Autonomy: an idea whose time has come

134 posts / 0 new
Last post
epaulo13 epaulo13's picture
Autonomy: an idea whose time has come

 an idea whose time has come

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Autonomy: an idea whose time has come

The global struggle for real democracy exposes the divorce of power and politics at the heart of the capitalist state. Autonomy is the only way forward.

As the ongoing uprising in Turkey and the mass protests in Bosnia, Bulgaria and Brazil confirm, the wave of struggles that kicked off with the Arab revolutions of 2011 is still in full swing. However, it is also clear that, two years hence, the “dangerous dreams” of the Arab revolutionaries, Europe’s indignados and America’s occupiers largely remain unfulfilled. In Europe, the austerity mantra is still being uncritically praised and dutifully imposed by governments of the left and the right. In Egypt, Islamist forces have successfully managed to hijack the revolution by taking state power and suppressing its epochal promise of radical emancipation. In the United States, meanwhile, the bodies that once assembled on Wall Street seem to have dissipated back into their previous state of social atomization.

In the present conjuncture, an old but important question arises — both for the movements that kicked off in 2011 and for the ones currently underway in Turkey, Brazil and elsewhere: what is to be done? According to some, including prominent leftist thinkers like Slavoj Žižek and Alain Badiou, the spontaneous and autonomous character of the new revolutions poses a number of risks. Most importantly, these critics argue, the lack of centralized leadership and the fetishism of horizontality that define these movements risk condemning them to an ephemeral existence with limited influence on concrete political outcomes. Without the necessary structuring leadership of what Badiou and Žižek call the Master – presumably in the form of a radical party – the protests are bound to resemble nothing more than flash mobs, marked by temporary explosions of carnivalesque contestation that ultimately do little to undermine the deeper power relations that constitute capitalist society. In the most cynical of these interpretations, the new revolutions could even end up reinforcing capitalism.

Today’s Movements: Advancing Socialism Without the Politics? 

In an article for Levantoday, David De Bruijn echoes some of these criticisms, even if he is arguing more from a realist point of view than a Marxist-Leninist one as such. First, he correctly argues that the Tahrir uprising of 2011 was actually much more closely connected to the anti-austerity protests in Syntagma than most observers at the time were willing to recognize. But, after this basic observation, David moves on to conclude that perhaps the sources of similarity between these movements — which Leonidas Oikonomakis and I consider to be part of the same movement family, which we refer to as the Real Democracy Movement — are also precisely their main weakness. In fact, the ongoing wave of ‘occupy’ protests, including the anti-austerity protests in Europe and the Taksim uprising, may signify the Rebirth of History, but they ultimately do so by proposing the return of socialism without the politics:

Today’s protestors do not affiliate themselves with parties or programs; they do not enter the political arena to obtain particular political goals, or even to actually alter the system entirely. The common refrain is that politics ‘are all hopeless anyway’. As such, today’s protesters want socialism in the abstract: ‘values’ and ‘ideals’ like equality, fairness and non-materialist modes of existence, but not any particular potentially feasible practice embodying these values.

It is a critique that the Occupy movement is very familiar with, of course. First, the mainstream media and political establishment chastised the protesters for failing to articulate any clear demands; then the institutional left joined in, criticizing grassroots activists for refusing to organize themselves into a party and to aim for state power. It is a similar line of critique as the one that has been leveled at the autonomous Zapatista rebellion in Mexico, the spontaneous popular uprising in Argentina and the leaderless alter-globalization movement in Europe and the United States, all of which helped to animate the world’s most important anti-capitalist struggles around the turn of the century. In fact, it is a critique that goes back much further than this, extending from Marx’ thundering polemics against the anarchism of Proudhon and Bakunin to Lenin’s scathing critique of Rosa Luxemburg’s concept of revolutionary spontaneity; and from the Stalinist crackdown on the anarchist militias of revolutionary Catalonia to the contemporary Marxist critique of the events of May ’68.

It is quite interesting to note, in this respect, that there is a long-standing and somewhat curious coalition between the theorists of the institutional left — represented in this case by radical thinkers like Slavoj Žižek — on the one hand; and the liberal political establishment in democratic capitalist society on the other. Both have consistently criticized the Real Democracy Movement for its refusal to respect the organizational exigencies of party politics; both argue that, to be taken seriously, the activists should cast aside their revolutionary illusions and accept the basic rules of the game. Without representation in parliament, they argue, no one will listen to them. If only the protesters would get their hands dirty and do some politics, these two strange bedfellows seem to agree, we can at least start a conversation.

The Divorce of Power from Politics

But of course that is precisely what the activists do not want. They do not want to engage in a dialogue with the political establishment because they consider the entire system upon which it rests to be fundamentally undemocratic. Moreover, the refusal to engage in the representative politics of capitalist democracy is by no means limited to moral considerations: it is not simply a “soft” and “fluffly” rejection of politics in favor of values. In fact, most of the organizers behind the grassroots movements of the past two years recognize that moving through traditional party structures and state institutions is likely to do their movement more harm than good. This is ultimately a strategic consideration as much as it is a moral or ideological one. Look no further than Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil, to see what happens to revolutionaries — in this case a former member of various Marxist guerrilla groups during Brazil’s military dictatorship — when they take state power. Or look at the Papandreou dynasty in Greece. Or the Miliband family in the United Kingdom. The examples are endless....

Maysie Maysie's picture



epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Assemblies emerging in Turkey: a lesson in democracy

The protesters are starting to counter-pose their own direct democracy to the sham of a democracy proposed by Erdogan’s authoritarian neoliberal state.

Something quite amazing is happening in Istanbul. In addition to the silent “standing man” actions around the country, people’s assemblies are slowly starting to emerge in different neighborhoods across the city. As in Spain, Greece and the Occupy encampments before, the protesters in Turkey are starting to counter-pose their own form of direct democracy to the sham of a democracy proposed by Erdogan’s authoritarian neoliberal state. If there was ever any doubt, this shows how deeply intertwined the global struggles truly are.

As the state launches its merciless witch hunt on protesters, activists and Tweeters, thousands of people are starting to gather in dignity in various public spaces. As Oscar ten Houten reports from on the ground in Istanbul, the Beşiktaş Assembly in Abbasaga park, which has been going on for days, tripled its number of participants on Tuesday night, with a total of ten popular assemblies taking place in Istanbul alone and at least one more in Izmir. As Oscar writes on his great blog (which he started at the occupation of Puerta del Sol in Madrid in 2011):

These meetings have nothing to do with Taksim Solidarity any more. They are spontaneous initiatives by local people who are fed up with Erdogan’s disregard for the Turkish citizens, their rights and freedoms, their history, beliefs and traditions. … We arrive in Kadıköy, and truly, I couldn’t believe this was happening. Well over two thousand people were gathered on the green, to express their anger with the government’s eviction of Gezi, and to share their hope for a better Turkey. Like anywhere else, it was a cross section of the population, which included all races and creeds.....


epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

First Nations Warn Enbridge Against Trespassing

The Yinka Dene Alliance has sent a cease and desist letter and is warning Enbridge against trespassing in their traditional territories as the company seeks temporary permits for drilling and tree removal for its unapproved Northern Gateway pipeline, a project that is opposed by the BC government and more than 60% of British Columbians.

The Alliance, whose members’ territories make-up 25% of the proposed pipeline route, say that Enbridge’s actions and the BC government’s potential indifference to granting temporary work permits, could put the government’s new relationship with BC First Nations at risk, including future talks on pipelines and LNG....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

When workers takeover: from redundancy to Ri-Maflow

Have you heard the story about the Italian workers who took over the bankrupt company that previously employed them and started a new cooperative, all while doing something for the environment?

This is the story of Ri-Maflow.

In March2013, a group of some fifty workers in the town of Trezzanosul Naviglio nearMilan, decided to occupy the factory where they used to work and run it as a cooperative making and selling recycled electric and electronic components.

