Thursday, January 28, 2010

Howard Zinn, the most important Anarchist historian of our times is Dead...

Howard Zinn, the most important Anarchist historian of our times passes away in 27 january 2010 in the age of 87 years old. He was a great man offering to United States of America a clear mirror to mirage its face inside, he was a honest cultural and political activist, a comrade and a spiritual friend... He was a humble, passionate and tireless activist for liberation of all mankind from suffering, ignorance and exploitation...He will not be forgoten and his words will be with us on our way to the Anarchist Revolution and social liberation // Void Network

for more info about Howard Zinn intelectual legacy navigate in:

for audio archive of one of the most interesting lectures of Howard Zinn - A People's History Of The United States: A Lecture At Reed College (1999) :

Howard Zinn,
historian who challenged status quo, dies at 87

article from:

Howard Zinn, the Boston University historian and political activist who was an early opponent of US involvement in Vietnam and a leading faculty critic of BU president John Silber, died of a heart attack today in Santa Monica, Calif, where he was traveling, his family said. He was 87. "His writings have changed the consciousness of a generation, and helped open new paths to understanding and its crucial meaning for our lives," Noam Chomsky, the left-wing activist and MIT professor, once wrote of Dr. Zinn. "When action has been called for, one could always be confident that he would be on the front lines, an example and trustworthy guide."
By Mark Feeney, Globe Staff Howard Zinn, the Boston University historian and political activist who was an early opponent of US involvement in Vietnam and a leading faculty critic of BU president John Silber, died of a heart attack today in Santa Monica, Calif, where he was traveling, his family said. He was 87. "His writings have changed the consciousness of a generation, and helped open new paths to understanding and its crucial meaning for our lives," Noam Chomsky, the left-wing activist and MIT professor, once wrote of Dr. Zinn. "When action has been called for, one could always be confident that he would be on the front lines, an example and trustworthy guide." For Dr. Zinn, activism was a natural extension of the revisionist brand of history he taught. Dr. Zinn's best-known book, "A People's History of the United States" (1980), had for its heroes not the Founding Fathers -- many of them slaveholders and deeply attached to the status quo, as Dr. Zinn was quick to point out -- but rather the farmers of Shays' Rebellion and the union organizers of the 1930s. As he wrote in his autobiography, "You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train" (1994), "From the start, my teaching was infused with my own history. I would try to be fair to other points of view, but I wanted more than 'objectivity'; I wanted students to leave my classes not just better informed, but more prepared to relinquish the safety of silence, more prepared to speak up, to act against injustice wherever they saw it. This, of course, was a recipe for trouble." Certainly, it was a recipe for rancor between Dr. Zinn and Silber. Dr. Zinn twice helped lead faculty votes to oust the BU president, who in turn once accused Dr. Zinn of arson (a charge he quickly retracted) and cited him as a prime example of teachers "who poison the well of academe." Dr. Zinn was a cochairman of the strike committee when BU professors walked out in 1979. After the strike was settled, he and four colleagues were charged with violating their contract when they refused to cross a picket line of striking secretaries. The charges against "the BU Five" were soon dropped, however. Dr. Zinn was born in New York City on Aug. 24, 1922, the son of Jewish immigrants, Edward Zinn, a waiter, and Jennie (Rabinowitz) Zinn, a housewife. He attended New York public schools and worked in the Brooklyn Navy Yard before joining the Army Air Force during World War II. Serving as a bombardier in the Eighth Air Force, he won the Air Medal and attained the rank of second lieutenant. After the war, Dr. Zinn worked at a series of menial jobs until entering New York University as a 27-year-old freshman on the GI Bill. Professor Zinn, who had married Roslyn Shechter in 1944, worked nights in a warehouse loading trucks to support his studies. He received his bachelor's degree from NYU, followed by master's and doctoral degrees in history from Columbia University. Dr. Zinn was an instructor at Upsala College and lecturer at Brooklyn College before joining the faculty of Spelman College in Atlanta, in 1956. He served at the historically black women's institution as chairman of the history department. Among his students were the novelist Alice Walker, who called him "the best teacher I ever had," and Marian Wright Edelman, future head of the Children's Defense Fund. During this time, Dr. Zinn became active in the civil rights movement. He served on the executive committee of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the most aggressive civil rights organization of the time, and participated in numerous demonstrations. Dr. Zinn became an associate professor of political science at BU in 1964 and was named full professor in 1966. The focus of his activism now became the Vietnam War. Dr. Zinn spoke at countless rallies and teach-ins and drew national attention when he and another leading antiwar activist, Rev. Daniel Berrigan, went to Hanoi in 1968 to receive three prisoners released by the North Vietnamese. Dr. Zinn's involvement in the antiwar movement led to his publishing two books: "Vietnam: The Logic of Withdrawal" (1967) and "Disobedience and Democracy" (1968). He had previously published "LaGuardia in Congress" (1959), which had won the American Historical Association's Albert J. Beveridge Prize; "SNCC: The New Abolitionists" (1964); "The Southern Mystique" (1964); and "New Deal Thought" (1966).Dr. Zinn was also the author of "The Politics of History" (1970); "Postwar America" (1973); "Justice in Everyday Life" (1974); and "Declarations of Independence" (1990). In 1988, Dr. Zinn took early retirement so as to concentrate on speaking and writing. The latter activity included writing for the stage. Dr. Zinn had two plays produced: "Emma," about the anarchist leader Emma Goldman, and "Daughter of Venus." Dr. Zinn, or his writing, made a cameo appearance in the 1997 film "Good Will Hunting." The title characters, played by Matt Damon, lauds "A People's History" and urges Robin Williams's character to read it. Damon, who co-wrote the script, was a neighbor of the Zinns growing up. Damon was later involved in a television version of the book, "The People Speak," which ran on the History Channel in 2009. Damon was the narrator of a 2004 biographical documentary, "Howard Zinn: You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train." On his last day at BU, Dr. Zinn ended class 30 minutes early so he could join a picket line and urged the 500 students attending his lecture to come along. A hundred did so. Dr. Zinn's wife died in 2008. He leaves a daughter, Myla Kabat-Zinn of Lexington; a son, Jeff of Wellfleet; three granddaugthers; and two grandsons. Funeral plans were not available.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Warning: We declare private property a wreck. This is the beginning of a new post-capitalist era // by Temporary Collective Crisis

March 17th announcement:
We Can Live Without Capitalism
Warning: We declare private property a wreck.
This is the beginning of a new post-capitalist era

The crisis can be seen from different points of view and we have to avoid the most defeatist side. There is an individualist and predator economic system that collapses. The inertia makes us think about reforming it, creativity has to makes us bring a new one. The old world no longer gives more of himself and the crisis gives us the chance of exploring a new one, but this time, finally taking care of universal solidarity values and prevalence of communal property.
This economic system has leaks everywhere and we would have to stop trying to re-float it. It can continue some more kilometres to the drift, but sooner or later it will sink. The individual progress at the cost of the group does not have a future; the life on its own and the laws of nature are showing it. Whatever is not sustainable, sinks, and the keys of this sustainability are preservation of nature and priority of the collective benefit.
In this system that is starting to sink, we have the right to ask for food and shelter and for continuing in the same consumption lifestyle, however we can not expect it to do it for long time because it will end up breaking down and our society with it. It is easy to ask to not be fired but we doubt is time for that. We think that we most probably should start using our imagination in order to visualize other productive activities, another city, another land and start building it!

