by First of May Anarchist Alliance – Minnesota Collective
Download PDF file here
Socialist and Democrat campaign signs compliment each other in Minneapolis
All across the Central, Corcoran, Phillips, and Powderhorn neighborhoods of Minneapolis you can see the red & white “Ty Moore for City Council” yard signs, symbolic of the impressive effort the campaign is mounting. The Campaign literature emphasizes social justice, in particular the ongoing movement to defend homeowners from foreclosure and eviction. The Green Party (Minneapolis’ 2nd party) and, significantly, the SEIU union leadership have endorsed Ty’s campaign – signaling an apparent challenge to Democratic-Farmer-Labor rule in Minneapolis. What could be wrong with all of this?
Plenty, actually. Electoral campaigns, including this one, have as their aim to get “our guy” into a place of power – the government – and to “educate” the public on issues of importance. But what kind of power is this? And what are people being taught?
The government is not a democratic institution. It is bureaucracy in the shape of a pyramid with more power and fewer people the higher you climb. “The State”, as anarchists call the government – including City Hall – is a system imposed over the people and land in which self-determination is “taken from the people and confided to certain individuals, and these, whether by usurpation or delegation, are invested with the right to make laws over and for all, and to constrain the public to respect them, making use of the collective force of the community to this end.” (Malatesta, an old-school Italian anarchist)
The State overlaps with and is usually subordinate to the economic hierarchy of the super-rich, their corporations and banks – what the Occupy movement called “the 1%” and what anarchists refer to as “the ruling class”. Together, the ruling class and the State control the system of exploitation, oppression, and alienation – and the resultant wars, low pay, police brutality, sexual harassment, gentrification, environmental destruction, boredom and depression – that dominate our lives.
Prioritizing a campaign for City Council can be seen as akin to saying that workers should focus their energies around getting the right person to be their CEO or on the board of directors.
Historically there have been two ways people have organized to confront this system:
Reform or Revolution. Continue Reading…
October 2012: Volume 12
The Utopian Content:
Who We Are
Towards an M1 Policy on Syria…First of May Anarchist Alliance
Dignity Campaign Response to the Senate Immigration Bill S. 744
M1AA Statement on Anti-Gay Violence
Trayvon Martin—A Personal Response…Christopher Z. Hobson
Beneath Mount Saint Rosalie—1866…Bob McGlynn
Lift Every Voice and Sing (1900)…James Weldon Johns on Theory and History
“True to Our Native Land”—African Americans and the United States…Christopher Z. Hobson
Totalitarians Come in Many Guises (Review-Essay)…Ron Tabor
Neither East Nor West, NYC—Some History…Bob McGlynn
The Utopian Publishing Co.
Christopher Z. Hobson
P.O. Box 1355
Bronx, NY 10471
Christopher Z. Hobson, Mary Robinson, Ron Tabor.
$8.00 per single print copy. Send check or money order in U.S. dollars, payable to Christopher Hobson, to the address above. Do not send cash. We cannot accept credit/debit payments
In the spirit of solidarity and us developing a greater understanding and analysis we are posting the following article, Syria: The Struggle Continues: Syria’s grass-roots civil opposition.
We have much appreciated the critical responses from comrades at the Tahrir-ICN project (as well as individual commentators at other sites such as Anarkismo.net and LIBCOM.org) in response to our most recent document, Toward an Anarchist Policy on Syria.
-C. Alexander, M1 Secretary
By Leila Shrooms for Tahrir-ICN
The discourse on Syria has been dominated by discussions of militarization, Islamization, sectarianism and geopolitical concerns. Conversely there has been relatively little focus on Syria’s grass roots civil opposition. This has led to a lack of knowledge outside of Syria for activists who want to stand in solidarity with Syria’s revolutionaries but don’t know where to start. This article attempts to provide an introduction to some of the many civil resistance initiatives taking place on the ground and efforts at revolutionary self-organization. It is by no means a comprehensive overview. It focuses on initiatives that are non-party political or religiously aligned. It must be remembered that prior to March 2011 there was not a functioning civil society in Syria as rights to free expression, assembly and association were highly restricted with severe consequences for those who failed to comply.
Who are the grass roots civil opposition?
