How do we decide on tactics? Who gets to decide? (Boundaries to Protest II)

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George Victor

Snert wrote:

Quote:
The majority has been rendered incapable of analyzing the repressive actions of the ruling elite, let alone demonstrates a level of awareness which would permit even the most basic objections to the heinous acts undertaken by this power.

 

Ah, of course. BRAINWASHING!

 

That must be it! There can be no other reason why the populace could reject something as well thought out, and frankly, as perfect as anarchy!

 

Gimme a break. You don't need to resort to mind control to explain why radical politics don't appeal to the majority.

You've seen too many early Cold War movies, Feeding people lies is not brainwashing.  After a while, they distrust the truth, and avoid it like the pox. Their faith helps greatly (now THERE'S an example of brainwashing).  :)

George Victor

As for the pee in the pool...Nobody is going to stand on the edge of the pool and do that.  You learn as a child to urinate while immersed, and then nobody knows but Jesus. And it is a God-given right in this here democracy not to tell another person whether you peed in that pool or not, or whether you vote as a consumer/taxpayer peeing on the poor, or not. No sir. And it's those "quiet ones" that get you at election time. The "butter wouldn't melt" variety.

peterjcassidy peterjcassidy's picture

Jingles wrote:

I will concede an example of direct action, or "smashysmashy", that was effective, if in a very minor way. 

It wasn't the Raging Grannies that forced the G-8 to Iqaluit for their summit last month. It was an understanding that these heavenly meetings of the rich and powerful deciding our fate were not being met by fawning love from the people. If every time you meet, you must call out your expensive mercenary army to protect you, people might start to question your beneficence and godly wisdom. It's best to meet in secret when you are carving up the spoils.

 Personally and politically I have no problems with activists making the rich and powerful feel unwanted and suggest any attempt at disrupting their plans should evoke some sympathy from "progressives". Often however it seems to some progressives that certain approachs,  certain tactics , don't  advance the struggle. and there can be a debate ,? At times it may be argued that  a certain tactic, a supposed attack on the rich and powerful hurts the "poor and powerless" or the "working class" or the "middle class allies"or legitimizes repression or costs us an elecion or set back the cause somehow. .There are, to me, strategic questions to be discussed..

Generally, from what I have seen and heard of the protests leading up to and during the Olympics so far, I think the sum total helps the cause and none of it hurt us inordinately, i would be inclined to defend those accused of "thuggery"not condemn them.

 

 

 

Pogo Pogo's picture

Putting together affordable housing projects is very difficult and requires bringing as many parties as possible to the table.  The Oympic protests have made this job harder.  While I wouldn't necessarily support it I could understand people if they were willing to take this negative outcome in order to build a stronger movement.  But if anything they have marginalized themselves.  Even David Eby has washed his hands of them.

dgr_insurrection

Does anybody really think that if we all sing give peace a chance that Obama is going to get out of Iraq? Or NATO out of Afghanistan? Or that if we ask nicely that Exxon is going to stop polluting or Pacific Lumber is going to stop clearcutting? Let's get real.

dgr_insurrection

Oh, here's something else...

http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/4801/

Quote:

Forget Shorter Showers by Derrick Jensen

Would any sane person think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour workday, or that chopping wood and carrying water would have gotten people out of Tsarist prisons, or that dancing naked around a fire would have helped put in place the Voting Rights Act of 1957 or the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Then why now, with all the world at stake, do so many people retreat into these entirely personal “solutions”?

Part of the problem is that we’ve been victims of a campaign of systematic misdirection. Consumer culture and the capitalist mindset have taught us to substitute acts of personal consumption (or enlightenment) for organized political resistance. An Inconvenient Truth helped raise consciousness about global warming. But did you notice that all of the solutions presented had to do with personal consumption—changing light bulbs, inflating tires, driving half as much—and had nothing to do with shifting power away from corporations, or stopping the growth economy that is destroying the planet? Even if every person in the United States did everything the movie suggested, U.S. carbon emissions would fall by only 22 percent. Scientific consensus is that emissions must be reduced by at least 75 percent worldwide.

Or let’s talk water. We so often hear that the world is running out of water. People are dying from lack of water. Rivers are dewatered from lack of water. Because of this we need to take shorter showers. See the disconnect? Because I take showers, I’m responsible for drawing down aquifers? Well, no. More than 90 percent of the water used by humans is used by agriculture and industry. The remaining 10 percent is split between municipalities and actual living breathing individual humans. Collectively, municipal golf courses use as much water as municipal human beings. People (both human people and fish people) aren’t dying because the world is running out of water. They’re dying because the water is being stolen.

