Entries Tagged 'English' ↓

How to use a socialist newspaper

In her blog “Pop culture and radical politics with a feminist twist” Laury Penny writes about why sometimes burning them for warmth is the most revolutionary thing you can do with the newspapers sold by activists of far left wing parties. She does so in a response to an article by Alex Callinicos. Her critique of the old left comes together with the admittance that they are and will be there and we might have to find ways to sometimes fight side by side with them, but at the same time avoid giving them a chance to achieve any formal power, which is probably the most viable approach for now.

But maybe she’s overestimating the long term strength of an angry but disorganized crowd. The fact that the days of the old forms of hierarchical organizations of the left are over in terms of the perspective they offer means neither that they will wither away nor that we can live without finding and actually realizing new forms of organizing ourselves.

Again, the comments below the article show quite a bit about the sentiments felt by people.

One writes:

The student protests are just the tip of the iceberg. Wait until the public sector cuts start, then you’ll see even more unrest on the streets, and while the student union seemed reticent to engage in real protest, the public sector unions won’t be, and you’re likely to see some of the biggest demonstrations by workers since the miners strike.

This is class warfare, and the class divisions will be even more clear when the public sector workers go on strike, because while the student protest was infiltrated by some middle class individuals who thought it would be “trendy” to protest in London, the protests of the laid off workers will be militant, and no amount of spin from the class enemy will change that.

The white, working class have been underestimated for too long by the elites at Westminster. They bit their tongue when Labour were pushing through neoliberal policies from 1997-2010, but now the Con-Dem coalition have pushed us too far, and they will see a reaction against their bourgeois-inspired policies to oppress the white working class by stimulating unemployment, creating a reserve army of labour in a crude attempt to keep wages down and maintain the profits of the capitalists, who will then reward the obedient political class with votes and/or financial rewards. This game has gone on for too long, it’s time to confront the status quo.

Someone named James replies:

Get over yourself.

This is no revolution, it’s just the same old useless and vain leftwing anti-establishment bit of fun.

I wish it was something more, but the reality is that the Tories and their media pals have managed to convince enough people that what they are doing is necessary. On the whole, the population are pretty ignorant and so they have been conned again by the same old Tories, the nasty party.

But to really change anything, it won’t be the streets where it happens, it may be the internet (Wikileaks style) but most likely, it will be where it always was – in Parliament, where the vain and power collide.


Someone else:

it ain’t just the white working class…it’s a multicoloured rainbow of angry people who are trying to disolve the ‘government’

Another one in reply to James:

You see James, thats where you’re wrong, this isn’t just the same as all the other protests. I’ve seen/been involved in just about allof them, since I was old enough to be (late 80s) and this is fundamentally different, in feel, attitude, organisation, philosophy and in what it is opposed to, (these cuts are the worst thing to happen to this country in my lifetime), the anger is real and so are the plans to change what is happenening and the alternatives being considered. We can only hope all our opponents are as sitting pretty in their illusionary comfort zones and as soft headed in their approach and ill prepared to oppose us as you are…

The question is:
What happens if this government is dissolved?

Berkeley 1964

Mario Savio on Sproul Hall Steps, December 2, 1964

There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part; you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!

-> on youtube

withdrawal or advance

have withdrawn, one might think, from being one of the biggest
students movements in years to opening a café. Superficially
looking, this is the obvious decline many movements take towards
creating some subcultural milieu and putting most energy into
maintaining an enclave whereas resistance to the surrounding desert
falls short. This could proof to be true in our case as well.

also, the current situation could be seen as an advance rather than a
retreat. For the first time, there was no doubt that we came to stay.
The university administration wanted back the room they had assigned
us to in exchange for the previously occupied second biggest lecture
hall. Back then, by seemingly spontaneously announcing a meeting on a
sleepy day with comparably few people, one day after a big assembly
where most voices said: for sure we will stay, some authority-minded,
obedient people managed to display a situation with no escape but to
accept the offered room. This was a scene more or less familiar to
us, as in most occupied rooms, at some point earlier or later, some
people started to push the issue of leaving voluntarily, normally for
nothing or almost nothing in return. That time, it was ‘successful’,
and the room that was then left to us became an officially tolerated
working room of the semi-official anti-bologna movement. The room was
handed over for that purpose, and when the bologna summit was over,
the administration was hoping to get it back.

