Our Palestine statement draws on history of Black internationalism, says organizer

From Electronic Intifada:

Black liberation movements in the US have increasingly been making connections with Palestine. (Mikasi/Flickr)

Black liberation movements in the US have increasingly been making connections with Palestine. (Mikasi/Flickr)

Kristian Davis Bailey is a Detroit-based writer and organizer who recently put together the “Black for Palestine” statement. More than 1,100 Black scholars, activists, students, artists and organizations have signed on, including Angela Davis, Cornel West, Talib Kweli, political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal and others.

The statement lays out a framework for Black solidarity with Palestinian liberation and calls for exploring the connections between Palestinian and Black liberation as well as the oppressive linkages between the United States and Israel. The statement calls for support of boycott, divestment and sanctions efforts against Israel and calls attention to Israel’s oppression of African-descended populations in Palestine.

Davis Bailey has written for Ebony, Mondoweiss, Truth-Out and elsewhere. I caught up with him to find out more about “Black for Palestine” and the opportunities and challenges it presents.

Jimmy Johnson: Thanks for taking the time to talk with me today. Please introduce yourself.

Kristian Davis Bailey: My name is Kristian Davis Bailey and I’m one of the co-organizers of the “Black For Palestine” statement. I’m currently a freelance writer based in Detroit.

JJ: Where were you before Detroit and what were you doing?

KDB: Before Detroit I was a student at Stanford where I was involved with Students for Justice in Palestine at the campus level, across California and nationally.

JJ: Can you tell me a bit about the “Black For Palestine” statement and the process of creating it?

KDB: The statement emerged out of two separate statements that I and my co-organizer Khury Petersen-Smith had organized last summer during the height of the assault on Gaza. We’d each found ourselves unable to publish our statements while the media would pick it up so we figured that this year we would combine our efforts to write a statement on the anniversary of the assault on Gaza which wound up being much bigger than what each of us had organized the summer before.

It is worth noting that some of the key signatories this year had also signed last year. The Organization for Black Struggle in St. Louis had signed on to last year’s statement before Mike Brown was killed and connections were being made to Palestine. Hopefully we’ll publish those earlier statements soon.

JJ: You bring up a good connection with the Organization for Black Struggle because the release of this statement is not only the anniversary of the attack on Gaza but also something going on in the US. Can you make that connection? Both your intentions around the timing of the release, as well as the connections you see there.

KDB: It was really important for us to note that the statement emerged out of the past year of solidarity between the Black and Palestinian struggles, specifically: connections people were making on the ground in Ferguson to Palestine. I think none of the developments in the past year would have happened if people on the ground hadn’t themselves started to organically connect what they were witnessing in terms of military vehicles in their communities, being tear-gassed and shot at during protests, if they hadn’t connected those things to what they were seeing in Palestine and if Palestinian organizers hadn’t reached out in solidarity to the people in Ferguson.

What the statement represents is how firm of a connection there is for organizers in St. Louis with the Palestinian struggle. It’s not just a slogan we’ve used at protests but something that people facing the brunt of repression and doing the majority of the organizing on the ground have decided to be a part of themselves. I think that’s why St. Louis is the most represented city on the statement in terms of organizational signatories.

JJ: It sounds kind of like the development and the recruitment of the signatories is really based in joint work that’s being done together.

KDB: Right. Most of the people who signed the statement, whether they’re individuals or organizations, have been actively engaging with Palestine well before the last year. There were a lot of old school organizers who have been doing this solidarity work since the ’60s and ’70s that signed on, in addition to groups like the Dream Defenders which over the past few years have started to engage more with the Palestinian issue. So, I forget what your question is but my answer is “yes” [laughter].

JJ: A Kenyan author named Mukoma Wa Ngugi gave a presentation a few years back at Wayne State here in Detroit and he was talking specifically about relations between African migrants and Black Americans and he talked about the way that white supremacy forms a veil that literally colors the relationships between these two groups but also between all groups, although the details are different for any two groups.

And one of the things he mentioned was that the only way to get past this is to put in work together to supersede and subvert this veil that colors the relationships between, for example, Black folks and Palestinians, Black folks and Arab folks. That sounds a little bit like what’s going on.