Or let’s talk energy. Kirkpatrick Sale summarized it well: “For the past 15 years the story has been the same every year: individual consumption—residential, by private car, and so on—is never more than about a quarter of all consumption; the vast majority is commercial, industrial, corporate, by agribusiness and government [he forgot military]. So, even if we all took up cycling and wood stoves it would have a negligible impact on energy use, global warming and atmospheric pollution.”

Or let’s talk waste. In 2005, per capita municipal waste production (basically everything that’s put out at the curb) in the U.S. was about 1,660 pounds. Let’s say you’re a die-hard simple-living activist, and you reduce this to zero. You recycle everything. You bring cloth bags shopping. You fix your toaster. Your toes poke out of old tennis shoes. You’re not done yet, though. Since municipal waste includes not just residential waste, but also waste from government offices and businesses, you march to those offices, waste reduction pamphlets in hand, and convince them to cut down on their waste enough to eliminate your share of it. Uh, I’ve got some bad news. Municipal waste accounts for only 3 percent of total waste production in the United States.

I want to be clear. I’m not saying we shouldn’t live simply. I live reasonably simply myself, but I don’t pretend that not buying much (or not driving much, or not having kids) is a powerful political act, or that it’s deeply revolutionary. It’s not. Personal change doesn’t equal social change.

So how, then, and especially with all the world at stake, have we come to accept these utterly insufficient responses? I think part of it is that we’re in a double bind. A double bind is where you’re given multiple options, but no matter what option you choose, you lose, and withdrawal is not an option. At this point, it should be pretty easy to recognize that every action involving the industrial economy is destructive (and we shouldn’t pretend that solar photovoltaics, for example, exempt us from this: they still require mining and transportation infrastructures at every point in the production processes; the same can be said for every other so-called green technology). So if we choose option one—if we avidly participate in the industrial economy—we may in the short term think we win because we may accumulate wealth, the marker of “success” in this culture. But we lose, because in doing so we give up our empathy, our animal humanity. And we really lose because industrial civilization is killing the planet, which means everyone loses. If we choose the “alternative” option of living more simply, thus causing less harm, but still not stopping the industrial economy from killing the planet, we may in the short term think we win because we get to feel pure, and we didn’t even have to give up all of our empathy (just enough to justify not stopping the horrors), but once again we really lose because industrial civilization is still killing the planet, which means everyone still loses. The third option, acting decisively to stop the industrial economy, is very scary for a number of reasons, including but not restricted to the fact that we’d lose some of the luxuries (like electricity) to which we’ve grown accustomed, and the fact that those in power might try to kill us if we seriously impede their ability to exploit the world—none of which alters the fact that it’s a better option than a dead planet. Any option is a better option than a dead planet.

Besides being ineffective at causing the sorts of changes necessary to stop this culture from killing the planet, there are at least four other problems with perceiving simple living as a political act (as opposed to living simply because that’s what you want to do). The first is that it’s predicated on the flawed notion that humans inevitably harm their landbase. Simple living as a political act consists solely of harm reduction, ignoring the fact that humans can help the Earth as well as harm it. We can rehabilitate streams, we can get rid of noxious invasives, we can remove dams, we can disrupt a political system tilted toward the rich as well as an extractive economic system, we can destroy the industrial economy that is destroying the real, physical world.

The second problem—and this is another big one—is that it incorrectly assigns blame to the individual (and most especially to individuals who are particularly powerless) instead of to those who actually wield power in this system and to the system itself. Kirkpatrick Sale again: “The whole individualist what-you-can-do-to-save-the-earth guilt trip is a myth. We, as individuals, are not creating the crises, and we can’t solve them.”

The third problem is that it accepts capitalism’s redefinition of us from citizens to consumers. By accepting this redefinition, we reduce our potential forms of resistance to consuming and not consuming. Citizens have a much wider range of available resistance tactics, including voting, not voting, running for office, pamphleting, boycotting, organizing, lobbying, protesting, and, when a government becomes destructive of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, we have the right to alter or abolish it.

The fourth problem is that the endpoint of the logic behind simple living as a political act is suicide. If every act within an industrial economy is destructive, and if we want to stop this destruction, and if we are unwilling (or unable) to question (much less destroy) the intellectual, moral, economic, and physical infrastructures that cause every act within an industrial economy to be destructive, then we can easily come to believe that we will cause the least destruction possible if we are dead.

