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Unidade Da Esquerda Ou Frente Classista?

Anarkismo - Mon, 02/04/2019 - 10:56
Um apelo à unidade da esquerda socialista é amplamente ouvido em toda África do Sul, mas ele é frequentemente interpretado como um chamado à unidade da práxis (unidade no programa teórico e na ação). Isso muitas vezes é enquadrado como a transcendência de velhas divisões (estas vistas como antiquadas, sectárias ou descartadas como dogmáticas), e outras vezes como unidade a fim de agir (retoricamente posta como o oposto da teoria de gabinete).

O que nós, anarquistas revolucionários, pensamos?


What Bernie Sanders Could Learn From Venezuela

Anarkismo - Sun, 02/03/2019 - 03:25
Bernie Sanders, we hear, is interested in running for President in 2020. Bernie has once again shot himself in the foot before the starter’s gun goes off. Sanders best known Trump-like statement was calling Venezuelan revolutionary President Hugo Chavez “a dead communist dictator.” Now Sanders, while bucking the establishment on regime change in Venezuela, remains woefully uninformed about neoliberalism’s effects on a global level, and therefore cannot be taken seriously as an agent of radical change. Sanders released a statement on Venezuela that had nothing of substance in relationship to the 1%, neoliberalism, neocolonialism or any of the driving forces of a clear political crisis in the country. Instead, Sanders merely echoed right-wing talking points on Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro, and then, almost as an aside, said the U.S. intervening in Latin America, well, it ends badly.

Flying squad pickets and the need for independent workplace groups

Infoshop News - Sat, 02/02/2019 - 22:56

via Libcom

by Juan Conatz

One of the innovative things that came out of the Teamsters Rebellion in 1934, was the flying squad picket. The flying squad picket is a rapid response group of members who are ready to mobilize on short notice to provide direct support for pickets or actions. It is important for how it mobilizes many workers in real time. Farrell Dobbs talks about how the flying squad pickets then included not just union workers, but also unemployed workers and people from the community.

This sort of direct action seems particularly relevant given the times that we are in right now. Unions are weak, union busting is normalized, unemployment is rising, and social services budgets are slashed with no qualms. Many workers are losing confidence that the contract negotiation process is going to help them keep their jobs, or tide through the lows of the economic crisis. The recent resounding No vote by 75% of UAW members and up to 90% in some locals,against the concessionary UAW/Ford contract, is the clearest testament to this utmost lack of faith and indignation against the union bureaucracy. This has not happened for decades. It is clearer than day that union bureaucracies have cowered at the economic crisis and perpetuated this sense of inevitability and legitimacy of attacks on workers. This can be the only foreseeable result after decades of racism that have only too conveniently shifted the blame unto third world workers, as well as economic nationalism that is more about keeping US companies afloat rather than fighting for the working class in the US.

This raises the question: What can sufficiently fight back against this economic crisis? What kind of actions and organizations can counter these endless attacks and criminalization of workers struggles?

The flying squad pickets are one of many forms of direct action that can be taken on by rank and file workers, harking back to the times even before the grievance procedure was the norm. They have the advantage of involving workers from many different workplaces, shattering the false divisions between job classifications, and the divide and conquer strategies of management. Flying squad pickets are also powerful for mobilizing people’s energies at the moment, without letting them die out with long procedural, bureaucratic processes. They are able to give people a sense of power and control over their own fates, without relying always on an outside, unapproachable force, an overdependence on a contract which many folks can’t even read, or understand.

That said, even direct actions themselves need to be coordinated with other forms of workers self activity. Flying squads are great expressions of workers solidarity and self activity. However, they are not the be all and end all.

Flying squads and other such direct action cannot replace the need for structure and organizations that the workers need to build for themselves, by themselves. It cannot replace the communication, skill sharing, solidarity and relationships that workers need to foster with one another, whether in the same job, or across job lines. Everything that the workplace is, is meant to divide and conquer through race, gender and citizenship, through language and skill set. Sometimes the difficult truth is that people dont like each other cos they know each other too well, for too long. It takes more work than just common forms of direct action to break through the old, crusty, institutionalized social relations that capitalism has carefully cultivated within the workforce. These require more consistency, and is sometimes the most slow and tedious work.

