Category Archives: cross-posts

Islamophobia and Anarchism – call for articles

(English and French version below – contact dysophia~at~riseup.net

http://dysophia.wordpress.com

ديصوفيا هي مجلة أناركية مستقلة وذات ميزانية قليلة تنوي متابعة بحثها الناجح في موضوع معاداة السامية وذلك من خلال استكشاف قضايا حول الإسلام والعنصرية المعادية للإسلام من منظو أناركي. نحن على وعي كناشطيين مقرهم في المملكة المتحدة أن هناك الكثير من النقص لنقاش ذا نطاق أوسع وهناك حاجة لتحليل مفصل ودقيق.

بالتحديد نحن نود ان نكتشف كيف يمكن لأناركيو الغرب (وذلك بالمجتمعات التي تسودها المسيحية):

  • إظهار التضامن مع من يتعرض للعنصرية المعادية للإسلام

  • إظهار التضامن مع الرفاق اللذين يسكنون في مناطق يسود فيها الإسلام كنظام أيديولوجي

  • التقرب من التحديات التي تلقى من قبل الأصولية الإسلامية من غير لعب دور في الأغراض العنصرية الإمبريالية الحالية التي تشوه صورة المجتمعات المسلمة في الغرب بالإضافة على التأكيد على سياسة إثارة الحرب الإمبريالية الحالية

نحن نأمل أن يفتح هذا الإصدار الأبواب لنقاش نقدي ويأخذ بالحركة الأناركية للأمام. وبالتالي نحن نحث الأناركيين الذين يعيشون في مجتمعات يسود فيها الإسلام كقوة مسيطرة على تقديم أوراق بحث تناقش كل أو أحد المواضيع التالية:

  1. تواصل الأناركييون في المجتمعات الإسلامية مع الإسلام ذاته وكيفية تأثير ثقافة مجتمعاتهم على تشكيل توجهاتهم الاناركية

  2. كيفية فهم الإسلاموفوبيا (الخوف من الإسلام) والتعصب ذات الصلة في الغرب

  3. كيف يمكن للأناركييون في الغرب مناصرة رفاقهم من البلدان ذات الأغلبية المسلمة (من ضمنها كمثال التدخلات الغربية وتصوراتها في الربيع العربي)

  4. إمكانية الاناركيين الذين يقطنون في الغرب مناصرة المجتمعات المسلمة هناك وبنفس الوقت مواصلة مناصرهم للسياسات المناهضة للتمييز كتللك التي تتمحور حول الجندر والجنسانية وغيرها (على سبيل المثال: كيفية التجاوب مع المظاهرات المناهضة لقانون الشريعة وتركيز التيار اليميني على الجوانب الأصولية للدين وتبرير الإعتداءات بالإضافة الى تشويه صورة السكان المسلميين ومن ضمتها الكاريكاتور المسييء للرسول محمد)

  5. تأثير الحرب على الإرهابعلى نشاطهم السياسي

  6. المنظور الأناركي للطبقية والجندر والجنسانية في السياق الإسلامي

ثانيا نحن نود أن نسمع من الأناركيين الذين يعّرفون أنفسهم بأنهم من خلفية مسلمة والذين يعيشون في الغرب ومن يودون إيصال تجاربهم حول السياسات والإسلاموفوبيا (الخوف من الإسلام). نحن مهتمون أيضا بالسماع من أناركيين يعّرفون خلفيتهم الثقافية كغربية ولكنهم يمتلكون منظورا يودون المشاركة به.

وأخيرا نحن مهتمون بسماع وقائع من مجموعات اناركيية من دول أغلبيتها العظمى مسلمة وذلك لإتاحة فرصة التعلم عن نشاطاتهم التي لا تصل أخبارها لإولئك المهتمين في الغرب. في حال وصلنا العديد من هذه الوقائع سيتم نشرها في إصدار منفصل.