First of all, let's clarify what is and what is not in crisis.
House speculation is in crisis. The necessity of shelter and refuge, is not. There is lack of paid jobs but there are so many tasks that still need to be done. While a large amount of people fight to pay their mortgages, thousands of houses are abandoned and in bad condition because its owners do not sell them or use them.
Remunerated jobs are in crisis but the necessity of feeding ourselves is not. While thousands of people stay home waiting for someone to give them a job, in the suburbs of villages and big cities there are a large quantity of abandoned lands, when in order to cultivate them there would only be needed the time that a lot of people exceed.
Industrial production is in crisis. The necessity of using products, is not. While an unimaginable number of objects stop being used when broken or when the buyer gets bored, thousands of workers do not fix them because no one pays them for the reparation. Who works for free for someone who afterwards will not share it?
Empty apartments, abandoned lands, non used objects. What do they have in common? That its owner forbids others to use them, without using them on its own. The biggest crisis is the private property one that holds economic and social relations.
How come someone dears to say that nothing can be done about the crisis? How come politics and bankers dear to ask us to trust in a system that is so stupid? Economy does not work? What does not work is the capitalism!

The compatibility between the capital gained, accumulation of capital and speculation from the rich side versus consumption with economic and social rights, from the population side, it's over!That was only possible when with the future income, the past expenses were paid, meaning, only through a growth that can not continue.
Now, everything is about maintaining the capitalist benefits for a few people or getting back a worthy life for everyone. Both things at the same time are not possible because they were the result of a prevarication.
A lie of a growth based on credit an spoliation of nature.
Declaration of a new post capitalist era

Right now we know that we can not solve a problem with the same way of thinking that has created it. Then, the solution is to think in a new way, isn't it? So, let's go:

From now on we proclaim our revolt to the old world, we declare sunk the civilization of the unused private property. Due to the fact the states insist in perpetuate this non-viable model, the declarators will revoke the sovereignty deposited given to them by us.And so, we will inaugurate a new civilization of necessities and the right to use. Everyone will have the right to use everything needed, when not being used by anyone. Everyone will be proprietor of what they use and if several people use it, it will become a communal property. The knowledge will be released and everyone will be able to enjoy them.
>>We declare initiated a new post capitalist era; the era of the right to use, of the economy of resources and communal goods. It will be done by managing well the resources that the capitalism underutilizes and it is necessary to share them, this is the way we will transform the crisis in a positive change.

Fields without being cultivated, empty flats, non-resident houses, abandoned objects, food thrown away, bad used energy, cars with a single occupant, towns to repopulate, deprived culture of freedom. They are all seeds on top of which a new economy for a new world can be built. A world in which we have a lot of things to do.

We will finish with the large estates, we will rehabilitate houses, seed the land and we look after the forests. We will share the tools, release the knowledge, auto produce the energy, distribute what is basic. We will look after the weak, exchange time, we will give smiles.
From popular self-management
we will built the total occupation.
Everyone will have things to contribute to the communal property and each one will receive what needed. Mainly: shelter, heat, food and water.
Together we will share our knowledge and we will learn again. We will enjoy the pleasure to share, to relate and to love each other. We will recuperate the lost feeling of knowing how to live that the touch of the credit cards have taken away.

This is not a crazy peoples thought. In reality, we do not affirm anything different than the American natives did. (yes, those wants from which we snatched their mother earth more than 500 years ago.):
Extract of ‘Llamamiento desde los Pueblos Indígenas frente a la Crisis de Civilización Occidental Capitalista’
(Call from the Indigenous Towns against the Crisis of the Western Civilization Capitalist).
“Urgen nuevos paradigmas de convivencia y en ese contexto, no sólo "otros mundos son posibles", sino que son urgentes, y además, están siendo ya construidos desde las primeras víctimas de las formas más bárbaras de la violencia capitalista/colonial/moderna y contemporánea: los Pueblos y Comunidades Indígenas, Originarios, Campesinos, Ribereños, Quilombolas, Afrodescendientes, Garífunas, Caboclos, Dalits, entre otros; y sus hijos que migraron a las barriadas/fabelas pobres de las ciudades; y todos los demás excluidos, invisibles e "intocables" del planeta; quienes seguimos resistiendo, fortaleciendo y actualizando formas alternativas de organización social, tecnológica, ética, política, económica, cultural y espiritual de la existencia humana.”
“New paradigms of coexistence arise and in this context, not only “other worlds are possible” but they are urgent, and moreover, they are being built from the first victims of the most barbarian ways of the capitalist/colonial/modern and contemporary violence: town of Indigenous communities, Original Towns, Farmers, Coastal, Quilombolas, Afro descendents, Garífunas, Caboclos, Dalits, among others; and its children who emigrated to the poor quarters/favelas of the cities; and all the others excluded, invisible and " untouchable" of the planet; who continue resisting, fortifying and updating alternative forms of social, technological, ethical, political, economic, cultural and spiritual organization of the human existence.”
With this alive inspiration, it occupies us the not postponed task of building, here and now, a new way of own life of the several western countries, with new values, new institutions and new illusions. This instituting process does not begin now but ,with this publication we want to encourage it so it culminates with the constitution, on part of a large number of people, of a new way of organizing ourselves in society.
This is NOT an attack against someone.
Everyone can make mistakes and we cannot deny the right of a second chance, even though they did not give it at the time.This IS a call to all the crew and passengers that think, feel or need this change, come together with us in order to built new and more stable boats before this “Titanic” finishes sinking.In front of this change of the civilization, each person has to relocate its paper in life.
Now or never, let's be the change that we want to see in the World!
Using our sovereignty, we stablish a transition period so everyone can start thinking about it and whoever wants to, can be part of this post capitalist movement. The details of the transition to abandon the old world and to start living according to this new paradigm, can be found in the central pages.
Barren lands and houses that fall.
Let's repopulate new ideas.
Organize yourself!
Together we can do it!
Find more info about the movement
We Can Live Without Capitalism
in many different languages:
Contact the movement
March 17th We can Live Without Capitalism

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A world of free documantary screenings:

Void Mirror introduce the site of a hundreds of
free documentaries, the usefull and informative site
Top Documentary Films:

Introduction of the site:

Documentary film is a broad category of visual expression that is based on the attempt, in one fashion or another, to document reality. Knowledge comes in different ways through our five senses. Hearing, watching, touching, smelling and tasting are the only doorways to the outer world. The wise men say that if something is not truly experienced with all our five senses, the experience will be partial, not total. Therefore in a way almost all our gained knowledge through life is partial. And maybe they are right.