Independent workplace groups complement direct action. People are transformed by the actions that they are involved in. We need to shatter the notion that we should only follow the rules and laws that were meant to disenfranchise us anyway. We need to emphasize that the most successful direct actions, or flying squads are those that have a sense of continuation, before, and after exciting public actions.

It is also through such formations that a consistent critique and independence from the union bureaucracy can be maintained. In our organizing in Seattle, we have encountered groups who critique us and the rank and file custodians we organize with, for not being subservient to the union bureaucracy’s conservatism and slowness. “You should see the big picture,” or “You shouldn’t be so divisive”, or “You are playing management’s game to discredit the union by not following the bylaws.” These are challenging notions to counter precisely because they come from so-called progressives and leftists. And it is all the more frustrating for that reason. The unwillingness to side with the demands of immigrant workers, and workers of color, chiding them to fall in line with a more conservative bureaucracy seems to be a little lacking on the anti-racism credentials these groups always rattle on about. No, anti-racism is not just another -ism to talk about in a “privilege awareness” training session. It actually does mean you have to side with the struggles of oppressed people and not flock to the token people of color who step on everyone else’s heads to get up the ladder. “Workers are the union” also shouldn’t just be a meaningless slogan.

Sometimes workers’ aren’t consistently more radical than the union bureaucracy. This is a sober assesment. We have many contradictions that need to be ironed out. An independent workplace group provides space for those necessary conversations to take place, for those seething frustrations to be situated within a broader political analysis of our present times. Unions are not always the dam blocking the whole flood of workers self activity and energy that is intent on tearing down management and capitalism. Activists and revolutionaries need to be careful not to read our desires for what workers self activity represent, for what it actually is. Sometimes, the demands for “cut from the top,” or “cut from management, not from workers,” become read as “eliminate all management.” This is a false representation of workers demands. We need to keep our ears on the ground and listen to what people around us are saying. This is not to say we dont keep pushing and supporting the voices of the militants, whether they be the minority of the workforce. What I do mean is that it does us no good to misintepret and charge alone. That said, it is a great transitional demand that we should support and fight for because it points to greater rank and file control over the workplace and can create openings for discussing with rank and file militants, the importance of worker’s self management.

How we can build mass rank and file workplace groups with strong race, gender and anti-imperialist politics, with a focus on direct action by workers and community, that can reinforce the notion that workers ARE the union, reflecting back to workers and others, their own power? We need answers to this to respond to today’s crisis.

Originally posted: November 17, 2009 at Gathering Forces

The post Flying squad pickets and the need for independent workplace groups appeared first on Infoshop News.

The women fighting a pipeline that could destroy precious wildlife

Infoshop News - Sat, 02/02/2019 - 22:51

via The Guardian

by Joe Whittle

Deep within the humid green heart of the largest river swamp in North America, a battle is being waged over the future of the most precious resource of all: water.

On one side of the conflict is a small band of rugged and ragtag activists led by Indigenous matriarchs. On the other side is the relentless machinery of the fossil fuel industry and all of its might. And at the center of the struggle is the Atchafalaya river, a 135 mile-long distributary of the Mississippi river that empties into the Gulf of Mexico.

The activists gather at L’eau Est La Vie Camp, a resistance encampment set up to resist the Bayou Bridge pipeline, which will cross directly through the river basin to connect shale crude from the Dakota Access pipeline to a refinery in St James, Louisiana. From there, it will be shipped primarily to China.

The “water protectors”, as they call themselves, are camped near the path of the pipeline. Many live locally, but others come from afar, often hailing from tribes affected by similar issues, such as the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

Their efforts are focused on public protest to raise awareness, as well as direct actions to impede construction of the pipeline, which they say endangers the Atchafalaya hardwood forest and cypress-tupelo swamp, the largest in North America.

Read more

The post The women fighting a pipeline that could destroy precious wildlife appeared first on Infoshop News.

Review: New York 2140

Infoshop News - Sat, 02/02/2019 - 22:44

via C4SS

by Roderick Long

Robinson, Kim Stanley. New York 2140. (Orbit Books, 2017).

Kim Stanley Robinson is one of the best science-fiction writers working today. Recurring themes in his stories include ecology, archeological exploration, anti-capitalist politics, and the ineluctable passage of time – all of which feature in New York 2140, which, like much of his work (including Icehenge, The Martians, 2312, Galileo’s Dream, and Aurora) fits almost-but-not-quite into the future history established in the Mars trilogy, his best-known work. (The inconsistencies are explained in Galileo’s Dream, where we learn that these various narratives belong to distinct but closely adjacent timelines.)