These workers were previously employed by Maflow, an Italian multinational that made pipes for car air-conditioning systems.

For many years, Maflow was a market leader servicing many big car companies; BMW was its biggest customer.

But after a series of financial difficulties, the company closed down its main Italian arms at the end of 2012.

The workers, however, refused to give in. A few days after they were made redundant, a group of former employees broke into the factory and started the machines again.

And that’s when Ri-Maflow was born as a social co-operative making its first steps towards providing a future for the occupiers and their families....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Radio Entasi: Taking Over Responsibility

We take over responsibility for the explosive ideas, the free spreading and conveyance of those, the formation of a free and direct-democratic radio assembly, the disturbance of domestic peace.

We, the assembly born on the days of the December riot of 2008 – which you would so much like to forget – ,  broadcasting on 100.1 fm.

In the 5 years of Radio Entasi, we saw the movement passing through many phases, we saw society resisting, instituting, and abandoning the traditional ways of politics. We saw the economic crisis evolving in a crisis of values of a system that can’t represent anybody no more, because there is nothing common anymore to be represented. Whole parts of society are being placed in a condition of exception: from the strikers in the Public Transportations to the villages in Skuries, Chalkidiki, people are being outlawed. Radio Entasi could not be an exemption. After all,  we were present. Radio Entasi was there, on the riot of December 2008, on the occupied Syntagma square in 2011, and every time where the heart of the movement was beating, giving the frequency 100.1 fm to the voice of the oppressed.

And while everybody knows that the radiowaves of Entasi are at the disposal of every fighting person, and while we respect our audience even in the KW that we are using, in contrast to the “legal” radio stations and the cell phone antennas, the Law ignores that. As it also ignores the true essence of the university as a public, free space for the communication of ideas . The Law wants to muzzle Radio Entasi.

With an indictment and a lawsuit, the SKAI media company  (which broadcasts “silence” from the Parnitha mountain, illegally on 100.6 fm, to “protect” the 100.3 frequency, whose shareholders promote the fascist Golden Dawn, openly or secretly), wants for us to shut up. Shut up? So that only the chandlers of solidarity, the grabbers of frequencies, the financiers of the new fascist battalions, the pimps of the environment and the forgers of information could speak on the fm? They are deluded.

Let the SKAI group, it’s advertisers and the authorities know that freedom for us is not a product to sell in a good deal with the customers, nor is it a trick to increase our ratings. Freedom is our value and our project.

Radio Entasi will not be silenced! We continue to broadcast radically on 100.1 fm, interfering in the dominant frequencies.


epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

#BRevolution, Brazilian remixed shout for Global Spring (with video)

The sleeping giant is waking up. Brazil is awakening from the Fake Progress Dream of the 1%. Brazilians are taking the streets, but the media only talks about macro politics. Brazilian youth-and-not-so are demanding other economic, civic and social ways. But the media hides the facts: political assemblies in public, occupations of municipal assemblies (as Belo Horizontes´s occupation), new networked collectives fighting for the right to the city, for political participation… Media are showing empty reality shows, just as Turkish TV showed penguin documentaries when #OccupyGezi was coming to life. Istanbul and São Paulo are the twin faces of the Global Spring, a remix of the same shout. The same Brazilian tear gas is being used in Istanbul’s Taksim Square and Avenida Paulista in São Paulo. It is the gas of neoliberalism.

“You are not a mature movement because you don’t identify your leaders”, said Fernando Haddad, mayor of São Paulo, after the huge protest on June 13th. And the meme warriors responded in a collective text:

“It is you who is not being mature, because you don’t understand the new logic of activism, self-organization, intelligence and collective outrage”.

A nice detail of this still growing, networked Brazilian revolution was the open letter that Movimento Passe Livre (the collective that made Brazil burst) sent to Dilma Rousseff, Brazilian president, after being invited to a meeting: “This invitation is a surprise. We hope this means that Government will change its position and that dialogue will extend to other causes”. Movimento Passe Livre stated that there were no leaders at all. They are the 99%.

Power focuses on public transport fees. And Government tries to find any kind of leadership. But the Brazilian meme is being remixed in Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and social media. Just as with Istanbul´s protests, which quickly moved beyond Taksim’s Gezi park demands, the Brazilian protest is now beyond #PasseLivre (free pass). A better public transport – even a free transport petition – is still an important demand in cities like Florianopolis, Belo Horizonte, or Recife. But the desire is bigger. The Direitos Urbanos collective – based in Recife, an important city in the north east – is fighting for a better city, from transport to ecology. #EuMePrepresento (I represent myself) is working on a national demand for an open democracy.

And the meme is mutating. First It was #OcupaCopa (#OccupyWorldCup), with crowds in several cities protesting the World Cup and economic speculation. It was #VemPraRua, a kind of “take the street”, spreading throughout the entire country.

It is not just about transport fees (although it also is, yes). It’s the economy, stupid. It’s Global Spring, stupid. It is #Vdevinagre, a mock tag that denounces the fines given by police to protesters using vinegar to protect themselves against tear gas. It is a remixed images flow feedingthe revolt. It is not about a 20-cent fee increase. It is for rights (a lot of collective and groups were formed around this idea). It is #OcupaCabral, a new agora for those who are surrounding Rio de Janeiro´s House during last days. It is #BRnasRuas, a much-needed shout for recovering public space and democracy. It is #OcupaGlobo, a rage against mass media manipulation.

From Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street. From 15M-Indignados to #OccupyGezi. From #YoSoy132 in México to #VemPraRua. It is the same global noise. But mass media iisn’t paying attention to this huge emotional network, to this upcoming meme war.

Brazilian jammers don’t want Brazil to be a ‘big economy’ if that means being an unequal country. They don’t want to be a BRIC, if that means taking loans and destroying the Amazon forest. They just want bikes and networks, public space and music, open data and love, freedom and food without transgenics, hugs and copyleft ideas. They just want to remix Emma Goldman´s hit: “if I can´t dance, it is not my revolution”. Let´s dance, #BRevolution, as Çapulling movement does in Istanbul´s streets & squares.Dança na rua, Brasil. #VemPraRua

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Brazil indigenous protest blocks major iron ore railway

Brazilian indigenous people in the Amazon region have blocked one of the country's most important railways in a protest for better public services.

The railway is owned by mining giant Vale and connects the world's largest iron ore mine, Carajas, to a port on the northern coast near Sao Luis.

The track transports more than 100m tonnes of the mineral each year.

It is the second time this week that the trains have been halted by protesters of neighbouring villages.

Protesters from several tribes burned wood on the railway in the Amazonian region of Alto Alegre do Pindare, demanding better transport, education, health and security.

Last week, they blocked the railway for two days.

Earlier this week, residents of another village near Sao Luis, in the state of Maranhao, also stopped the trains in a protest....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

About The Occupy Money Cooperative (video)

Will offer access to low cost, transparent, high quality financial services to everyone. 

Will actively and directly encourage the development of innovative financial services that will foster financial inclusion, and lead the field in terms of openness and fairness. 

Will lead by example to affect a positive change for our members and stakeholders, and provide an uplifted standard of conduct for the financial community.

Will actively work with business partners and organizations that demonstrate a commitment to the well-being of their communities.

Access to financial services is an important public service.  It should belong to the public.  Your support will help launch the coop and its first product, the Occupy Card.

The Occupy Money Cooperative will be owned and controlled by its members.  Its members will consist of its customers.  If you use its products, you will automatically become a member of the cooperative, with a voice in how the coop will be run, and what services it will develop.

It’s that simple.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

2 arrests as community thwarts illegal eviction attempt at Ceballos home

75 community members turned back 30 sheriffs in their attempt to evict the Ceballos home today. Two home defenders were arrested in acts of civil disobedience.

Under orders from sheriff Richard Stanek, deputies kicked in the door without warning at 12:40pm this afternoon. One home defender was cut out of a barrel filled with concrete by deputies wielding a jackhammer and saw.