kids, of course you may protest legitimately, but now that we’ve
heard you scream, go back to your desks and study. It could have been
an easy move to wipe us out. But maybe the experiences we made,
including successfully delaying the ministers’ party by blocking
roads and acting collectively in the moment, facing riot cops that
were loosing the overview and at the brink of loosing control of the
situation, maybe the slow but steady move in our brains towards not
accepting the authorities in place, towards seeing us and them as
antagonists, made us act otherwise this time. Back then it was a
strange move for us to exchange some room for another much smaller
one, rather than occupying the smaller one as well. This time, it was
near consensus that we will keep this room and liberate the space

is clear now is that this room needs to be a room defined by all
those who use it, as there is a big need for not previously defined
space. There’s collective cooking and a collective bar, both running
on free donations rather than prices, people are gathering books for
a free library and all kinds of things for a free shop, the room is
being and will be used for group meetings, as well as studying, for
films, live music, workshops, alternative ways of learning and
working or just to chill out. It is obviously open for anybody from
outside the university. There’s a piano that some people play on
every night. The area in front of the room is sunny from the morning
till the evening, and these days spring is starting, so the new place
became a center of campus life immediately.

we can hope for now is that there is a permanent meeting place for
this movement and for anybody else, as we probably have a rather
quiet period in front of us, a time we will need for reflection and
theoretical discussion, as well as for regaining energy and strength.
The fact that the room we are in now doesn’t have the character of a
sign of protest and a means of applying pressure on the
administration, nor is it a room predefined for those most involved
‘activists’ that prepare the next big event, means that the chance is
high that now we can dissolve the borders between those that
‘stubbornly’ continue to protest and those that have seemingly turned
their back to the movement because they had no time to be involved
permanently. The social networks we built are already mixing up with
other spheres of campus life, and the reservation many people built
up about getting (re-)involved with the movement are falling.

we will need to focus on actually using the space well. If we are
willing to rise from the ashes again after a while, we will need to
talk about how to act in the future, and for that, collectively
criticize what we have done in the past.

to occupy one or two lecture halls for protest and issue some
demands, which was not all by far but the core of the public picture
and at some point most of what our collective acting was focused on,
seems to move very little in the official structure. The authorities
have not made any significant move yet, and by their rhetoric it can
be judged that what they have in mind for the future is much worse
than what we have protested against initially.

tactics and strategies of occupation need to be re-thought. Rather
than using it as a means to apply pressure, it could be seen as a
means and an end at the same time, by occupying not for protest but
as re-appropriation and collectivization of space and ressources that
are previously controlled by the reign of capital and its state.

have started, a small step, but there will be a nucleus now, a nest, a
breeding place for what cannot be stopped if enough people come to
the conclusion that to radically transform the social processes goes
further than pleading for change to some representative of the
existing order, if we are willing to disrespect this very order and
to refuse its reign.

from a fall of protest to a spring of resistance and refusal

a collection of written insurrections from vienna

download as a pdf



these appeals are to no one but those who think like this anyway

resist the temptation of asking for

don’t regard the different symptoms of
this system in singularity

let no one speak in the name of anyone

don’t make the false separation between
your political life and the rest

find others who think like you, and be
friends with them, don’t view your relationship with them as
something “professional”

take care of one another, and resist
the temptation to be a martyr, every one is needed free and alive

build up pools of shared resources and
be respectful with them

take advantage of the abundance this
system produces and collectivize what you manage to acquire

don’t waste too much time on people who
claim to be allies but act in a way you see as counterproductive

don’t regard “the movement” as a
unit, a single actor

don’t let yourself be put in a cage of

don’t put yourself in a cage of

see that the movement is everywhere, in
every act of refusal and resistance, and in any act of creating
social relations that are not entirely governed by the logics of the

accept that there is no foolproof way
to overcome this system

don’t think of the system as a unified
enemy that can be overcome by a single strategy of getting to some
imaginary turning point to a world after “the revolution”

see that we have no experience with an
entirely different world, so we need to learn how to live it, and for
that, take any opportunity that comes along

don’t wait for others to impose the
change on you that you demanded, it would not be your change, and not
in your interest

dismiss the idea that any real
emancipation can come step by step from the existing institutions,
the steps they make in the other direction will always be more

see that if change comes from the
existing institutions, it extinguishes the big flames their
destructiveness has sparked, but the destructiveness carries on

be careful that what starts as
resistance doesn’t fall back into the civic form, and by this,
becomes containable

self critique is more important than
criticizing the system, that the system is shit is no news, but as
you never live fully apart from it, you are likely to reproduce it in
every act

be convinced of what you believe in,
but realize that no one is ever fully right

have no fear of the unpredictable, but
see it as a chance

see that what is predictable is very
likely to be a reproduction of the existing order

see that all this has been going on for
a long time, and that it will not finish with you

rule yourself only, and make no
cooperation with all those that try to rule others

demand nothing, occupy everything