occupation generally, all over the West Bank. All of AATW’s work in Palestine is coordinated through villages’ local popular committees and is essentially Palestinian led.

Why We Resist

It is the duty of Israeli citizens to resist immoral policies and actions carried out in our name. We believe that it is possible to do more than demonstrate inside Israel or participate in humanitarian relief actions. Israeli apartheid and occupation isn’t going to end by itself – it will end when it becomes ungovernable and unmanageable. It is time to physically oppose the bulldozers, the army and the occupation.

A Brief History

In April 2003, three years into the Second Intifada, a small group of mostly anarchist Israeli activists, already doing various political work in the Occupied Territories formed Anarchists Against the Wall. The group was established around the formation of a protest tent in the village of Mas’ha, where the wall was nearing and would leave 96% of the village’s land on the “Israeli” side.

The camp, formed by Palestinian, Israeli and international activists was composed of two tents on the village’s land which was slated for confiscation. A constant presence of Palestinian, Israelis and internationals remained for four months. During which, the camp became a center for information dissemination and a base for direct-democracy decision-making. A number of wall related direct actions were planned and prepared at the camp – such as the July 28, 2003 direct action in the Village of Anin. In that action Palestinians, international and Israeli activists managed to force open a gate in the wall in spite of being attacked by the army (See Haaretz article ).

Late in August of 2003, with the wall around Mas’ha nearly completed, the camp moved to the yard of a house in which was slated for demolition. Following two days of blocking the bulldozers and mass arrests, the yard was demolished and the camp ended, but the spirit of resistance it symbolized was not demolished.

In 2004, the village of Budrus began its struggles against the wall and AATW joined their daily demonstrations. Through its persistence in community mobilization, struggle and popular resistance, the village of Budrus was able to achieve significant victories.

Without appealing to the Israeli courts, utilizing only popular resistance, the village succeeded to push the path of wall almost completely off its land.

Budrus’ success inspired many other villages to build a popular resistance, which is perhaps an even greater success. For a good part of the year, almost every village to which the construction of the wall reached rose up against it. AATW joined every village that called for its participation.

More recently our actions have been centered in and around the village of Bil’in, northwest of Ramallah, where most of the village’s agricultural land is to be effectively confiscated by the wall and an expanding settlement.

Our Role in the Struggle

The mere presence of Israelis at Palestinian civilian actions offers some degree of protection for against army violence.

The Israeli army’s code of conduct is significantly different when Israelis are present and violence, while still severe, is significantly lower. Even though many Israeli activists have been wounded at the demonstrations, some of them seriously, it is the Palestinians who have paid the highest toll. To date, 10 Palestinian demonstrators have been killed in demonstrations against the wall and thousands have been wounded.

The army and the Israeli government try to put an end to Palestinian popular resistance using every form of repression, and to prevent Israeli activists from joining this struggle. Under the occupation’s law it is possible to indict people for simply participating in a demonstration. In the course of the last several years, AATW activists have been arrested hundreds of times and dozens of indictments were filed against them.

The legal repression by the Israeli authorities is just another front for the Israeli authorities to try and crack down on resistance.

In order to keep activists out of jail and continue the struggle, AATW is now faced with mounting legal expenses for its defense in the Israeli court. The cost for legal representation has exceeded US$60,000 and is constantly rising.

Funding

AATW does not receive funding from any state, government or association. We rely on donations from people all over the world that would like to see us continue to support the Palestinian struggle for freedom.

For the reasons mentioned above and for operating expanses such as transportation, phone bills, first aid and poster board AATW is seeking financial support.

To donate, please click the Donate Link above on the right or go to our Donations page

This site does not contain and should not be understood as an official party line or a manifesto. The group has dedicated all its efforts to activities on the ground, and has left propaganda and the drawing of party lines to others.

http://www.awalls.org/

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SAVE OUR BLOOD SERVICE

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The outcry from hospitals, staff and the public at the dangerous and stupid proposals has meant that in the north and south-east, the board have been forced to scrap the idea of supercentres. One excellent victory that we can claim is that the Newcastle centre is now to remain fully open, and Sheffield also keeps many more functions. But the axe still hangs over essential labs at centres across the country.

From the north and south-east of England, processing labs are still earmarked for closure at Leeds and Tooting, and testing labs are planned to be shut at Brentwood, Leeds and Tooting.

NBS RCI reference labs, which cross-match blood for patients with rare or reactive blood types, are critical to have closely linked with hospitals in the area. Despite this, NBS directors still think that they can get away with closing RCI labs in Manchester, Southampton, Cambridge, to cut costs.

The NBS has also taken advice that it should consider ending its role in antenatal screening by 2011. This will cost more jobs, and will eventually cost the wider NHS as well. The NBS is able to do this testing at a fraction of what it costs hospitals to do it themselves. If they in fact extended their involvement in antenatal screening, they could create more income for NHS Blood and Transplant, as well as lightening the load on hospital budgets. It seems the word foresight is missing from the NBS management dictionary.

Interestingly the revised proposed strategy will cost a predicted 600 jobs, in addition to those slashed in the midlands and south-west consolidation. Before the review the figure of 600 applied to job losses in total across the whole country. It should also be noted that bosses want to cut more jobs in the extremely understaffed collection teams – at a time when collected donations are way below target.

Meanwhile in the midlands and south-west zone, directors are desperately clinging to the supercentre model, reluctant to face the humiliation of abandoning their flagship Filton supercentre venture. This was purposely left out of the review as bosses knew McKinsey & Co. would advise against such a drastic cut, as has been proven in the other two regions. Large processing labs from Birmingham, Southampton and Plymouth are still destined to be packed off to this white elephant. Directors also want to inexplicably uproot donor typing and patient screening from Colindale, and the national Cord Blood Bank from Edgware, to Filton in Bristol. The only apparent reason for this is an attempt to further justify that the shiny hangar is not going to be a terrible waste of resources.

Now that the factual support is crumbling, we have to push on campaigning against centralisation. No decision on the fate of our health services should ever be made based on keeping someone’s CV unsoiled.

Thanks to all campaign supporters for your valuable help so far – we’re getting there, and reason is on our side – let’s keep on fighting!

Visit the blog to find out how you can get involved at http://nbs-sos.blogspot.com/

bloodban

The UK is currently dangerously low in its stocks of blood.
Therefore the NHS spends lots of taxpayers money on advertising and marketing costs in order to increase donor levels.
However, if the NHS changed one simple rule, they could potentially have several million extra donors eligible to give blood immediately.

How? Allow healthy gay men to give blood.

The UK law is outdated, stereotypical and discriminatory towards healthy gay men. More than that, it is risking lives – the UK urgently needs more blood.

Did you know:

A straight man who has unprotected sex with a different girl every weekend can give blood TODAY
A straight man who has had unprotected sex with several prostitutes can give blood after just 1 year
Those who have had unprotected sex with an intravenous drug user can give blood after 1 year
Those who have had unprotected sex abroad in a high risk HIV country can give blood after 1 year

Gay men are banned FOR LIFE, even if they’ve only ever had sex with one partner – and even if they used protection.

http://www.bloodban.co.uk/

 

 

 

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