Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hipsters: The Dead End of Western Civilization by Douglas Haddow













We’ve reached a point in our civilization where counterculture has mutated into a self-obsessed aesthetic vacuum. So while hipsterdom is the end product of all prior countercultures, it’s been stripped of its subversion and originality. (Cover story of Adbusters Issue #79.)

Hipsters: The Dead End of Western Civilization by Douglas Haddow

I‘m sipping a scummy pint of cloudy beer in the back of a trendy dive bar turned nightclub in the heart of the city’s heroin district. In front of me stand a gang of hippiesh

grunge-punk types, who crowd around each other and collectively scoff at the smoking laws by sneaking puffs of “fuck-you,” reveling in their perceived rebellion as the haggard, staggering staff look on without the slightest concern.

The “DJ” is keystroking a selection of MP3s off his MacBook, making a mix that sounds like he took a hatchet to a collection of yesteryear billboard hits, from DMX to Dolly Parton, but mashed up with a jittery techno backbeat.

So… this is a hipster party?” I ask the girl sitting next to me. She’s wearing big dangling earrings, an American Apparel V-neck tee, non-prescription eyeglasses and an inappropriately warm wool coat.

Yeah, just look around you, 99 percent of the people here are total hipsters!”

Are you a hipster?”

Fuck no,” she says, laughing back the last of her glass before she hops off to the dance floor.

Ever since the Allies bombed the Axis into submission, Western civilization has had a succession of counter-culture movements that have energetically challenged the status quo. Each successive decade of the post-war era has seen it smash social standards, riot and fight to revolutionize every aspect of music, art, government and civil society.

But after punk was plasticized and hip hop lost its impetus for social change, all of the formerly dominant streams of “counter-culture” have merged together. Now, one mutating, trans-Atlantic melting pot of styles, tastes and behavior has come to define the generally indefinable idea of the “Hipster.”

An artificial appropriation of different styles from different eras, the hipster represents the end of Western civilization – a culture lost in the superficiality of its past and unable to create any new meaning. Not only is it unsustainable, it is suicidal. While previous youth movements have challenged the dysfunction and decadence of their elders, today we have the “hipster” – a youth subculture that mirrors the doomed shallowness of mainstream society.

Take a stroll down the street in any major North American or European city and you’ll be sure to see a speckle of fashion-conscious twentysomethings hanging about and sporting a number of predictable stylistic trademarks: skinny jeans, cotton spandex leggings, fixed-gear bikes, vintage flannel, fake eyeglasses and a keffiyeh – initially sported by Jewish students and Western protesters to express solidarity with Palestinians, the keffiyeh has become a completely meaningless hipster cliché fashion accessory.

The American Apparel V-neck shirt, Pabst Blue Ribbon beer and Parliament cigarettes are symbols and icons of working or revolutionary classes that have been appropriated by hipsterdom and drained of meaning. Ten years ago, a man wearing a plain V-neck tee and drinking a Pabst would never be accused of being a trend-follower. But in 2008, such things have become shameless clichés of a class of individuals that seek to escape their own wealth and privilege by immersing themselves in the aesthetic of the working class.

This obsession with “street-cred” reaches its apex of absurdity as hipsters have recently and wholeheartedly adopted the fixed-gear bike as the only acceptable form of transportation – only to have brakes installed on a piece of machinery that is defined by its lack thereof.

Lovers of apathy and irony, hipsters are connected through a global network of blogs and shops that push forth a global vision of fashion-informed aesthetics. Loosely associated with some form of creative output, they attend art parties, take lo-fi pictures with analog cameras, ride their bikes to night clubs and sweat it up at nouveau disco-coke parties. The hipster tends to religiously blog about their daily exploits, usually while leafing through generation-defining magazines like Vice, Another Magazine and Wallpaper. This cursory and stylized lifestyle has made the hipster almost universally loathed.

These hipster zombies… are the idols of the style pages, the darlings of viral marketers and the marks of predatory real-estate agents,” wrote Christian Lorentzen in a Time Out New York article entitled ‘Why the Hipster Must Die.’ “And they must be buried for cool to be reborn.”

With nothing to defend, uphold or even embrace, the idea of “hipsterdom” is left wide open for attack. And yet, it is this ironic lack of authenticity that has allowed hipsterdom to grow into a global phenomenon that is set to consume the very core of Western counterculture. Most critics make a point of attacking the hipster’s lack of individuality, but it is this stubborn obfuscation that distinguishes them from their predecessors, while allowing hipsterdom to easily blend in and mutate other social movements, sub-cultures and lifestyles.

***

Standing outside an art-party next to a neat row of locked-up fixed-gear bikes, I come across a couple girls who exemplify hipster homogeneity. I ask one of the girls if her being at an art party and wearing fake eyeglasses, leggings and a flannel shirt makes her a hipster.

I’m not comfortable with that term,” she replies.

Her friend adds, with just a flicker of menace in her eyes, “Yeah, I don’t know, you shouldn’t use that word, it’s just…”

Offensive?”

No… it’s just, well… if you don’t know why then you just shouldn’t even use it.”

Ok, so what are you girls doing tonight after this party?”

Ummm… We’re going to the after-party.”

***

Gavin McInnes, one of the founders of Vice, who recently left the magazine, is considered to be one of hipsterdom’s primary architects. But, in contrast to the majority of concerned media-types, McInnes, whose “Dos and Don’ts” commentary defined the rules of hipster fashion for over a decade, is more critical of those doing the criticizing.

I’ve always found that word [“hipster”] is used with such disdain, like it’s always used by chubby bloggers who aren’t getting laid anymore and are bored, and they’re just so mad at these young kids for going out and getting wasted and having fun and being fashionable,” he says. “I’m dubious of these hypotheses because they always smell of an agenda.”

Punks wear their tattered threads and studded leather jackets with honor, priding themselves on their innovative and cheap methods of self-expression and rebellion. B-boys and b-girls announce themselves to anyone within earshot with baggy gear and boomboxes. But it is rare, if not impossible, to find an individual who will proclaim themself a proud hipster. It’s an odd dance of self-identity – adamantly denying your existence while wearing clearly defined symbols that proclaims it.