During the eviction attempt, community members drove sheriffs into the backyard, where they retreated after boarding up the property. The Ceballos family, friends, and neighbors removed the boards and returned into the home.

JPMorgan Chase Bank had told the Ceballos family that were considering them for a loan modification--but then filed for eviction at the same time. This process is known as dual tracking and is illegal under the national mortgage settlement. On Monday Chase asked for another loan modification application from the Ceballos family, which they accepted yesterday.

"Yesterday we went to Chase because they said they would help us," said Jonathan Ceballos. "Today the sheriffs show up at our house to evict. The question is, to the sheriffs and to Chase--who are you helping? They want to see another empty house but it's not going to happen, because we the people are here to support one another. We hope Mayor Rybak will not send police to attempt another eviction of my family while we continue to negotiate with the bank. We don't need any more arrests."


Jonathan and Jordan

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Taksim Commune: Gezi Park And The Uprising In Turkey

This short documentary tells the story of the occupation of Gezi Park, the eviction on July 15, 2013, and the protests that have continued in the aftermath. It includes interviews with many participants and footage never before seen.

Since the end of May 2013, political unrest has swept across Turkey. In Istanbul, a large part of the central Beyoğlu district became a battle zone for three consecutive weeks with conflicts continuing afterward. So far five people have died and thousands have been injured.

The protests were initially aimed at rescuing Istanbul’s Gezi Park from being demolished as part of a large scale urban renewal project. The police used extreme force during a series of police attacks that began on May 28th 2013 and which came to a dramatic head in the early morning hours of Friday May 31st when police attacked protesters sleeping in the park.

Over the course of a few days, the police attacks grew to shocking proportions. As the images of the heavy-handed policing spread across the world, the protests quickly transformed into a popular uprising against the Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and his style of authoritarian rule.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

A Dream Foreclosed: As Obama Touts Recovery, New Book Reveals Racist Roots of Housing Crisis

(video & transcript)


More than 10 million people across the country have been evicted from their homes in the last six years. Her new book, "A Dream Foreclosed: Black America and the Fight for a Place to Call Home," focuses on four families who have pushed back against foreclosures.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Zapatistas celebrate 10 years of autonomy with ‘escuelita’

It was 10 years ago, on January 1, 2003, when — having exhausted the road of dialogue with the government as well the one of a “big R” Revolution that would overthrow the Mexican state — the Zapatistas of Chiapas decided to “abandon the politics of demands, and with it, all contact with the state.” Instead, they chose to concentrate on building their own autonomous, horizontal forms of self-government within their own territories and with their own means.

In other words, to ignore the state as an institution and “act as if they had already won”, comrade ‘Bruce Lee’ of the CCRI in San Cristobal declared during the commemoration of the 1994 uprising that “we don’t have to ask the government’s permission to be autonomous.” Or, as Major Infantry Insurgent Moses put it in an interview with Gloria Muñoz:

The dialogue with the government didn’t work but it enriched us, because we met more people and it gave us more ideas. After the “Color of the Earth march” in 2001 we said that with or without a law we were going to build our government the way we wanted.

It was 10 years ago, on August 9, 2003, when the Zapatistas announced the death of the Aguascalientes and the birth of the Caracoles. Five caracoles were created, each with its own Junta de Buen Gobierno (JBG) established within it, responsible for its own Zapatista Autonomous Rebel Municipal Zone (MAREZ). The five caracoles are the following:

  • “The Mother of Caracoles — Sea of Dreams” (La Realidad)
  • “The Whirlwind of Our Words” (Morelia — 17 de Noviembre)
  • “Resistance Until the New Dawn” (La Garrucha — Fransisco Gomez)
  • “The Caracol That Speaks for All” (Robero Barrios)
  • “Resistance and Rebellion for Humanity” (Oventik)

The municipalities and communities in each zone are not only divided on the basis of geographical criteria but in other ways (like ethnic composition and distance from the caracol) as well. Each caracol has its own autonomous health clinic, normally a primary and/or secondary school, and each of them is also involved in one form or another with one of the five Projects of Zapatismo: health, education, agro-ecology, politics, and information technology.

It was 10 years ago when the Zapatistas announced that they don’t need anyone’s permission to be autonomous, and started to work on what for them constitutes liberty and autonomy. And now, 10 years later, on August 8, 2013 the Zapatistas invite the world to a three-day fiesta to celebrate the ten years of Zapatista autonomy, in the five caracoles in Chiapas!

And not only that. When the fiesta is over, in one of the very few public initiatives they have undertaken since the Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona (La Sexta) in June 2005, and since the start of the Other Campaign (La Otra Campaña) in January 2006,  the Zapatistas now invite the world to an initiative that they call “the Little School of Liberty according to the Zapatistas”.....


For this Escuelita, around 1.500 activists from all over the world have been invited to visit Chiapas and study the Zapatistas’ experiment with autonomy through lived experience. The teachers will be the Zapatista communities themselves, which will host each and every student in their lands, one with every family, and let them experience what it is like to be member of the Zapatista Bases of Support; in other words, what it’s like to be a Zapatista.

There will be students from five continents. Some of the countries of origin of the students in the course, Freedom according to the Zapatistas, include: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, the United States of America, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Uruguay, Venezuela, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Slovenia, the Spanish State, France, Greece, Holland, Italy, the Basque Country, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Sweden, South Korea, India, Iran, Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the Canary Islands. The furthest point of origin of students is Sri Lanka, which is more than 17 thousand kilometers from Zapatista territory. Then follows India (more than 15 thousand kilometers away), Australia (more than 13 thousand kilometers away), and new Zealand (more than 11 thousand kilometers away)....

Post image for Zapatistas celebrate 10 years of autonomy with ‘escuelita’


epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Reviving Homegrown Dollars How BC’s Salt Spring Dollars inspire community currencies the world over

SALT SPRING ISLAND—Board games form centerpieces on round wooden tables at The Gathering, a restaurant on Salt Spring Island in British Columbia. Opened in May 2013, the games-and-food restaurant is the first of its kind on the island. The establishment is also the first to pay 10 per cent of staff salaries in Salt Spring Dollars (SSD).....

 Alina Konevski

Bryan Dubien (far right) and staff pose at The Gathering, the first establishment to pay partial staff wages in Salt Spring Dollars.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Uncivilisation 2013 is a gathering of people searching for answers to questions about our collective future in a rapidly-changing and depleting world. For one long weekend in August, the woods and chalk downland of the Sustainability Centre in Hampshire will be home to a festival of literature, music, art and action. It will be a place of encounters and conversations, learning and sharing, stories, ideas, music and performance. There will be campfires, wanderings in the woods, children’s activities, and workshops in everything from writing to scything.

The Dark Mountain Project is a network of writers, artists and thinkers who have stopped believing the stories our civilisation tells itself. We see that the world is entering an age of ecological collapse, material contraction and social and political unravelling, and we want our cultural responses to reflect this reality rather than denying it.

The Project grew out of a feeling that contemporary art and literature were failing to respond honestly or adequately to the scale of our entwined ecological, economic and social crises. We believe that writing and art have a crucial role to play in coming to terms with this reality, and in questioning its foundations.

New stories are needed for darker, more uncertain times. Older ones need to be rediscovered. The Dark Mountain Project was created to help this happen.

We launched the Project in 2009 with this manifesto.....


The end of the human race will be that it will
eventually die of civilisation.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Those who witness extreme social collapse at first hand seldom describe any deep revelation about the truths of human existence. What they do mention, if asked, is their surprise at how easy it is to die....


epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Tahltan First Nation tells Fortune Minerals to leave their traditional territoryElders insist Klappan region be made a protected area

Members of Tahltan First Nations have taken a stand against a proposed coal mining project by Fortune Minerals on Mount Klappan.

They've told company representatives to leave their traditional lands.

Although the Tahltan aren't expecting that to happen by the 24-hour-deadline they gave the company yesterday, they say they aren't backing down.

