Monday, June 25, 2007

Environment and Class War

This has also been posted at the Carnival Of Anarchy

The natural environment is the key issue today. This is not to reduce all other struggles and problems to it in a reductionist way, however. But what happens to the environment will have a determining effect upon the nature and direction of social change for the next generation, if not sooner.

We are facing two interrelated natural environment based crises – global warming and peak oil. Nothing real is being done about either, and the authorities are not preparing the population for a possible dire future. The orthodox left – social democrats – mainstream Greens - trumpets band aid solutions – Kyoto, hybrid cars, wind power etc. all well and fine in their way, had they been introduced 30 years ago! Only the minority; radical Greens, socialists, anarchists, decentralists, are really telling the truth to the people – that the auto, imported food, suburban sprawl, Walmart life style has to go and has to go now, otherwise heavy times ahead.

This brings me to class struggle. Of course, it goes on all the time, the ruling class or elite warring against the populace and the people fighting back with absenteeism, other forms of sabotage, and strikes. 98% of the aggression come from the rulers, however. The people tend to respond in a reactive manner. One can hold a romantic view of the proletariat, but nonetheless the previous statement is true, If you look at history. The people seem to go on the offensive only after a serious shock like a lost war, an attempted right-wing coup, or a bone-grinding economic depression. This reactive nature is understandable. Most people are not ideological and only wish to go about their daily lives. They will put up with an incredible amount of abuse as long as they are allowed some minimal level of “normal” existence. What I am suggesting is that the combined crises of peak oil and global warming will be such a shock.

We don't know the severe the crisis will be, but some people who have studied the issue, such as James Howard Kunstler, imply it will be the most severe crisis humanity will have faced since the Late Middle Ages, when the people endured famine, war and plague as a result of climate change, over-use of the land and the cutting down of the forests.

What type of reaction occurs really depends upon us, the libertarian-decentralist minority. The better prepared areas will pull through easier than those that have not prepared. Those of us who work to build community and support for local food production, farmers markets, public transit and struggle against developer-idiocy, will have in the long term, saved lives. Masses of people will turn against the rulers, finally realizing they have been lied to. Much of the true-believer Hummer - MacMansions crowd will turn to fascism. Of course, some are 90% there already.

Whether the mass of the people turn to fascism or communitarian socialism, will in some way depend upon how we tackle this issue now. And tackle it we must. I suggest a place to begin would be a sticker with the slogan “Is Your Town Prepared for Peak Oil?”, in smaller print below, “Or Is It Still All Shopping Mall and Suburban Sprawl?” and the web address of one of the peak oil sites. (Something similar about global warming for those areas that will be effected the most.) This could be followed up with a poster listing suggested actions that could be taken to survive peak oil/global warming.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sarcophagus Wins Majority

Bad news! French President Nicolas Sarcophagus appears to have won a clear majority (330-230) of seats in the National Assembly. This evil, sick, treasonous piece of shit will now have a clear hand, in the Assembly at least, to turn France into a clone of the US. You would think that the people that voted him in would have learned from the mess created by Thatcher in the UK and Bush in the Empire, but evidently hatred toward immigrants, the left, etc takes precedence. (Is this the return of Vichy?) However, the French can be counted on to fight the destruction of their way of life in the streets. Maybe we will get a repeat of 1968.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Polynesians Beat Europeans to America

Chicken bones found in Chile prove that Polynesians visited America at least 100 years before Columbus. DNA analysis shows that the chicken was of Polynesian and not of a European variety. C14 dates it between 1320 and 1410. See story

The CIRA Needs Help

The CIRA (International Centre for Research into Anarchism) in Lausanne (Switzerland) began its work of collecting and archiving the material published by the international anarchist movement in 1957. The CIRA gives militants and researchers the opportunity to consult archives made up of tens of thousands of volumes and is one of the most important places as far as the historical memory of anarchism is concerned. Today, the CIRA is in need of the efforts and solidarity of everyone if it is to get over a difficult financial situation and continue in its work. Within a short space of time, the CIRA must raise F100,000 or else it will be forced to close. For more on how to help the CIRA, see

Info from A-Infos

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Another Anarchist View of Venezuela's RCTV Situation

The Venezuelan anarchist movement is divided between those who give critical support to the Bolivarian Revolution, seeking to radicalize it, and those who are completely against it, seeing the movement as either purely capitalist or Stalinistic. The former is represented by FAL (El frente de acciones libertarias ) and the latter by El Libertario. (1) Be that as it may, I will let El Libertario speak for itself:

The Collective of “El Libertario”, Venezuelan anarchist newspaper, makes public its reasoned out position in the debate generated by the case of RCTV, in where the current government imposes a solution where we pass from the meanness that the capitalistic private oligopoly of TV to the dreadful that could be the monopoly of a bureaucratic and authoritarian state.