If we follow that analogy, gaining knowledge through several senses simultaneously is better than through just one. So, educating through watching educational videos, in this case documentaries, is really a total different experience than educating only on books. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to undermine the books in any way. Having said that, lets go and check out some great documentaries right here, right now. You can browse all documentaries, or check out the complete documentary list. Also you can always browse documentaries by categories from the sidebar if you feel like.

We always have to keep in mind that "Documentary, after all, can tell lies and it can tell lies because it lays claim to a form of veracity which fiction doesn’t”. Some of the documentaries are made just to discredit some particular person, party, organization, system etc, but most of them here on TDF are non biased, without prejudice and worth watching.

Overall at Top documentary Films you can find 950+ (more to come) stunning, eyeopening and interesting documentaries. Choose one that suits your interest through navigation system of TDF, watch it, and tell us how it was through comments.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Letter from Chile: The Fourth Generation War and the Anti-Subversive Strategy of the Chilean State

We publish here a commuique from Chile that can offer understandings about the common practices of many different States against the social movements around the world and can make the international solidarity stronger. We have to understand the great need for powerfull bonds between the anatagonistic movements of this world, we have to make the network stronger. This communique is a serious and important analysis that offers questions which will find answers through the work of all different groups, in many different strategies and through many different methodologies of social, political and cultural action. // Void Network