Members of the First Nation were hunting near the site where Fortune Minerals currently has set up a small camp. The hunters say the helicopter was scaring away animals for the food hunt, and that's when the Tahltan decided that they finally had enough.

If the Arctos Anthracite mine project that Fortune Minerals is plannning goes through, protesters say it will be built on traditional lands that include Tahltan burial grounds.

So they marched to the camp and told Fortune Minerals to leave the area.
The Talhtan Band council has unanimously agreed that they want Mount Klappan to become a permanently protected area.

"This is the headwaters of three major salmon bearing rivers, and our people they use that area. They use that area now and ... our ancestors used that area," said Annita Mcphee, the president of the Tahltan Central Council. "Our people came together and said there's some places in our territory that we want to see developed, and there's some places we want to see protected. The Klappan is one of them."...


epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Students leave the Zapatistas’ first school with homework

The 1700 students who travelled from across Mexico and the world to attend the Zapatistas’ first school last week are leaving with an important homework assignment: to transfer what they learned to their respective collectives and movements.

Some left with blisters on their hands from working in the fields with a machete for the first time. Others told stories of waking before the sun rose to prepare tortillas and beans and pozol (water with corn flour added) for their companions who were going to work in the milpa (cornfields) and to chop and carry wood. As the students prepared these meals, often for the first time, they listened to the sounds of indigenous languages like Tojobal, Chol, Tzeltal, and Tzotzil. As they ate, they shared experiences and began understanding that their sense of resistance came from their own families, from the very beginning of their childhoods....


Thx epaulo. I needed an uplifting story.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Thx epaulo. I needed an uplifting story.

..your not alone. :)

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Ferrari 1. El arte de construir un mundo nuevo. La libertad según los zapatistas


The art of building a new world: Freedom according to the Zapatistas

As the media stopped paying attention, many forgot about the Zapatista revolt. But quietly, away from the spotlight, they have deepened their autonomy.

As the media stopped paying attention, many believe that the Zapatista rebellion no longer exists. Quietly, away from the spotlight and cameras, they have deepened their autonomous construction to the point that one can now speak of a different society, governed by rules, codes, and laws distinct from those of the mainstream world.

At his six-year-old height, Carlos Manuel hugs his father’s waist as if he’ll never let go. He looks up at the ceiling and smiles. Julián, his father, tries to escape. The child gives up, but stays close to his dad. Irma, his eight year-old sister, observes from the kitchen corner where their mother, Esther, is working over a wood stove, flipping the corn tortillas that are still the staple food of rural families. The three other children, including the oldest, 16 year-old Francisco, observe the scene that is repeated like a ritual at every meal.

The kitchen is a place for talking, for chats that spread slowly like the smoke that rises above the zinc rooftop. The words are as frugal and flavorful as the food: beans, corn, coffee, bananas and some vegetables, all planted without chemicals and harvested and processed by hand. Chicken raised out in the open countryside has a different flavor, like all of the food in this Tojolabal community....


The Zapatistas emphasize that unity of action should respect diversity in ways of doing things. “Any attempt at homogeneity is nothing more than a fascist attempt at domination; in this way it’s concealed under revolutionary, esoteric, religious, or other language. When speaking of ‘unity’, they don’t tell you that that ‘unity’ is under the command of someone or something — individual or collective. At the fallacious altar of ‘unity’, differences are sacrificed and the persistence of all of the small worlds of tyranny and injustice we suffer is hidden.”

To understand this approach, which led the Zapatistas to pioneer the Escuelita in August, we have to understand the problems they came across in relation with the electoral Left, and also with people who, in their opinion, “appear when there are soapboxes and disappear when it’s time for the silent work.” The logic of the Escuelita is the opposite of that political culture. It is not a matter of going to listen to the comandantes or Subcomandante Marcos, but rather to share everyday life with ordinary people. It’s not a matter of a rational discursive transmission of codified knowledge. It’s something else: experiencing a reality that can only be accessed through the ritual of commitment, or being and sharing....


 the art of building a new world


epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

The Occupy Movement is Dead – Long Live Participatory Democracy!

As governments in economic difficulties increasingly turn to environmentally damaging extraction industries for quick cash citizens of those countries are responding with increasingly louder cries of protest.

The majority of Romanians see the mining project as a form of foreign exploitation and fear the environmental consequences, which could be horrendous. Local farmer Eugen David is leading the fight to stop the Rosia Montana gold mine, the largest protest movement seen in Romania since 1989. President Traian Basescu advised David and other opponents of the mine to sell their homes and leave town.What is it with Canadian corporations and the destruction of natural ecosystems? It seems, not content with devastating an area of boreal forest the size of the UK to extract the dirtiest of oil beneath – the infamous tar sands of Alberta – another Canadian mining corporation, Gabriel Resources Ltd., is set to flatten four peaks of the Apuseni mountain range in Romania, the town of Rosia Montana and adjacent villages and leave in its wake a massive lake of toxic tailings including deadly cyanide. All this plunder for a bit of gold – something that will merely fan the dying embers of an utterly corrupt and unsustainable economic system.


However, there are rays of light – glimmers of hope – in this shadowland. There are people all over the world who haven’t forgotten the wisdom of their ancestors and who are coming together in the name of ‘participatory democracy’ to ensure that their voice is heard; that they are not silent witnesses to the crime of ecocide.

In solidarity with the Beaver Lake Cree Nation of Alberta who are tirelessly campaigning against the tar sands catastrophe, the Save Rosia Montana campaign has coalesced around the injustice that is unfolding in this most beautiful region of Transylvania­– a campaign that has become Romania’s biggest protest movement since the bloody revolution of 1989....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Massive protests in Romania against the exploitation of Rosia Montana mines

(includes video)

In Romania massive protests are taking place in the last days, we’ve asked friends to tell us about it, and here is the response


The protests are peaceful, people it on the sidewalk or on the street, march peaceful but don’t start conflicts. They are mainly young people but not only.
After the march on the 8th of september the prime minister announced that they would stop the procedure. Still, the Parliament has to vote. The televisions started broadcasting some news about Rosia Montana project.

People keep going out in the evenings, demonstrating. There are not many matterials in English but i will try to include some which might be relevant. Any mentioning in foreign press can be useful. “...

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

National Farmers and Social Strike gets seeds control law 970 suspended

In Colombia after 21 days of a nationwide strike by thousands of farmers, blocking more than 40 roads nationwide, protesting farmers forced the Colombian government to negotiate the rejection of a farm bill and the release of detained protesters.

video & transcript
One of the towns that initiated the social strife was El Catatumbo, in Tibu, north of Santander in the northwest of Colombia, where local farmers resisted 51 days in street battles like this one in the video.
El Catatumbo's fight inspired thousand of other farmers who "lost their fear", and about a month after that, they started a nationwide farmers strike, a strike that 21 days after it began, managed to force the government to suspend law 970 and at least study their other proposals.

To push a resumption of negotiations, the strikers opened the roads they had blockaded. The negotiations are ongoing, and they have to decide over more structural issues.

These are some of their petitions:•

To set the prices for agricultural products independently of the international market, and to set a fund to cover the difference so local farmers can get a fair price and the government can guarantee their crops;•

A reduction in the price of gas and diesel, road tolls, and reduction on the price of fertilizers and other supplies;•
Cancellation of the current agricultural policy, including the control of seeds, but also other policies not favorable to small and medium farms;•

To stop the importation of many products, but most importantly to suspend and review the free trade agreements with United States, European Union, China, and other countries;•

Pardon for small and medium farmers' debts, and the adoption of "softer credit" for farmers via public banks;•

To stop and reverse the sale of public lands to international owners, and give them back to local farmers.The mining sector also pledged to the strike and even incorporated its demands, some of which are:•

The participation of traditional and small mining operators when setting policy that regulates the industry;• To stop and even revert some mining concessions and public contracts until it's determined if the local communities are affected, if the resources generated in the mines benefit them, and if local small operations are allowed to work as well....