Since two decades ago, by means of our publications, ten Venezuelan anarchists have denounced and being against the vices and slants of the private media corporations as RCTV. This company had guaranteed its economic success combining evil oligopolistic practices, opportunist bonds with the current state power and the emission of “garbage-content” with the excuse of “giving the people what they want”. However, the problems that indeed this company represented are taken now as an
excuse for the imposition of a solution that means a repetition and multiplication of the same vices. In the 2007´s Venezuela, the meanness of a part of the private oligopoly is supposed to be corrected by the dreadful of a state monopoly, increasing the unprecedented insane advantages for the government and justifying the production of “garbage-content” with the condition of being “rojo-rojito” (red-small red) *1. In concrete terms: we do not have Miguel Ängel Rodríguez anymore but we will have the acclaimed Mario Silva, the presenter of the journalistic paradigm of the V Republic...

Continued See

1. There are international ramifications. El Libertario is sympathetic to the Spanish CNT-IWA and FAL to the Spanish CGT. This split is over doctrinal purity vs. practical involvement in popular struggle. For the FAL see

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Venezuela's RCTV – Again!

Rad Geek disagrees with my refusal to get on the liberal media bandwagon and attack the Chavistas for closing down a pro-US mouthpiece. He also does not believe that class struggle is reflected in this event. He states;

Don't kid yourself. This isn't a matter of "the ruling class" attacking the anti-ruling-class government. The government is a ruling class: that is what governments do. This is a competition between two would-be ruling classes over which one is going to be dominant. I don't know about you, but I am an anarchist, and I don't give a good god damn about which gang of thugs wins, or about whether "revolutionary" or "counter-revolutionary" jackboots end up on the people's necks.

I think this a rather simplistic view of things. Yes, ultimately all states are the same – based upon coercion, hierarchy, power etc, but anarchists have always differentiated between reformist and reactionary states, and while never (well, rarely) giving support to a left-wing govt., have always preferred these to retrogressive ones. It is a matter of human lives. You would have to be insane not to see a difference between say, the Unidad Popular and Pinochet's dictatorship, or Labour circa 1978 and the Thatcher Regime which followed it.

The state is not a ruling class, although with capitalist or feudal governments some members of the ruling classes are directly involved in governing. But generally they do not, leaving this to their subordinates. Only in a state capitalist regime like the USSR can we speak of the state and ruling class being identical. With democratic left wing or progressive governments what we have is an attempt to mediate or stand between the classes, much in the manner that trade union officials do. Left-wing governments however, do not appear out of thin air, but are a result of class struggle. Left wing parties, whether out of opportunism or a sincere desire to reform society and better the working population, ultimately depend upon what happens in the streets. Chavez did not create the movement which put him in power, but rather was created by it. He would like to control it, but that is what social democrats seek to do, nothing unusual or unique there. The task of anarchists and revolutionary socialists is to radicalize this movement, not undermine it, or show sympathy for pro-imperialists and reactionaries. The goal is to make the movement escape from Hugo's hands and sweep away the corporate state in its entirety.

Thugs? Dissidents? Critics? Words have meaning. No one would doubt that Saddam or Pinochet were thugs, with their mass murders, tortures and the millions they skimmed off and hid in numbered bank accounts. Chavez and the leftist politicians around him have done none of these things. Their only real crime is trying to control an unfolding revolutionary situation. Hopefully they will be pushed aside or swallowed by this movement. Members of the oligarchy and the sheep who support them are not dissidents, or critics, but people who fear social change or the loss of some of their privileges. In my opinion, the Chavistas are far too soft on these scum, but that is understandable given their fundamentally social democratic viewpoint, which seeks to straddle the classes, rather than eliminate capitalism entirely.

This same type of rhetoric was used against the Sandinistas, I might add, and they did not turn into thugs or Stalinists as the Reaganites hoped. So too, the APPO in Oaxaca has been slandered as “thugs and vandals”.

And when push comes to shove I would rather have a Chavez than an Allende in power. Allende refused to arm the people, in the face of the impending CIA-backed coup. Chavez, I am certain, would not.