يمكن أن يصل حجم المقال الى حد 3000 كلمة ونحن نبحث عن أعمال سهلة اللغة للجميع بدلا من أوراق أكاديمية ملأى بلغة صعبة. نحن نرحب بأي مواد تصويرية أيضا. نحن ننشر إصداراتنا باللغة الإنجليزية ولكن في حال كانت كتاباتكم بلغات أخرى أو أنكم تجدون صعوبة باللغة الإنجليزية الرجاء الإتصال معنا بأقرب فرصة وذلك لبحث إمكانية توفر ترجمة من قبلنا. سيتم حماية السرية في حال تم طلب ذلك ومن خلال نماذج اتصال آمنة مثل (pgp/gpg). نود أن تصلنا كافة الأوراق بتاريخ 31 آذار كحد أقصى.

في حال وجود أي أسئلة الرجاء الإتصال بنا للإجابة عليها. الرجاء أيضا نشر هذا الإعلان لمن تجدوه مهتما.

محررو ديصوفيا

 

 

Dysophia, an independent anarchist zine, is planning a follow on from its successful look at antisemitism by exploring issues around Islam and anti-Muslim racism from an anarchist perspective. We are aware that, as UK-based activists, much is missing from the wider discussion and more nuanced analysis is needed.

In particular, we would like to explore how anarchists in the ‘West’ (that is, Christian-dominated societies) can:
* show solidarity with those experiencing anti-Muslim racism;
* show solidarity with comrades who live in places where Islam is a dominant ideology; and
* approach the challenges thrown up by Islamic fundamentalism without playing into current imperialist / racist tendencies that demonize Muslim communities in the West and underscore current imperialist warmongering.

We hope that this publication will open up critical discussion that can take the anarchist movement forward. Thus, we are soliciting articles from anarchists living in societies where Islam is a dominant force, which discuss all or some of the following issues:

i) how they relate to Islam itself and how the culture of their society affects and shapes their approaches to anarchism;

ii) how they perceive Islamophobia and related racisms in the ‘West’;

iii) how anarchists in the ‘West’ can show solidarity with comrades in Muslim-majority countries (including, for example, during Western states’ interventions in and portrayals of the ‘Arab spring’);

iv) how anarchists living in the West can demonstrate solidarity with Muslim communities here, while sustaining anti-discrimination politics such as that around gender, sexuality, etc. (for example, how could we respond to protests against sharia law, right wing focusing on fundamentalist elements of religion as an attack on all, demonisation of Muslim populations, cartoon images of the Prophet Mohammed).

v) how the ‘War on Terror’ has affected their political activity;

vi) anarchist perspectives on class, gender and sexuality in the context of Islam.

Secondly, we would like to hear from anarchists who identify as having a Muslim background who live in the West and would like to communicate their experiences and politics around islamophobia. We are also interested in hearing from anarchists who cultural identification is Western, but feel they have a perspective they would like to contribute.

Finally, we are interested in hearing accounts from anarchist groups in Muslim-majority countries so that others can learn about their activities, as often those in the West do not get to hear about them. If there are enough of these, we will turn them into a separate publication.

Article size can be up three thousand words, and we are looking for pieces that are accessible to everyone rather than not jargon-heavy academic tracts. Images gratefully received. We will be publishing in English, though if you have writings in another language, or will struggle with English please get in contact first as we may be able to sort out translations. We will protect anonymity whenever requested and have secure forms of communication if desired, including pgp / gpg. We would like to get submissions in by 31st March if possible.

If you have any questions then do not hesitate to ask. Please feel free to forward on.

The Dysophia Editors

dysophia~at~riseup.net
http://dysophia.wordpress.com

————————————————————————–

L’APPEL (version française):

Suite au succès de son numéro sur l’antisémitisme, Dysophia, un zine anarchiste indépendant en anglais, a désormais décidé d’explorer la question de l’Islam et du racisme antimusulman d’un point de vue anarchiste. Nous sommes en effet conscients des limites du débat sur cette question au sein des cercles militants au Royaume-Uni, ainsi que de la nécessité d’une analyse plus nuancée.

