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On Labor Day - Monday, Sept. 1st - workers at a Jimmy Johns franchise in Baltimore, Maryland are taking action with their union - the IWW Jimmy Johns Workers Union! They will be flyering outside of their store today in order to press for their demands. Lets give their action a little more oomph and show the bosses that we union members stick together! We will be in front of the store from noon (12:00) EST until 2:00 EST, lets keep the phones ringing! A couple of ground rules: no threatening, try to avoid profanity, and most importantly call often!
This is a community grieving. Not just over the murder of a single unarmed young man, though that was terrible enough. What I learned painting stencils with the children of that neighborhood today was this did not occur in some back alley. Where they shot him 6 times was right in the middle of a street, surrounded by multi level apartment complexes filled with children. If the shots did not get their attention the 4 hours they left the body in the middle of the street did. Several of those children did not have parents home.
We decided to use the long weekend for a backcountry getaway, figuring that the chance to spot a bald eagle soaring over an alpine lake would be just as patriotic as watching fireworks on the beach. Nothing more than a scant two nights and three days in the Emigrant Wilderness of the Sierra Nevada, a quick woodsy holiday. Toward the end of Day Two we were hiking through a place called Mosquito Pass when one of my companions exclaimed with delight: “It’s like another planet. A really fucking beautiful other planet.”
Perhaps I need to write more? For those who do not know, Errico Malatesta (1853-1932) was one of anarchism’s greatest activists and thinkers for over 60 years. He joined the First International in 1871 and became an anarchist after meeting Bakunin in 1872. He spent most of his life in exile from Italy, helping to build unions in Argentina in the late 1880s and taking an active part during the two Red Years after the war when Italy was on the verge of revolution (the authorities saw the threat and imprisoned him and other leading anarchists before a jury dismissed all charges). Playing a key role in numerous debates within the movement – on using elections, participation in the labour movement, the nature of social revolution, syndicalism and Platformism (to name just a few), he saw the rise and failure of the Second International, then the Third before spending the last years of his life under house arrest in Mussolini’s Italy.
Nearly two years ago a group named Occupy Sandy organized an unprecedented response to the unprecedented disaster that was Hurricane Sandy. Occupy Sandy, which was sparked by a few radical activists who knew each other from Occupy Wall Street, accomplished very significant feats for any organization, let alone one that was created ad-hoc and spontaneously in the days immediately following a disaster. Occupy Sandy (OS) dispatched tens of thousands of hot meals, more than 60,000 volunteers and was in the hardest hit areas of New York City, often times before the Red Cross or FEMA arrived and after they left. The efforts of Occupy Sandy signify a qualitatively and quantitatively impressive achievement for the radical political activist community in New York City and the surrounding area and for the “Occupy” social movement more widely. This novel achievement can be an instructive reference for organizers and movement builders of all stripes.
Social Security’s right-wing critics like to argue that a program guaranteeing a minimal income in old age undermines the family by discouraging working people from having children—and that the resulting decline in the birthrate undermines Social Security. Yet, the right also likes to vilify people of color who have too many children. Could it be that we’ve got a double standard here?
In the last few decades new forms of activism have begun to emerge that concerned not merely the fate of human society, but of the non-human world – including non-human animals and the environment – as well. In their most radical forms, these struggles culminated in what has been termed by some as ‘eco’ or ‘green’ anarchism. Green anarchism can be taken to consist in any political doctrine that takes some of the key components of anarchist thought – whatever these are deemed to be – and applies them towards critiquing the interaction of humans with the non-human world. This definition is a good start, but is perhaps like many definitions of anarchism unsatisfactorily vague. This essay will propose a more specific definition of green anarchism, which will later be explained as the political doctrine that strives for the abolition of hierarchy in general.
Throughout the visit we had the total freedom and opportunity to see and speak to whoever we wanted to. This includes women, men, youth, and the political parties. There are over 20 parties from Kurdish to Christian, of which some are in the Democratic Self Administration (DSA) or Democratic Self Management (DSM) of the region of Al Jazera. Al Jazera is one of three regions, (cantons) of West Kurdistan. We also met the Kurdish and Christian political parties who are not in the DSA or DSM. In addition, we met the top people from the Democratic Self Administration (DSM), members of the different committees, local groups and communes as well as businesspeople, shopkeepers, workers, people in the market and people who were just walking in the street.
A dozen part-time UPS workers in Minneapolis took protest action on the job August 22, after discovering ties between Missouri law enforcement and a company, Law Enforcement Targets, whose shipments we handle each day. Some of us removed the company’s packages from trucks that would deliver them to law enforcement. Others, in solidarity, refused to ferry these packages to their intended trailers.
Since I first read about him two decades ago, the oversized figure of John Brown has held a steady, awkward place in my conscience. As a white man who was willing discard his racial privilege and lay down his life to end slavery, I can think of no better inspiration with whom to identify. His daring acts were the kind I can only wish I’d have the fortitude to carry out if they made sense today.
I spent 12 years of my life in St. Louis. I went to college there. Got married. Landed my first teaching job. Bought my first house. Between door-knocking for candidates and causes, driving around on ice cold nights in a homeless shelter van, and breaking bread in people’s homes and churches and synagogues, I came to know the metropolis well. I came to love and admire its many communities — including Ferguson: so tenacious, so full of hardworking families trying to stay afloat, trying to dismantle racial apartheid and make a better life for their children.
In the days after Michael Brown’s death, we watched a sadly familiar story play out. The media ran pictures of him staring sullenly into the camera and making “gang” signs with his hands. They emphasized his weight and large frame, listened to his music and declared it “violent hip hop.” For their part, the police made certain to pair pertinent details about his death with seemingly irrelevant details about his life: releasing the long demanded name of the officer who shot him alongside surveillance footage of an unrelated shoplifting incident, leaking a toxicology report indicating that Brown had “marijuana in his system” at the same time they released an autopsy confirming that he’d been shot six times.
This past spring, Cecily McMillan rode a bus across a bridge to Rikers Island, home of the notorious New York City jail. When the Occupy Wall Street activist was released nearly two months later, she had left her old self behind.