The desperate plight of tens of thousands of Yazidi people stranded for the past week and a half on Mount Sinjar in Northern Iraq, having fled their homes in the nearby city, has focussed the world’s attention on what has been happening in that region.
Threats of airstrikes from U.S. president Barack Obama in a region where U.S. intervention in such recent memory has already been responsible for the killing of up to a million people and the injuring and displacement of many more causes alarm bells to ring in the minds of all who care about a fair and just world. This is further exacerbated by the knowledge that it is the stoking of sectarian tensions as a result of U.S. policy in Iraq that is largely responsible for the emergence of the fundamentalist and ultra-reactionary Islamic State organisation.
The other night, I saw George Orwells's '1984' performed on the London stage. Although crying out for a contemporary interpretation, Orwell's warning about the future was presented as a period piece: remote, unthreatening, almost reassuring. It was as if Edward Snowden had revealed nothing, Big Brother was not now a digital eavesdropper and Orwell himself had never said, "To be corrupted by totalitarianism, one does not have to live in a totalitarian country."
In the apartment of a mutual friend I meet a young man from Aleppo I will call 'Ahmed' for his safety. His mood is lighthearted despite having part of a limb blown off by a grenade while fighting with the Free Syrian Army in Aleppo. We talk over tea and cigarettes while our friend Anarch translates. Ahmed takes a call from a friend in Syria with bad news: ISIS, the ruthless foe the FSA and other moderate brigades fought hard to kick out earlier this year, is back in Aleppo province. He puts down his phone and we begin the interview.
Mark Bray author of 'Translating Anarchy: The Anarchism of Occupy Wall Street' will be giving this talk in the WSM space in Seomra Spraoi, 19.30, August 18th as part of a European speaking tour.
Event date and time:
Mon, 2014-08-18 19:30 - 21:15
Al Arakib, Bil'in, Al-Ma'asara, Nabi Saleh, Ni'ilin, Qaddum, Sheikh Jarrah, South of Hebron Hills, Tel Aviv, Lod
Israel started the attack on the Hamas to sabotage the Hamas compromise with the west bank authority, and restore a weakened Hamas independent rule in the Gaza strip. Hamas compromise was a response to Egyptian closer intended to dismantle the Hamas. The failed Israeli attack will force it to contribute its share to significantly open the closer of the border between Israel and the Gaza strip which was till the attack based on the bare minimal on the margin of humanitarian catastrophe. Whatever the details of the new cease fire and arrangements, the failure of Israel vicious assault to stop the Hamas from firing rockets on Israel is a significant "game changer". The failed attack on Gaza and the continuing popular struggle in the west bank are hastening the international pressures to end the occupation of the West bank and the closer of the Gaza strip.
The uprising in Syria against the totalitarian dictatorship of Bashar al Assad is now in its fourth year. What began in March 2011 in the southern city of Daraa with schoolboys spraypainting the slogan from Egypt, “The People Demand the Fall of the Regime,” soon became mass protests of all sects that spread across the country as brutal repression met tenacious resolve. Soldiers who disobeyed orders to open fire on protesters mutinied and formed the Free Syrian Army (FSA) to protect protesters from repression. Regular mass protests and popular councils sustained a vibrant rebellion. But at the time of writing, ISIS and the Assad regime are winning a war that has cost over 160,000 lives and destroyed huge swathes of the country, displacing millions. After communicating for almost two years via skype and facebook I finally had a chance to meet Anarch, a comrade from Syria with whom I had been exchanging messages for so long. He is from the neighbourhood of Bustan al Basha in Aleppo. This is our interview.
The Platform - Magazine of Anarchist Affinity from Melbourne
The Revolutionary Confederation of Anarcho-Syndicalists - N. I. Makhno (Революционная конфедерация анархо-синдикалистов им. Н. И. Махно), established in Ukraine in 1994, was one of the most famous anarchist organizations which emerged from the former Soviet Union. Platformist in essence, the organization managed to assemble a cohort of vigorous activists who wanted to adopt a strategic and responsible approach to the question of achieving a libertarian society. The RKAS survived many troubles, it was involved in the miners' strike and had several long-tem projects, but it was not without its internal squabbles and splits. Over the past year, however, the organization has been heard from less and less. To find out what had happened to the RKAS, and also hear their opinion on the current events in Ukraine, our Russia-based comrades of Autonomous Action interviewed a comrade from the RKAS, Samurai. [http://www.anarkismo.net/article/27252
In 1871, Karl Marx wrote that governments use war as a fraud, a ‘humbug, intended to defer the struggle of the classes’. In 1914, that fraud was so effective that not only most workers but also most Marxists supported their respective nation’s rush to war. Ever since then, governments have used war to defer class struggle and prevent revolution. But this strategy cannot last forever.
In Israel, racism and extremism are exploding. It began shortly after the kidnapping of three Israeli boys—Naftali, Gilad and Eyal—in Gush Etzion, that led to the assault in Gaza which has seen over 1,000 killed. A Facebook page calling for the murder of Palestinians went viral. In one photo, a soldier posed broodingly with his gun, the word "vengeance" written on his chest. In another two teenage girls smiled happily with a banner that read: “Hating Arabs is not racism, it’s values.”