KDB: Again I’ll focus on St. Louis because that’s a story I know a little bit about. The solidarity organizing between the Organization for Black Struggle and the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee has been going on for at least three or four years. The two groups both worked together to oppose Veolia being given a contract to privatize the city’s water, both recognizing what Veolia was doing in occupied Palestine and for the danger it presented to the people in St. Louis.

The Organization for Black Struggle was also crucial in a cultural boycott action. I don’t know how many years ago it was but it was Organization for Black Struggle organizers who said, “We will pull out of this event unless these artists are disinvited.” That was the work of very principled solidarity on the part of the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee.

At the same time you have a Palestinian member of the solidarity committee whose father is a shop owner in a predominantly Black part of St. Louis and what he had been working on was to take all of the hard liquor out of his store after he was realizing the impact it was having on the Black community in St. Louis. He also set up a couple of initiatives to contribute some of the profits from his shop to local organizing efforts in the community.

I wanted to offer that as a real solid example of what Palestinian solidarity in the US, or not even solidarity but direct action against anti-Blackness looks like, and that’s an example of some of the principled actions and alliances that preceded the Ferguson-Palestine connection and solidarity.

JJ: This isn’t the first statement of Black solidarity with Palestine. Can you contextualize this action a bit in the internationalism of the radical Black tradition?

KDB: Definitely. So Black support for Palestine comes out of the tradition of Black internationalism within the radical segment of our liberation struggle. Malcolm X was talking about the dangers of Zionism in the 1960s. The Student Nonviolent Coordination Committee released its statement at the same time the Black Panther Party was training with the PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization] in Algeria.

In 1970 you had a group of prominent Black activists or scholars take out a New York Times ad supporting Palestinian liberation from Zionism and some of those signatories also signed our statement today in 2015. So there is a rich tradition of Black solidarity with international struggles broadly, and specifically with Palestine. I definitely contextualize this statement within that broader history of Black internationalism.

JJ: What would you say is the purpose of releasing this statement beyond a symbolic declaration of solidarity?

KDB: There are a couple of things. There is the suggestion that both Black and Palestinian people, and people around the world that support us, can join very targeted campaigns against companies that profit from the oppression of both groups, such as G4S and Veolia. Beyond that one of my individual hopes as an organizer is that this represents the current chapter of the Black liberation movement getting involved in the international arena once again to the degree that we were in the ’60s and ’70s. Because I think a lot of that momentum and a lot of those alliances were very intentionally targeted or repressed in the ’80s up through today even.

JJ: Some of the work being done to reignite alliances that were built between radical groups in the 1960s and ’70s, we’ve seen some attempts of that where there is a flattening effect. For example non-Black people of color using a people of color paradigm and erasing the specificities of anti-Blackness. Can you talk a little bit about the opportunities presented by “Black For Palestine” to engage not only Palestinian liberation but the specificity of anti-Blackness in solidarity?

KDB: Definitely. I’m glad you raised that because one of the points of reference I organize from is the understanding that white supremacy affects different groups in different ways here in the United States. So the anti-Black racism and the anti-Blackness that we experience and live under is of a distinct nature from the anti-indigenous or genocidal policies that indigenous folks here have experienced, is distinct from the experiences of non-Black, non-indigenous immigrants to this country.

A lot of times what happens is the differences between these groups are flattened out where we say “people of color” and we talk about how people of color are oppressed under white supremacy without acknowledging the power dynamics that are at play between our communities — so without acknowledging that every non-Black ethnic group or immigrant group in the United States is complicit in anti-Blackness or anti-Black racism.

One of the things that I hope comes up in discussions is a very critical examination of the ways that Palestinians — or just non-Black people in the United States — participate in anti-Blackness. So that for me represents a difference between joint struggle and maybe solidarity, where under joint struggle we acknowledge the different relations in terms of power between our communities and how that impacts how we relate to each other and how we organize.

So I think there’s a lot of room coming out of this statement for folks to organize around Arab anti-Black racism or for Palestine supporters who aren’t Arab to organize against their own anti-Blackness or their position as settlers in a settler colonial society.