Tout d’abord, nous tenons à poser la question de la possibilité pour les anarchistes des pays occidentaux (c’est-à-dire de sociétés influencés par le christianisme) de :

* Faire preuve de solidarité envers ceux qui sont victimes de racisme antimusulman ;
* Faire preuve de solidarité envers nos camarades qui vivent dans des lieux où l’islam est l’idéologie dominante ;
* Répondre aux défis posés par le fondamentalisme islamique tout en s’opposant aux tendances impérialistes et racistes qui diabolisent les communautés musulmanes en occident et qui apportent leur soutien au bellicisme et aux guerres impérialistes.

Nous espérons que cette publication ouvrira une discussion critique afin de faire avancer le mouvement anarchiste. Ainsi, nous souhaitons recevoir des articles écrits par des anarchistes qui vivent dans des sociétés où l’Islam est une force dominante et traitant des points suivants :

i) leur relation à l’Islam en soi, et la façon dont la culture de leur société modifie et façonne leurs approches de l’anarchisme ;

ii) la façon dont ils perçoivent l’islamophobie et le racisme lié a l’Islam en « occident » ;

iii) comment, selon eux, les anarchistes en « occident » peuvent faire preuve de solidarité avec leurs camarades dans les pays à majorité musulmane (y compris, par exemple, lors d’interventions militaires
occidentales ou par rapport aux représentations du « Printemps Arabe » par les médias et Etats occidentaux) ;

iv) comment les anarchistes peuvent faire preuve solidarité envers les communautés musulmanes en « occident », tout en conservant une ligne politique d’opposition à toute discrimination sur la base du sexe, de la sexualité, etc. (par exemple, comment réagir aux manifestations contre la loi de la charia, comment s’opposer au discours de la droite qui assimile toute la communauté musulmane à ses éléments les plus fondamentalistes, que faire face à la diabolisation des populations musulmanes ou encore
face aux dessins représentant le prophète Mahomet ?).

v) comment la « guerre contre le terrorisme » a-t-elle affecté leurs activités politiques ;

vi) le point-de-vue des anarchistes sur les problèmes de classe, de sexe et de sexualité dans le contexte de l’Islam.

Deuxièmement, nous recherchons des contributions d’anarchistes se considérant comme d’origine musulmane et vivant en «occident». Nous sommes intéressés par leurs expériences de l’islamophobie et leur action
politique en réponse. Les contributions d’anarchistes se considérant avant tout comme d’affiliation culturelle « occidentale » mais qui désirent proposer leur point-de-vue sur ces questions sont également bienvenues.

Enfin, nous sommes intéressés par des récits d’expériences de groupes anarchistes dans les pays à majorité musulmane afin que d’autres puissent découvrir leur activités, puisqu’il est rare que les anarchistes en «occident » aient l’occasion d’en entendre parler. S’il nous recevons suffisamment de contributions dans ce domaine, nous en ferons une publication séparée.

Les articles peuvent aller jusqu’à trois mille mots et doivent être rédigés de manière accessible à tous et dans la mesure du possible sans jargon académique. Les images et illustrations sont appréciées. *La
publication finale sera en anglais*, mais si vous écrivez dans une autre langue, contactez nous à l’adresse ci-dessous et nous essayerons d’organiser une traduction de votre article.

Provisoirement, la date limite d’envoi des contributions est fixée au 31 mars. Toutefois, contactez nous si vous avez l’intention de contribuer mais ne pouvez pas le faire pour cette date.

Nous protégeons l’anonymat de tous ceux qui le demandent et disposons également de moyens de communication sécurisés, y compris PGP / GPG, si nécessaires.

Si vous avez des questions, n’hésitez pas à nous contacter et n’hésitez pas à faire circuler cet appel.

