Online, the “left” continues to find itself in a never ending series of bad faith arguments around self-determination. Many terms/frameworks that may have had a subversive character within their original context when first articulated, have now been incorporated and distorted by liberalism encouraging radical individualism and anti-materialism. More and more, analyses that are dependent upon identity and “lived experience” are propped up, ultimately resulting in ad hominems, mud-slinging, intellectual dishonesty, and the inevitable tried-and-true anti-communism. Anti-communist rhetoric from self-identifying socialists/communists is not new, but the relatively recent trend of rejecting revolutionary theory in favor of “lived experience” shows a lack in our processes for political education.
My license to speak about this comes from the fact I’ve been involved in organizing work since 1979 when I joined the Pan-Africanist Secretariat (Brother Oba T’Shaka for those that know) at 17 years old. In 1984, I heard Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael) speak and I joined the All African People’s Revolutionary Party (A-APRP). I’ve been an organizer/member of the A-APRP ever since. That means decades of working with people, all types of people. I’ve worked in organizing efforts in Africa. In Europe. In the Caribbean.
A space built by the working class, brick by brick, in order to make political education possible for peoples’ organizations across the world. This was the proposal with which the Florestan Fernandes National School (ENFF), located in Guararema, in the rural area of São Paulo state, was founded on 15 years ago. It was inaugurated on January 23, 2005 and baptized in homage to the Brazilian sociologist and politician Florestan Fernandes.
For starters, we are going to need a great deal of nonviolent resistance to cope with the coming climate warming crisis. Our political system and our public institutions are ill-equipped to make the kind of revolutionary changes to the economic system we are going to need to respond to the climate catastrophe. The public institutions we need to help with this have been underfunded for decades; tax avoidance, along with the under-taxing of corporations and the wealthy, has left politicians with insufficient resources to undertake the necessary measures.
It’s that time of year when we look back on the old year while entering the new. On the music front, there were many releases in 2017 to pique the interest of the socially and politically conscious. With the plethora of best album lists coming out right now, the Alliance for Global Justice has given me the thumbs up to put out our own. I hope this little guide will give you some good material to explore. This is rather long, so no need to read it all as one big piece. Glance it over and if you see something that catches your eye,check out the review, and then give the album a listen and see if you agree! Enjoy – and Happy New Year! You can support these artists best by buying your own copies of their music.
Exemplifying how Capitalism's momentum invariably thrusts it toward fascism, Mainstream Media was headed in that direction even under the independent ownership that characterized most USian newspapers and broadcast outlets during the years of my later teens and earlier manhood, 1956 through about 1980 or thereabouts. While the only meaningful difference between local Capitalists and their global counterparts has never been more than the geographical limits of their greed, the socioeconomic interactions characteristic of local ownership exercised enough moral restraint on publishers that in most instances, mass media did not metastasize into its present-day malignancy until the news monopolies took over.
When meeting with a public official you must explain the problem you want addressed and what you want that person to do. It should not be so general a request that the politician can nod and say he or she supports your goal and will work toward it. That is fine but not enough! Make your ask for something specific and measurable. For instance, ask the politician to hold a press conference, issue a statement, hold a public hearing, be the main sponsor on a piece of legislation or work with you to write that legislation. All of these options must be tied to a specific time line. And one that is not so distant that it can be postponed indefinitely. Present the problem and your request on no more than 2 pages, which should include your contact information. When you leave it with them ask for a specific date when they can get back to you. This is the first step in gaining momentum for making greater changes. Demonstrate that by working with you, they can taste their own success. If you can only meet with the public official’s staff, meet with that person and follow the same routine. However, also ask for confirmation that the politician has personally received your request.
By Greg Maybury for Pox Amerikana - The soul of wit may become the body of untruth. However elegant and memorable, brevity can never, in the nature of things, do justice to all the facts of a complex situation. On such a theme one can be brief only by omission and simplification. [This might] help us to understand — but help us, in many cases, to understand the wrong thing; for our comprehension may be only of the abbreviator’s neatly formulated notions, not of the vast, ramifying reality from which these notions have been so arbitrarily abstracted. — Aldous Huxley, 1958. We are all, as Huxley says, Great Abbreviators, meaning that none of us has the wit to know the whole truth, the time to tell it if we believed we did, or an audience so gullible as to accept it. — Neil Postman, 1985.
By Robin D. G. Kelley for Boston Review - In the fall of 2015, college campuses were engulfed by fires ignited in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri. This is not to say that college students had until then been quiet in the face of police violence against black Americans. Throughout the previous year, it had often been college students who hit the streets, blocked traffic, occupied the halls of justice and malls of America, disrupted political campaign rallies, and risked arrest to protest the torture and suffocation of Eric Garner...
By Steven Singer for Badass Teacher Association - There was a point during Chris Hedges keynote address today when I could barely catch my breath. My chest was heaving, tears were leaking from my eyes and I wasn’t sure I would be able to stop. The Pulitzer Prize winning journalist had his audience enraptured at the United Opt Out Conference in Philadelphia Saturday morning. I’ve read Chris before. We’ve all read Chris before. But I had never seen or heard him speak.
By Greg Jobin-Leeds for Truth Out - The following is an excerpt from the introduction to When We Fight, We Win! Twenty-First-Century Social Movements and the Activists That Are Transforming Our World. Author Greg Jobin-Leeds explains the book's title, the philosophy of transformative change that drives the organizers featured inside and the specific qualities that these organizers share. Jobin-Leeds created When We Fight, We Win!in collaboration with AgitArte, a collective of artists and organizers who have been initiating and leading education and art programs in marginalized communities since 1997.
Debbie Bookchin: The creation of this book was inspired among other things by the ongoing political discussion about which direction the Left should take with respect to the question of organization. Our publisher, Verso, publishes the writings of both Slavoj Žižek and Simon Critchley. Briefly, Žižek advocates revolution with the power given to a centralized state – a rehashing of Marxist theory. Critchley, on the other hand, advocates social change that takes place in the interstices of society. Murray felt that both of these solutions were inadequate responses to the question of how to develop radical forms of governance that are democratic and can fundamentally change society. We thought this collection of essays on decentralized democracy could offer an important third pole in this political debate. And we wanted to present them, along with some previously unpublished material, to a new generation of activists.