The core of the grassroots civil opposition is the youth, mainly from the working and middle-classes, in which women and diverse religious and ethnic groups play active roles. Many of these activists remain non-affiliated to traditional political ideologies but are motivated by concerns for freedom, dignity, social justice and basic human rights.
Local committees and local councils
The main form of revolutionary organization in Syria has been at the local level, through the work of local committees and local councils. These were influenced by the work of Syrian anarchist Omar Aziz. He argued that it was inconsistent for revolutionaries to participate in protests by day and then return to living within the hierarchical and authoritarian structures imposed by the state. Aziz believed that revolutionary activity should permeate all aspects of life and advocated for radical changes to social relationships and organization. He called for autonomous, non-hierarchical organization and self-governance, based of principles of cooperation, solidarity and mutual aid. Together with comrades he founded the first local committee in Barzeh, Damascus. Continue Reading…
There has been posted a lengthy response to the M1 document, Toward an Anarchist Policy on Syria. The purpose of our document was to be a small voice and help develop the needed discussion towards analysis and action for our movements. We appreciate all the critical responses and would like to share the following that was posted on the international anarchist site, Anarkismo.net:
Response by a Syrian Anarchist to the First of May statement on Syria
Tue Sep 17, 2013 16:13
I was delighted to see that, finally, an anarchist group in the global north has made a serious attempt to make sense of what’s happening in Syria and clearly state its position on the Syrian revolution. I really like, and mostly agree with, the statements expressed in the ‘Our Position’ section at the end, but I have quite a few issues with the preceding introduction and background sections. So here are a few comments in the spirit of your invitation for “input from others, particularly those with greater background in the area, especially anarchists living in the region”, and in the hope that this will contribute to a more informed discussion among anarchists and a better understanding, position and action on Syria. Continue Reading…
Syrian banner, “I am truly free when all human beings, men and women, are equally free.” – Mikhail Aleksandrovich Bakunin. Man, Society, and Freedom (1871)
First of May Anarchist Alliance : Summer, 2013
PDF Version here.
See M1 Statement also at the website of our Sister project, The Utopian: A Journal of Anarchism and Libertarian Socialism here.
At the moment, the Middle East (taken broadly, that is, the area from North Africa to Pakistan) is the part of the world experiencing the greatest political instability and undergoing the most rapid change. At the center of the turmoil is Syria, now in its third year of civil war with no sign of any resolution in sight. Given the centrality of Syria to global politics, it is essential that anarchists understand what is going on there and develop a critical attitude toward the events that are unfolding. Unfortunately, we are not experts on the history and current dynamics of Syria and of the Middle East as a whole. The following theses are therefore presented with humility. We would greatly appreciate input from others, particularly those with greater background in the area, especially anarchists living in the region, in the development of our position.
By Bob, Detroit
The judge was white, the prosecuting attorneys were white, and the defense attorneys were white. There were NO African-Americans on the jury or in any position of responsibility in the trial. The outcome was all but inevitable. The judge ruled that racism and racial profiling could not be mentioned in the trial; the prosecuting attorneys and defense attorneys agreed to this. As a result, the truth, that racism and racial profiling were the reasons Zimmerman stalked and murdered Trayvon Martin, was excluded and was not mentioned. Insane.
The one juror who has been interviewed empathized with Zimmerman and thought he had a good heart and was just trying to protect his wife and his community from crime and criminals; in other words, from Trayvon Martin. The juror could not empathize with Trayvon Martin. She thought Trayvon Martin decided to attack Zimmerman and that Zimmerman had every right to defend himself. She had no understanding or comprehension of why Trayvon Martin would have felt threatened or afraid when he was being followed and stalked by a strange white man. Talk about two different worlds or two societies! Her concern was with crime, and she believed Zimmerman was on her side, protecting his neighbors, while Trayvon Martin was a danger and a threat. She agreed with Zimmerman’s assessment; she had no problem with racial profiling and probably would deny that racism was involved.
By Christopher Z. Hobson, New York City
This piece first appeared in the Utopian utopianmag.com
It is very difficult to write about the outcome of the Trayvon Martin case. What happened hurts more than anything in years. My most basic thought is simply: that poor boy. And his parents—what they are going through would be unimaginable, except for the long line of Black parents and family before them who have suffered the same way: a son blown away by the police, by vigilantes, by a mob, youths lined up by dealers and executed on outdoor basketball courts, drive-by shootings, little children killed by stray bullets. All this is horrible beyond words and yet for one’s son’s killer to be indicted, tried, and then acquitted adds insult and dishonor—a weighing of the precise importance of a Black person’s life in the United States—to the pain of death. And so Trayvon Martin’s parents had to use the stoicism of so many thousands before them. It is all they have.