***

He’s 17 and he lives for the scene!” a girl whispers in my ear as I sneak a photo of a young kid dancing up against a wall in a dimly lit corner of the after-party. He’s got a flipped-out, do-it-yourself haircut, skin-tight jeans, leather jacket, a vintage punk tee and some popping high tops.

Shoot me,” he demands, walking up, cigarette in mouth, striking a pose and exhaling. He hits a few different angles with a firmly unimpressed expression and then gets a bit giddy when I show him the results.

Rad, thanks,” he says, re-focusing on the music and submerging himself back into the sweaty funk of the crowd where he resumes a jittery head bobble with a little bit of a twitch.

The dance floor at a hipster party looks like it should be surrounded by quotation marks. While punk, disco and hip hop all had immersive, intimate and energetic dance styles that liberated the dancer from his/her mental states – be it the head-spinning b-boy or violent thrashings of a live punk show – the hipster has more of a joke dance. A faux shrug shuffle that mocks the very idea of dancing or, at its best, illustrates a non-committal fear of expression typified in a weird twitch/ironic twist. The dancers are too self-aware to let themselves feel any form of liberation; they shuffle along, shrugging themselves into oblivion.

Perhaps the true motivation behind this deliberate nonchalance is an attempt to attract the attention of the ever-present party photographers, who swim through the crowd like neon sharks, flashing little blasts of phosphorescent ecstasy whenever they spot someone worth momentarily immortalizing.

Noticing a few flickers of light splash out from the club bathroom, I peep in only to find one such photographer taking part in an impromptu soft-core porno shoot. Two girls and a guy are taking off their clothes and striking poses for a set of grimy glamour shots. It’s all grins and smirks until another girl pokes her head inside and screeches, “You’re not some club kid in New York in the nineties. This shit is so hipster!” – which sparks a bit of a catfight, causing me to beat a hasty retreat.

In many ways, the lifestyle promoted by hipsterdom is highly ritualized. Many of the party-goers who are subject to the photoblogger’s snapshots no doubt crawl out of bed the next afternoon and immediately re-experience the previous night’s debauchery. Red-eyed and bleary, they sit hunched over their laptops, wading through a sea of similarity to find their own (momentarily) thrilling instant of perfected hipster-ness.

What they may or may not know is that “cool-hunters” will also be skulking the same sites, taking note of how they dress and what they consume. These marketers and party-promoters get paid to co-opt youth culture and then re-sell it back at a profit. In the end, hipsters are sold what they think they invent and are spoon-fed their pre-packaged cultural livelihood.

Hipsterdom is the first “counterculture” to be born under the advertising industry’s microscope, leaving it open to constant manipulation but also forcing its participants to continually shift their interests and affiliations. Less a subculture, the hipster is a consumer group – using their capital to purchase empty authenticity and rebellion. But the moment a trend, band, sound, style or feeling gains too much exposure, it is suddenly looked upon with disdain. Hipsters cannot afford to maintain any cultural loyalties or affiliations for fear they will lose relevance.

An amalgamation of its own history, the youth of the West are left with consuming cool rather that creating it. The cultural zeitgeists of the past have always been sparked by furious indignation and are reactionary movements. But the hipster’s self-involved and isolated maintenance does nothing to feed cultural evolution. Western civilization’s well has run dry. The only way to avoid hitting the colossus of societal failure that looms over the horizon is for the kids to abandon this vain existence and start over.

***

If you don’t give a damn, we don’t give a fuck!” chants an emcee before his incitements are abruptly cut short when the power plug is pulled and the lights snapped on.

Dawn breaks and the last of the after-after-parties begin to spill into the streets. The hipsters are falling out, rubbing their eyes and scanning the surrounding landscape for the way back from which they came. Some hop on their fixed-gear bikes, some call for cabs, while a few of us hop a fence and cut through the industrial wasteland of a nearby condo development.

The half-built condos tower above us like foreboding monoliths of our yuppie futures. I take a look at one of the girls wearing a bright pink keffiyah and carrying a Polaroid camera and think, “If only we carried rocks instead of cameras, we’d look like revolutionaries.” But instead we ignore the weapons that lie at our feet – oblivious to our own impending demise.

We are a lost generation, desperately clinging to anything that feels real, but too afraid to become it ourselves. We are a defeated generation, resigned to the hypocrisy of those before us, who once sang songs of rebellion and now sell them back to us. We are the last generation, a culmination of all previous things, destroyed by the vapidity that surrounds us. The hipster represents the end of Western civilization – a culture so detached and disconnected that it has stopped giving birth to anything new.

this article appeared in July 2008:

http://www.adbusters.org/magazine/79/hipster.html
(take a look in the comments of this page...is realy interesting)

for more original hipster lifestyle, among many others:
http://stuffhipstersdontlike.wordpress.com

for historical context of the word "hipster" :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hipsters


Monday, January 26, 2009

WE WILL NEVER FORGET OAXACA










In the memory of Brad Will

murdered in Oaxaca

by Mexican police and

government officials


The Oaxacan People’s Insurrection for Dignity By Korinta Maldonado written in 13 November 2006

On the dawn of Friday, October 27, 2006, news about the assassination of the New York independent media reporter Brad Will by paramilitary forces in the southern state of Oaxaca, Mexico reverberated throughout the world. This day marked the beginning of the direct state-sponsored offensive towards the Oaxacan people who had tired of the repression and corruption of the governor Ulises Ruíz. For almost six months they have peacefully organized to remove him from office. Ruíz has been the subject of an escalating conflict. He was elected in August 2004 through fraudulent means and since then has persistently used brute force against social and political organizations. The repressive tactics of the governor have sharpened the conflict.

