IT SEEMS a minor furor has followed the appearance of the first issue of Commune Against Civ. The liberals, activists, and union enthusiasts who would prefer a blockade with unified “messaging” broadcast to “the public” seem eager to speak for the entire affair, with a definite tendency wanting to present a discrete list of demands to be met by the City of Olympia as a condition for the cessation of hostilities and the resumption of rail traffic. Among the sought after reforms that we hear about time and again are “democratic control” of the Port of Olympia and a “just transition” for port and rail workers to “good, green jobs” and even for the economy of Thurston County as a whole to transition (a la Bookchin) to a “cooperative, fair and sustainable economy.” Furthermore, we are seeing the ceremonious re-appearance of non-violent direct action and civil disobedience as guiding principles for a centralized movement that wishes to put its best face forward for consumption by a fickle population, or perhaps a potential constituency.
From Barbarically - by Julian Langer
“Nihilist anarchism isn’t concerned with a social revolution that adds a new chapter to an old history but the ending of history altogether.” Aragorn!
Before I really start this I want to say that, actually, it is ok and that we can be ok with that. Sure we can be horrified, enraged, hateful and so on, but it is ok that we’ve encountered those feelings and what caused them to be, in a certain sense, is ok.
In these three years I was faced with choices which led me by the hand through a path fraught with crossroads and bifurcations.
Like on a minefield, I had to decide carefully where to step, with my pride and my self-respect at stake. The first choice I had to face with was whether I should continue to contribute, or let the prison overflow me, patiently waiting to get out. As limited as my situation is, I chose to continue to contribute through the written word. Once I made this decision I faced another crossroad: whether to confine myself — ecumenically — from this “high point” of my “status” (sic.) of a “revolutionary” prisoner — to bestowing blessings in each directions, applauding to every anarchist practice, paying attention not to make any enemies; or to use the weapon of critique, ever more harshly, trying to outline some analysis, to open some discourses. I chose the easier way (at least for me): openly push my critique to the extremes, at the cost of isolation (less letters, less information, less generic solidarity).
It’s been one year since the Olympia railroad blockade of 2016 found itself growing for 7 rainy days and nights, prompted by solidarity actions with Standing Rock and eventually culminating in a fierce street fight with the police, while the baleful sound of the train whistle announced the resumption of business as usual. One year after this rupture, one revolution around the sun later, an assortment of the brave and the heartbroken, the tender and the enraged, are at it again. The hot, communal mess splayed across the train tracks has been resurrected, appearing again like a recurrent dream. Immediately, it feels like it never left us. Immediately we know that it never did.
We close our series – without for a moment suggesting that this is the last word – on the russian revolution of 1917 with an interview with Carlos Taibo, author of the recent work, in spanish, Anarquismo y revolución en Rusia (1917-1921). Though the interview focuses on Taibo’s concern with calling attention to the role of anarchists and libertarians in the events of the russian revolution, it takes us beyond the past; the revolution remains a lens through which to think through our political present.
Originally published in Contexto y acción, we present the essay below in translation.
ed. note: The Black Bookfair is underway this weekend. Find more information on their website here
by Karen Cheung, via Still/Loud
When Ahkok attended London’s anarchist book fair last year, he was stunned by the scale of it all: some 60 booths and 50 forums, from heated discussions—one was cut short by a fight—to emotional healing workshops for social activists. There was even a section for kids, because “Why can’t there be more play facilities for children at protest sites?”
Ahkok and his friends soon decided that Hong Kong, too, needs an anarchist book fair.
From the Chicago Tribune
By Mark Jacob
Lucy Parsons, an anarchist firebrand who was one of the most enigmatic Chicagoans ever, might fit in better today than she did during her own time a century ago.
She was a black woman married to a white man. Scandalous then, no big thing now.
I was reading on Contrainfo concerning an anarchist blood drive for a comrade injured in a foiled attempt to set a bus on fire. According to the communique:
During the night of October 26, 2017, at about 9:30 p.m. a group decides to go out into the street and face the imposed normality near the faculty Juan Gomez Milla of the University of Chile.
It is right in the street intersecting Captain Ignacio Carrera Pinto with Passage Challacollo where they decide to intercept a micro-bus of the route 325, managing to stop it and bring down the 12 passengers who were traveling. At the same time benzene is sprayed into the machinery and they struggle with the driver to make him descend.
”I am speaking neither as an anarchist nor as a member of the C.C.F.” Christos Tsakalos clarified as we spoke on the phone. ”I am speaking as a member of the Committee of Struggle from Korydallos Prison, which represents 1500 prisoners who have been protesting the past two weeks against the new correctional code, which will result in the violation of the basic rights of prisoners in case it passes”, he explains and highlights that there is an existing network in Greece’s prisons and the mobilizations will escalate if the government does not make concessions.
He also stated that a Ministry of Justice official who went to Korydallos Prison and discussed these matters with the committee found the demands to be fair. Nevertheless, he clarified that this was his own personal stance and not that of the Ministry. ”We will go to extremes because we understand that they are trying to create a prison within the prison” says Christos, who was detained in solitary confinement from 2015 through to 2017, on the other end of the phone line.