An account of the structuration of an autonomous and libertarian subversion and the opening of a new cycle of confrontation against state and capital.
Introduction:The configuration generated since the end of 2009 threatens to raise the temperature and bring in a hot summer. This situation has been marked by recent events of broad repercussion such as the assault and raids on the squatted social centers carried out by the repressive forces under the orders of the “anti-bombs district attorney” Francisco Jacir, caving to the pressure from the Interior Ministry, specifically the bravado of subsecretary Patricio Rosende. This action, with a clear mediatic and political purpose, since it was carried out at election time, was recognized by the Interior Minister, Edmundo Pérez Yoma, when he declared that these raids against the young squatters “came at a very good moment.” Despite this, everything seems to indicate that the kangaroo court failed, principally for lack of real concrete evidence to back up serious accusations, which would confirm the lack of results in the investigation of the explosive attacks against institutions of State and Capital, and thus the success of the strategy of diffuse blows of autonomous, libertarian subversion based in groups without central direction, but coordinated along a common horizon. Proof of this is that the attacks have not only continued, they have expanded with growing force to other regions of the country, especially the city of Concepción where the existence of one or more operative cells has alarmed the political and police authorities.
Appending to these events was the recent expulsion from Argentina of Freddy Fuentevilla and Marcelo Villarroel Sepúlveda, combatants detained in Neuquén (Argentine Patagonia) for carrying weapons of war after crossing the Andes on foot, fleeing a mediatic police search that endangered their lives, then being blamed by the press for an assault on Banco Security and the subsequent armed clash in which a member of the repressive forces was killed, Sergeant Moyano.[trans: Freddy and Marcelo are two of the best known Chilean anarchist prisoners, and the campaign against their extradition back to Chile has spread internationally]
Naturally, the bourgeois press and loyal supporter of state violence catalogued as “cold-blooded murder” this clash between armed men in which the repressive forces came out on the losing end. When the police shoot a Mapuche, a student, a worker, or a villager in the back, the press, prostituted to capital and the state, prefers to speak in the cynical terms of a “case of confusion” or even “legitimate defense.” Of course, one cannot expect more from journalist-cops, but the level to which they can sink in endorsing the psychopathic violence of the police and the state against unarmed people, including children and elderly with no ability to defend themselves, is surprising and repugnant. This behavior by the official media goes against the grain even of what is suggested in reports coming from international organizations and a few Chilean organizations that have understood that human rights is something more than begging for a pension from the state. However, this same press, abject and unctuous, screams hysterically: “terrorism!” when the Mapuche defend themselves or when some autonomous group intends to return fire at a miniscule level and alter the impunity in which these criminals in uniform live, in their despicable work consistently preserving the privileges of a minority by beating, caging, and killing those who dare rise up.
Moreover, in the last days the recent government spokeswoman, Pilar Armanet, has admitted that government attorneys are investigating arms traffic from the metropolitan regions to the so-called “Mapuche conflict zone,” and also the detention of the Basque citizen supposedly involved in the string of bomb attacks in Santiago and the surrounding areas, in which furthermore they are seeking the contacts of Asel Luzuriaga [the detained Basque], with houses visited in the metropolitan region.[More can be found, in Spanish and Euskadi, on and in English on ]
Nonetheless, at this point of evolution and escalation of the conflictivity by a part of the social movement in $hile, added to an uncertain election in which two factions of capital are disputing for control of the government, it can be asked whether the $hilean state is confronting the defiance of the State, as constituted by the struggle of the Mapuche in their war for liberation and the new urban autonomous libertarian subversion, with the same strategy of yesteryear. The following lines attempt to put in perspective some aspects of this problem, framed by the hypothesis that there is a new subversive defiance to the $hilean state that is currently in full evolution and development and that this can be the seed in a new cycle of confrontation with State and Capital that joins the other attempts that have existed in the history of $hile since the 20th century, which is to say we would be faced with the formation of a new attempt of proletarian attack.
The Fourth Generation War and the Anti-Subversive Strategy of the $hilean State
[trans: the term “fourth generation war” or “conflict” arose in the ‘80s within the strategic publications of the US Marine Corps, in a way presaging the related post-Cold War concept of “asymmetrical warfare” developed, again in the US, a decade later. The idea is that there were three previous generations of warfare, measured by distinct phases in increasing firepower as a replacement for the tactically inefficient increasing manpower (cannon fodder), combined with an increasing mobility for the employment of that firepower. Fourth generation warfare is the arrival at a point when the conflict has become so diffuse and unconventional that the target is not conquest of territory or annihilation of a military force, but the implosion of society or prevention of the same. What this means from our perspective is that after the Cold War, the Washington Consensus and NATO powers consider themselves owners of the entire world, with no external borders in principle, and they must finally recognize that their enemy is society itself, which they must constantly police, and defend against attacks from any sector within it, using innovative and unexpected means, since after all we don’t have recourse to armies or traditional military hardware. In other words, Global Civil War. The military acknowledges that communications media, from news corporations to the internet, play a major and often uncontrollable role in fourth generation conflicts, which are sometimes won or lost without a shot being fired.]
Curiously the first one to associate the groups of masked ones and anarchists with the onset of a fourth generation conflict was the general general José Alejandro Bernales, a known repressor and torturer when he was in charge of police intelligence with the carabineros and today a rehabilitated official saint of democracy, according to an interview given the evening journal La Segunda.
Though fourth generation warfare is a confused concept for political storytellers and military strategists, in general terms one could say it refers to conflicts that arose after the end of the Cold War and the East-West confrontation between the Soviet empire and the US empire. This would give rise to conflicts characterized by the existence of a diffuse enemy of such a form that the theater of military operations is indecipherable. At the same time, it is suggested that the hierarchies at play are not the conventional ones, but rather that they fade into sub-units that are part of a very diffuse organizational fabric. Do we see some similarity here to $hile and the claims by Minister Pérez Yoma excusing the police and the district attorneys for not finding the authors of the bomb attacks, since after all they were dealing with groups that arm themselves for just one attack and then dissolve?
Of course all of this is framed within the so-called asymmetrical conflicts, which is to say, conflicts between a strong actor and a weak one which suggests a type of confrontation in which the weak one eludes the military power of the strong one (the State). For this reason, the social war, subversion and insurrections for example, are characterized by the military strategists of the enemy as internal asymmetrical conflicts. Other characteristics of fourth generation conflicts are as follows:
Information is the principal element in the conflict. According to Colonel Thomas X. Hammes in an article published in the magazine Military Review of the US army, fourth generation conflicts (4GW) have produced a strategic change in warfare, mutating from military campaigns supported by information campaigns into communication campaigns supported by subversive or guerrilla operations. This comes to pass, furthermore, in the context of the passage from mechanical societies to information/electronic societies that could maximize the power of the insurgency. All of this tells us of the enormous importance that the enemy gives to communications, the use of information, and the creation of “public opinion” via the corporate press that back the strategy of the State-Capital complex. Seeing as the preceding is expounded by a high official of the imperial military, I propose taking it seriously.
The references to information and communications also tells us of the worries generated in our enemy by the potentialities of counter-information that circulates outside of the networks controlled by the powers. In this form, the enemy, which is to say the State-Capital complex and its military apparatus, is perfectly conscious that although communication networks and the transformations in the technological apparatus serve to develop the capitalist economy and energize the circulation of merchandise, they are also a tool for subversion of the dominant order and an accessible means for the social war of liberation. The most palpable proof of this situation is the hysterical screaming of [newspaper] El Mercurio against the anticapitalist blogs and web pages that, they claim, coordinate the anti-system groups.
A third characteristic of fourth generation wars is the organizational transformation of the weak enemy (that is, ourselves). Still following the argumentation of Colonel Hammes, the latest insurgencies demonstrate that one isn’t dealing with traditional organizations but rather voluntary coalitions connected by networks. These fourth generation insurgencies, just like their historical antecedents, maintain the common denominator of evading the military strong point of their opponent. It’s difficult at this point not to refer to the words of the ineffable Patricio Rosende [subsecretary of the Interior], who declared himself “fed up” after the last attack against a forestry truck on Mapuche lands and said the culprits “are cowards who act under the cloak of night.” But what did this coarse little servant of power expect? That the Mapuche would attack a police station in the center of Temuco in the full light of day with faces uncovered? These are the terms of bravery and cowardice in which they should wage their war of liberation? What wouldn’t surprise any military, that an insurgency seeks the element of surprise, chooses the appropriate terrain, takes the initiative, generating all the conditions that allow it to apply itself with the maximum of its powers against the weakest part of the enemy formation, evidently surprises and indignifies Señor Rosende. Such stupidity is hilarious.
Last but not least is the aspect related to capitalist globalization, which is that an interconnected world is highly vulnerable to interruptions in the transport chain of raw materials. Thus, commercial matters quickly transform themselves into problems of national security. In this aspect $hile, as a provider of raw materials par excellence, is a paradigmatic example: for example copper and cellulose production have already been affected by strikes by Codelco subcontractors or by attacks coming from the Mapuche insurgency. The potentialities but also the challenges this presents should be considered with the utmost seriousness by the new subversion within the framework of the opening of a new cycle of confrontation with the State.
But the central question is what forms will be taken by the anti-subversive reaction in the near future? We already outlined this in a recent article titled “Prepararse para lo que viene…” [Preparing for what comes], touching on an escalation in the repressive strategy of the State. But this escalation would seem to have mediatic objectives in demonstrating efficiency and responsiveness. It will get complicated once the State commits itself to a comprehensive offensive and the structuration of a strategy that adequately complements its operative intelligence and contextual analysis, which is to say a socio-political analysis. All this against a subversion that is going through a period of growth, evolution, and consolidation that, up to this moment, has been characterized by:
-Being diffuse, not setting up frontlines nor moving in accordance with the principles of militaries or vanguards of the Castro-Guevarist tendency.
-Functioning in a network or with a common horizon, discarding the classical form of a large pyramidal and hierarchical organization.
-Carrying out a confrontation, or at least a subversive defiance, with very low costs. Beyond self-producing its explosives with materials that can be gotten anywhere, not depending on any State or government to support it, nor on any central supply chain.
-Generally, being successful in striking without being struck.
-Having the effect of reproducing and multiplying potentialities, that have yet to be fully deployed, especially in peak moments of social and political conflictivity.
-Extending itself to the provinces and not occurring only in Santiago.
-Potentially being complementary to the liberation war of the Mapuche and to the boom in social protests that are not guided by reformist political parties, which is to say being complementary to social explosiveness.
-Finally, not being a local phenomenon but having a growing international dimension.
Needless to say, the manner in which the near future is confronted will determine the real possibilities of the new subversion to endanger the current order of domination.
[Translated by Porlos from an article in Spanish found on
Much more information on the situation in Chile can be found, in Spanish, on

Thursday, January 14, 2010

U.S.A. debt policies left Haiti vulnerable to catastrophe

Haitians aren't living in hell just due to bad luck. It's called imperialism, stupid.


Haitians aren't living in hell just due to bad luck. It's called imperialism!...

The following is from True/Slant.

US debt policies left Haiti vulnerable to catastrophe

The same message is resonating from all corners of the Internet: Poor Haiti. That little, miserable island just can't catch a break, can it? Yes, thousands are feared dead, and the pictures coming in from Haiti are heartbreaking, but no one can be blamed for an earthquake.

And sure, Haiti is the poorest nation in the northern hemisphere (more than half the population of 9 million lives on less than $.50 cents a day,) which explains the construction of those flimsy houses that collapsed like card houses during the quake (Haiti's ambassador calls the country's infrastructure "among the world's worst.")

But this is just rotten luck, or God's work! Surely, this is one of those things we can write off as "unlucky," or "Shit happens."