Yet that Friday, six barricades across the city of Oaxaca were under attack at the same time by paramilitary forces including the barricade where Brad Will lost his life reporting. The results of these premeditated attacks were three dead and 23 members of the popular movement injured (see oaxacalibre.org). But even worse, the death of Brad Will would serve as the perfect excuse for the federal government to enter Oaxaca with all its repressive might despite almost six months of neglect amidst the plea of civil organizations and the people of Oaxaca to intervene in the conflict.

The Teachers Struggle for a Dignified Education

The conflict between the state and the Oaxacan people began May 22 as thousands of teachers belonging to section 22 of the teachers union initiated a strike pleading for a raise of their wretched $460.00 monthly salaries, as well as a monthly bonus for teachers living mostly in the tourist areas where the cost of living is disproportionately high in comparison with the rest of the state. There are 15 more demands related to funding for school materials, children’s uniforms and free school breakfasts.

Every year, the teachers strike for such demands and until 2006 negotiations would occur. This time around, Ulises Ruiz’s government first threatened the teachers and later brutally evicted them from the town plaza where the governor’s headquarters is located. Haunted by the nightmares of recent state violence in Atenco, Mexico, where peasants sympathetic to the Zapatistas stopped the development of an airport, 300,000 inhabitants of Oaxaca poured into the streets, outraged. They protested the state violence and marched through Oaxaca demanding the governor’s immediate resignation, perhaps, one of the biggest civil protests in Oaxacan history. During the march the previously evicted teachers would once again reclaim the central plaza. This event would unite dispersed and divergent organizations and groups into one organization the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca. Their goal: the immediate resignation of the state governor Ulises Ruiz.

Ya Basta! (Enough!): The Formation of the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca

On June 17, the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca (APPO by its Spanish acronym) was born. It would challenge the state government through pacifist means, with words, ideas and most importantly dignity. Local unions, peasants, students, women and environmental organizations, indigenous communities, teachers and whole families from across the state united to form this radical organization. Their collective process of decision-making and political action has a long tradition among Oaxacan indigenous towns and after the Zapatista armed uprising it has been further revitalized.

On July 5, as the Mexican people contested the election where rightist Felipe Calderon was declared victorious, the APPO reclaimed the government headquarters situated in the central plaza of the city and declared itself as a parallel government of the state of Oaxaca. Recently, governor Ruiz had transformed this headquarters into a museum due to the all too frequent protests of “dirty” Indians, rural teachers, and all those from below. Oaxacans were infuriated watching the governor cynically respond to the interests of foreign investors and tourists. During July and August, the APPO also reclaimed the Guelaguetza ---a yearly celebration where the 7 regions of Oaxaca represent through performances their culture--- that had was one of the main tourist attractions. It had become a corporate enterprise guided by the leading businessmen of Mexico. They would also reclaim the local media, 12 radio stations and for small periods of time the local TV station. They reclaimed what was, in their words, of and for el pueblo.

Furthermore, the radio stations would become the heartbeat of the APPO, through which they would organize across Oaxaca, calling people to regional and general meetings, and to inform the people of local agreements, mobilizations, road blockades, food and first aid needs. In August, that is how they organized the takeover of the city of Oaxaca. The radio would also serve to inform human rights organizations if violations were committed. Many of us following the movement from afar could access the Oaxacan radio broadcast through the web and international supporters could mobilize almost instantly.

Although the struggle of the APPO is rooted in the local politics of Oaxaca, they have clearly bridged it with anti-globalization and social justice movements across the nation and the world. The lived experience of fraudulent electoral politics in Oaxaca fueled a rather strong sentiment against the presidential elections. The people would chant vociferously: “Ya cayo, ya cayo Ulises ya cayo. Si no hay solución también caira Calderon” (“He fell, he fell, Ulises fell and if there is no solution so will Calderon”).

The effects of the conflict on the lives of the Oaxacan people are very complex: the salaries of the approximately thirty thousand teachers in the struggle have been cut off, many small businesses in the region have no customers, vendors of local produce have not sold one piece of corn or squash, many members are jobless due to the conflict. Yet, they are able to resist because the people draw upon years of experience of autonomous collective organizing visible in the forms of everyday resistance. The indigenous communities, the peasant communities, the popular neighborhoods and other supporters of the APPO deliver daily to the barricades and encampments tortillas, stews, water, hot coffee and chocolate. At the same time, representatives of organizations come and go in groups from all over the state of Oaxaca, some people travel up to 12 or so hours to get to the city. They come with banners supporting the groups and with musical instruments from their local towns. They take turns guarding the barricades, the radio stations, the government headquarters, and the main roads to the city.

Members of the APPO speak many different languages; they come from the 16 indigenous groups that make up the state of Oaxaca. There is also representation from the Afro descendant communities from the coast. Thus, they all come from different experiences of struggle, from different social positions, and therefore, from different experiences of oppression. As a woman said on Radio Universidad, “nosotros no somos maestros, somos pueblo, mirenos, somos pueblo, somos pueblo los que estamos luchando por nuestros derechos…hasta que Ulises se vaya no vamos a parar” (“We are not teachers, we are the people, look at us, we are the people that are struggling for our rights…until Ulises steps down we are not going to stop”).

A Oaxacan Cry for a National Peaceful Insurrection

On October 30, the federal government ordered the federal police to enter the city of Oaxaca. With full armor, thousands of federal police forces entered the city accompanied by tanks and bulldozers to crush the barricades. Simultaneously, police helicopters flew throughout the city. Oaxacans were expecting them. Days before rumors of the police takeover had spread throughout the highlands, cities and coast of Oaxaca. Groups of people from every corner of Oaxaca had come to the city to defend it from the government forces. The barricades were reinforced. School buses were placed in the middle of streets. Tires, chairs, pieces of wood, doors, anything and everything was used to stop the federal government’s repressive forces to enter. At the same time, however, the radio announcers coordinated the resistance and desperately called for a national peaceful insurrection to stop the government offensive. The Oaxacan people had agreed to resist peacefully, so as the tanks entered they would gather at each entrance by the hundreds trying to intimidate the police activity. Some would burn tires in order to prevent the visibility of the helicopters. Some would fearlessly jump on the tanks and spray paint on the windows to disable them. Many times they were successful, many times they were not. The tanks rolled over the streets spraying high-pressure water mixed with chemicals to knock down the thousands of protesters. Many photos and video show young kids, women, students, peasants, mothers and elderly trying to stop the police forces with their bodies. At the end of the day, dozens were imprisoned and taken to the army headquarters, dozens disappeared, many were injured and at least four were found dead. The police forces secured the center plaza displacing all the resistance to the Autonomous University of Oaxaca where legally the state could not enter.

