Privilege (for the benefit of the privileged), identity and the Class War. By Mal Content.

“We live together, we act on, and react to, one another; but always and in all circumstances we are by ourselves. The martyrs go hand in hand into the arena; they are crucified alone.

… From family to nation, every human group is a society of island universes.”

– Aldous Huxley: ‘The Doors of Perception’.

This was always going to be a personal account, anarchism is after all an extrapolation of the particular to the general. The author is an able-bodied (at time of writing), cis-male, heterosexual*, Working Class anarchist of North European heritage, self-educated with a few engineering and craft skills, living in the South of England, I don’t need a university lecturer to tell me that’s a position of considerable privilege in the modern world, and a potentially reactionary one, yet I’ve honestly never wanted anything from this society but to witness its demise. I’m also big, ugly, and in my fifties which helps when dealing with management and cops.

* I seldom use the word ‘straight’, it implies bias, and I’m not claiming my relatively banal proclivities as a badge of community with anyone.

Early on I questioned whether I was writing primarily for people more or less like myself, and dismissed the idea. Obviously it has its limitations, it wouldn’t be of much use to someone whose interest was, for example, the development of anarchism within Chinese culture. It is intended for people new to anarchist ideas, and privilege is a concept many find utterly baffling. Like reification* it’s a hard one to get your head around because it’s woven into the fabric of perceived reality, it’s largely invisible, especially if your contacts are all drawn from a narrow social base.

* Of course, privilege is a form of reification.

Privilege in this context is an absence or mitigation of oppression, seen from the point of view of the oppressed. At first sight it’s counter-intuitive, because no one ever feels privileged,* and the colloquial use of the word is a benefit of some kind, usually earned. It sounds dangerously close to the bosses’ view that we ought to be grateful for access to work, housing, health and education. It’s a demonstrable fact that the presence of any super-exploited group, migrant labour for example, depresses pay and conditions for all workers, so how does it work? How is it a privilege not to be excluded, underpaid, sexually abused, targeted by cops or attacked by bigots?

* There’s a lesson there; not even the ruling elite feel privileged, because they’re conditioned from birth to believe they deserve a bigger slice of the pie.

The liberal would claim these as basic human rights, but they have it backwards, society is oppressive by its nature, its institutions were specifically devised to divide and exploit us, so we each become acclimatised to the level of oppression we experience, and only when these lines are crossed protest that our rights have been violated. This is the liberal trap – it’s the oppression that’s normal, not the absence of it. For many these experiences are routine, and they may indeed consider it a privilege to walk home without being harassed, to apply for a vacancy and be offered an interview, or to attend and not hear that it has just been filled.

If X walks a steeper road than Y, all things being equal, Y will make more progress in a given time for the same effort. Capitalism requires us to compete by excluding others*, so as Y is ahead of X they will have the first choice of whatever they need for the next leg of the journey, and set off feeling positive and refreshed. So on through life; Y will always be where X isn’t, and X will have to work harder than Y just to avoid being left by the wayside. Y’s setbacks will be easier to overcome and of shorter duration. Believing in equality of opportunity, Y may conclude the demoralised and resentful X isn’t trying, or they may congratulate themselves on their own industry and cunning. Meritocracy is a nasty bourgeois trap, like justice, it’s a logical fallacy.

* Housing gentrification and social cleansing is a good example of this.

Read the rest of it.

Wessex stall at Increase The Peace Community Festival, Sunday 29th August.

Wessex Solidarity will have a literature stall at Increase The Peace Community Festival in Bournemouth this Sunday. Our first outing for a while with lots of new pamphlets. Freedom Press are there also.

At Oakmedian club house, Meyric Park, Bournemouth BH2 6LJ

Free Entry from 1 p.m. till midnight, with Live music, food and other attractions.

Supporting International Care Network and Hope For Food.

facebook event

Red and Black Telly roundup.










Red and Black Telly roundup.