The good news is that there are other options. We can follow the examples of brave activists who lived through the difficult times I mentioned—Nazi Germany, Tsarist Russia, antebellum United States—who did far more than manifest a form of moral purity; they actively opposed the injustices that surrounded them. We can follow the example of those who remembered that the role of an activist is not to navigate systems of oppressive power with as much integrity as possible, but rather to confront and take down those systems.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Jingles wrote:

It would be great to see the discussion move to how we can define our goals, and come up with strategies to help us attain them.  Part of the goal is to gain public sympathy and support (which the smashysmashy stuff doesn't). 

 

Bingo!

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Derrick Jensen is a great writer.

Mick

It's not a direct response to the above article, but I would encourage readers to read my recent blog post on linchpin.ca

Quote:

[url=http://linchpin.ca/English/We-need-mass-movement-not-black-bloc]We need a mass movement not a black bloc[/url]
By Mick Sweetman

As I sat in an activist meeting at a union's downtown Toronto office on Saturday afternoon, discussing such exciting things as what type of brochure we should produce for the upcoming International Women's Day, a text message flashed onto my cell phone from the [url=http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/]Vancouver Media Co-op.[/url]

"BREAKING VMC VIDEO: Anarchists Smash Windows @ the Bay"

I sighed, shook my head, and blurted out a single word in frustration, "Idiots."

Why was I so frustrated by this almost predictable news from across the country? It's because I've seen it before and knew exactly what the backlash against not only the anti-Olympic protests but also against anarchism itself would be.

[url=http://linchpin.ca/English/We-need-mass-movement-not-black-bloc]Read the rest of the article...[/url]

 

 

NDPP

Personally, I find the 'predictable backlash' far more revealing than the usual smishy smashy of the black bloc. Such a lot of fuss over a little broken glass. If this was Athens, Paris or even London such would barely be noticed...You'd think Al Qaeda had hit town. What a backwater get over it.

peterjcassidy peterjcassidy's picture

epaulo13 wrote:

Jingles wrote:

It would be great to see the discussion move to how we can define our goals, and come up with strategies to help us attain them.  Part of the goal is to gain public sympathy and support (which the smashysmashy stuff doesn't). 

 

Bingo!

 

 I will say the people who should decide the strategy and tactics are those directly affected and involved in the struggle, and there can be debate amongst them. We outside a particular struggle have to be careful  picking  and choosing "sides" based on our own  goals and strategies and may be required to defend and support the actions of those whose tactics we disagree with. .  Public support may be a major goal in some struggles , in other struggles it's a minor concern or a non issue  The Toronto garbage workers and other unions going on strike may want public support and try to win that support but many times  public support is only one factor in deciding whether or not to strike or how to conduct the strike and many times you have to act against public opinion.   What about men charged with gross indecency kissing outside the courthouse -anyone want to advise them it does not win public support or help the cause  and they should act "normal"  and not alienate the straights? ?  How about First Nations seizing land occupied by "ordinary" Canadians, blocking their cars, having an armed standoff with the military. anyone want to tell them them  it alienates voters?

What does the public know of and think about the protests leading up to and during the Olympics? My sense, most people aren't bothered by any of the protestsor care much one way or another. Most got the message some people are unhappy with the Olympics.-few make the connection between the Olympics, the Nazis, Land claims, and corporate greed. Most  probably caight something about housing and homelessness. Not a bad result in my opinion, generally advanced the cause and did little harm.No fouls, no loss.

RosaL

Frustrated Mess wrote:
Derrick Jensen is a great writer.

 

It's a good article. The comments are fairly discouraging (and familiar).

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..pardon my enthusiasm but i see this discussion being more than broken glass. we are discussing our transformation or revolution. how do we want this to happen? do we want civil war? the overthrow of the shah in iran had minimal bloodshed as did the recent transformations in venezuela and bolivia. for canadians to demand non violence is a good thing.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Breaking windows of the Bay is front page material.

Flying a plane into an IRS building is a Brief News on an inside page.  I love our MSM.  I love the rights view of real violence.
 

Quote:

 
Appearing on Fox News, newly-minted Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) showed notable sympathy and scant outrage for Joseph Stack, who crashed his airplane into an IRS building Thursday in an apparent suicide bombing Thursday.
"You don't know anything about the individual," Brown said. "He could have had other issues. Certainly, no one likes paying taxes, obviously."
Stack's writings strongly suggest he was motivated by anti-government outrage as he had written fuming anti-tax, anti-IRS, and anti-health care reform screeds in internet message postings.