Merci par avance,

Les Editeurs de Dysophia
dysophia~at~riseup.net
http://dysophia.wordpress.com

 

 

The Zapatista Army of National Liberation Announces Next Steps

reposted from My Word is My Weapon – translation by Kristin Bricker

Mexico

December 30, 2012

To the People of Mexico:

To the Peoples and Goverments of the World:

Brothers and Sisters:

Compañeros and compañeras:

This past December 21, 2012, in the pre-dawn hours, tens of thousands of indigenous Zapatistas mobilized and we took over, peacefully and in silence, 5 municipal seats in the Mexican southeastern state of Chiapas.


San Cristobal, Chiapas. December 21, 2012

In the cities of Palenque, Altamirano, Las Margaritas, Ocosingo, and San Cristobal de las Casas, we watched you and we watched ourselves in silence.

This is not a message of resignation.

It is not one of war, death, or destruction.

Our message is one of struggle and resistance.

After the media-driven coup d’état that exalted a poorly concealed and even more poorly disguised ignorance to the federal executive branch, we made ourselves present so that you would know that if they never left, neither did we.

Six years ago, a segment of the political and intellectual class went out in search of someone to blame for its loss. At that time we were in cities and communities, struggling for justice for an Atenco that was not fashionable at that time.

On that yesterday first they defamed us, and then they wanted to shut us up. Too incapable and dishonest to see that within themselves they had and have the seeds of their own destruction, they tried to make us disappear with lies and complicit silence.

Six years later, two things remain clear:

They don’t need us to fail.

We don’t need them to survive.

We never left, even though media from all over the spectrum have dedicated themselves to making you believe that, and we are reemerging as the indigenous Zapatistas that we are and will be.

In these past years we’ve strengthened ourselves and we have significantly improved our living conditions. Our standard of living is superior to that of the indigenous communities that are linked to the governments in power, that receive charity and squander it all on alcohol and useless things.

Our homes improve without hurting nature by imposing roads upon it that are foreign to it. In our villages, the land that was previously used to fatten estate owners’ cattle is now used to grow the corn, beans, and vegetables that brighten our tables.
Our work has the double satisfaction of providing us with what we need to live honorably and to contribute to the collective growth of our communities.
Our boys and girls go to a school that teaches them their own history, that of their fatherland and of the world, as well as the sciences and techniques they need to grow without no longer being indigenous.

The indigenous Zapatista women are not sold as merchandise. The indigenous PRI members go to our hospitals, clinics, and laboratories because in those provided by the government there are no medicines, nor equipment, nor doctors, nor qualified personnell.

Our culture florishes not insolation, but rather enriched by contact with the cultures of other peoples of Mexico and the world.

We govern and we govern ourselves, always seeking agreement before confrontation.

All of this has been achieved not only without the government, the political class, and the media that accompanies them, but also while resisting their attacks of all kinds.

We have demonstrated, yet again, that we are who we are. With our silence, we were present.

Now, with our word we announce that:

First: we reaffirm and consolidate our membership in the National Indigenous Congress [CNI],a space for meeting with the original peoples of our country.

Second: we will resume contact with our compañeros and compañeras who are Adherents to the Sixth eclaration of the Lacandon Jungle in Mexico and around the world.

Third: we will try to construct the necessary bridges towards the social movements that have arisen and will arise, not to lead them or take their place, but rather to learn from them, from their history, from their journeys and fates.

For this we have achieved the support of individuals and groups in different parts of the world who comprise the support teams for the EZLN’s Sixth and International commissions, so that they will become communication links between the Zapatista Support Bases and the individuals, groups, and collectives that are Adherents to the Sixth Declaration in Mexico and around the world who still maintain their conviction and dedication to the construction of a leftist non-institutional alternative.

Fourth: our critical distance from the Mexican political class will continue; they have done nothing but prosper at the cost of the necessities and the hopes of humble and simple people.

Fifth: regarding the federal, state, and municipal bad governments–executive, legislative, and judicial–, and the media that accompanies them, we say to them the following:

The bad governments from all over the political spectrum, without exception, have done everything they can to destroy us, buy us, and make us give in. The PRI, PAN, PRD, PVEM, PT, CC, and the future RN party have attacked us militarily, politically, socially, and ideologically.