The Burning of a Police Van is the Lighting Up of a Beacon of Hope

The Bristolian

In a country that every month lurches ever further into Right-wing authoritarianism with nary a whisper being raised, where queues at foodbanks become ever longer, where homelessness is accepted as being normal, where huge swathes of workers are one pay day from destitution, where nurses are clapped then slapped, where foreign aid is slashed and spending on nuclear defense multiplied, where police attack and kill women, where protest is criminalised, and where its government presides over 127,000 Covid-19 deaths – with nary a whisper being raised and all with the tacit support of Labour – for people then to express shock and outrage at the “horrendous and disgusting” scenes in Bristol is fucking lamentable.

The burning of a police van is the lighting up of a beacon of hope that’s going to be seen all over the world. Welcome back, Bristol, it’s been a long time.

Red and Black Telly roundup.




Clashes on the Occasion of International Women’s Day in Mexico and Colombia

AWM english

Mexico

In Mexico, clashes took place in Mexico City, Oaxaca, Puebla and Cuernavaca (Morelos). In the capital, at least 20,000 demonstrators protested against femicides (endemic phenomenon in the country) and against the insecurity experienced by women in the public space. 1700 police officers had been deployed to contain them.

Some protesters managed to knock down the metal fences protecting the national palace. The anti-riot police then used their shields to prevent protesters from entering the palace. Militant feminists set fire to police shields guarding the National Palace.

In Cuernavaca, capital of the state of Morelos, groups of hooded militants attacked public buildings. The headquarters of the judiciary was attacked with Molotov cocktail, while the windows of the government’s palace were broken. A church has also been attacked. Clashes have also been reported in the city of Xalapa located in the state of Veracruz. The anti-riot police attempted to split the procession but did not reach it.

In the city of Oaxaca de Juárez, the feminists attacked a church, as well as a building of the Ministry of Health. Finally clashes have been reported in the city of Puebla, capital of the state of Puebla.

Colombia

On the afternoon of March 8, a group of feminists set fire to the church of San Francisco de Asís during protests organized for Women’s Day (8M) in Bogotá (Colombia). The main door of the temple was set in flames.

The local newspaper Noticias Caracol, two Transmilenio buses, the Las Nieves and San Diego stations, a SITP bus and the Palace of Justice were also vandalized during the demonstration.

Collectives prepare for historical visit of Zapatista movement in Madrid

Voices in Movement

Written by Miguel Muñoz on February 1, 2021, translated by Shantal Montserrat Lopez Victoria.

On February 2, 2001, a march called La Marcha del Color de la Tierra set out from Chiapas, Mexico. On March 11 after thousands of kilometers it arrived to the capital Mexico City. The mobilization of the  Zapatista delegation proved symbolic and had a strong resonance with a whole generation of social movements throughout Europe. After two decades, another historic event will take place. Several Zapatista delegations will visit the European continent in July, August and September. In Madrid and other territories, different social movements are already preparing for the meeting.

“We have decided: That it is time for hearts to dance again, and that neither their song nor their steps should be those of lamentation or resignation. Diverse Zapatista delegations, men, women and other colored people of our land, shall go out to travel the world, we shall walk or sail to remote lands, seas and skies, seeking not the differences, nor superiority, nor offense, much less apologies and pity”. This is one of the paragraphs from  A Mountain on the High Seas communique announced last October by the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN-Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional) and endorsed by its current spokesperson, Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés.

“After 20 years we set sail and march to tell the planet that, in the world that we perceive within our collective hearts, there is room for all of us, everyone, all of them. Simply and sincerely because this world is only attainable if all of us, all women and men, all together, fight to build it”, says another part of the text.

As a result of this declaration, the entire movement began organizing to receive the Zapatista delegation, which will not only be made up of the EZLN but also members of the National Indigenous Council and the Peoples’ Front in Defense of the Land (Consejo Nacional Indígena o y del Frente de los Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra) . This past week the first assembly was held among the collectives that will be participating in the preparations.

“There have been collectives supporting Zapatismo all over Europe for years,” Danaé, a member of the Y Retiemble collective, created in 2017, tells Cuartopoder. In addition, coordination and networks have taken place all over Europe. “People in Madrid were already getting organized through a network called Europa Zapatista in order to join together and connect with Mexico,” he adds.