Link 

Di

Polunatic2 wrote:

@ Di - I provided a response to your earlier question - wondering your views on the thesis that civil rights movement used non-violent means to successfully achieve its objectives. 

Hi, P.

IMO the they did successfully achieve most of their objectives, but we've been losing what we've gained through our complacency during the last 50 years or so.  More people are active these days but, as you can probably tell, it frustrates me that we're not being as strategic as we could be.

Di

dgr_insurrection wrote:

Oh, here's something else...

http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/4801/

Quote:

Forget Shorter Showers by Derrick Jensen

Would any sane person think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour workday, or that chopping wood and carrying water would have gotten people out of Tsarist prisons, or that dancing naked around a fire would have helped put in place the Voting Rights Act of 1957 or the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Then why now, with all the world at stake, do so many people retreat into these entirely personal “solutions”?

...

The fourth problem is that the endpoint of the logic behind simple living as a political act is suicide. If every act within an industrial economy is destructive, and if we want to stop this destruction, and if we are unwilling (or unable) to question (much less destroy) the intellectual, moral, economic, and physical infrastructures that cause every act within an industrial economy to be destructive, then we can easily come to believe that we will cause the least destruction possible if we are dead.

The good news is that there are other options. We can follow the examples of brave activists who lived through the difficult times I mentioned—Nazi Germany, Tsarist Russia, antebellum United States—who did far more than manifest a form of moral purity; they actively opposed the injustices that surrounded them. We can follow the example of those who remembered that the role of an activist is not to navigate systems of oppressive power with as much integrity as possible, but rather to confront and take down those systems.

I think you're so correct in saying that it's not just our individual actions that will bring about the changes we want, but they're a great addition to collective action.  The moral purity thing gets old and boring fast, but if the actions associated with it are part of something larger, they can work really well.  If framed in a philosophical worldview that embraces quality of life, which our consumer society robs us of in so many ways, it can be quite revolutionary.  It can be part of creating a new culture of activism, simple living and living very well while collectively changing the political landscape.  It's about envisioning and creating the future we want.  I confess to not living up to that vision -- spending way too much time in front of a computer...

NDPP

No 2010 Victoria -- Solidarity With Heart Attack!

http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/blog/zoe-blunt/2827

"...The Black Bloc action drew more international media attention than the rest of the week's events combined, creating a larger space for everybody to speak up about the impact of the Olympics...

The Heart Attack shone a spotlight on the history of colonialism and the Hudson's Bay Company.."

Kaspar Hauser

dgr_insurrection wrote:

Does anybody really think that if we all sing give peace a chance that Obama is going to get out of Iraq? Or NATO out of Afghanistan? Or that if we ask nicely that Exxon is going to stop polluting or Pacific Lumber is going to stop clearcutting? Let's get real.

Of course, if we break windows and throw marbles at police, we'll end all of our countries' occupations and our corporations' environmental crimes in no time flat.

thanks

goals need to be discussed. 

international media at this time may not be as important as Canadian media.

Harper is one of the worst leaders we've ever had.  Probably The worst.

He's bad for us and the rest of the world, on human rights, climate change, reining in the bankers, etc.  even the UK wants a transaction tax on speculation.

In this context there is a priority to deal with Our media, our residents.

Here, the messages of the other thousands of demonstrators around homelessness and housing, land theft (AS NAMED AND OPPOSED BY INDIGENOUS PEOPLE THEMSELVES- not masked wannabees) was Much More Effective in delivering a message. 

I did not hear anything about colonialism from media here.  That's a dream of those who participated in window-smashing.

As noted before, those who want to act out aggressively might find more emotionally-aligned occupation in the military or police.  Really there's a need for work with soldiers, i'm not just being sarcastic.

And people can be in solidarity opposing illegal police brutality while supporting fairness for arrestees. 

But honestly all this is being played out on the windowsill of G20 planning.  meeting tomorrow in toronto.  i'll stand with anarchists in defense, but not out-of-context aggression.

to be honest at this point motivation to get into the city to rehash all this is minimal.  figure it out people.

___

and to be fair, i should check out the G20 organizing site and get on the list before i make assumptions. anarchists were exceptional in Montebello- their energy as well as their music was uplifting.  their discipline enabled the police provocateurs to be outed. 

just hoping, here while i'm writing, that G20 organizers are putting limits on political sponsorships/endorsements.  Toronto is usually pretty good about keeping sponsorships non-partisan.  its one thing to be politically active, another to label an event by association.

anyway, i'll check out the site.