The corporate media tried to make us disappear, first with servile and opportunistic slander, later with cunning and complicit silence. Those whom they served and whose moneys breastfeed them are no longer around. And those who have taken their place won’t last longer than their predecesors.

As was evident on December 21, 2012, they’ve all failed.

It remains to be seen if the federal, executive, legislative, and judicial government decides to once again resort to the counterinsurgency policy that has only achieved a rickety farse clumsily based on media management, or if it recognizes and fulfills its duty and raises indigenous rights and culture to constitutional ranking as established by the so-called “San Andres Accords,” signed by the federal government in 1996, which was ruled by the same party that now controls the executive branch.

It remains to be seen if the state government will decide if it continues its dishonest and despicable strategy of its predecesor which, in addition to being corrupt and deceitful, used the Chiapan people’s money for his own enrichment and that of his accomplices and set about openly buying voices and pens in the media, while he heaped misery upon the Chiapan people, at the same time that he was using police and paramilitaries to try to stop the organizational advance of the Zapatista villages; or if it will instead, with truth and justice, accept our existence and the idea that a new form of social life is blossoming in Zapatista territory, Chiapas, Mexico. Blossoming that draws the attention of honest people all over the planet.

It remains to be seen if the municipal governments decide to keep swallowing the millstones that the anti-Zapatista or supposedly “Zapatista” organizations use to extort them to attack our communities, or if they instead use that money to improve the living conditions of their constituents.

It remains to be seen if the people of Mexico who organize themselves in electoral struggle and resist decide to continue viewing us as the enemies or rivals upon whom they can unload their frustration about the frauds and attacks that, in the end, all of us suffer, and if in their struggle for power they continue to ally themselves with our persecutors; or if they finally see in us another way of doing politics.

Sixth: in the coming days the EZLN, through its Sixth and International commissions, will announce a series of initiatives of a civil and peaceful nature, to continue walking together with the other original peoples of Mexico and the whole continent, along with those in Mexico and around the whole world who resist and struggle down and to the left.

Brothers and sisters:
Compañeros and compañeras:

Before, we had the good fortune of honest and noble attention from various media outlets. We thanked them for it then. But that was completely erased with their later attitude.

Those who bet that we only existed in the media and that with the siege of lies and silence we would disappear were wrong.

When there weren’t cameras, microphones, pens, ears, and looks, we existed.

When they defamed us, we existed.

When they silenced us, we existed.

And here we are, existing.

Our pace, as has been demonstrated, does not depend upon our impact in the media, but rather upon the world’s and its parts’ understanding, upon the indigenous wisdom that dictates our steps, upon the unflinching courage that comes from below and to the left.

From now on, our word will begin to be selective in its recipient and, with the exception of a few occassions, will only be understood by those who have walked and walk with us without giving in to the media and current trends.

Here, with not a few errors and a lot of difficulties, another way of doing politics is already a reality.
Few, very few, will have the priviledge of knowing it and learning from it directly.

Nineteen years ago we surprised them by taking over their cities with fire and blood. Now we’ve done it again, without weapons, without death, without destruction.

That is how we differentiate ourselves from those who, during their administrations, delivered and deliver death to their constituents.

We are the same from 500 years ago, from 44 years ago, from 30 years ago, from 20 years ago, from just a few days ago.

We are the Zapatistas, the smallest, the ones who live, struggle, and die in the last corner of the fatherland, those who don’t give up, those who don’t sell out, those who don’t give in.

Brothers and sisters:
compañeros and compañeras:

We are the Zapatistas, and we send you a hug.

Democracy!

Freedom!

Justice!

From the mountains of the Mexican southeast,
For the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee — General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.
Mexico. December 2012-January 2013.

In Spanish: EZLN Anuncia sus Pasos Siguientes
Translation: Kristin Bricker

Article in New Internationalist

My first attempt at a short, generic “What is Anarchism” article, published in the last issue of the UK magazine New Internationalist

Anarchism: the A word

Mindless, violent thugs, hell-bent on sowing chaos.’ That’s the kind of press anarchists often get. Uri Gordon provides a more sympathetic take on a growing yet still little understood political movement.