..i trust that my posts will reappear at some point so will carry on as if.

Updates on Brazilian protests

This week has seen a phenomenal refusal (again) of people in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to be intimidated off of the streets of Rio despite masses of police violence. As, more or less (*), the last continuing street protests and occupations from the earlier wave this summer across Brazil, three key factors have come together to bring an amazing and dynamic energy to keeping going despite beatings, arrests, injuries and so on.

There has been a long term outside occupation of the Câmara Municipal, Rio’s legislative body. Called Ocupa Camara, the protest has been both inside (and here) in occupation and then outside for a number of weeks. The camp is like any Occupy with tents and banners and meetings and demos. Plus also some creative additions to the landscape (here traffic bollards redone as grave to the politicians inside!).Worth describing the site, as the Câmara is right downtown in the Centro zone. The building is on Cinelândia, a major public square where people hang out in two long-term local cafes, there is the large and newly cleaned Theatro Municipal that somewhat disgustingly now towers over the homeless people who live there too and the coming and goings of the cardboard collectors (for recycling cash) and the street sellers of sweets and crisps and stuff. It’s also next door to Avenida Rio Branco, a central and large and noisy road that traverses the downtown area. So blocking that road is significant when it happens. Interesrtingly on Tuesday night during the protests the Theatro suspended it’s current opera (due to tear gas outside seeping in) as people chanted outside ‘The bourgeoisie are too blame!’. The regular Film Festival at Odeon at Cinelândia was also cancelled on Tuesday due to the protests / gas......

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Marinaleda: the village where people come before profit

The thriving Spanish town of Marinaleda runs on the principles of mutual aid and direct action. In a country paralyzed by debt, is this an alternative?


The currency of direct action

As the Spanish economy continues its post-2008 nosedive, unemployment sits at 26 percent nationally, while over half of young people can’t find work. Meanwhile, Marinaleda boasts a modest but steady local employment picture in which most people have at least some work and those that don’t have a strong safety net to fall back on.

But more than its cash economy, Marinaleda has a currency rarely found beyond small-scale activist groups or indigenous communities fighting destructive development projects: the currency of direct action. Rather than rely exclusively on cash to get things done, Marinaleños have put their collective blood, sweat and tears into creating a range of alternative systems in their corner of the world.

When money hasn’t been readily available — probably the only consistent feature since the community set out on this path — Marinaleños have turned to one another to do what needs doing. At times that has meant collectively occupying land owned by the Andalusian aristocracy and putting it to work for the town, at others it has simply meant sharing the burden of litter collection.

While still operating with some degree of central authority, the local council has devolved power into the hands of those it serves. General assemblies are convened on a regular basis so that townspeople can be involved in decisions that affect their lives. The assemblies also create spaces where people can come together to organize what the community needs through collective action.

“The best thing they have here in Marinaleda, and you can’t find this in other places, is the [general] assembly,” says long-term civil servant for the Marinaleda council, Manuel Gutierrez Daneri. He continues: “Assembly is a place for people to discuss problems and to find the solutions,” pointing out that even minor crimes are collectively addressed via the assembly, as the town has no police or judicial system since the last local cop retired.

In his time as mayor, Juan Manuel Sánchez Gordillo has managed to leverage considerable financial support from the state government, a feat which Gutierrez Daneri attributes to the town’s collective track record for direct action. “If you go ahead with all of the people behind you, that is very powerful,” he says....

eta new link



This thread deserves more attention and discussion. So far, I've just been a spectator. If anyone has relevant stories from closer to home, please post.


Unionist! Thanks for this!
I cannot see any alternative to the destruction of our species and a disaster for the planet, unless we are prepared to embrace some form of autonomy at every level, federated to the planet as a whole...exactly how, must become the discussion somewhere!

I`ve dedicated my life to supporting autonomy movements and will be happy to post here!


Plan to start writng on autonomy movements locally...but this is a good start......

People Demand 'Banks for the Common Good' to Overthrow Multinational Behemoths Published on Thursday, March 10, 2016byCommon DreamsPeople Demand 'Banks for the Common Good' to Overthrow Multinational Behemoths

A coalition of social justice groups in Scotland looks at the economic and ecological dangers of corporate mega banks and mounts an argument for democratic reform

byNika Knight, staff writer 7 Comments

"Scotland’s banking system is unstable and unfit for purpose," a new report claims and argues for reforms. (Photo: Richard Peterson/flickr/cc)

In a new report (pdf) focused on Scotland but with global implications, a coalition of social justice groups in the U.K. outlines the risks inherent to an economic system built to serve mega banks, and advocates for the radical reform of replacing these multinational conglomerates with small, local, and not-for-profit "people's banks" that would serve citizens instead of shareholders.

Progressives have long argued that corporate banking is an enormous threat to the global economy, as the 2008 economic crisis clearly demonstrated. What's more, the situation has only grown worse as multinational mega banks continue to merge and consolidate—a trend that shows no signs of stopping.

"We need to move away from highly concentrated, profit-driven banking to an ecosystem of institutions which are structurally designed to work for the common good."—Robin McAlpine, Common Weal

This latest call for local, publicly-owned "people's banks" joins a growing movement that has argued for such democratic reforms to banks in the U.S., Europe and around the world.

The report, called "Banking for the Common Good: Laying the foundations of safe, sustainable, stakeholder banking in Scotland," was the result of a collaboration between the social and economic justice groups New Economics Foundation, Friends of the Earth Scotland, Move Your Money and Common Weal.

Mr. Magoo

I'm not saying this to cheerlead for centralization or anything, but I think an argument could be made that the autonomy of the United States (and I'm talking now about those individual States) might just be the most detrimental thing to any kind of progressive laws or initiatives down there.

Is it a good thing, or a bad thing, if the autonomy of each State allows them, for example, to overturn a federal firearm restriction?


I'm not saying this to cheerlead for centralization or anything, but I think an argument could be made that the autonomy of the United States (and I'm talking now about those individual States) might just be the most detrimental thing to any kind of progressive laws or initiatives down there.

As a prerequisite, the right wing libertarian gun enthusiastic would have to be supressed, followed in short order out of necessity no doubt by the liberty and free speech folks, not to mention the religious right in tandem with the usual assortment of baldfaced opportunitists typi8cally attracted to politics.  This is my own sense, but I think 'autonomy' is an entirely different conversation than that.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Barcelona en Comú: the city as horizon for radical democracy

With all eyes on Syriza, Podemos and the Troika, the focus of attention among the left these days is the possibility to reclaim democracy at the state — and, inshallah, at the supranational — level. Yet at the same time, somewhat less visibly, there is a new cycle of struggles for democratic governance unfolding at the level of the city.

One such municipal movement and platform is Barcelona en Comú (Catalan for ‘Barcelona in Common’, formerly Guanyem Barcelona). Pioneering new ways and words for approaching the city as common(s), Barcelona en Comú opens possibilities for a politics rooted in everyday experiences, social relations and spaces of reproduction.


Methodology and organization

There’s a lot to tell about the methodology of Barcelona en Comú, as its radical democratic approach comes with a host of tools, techniques, mechanisms and structures for enabling municipal politics from below. Amongst those are various levels of assemblies (neighborhoods, thematic areas, coordination, logistics, media, communication, etc.) and online platforms (for communicating, voting, working). The initiative’s organigram looks more like a washing machine or a particle accelerator than a flat or vertical hierarchy.

That’s quite appropriate, because politics and organization are spun around on a daily basis here, reconsidered and reconfigured in an intense experiment in collective thinking and acting. All of that happens without prescriptions, instructions, funding or lobbies but with lots of heads, hands and feet at work: not your typical ‘smart’ and regulated participatory process.