 

 

thanks

I'd really like to hear from the Indigenous communities in the region on how they would like to address G20 heads of state who are visiting in their territory.

I heard that at the Cancun WTO protest women took down the fence.  Prevented by police from entering the meeting directly, Indigenous leaders made their statements in ceremony where they were.

It did detract from that powerful message when a few hotheads threw trash around afterwards.

Before the FTAA in Quebec City, there was poor communication regarding goals.  When the fence came down, some with masks and cobblestones rushed into the gap and everyone ended up pushed back under a bridge, then dispersed. 

Instead of cobblestones, microphones could have picked up.  There could have been an orderly movement to the meeting.  A plan.

As it was, southern governments shut down the FTAA later. 

The g20.torontomobilization.org site talks about shutting down systems and ideas that are oppressive, and that can be done with multitudes in the streets along with considered creativity in civil disobedience.

 

 

NDPP

Olympic Tent Village Needs Your Support:

http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/newsrelease/2840

 

Ottawa Mountie at Games Charged

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/sports/2010wintergames/Ottawa+Mountie+Games...

"RCMP Staff Sergeant Mike Cole said that in total nearly a dozen ISU members have been sent home for various code of conduct and ethical violations including four Canadian Forces members and seven police officers.."

NDPP

re: Who gets to decide? The same as always:

Defence Industry has its Sights on the Olympics

http://www.dominionpaper.ca/articles/3189

"a look at some of the companies cashing in on 2010 security spending.."

thanks

Thanks for the article on the Olympic Tent Village.  I didn't realize it was an effort of Indigenous peoples- saw the Mohawk flag.

probably i ought to update my add-ons to access videos- i'm missing a lot.

thanks

(the Dawn Paley video at rabble wasn't cut up- transmission seems to be ok this time of day, on a Sunday, probably my computer issues are around traffic at other times.)

That video clip focussed on media's role.  The challenge for alternative media is the context.  Because mainstream media is biased, to attempt to provide any kind of balance, alternative media is forced into a role supporting the opposite.  It's a structural issue.

i've been in the same situation myself in protests, in support of the work of those who identify as anarchists for 99.999% of their actions, one has to figure out how to respond to the .001%.

Many of these dynamics can be worked out ahead of time.  It needs to be abundantly clear that actions are chosen through an actual collective process, not just individuals. 

If an Indigenous community/collective, or any other collective, choses certain actions, then other activists can reflect on their relationship and actions in planning around an event.

The dialogue goes on. In the process limits are checked and decisions made.  Possible and unforseen elements considered, options outlined.

remind remind's picture

Excellent protest yesterday by the red tenters.......

 

WTG Libby..........!!!

Mick

Here's a follow up blog post on this subject

Quote:

[url=http://linchpin.ca/English/Mass-movements-militancy]Mass movements and militancy[/url]
By Mick Sweetman

First off, it's been interesting to read the many responses, some in agreement, some in disagreement, and a lot with a mix of both, to my blog post "We need a mass movement not a black bloc".

I'm glad that my post has resonated with people and contributed to the larger debate on strategy, tactics, and politics in the anarchist movement and on the left generally. That kind of lively public debate is healthy for a movement to honestly evaluate both our successes and our shortcomings as a movement. Public critique in our movements should not be suppressed in a misguided attempt to enforce "solidarity" between activists and sweep our disagreements under the carpet. Sometimes that means we have to talk frankly about the movements we're in and address what we see as mistakes.

[url=http://linchpin.ca/English/Mass-movements-militancy]Read the rest of the post...[/url]

 

NDPP

Building Blocs: Olympic Resistance Chooses A Diversity of Tactics

http://mostlywater.org/building_blocs

"We're here to confront the narrative put forward by VANOC and the IOC: the narrative that Canada is a friendly country. Canada is at war with the Indigenous of this land and the Indigenous people of Afghanistan.."

Smile Vancouver;

http://www.dominionpaper.ca/articles/2951

"Nearly 1,000 new surveillance cameras here to stay..."

NDPP

Vancouver Activists Accuse Police Sending Agents-Provocateurs to Olympic Protests

http://www.straight.com/article-291966/vancouver/activists-accuse-police...