A few days later, on November 2, in an attempt to demolish the university radio station, the organ of resistance and organization, the police forces once again confronted the Oaxacan people. On the radio, nationally and internationally we followed the resistance. We heard the Oaxacans battling, calling for reinforcement, for vinegar and coke to wipe the tear gas from their faces, for solidarity across the globe. This time however, after hours of confrontation, the police forces withdrew. Elated, thousands of Oaxacans celebrated what seemed impossible: the unarmed resistance for a government of the people and for the people. We heard through the radio a shrill scream of a woman saying, “Comrades today we are filled with glory. There are present a million people. We defeated them. We defeated them. We want Ulises Ruiz to leave Oaxaca right now and never to return because we will kick him out like we did today with the police forces.” The APPO’s demand is not only for the governor to resign, but also for dignity. They will not stop until the illegitimate government of Ulises Ruiz steps down from office. Additionally, APPO’s initiative of nationalizing the movement has already been taken up by many organizations through out the country, including the zapatista communities.

Today, popular assemblies are emerging throughout Mexico and the United States. This past October in Los Angeles, California, various indigenous groups, like the Mixtecs, the Zapotecs, the Mixes, the Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations (FIOB), together with the Mexican and Mexican-American organizations like Unión del Barrio y UCLA Raza Graduate Students formed a transnational APPO. Likewise, the Zapatistas have called for a nationwide shut down on November 20 during the national celebration of the Mexican Revolution in solidarity with the Oaxacan struggle.

Today this movement is the largest grassroots movement in Mexico since the 1968 student movement and promises to grow as different social movements across the nation adhere to it. We look once again to the South, where dignity infuses the global struggle for justice.

For more information:
www.asambleapopulardeoaxaca.com
www.mexico.indymedia.org
www.narconews.com (English)


the article appeared in:

http://www.ucimc.org/node/372

for more info about the death of Brad Will you can read the article

Mexico
Presents Flawed Theory in Shooting Death of American Journalist
http://docs.google.com/View?docID=dd99p3r5_6g7fzs5k8&revision=_latest


CHICAGO 10 / Official Film Trailer




Mixing animation with archival footage, CHICAGO 10 explores the build-up to and unraveling of the Chicago Conspiracy Trial of 8 activists set up as scapegoats by The Government of the 1968 Democratic Convention demonstration against the Vietnam War.

CHICAGO 10 is a parable of hope, courage and ultimate victory, the story of young Americans speaking out and taking a stand in the face of an oppressive and armed government.

For all info about this important History of the Underground navigate in :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_Seven

Saturday, January 24, 2009

75000 people marched in London against the invasion of Israelians in Gaza









In 10 January 2009 around 75,000 people gathered in London to express their disgust at the barbaric invasion of Gaza by the Israeli military. Demonstrators marched to the Israeli embassy and were met by police who had clearly planned for a violent confrontation.
Police in riot armour and Nato helmets were deployed from within the embassy after shoes were thrown at it and the situation quickly transforms into rioting a short while later. A Starbucks coffee shop was completely wrecked by protesters in Kensington. Protesters knocked down barriers threw projectiles, including eggs, red paint, sticks and shoes as 300 officers in full riot gear tried to control them. A number of people are injured, some seriously. At least one cop was hospitalized.


info and photos:
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2009/01/417914.html
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2009/01/417951.html

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Oakland on Fire Anarchists, Solidarity, and New Possibilities in the Oakland Rebellion By Kara N. Tina







"I'm sorry my car was burned but the issue is very upsetting."
-Ken Epstein, assistant editor of the Oakland Post, who was finishing an article about Grant's death, watched from the 12th story of his office at 14th and Franklin streets as his 2002 Honda CR-V disintegrated in a roar of flames (Oakland Tribune)

The murder of Oscar Grant by Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) police officer Johannes Mehserle early New Year's morning sent a wave of grief throughout the Bay Area and reminded all that racism and police violence continue to be endemic components of US society. During the following days, that pain transformed into overflowing anger as multiple videos of the execution recorded by witnesses emerged on the internet and in
the media. One week later on January 7, over a thousand people from diverse communities across Oakland and the Bay Area gathered to show their anger and be in the presence of others feeling similar grief. This hastily planned rally shut down the Fruitvale BART station where the shooting took place as speaker after speaker addressed the crowd. Without any plan or organization, the vast majority of those who patiently
listened to speakers for over two hours took the demonstration into the streets with a spirited march that made its way towards downtown as the sun set. As the march reached the Lake Merritt BART station and headquarters of BART police downtown, clashes immediately broke out leaving one police cruiser destroyed alongside a burning dumpster. Marchers dispersed down side streets to the sounds of police weapons discharging and the sting of tear gas in the air.

The following hours witnessed waves of rioting and demonstrations throughout downtown Oakland that even forced Mayor Ron Dellums to come out into the streets and promise the opening of a homicide investigation in a failed attempt to subdue the angry crowds. Hundreds of businesses and cars were damaged or destroyed and dumpsters were left burning. The next day, a BART board of directors meeting was filled beyond capacity and overwhelmed with community members expressing indignant rage, clearly feeling validated and empowered to speak up by the previous night's rebellion.

In the days since the unrest, rumors have begun to circulate that anarchists hijacked the otherwise peaceful event and were responsible for unleashing the 'violence'. A cover story in the San Francisco Chronicle two days after the rioting quoted an organizer of the Fruitvale rally as saying that he was led to tears when his work was "destroyed by a group of anarchists." This dangerous and misleading narrative obscures what actually transpired and why, on that evening, the streets of Oakland unleashed such a powerful show of resistance and solidarity that gave many an empowered glimpse of radical new possibilities.