Starting without a recipe, however, does not mean that the initiative is not inventing its own terms, conditions and practices. The most inspiring example of such innovation is the Guanyem code for Political Ethics, which was discussed, annotated and ratified at an open working weekend in October 2014 — with some 300 people present and many more following and commenting online. This ethics code outlines the platform’s basic compromises as concerning representation, auditing, accountability, financing, transparency, professionalization and corruption, and applies to anyone working within it.....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

The Revolt of the Ladders: Movistar-Telefonica Strikers' Occupation, Barcelona, 24/05/15


The Movistar Strike Committee - who call their strike The Revolt of the Ladders for their distinctive use of ladders in their demonstrations -  rejected the unions’ negotiated peace and declared an ‘indefinite strike’ which has now lasted for over forty-eight days. They have said that they will continue to strike until their basic conditions for an agreement have been met, and those include an 8-hour day, forty-hour week, employer payment of working gear and protection, and for a dignified ‘social’ salary which can support their families together with four weeks holidays to enjoy time away from work. From the unions the strikers demand their own seat at the bargaining table – a representative of the strike committee – in place of an external representative sent from the dominant unions, in whom, they made abundantly clear, they have very little trust. When strikers are having to negotiate with both the company and the union, you know something has gone awry.

As relations between the strikers and the unions soured, the strikers turned to other labour and social allies to gain legal protection and financial support. The anarcho-sindicalist General Confederationof Labour (CGT), together with the minority Alternative Workers’ Union (AST) and the Union Commission of the Base (COBAS), are providing organisational support until talks can be arranged, while friends at the cooperative and social bank Co-op57 have provided substantial support to the strikers’ Resistance Fund for workers and their families who have now gone over one month without a pay-check, one month and one more missed mortgage payment, one month and one more meeting with the bank manager, one month and one more fight with their husbands or wives, one more month and one less day out with their boys and girls, one less kilo of meat in the fridge.


It was only last night, the second night of their occupation, when Barcelona elected as mayor an anti-austerity and anti-eviction candidate from a coalition of community activists who have promised to give unwavering support to the strikers. All of a sudden then, the Movistar-Telefonica strikers have friends in high places.

Whether they win or they lose, and whether they can arrive at a compromise or not, what is clear is that this event is indicative of something larger going on in the population – and that is the collapse in faith in the trustworthiness, representativeness and utility of the country’s two main trade union confederations. Words of cynicism and distrust are repeatedly heard by activists of the country’s countless social movements, whether it is the excluded and isolated Movistar-Telefonica strikers, the powerful and popular PAH platform of indebted mortgage holders and evictees, or whether it is just ordinary people who see the union movement as but one more player in capital-P politics, even to the extent that they form part of the hated casta, the ruling class.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Delivering community power: How Canada Post can be the hub of our next economy

Yesterday, I attended the launch of Delivering community power: How Canada Post can be the hub of our next economy

It's an example of a campaign daring to think big. Re-imaginng how we can use our postal services to advance climate justice goals.

While this may not seem obvious at first, if you read through the proposal, it really makes a lot of common sense.

So, what is this about?  

  • Postal bank services, bringing needed services in a fair way back to rural and Indigenous communities
  • A postal fleet run 100 per cent of renewable energy
  • Electric charge stations added to every post office and depot
  • Expanded door-to-door delivery services that can also support elders and people with limited mobility
  • Using post offices as community hubs

There are 6,300 post offices across the country. We own this. It's not only a mail-and-parcel delivery service, it can be a powerful national logistics network. 

Imagine small rural postal offices providing everyday financial services, such as chequing and savings accounts, loans and insurance. The difference with big banks? They are owned by the people who use them. They can be used to prioritize local needs and reinvest profits in social good, unlike Canada's major banks which raked in $35 billion dollars in profits last year while cutting jobs and raising their already high fees for day to day services. 

About 2 million people a year use payday lenders, which often charge interest rates of over 400 per cent. This proposal responds to an immediate need and offers an equitable solution. 

While this campaign is an example of dreaming big, it is not unpractical.

As highlighted in their proposal, "The U.K., France, New Zealand, Brazil and Italy all have functioning postal banking services. Japan has postal workers providing assistance to elders and Norway replaced its diesel fleet with new electric vehicles."

This is a very useful concrete proposal that brings together the intersectionality at the heart of the Leap Manifesto, aimed at social justice, environmental and climate objectives. I look forward to seeing this campaign unfold. 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

How a group of Boston teenagers organized a massive district-wide protest

Hours before more than 3,500 of their peers would march out of their classrooms toward Boston Common, a small group of high schoolers was glued to a group chat on their phones. It was 3 a.m., and they needed to make sure everything was ready for the district-wide protest they’d spent the past week organizing.

Were the posters finished? Yes. Was the meeting place finalized? Yes. Did they all promise that, no matter what, they would leave their classrooms at 11:30 a.m.?


“There’s this stereotype that young kids don’t know what we’re doing and should let adults handle things because it’s their fight more than ours,” said Jahi Spaloss, a senior at Boston Green Academy. “But we’re the ones in school. This fight is ours.”

Ever since thousands of high schoolers marched through the streets of Boston on Monday to protest impending public school budget cuts, some city officials — including Mayor Marty Walsh — have claimed that such a massive form of social unrest couldn’t possibly have been organized by a bunch of kids. Some officials have even claimed the protest was actually organized by unions working behind the scenes. But the students are adamant: It was their idea, and their idea alone....

The area in front of the State House was so packed students could barely move.


Yup young people can do things. In my Grade 12 year myself and others organized a city wide walk out of high school students in seventeen schools. I am pleased to see that kind of '60's Yippie movement making a comeback.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

yes and from the piece

Students from grades 6 through 12 stood up and walked out of their classrooms, chanting: “They say cut back, we say fight back,” and “What do we want? Education!”


I'm curious how this rally turned out.  Anyone here know?

This weekend, federal Liberals from across B.C. will descend on Victoria to attend their biennial policy conference and convention. And, at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday [12 Feb 2016], concerned citizens will descend on the Liberal convention to tell them to repeal Bill C-51, the so-called Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..santa fe, the home of walter white and saul goodman

A Public Bank for Santa Fe


The public bank would open on July 1, 2017 by transferring $100 million of public funds, presently in a multinational bank, into Santa Fe’s own Public Bank. The bank’s first act of business would be to refinance $45.5 million of the city’s loan and bond debt at 4 percent. This is a low-risk way to get a bank up and running, and it would benefit the public as a whole. Most newly chartered banks expect to operate in the red for their first three years, but not our Santa Fe Public Bank. It sounds counterintuitive, but the fact that the city has ample deposits and a lot of debt makes it possible to put a public bank on solid financial ground in the first year.

In year one, the bank would make a modest profit of $500,000, and, by year five, the bank will have increased its lending to $90 million and made a profit of $10.5 million. Profits will continue to grow as more debt is refinanced and new lending happens in the community. This is a source of revenue that will not need to come from a tax increase!

The public bank also will save the city $1 million in year one and reduce the city’s total debt for that portfolio by almost $5 million (9 percent) over five years. Annual payments also would be reduced, giving the city a little breathing room.

Also in the first year, the bank would work with local banks and credit unions to invest an additional $5 million to start growing community resources such as affordable housing, renewable energy or entrepreneurial startups. We anticipate that, as the bank grows in experience, this kind of participation with local banks will increase substantially.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Canoas: A Government of, for and by the People

Oakland, New York, Minneapolis, among others, are exploring the possibility of “participatory budgeting,” an initiative to shift decision-making on development projects from the government to the community, and increase citizen engagement. In order to better understand the process, delegations from these cities visited Canoas, an industrial city of 350,000 in Southern Brazil. What they discovered there was a lot more than one innovative program, but a “new system of participatory government.”

Beginning in 2009, with the election of a radical Workers’ Party candidate, Jairo Jorge, for Mayor, Canoas began a process of transformation, opening new possibilities for people to learn and practice self-government. Based on 4 principles, this new system allows for individuals as well as organizations to intervene and shape public policy and influence economic development.