My sense is that Martin was as good as dead the moment Zimmerman spotted him. It was only necessary for something to go wrong, and something almost always does. The friend Martin spoke to by cellphone advised him to run for his father’s fiancée’s house; he said, “I’ll walk faster.” He was right—to run would have been to invite attack—but the decision didn’t help him. We don’t know what happened next and we never will. It is possible that stopping and meekly answering questions from an unknown white man would have saved Martin’s life, and it is possible that it wouldn’t have, or that Zimmerman gave him no chance to answer questions.
Download this as a flier, here.
George Zimmerman, the stalker with a loaded gun, killed Trayvon Martin, a 17 year old African-American youth who was unarmed and minding his own business. Trayvon Martin is in his grave; Zimmerman is on trial for the murder. There will be no justice for Trayvon Martin.
The capitalist media and the attorneys seem to be saying that the only issue at trial is who was screaming for help and if George Zimmerman felt he was facing bodily harm. The media and the attorneys say that if Zimmerman was crying for help and if Trayvon Martin was hitting him, if Trayvon was on top, then Zimmerman had the right to kill Trayvon Martin because it was self-defense or because Zimmerman was “standing his ground.” This is total bullshit.
For PDF version of this statement in broadsheet form please download here.
Summer’s here and that means celebrating; from annual Pride festivals and street parties to the recent Supreme Court’s striking down of the Federal anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act. There is a growing sense that people everywhere can be who we are, love who we choose, on our own terms and in our own ways. But a string of attacks and murders in New York City against gay men and women has shocked us!
No one thinks that homophobia and anti-Queer prejudices are gone, but the recent attacks should make us step back and take a close look at what is going on around us. In one horrible incident on May 17 of this year, Mark Carson, a young gay man was followed, harassed and then shot to death by a homophobe. This happened while Mark and a friend were walking in the neighborhood of Greenwich Village, NYC. Since Mark’s murder several other outrageous attacks have happened. One attack included a man being yelled at and taunted as being a “faggot” before being smashed in the face. In another, a gay couple was attacked in the SoHo district just hours after thousands marched to protest Mark Carson’s murder and anti-gay hate. In one of the most recent, a woman in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Greenpoint was assaulted at knife point by a man claiming he was raping her for being a “gay”.
Being gay can be dangerous in New York at any time. Some of these attacks involved anti-gay persons apparently set off just by seeing two gay men walking together. In other situations gay men have been attacked by a “drinking companion” or a gay man who left home without ID at midnight and was in a car with three men–suggesting pickup and cruising situations.
It’s all these attacks that remind us of how often situations can trigger sexist violence.
The First of May Anarchist Alliance endorses the below statement. We offer our solidarity to anarchist militants in Brazil and comrades of the Gaucha Anarchist Federation in Porto Alegre.
The following Statement was released Wednesday June 26, 2013 and can be found at the website of the international Anarkismo network.
Call for solidarity and endorsement against the persecution in Brazil of anarchist militants and the Federação Anarquista Gaúcha in Porto Alegre
Solidarity Against the Persecution of the Federação Anarquista Gaúcha in Brazil
In Porto Alegre, on June 20 last, about 15 officers from the Civil Police raided the Ateneo Batalha da Varzea, the political and social premises where the Federação Anarquista Gaúcha is located, without a warrant.
In this city where, since the beginning of the year, there have been massive demonstrations for popular demands concerning public transport, health, education, against corruption, with the aim of creating social change for their locality and their country.
This is a country where thousands of people are taking to the streets to denounce that everything is rotten and that it is necessary and urgent to change it. Faced with so much opulence of the powerful, with the stadiums being built for the Confederations Cup and the FIFA World Cup, faced with so much sustained repression, displacement and militarisation of working-class neighbourhoods, the almost total neglect of public health and education, the usury and theft that – as a corollary – is the cost and quality of transport.
