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

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RosaL
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Joined: Mar 4 2007

Frustrated Mess wrote:
Derrick Jensen is a great writer.

 

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


epaulo13
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Joined: Dec 13 2009

..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
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Joined: Jun 6 2002

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
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Joined: Jan 7 2010

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
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Joined: Jan 7 2010

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
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Joined: Dec 28 2008

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.."


thanks
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Joined: Mar 21 2009

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.

 

 


Kaspar Hauser
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Joined: Aug 15 2004

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
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Joined: Mar 21 2009

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
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Joined: Dec 28 2008

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
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Joined: Dec 28 2008

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
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Joined: Mar 21 2009

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
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Joined: Mar 21 2009

(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
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Joined: Jun 25 2004

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

 

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


Mick
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Joined: Jun 11 2002

Here's a follow up blog post on this subject

Quote:

Mass movements and militancy
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.

Read the rest of the post...

 


NDPP
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Joined: Dec 28 2008

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
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Joined: Dec 28 2008

Vancouver Activists Accuse Police Sending Agents-Provocateurs to Olympic Protests

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

 


NDPP
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Joined: Dec 28 2008

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

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


thanks
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Joined: Mar 21 2009

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
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Joined: Jun 6 2002

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
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Joined: Feb 16 2010

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
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Joined: Oct 15 2007

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
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Joined: Aug 15 2004

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
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Joined: Feb 16 2010

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
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Joined: Dec 28 2008

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
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Joined: Dec 28 2008

duplicate deleted


remind
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Joined: Jun 25 2004

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
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Joined: Dec 28 2008

No 2010 Commemorative Poster by Tania Williard, Secwepemc Nation

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


kim elliott
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Joined: May 2 2008

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
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Joined: Jul 22 2005

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?


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