I must have been eight or nine years old when I first heard the a-word. I don’t remember the context, but I do remember asking my mother what ‘anarchists’ were. She said: anarchists are people who want to destroy everything, and rebuild it all from scratch.

To her credit, my mother’s answer was quite generous: at least it included the part about rebuilding. It did get me thinking that anarchists had good intentions, that they wanted to ‘destroy everything’ not just for the hell of it, but because they thought ‘everything’ was unjust and dysfunctional. Her definition was neither accurate nor very nuanced, but there was a grain of truth to her association of anarchism with the notion that society needed to be changed at a very fundamental level, and that such change couldn’t happen through piecemeal reform but instead required a thorough transformation from the ground up.

I think I was lucky; imagine what most kids hear in response to the same question.

In 1910 American activist Emma Goldman wrote: ‘Anarchism stands for the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion; the liberation of the human body from the dominion of property; liberation from the shackles and restraint of government. It stands for a social order based on the free grouping of individuals.’

A full century after Goldman penned her inspiring words, there remains the same need to dispel misconceptions about anarchism, bred of the unholy matrimony between plain ignorance and vile slander. Chaos, suffering, destruction, tumult, strife – these are things that anarchists have never called for. Yet most people imagine anarchists as people who do actively desire such things, people who must be either evil or insane.

But actually there is nothing very surprising here. As Goldman noted in the same essay: ‘In its tenacious hold on tradition, the Old has never hesitated to make use of the foulest and cruellest means to stay the advent of the New… Indeed, as the most revolutionary and uncompromising innovator, anarchism must needs meet with the combined ignorance and venom of the world it aims to reconstruct.’

This has led many who endorse anarchist values to shun the label itself. Some activists will call themselves ‘libertarian socialist’, ‘anti-authoritarian’, ‘autonomous’, or nothing at all, just to avoid the a-word and its bad PR. But there are also those of us who carry the label with pride, and tirelessly repeat what it really stands for.

Direct action – a core principle

What, then, do anarchists want? The answer is simple. Anarchists want a social order without rulers or hierarchy. Anarchists want freedom and equality for all. We want a world with no borders and no social classes, no gods and no masters, where power is as decentralized as possible and every individual and community can determine their own destiny. We believe in independent thought, international solidarity, voluntary association and mutual aid. This is why we seek the abolition of capitalism and the state, which place economic and political power in the hands of a tiny minority. It is why we resist patriarchy, white supremacy, compulsory heterosexuality and all other systems of domination and discrimination. And it is, I suspect, why so many teachers, corporate journalists, clergy, business people and police work so hard at hiding our values from the general public.

What also distinguishes anarchists is a strong commitment to being the change we want to see in the world. This approach, sometimes called ‘prefigurative politics’, is evident in decentralized organization, decision-making by consensus, respect for differing opinions and an overall emphasis on the process as well as the outcomes of activism. It is also the motivation for our constant effort to deprogramme ourselves and overcome behaviours and prejudices that are sexist, racist, homophobic, consumerist and conformist. As anarchists we explicitly try to be and live what we want, not just as end goals, but as guides to political action and everyday life.

This relates to the core of practical anarchist politics – the principle of direct action. Anarchists understand direct action as a matter of taking social change into one’s own hands, by intervening directly in a situation rather than appealing to an external agent (typically the government) for its rectification. It is a ‘Do It Yourself’ approach to politics based on people-power, mirrored by a total lack of interest in operating through established political channels.

Most commonly, direct action is viewed under its preventative or destructive guise. If, for instance, anarchists object to the clear-cutting of a forest, then taking direct action means that rather than petitioning the loggers or engaging in a legal process, they would intervene literally to prevent the clear-cutting – by chaining themselves to the trees, or lying in front of the bulldozers, or pouring sugar into their gas-tanks – all acts which can directly hinder or halt the project.