It is true that anarchists were present from start to finish on Wednesday. Counter to some generalizations that assume all anarchists are white, those who were there on Wednesday come from diverse backgrounds. They participated in a wide variety of ways; from spreading the word about the rally beforehand in order to have a large turnout, to spending hours painting banners and signs, to engaging in militant street actions, to
being rounded up and at times beaten and arrested. Anarchists are among the over 100 community members who now face charges ranging from misdemeanor rioting to different felonies. African-American youth made up the majority of those involved in the actions along with sizable numbers of anarchists as well as other youth of color and activist folk who were all there side by side. During the rioting, there was a sense of unity in the air and a defiant mood of solidarity among all who faced off against the police. Anarchists tend to show up at all demonstrations prepared to act should the situation escalate, and this case was no different. Yet it is simply incorrect to suggest that there was some conspiracy of anarchists from the 'outside' who were able to manipulate the helpless youth of Oakland as part of their sinister agenda. This is a paternalistic and disempowering misreading of what was unquestionably a spontaneous outpouring
of rage, led by youth of color, creating an extremely empowering moment for participants in the streets. There, temporary alliances were made as those who were motivated to act in the moment experienced a unique cross-pollination that cut across the inhibiting social boundaries of everyday life. The allegations of an anarchist takeover are destructively misleading. At best they come from ignorance and at worse they represent a flawed and divisive ideology of social change which embodies paternalistic and racist assumptions about those involved in the actions. To scapegoat anarchists for what transpired, robs
from marginalized and oppressed youth of color the agency they possess and the power to resist which they demonstrated that evening. It also ignores the remarkable diversity and unique solidarity in the streets that created an liberating experience far beyond any rally or march. There were some moments during which individual anarchists attempted to influence the course of events, but these instances still do not fit into the narrative that the corporate media and some organizers have tried to tell. At one point a group of black youth smashing the windows of a locally owned business were encouraged to target large corporations and banks instead of 'mom and pop' shops. They proceeded to do just that. Anarchists also un-arrested youth, and encouraged people to push dumpsters and other objects into the streets to prevent the police from advancing, a tactic that was quickly picked up and utilized. Other examples of this type of interchange involved anarchists encouraging youth participating in the riots to wear bandanas over their faces, change clothes during calm moments and other tactics to help avoid arrest or identification. Without question, the exchange went both ways as anarchists took away valuable lessons in mobility, evasion, and more as they worked together with the youth throughout the night. None of this, however, suggests that anarchists had some sort of control or single handedly determined the events that transpired. The rage and energy that transformed downtown Oakland into a momentary battlefield came from those who are most directly affected by the racist police state regime. No one group had any control over what unfolded. It was a spontaneous rebellion that sprang organically from the streets of Oakland and in retrospect anarchists played an important yet relatively minor role. The property destruction and rage that burned throughout downtown Oakland was at times undirected and ended up damaging many small businesses and cars along with corporate targets such as Sears and McDonald's. However, some of the most powerful moments that parralled the destruction were confrontations with police and sponatenous high energy gatherings of people in the street who refused to be dispersed. It was during these moments that chanting would again erupt from the crowd reminding all who were present that the direct political demands of justice for Oscar Grant and active resistance to the racist police state system in the United States were the motivations of all who took to the streets that evening.
It's important to also remember that not one person was assaulted during the actions and there were no reports of fights or scuffles amongst the groups of youth who resisted police and destroyed property into the night. In this sense, the rebellion was not violent. It is disturbing to watch as fellow organizers and members of our communities have uncritically adopted the rhetoric of the right in their confused denunciation of mass property destruction as 'violence'.
On the other hand the Oakland Police Department, who everyday harass, intimidate and beat Oakland's youth, was unleashing its very real violence that night. Police opened fire on crowds with different types of less lethal projectiles and in some cases shot tear gas canisters directly into people's bodies. A Berkeley High teacher had his face bashed during arrest and spent the night in the hospital before being taken back downtown for booking. A man taking pictures was attacked by police and his bike helmet was cracked as he was beaten. During the mass arrest at the end of the night, 80 people were forced by police to lay on their stomachs at 20th and Broadway, including a very pregnant woman who was screaming in pain. What manifested during the Oakland rebellion was a moment of interchange and revolutionary transformation that rarely happens within the rituals of left organizing in the Bay Area. Between white "community organizers" overtaken by guilt into an impotent politics of servitude, professional activists worried about annual reports and grant cycles, and vanguardist marxist sects continually looking to use the next demonstration as a recruiting drive, many radicals find themselves in a desert devoid of revolutionary activity and thought. Within this barren landscape, it is rare to find new possibilities for radical social change while combatting racism and the constant oppression of capitalism. Resisting the police shoulder to shoulder, destroying property (albeit with different emphasis), helping one another evade arrest, exchanging tactics and gestures of solidarity across racial barriers pushes the desire for a multi-racial revolutionary movement years ahead, more than any speaker at a rally ever could.
Anarchists are very accustomed to accusations of spoiling carefully managed demonstrations, and in some cases this is true and necessary. The Oakland rebellion was a different story. Those who are truly committed to revolutionary change in this country need to appreciate the significance of what unfolded in the streets that night and move forward without falling into the usual sectarian traps.

