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Autonomy

Organizing For Survival In New York City

We are in month two of the coronavirus crisis in New York City, and must reassess how we are organizing ourselves. More than ten thousand have died, and we have seen mass burials in a public park, without names or ceremonies. The medical emergency quickly morphed into a crisis of social reproduction, with vast numbers of New Yorkers out of work, without income, and experiencing heightened food insecurity. At the same time, a newly designated class of “essential” workers struggles to maintain grocery stores, delivery services, and transportation. For most of these workers, social distancing conflicts with survival to such an extent that they risk illness to stock food, deliver packages, work cash registers, and drive rideshares.

Thousands Rally In Barcelona Against Catalonia Secession

By Joseph Wilson for AP - BARCELONA, Spain — Thousands of people were rallying Sunday in downtown Barcelona to protest the Catalan government’s push for secession from the rest of Spain. Many in the crowd gathered in a central square carried Spanish and Catalan flags. Some chanted “Don’t be fooled, Catalonia is Spain” and called for Catalan president Carles Puigdemont to go to prison. Sunday’s rally comes a week after Puigdemont and other separatist leaders of the Catalan government held a referendum on secession that Spain’s top court had suspended and the Spanish government said was illegal. The “Yes” side won the referendum with 90 percent of the vote, though less than half of the region’s electorate voted. Puigdemont has pledged to push ahead for independence anyway and is set to address the regional parliament on Tuesday “to report on the current political situation.” Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy vows that his government will not allow Catalonia to break away from the rest of the country. In an interview with the Spanish newspaper El Pais published Sunday, Rajoy said that he will consider employing any measure “allowed by the law” to stop the region’s separatists. Rajoy said that includes the application of Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, which would allow the central government to take control of the governance of a region “if the regional government does not comply with the obligations of the Constitution.”

The Mapuche’s Cross-Border Struggle For Freedom And Autonomy

By Alejandra Gaitan Barrera and Fionuala Cregan for IC Magazine - Ever since the incursion of rampant neoliberalism in Chile and Argentina in the 1970s and 1980s, the Mapuche territory or Wallmapu, located south of the Bio Bio River, has been subjected to immeasurable domination and constant exploitation at the hands of a diverse range of foreign and national economic interests. Megaprojects like hydroelectric dams, mining operations, oil extraction and forestry plantations embody some of the main threats to Mapuche self-determination and autonomy.

Ecuador: Power From Below Despite Great Adversity

By CROAR for Roar Magazine. It is a well-known fact that, unfortunately, in natural disasters the ones most affected are always the common people, the same people who suffer disproportionately from the calamities of capitalism. It seems as if the impact of the imbalance between nature and human beings — an imbalance caused by a predatory economic system — falls on the shoulders of the most humble and those least responsible for provoking it, given their limited access to material and consumer goods. Apparently, the lower social strata are more harshly affected by natural and human disasters, including the burden of sustaining the system that dominates them with their labor — and not only that. Most soldiers and policemen — the ones who defend those above — stem from a similar background.

Building Democracy Without The State

By Dilar Dirik for Roar Magazine. Rojava - "When people first came to our house a few years ago to ask if our family would like to participate in the communes, I threw stones at them to keep them away,” laughs Bushra, a young woman from Tirbespiye, Rojava. The mother of two belongs to an ultra-conservative religious sect. Before, she had never been allowed to leave her home and used to cover her entire body except her eyes. “Now I actively shape my own community,” she says with a proud and radiant smile. “People come to me to seek help in solving social issues. But at the time, if you had asked me, I wouldn’t even have known what ‘council’ meant or what people do in assemblies.” Today, around the world, people resort to alternative forms of autonomous organization to give their existence meaning again, to reflect human creativity’s desire to express itself as freedom.

Building A Movement For International Seed Sovereignty

By Simone Adler for Other Worlds Are Possible - Who we are fighting for is every single peasant farmer – more than 200 million – on the planet. People are eager to join hands in building a global voice. Transnational corporations are pushing policies in African countries for industrial farming and the use of GMO [genetically modified] seeds, while grabbing our land and [stealing] our natural resources. No one should come and tell us how to produce food.

Here’s How To Cop Watch

By Muna Mire in The Nation - In academic circles, copwatching is considered a form of sousveillance, which translates from the French to “watching from below” and refers to recording or monitoring of authorities, like the police. (Surveillance, by comparison, translates to “watching from above” and refers to being monitored by authorities.) Through copwatching, communities are learning that, depending on which way the cameras are facing, they can become a powerful tool in court or in advocacy. While the state trains its gaze on communities to “keep them safe,” members of the public are increasingly aware that it is the watchers who need to be watched. Here, we break down what copwatching is, and how to do it.

