photo by SG

Monday, July 14, 2008

White Bicycles

Just finished Richard Kempton's really cool Provo: Amsterdam's Anarchist Revolt. Fascinating. I'd only heard about the Provo's in passing, mostly in Rosemont and Radcliffe's fucking sweet Dancin' In The Streets!: Anarchists, IWWs, Surrealists, Situationists & Provos In The 1960's. (Despite the title, the Provos are mentioned in only one short piece.)

Important observations about the role of creativity and joy in movements. I continue to read about these fantastic creative protests in the '60s, and I can't help but wonder where are their contemporaries today? The Provos and their allies threatened the power of the Dutch state while engaging in absurd antics. Today, absurdity is dismissed as being "out of touch". Instead, radicals seem to try to emulate the bourgeois "professionalism" of the politicians or fulfill media stereotypes of subcultural ghettos haunted by the

Anyone have any ideas? Where is the socially conscious avante-garde? Where are the working class poets? 'Cause inspired as I am by the joyful resistance of the Provos and their contemporaries, I can't find their traces present in our movement these days.

Bonus point: In a true anarcho-fanboy moment, I emailed David Graeber a question today and I'm excited to hear back from him. I've gotta start realizing that our movement is too small for me to be nervous reaching out to people who've written good books.

Monday, July 7, 2008

South of the Border

I'm tired of just doing round-ups of things I find interesting, but I'm also too depressed at the state of the world to do any in-depth analysis right now. I promise to actually think about things and not just link dump one of these days, but not today.

1. NACLA, whose analysis I always find worthwhile, has a piece about Obama and his refusal to agree to close down the School of the Americas if elected. As if we needed more evidence that Obama doesn't even begin to actually articulate anything approaching a leftist position. My favorite quote: "To put this in all in perspective then, on this issue Obama has staked out a position to the right of Ron Paul, many members of Congress, and mainstream labor and Church organizations." Ouch.

2. Anarchists need to make sure we are careful about how we articulate the word "autonomy," particularly when we start entertaining ideas like bioregionalism. For reasons, check out Bolivia recently. Evo Morales, probably the best leader (yes, I know, I'm an evil leftist) in Latin America since Allende, is facing down the bourgeois regionalists but things are still developing. The fourth and final of the eastern departments voted for autonomy from the federal government at the end of June. While the U.S. media celebrates this "victory for federalism," the actual conditions of working class Bolivians threaten to dramatically decrease. Charting a "third way," an authentic anti-state analysis for Bolivia could be a worthwhile exercise for First World anarchists. What can our analysis offer Bolivia, or Nicaragua, or Chile?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Present, Future, and Past

1. The Marxist's answer to Bob Black: "May the ruling powers call us fools because we risk the break with their irrational compulsory system! We have nothing to lose but the prospect of a catastrophe that humanity is currently heading for with the executives of the prevailing order at the helm. We can win a world beyond labour...Workers of all countries, call it a day!"
-Gruppe Krisis, Manifesto Against Labour (From Letters Journal)

2. Only the cities can save us. Check out the Vertical Farm Project, and let's get sustainable!

3. I've been listening to David Harvey's lectures on Capital. I just finished the first one, and am about to move on. Just find something mindless to do while you listen. They're pretty fascinating, I think I'm learning a lot. I've always said that I'd read Capital if I could do it in a class (I missed an EXCO class doing just that, sadly) because it's just too thick for me to tackle alone. I've never been able to sit down and chew through big texts without someone helping me out. So thanks, David Harvey!

I finally finished my paper, so I no longer have any homework for the rest of the summer. Expect way more updates and analysis. I'm planning on checking out some recent journals this afternoon and breaking them down here.