This analysis was written collaboratively by a group of anarchists based out of Oakland who together were present at all moments during the rebellion.

originaly published in
www.counterpunch.org

Sunday, January 11, 2009

international dissent! meeting in strasbourg the 16-18th january 2009



translations, PDF and docs at :
http://dissent.fr/node/61/

The revolts which are presently rising in Europe and the other parts of
the world are a reaction to the global economic and social situation which deteriorates at an exponential rhythm. The impoverishment of resources also causes numerous conflicts. IMF have already asked the countries to get ready to face numerous uprisings due to the generalized recession, insisting on the importance to be able to control those resistances to insure the safety of capitalism. Actually NATO seems to have the will to appear as an army in the service of a global security, merging interior and external security, what implies a military vision of the management of every type of crises. Naturally we know that it is only their own interests which they try to protect and to widen… The 3rd and 4th April, representatives of the countries members of NATO will meet again to celebrate their 60 years of domination, but also in order to develop their new plan to “defend freedom” and quoting the terms of their own generals: “A great strategy for an uncertain world.” From the 1st to the 5th April 2009 we will be present in Strasbourg and we'll oppose their “globalization by force” with the creativity of our actions of resistance: direct actions, blockades, civil disobedience, demonstrations, meetings, alternative village, convergence centers, autonomous arts, concerts, … The success of these action days depends on an efficient international network which enables to succeed in taking decisions and preparing actions for the next NATO summit in April and for the longer term. Until now those networks have always been set up temporarily before international summits and it is important to meet to reactivate them, enrich them and to think about eventually finding ways to make them durable to gain in resistance ability… This international meeting of the radical resistance movements will be held on the 17th & 18th January 2009 in Strasbourg. It aims to strengthen international networks and achieve concrete actions during the counter-summit. This would be the only international Dissent! assembly before the NATO summit, a strong mobilization and the presence of all on this occasion is essential. Actually we had to reserve a place including meeting rooms, kitchen and sleeping places (bring sleeping bags) which costs us quite a lot of money. We are still waiting for the answer of two other places which would be much cheaper. We have to ask all participants to demand to their groups if they can help financially as actually all the money is coming from personal funds of individuals who take parts in the organization of this meeting. Of course this is absolutely not an obligation and nothing will be asked to those who cannot afford to help ! If we have enough money we will try to help those who have diificulties to pay their travel expensies. Discussions will be in English and will be translated by groups in French and German. We do need more volunteers ! Moderation will be done by a group. Those willing to participate to this group are invited to take part in the preparation meeting of this group who will happen on the Friday 16th afternoon. /

To participate to the translation or the moderation group,
please contact us at this mail address : dissent_fr@riseup.net

*For security reasons we do not want to announce publicly the place of the meeting. To receive all informations
please send a mail to
dissent_fr@riseup.net *

/*If you have any problem you can contact us from Thursday 15th at this phone number : 0033.660.372.501 or 06.60.37.25.01

Friday, 16th January 2009
* 19.00 : Participants arrival * 20.00 : Crisis, repression and resistance. Discussion about the actual situation and perspectives. An international mobilisation has to stay abreast of changes and actual situation. We propose participants to give an overview of what is going on in their country and to analyse altogether the global situation and the resistance possibilities.

*Saturday, 17th January 2009*
* 10.00 - 11.00 : Participants presentation by themselves and overview of the international mobilizations * 11.00 - 12.30 : Lunch - Discussions * 12.30 - 14.30 : Discussion about the political content of the action days : Relation with ICC (International Coordinating Committee) : Do we want to be part of it by signing their call ? Do we want or not to coordinate ourselves with them for a choreography of actions ? Quick presentation of the proposal for the action days (we have propositions on fighting repression, crisis and G20, blockades). Please try to come with some other proposals. * 14.30 - 15.00 : Break - Discussions * 15.00 - 17.00 : Workshops : 1. 1st Action day 2. 2nd Action day 3. 3rd Action day 4. 4th Action day ? 5. 5th Action day ? * 17.00 - 17.30 : Break - Discussions * 17.30 - 18.30 : Workshops progress reports * 18.30 - 20.00 : Dinner - Discussions * 20.00 : Discussion on the relevance of creating a perdurable international Dissent! Network *

Sunday, 18th January 2009*
* 10.00 - 12.00 : Discussion on the relations with the authorities and the non-radical organizations and media * 12.00 - 13.00 : Lunch - Discussions * 13.00 - 15.00 : Workshops : 1. Villages - Convergence Centers - Kitchens – Infopoints 2. Anti-repression, Legal Teams 3. Infotour * 15.30 - 17.00 : Workshops progress reports, discussions on the means to communicate together and proposal for a next international meeting * 17.00 : Goodbye – Never Ending Discussions… _

*Some more informations*_* :*
When people meet up to speak about their common perspectives and to organise resistance, the government agencies are always interested in. From the official files of the inquiry, it has been proven that the German intelligence service observed the meetings of preparation for the G8 Summit 2007 in Heiligendamm. It is certain that at two meetings (Dissent! Meeting, October 2005 in Hamburg and January 2006 in Berlin) have been used IMSI-catchers. A device called an “IMSI-catcher” pretends to the mobile phones in its vicinity to be a legitimate base station of the mobile phone network, mobile phones in the coverage will log in there automatically. The users don't realize that, they can still use the telephone in a normal way as the device passes on communications to the mobile network. Phone calls can be directly tapped as well as SMS. Furthermore are also recorded your International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI, the serial number of your mobile phone) and your International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI, your identification number on the network). Moreover, the intelligence service installed in Berlin a video camera to identify afterwards the visitors of the meeting. We think it is important to make this public, not to cause paranoia, but to your and our security. Looking closely the conditions under which we move and act has become more important than ever. If you have mobile phones but can stay without for 3 days, you may as well leave them at home or shut them before you arrive. Keep your eyes and ears open so you can come to the meeting without any fear !

http://www.dissent.fr
http://www.gipfelsoli.org/
http://sommet-otan-2009.blogspot.com/

Saturday, January 10, 2009

HELP THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL THAT REFUSE TO GO TO THE ARMY AND THE ISRAELIAN GOVERNMENT THROUGH THEM IN PRISON!