KT McFarland asks, what will become of those impoverished, feeble blacks Haitians when America can't "ride to the rescue" anymore? I mean, really, when are these poor countries going to get their acts together?

In news story after news story, there are reports of Haiti's "flimsy" shacks with no mention of why Haitians live in such extreme poverty. The impression one is left with is that these people are just inherently poor savages who don't know how to construct decent homes for themselves (see these numerous examples of the "flimsy" line). The language almost implies Haitians deserved to be crushed during the quake. That's what they get for living in such squalid conditions!

The media is missing a valuable opportunity to explain why Haiti is so poor. Once again, the people of this planet are receiving a hefty dose of miseducation. They are learning that Haiti is simply a poor country where bad things happen all the time. In reality, the country has a rich, fascinating story, but unfortunately its history is also dominated by western exploitation.

Haiti was the first country in the Americas to abolish slavery (though Napoleon later reinstated it.) Meanwhile, the western world scorned the tiny island. Thomas Jefferson, that famous slave owner and champion of liberty, warned Haiti had created a bad example during its revolution, and argued it was necessary to "confine the plague to the island."

Haiti was not born poor, but rather saddled with debt, first by the French and now by the United States. When the slaves fought for their independence in 1804, and won, the French punished them by demanding payment for damages (the equivalent of $21.7 billion in today's dollars, or forty-four times Haiti's current yearly budget, according to journalist Eduardo Galeano). Even as they began to pay that debt, France was the only country to recognize the newly independent Haiti, the country that transformed from a slave colony to an invisible, autonomous society. Yet, Haiti was never really free. No indebted country is ever free as debt takes the place of shackles.

The United States began its occupation of Haiti in 1915 when Woodrow Wilson sent 330 U.S. Marines to Port-au-Prince. The reason for the invasion, according to the Secretary of the Navy, Admiral William Deville Bundy, was to "protect American and foreign" interests. Of course, the public was told the purpose of the mission was to "re-establish peace and order." Sound familiar? Galeano writes:

The occupying army suspended the salary of the Haitian president until he agreed to sign off on the liquidation of the Bank of the Nation, which became a branch of City Bank of New York. The president and other blacks were barred entry into the private hotels, restaurants, and clubs of the foreign occupying power. The occupiers didn't dare reestablish slavery, but they did impose forced labor for the building of public works. And they killed a lot of people. It wasn't easy to quell the fires of resistance.

The guerrilla chief, Charlemagne Peralte, was exhibited in the public square, crucified on a door to teach the people a lesson.

And those were the acts of Marines, the civilized people.

When the occupiers left in 1934, they left behind a National Guard that they had created, and the ruler François Duvalier, who Galeano compared to such tyrants as Trujillo and Somoza. Duvalier was responsible for the deaths of around 30,000 people and the exile of thousands more. In 1971, Duvalier died and his son became ruler. In 1986, the son, Jean-Claude Duvalier, was overthrown in a popular uprising.

Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the rebel priest, and enemy of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, became president in 1991. He only lasted a few months before

the U.S. government helped to oust him, brought him to the United States, subjected him to Washington's treatment, and then sent him back a few years later, in the arms of Marines, to resume his post. Then once again, in 2004, the U.S. helped to remove him from power, and yet again there was killing. And yet again the Marines came back, as they always seem to, like the flu.

Worse than the destruction of ongoing occupation, however, was the "help" Haiti received from The World Bank (the pet project of the United States,) and IMF. Haiti obeyed all orders from its financial overlords. It slashed tariffs and subsidies, and other protectionist policies, and yet its credit was frozen. The majority, rice farmers, became beggars. Now, Haiti imports rice from the United States since national production has practically been outlawed.

Back in 2003, Marie Clarke, National Coordinator of the Jubilee USA Network, wrote

Creditors are denying Haiti new loans and desperately needed humanitarian aid. They claim that this is because the current government cannot service its debt. Because debt payments must be made in the form of foreign capital and Haiti has only two weeks' reserve in their central bank, it cannot service its debt. Jubilee USA and Jubilee Haiti argue that the debt is illegitimate and should not be serviced at all. Forty percent of Haiti's current debt was accrued by the dictator Duvalier. According to international law, this debt is odious as it was a debt incurred in the name of the people but has not served the interest of the people. The people of Haiti have been handed a bill for their oppression.

Because Haitians were saddled with the debt of a dictator installed by the west, they are kept in perpetual poverty.

The dangers of this forced poverty policy were extremely clear. Clarke wrote in 2004:

Haiti's loans from the 1994 reconstruction aid package will come due this year, doubling the country's debt service payments. Before entering into new loan agreements, the best way that the donor community can start to assist in Haiti's development is to release desperately needed resources by canceling Haiti's odious debts. The pending loans are odious debt in the making. There are no guarantees that these funds will benefit the Haitian people. Creditors should heed the example of Iraq; they can not expect the Haitian people to repay these loans in the future.

And in 2009, $1.2 billion (2/3 of Haiti's overall debt) was cancelled, which some saw as cause for celebration, but others realized the debt cancellation could only partly begin to right the wrongs of the past. Now that a large portion of the debt was gone, how could Haiti hope to begin to rebuild its economy and infrastructure? Instead of focusing on national production, the Haiti government seems determined to focus on the export sector. Haiti, like the west, is being told the cure to all her woes is the free market:

[A] few months ago UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon and British economist Paul Collier made yet another proposal for international aid to fund garment assembly production in new Free Trade Zones.

Indeed, Corinne Delechat, IMF mission chief for Haiti, commenting on the debt cancellation, told Reuters that Haiti is a 'land of opportunity if you're an entrepreneur and an investor," adding, "It is a golden moment for Haiti to start investing in export capacity, particularly in textiles."

So therein lies the answer to why Haiti is so poor, and why so many citizens laid huddled in those paper shacks that immediately collapsed during the quake.

The media doesn't like to focus on the details of Haiti as a rule. It pretty much ignored the 2008 floods from Hurricane Hanna that killed at least 537 people, and the ongoing food shortages. That could be because we have a superficial, shallow media that finds such suffering boring, or it could be because examining Haiti's plights forces the US to uncomfortably self-examine its policies and history. Or maybe it's because Haiti disturbs Americans at an almost subconscious level: horrific environmental disasters, food shortages, civil unrest. It's a little like looking into a mirror that shows the future.

As for positive policy changes that could benefit Haiti and the US, I like Juan Cole's idea of asking Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase CEOs to donate some of their $47 million in combined bonuses to Haiti.

The US government only puts in about $200 million a year into aid to Haiti. Although Americans tell pollsters that they think we give away too much in foreign aid, it is only about $22 billion, much less as a percentage of our national income than most advanced countries. A third of it goes to Israel and Egypt.

