Honest reflections on Riot Porn, Goals, Strategy, Hope and The Better World

From Ryan Harvey with RiotFolk 

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By: Ryan Harvey – September 24, 2009

Original Link Here

My decision to release this writing took me some time to consider, but I think it’s for the best. If you disagree with this, that’s good. It means you are thinking critically at least. I want this to be taken seriously, it’s something that has been brewing in me for a very long time, and this is the first real attempt, besides my DNC/RNC writing last year, to convey my thoughts on this subject…

The G20 is upon us, and though BBC world news featured some of “the troubles” in Pittsburgh, on the ground reports hardly match up with the media-inflation, police-inflation, and activist-inflation of the actual thing.

As is often the case, the media makes things look a whole lot crazier than they actually are, if it’s in the interests of higher ratings. And though most Americans if surveyed would be against rioting, they love to watch it on TV. So the media is hyping the G20 protests up enough to get some extra points, but not enough to anger their parent companies.

The police of course have to inflate the threats posed by relatively small numbers of protestors to justify the gigantic amount of city, state and federal tax-payer money used to buy new weapons, vehicles, chemical munitions, and armor. They get to keep all these goodies to use against whomever crosses their path in the future. So little pebbles getting tossed at robo-cops become boulders and little marches becoming security threats.

To match these two forces, the protest groups, especially my own comrades in the anarchist groups, inflate their stories, numbers, and actions to try to gain support and build momentum, and to make them feel better. So a dumpster getting rolled down a street into an intersection will be heroized in well-designed pamphlets to come and talked about for years the way my generation still talks about the fence-chasing incident at A16, (World Bank/IMF protests on April 16, 2000 in DC).

What is so crazy about all of this, this inflation, is that it doesn’t seem to help. As an organizer with a decade of experience in all types of work, from anarchist organizations to peace groups to labor organizing, I don’t think over-hyping our actions does anything for us. In fact, I think it works to our disadvantage. It adds to a culture of dishonesty, of not addressing our short-comings, of not reflecting and refining our work.

Now Pittsburgh had a crowd of 4,000-10,000 people according to different reports. While this is a big number in general, it’s not so big compared to public opinions on such issues at the bailout, corporate executive bonuses, or the global economic order in general. Most folks in the U.S. are pretty angry, from the far left to the independent right/libertarians. Instead of congratulating ourselves on a “large turnout”, we should be asking why it wasn’t nearly size of most anti-war demonstrations that have happened. Continue reading

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Reinventing the Informal Economy

This one is cross posted from Casaubon’s Book, a blog all about living in a world crashing towards a lower energy future, and all the myriad ways that we can be part of peacefully and responsibly birthing that new world. In the veign of transition towns, permaculture, and decentralizing, the ruminations below are all about interpreting the growth of the domination, energy-intensive, oppressive system that is now shaking in its foundations around us, and what we can do to anticipate and survive its collapse. Good stuff, thanks Sharon.

Reinventing the Informal Economy

Sharon May 29th, 2009

One of the most important things to know, I think, is that the growth we depend on (including the “green shoots” we might or might not be seeing) is always fed by taking something from somewhere else.  That is, we tend to talk about growth as though it comes, magically, from nowhere – we all of a sudden wake up and realize we need VCRs and then, the VCR industry emerges, the economy grows, we move on to DVDs and Blu-ray or whatever, and on and on.

But this is not all the story.  Many people who read this will be familiar with one part of the story that was left out – the energy equation.  That is, all growth depends on energy as a master resource, and the assumption that energy consumption can always grow, is, well, a problem.  Those of you who are peak oil aware will have seen many versions of this account, revising the classic economic assumption that we’ll just find more energy when we need it.

But there’s another piece of the story that doesn’t get told quite as often – that energy is only part of the equation.  In order to grow, we have to use a lot of energy, of course, but that energy use *has never* come without also bringing many more people into the economy as well – while energy does reduce human labor in some ways (ie, one guy can do with a tractor what 40 guys did with horses), the net demand for human labor in growing economies is always positive – you need more and more people.

Continue reading

SE Convergence Rocks Climate Criminals

Reports from the field start coming. Last week over 150 earth warriors from across the South East and beyond came together to our humble bio-region and brought fire and knowledge to share. Below is a report from the Snaking Climate Criminal march yesterday in Richmond. Check out more about the convergence. Thanks to everyone who came down to say No More! to the sons of bitches eviscerating our future!

August 11 Richmond, VA Despite a massive police presence throughout the city and our major action plan derailed by law enforcement harassment, 50 activists snaked their way through Richmond today in an un-permitted march, paying visits to several climate criminals. Carrying banners reading, “No Nukes, No Coal, No Kidding” and “Social Change not Climate Change,” people marched to the headquarters of Massey Energy, Dominion, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and Bank of America.

At Massey Energy, a notorious coal company involved in mountaintop removal coal mining, activists surrounded the entrance and yelled, “Hands off our mountains!.” The group then moved on to the Department of Environmental Quality which recently rubber stamped Dominion’s dirty coal plant in Wise County, VA. Next the group brought the party to Dominion, who is building the aforementioned coal plant as well as proposing a new nuke plant in Louisa County, VA. Chanting “No coal, no nukes, we won’t stop until you do!” the activists attempted to take over Dominion’s plaza but were repelled by police on horses. In a show of interspecies solidarity one horse bucked a cop off its back.