 

NDPP

Did The Anti-Olympics Movement Miss the Mark by Focusing on Aboriginal Land?

http://www.straight.com/article-292384/vancouver/did-antiolympic-movemen...

thanks

from quotes at the article in post  78-

it's hypocritical to condemn police provocateurs who incite but not anarchists who do similarly.

saying that aggressive acts are a response to corporate war may be true, but unfortunately the time and place of these acts usually leads to retribution against those least responsible. 

and sure, the police can then be blamed for that retribution.

the question is, do acts of ongoing retribution and counter-retribution deal with underlying injustices or just mask them?

[sorry]...   or just sweep them under the rug with the broken glass?

[sorry again]...

ok, let's just say i don't have a problem with Indigenous peoples collectively making a stand on their own land, masked or unmasked.

I do have a problem with those claiming to act in the interests of Indigenous peoples making life more difficult for all activists, including Indigenous activists working collectively whose efforts are sidelined, and whose communities are then targetted for disdain and worse by media, the general public, and police.

Window smashing doesn't help anyone.  seriously.

 

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

First a disclaimer.  I am not saying anything was accomplished by smashing in the Bay's windows. Now if they had of been smart enough to disrupt the Bay's supply chain so as to prevent them from having enough stock to sell during the Olympics forcing people to buy knock offs I might consider that to be within the boundaries.

Many of the people I marched with in the protest were aboriginal youth and some of them were with the anarchist section.  Many other young activists who were not in the anarchist group also had bandanas over their faces at some times but not all the time.  Many young people believe bandanas and vinegar are proper gear at protests to protect them from police violence.  I am old school and merely march without protection relying solely on the ability of my white male looks to calm the waters.  

The most unruly behaviour and the most dangerous to the health of protesters that I saw on the Friday night came from the media.  When the march got to the police line across from BC Place it stopped and the media inserted itself  into the front rows of the protest.  When the police inadvertently yelled the black bloc were attacking the centre of the police line three camera men almost knocked down an elderly protester trying to get the best shot.  I saw them elbow another younger demonstrator out of their way so they could get the good shot.  And even if a regular media scrum is a lot like a mosh pit that is no reason to trample the people whose story your covering.

If there are boundaries to the freedom of expression they must also include boundaries on the behaviour of the media.  They too should not be allowed to engage in potentially injurious behaviour.

dgr_insurrection

Michael Nenonen wrote:

dgr_insurrection wrote:

Does anybody really think that if we all sing give peace a chance that Obama is going to get out of Iraq? Or NATO out of Afghanistan? Or that if we ask nicely that Exxon is going to stop polluting or Pacific Lumber is going to stop clearcutting? Let's get real.

Of course, if we break windows and throw marbles at police, we'll end all of our countries' occupations and our corporations' environmental crimes in no time flat.

Give me a break. I wasn't condoning the black bloc's "break stuff" tactics, or saying that they'll be effective in stopping environmental degradation. But, I'll refer to Derrick again here since I think he has a point when it comes to this question you've raised as well.

From his CD, Now this war has two sides:

"What would happen if cops instead of enforcing the so-called rights of corporations to make money, what would happen if they enforced cancer-free zones? And what would happen if they enforced Wal-Mart free zones? And what would happen if they enforced clear-cut free zones? Or what would happen if the cops actually forced timber companies to even obey the laws that are already on the books? And of course it's never gonna happen, we might as well be talking about Angelina Jolie or something, this is just fantasy-land... But I was thinking about this, what if instead we start thinking 'okay, the cops aren't gonna do it'? What if we start having community enforcement? What if we meant it? Just a thought."

He isn't talking about just smashing a few windows.

Another thing is, we have to consider the possibility that tactics that are sanctioned by and legally acceptable to those in power are allowed because they're ineffective, at least on the whole. This might seem a bit pessimistic, and that I'll grant you. But consider the fact that at every step of social progress, economic production (aka the destruction of the planet) has gone on unabated. I'm not saying above-ground work is useless but with our future at stake we need to ask those questions, instead of tooting our own horns about how spiritually pure we are because we are pacifists.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

It's a bit unfortunate that even on babble many buy the msm spin on such a trivial incident.  It's not like a luger got killed.