Communities Organizing Own Emergency Medical Service To Avoid Police

By Candice Bernd in Truth Out - When Jens Rushing was working as an emergency medical technician (EMT) for a 911 service in one small Texas city, he was dispatched on a call where he witnessed a man suffering during a mental health crisis. He remembers how the police officer who accompanied him wanted to cuff the man's hands behind his back and force him, face down, to the ground, until he "calmed down." "[The officer was] completely unaware of the threat of positional asphyxia, of which people die," Rushing told Truthout. "We had to argue with him to get the patient away from [the police], and let us [EMTs] do it our way, chemically sedating the patient rather than physically restraining the patient, and actually tending to them as a patient, rather than as a person committing the 'crime' of having an acute psychotic episode."

Until We Win: Black Labor & Liberation In The Disposable Era

By Kali Akuno in Counterpunch - What the combination of theses efforts will amount to is the creation of Black Autonomous Zones. These Autonomous Zones must serve as centers for collective survival, collective defense, collective self-sufficiency and social solidarity. However, we have to be clear that while building Black Autonomous Zones is necessary, they are not sufficient in and of themselves. In addition to advancing our own autonomous development and political independence, we have to build a revolutionary international movement. We are not going to transform the world on our own. As noted throughout this short work, Black people in the US are not the only people confronting massive displacement, dislocation, disposability, and genocide, various people’s and sectors of the working class throughout the US and the world are confronting these existential challenges and seeking concrete solutions and real allies as much as we do.

Sowing Seeds Of Autonomy

By Samantha Demby - On Sunday, July 26, 2015, The Caravan for the “Buen Vivir” of Peoples in Resistance arrived to the community of Paso de la Reina on the southwestern coast of Oaxaca, Mexico. The intense sun had already begun to fade, but the hot air lingered in a thick and gray repose, hopeful for a twilight breeze. Windows wide open, the caravan's mobile laboratory clunked down a rocky road, past lime trees and lush cattle pastures, until reaching a modest, yellow bridge. It was at this site on the dawn of July 11, 2009 that residents of Paso de la Reina prevented the entrance of workers from Mexico's Federal Electricity Commission (CFE, Comisión Federal de Electricidad), initiating a years-long encampment in resistance to the damming of the Río Verde.

Women Farmers In Chile Join Together To Create Economic Autonomy

More than 100 women small farmers from Chile’s southern Patagonia region have joined together in a new association aimed at achieving economic autonomy and empowerment, in an area where machismo and gender inequality are the norm. Patricia Mancilla, Nancy Millar and Blanca Molina spoke with IPS about the group’s history, and how the land, craft making and working together with other women helped them to overcome depression and situations of abuse, and to learn to trust again. “We have at last obtained recognition of rural women,” said Mancilla, president of the Association of Peasant Women of Patagonia. “Peasant women have learned to appreciate themselves. Each one of our members has a history of pain that she has managed to ease through working and talking together.”

Participatory Democracy In El Salvador

It is completely rooted in the people. There is a lot of wisdom in people, and so what leaders have to do is be with the people, listen to the people, and address the issues that the people raise, because together, we collectively build the alternatives that actually work. Anything that is done from an office is not going to coincide with reality. So we’re building from the people up. That characterizes the organization where I received my education, La Coordinadora. Our strategic development plans arise from huge assemblies. We can spend up to six months building our strategies, because we need input from all sectors and communities. This plan must work out for us, but it’s also important that it is taken up at the national governmental level, to inform the administration’s five-year plan.

From Chiapas To Rojava: Seas Divide Us, Autonomy Binds Us

As the battle for every street and corner of the city intensified, Kobani managed to capture the imagination of the global left — and of left-libertarian groups in particular — as a symbol of resistance. It was not without reason that the Turkish Marxist-Leninist group MLKP, which joined the YPG/YPJ on the battlefield, raised the flag of the Spanish Republic over the ruins of the city on the day of its liberation while calling for the formation of International Brigades, following the example of the Spanish Revolution. It was not necessarily the battle for Kobani itself, but the libertarian essence of the cantons of Rojava, the implementation of direct democracy at the grassroots, and the participation of women in the autonomous government that gave grounds to such historical comparisons.

Defying Government, Catalonia Pushes Independence Bid

The leader of the Spanish region of Catalonia has set up a panel to supervise a contested independence referendum next month, despite the opposition of Spain's central government, which has gone to the courts to block the vote. Spain's constitutional court said on Monday it would review the legality of the independence vote, effectively suspending it. José Manuel García-Margallo, Spain's Foreign Minister, had previously told journalists that his government would use "all means necessary" to stop the planned referendum, currently scheduled for November 9. But Catalonia's leaders, cognizant of the majority's pro-independence stance, appear determined to push forward.
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