FREE THE SHMINISTIM – ISRAEL'S YOUNG CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS.
The Shministim are Israeli high school students who have been imprisoned for refusing to serve in an army that occupies the Palestinian Territories. December 18 marks the launch date of a global campaign to release them from jail. Join over 20,000 people and show your support by contacting the Israeli Minister of Defense using the form IN THIS LINK. 22,000 LETTERS AND COUNTING!
http://december18th.org/


The Shministim – all about ages 16, 17, 18 and in the 12th grade – are a new breed of conscientious objectors in Israel and right now they are taking a stand. They believe in a better, more peaceful future for themselves and for Israelis and Palestinians, and they are refusing to join the Israeli army. They're in jail, holding strong against immense pressure from family, friends and the Israeli government. They need our support and they need it today.


The Shministim have asked Jewish Voice for Peace to reach out to people like us to let the Israeli government know we are watching, and that we support their courage. They're hoping to receive hundreds of thousands of postcards to be delivered to the Israeli Minister of Defense. Especially now-while bombs rain down on Gaza and we are reminded that when the soldiers say no, there will be no more deaths.

The Shministim are hoping to stand strong representing not only the thousands of refuseniks who came before them, not only the many young people to whom they are an example of a better world, but also to represent us. They have asked you, me, and every person who strives for peace to support them. WE will HELP THEM.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

"The reproduction of Everyday Life" by Fredy Perlman




These are some fragments from the analysis "The reproduction of Everyday Life" written by Fredy Perlman in 1969. Reprinted in 'Anything Can Happen', October 1992, Phoenix Press, PO Box 824 London N1 9DL, which also contains Perlman's 'The Continuing Appeal of Nationalism'
Also printed as a book by Black and Red publications

http://www.blackandred.org/pages/catalog.html
Fredy Perlman was a printer, musician, organizer, scholar, theorist, traveller, publisher, & anti-authoritarian activist. Born August 20, 1934, Brno, Czechoslovakia; died July 26, 1985 Detroit, Michigan

The text offers a clear intoduction to basic Marxist concepts like commodity fetishim and surplus value; it also traces the transformation of human activity into capital. What sustains capitalism? Our acceptance of everyday activities.

The everyday practical activity of tribesmen reproduces, or perpetuates, a tribe. This reproduction is not merely physical, but social as well. Through their daily activities the tribesmen do not merely reproduce a group of human beings; they reproduce a tribe, namely a particular social form within which this group of human beings performs specific activities in a specific manner. The specific activities of the tribesmen are not the outcome of "natural" characteristics of the men who perform them, the way the production of honey is an outcome of the "nature" of a bee. The daily life enacted and perpetuated by the tribesman is a specific social response to particular material and historical conditions. The everyday activity of slaves reproduces slavery. Through their daily activities, slaves do not merely reproduce themselves and their masters physically; they also reproduce the instruments with which the master represses them, and their own habits of submission to the master's authority. To men who live in a slave society, the master-slave relation seems like a natural and eternal relation. However, men are not born masters or slaves. Slavery is a specific social form, and men submit to it only in very particular material and historical conditions.

The practical everyday activity of wage-workers reproduces wage labor and capital. Through their daily activities, "modern" men, like tribesmen and slaves, reproduce the inhabitants, the social relations and the ideas of their society; they reproduce the social form of daily life. Like the tribe and the slave system, the capitalist system is neither the natural nor the final form of human society; like the earlier social forms, capitalism is a specific response to material and historical conditions .
.....
By selling their labor, by alienating their activity, people daily reproduce the personifications of the dominant forms of activity under capitalism, they reproduce the wage-laborer and the capitalist. They do not merely reproduce the individuals physically, but socially as well; they reproduce individuals who are sellers of labor-power, and individuals who are owners of means of production; they reproduce the individuals as well as the specific activities, the sale as well as the ownership. Every time people perform an activity they have not themselves defined and do not control, every time they pay for goods they produced with money they received in exchange for their alienated activity, every time they passively admire the products of their own activity as alien objects procured by their money, they give new life to Capital and annihilate their own lives.
.....
In terms of capitalist society as a whole, the total Capital is equal to the sum of unpaid labor performed by generations of human beings whose lives consisted of the daily alienation of their living activity. In other words Capital, in the face of which men sell their living days, is the product of the sold activity of men, and is reproduced and expanded every day a man sells another working day, every moment he decides to continue living the capitalist form of daily life.
......
Under capitalism, social relations are not established directly; they are established through value. Everyday activity is not exchanged directly; it is exchanged In the form of value. Consequently, what happens to living activity under capitalism cannot be traced by observing the activity itself, but only by following the metamorphoses of value.
.......
As soon as a person sells his labor to a capitalist and accepts only a part of his product as payment for that labor, he creates conditions for the purchase and exploitation of other people. No man would willingly give his arm or his child in exchange for money; yet when a man deliberately and consciously sells his working life in order to acquire the necessities for life, he not only reproduces the conditions which continue to make the sale of his life a necessity for its preservation; he also creates conditions which make the sale of life a necessity for other people. Later generations may of course refuse to sell their working lives for the same reason that he refused to sell his arm; however each failure to refuse alienated and forced labor enlarges the stock of stored labor with which Capital can buy working lives.
.....
Anything which can be transformed into a marketable good is grist for Capital's mill, whether it lies on the capitalist's land or on the neighbor's, whether it lies above ground or under, Boats on the sea or crawls on its floor; whether it is confined to other continents or other planets. All of humanity's explorations of nature, from Alchemy to Physics, are mobilized to search for new materials in which to store labor, to find new objects that someone can be taught to buy. Buyers for old and new products are created by any and all available means, and new means are constantly discovered. "Open markets" and "open doors" are established by force and fraud. If people lack the means to buy the capitalists' products, they are hired by capitalists and are paid for producing the goods they wish to buy; if local craftsmen already produce what the capitalists have to sell, the craftsmcn are ruined or bought-out; if laws or traditions ban the use of certain products, the laws and the traditions are destroyed; if people lack the objects on which to use the capitalists' products, they are taught to buy these objects; if people run out of physical or biological wants, then capitalists "satisfy" their "spiritual wants" and hire psychologists to create them; if people are so satiated with the products of capitalists that they can no longer use new objects, they are taught to buy objects and spectacles which have no use but can simply be observed and admired.
....
you can read all the text in: http://www.spunk.org/library/writers/perlman/sp001702/repro.html