Kaspar Hauser

dgr-insurrection: I'm not terribly impressed with Derrick Jensen, for reasons I explain in this article:

 

http://republic-news.org/archive/178-repub/178_nenonen.html

 

dgr_insurrection

Michael Nenonen wrote:

dgr-insurrection: I'm not terribly impressed with Derrick Jensen, for reasons I explain in this article:

 

http://republic-news.org/archive/178-repub/178_nenonen.html

 

Well okay, but taking down civilization and defending forests from illegal logging are two very different things. And in this piece you do touch on one of the weaknesses of Jensen's work, which is that he doesn't really clearly explain theoretically what the differences are between civilized and non-civilized ways of life. He talks about North American indigenous peoples, and that's about the extent of it. And even then, a lot of what he says is concerning these indigenous people after civilization had started. He's a bit sloppy when it comes to exactly what kind of way of life he thinks is ideal, especially regarding the question of agriculture vs. hunter-gatherer; he doesn't come out clearly on one side or the other on that question. I disagree with Jensen's definition of civilization, as well. Civilization starts with large-scale agriculture (i.e. not what's called "horticulture" in the anthropological lexicon) and sedentary living, not necessarily cities. Cities are perhaps the biggest and most noticeable modernist reification of this phenomenon but they aren't the definition of it. Most of what he says follows from the growth of cities actually follows from agriculturalism in general not just cities.

That being said, there is quite a bit of good anthropological evidence outside of Jensen's work that supports his claims, at least generally. It's conventional wisdom now in anthropology that hunter-gatherer (meaning nomadic, not sedentary, not agricultural) society was relatively free of war, the sexes were as equal as they've ever been, social stratification was practically non-existent, food was abundant. That isn't some loony primitivist fantasy, it's anthropology 101. Look in any recent first-year intro to anthropology textbook and you'll find this.

The evidence you provide in the article to contradict Jensen's claims about indigenous ways of being is scant. The explanation of how exactly this evidence contradicts Jensen's thesis is also lacking, I think. You present one case, the New Guinean one. It's unclear from what you quoted whether these people were hunter-gatherers or whether they used subsistence agriculture. This is an important distinction to draw, one that I think Jensen ignores, or skims over. The anthropological evidence suggests that when agriculture begins, so does inequality of the sexes, social stratification, war, famine, and population increase. The more developed societies become the larger these problems are. This is pretty clear when you look at a basic typology of societal structures, from band society (hunter-gatherer) to tribal society (some stratification) to chiefdoms and then to states and civilizations, and compare their features on those points. This is again, anthropology 101, not some hippie BS.

So you present that case and then you go and paint this big generalization:

"New Guinea isn’t an isolated example. While it’s true that the planet’s non-civilized peoples have historically tried to conserve their land base and the non-human populations living on it, they have also brought about the extinction of many species, including most of the world’s megafauna like the Woolly Mammoth."

This is referencing a rather controversial idea - what's known as the Pleistocene Overkill Hypothesis. It states that about 14,000 years ago, when humans first came to North America, they encountered many large mammals with no experience of humans. They proceeded to take advantage of this and wipe out these species, one of which is the mammoth as you mentioned. This is quite a contested issue, not exactly strong evidence for your claim.

Again, your comments about warfare are also similarly unclear. Were these indigenous groups subsistence agriculturalists and not hunter-gatherers? Was this after Westerners had started to invade their land and exterminate them? If the answers to either of these questions is yes then your point is moot.

NDPP

A Response to Judy Rebick: Black Blocs and the 21st Century Anti-Colonial Movement at the Olympics

http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/blog/alexhundert/2905

"Judy Rebick, from her office in downtown Toronto, complains that "when a spontaneous anger against the Black Bloc emerged on social media, people berated us for 'dividing the movement. She says that, in fact, ' it is the Black Bloc that is dividing the movement.'

She is wrong..."

NDPP

duplicate deleted

remind remind's picture

Well written article, and thank you for the link....it would seem some white people/activists want to listen to First Nations leaders/peoples as long as they saying what they want to hear. The minute they don't, they are disregarded as valid voices.

Quote:
Two days after the “Heart Attack” march, there was an anti-poverty march which was attended by many liberals and so-called progressives—MP Libby Davies, for example. A group broke off from that march, hopped the fence to an empty lot (owned by condo developers, under lease by VANOC) and cut the locks from the gates, opening them up for people to set up the Olympic Tent Village which will still stand at least until the end of the Olympics. Many activists who participated in the Black Bloc at “Heart Attack” have been there ever since, volunteering almost around the clock cooking meals, working security shifts, helping set up tents and keeping them dry, working the medic tent, organizing new actions with members of the DTES community, etc., etc. Meanwhile, more liberal folks (like Dave Eby of the BCCLA) showed up once or twice for photo ops without ever setting foot inside the camp or talking to any of the people without homes whom they build their careers speaking on behalf of.