Instead of Congress having to borrow money to increase the aid budget to help Haiti, or raise taxes, why don't the nice folks on Wall Street do the right thing? Just give 10 percent of their bonuses to Haiti. It might help change the public perception of them.

When pigs fly, right? In the meantime, you're nice people, so give what you can to the people of Haiti.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Joy of Revolution by Ken Knabb

The Joy of Revolution

by Knabb, Ken

Publisher: Bureau of Public Secrets, Berkeley, USA
Year Published: 2007 First Published: 1997

The Joy of Revolution is a part of a 400 pages book from American situationist Ken Knabb called Public Secrets.
Public Secrets include the greatest hits, and a fine read for anyone interested in situationist ideas, anarchism, the 60s counterculture and beyond. Includes both two substantial new texts - 'The Joy Of Revolution' and 'Autobiography,' and reprints of all his old pamphlets, co-authored work, and translations of various situationist texts. A veritable treasure trove of pamphlets, texts, posters, comics, articles, leaflets and essays. Over 400 pages, and every one is a winner!
or find it here among many other Free Books:

Especialy for the people don't have enough time to read all these 400 pages we suggest the reading of The Joy of Revolution. The Joy of Revolution is an examination of the pros and cons of diverse radical tactics followed by some speculations on how a nonstate and noncapitalist postrevolutionary society might function.

easily download or read here:

Ken Knabb says "What is needed, I believe, is a worldwide participatory-democracy revolution that would abolish both capitalism and the state. This is admittedly a big order, but I’m afraid that nothing less can get to the root of our problems. It may seem absurd to talk about revolution; but all the alternatives assume the continuation of the present system, which is even more absurd."

A radical situation is a collective awakening. At one extreme it may involve a few dozen people in a neighborhood or workplace; at the other it shades into a full-fledged revolutionary situation involving millions of people. It’s not a matter of numbers, but of open-ended public dialogue and participation. The incident at the beginning of the1964 Free Speech Movement (FSM) is a classic and particularly beautiful example. As police were about to take away an arrested civil rights activist on the university campus in Berkeley, a few students sat down in front of the police car; within a few minutes hundreds of others spontaneously followed their example, surrounding the car so it could not move. For the next 32 hours the car roof was turned into a platform for freewheeling debate. The May 1968 occupation of the Sorbonne created an even more radical situation by drawing in much of the nonstudent Parisian population; the workers’ occupation of factories throughout France then turned it into a revolutionary situation.
In such situations people become much more open to new perspectives, readier to question previous assumptions, quicker to see through the usual cons. Every day some people go through experiences that lead them to question the meaning of their lives; but during a radical situation practically everyone does so all at once. When the machine grinds to a halt, the cogs themselves begin wondering about their function. Bosses are ridiculed. Orders are ignored. Separations are broken down. Personal problems are transformed into public issues; public issues that seemed distant and abstract become immediate practical matters. The old order is analyzed, criticized, satirized. People learn more about society in a week than in years of academic “social studies” or leftist “consciousness raising.” Long repressed experiences are revived. Everything seems possible — and much more is possible. People can hardly believe what they used to put up with in “the old days.” Even if the outcome is uncertain, the experience is often seen as worthwhile for its own sake. ...

“Those who make revolutions half way only dig their own graves.” A revolutionary movement cannot attain some local victory and then expect to peacefully coexist with the system until it’s ready to try for a little more. All existing powers will put aside their differences in order to destroy any truly radical popular movement before it spreads. If they can’t crush it militarily, they’ll strangle it economically (national economies are now so globally interdependent that no country would be immune from such pressure). The only way to defend a revolution is to extend it, both qualitatively and geographically. The only guarantee against internal reaction is the most radical liberation of every aspect of life. The only guarantee against external intervention is the most rapid internationalization of the struggle. The most profound expression of internationalist solidarity is, of course, to make a parallel revolution in one’s own country (1848, 1917-1920, 1968). Short of this, the most urgent task is at least to prevent counterrevolutionary intervention from one’s own country, as when British workers pressured their government not to support the slave states during the American Civil War (even though this meant greater unemployment due to lack of cotton imports); or when Western workers struck and mutinied against their governments’ attempts to support the reactionary forces during the civil war following the Russian revolution; or when people in Europe and America opposed their countries’ repression of anticolonial revolts.

continue reading The Joy of Revolution:

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Of walls and flows: An interview with Manuel Castells by Occupied London

Of walls and flows: An interview with Manuel Castells by the Voices of Resistance from the Occupied London

(This is a longer version than the one appeared in print in the free magazine of the collective, which had to be edited down for space purposes -eds.)

In “The Rise of the Network Society” ((‘The New Economy’, chapter in “The Rise of the Network Society” (1996), Oxford: Blackwell pp. 77-163)) you provide a portrait of the new political economy of the globalisation of sovereignty. There, you suggest that in the 1990s there were a number of institutional shifts which lifted the barriers set in the 1930s and 1940s as a response to the 1929 depression (ibid: 152-153). These shifts evidently comprised a cornerstone of the neoliberal, free market project… But could they also be signaling the beginning of its end?

In the 1980s capitalism proceeded to a successful restructuring that lifted it from the crisis of the 1970s by escaping many of the regulations set up in the late 1940s to escape the crisis of the 1930s and its sequel of wars. Then followed in the 1990s until 2008s a period of high growth and global expansion, of course punctuated by crises as usual, but with the capacity to incorporate into capitalism hundreds of millions of people around the world. This is not neoliberalism (an ideological term that does not have much analytical value) but simply unfettered global capitalism. Social movements and alternative policies challenged this new form of capitalism, `particularly in Latin America, but overall it was a triumphant moment for capitalism, not the least because its rival system, statism, collapsed entirely – China surviving and prospering by joining global capitalism. The 2007-2008 financial crisis, to be followed by a global recession, signals a halt of this model of unregulated capitalism and opens a new era whose contours cannot be predicted as they depend on the outcomes of social struggles and political competition, including the new perspectives created by the election of Obama in the U.S.

The iconic event symbolising the collapse of state socialist ideology was, undoubtedly, the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Is there an event, a moment that has occurred (or might occur in the near future) that the future historian would dub neoliberalism’s Berlin Wall?

While I do not accept to characterize the recent period as neo-liberalism, there is indeed a significant historical shift in 2007-2008, directly linked to the crisis of what I call virtual financial capital. As for an event, I think the collapse of Lehman Brothers, epitomizing the end of investment banks based on derivatives and futures will be retained by history as the defining moment, together with the election of Obama, not entirely independent from the financial crisis.