A member of Y Retiembre explains that one of the messages that has been very clear from the Zapatista movement is that they have to “mobilize and organize”. The first date for activities are August 13, with a gathering in Madrid for the anniversary of the arrival of Hernán Cortés to Tenochtitlán. This is a proposal of the Zapatista community itself. Next, the “Meeting of Struggles for Life” (Encuentro de Luchas por la Vida) is scheduled for September 6-19.

“It is a meeting in the traditional Zapatista style. We are using the term meeting in the context used by the Zapatistas. It’s not the usual forum type format but rather a meeting about all the struggles that are going on. To meet each other as people,” explains Danaé.

To achieve this, a framework of 7 main themes of struggles has been devised: social rights, feminist and gender identities; anti-racist struggles, internationalist and decolonial struggles; defense of  land and territory; historical memory and freedom of expression; work and migration; art, culture and media. In addition, more activities will be held between now and September to the extent it is possible due to the health situation.

“The Zapatistas come to listen to us and narrate their struggles,” explains Danaé. For that reason, it is also intended that through specific visits, they get to know different collectives and specific struggles in the city of Madrid. From now on, groups will be created by topic and planned activities will be announced. Some initiatives are already underway, such as the distribution of a board game on Zapatismo, which can be purchased online. The collected funds will be used to finance activities. More than 2,000 copies have already been sold. For support groups this is a “historic meeting”. “Normally the Zapatistas have received many people in Mexico, but a tour at this level has never happened before,” says Danaé.

However, there is a gap in the memory of a whole generation within the Zapatista movement. For many years the main figure of the EZLN was Subcomandante Marcos who was very present in the social and political struggles of our country. “There is a generation that is very aware of what Zapatismo is. That is exactly why we are having this meeting. The goal is to organize here, we want to say that we are fighting for life.  We are setting up this meeting hoping to restore these messages because we are aware many people don’t know about the Zapatista proposal. It is very important that these messages resonate with the struggles here because there are many things that coincide”, concludes Danaé.

Dear Arthur – A Message to the Gender Police

The background to this is an exchange between some wobblies and a character called Arthur Brick in comments under Martin’s New year video, it can be found here: https://youtu.be/irNeK4DIgyg – ed.

A couple of months ago – Long enough for me to have already forgotten about it, I lightheartedly posted a simple phrase “If I can’t dance and be non-binary it ‘aint my revolution”. That’s it. I then forgot all about it. I think Emma wouldn’t mind after all she wanted nice things for everyone and sure embracing yourself for who you want to be is a nice thing.

I was reminded of my post this morning by a person by the name of Arthur, Arthur Brick bless you my dear you clearly feel threatened by the thought of me. I say the thought because you don’t know me and I don’t know you. Arthur wrote under my post “Non-binary? Fucking hilarious” (thanks for that Arthur, I actually think I am sometimes).

Don’t worry Arthur I’m not upset or hurt, my fragile masculinity has taken a lot of knocks over the years from people I actually love and care about, so it’s toughened me up 😊

What I found interesting about it though is that Arthur clearly is so threatened by the fact that I don’t fit into their view of what’s right and wrong in the patriarchy, that Arthur has decided to take it upon themself to police my gender. To be clear Arthur has never met me so that makes it a bit easier, Arthur has a picture in their minds eye already about who I am and wants to belittle me and make sure that I am aware that I’m not as good as Arthur. Arthur is a better revolutionary than me.

What I find disturbing about this little banging of heads is how easy it is to attack a person you don’t know. Am I to presume by this that Arthur would not want me to fight on their barricade, after all if they can’t control my behaviour with their simple gender stereotypes they may find they are no longer the boss. What next? Will Arthur be refusing to fight alongside women, gays, blacks? This is how the class is kept divided and this is why we are in the mess we are in today. The people of my class hail from all corners of the rainbow. We are all different but our strength lies in those differences being united against the ruling class. Those who wish to sow division are doing the class war no favours. Of course the sad thing is that Arthur will probably scream and shout that it is I who wants to divide the class by not pretending to be the person that Arthur says I should be. 😊

Bless you Arthur I’m sorry I had to pick on you there are lots of Arthur Bricks who feel they are the boss of my class war.