It is not the champions of civil liberties, the democratic reformers or academics who are down at the Olympic Tent Village. While they are in their offices, it is community organizers and radicals who are on the ground working side by side with neighbourhood residents, participating in real community building. At the Tent Village the State machine has been shut out from the site. Inside, residents of the DTES are rising up.

I’ve been at the front gate doing security, for more hours than I have not, over the past ten days. In that time many conversations with Vancouverites or Olympic tourists who pass by have turned to discussions of the “violence” on the 13th. I have watched multiple individuals take off their HBC red mittens and toss them in the garbage. While these people may not take any further action, in the face of the gross poverty on the DTES, they had no choice but to be ashamed. It was the broken windows which identified HBC’s Olympic merchandise as an appropriate symbol to bear that shame.

 

Did anyone else catch the interview last night on CTV with Shawn Atleo?

NDPP

No 2010 Commemorative Poster by Tania Williard, Secwepemc Nation

http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/photo/2896

kim elliott kim elliott's picture

Hey folks, thought you'd be interested in this thoughtful response to Judy Rebick's piece: "In defence of a diversity of tactics".

The author writes:

"I have been involved in a wide array of coalitions on various issues over the past half decade, and never have I witnessed cross-movement solidarity like I have in the anti-Olympics campaign. In southern Ontario, as in Vancouver, radical groups from a variety of locations in the broader movement have come together to start to develop a shared anti-colonial analysis. This solidarity and unity, on the anti-colonial front, is deeper and stronger now than it has been at any point in the last 10 years...

Part of the strength of the anti-Olympic campaign, as a watershed for the new anti-colonial movement, has been the solidarity and unity around a "diversity of tactics." Part of that solidarity is rooted in the idea that you cannot attack one part of the movement without attacking the whole. When we remember to defend each other, we also remember to work together to build the movement and our communities. This cannot be done by succumbing to the classic colonial tactic of divide and conquer. Diversity of tactics means that one day we smash the system and the next we build alternatives. The Black Block is a wrecking ball tactic that makes space for more mainstream or creative tactics. The anarchists who participate in the Bloc are for the most part solid community organizers and people who are at the forefront of making space for creative alternatives to capitalism and colonialism. A diversity of tactics is meant to be complimentary -- different tactics demonstrate different values and objectives, and all must be viewed in sum."

You can read the full piece here.

Read Judy Rebick's "Breaking is not a revolutionary act" here.

The audio from the discussion rabble hosted with Harsha Walia and Derrick O'Keefe "Diversity of tactics: diversity of opinions" can be listed to in two parts: Part 1 here, and Part 2 here.

And since I'm listing things (catching up on reading after a week-end away), rabble radio's latest is called "2010 Olympics: a gold medal for activism". You can find it here.

 

 

Sven Sven's picture

Slumberjack wrote:

The majority has been rendered incapable of analyzing the repressive actions of the ruling elite

May I suggest using comic books to get your point across to the unwashed masses?

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

May I suggest you crawl off and die under your rock?

Le T Le T's picture

Good articles Kim and remind, thanks for those.

 

I'm still really disapointed that Judy Rebick wrote that piece. She must be getting ready to run for the NDP or something :)

RosaL

Sven wrote:

Slumberjack wrote:

The majority has been rendered incapable of analyzing the repressive actions of the ruling elite

May I suggest using comic books to get your point across to the unwashed masses?

"The other side" has been doing that for some time. It also uses tv, movies, magazines, radio.... 

remind remind's picture

Le T, I am betting Liberal.... ;)

 

Good one RosaL

oldgoat

Lard Tunderin Jeezus wrote:

May I suggest you crawl off and die under your rock?

For godsake LTJ stop doing that. Another personal attack like that and you're taking a break.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Sven wrote:
May I suggest using comic books to get your point across to the unwashed masses?

Actually, for reasons not germane to this discussion, I am working on a graphic novel version of the Manifesto of the Communist Party. I'm certain that once it's published, the revolution will arrive in high schools across the country.

Jacob Richter

Ooooh!  After that manga of Capital wasn't published here in English, I'd like to see this!

P.S. - I'm wondering if you want me to help out with some input.  There are key words and sentences in that work that need emphasis.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Well, I know the work pretty well--this isn't a casual project--but I'm always interested in hearing people's thoughts on one of the finest pieces of modern literature!

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

oldgoat wrote:

For godsake LTJ stop doing that. Another personal attack like that and you're taking a break.

I take breaks all the time. But every time I come back, I see the same old trolls getting away with the same stupid shit without being called on it. It's disrespectful of babble policy, insulting to the majority of contributors, and pig-ignorant besides.

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