An elementary concept of proponents of “free market” and neo-liberalism had supposedly been that state intervention in the economy ought to be as minimal as possible. Recent events have shattered this principle and, while they could be signaling the death of free market ideology, an alternative reading of the events would parallel them to Giorgio Agamben’s understanding of the state of exception: A condition, that is, which through its very exceptionality comes to confirm the rule. A new form of sovereignty might therefore be emerging: a weaving net between the sovereignty of the state and its affiliate yet nevertheless dicey market. If this is the emerging landscape of sovereignty, what is the corresponding (to use Agamben’s terminology) form of bare life? And where do the potentials for political action and resistance lie in this very landscape?

Too many questions folded together. The notion of a non-interventionist state is pure ideology. The state plays a substantial role in all forms of capitalism, and not only politically but economically. Nation-states were the subjects of globalization, even if they lost margin of maneuver through their own actions. Financial deregulation was a state policy decision. Trade liberalization resulted from an agreement among states. Thus, the current wave of state re-regulation is not the return of the state (it never went away) but a new form of state intervention characterized by giving priority to the stability of the system over the benefit of financial oligarchies. The state was never fully sovereign, and there is still dependent on markets and on connections to other states. This is why I coined the concept of the network state as the state that characterizes the Information Age. The chances for political action increase in this context because the ideology of consumption is weakened by the difficulty to actually consume and because the open politicization of the economy offers a clear target for social mobilization than the abstract enemy of the global financial market.

In 1903, Georg Simmel referred to the blasé attitude as the most typical psychological condition in the metropolis: “The psychological foundation, upon which the metropolitan individuality is erected, is the intensification of emotional life due to the swift and continuous shift of external and internal stimuli” ((“The Metropolis and Mental Life”, included in “Man Alone, Alienation in Modern Society”, Eric & Mary Josephson, 1962)). In that way Simmel touched upon the results of this continuous shift of stimuli during the early development of the metropolis. His position brings to mind Walter Benjamin’s metropolitan shock as well as Bauman’s liquid modernity. They all highlight the importance retained in stable structures and relationships in the urban setting precisely at a time when these come under threat. Network technologies intensify the level of swift and shift of these stimuli, in turn intensifying the threat of rupture in stable relationships and structures. What is your position in relation to the said danger? What levels can the blasé phenomenon reach within the network condition (see for example the hikikomori phenomenon in Japan)? And how can the notion of community be defined today, amidst a fluid and network condition of constant shifts, swifts and transmutations?

I published a book in 1972, “The Urban Question” to debunk what I called “the myth of the urban culture”. Although the books presented a Marxist framework that by and large I consider superseded, it did make a number of important points, this being one of them. Spatial forms per se do not produce certain psychological reactions or social behavior. The notion of community was ideological nostalgia, and most of the so-called effects of the metropolis were in fact characteristics linked to the expansion of capitalism, the individualization of relationships under the influence of market relationships, and the dissolution of traditional forms of association. Similarly today, my empirical studies on the Internet have shown that we do not have less but more sociability in a networked context, but it is a different kind of sociability, what is know as networked individualism. There are communities, but of different types, from instant communities of practice to self-defined communities of resistance or of projects. The major trend, supported but not caused by communication technologies, is the culture of autonomy and the ability of people to define their own projects and build their own communication networks. Most of the characterizations are built by contrast to a mythical view of the industrial society or of the traditional societies. Most sociological theory nowadays is based on words, not on observation.

The notion of networks and by extension, the technologies resting upon them seems on the one hand to rely on the capacity for spontaneous-instant action and on the other, on complicating the conception and signification of space. It seems, in other words, to prioritise time over space, ending up nullifying the latter: nullifying space. Given this condition, what is the future of space and the relationships with it? And what is the future of physical presence?

I never say anything about the future. But what we observe is the formation of a different type of space, what I have characterized as the space of flows, in interaction with the space of places. In fact, space is the dominant dimension of our society because people build their practices of resistance in their places in opposition to the space of flows that characterizes the organization of power (finance, global deciders, the media), and articulate their places of resistance over the Internet making it the network of global resistance. On the other hand, contemporary capitalism uses technology to annihilate time, compressing it to the smallest possible fraction, so to squeeze more return in shorter time, and commodifying the future by transforming it into a futures market. Space organizes social life, time is obliterated by the negation of sequence in the new technological environment.

In relation to the previous question: When Hannah Arendt insists upon the importance of the presence of others for political action, she presupposes an in-between space, a political topos wherein freedom gains meaning – freedom as is visible in the eyes of others (e.g. in the agora, the polis). And when she touches upon the classic notion of the law (nomos) she reminds us this refers to the relationships between subjects and that these relationships require an in-between space in order to be articulated. In a network condition where the notion of space is liquefied, how can the political action in the presence of others exist? What type of in-between space is produced via network technologies and relationships?

This question is simply too complicated for me. Hanna Arendt is a normative philosopher, not an analyst. If you mean how network technologies enhance the chances for political action it is very simple: by increasing the chances for people to network with each other. Since state power and capital power is based on disconnecting people, workers, and citizens, so to make their common interests more opaque and their fighting chances less coordinated, anything that helps connection helps social change. You do not need fancy words to say that. Make things simple, they are usually more simple than our concepts. Some social scientists use abstraction to enhance their status rather than their knowledge.

Could it be argued that contemporary technologies are politically neutral? They might offer exceptional capacities in the age of information, yet they simultaneously hold a decisive role in the process of the creation of citizen-subjects. For example, the capacities of mobile telephony train the user to accept the condition of being always approachable, always available. In this sense, they seem to create, together with closed circuit surveillance systems, a condition of complete and permanent presence and of control of that very presence. Visual access meets the compulsory aural response and thus, aural detection (aural omnipresence).

Effects of technologies depend on the social practice in which they are embedded, so in principle they are not conservative or progressive. On the other hand, some technologies have properties that maximize certain effects, such as Internet or wireless communication supporting mobility and free communication. However to reinforce freedom does not solve the problems of the uses of freedom. You can be free to kill. And yes, digital communication both increases freedom and the chances for surveillance. This is why discussions of technology in general are useless. All depends on context and on process, and ultimately on the specific research on specific technologies in specific contexts.

An example highlighting the inversion of technology’s potentially liberating capacities: The demands of the autonomist movement (influenced by Deleuze and Guattari) for flexibility, ephemeral relations, nomadism etc. were absorbed and recuperated by capital and state formations in such ways, that today we witness the descendants of this movement organising against the precarity brought with the way of life it had itself demanded. This brings up, once again, the element of stability and continuity, this time at the level of social movement procedures. To what extent could it be argued that these demands were unbearable first and foremost for those who were the first to experimentally set them? And what space exists for redefining them today, when the technologies of information impose this liquid condition as an urban axiom built upon the importance of control and security?

No idea about what you mean about liquid condition, another of these fancy terms to say societies have changed (but were they solid earlier? When? How?) What we observe is that social movements are constructed around share practices rather than formal organization, and around the capacity to connect global networks with local existence. Thus, networking technologies are a constitutive element of the new social movements, such as the movement for global justice or the environmental movement.