Canoas is divided into 4 quadrants to foster accessibility, activism,  and decision-making. In 2011, the City organized a year-long Congress of the People, in which over 6000 residents participated as individuals and as organizations in setting sustainable development priorities for the next ten years.

For the “Participatory Budgeting,” the quadrants are divided into micro-districts, to allow for more participation in the neighborhoods. Every micro-district gets representation on a Counsel and has two projects approved.  The poorer the community, the smaller the district. The wealthier communities have much larger districts, so that more funding is channeled into the areas most in need.

While Austerity has been tearing Europe apart, Brazil and, above all, Canoas were implementing social programs that lifted 46% of the poorest out of a state of misery. Housing, food, education, health care and job opportunities go first to the most vulnerable populations: African descendants, the unemployed, and those earning minimum wages.


Thanks for these would be great to dedicate a website to these ideas and movements.....

Here I wish to try to do justice to what I consider the most significant local autonomy movement, based in the high mountains north of Lillooet, in the BC Interior. And to point out some key elements in any prospective regional autonomy movement...

if there is indeed any interest in such, I´d be happy to briefly recount other important BC based movements....

It sprung from the inspiration of the revolutionary youth culture and based at SFU during its peak moments of the boycotts and general strikes of the professors, and led by Dr. Fred Brown, a utopian socialist and close friend of Fidel Castro.....

The settled in the mountains of camel´s foot and spread to the Yalakom Valley below...

They built self reliance in their numerous collective farms and the original Camel´s Foot Commune, natural agriculture and alternative energy projects, but their focus was to build self reliant intensive cooperative community, building an impressive community culture, festivals, art and culture.

They built their ideas of self reliance and bioregionalism in defence of their designated territory, built close relations with the Bonaparte Secwepemc and successfully shut down a BC Hydro coal methane project  on Shuswap peoples unceeded Territory, while continually fighting the logging interests locally.

They were deeply immersed in the political cultural movements of the time, and were key components of the North American bioregional movement, sponsored a first ecofeminist gathering within their territory and played a key role in radicalizing the Green Party before its succombing to the realpolitique of the opportunists....

It was remarkable...I say was because while still in existence it´s lost its cutting edge....maybe due to the distractions of drugs and music and the BC music festival movement, but importantly because of the withering, the betrayal! of the radical edge of the Greens and the bioregional movement......

A history of the movement can be found in the pages of their publication the ¨New Catalyst¨

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Power in India: radical pathways

India has strongly entrenched power hierarchies that have historical roots but have also been exacerbated by inequalities and injustices that have deepened with economic globalisation. However grassroots political movements are emerging in India that could signal a gradual shift to direct or radical democracy, coupled with making representative democracy more accountable and ecologically sustainable

‘Our government is in Mumbai and Delhi, but we are the government in our village’, Mendha-Lekha village, Maharashtra.

‘These hills and forests belong to Niyamraja, they are the basis of our survival and livelihoods, we will not allow any company to take them away from us’, Dongria Kondh adivasis (indigenous people), Odisha.

‘Seeds are the core of our identity, our culture, our livelihoods, they are our heritage and no government agency or corporation can control them’, Dalit women of Deccan Development Society, Telangana.

These three assertions of ‘ordinary’ people in different parts of India suggest the basis of a radical restructuring of political relations and a significant deepening of democracy.1

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture


Beautiful Trouble: From Compassionate Schools to a Compassionate Society: Part 4

This is the 4th and final post in a series on childhood trauma. In the 1st post, I expose my personal reasons for being an example in this struggle to create Compassionate Schools. In the 2nd post, I tell the stories of how children who have walked through my classroom doors have been impacted by trauma. The 3rd post discusses new pathways to creating cultural changes within our schools. Here, in this last post, I connect the dots of EduActivists’ work to other movements through Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed and collaborative activist work I engaged in this summer. Here I make the point that in order to have Compassionate Schools, we also need a compassionate society.

In this post I will discuss the liberation involved in developing compassionate schools and how that liberation is connected to the development of a compassionate society. Who are the leaders and who must be involved in the struggle as examples? How are the genres of activist movements connected to the struggle for a compassionate society?....


One cannot expect positive results from an educational or political action program which fails to respect the particular view of the world held by the people. Such a program constitutes cultural invasion, good intentions notwithstanding. – Paulo Freire

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Building autonomy with agroecology

I am not a slave, nor an object - I have no owner, I am not a piece of property - I want freedom to be a woman...”. These were the chants of over 5000 women smallholder farmers from the Borborema Pole farmers’ union and from other regions in the state of Paraíba in Brazil as they marched through the city of Lagoa Seca in early 2015. Their songs became the marching call in the struggle for autonomy, for an end to all forms of oppression and violence against women, and in support of agroecology. Dressed in white or in lilac, with flags in hand and hats on their heads, the women took to the streets as part of the 6th March for the Lives of Women and Agroecology. They shared experiences and discussed different forms of violence that they experience. The march was organised by a strong network of female farmer-innovators who have been driving change in the lives of hundreds of women, and creating a development plan for the region based on agroecology.

A network of female farmer-innovators

The Borborema Pole is a forum of rural workers’ unions and family farming organisations covering 14 municipalities and more than 5000 families in the semi-arid Borborema region. From the early 2000s onwards, the Borborema Pole and AS-PTA, an NGO active in the region that is also a part of the AgriCultures Network, began to devise collective, local development plans based on strengthening family farming and the promotion of agroecology. Methodological principles of building on local knowledge and collective learning among farmers lie at the heart of our work. Through these principles we have supported family farmers in developing numerous agroecological innovations to overcome technical, economic and socio-organisational barriers over the past 15 years. Despite successes, however, a patriarchal culture remained dominant both within the family and in organisations in the region. This made women’s knowledge, their practices, and their importance for the farm household invisible. Their capacities were not fully being put to use. The inequality between men and women was a barrier to the full implementation of agroecology across the region.

In 2002, the gender issue came to the fore. A group of women began reflecting on what they were doing on their farms and in their daily lives. Through this participatory appraisal the group began to work towards a collective understanding of their role in the family farm. An important realisation was that most of their activities were concentrated within the house and its immediate surroundings....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture took me a while to work out my approach to first nations autonomy in this thread. most of the incredible struggles i’ve posted around extraction involve the expressions of that autonomy and so did not want to repeat what was already there. so i post this video which i find very informative and lies at the heart of all our struggles here in canada. it is very sad and shameful that all mainstream political parties have in the past and continue today to be purposely involved in maintaining colonialism. the video as an hour long and i hope folks will take the time to watch, learn and understand.

150 Years of Canadian Colonization and our Right to Self-Determination with Arthur Manuel.

Arthur Manuel is a Secwepemc-Ktunaca activist. He discusses colonization in Canada and how this systemically impoverished Indigenous Peoples for generations. If Canada is going to renew its relationship with Indigenous Peoples it must recognize the colonial relationship it has with Indigenous Peoples. Canada must recognize that this colonial relationship gives Indigenous Peoples the right to self-determination. This will become clearer when Canada celebrates 150 years of its settler colonial relationship with Britain in 2017.


Kurds Declare Autonomous 'Federal' System In SyriaBY DAVID ON 17 MARCH 2016 GMTWAR AND TERROR


‘Kurds in Northern Syria are expected to declare a federal system in Syria, with the areas they have seized in the northern part of the country acting as an autonomous zone. The announcement is expected to come in a matter of hours according to media sources on the ground in the Kurdish-controlled areas. According to these reports, a conference to declare the federation of three Kurdish entities in Syria will take place in Rmelan.

Kurdish journalist, Barzan Iso, confirmed the rumors to RT when he reported that “Now the conference has just started in Rmelan, about 200 representatives of Rojava have joined [the event]. They represent different ethnicities and nationalities. There are Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians, Syriacs, Turkomans, Armenians, Circassians and Chechen. Also we have representatives from the Syrian democratic forces, YPG, women defense units. This conference is supposed to announce a federation as a political project for Rojava region in northern Syria.”’