Continue reading

Freegans!

lets ignore the difference in dates between this post and the last. just move on. If you wanna see more on this blog, be part of the chopping. let me know if you want to write/post.

Like this post? Like Freegans? Read Dumpster Diving, an Ethnography, right here on the small axe!

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So… sunday night on wxjm , The Sounds of Planet Earth focused on Freeganism, as well as $300,000 truffles, the ovulation of strippers and skallywagging. We got the bulk of the show recorded, and you can check that out here.

So what is a Freegan? From freegan.info:

Freegans are people who employ alternative strategies for living based on limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources. Freegans embrace community, generosity, social concern, freedom, cooperation, and sharing in opposition to a society based on materialism, moral apathy, competition, conformity, and greed.”

This topic seemed particularly relevant considering the holiday push to show your love through exceedingly rediculous and unnecessary purchases, 30% of which ends up in attics if they’re lucky, thrown in trash heaps somewhere “away” if their fate is like the “more than 96 billion pounds of Edible Food Lost by Retailers, Foodservice, and Consumers in 1995”. 1995 was a long time ago.

Freegans, and many others (Off the gridders, Earth First!ers, Food not Bombers, and Freedom Mountain Academy, come to mind) are attempting to opt out of a society that they recognize as not only exploiting our environment/natural resources/ inter-dependent-life-systems , but that also exploits other humans in the outrageous quest for the never ending profit.

A Freegan recognizes that by spending money on a thing, one is supporting the processes and the system that brought that thing to you. Freegans denounce the violence, the pollution, the unsustainable nature of the system that brings most things in most stores to us, and so strive to remove themselves, their activities, their money etc. from that system as much as possible. For those of us who have read Ishmael, its hard not to think of the concept of pyramid builders walking away from the building of pyramids.

We also read an excerpt from an out of print work called “Why the Village Movement”, by Gandhian philosopher and economist J. C. Kumarappa. It goes something like

“If the raw materials for making cocoa are obtained from plantations on the
West coast of Africa which use some form of forced native labour, are
carried by vessels on sea routes monopolised or controlled by violence,
manufactured in England with sweated labour and brought to India under
favorable customs duties enforced by political power, then a buyer of a tin
of cocoa patronises the forced labour conditions in the West coast of
Africa, utilizes the navy and so partakes in violence, gains by the low
wages or bad conditions of the workers in England and takes advantage of the
political subjection of India. All this responsibility and more also is put
into a little tin of cocoa!”

So this year, when you’re shopping till you drop amongst the fields of listless Zombies at your local consumer bazaar, think a little about what your money is supporting, think about where its going, and what those piles of plastic bags, broken gadgets and useless widgets is doing to that far off place called “away”

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Tell your bank to Stop Funding Coal

This is a video of an action carried out by the Rain Forest Action Network last week. As you can see  RAN is waging a campaign to force banks to divest from coal and power companies that make Mountaintop removal coal mining possible through gigantic loans etc.

    You can help out.

1. Take action with others from around the country on November 16 or 17 by handing out fliers , talking to customers and cancelling your account at your local climate criminal’s base of operations.

2. Spread the word, tell your family, your friends etc that their banks may be banking on climate change.

 

 

Bioregional Secession

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Hey all, sorry for the lack of posts recently. Life, as you may know, can be obnoxiously real and demanding. before this gets real, I want to just throw it out there that I am definitely looking to have more contributors to this thing, so if you have articles worth sharing, poetry, short stories, videos, drawings or anything else, yours or others, definitely email me.

This comes from the Earth First Journal (original). This is a thought ive talked to a few people about recently. It seems sometimes like the system is failing under the weight of its own size, and we can certainly talk about the alienation between representatives and the represented, the gross corruption and politicizing and polarization and apathy that is rooted in the scale of our current system. People are unable to make decisions on issues that effect them in this country because the federal government, trying to represent 300 million people, has decided for them. The US Federal government inhibits democracy?

what do we do? secede.

“Yes, I said secession: the breaking up of large nations into smaller independent political entities that run their own affairs, have their own governments, operate their own economies and control their own environments on a bioregional scale. It’s a word that scares people even now, and most of the time it conjures up ideas of treason, illegality, racism or just plain futility.

But it really is as American as, well, the Declaration of Independence, which states that “it is the right of the people to alter or abolish [wrongful government], and to institute new government in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.” As American as the war that followed from that—not a revolutionary war at all but a secessionist one, since the colonists had no intention of taking over the British government, only of separating from it to run their own governments as they saw fit. As American, in fact, as the separation of Maine from Massachusetts, Tennessee from North Carolina, and West Virginia from Virginia, all of which were done in an orderly and peaceful fashion.

There is a myriad of reasons to contemplate secession these days. On the one hand, it frees a territory from the incompetent, corrupt, militaristic and illegal government in Washington, DC, as well as the empire that Washington has created to spread its corporate owners around the world. At the same time, it provides a scale of decision-making that allows something close to true democracy (representation that truly reflects a constituency’s wishes); a scale of trade and commerce that allows full employment, healthy food, nontoxic material goods and a sound currency free of the volatile and perilous dollar; a scale of administration that replaces the bloated federal bureaucracy with smaller, more efficient and responsive operations; in short, a scale of human affairs at which—as the success of countless small nations has shown—people have control over the decisions that affect their lives and the institutions that serve and protect them.”