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Videos and Photos from Palestine


info comes from the International Solidarity Movement
http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/
gathered with the help of members from
Anarchists Against The Wall
http://www.awalls.org/about_aatw

Unedited footage:

Sunday 28th December 2008 -
pharmacy in Hi Alijnina, Rafah

https://rcpt.yousendit.com/638627350/e779b3fe56d949f81b46f8b930d272d8
Shortly before 7:00am on Sunday 28th December, yet another Israeli missile strike hit the residential neighbourhood of Hi Alijnina in the southern Gaza town of Rafah , just 50 metres down the street from where I'm staying. This time a pharmaceutical supplies store was targeted, totally destroying the building and causing severe damage to surrounding homes. Electricity lines were torn down during the blast and the street was littered with medicines. This footage was filmed within minutes of the attack as fire fighters battled to control the blaze. Shocked residents poured into the streets, some still wearing pyjamas.

Tuesday 30th December 2008 - homes in Hi Alijnina, Rafah
(part 1)
https://download.yousendit.com/bVlETkFoZEtubVZMWEE9PQ
(part 2)
https://download.yousendit.com/bVlBclVHRStUME9Ga1E9PQ


This footage was taken on Tuesday 30th December in a residential neighbourhood of Rafah called Hi Alijnina, following an Israeli air strike at approximately 5.00am local time. One house was totally destroyed and adjacent homes were severely damaged. A teenager was injured when his bedroom wall collapsed on him as he lay sleeping. Other civilians were also injured.

Thursday 1st January 2009 -
Shabora refugee camp, Rafah

Footage part 1

https://download.yousendit.com/bVlERE90NmNiV3dLSkE9PQ
Footage part 2
https://rcpt.yousendit.com/638528382/9ff54cbb6c909aef957e4a15af233385

Photos
https://rcpt.yousendit.com/638537028/26ee0a809163f154846465ffdc575a19
This material was taken on the morning of Thursday 1st January, following an attack on the Shabora refugee camp of Rafah, close to the city centre. This civilian neighbourhood (one of the most densely populated places in the Gaza Strip) was hit during an Israeli air strike shortly before midnight on Wednesday. The missile struck a small park without warning, destroying large numbers of surrounding homes and shops.
Dr. Abdullah Shehada, director of the Abu Yusef Al-Najar Hospital in Rafah, confirmed that a 33 year-old woman and a 22 year-old man were killed and nearly 60 people were injured, 18 of them woman and 16 of them children. Several elderly people were also injured, a couple of them seriously.
Witnessing the attack from Hi Alijnina, hundreds of metres away, an F-16 fighter jet was heard in the sky followed by a massive explosion. The wall of our house facing the direction of the attack shook and it seemed as though the windows were about to blow in. The wail of multiple ambulances was heard long afterwards.


Links to You Tube videos
27th December -
bombing of police station in Rafah

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHD4UlcxwnM
28th December -
bombing of medical store in Rafah

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2tDQmz69Gc
28th December -
multiple air strike on Rafah border

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3wcKRLsrYo
28th December -
audio interview with Ewa Jasiewicz from the Free Gaza Movement
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muLlFdcK3EA
29th December -
audio interview with Jenny Linnell from the International Solidarity Movement
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9g74j4HMMSg

195 Children Died Since Operation began in Gaza



Gaza / Palestine News Network –
Reports indicate that 13 Palestinians from the same family were killed when Israeli forces targeted an eastern Gaza City house. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights said this afternoon that Israeli forces in Gaza have killed 599 Palestinians.

Dr. Hassanein of the Ministry of Health said today that Israeli forces have killed 195 Palestinian children since the operation began and injured 2,730 people with the majority in serious condition.

A large contingent of Israeli ground forces have Gaza City encircled and last night the eastern side of town was heavily hit.

The Director of Ambulance and Emergency in the Palestinian Ministry of Health reports on Tuesday afternoon that the number of Palestinians killed has reached 578. In 24 hours Israeli forces have killed 40 people.

He also reports that the vast majority of the Palestinians killed over the past two days were women and children.

A member of Islamic Jihad was killed. On Monday 46 Palestinians were killed, including 17 children and seven women. Overnight Israeli forces killed 19 more, among them four from the Abu Jabara family.

This morning Saraya Al Quds reports two of its armed resistance members were killed in an ambush from sea near Deir Al Belah.

In the central Strip's Al Bureij Refugee Camp Israeli forces killed the Abu Jabara father and three of his sons. Three people from the Kahlout family were killed in a separate attack. Israeli forces attacked Gaza City's Al Zeitoun neighborhood and killed three people, while bombing the Yarmouk Market and killing four more Palestinians.

With hundreds of Israeli soldiers plowing into the city in tanks, armed resistance members from the leftist PFLP, DFLP, and from Islamic Jihad and Hamas attempted to stave them off in the city’s Al Shajaiyeh neighborhood.

Israeli military sources say that three Israeli soldiers were killed and about 20 others were injured by "friendly fire."

Eyewitnesses report that Israeli shelling in the northern Gaza Strip caused dozens of homes to catch fire in Beit Hanoun, Beit Lahiya, and Gaza City’s neighborhoods of Al Shajaiyeh, Al Tuffah and Zeitoun. The intense aerial bombardment has left the air clogged with smoke and untold victims. Israeli forces renewed the shelling of Mount Rayyes and Al Tuffah in Gaza City, while local sources also report that the southern Strip’s Khan Younis and Rafah were hit with heavy ground invasions.

The Israeli shelling killed members of three families, most of whom are children and women whose homes are not exempt from being targeted. The number of Palestinians killed since the ground invasion has reached 110, including 50 children and 29 women. Since the beginning of the operation on 27 December, Israeli forces have killed 578 Palestinians and injured over 2,700.

for info about what is happening in Gaza search in Palestine News Network:

http://english.pnn.ps/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4414&Itemid=1