....Interesting to watch as these movements have been heavily influenced by Murray Bookchin´s ideas of municipalism and social ecology, that is autonomous regions within a greater federation, something which I may point out is being attempted now by some of the Maya peoples....


epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Peasant women power in Mozambique


This changed when women started to organise themselves in local producer organisations. One of these is the Association of Strawberry Producers of Namaacha (APMONA), consisting mostly of widows and their families. When a man dies he leaves behind a great responsibility to his wife to take care of the family, feed the kids, keep the house, send children to school and produce food on the land. The widows of the Association are farming as their main (and in many cases only) economic activity to support the family. They resolved to grow their food in a way that is consistent with agroecological principles.

Their production is based on a model that divides the land into individual and community plots.  From the community plot, a portion of the produce goes to each member and her family, and the rest is channelled to the local market in Namaacha. The benefit of having a collective machamaba (field) is that peasants share knowledge with each other – it’s a space for learning.

With some support from UNAC, the women introduced crop diversification to the region, and started to grow onion, tomato, cabbage, lettuce and carrots. Previously, the women had only been producing strawberries to sell in Maputo. Now, they are producing many different crops using organic fertilizers, composts and biodiversity-based techniques. The main fertilizer is manure from cows and the mulch is hay which is spread to avoid weeds and maintain soil moisture.  Rosa Jorge Obete, co-founder of APMONA, asserts that since she has switched to agroecology, she has saved more money in production, especially since she avoids the costs of chemicals. “It has allowed me to put my children in school and helped me with daily costs. We are now able to manage our expenses. We live well, not like before,” says Obete....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Key Concepts of the Solidarity Economy

This article was written in 2010, but it is completely relevant today and it provides an excellent history and description of the Solidarity Economy.

By Ethan Miller and published in Kawano, Emily and Tom Masterson and Jonathan Teller-Ellsberg (eds). Solidarity Economy I: Building Alternatives for People and Planet. Amherst, MA: Center for Popular Economics. 2010.

People across the United States and throughout the world are experiencing the devastating effects of an economy that places the profit of a few above the well being of everyone else. The political and business leaders who benefit from this arrangement consistently proclaim that there are no real alternatives, yet citizens and grassroots organizations around the world are boldly demonstrating otherwise. A compelling array of grassroots economic initiatives already exist, often hidden or marginalized, in the “nooks and crannies” of the dominant economy: worker, consumer and producer cooperatives; fair trade initiatives; intentional communities; alternative currencies; community-run social centers and resource libraries; community development credit unions; community gardens; open source free software initiatives; community supported agriculture (CSA) programs; community land trusts and more.


Solidarity Economy as a Process

One of the great strengths and innovations of the solidarity economy movement is its ability to move beyond the factionalism that has so often weakened historical efforts to imagine and build other economies. Indeed, when faced with the question of economic alternatives, many activists have often been tempted to build or to seek a blueprint, a Big Plan, for how “the economy” should operate. While such “blueprints” for alternative economic structures can be very useful as tools for clarifying and motivating our work, they can be problematic as core social change strategies for at least two reasons. First, blueprints often miss the richness of what might emerge from a collective process of imagination and creation; no one person or group is capable of figuring out an economic structure for millions of others to live in. Second, they can lead to a very unfortunate choice of political paths: blueprint in hand, we either convince everyone that we’re right (unlikely) or take over the government and impose our plan on everyone (unethical). Either way, we’ve failed to build a substantially different kind of economy and society, and we’ve failed to live our values.

A solidarity economy approach takes a very different path. Beginning from a core belief that people are deeply creative and capable of developing their own solutions to economic problems, and that these solutions will look different in different places and contexts, a solidarity economy approach seeks to make existing and emerging alternatives visible and to link them in mutually-supportive ways. The core idea is simple: alternatives are everywhere and our task is to identify them and connect them in ways that build a coherent and powerful social movement for another economy. In this way, solidarity economy is not so much a model of economic organization as it is a process of economic organizing; it is not a vision, but an active process of collective visioning.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

By rejecting $1bn for a pipeline, a First Nation has put Trudeau's climate plan on trial

Canada’s Lax Kw’alaams show us how we can be saved: by loving the natural world and local living economies more than mere money and profit

Everything has a price. Everyone can be bought. We assume this principle is endemic to modern life — and that accepting it is most obvious to the impoverished. Except all over the world, people are defying it for a greater cause. That courage may be even more contagious.

It has been in full supply in north-west Canada, where an oil giant is aiming to construct one of the country’s biggest fossil fuel developments: a pipeline to ship liquified natural gas (LNG) out of British Colombia. To export it overseas via tankers, Malaysian-owned Petronas must first win approval for a multi-billion dollar terminal on the coast.


On the other side, the salmon protectors, feeding tens of thousands and supporting a commercial and recreational economy crucial to British Columbians. Promoting an abundance of life instead of threatening to extinguish it. Taking care with the land so that it can take care of people. Getting by on what the earth can continually restore rather than depleting forever what lies beneath.

This is an Indigenous outlook, but one ever more people share. It is in sync with the knowledge that our energy sources must work not against natural cycles but with them — harnessing the power of the sun, water and wind. This can provide jobs in far greater numbers than fossil fuels. And this is the kind of economy we need more of: regenerating naturally, creating enduring local benefits, existing in balance with the natural world. It is, in other words, everything a dirty energy economy is not.

The most dangerous imbalance of all that would be generated by this industrial project, Yahaan says, has only deepened the community’s opposition: its contribution to climate change. Far from clean, emissions from an LNG industry would shatter the provincial government’s emission targets. The Petronas plant and its associated fracking alone could become the country’s largest carbon polluter.


Greece and the “SYRIZA Experience”: Lessons and AdaptationsBy Andreas KaritzisGlobal Research, March 23, 2016Open Democracy 17 March 2016 attempts in various threads to promote a movement based political strategy clearly has fallen on deaf ears...perhaps the experiences in Greece re Syriza and further analyses and need to build a movement for autonomy  may be clearer...I consider this an essential reading and with the fundamental idea to build a movement of social organization AND alternative economics from the base community! 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..i still don't know what your atonomy looks like iyraste. as i have shown by my posts, autonomy already exists and that is what needs to be built upon. autonomy is rooted in peoples and their struggles. show me what your autonomy looks like please. show me your people.

The Next System Teach-Ins

March, 2016 to February, 2017 As you may already know, the Next System Teach-Ins are kicking-off this Thursday – with our inaugural teach-in beginning today in Madison, Wisconsin!

We are thrilled that so many have responded with enthusiasm to our call for nationwide teach-ins on systemic change and transformation. We’ve heard from folks from across the country and around the world — from small-town Alabama to Detroit, from Ivy League universities to community colleges and adult education centers, and from retirement communities to faith-based organizations – expressing their interest to first discussing and then beginning to move towards a next system.

One teach-in host has already signed on to replicate the teach-in twice a year through 2020 at their campus!

And individuals and organizations in Australia, Spain, Brazil, Tanzania, Nigeria, the United Kingdom and beyond want to replicate the teach-ins in their own countries and communities....


Inaugural Teach-In: Madison, WI

Join us for a weekend of community collaboration, cultural expression, engaging discussions and workshops with local leaders.  On Thursday evening, we will be opening with a panel of student leaders who work on racial, environmental, and labor justice. During lunch on Friday, we are excited to have author, political economist, and activist Gar Alperovitz join us as our keynote speaker.

Because the teach-in belongs to us all, Friday’s breakout workshops are sessions that local leaders, community organizers, students, and faculty have proposed and range in topic from community control of the police to equity in healthcare to fighting fossil fuels and climate change to participatory banking; these sessions address large-scale system change as well as localized solutions. On Saturday we will wrap up our conversation by determining concrete next steps that we can take to create a more just and equitable system for us here in Madison.