Presented by Art Forces, the Estria Foundation and NorCal Friends of Sabeel, the Oakland Palestine Solidarity Mural is a monumental work of public art located in Uptown Oakland on 26th Street between Telegraph and Broadway. The mural pays homage to the history of Bay Area public art and expresses solidarity with Palestinians as bombs continue to fall on Gaza.
The images from Gaza are searing, a gallery of death and horror. A dishevelled Palestinian man cries out in agony, his blood-soaked little brother dead in his arms. On a filthy hospital bed a boy of perhaps five or six screams for his father, his head and body lacerated by shrapnel. A teenage girl lies on a torn stretcher, her limbs awry, her face and torso blackened like a burnt steak. Mourners weep over a family of 18 men, women and children laid side by side in bloodied shrouds. Four boys of a fishing family named Bakr, all less than 12 years old, are killed on a beach by rockets from Israeli aircraft.
OVERVIEW: There is a healthy skepticism among many activists about simple grand plans, arising partly from disastrous Marxist experiments like the Soviet Union. But the opposite — faith that struggles spontaneously reach the best outcomes if freed of theory and plans — has serious problems. Many struggles falter or are captured as old mistakes are made again. Capitalism and the state cannot be defeated by a growing wave of loosely linked alternative “spaces” and experiments. These systems are based on coercion and exploitation; their defeat requires large-scale confrontation by a coordinated bottom-up working class counter-power with clear politics. The point of resistance is to change the world: it is not an aim in itself, just a response; a politics fetishising perpetual resistance must rely on a world of oppression. Closing discussion by labeling views “dogmatic” is a recipe for imposing other positions and elites through the backdoor. There is no need to repeat the tragic errors of the past. Other revolutionary theories from working class struggles – like anarchism and syndicalism — share no blame for the failures of vanguardism and reformism, and have valuable insights on building a participatory, transformative, project of “people’s power,” and on moving from resistance to reconstruction.It is important to speak openly about theory, strategy and vision, and to engage openly with the revolutionary traditions of the popular classes, like anarchism and syndicalism, born of our past struggles, and distilled from those struggles.
One hundred years ago today, Germany declared war on Belgium and Britain declared war on Germany. Starting with the assassination of an Archduke in Sarajevo on 28 June, an escalating series of mobilisations and declarations over five weeks ended up being the first truly World War.
The text below is translated from the poster at the centre of this image of the destruction of Gaza by the Israeli state. But it refers not to this horror but another in 1943 when the Nazis crushed the Warsaw ghetto, wiping out the poorly armed organised resistance that operated out of a warren of bunkers & sewers hidden beneath the ghetto. This poster was by one of the armed factions that defended the Ghetto, the Jewish Combat Organization (ZOB)
All people are brothers;
Yellow, brown, black, and white.
Talk of peoples, colors, races -
Is all a made-up story
Rather worrying news about those mysterious sink holes that have appeared in Siberia. It now appears they were giant methane releases - long forecast by climate change scientists as a likely positive feedback occurrence as permafrost in Siberia melted and released trapped methane. Worrying because methane is a 20 times more potent climate change gas than CO2 because it is more efficient at trapping radiation.
The joint struggles in the locations of regular weekly activities of Bil'in, Ni'lin, Ma'sara, Sheikh Jarrah, Nabi Saleh, Qaddum, Western Hills of Hebron, in the weekend actions and some in between, have focused on the war on Gaza as the more obvious aspect of the occupation. Today, it seems Israel has failed to establish a weakened but independent power in the Gaza Strip - mainly because the atrocities by Israel have failed to recruit international pressure on Egypt to open the siege of Gaza enough. It seems there will be a revival of the accord between Hamas and the West Bank Palestinian Authority that Israel has invested so much effort into sabotaging. It is not clear yet what the the details will be and how the latest Israeli atrocities will influence pressure from the imperial powers on Israel to end the 1967 occupation. Latest news: Israel has started to retreat its forces from the Gaza Strip with no resolution and with rockets still being fired on Israel. [http://www.anarkismo.net/article/27234
The Jerusulem Post carried an opinion piece today with the sub-heading:
"The only durable solution requires dismantling Gaza, humanitarian relocation of the non-belligerent Arab population, and extension of Israeli sovereignty over the region."
This echoes the words of Moshr Feiglin, deputy speaker of the Knesset, and a member of the ruling Likud Party, who, only two weeks ago said that "Israel must attack Gaza even more mercilessly, expel the population and resettle the territory with Jewish settlers".
The expression of these views are not isolated, they represent a significant section of mainstream Zionist thinking and could not be freely aired if they did not. In reality they are the honest expression of the Zionist project to create an ethnically pure state, permanently rid of the native people.
Over the last couple of months we have witnessed an unprecedented wave of large demonstrations. Across Australia people have risen in opposition to the current administration’s escalation of attacks on worker’s rights and conditions, erosions of living standards and civil liberties.