The world does not work according to wishes, ideology or theories. It is messy. It would be nice if all the left-wing parties in Venezuela disappeared and were replaced by millions-strong anarcho-syndicalist unions and an anarchist federation with tens of thousands of members. But that does not seem to be in the offing. Class struggle is being reflected through the Chavista Movement (for now) – though not the origin of such. If the Chavistas are overthrown in the foreseeable future, it will not be by anarchists, but the reactionary forces who will then murder thousands of people in an orgy of revenge. I suggest you read what Venezuelan class struggle anarchists have to say about the Bolivarian Revolution, explaining their critical support for it. See

On the other hand, I do care a lot about how far a government can get away with using the force of arms to silence its critics. Which seems to be what's happening here. That's a big deal, even if the critics are real creeps. After all, they always come after the soft targets first.

Soft targets? Corporate TV and a CIA-backed opposition are soft targets? If the Chavistas were really against freedom of expression and wanted to pick on a soft target, they would shut down El Libertario, the anarchist paper which is highly critical of them, or harass the Trotskyists for that matter. See

Friday, June 01, 2007

Venezuela's RCTV - Much Ado About Nada

Much has been made of late by corporate media – and liberals who ought to know better – about the Venezuelan government's refusal to re-new the license of a TV station. Everyone is bellowing about "censorship" and "authoritarianism." This station was instrumental in propagandizing for a coup d'etat against the Chavez government. One can imagine how a TV station that helped organize a coup against the American Government would be treated. The owner would do an eternity in Gitmo as a "terrist" and not have the wrist slap of license non-renewal. Hilarious hypocrisy, eh?

What is overlooked by liberal critics of this action is how the corporate media is used as an arm of the state, or where the state is controlled by folks the ruling class dislikes, as an agent of counter-revolution. This first came to people's attention in a big way in Chile just prior to the Golpe. The main newspaper, El Mercurio, and a major TV channel, Universidad Catholica, were both instrumental in fomenting support for a coup and spreading hate propaganda against the Unidad Popular government. Once again, in Nicaragua during the US-sponsored Contra terrorist attacks, the right-wing Nicaraguan media sought to undermine the Sandinistas and aid the US.

Liberal critics are upset with Chavez because they lack a class perspective, not realizing, or hiding from the reality, that an irreconcilable contradiction exists between the minority who control most of society's wealth and the vast majority who work for this minority.

The state need not be controlled by revolutionaries for the corporate media to go into attack mode. Any government that seeks to improve the lot of working people, no matter how moderate that party might be, comes in for similar treatment. Here in British Columbia, the social democratic NDP government of Dave Barrett (1972-1975) was pilloried by the newspapers for minor cost over-runs and a climate of hostility generated, resulting in the NDP losing power after only one term. When the right took power, billions were squandered on corporate welfare, but the media ignored this.

The corporate ruling class are consummate class warriors and their media are weapons in that war. While they demand a "loyal opposition", from the people, they do not expect the same of themselves. Any lie, any slander, any crime, is permissible in maintaining their power. Their only loyalty is to their stolen wealth and perverse will to power. Government, people, nation, and tradition ultimately mean nothing. We cannot expect any mercy from them, and should show them no mercy in return, not out of vengeance, but a sense of self-preservation. Note that this is not a call for violence, but expresses the need of the working people for united, concerted, forceful measures against the ruling minority, to advance our liberty and defend ourselves against attack.

If the Chavistas are to be faulted, it is not for shutting down an enemy propaganda machine, but taking so long to do so. Refusal to renew a license is also a somewhat wimpy and bureaucratic way of dealing with the enemy, far better to let the people occupy the station, throw the US-mouthpieces out in the street and run the show themselves. Working people have an instinctual way of dealing with corporate media, if allowed to. During the Quebec General Strike of 1972, workers seized newspapers, radio and TV stations. Those they could not occupy and run were simply shut down. Recently in the Oaxaca Commune, radio and TV stations were occupied and self-managed. This is the way to deal with the reactionaries.

There is no role what so ever for a corporate media in a free society. Only living, breathing, individual people have rights and freedoms, phony state-granted, paper constructs like corporations do not. The media should reflect the views of 95% of the population, not the interests of the wealthy and powerful 5% of exploiters and oppressors. The only way we can have genuine freedom of expression and freedom of the press, is for the people to own and control the mass media. This cannot happen via state ownership, one merely substitutes one giant corporation for several big corporations. The only free and democratic way is to turn the various mass media into a mass of stake-holder coops - democratic institutions run by directors elected from the various groups that make up the populace – by profession, social origins, political viewpoint, ethnicity and gender.

See also this excellent Narco News analysis of the RCTV controversy

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