– Peregrin

“We did what we had to do”-Subcomandante Moisés reflects on the EZLN uprising

Voices in Movement

On the 27th anniversary of the EZLN’s rebellion, Subcomandante Moisés stated: “We did what we had to do”. This is a conversation with the current Zapatista spokesperson who held the rank of major back on January 1st, 1994. We talk about the orgins of the uprising by the indigenous rebels.

Written & photo by Diego Enrique Osorno in Milenio. Translated by Shantal Montserrat Lopez Victoria

-To understand 94, we have to go back, could you tell us about the years prior to the uprising?

-Yes, 1983 was the year when some of our members arrived to the mountains of the Mexican southeast and began to recruit comrades which is why the membership of the organization grew. Then from ‘83 to ‘93 was the period of recruitment in the villages, the ‘underground period’.

The comrades began to look for people one by one but then we changed our recruitment methods because the people, the indigenous communities, have a certain way of meeting people in groups, collectively. And this is how we recruited those with moral authority. And yes, from that point on we continued to organize ourselves with towns and other areas. A region can be made up of lots small towns and communities. Some regions are made up of 20 communities or 30 communities, which is what we call a region.

As our political influence grew in these towns and regions, we made military preparations. We organized the compañeros and compañeras, until the day came when it was decided: It is time for us to head out.

-How did the arrival of members from the city affect the organization in the towns during that time?

-Small communities began to see things differently because they (members from the city) organized in a different way. What I want to say is that with the arrival of the EZLN, women began to have an important role, where before they weren’t even considered. Although there were some organizations (with women), they weren’t really taken seriously. That’s what changed during that time, there was more organization and respect for women.

-On January 1st, 1994, you were a major, not yet a Subcomandante. What was it like to experience the preparations for that day?

– ​We all arrived, insurgents and troops, we all got ready. Before I became a major I was Insurgent Moisés. We had trained in the mountains and helped our fellow comrades prepare; It was there that the troops had to take exams to become a commander. Starting from second lieutenant, lieutenant, then second captain, first captain, then major and so on. So, yes, the rank I had when we left on January 1st, 1994 was major, as is publicly known. We received training and on top of that, other special trainings courses, because we also had to go out into the city. The mountains are very different than the city. I had to be with my commander, Subcomandante Insurgente Pedro, who was teaching, preparing and training me.

And yes, there were a lot of the things he taught and explained to us before 1994 that I had to learn. He prepared me for times just like today with you, where we have to explain who we are, and talk to the people of Mexico; the teachers, the students, the workers and others.

-What other advice did Subcomandante Pedro give you during that training period?

-He would also say that we have to be prepared, because we do not know who will die, and he was right. We used to be underground but today we have organized ourselves with our comrades, for example with the National Indigenous Congress. We’re now openly working with the people. What happened in the past, is the past, as he would say. When we left at dawn in 1994, I had to do my part. He told me no matter happened I had to continue and take responsibility for my actions. Of course, I understood what he told me from the beginning: that whatever happens we have to continue fighting and here we are, still fighting.

-What was January 1st, 1994 like for you?

-Well, it was my duty to take over the Town Hall of Ocosingo along with Subcomandante Insurgente Pedro. He was in front of the town hall and I was off to the side, where the police were set up. Then we got separated, but we had said that we would be in communication when we were ready to head into the town hall.

I was waiting for his order, but it never came so I sent him a message to find out what was going on. I waited for a long time, but then I received a message that Sub Pedro had fallen in combat. So from then on, I had to take command and decide what we were going to do. The first thing we did was to check on our comrade Subcomandante Insurgente Pedro, so I took him outside, lifted his head, talked to him to see if he was still alive, but nothing. We got him out of there and took his body to a Zapatista community.

So then, we had to continue, we had to move forward. And that’s what I was organizing, because we had to go to another city, which was Comitán, and that’s what I was getting ready for. But then we received the order from Subcomandante Marcos that we had to retreat, and we had to retreat because that was the order. And that was that.