New York 2140 is a sprawling, magnificent tour de force. In its pages, the half-sunken (owing to global warming and consequent rising sea levels) but still-vibrant future Manhattan, criss-crossed by skybridges and streets-turned-canals, that figures peripherally in some of Robinson’s other works, here takes center stage. Average people eking out a precarious existence in the more sunken parts of the city band together to resist the twin threats of storm surges on the one hand and wealthy, predatory speculators from the higher and drier sections of the city on the other.

Like many of Robinson’s books, New York 2140 divides its attention among many characters rather than focusing on one or two protagonists. The chapters devoted to different characters’ viewpoints also vary in style, with some being told in first-person, some in third; some in present-tense, some in past; and so on. Periodic expository chapters, leavening their infodumps with sardonic commentary from an anonymous “citizen,” give the novel simultaneously a 19th-century and a postmodern tone.

A subplot, only tangentially related to the Manhattan storyline, involving an alternately zany and harrowing attempt to save polar bears from extinction by relocating them to Antarctica via airship (because science fiction writers love airships!) as part of an eccentric reality show, resurrects one of the central themes of Robinson’s Mars trilogy, namely the conflict between versions of environmentalism that favor active human intervention to create or preserve sustainable habitats and versions that valorize the natural, untouched landscape.

Predictably (for the same praise and criticism applies to the Mars trilogy), New York 2140 is terrific from a literary perspective, but a frustratingly mixed bag from an economic and political perspective. In many ways the book, and Robinson’s work more generally, epitomizes the tragedy of the Left: one foot in vital, grassroots, quasi-anarchist radicalism, the other in dreary, top-down, paternalistic authoritarianism (or “social democracy”), with this unstable union of opposites being held together by what I’ve come to call left-conflationism, i.e., the error of taking the perversities of corporate capitalism to be the result of, and so to be reasons to oppose, genuinely freed markets – and, relatedly, of seeing government as a check against, rather than a crucial enabler of, the power of economic elites: a safe and benign tool if we can only put the right people in charge of it. (Gary Chartier and I gave Robinson a copy of Markets Not Capitalism back in 2013, when, as he told us, he was just beginning to plan this “novel about markets,” but obviously we did not make a convert.)

Hence we’re treated to the spectacle of a purportedly egalitarian, anti-authoritarian, anti-capitalist revolution whose guiding stars are Lord Keynes and the two Presidents Roosevelt, and whose ultimate payoff is to get one of the protagonists elected to Congress – a revolution that begins as bottom-up mutual-aid direct action via “dual power alternative networking,” only to fizzle out into the stale message that government is the heroic force that will save us all from the rapacious capitalists if we only just vote harder.

Robinson almost falls into self-parody when he describes the “private security firms” in his future New York as “play[ing] Snidely Whiplash to the NYPD’s Dudley Do-Right” – an absurdly kind evaluation of the NYPD, given its actual record. (I looked desperately for evidence that Robinson was being ironic here, but couldn’t see any.) Regrettably, Robinson’s view is simply a mirror image of Ayn Rand’s vision of corporate capitalists as the heroic force that will save us all from rapacious government, and is no more convincing. (Robinson likewise treats anthropogenic climate change as a product of unregulated markets, with no recognition of the ways in which it’s been fueled by corporate socialization of costs enabled by government intervention.)

Most disturbing is the disappointingly reactionary political program enacted by the novel’s victorious lefty radicals, which includes bank bailouts via nationalization, immigration restrictions into New York (“morally defensible” because those coming in “often had bad intentions” – a line that disturbingly echoes Donald Trump’s 2015 campaign rhetoric), mandatory national service (i.e., temporary slavery), and what amounts to martial law. Toward the novel’s end one protagonist responsible for much of this program briefly “pause[s] to wonder what it meant when a police state was aspirational, a staving off of a worse fate” – but quickly dismisses such worries to immerse herself in the minutiae of day-to-day policy. (Again, I’d like to think Robinson is offering an implicit critique here, but I see no signs that he is doing so.)

I highly recommend New York 2140 as a beautifully written, richly allusive, perpetually engaging and provocative novel. But I cannot recommend it as a lens through which to view the causes and likely cures of the social ills that beset us.

The post Review: New York 2140 appeared first on Infoshop News.


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