But direct action can also be understood in a constructive way. Anarchists who propose non-hierarchical social relations, or an ecologically responsible economy, undertake to construct and live such realities by themselves. Building alternatives from below, anarchists are involved in many projects, collectives and networks which are intended to be the groundwork for a new society within the shell of the old. Leading by example, anarchists seek to demonstrate in the most practical terms that ‘another world is possible’.

A movement reborn

The anarchist idea is as ancient as the institutions it resists; the notion that people can live together without a class of rulers or concentrations of wealth inspired the earliest slave rebellions as well as religious heretics throughout the ages – including the early Christians. Modern anarchism, for its part, emerged with the workers’ movement of the 19th century, and at least in southern Europe, was the political orientation of its overwhelming majority. The first writer to call himself an anarchist was the French social theorist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, who also declared that ‘property is theft’. Anarchism became clearly defined as an independent movement with the 1872 split in the First International between the workers’ representatives who followed Karl Marx, and those who followed Proudhon and the Russian revolutionary Mikhail Bakunin. Unlike the Marxists, who expected to overwhelm capitalism through parliamentary elections (or, later on, by seizing state power), anarchists called for abolishing the state and capitalism simultaneously. Whether they were peasants staging an uprising or militant unionists building up to a general strike, anarchists consistently steered a revolutionary course towards stateless socialism by stateless means.

It is only in the recent decade or so that anarchism has experienced a full-blown revival on a global scale

Anarchism had its ‘golden age’ during the early decades of the 20th century. These saw massive peasant and industrial union activity in almost every country of Europe and the Americas, as well as the liberation of much of the Ukraine during the Russian civil war of 1919-21, and much of Catalonia during the Spanish civil war of 1936-39. But the physical elimination of most of the European anarchist movement by the Bolshevik and Fascist dictatorships, as well as the American ‘Red Scare’, effectively wiped anarchism off the map.

It is only in the recent decade or so that anarchism has experienced a full-blown revival on a global scale. This was largely the result of the rediscovery – since the late 1960s – of anarchist values and tactics by numerous social movements which did not use the label. Activists also progressively came to see the interdependence of their agendas, manifest in ecological critiques of capitalism, feminist anti-militarism, and the interrelation of racial and economic segregation. Contemporary anarchism is rooted in the convergence of the radical ends of feminist, ecological, anti-capitalist, anti-racist and queer liberation struggles and agendas, which finally fused in the late 1990s through the global wave of protest against the policies and institutions of neoliberal globalization.

Maturity and playfulness

Today the anarchist movement is a mature global network of activist collectives, involved in any number of struggles and constructive projects – from resistance to mining in Indonesia and anti-nuclear action in Germany, through solidarity with Palestinians in the West Bank and communal farming in France, and on to climate campaigning in Britain and labour struggles in South Africa. Anarchists also participate in, and are often the main organizers of, projects and campaigns which have a much broader appeal – research groups who monitor the corporate world or international institutions, local economic initiatives, women’s health collectives, non-profit bicycle workshops, public art projects… The number of anarchist publications, bookfairs and websites is rising every year, as is the geographical, cultural and age diversity among anarchists themselves.

Another feature of anarchist action is its creativity and playfulness. Inspired throughout its history by avant-garde movements from the surrealists to the Situationists, and more recently by a diversity of global cultures and subcultures, anarchism today displays more humour and fun than perhaps any political movement in history. Activists will often stage street theatre displays, art exhibitions and elaborate hoaxes; they might come to a demonstration dressed up as turtles, pink fairies or business people; and they will certainly pay attention to the beauty as well as the productivity of their eco-farms and community gardens.