In dealing with networks there are two distinct elements, the flows within them and their physical disposition – the networks’ own materiality. An archetypal network is that of the roads: Paul Virilio suggested that modernity is a dromocratic revolution, naming the motor-roads as the exemplary signifier of modernity. While you talk about spaces of flows and in particular, about the flows as such the motorway networks seem to be under-reported in your work. Can you elaborate on the materiality of road networks and their role in the contemporary network society?

Road networks, and any kind of transportation networks are certainly a major component of the space of flows, particularly high speed, high volume transportation networks. I emphasized more electronic networks because of their capacity to favor simultaneity without contiguity, the major feature of the space of flows. But in fact, all communication and transportation networks are electronic, as cars, trains, container traffic and the like are based on networked computer systems.

In an article published by Catalonia’s La Vanguardia ((“Neo-anarchism”, 21.05.2005, available online in English at you argue that anarchism might seem to be “an ideology for the 21st century”. This is a very tempting proposition and yet, the following question emerges from it: Given that as you state yourself, it is the “old” anarchist doctrine that has become suitable for our time (after being ahead of its own), why is there a need to describe it as “neo-” anarchist? And secondly, if it is true that anarchism’s newly-found relevance is based more on a structural disposition, a failure of communist governments to absorb productive forces and equally of capitalism to prevent undermining the foundations of the nation-state that fed it: If anarchism’s relevance is being initiated by these structural failures, to what extent could we be talking of anarchism, rather than anarchy emerging? And crucially, how can social movements and civil society make sure that we head for one, rather than the other?

The main ideas of anarchism (anti-statism, freedom, communes, peace, international solidarity, rejection of bureaucratic organizations, love of nature, gender equality, and the like) are present today as they were in the 19th century. But similar ideas in an entirely different historical contexts have a somewhat different meaning, this is why I call it neo. The main proposition is that the new technological environment and the network society induce social and political conditions in which Marxist categories appear to be obsolete while the Anarchist themes resonate with current social movements. Anarchy is utopia, anarchism is ideology. Social movements are increasingly rooted in anarchist themes, even if they would not call themselves anarchists. However, what will be the historical outcome of the practice of these social movements is an open question.

Some times, resistance movements blocked a society without the capacity to advance an alternative organization and they provoke a violent reaction from conservative forces that restores the law and order of bureaucracy and capitalism. What some militants propose in a variety of social movements is to conceive a society made of local free communes that become able to manage the complexity of a large-scale society via networking technologies and deliberative virtual spaces. Since we are fast moving to a hybrid social organization in which virtuality and F2F interaction are intertwined, this is an interesting mobilizing utopia. The current global crisis (financial, economic, environmental) is creating the conditions for mass support to alternative projects. The glue of the system has been consumerism. The market economy is based on relentless expansion of demand, and social integration is based on the endless desire to consume everything, thus transforming life into commodity. Now, if we cannot get credit to consume, the economy stops, but also stops the culture. We are moving, objectively, to an economy of austerity, in which demand cannot be fueled artificially by irresponsible lending and borrowing. This is the moment when many people may start asking questions about their lives, about the profound stupidity of our system, running and ruining our live without knowing for what, and burning ourselves in consumption that actually does not make sense for ourselves. So, our ideas may change on a mass scale, we can communicate these new ideas on a mass scale, and if we start living differently on a mass scale, those trapped in the impossible dream of keep on consuming, may join the nearest commune. In the choice between dying capitalis, repressive statism, and experimentation with freedom, I think alternative ways of living have a chance to offer hope.

You have noticed the contradiction of violence during protest: it attracts the attention of mass media but at the same time you suggest that it alienates the so-called silent majority from the movement – and you furthermore argue that the majority of participants dislike violence altogether (‘The Power of Identity’: 156-157). You mentioned recent, at the time, examples of Genova and Barcelona, but on-the-ground experience in both instances showed that when the state escalated its own levels of violence a large proportion of non-black-block activists, of activists who went to those cities to protest using passive resistance techniques decided to react using direct violence against the violence of the state. In the case of Genova in 2001 in the aftermath of the demonstration many non black-block participants confronted peaceful tactics that were used in line with pre-demonstration decisions, arguing that since the state was using so much violence, remaining passive was equal to the victimisation of an entire movement. Could you elaborate on the violence used by activists during protests?

I think the more violence you use the more you are trapped in the script of a television show, and the more you create a distance between the movement and people at large, many of whom share the values of the movement but not the tactics of a vocal minority. Yes, the system is institutionalized violence. But you do not overwhelm violence with violence, because even if you were able to do it (a rare occurrence) you recreate a violent, bureaucratic state, this is what history shows. You dissolve violence with words and images, you delegitimize violence, you engage in mass, non violent protests, and you start living in a different way without asking permission to anybody. The powers that be are interested in provoking violent confrontation, so to assimilate anarchy to chaos, when in fact, anarchy is a superior order, the order constructed from freedom.

When referred to your work is often distinguished in two distinct periods (the so-called “old” and “new” Castells). How do you feel about this distinction and further, about the often-found obligation in academia for one to retain a unchanged position throughout their career? How does that compare to one’s political orientations and possible changes to the latter?

I never think of myself as a theorist, and so, I am just amused by this categorization. I am a researcher, a worker of social science research, and in different periods of my life I did different types of research, and used different methodologies, and different conceptual systems to understand what I was studying. And I keep doing the same now. So, it is normal that I change the conceptual framework because I evolve, my work evolves, and more importantly, the world evolves. When theory does not match reality, I throw away the theory rather than forcing useless concepts on the complexity of what we observe. But I find essential not to build closed theoretical systems with the only purpose to win a share in the intellectual market of social theory. I always go back to the drawing board. It is so much more fun to try to understand new social forms and processes than to play with words. Theorists are usually very boring chaps. Do not fall in such a trap. Live in your practice, not in your books. Stay close to the facts, ask your own questions, and build your own conceptual systems with whatever is useful to your work. Ignore words or concepts that even their authors only half understand. Escape from theory courses, the last refuge of the intellectual gentry. Look around you and try to understand the world as it is, your world. And keep changing. The day you stop changing you are basically dead. Life is change. We live in a world of zombies that were programmed not to change. This is true for science, and also for politics. A different matter is some basic values, decency, dignity, democracy, equality, solidarity, intellectual curiosity, search of truth, as you understand them. This should not change, you should stick to the good values you got when you were young, the moment of openness, hope, and generosity. But which politics reflects these values keeps changing all the time, and you keep changing in finding out about political options. Keep living, thus changing. This is what I tried to do. In research as in politics. So, there never was a young and old Castells, because there was never a Castells. There was, and there is, myself, me as a person and as a researcher, resisting any reification (ummm, another fancy word: I can do it too!)

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