And now they are seeking to criminalise the FAG, and make it responsible for all the anger and fury that the population of the whole country feels. They are seeking to accuse the FAG, saying that they came across anarchist literature in their premises. What did you think you would find in anarchist premises? The FAG is accused of being in collusion with the far right, when its work has been in places that the right rejects, such as the Popular Resistance committee, the waste collectors movement, trade unionism, the peasant movement, the student struggle, activities to involve more comrades in practices of a libertarian nature.
And there are more and more things that separate the FAG from that which has been its enemy in a historical constant, such as the raid that occurred in 2009 under the orders of governor Yeda Crusius, when the anarchist organisation held her responsible for the assassination of activist Elton Brum.
So, it has itself been against the powerful, those at the top and their allies in power. This raid is above all ideological, because it is the persecution of our ideas that is principal. It is this that they want to erase: all meaning of rebellion and liberation that our struggles can adopt; class independence, direct democracy, the building of people’s power.
We therefore express our greatest concern and alert on the issue and will follow up on the matter by responding where we find the stories of our struggles!
Down with the repression of the Brazilian people’s movement!
Down with the criminalisation of the FAG!
Forward with those who struggle!
Arriba los que luchan!
Columna Libertaria Joaquín Penina (Rosario, Argentina)
Columna Libertaria Errico Malatesta (CABA, Argentina)
Federación Anarquista Uruguaya (Uruguay)
Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (South Africa)
Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici (Italy)
Federación Comunista Libertaria (Chile)
Unión Socialista Libertaria (Peru)
Coordination des Groupes Anarchistes (France)
Organización Anarquista Socialismo Libertario (Sao Paulo – Brazil)
Libertäre Aktion Winterthur (Switzerland)
Miami Autonomy & Solidarity (USA)
Federación Anarco Comunista (Argentina)
Autogestión Oscar Barrios (Buenos Aires – Argentina)
Convergencia Libertaria (Valparaíso – Chile)
Gisela Gaeta – actriz – (Buenos Aires – Argentina)
Red Libertaria Estudiantil (Valparaíso – Chile)
Dr Alejandro Horowicz, titular de “Los cambios en el sistema políticomundial”, Sociologia, Universidad de Buenos Aires (Argentina)
Osvaldo Bayer (Buenos Aires – Argentina)
Sala Alberdi (Buenos Aires – Argentina)
Pueblos, Barrios y Colonias en Defensa de Atzcapotzalco (Mexico)
Luciano Andrés Valencia, Writer and historian (Rio Negro – Patogonia Argentina)
Mb12 de Agosto (Claypole – Glew – Argentina)
Salvemos al Iberá (Corrientes – Argentina)
Martín Jaime (Argentina)
Analia Casafu, Ruben Saboulard, Angela Morin, Comision de Coordinacion de las ASAMBLEAS DEL PUEBLO (Argentina)
Sociedad de Resistencia Oficios Varios San Martín member of the FORA – AIT (Argentina)
FOB – Federación de Organizaciones de Base, Córdoba, Rosario, Buenos Aires , José C. Paz, Berazategui, Almirante Brown, Florencio Varela, Valentin Alsina, Lanus, Lugano, La Matanza, Lomas de Zamora (Argentina)
Prairie Struggle Organization (Canada)
Workers Solidarity Alliance (USA)
Frente Estudiantil y Social de Zaragoza (Spanish State)
Federação Anarquista do Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
Alternative Libertaire (France)
Confederación General del Trabajo – CGT (Spanish State)
Iniciativa Socialista de Izquierdas (Andalusia, Catalonia, Extremadura, Madrid, Aragon, Castile and León, etc – Spanish State)
Kasandrxs, Feministas Libertarias (Neuquén – Argentina)
Confederazione Italiana di Base UNICOBAS (Italy)
Barricada TV (Capital Federal – Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Associació Cultural el Raval-el Lokal (Barcelona, Spain)
Consejo Indigena Popular de Oaxaca Ricardo Flores Magon – CIPO RFM (Mexico)
Frente Anarquista Organizado [FAO] (Valparaíso, Chile)
Movimento Red Tinku (Bolivia)
Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group (Australia)
First of May Anarchist Alliance (USA)
Four Star Anarchist Organization (USA)
Grupo Libertario Vía Libre (Bogotá-Colombia)
Grupo Estudiantil Anarquista (Colombia)
Centro Social Okupado El Nido de Benimaclet (Valencia – Spanish State)