Yes despite all these features, most of the public is only exposed to anarchism when some of its exponents employ confrontational tactics in mass protests – smashing the windows of banks and corporate outlets, blockading political and economic summits and, in some countries, fighting police and/or neo-Nazis in the streets. Whether these tactics are still effective or have turned into theatrical rituals is debatable. I, for one, believe that the occasional public display of organized rage and well-targeted disruption contributes to the vigour and dynamism of the ongoing social struggle. Also debatable is whether this gives anarchists a positive or a negative reputation. Here, it is worth noting that many people who complain about confrontational action in their own countries are quite supportive of similar or even more militant tactics when they occur in Libya, Bolivia or Iran. Are they merely not-in-my-back-yard pacifists? Or do they believe that their right occasionally to elect a capitalist politician gives their governments more legitimacy than a dictatorship should enjoy? Anarchists certainly do not.

In a future plagued by energy scarcity, climate instability and financial meltdown, anarchist values and forms of organization will become increasingly important. The 21st century may well see the collapse of global capitalism under the weight of its own excesses – but there is no guarantee that what we get instead will be any more humane or equal. Eco-fascism, eco-feudalism and eco-fundamentalism are just as likely. The challenge anarchists and their allies face today is to disseminate their skills and ideas, creating a better chance that the move through industrial collapse will lead to a truly liberated world.

Uri Gordon is an Israeli activist and writer, formerly active in Britain and today a supporter of the Negev Coexistence Forum and Anarchists Against the Wall. He teaches at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies and is the author of Anarchy Alive!: Anti-Authoritarian Politics From Practice to Theory (Pluto Press, 2008).

Europe Calling: It is just the beginning!

Declaration from students in Rome

…You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows: occupation of universities everywhere in Europe, blockage of the cities, manif sauvage, rage. This is the answer of a generation to whom they want to cut the future with debts for studying, cuts of welfare state and increasing of tuition fees.

The determination of thousand of students in London, the rage of who assault the Italian Senate house against the austerity and the education cuts, has opened the present time: this is because the future is something to gain that start when you decide collectively to take risk and to struggle.

The extraordinary struggles that we are living have the capacity to show a present with an intensity that exceed the linearity of the time, that refuse our precarity condition: it is an assault to the future!

We don’t want to get into debt, we don’t want to pay more fees to study in London as well as in Paris, Wien, Rome, Athens, Madrid, Dublin, Lisbon. This European movement is about refusing austerity policies, refusing to get into debt for these miserable politicians. Que se vayan todos!

What is happening nowadays in Rome first spread out in Athens and Paris, then in Dublin and London: it is the irruption of a movement who speaks a common language, the same young generation in revolt, who inhabits different cities but shares the same determination to struggle, «floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee».

We have to meet each other and invent a new political grammar against the weakness of the Nation-state and their strategy to face the crisis: their receipt is just austerity, cuts and debt. In Italy we have occupied not only universities, but also blocked motorways and the mobility of the country in order to circulate struggles outside the national borders and coming in Europe and beyond. The circulation of struggles is living within the Book Block and the wild demonstration in London, Paris and Rome.

This autumn we are living a real European student movement, that is various and radical, really heterogeneous. Its common reclaim comes from a protest that is born in the middle of the crisis, and that represents the most courageous answer. It is a struggle composed by different struggles, heterogeneous temporalities that reclaim more scholarships for student and a public university for everyone.

Within the book block a new generation recognized and found itself in the protest. Today in lots of cities the Italian student movement is showing something more than just solidarity: this is because your struggle is our struggle and all around Europe students are against the increasing of fees, the privatisation of the university and the education cuts. You are not alone in UK: an European event, a new generation do not want to stop. We have the force whom want to change the world and we have the intelligence to do it. It is just the beginning!

We propose to students, researchers, precarious workers and PhD students to build up together an European meeting at the beginning of the 2011, to continue the struggle, to transform this wind in a tempest!

Uniriot Roma, Anomalia Sapienza

>> more info: www.uniriot.org

Crude Awakening in Essex

On Saturday 16th October, Climate campaigners gave the Oil Industry a Crude Awakening, taking direct action against the industry for its role in exacerbating climate change, as well as its devastating impact on local communities and environments around the world. Three blocs starting from three different places, one mass action – “When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.”

Part of the Global Week for Action on Climate Justice.