JJ: One thing that stands out among many parts of the “Black For Palestine” statement is the phrasing that “Israel’s widespread use of detention and imprisonment against Palestinians evokes the mass incarceration of Black people in the US, including the political imprisonment of our own revolutionaries.” So can you expand upon this idea of the colonial, carceral state?

KDB: Sure. The first thing I want to talk about is how incredibly powerful of an experience and expression it was to have 10 currently incarcerated political prisoners respond to our call for signatures and sign the statement from behind bars. Their participation in our statement highlights the fact that they’re also a population whose liberation from the prison-industrial complex we need to be fighting for.

Also they represent the internationalism and revolutionary spirit that was intentionally targeted and killed from the 1980s onward. So their participation and inclusion in this statement is a link back to that era, specifically Mumia Abu-Jamal and Sundiata Acoli. Beyond that one of the things I’m thinking of about that line on mass incarceration is the need to abolish prisons.

There is different rhetoric around prisons in Palestine and here in the US but I do think they’re similar enough in the sense that we often don’t think of people arrested for drug crimes in the US as political prisoners but they are imprisoned under a very intentional political system that discriminates against them across every point of the so-called justice system.

The need to criminalize the existence or resistance of populations under settler colonialism leads to mass or hyper incarceration both in the United States and in Palestine and that prison abolition in that context is something we need to center.

JJ: What can Palestinian and Black people learn from each other?

KBD: From Palestinians we learn the importance of struggling for self-determination — a right that Black people in the US have never experienced, from our ancestor’s forcible kidnapping to this continent and the end of the Civil War through today. This is a right that Palestinians refuse to let go of through their sumoud, or steadfastness — and it is a right that Black people must claim as well.

The Black for Palestine statement highlighted the right of return as the most important aspect of justice for Palestinians because it cuts to the core of the “conflict” and is dismissed by Zionists and the US as “unrealistic.” For Palestinians to cling to and achieve the most “impossible” of their calls would be a boon to us, as we still fight for the “unrealistic” demands of reparations for our ancestors’ free and forced labor, or the abolition of prisons and the police.

The call for boycott, divestment and sanctions also models what it might look like for Black people in the US, across our varying political ideologies, to present basic criteria for us to exercise our own right to self-determination and to present basic actions people around the world can take to help us actualize our self-determination.

Our post-civil rights condition and the post-apartheid South African condition drive home the necessity for Palestinians to demand economic restructuring and safeguards both against decades of disinvestment and against neoliberal forces within the Palestinian political class. Full justice for Palestinians makes the case stronger for our own organizing in the US; full justice for Black Americans or South Africans makes the case stronger for Palestinians. I see each of these struggles as my own, because a victory for one group is a victory for us all. That is what motivates my work on this issue.

JJ: What kind of opportunities do you think “Black For Palestine” opens up for organizational solidarity with Black people in Palestine, be those articulated to the Israeli settler society or native Black Palestinians?

KDB: I think it opens up a lot of opportunities. One idea that has already come up as a result of the statement is bringing a delegation of African Palestinians here to the US so organizers can engage with them because too often they’re a population that gets erased from the narratives about Palestine within our own movement spaces here in the United States. And I know that there is already ongoing efforts between groups like the Dream Defenders and Black Youth Project 100 to connect Black and Brown people in the United States with the different African populations in historic Palestine, whether that is Ethiopian Israelis, Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers or African Palestinians.

This work is already happening so I think the statement is just another step for potential organizing between Africans in historic Palestine and Black people in the US.

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ON (ROBBING) BANKS

Posted on SeanSwain.org:

From The Final Straw Radio

amd_dog-dayWe live in an inherently twisted society punishes those who rob banks rather than punishing those who them. This seems more than just a little bit unreasonable to me, given that the obscenely wealthy shouldn’t store all of their ill-gotten loot in concentrated places and then irrationally expect the rest of us not to have designs on divesting them of it.

Banks are the most prominent symbol of our culture’s blind adherence to the institution of property. The fact that thousands upon thousands of banks open up bright and early, six days a week, and close at the end of business with rarely ever a single robbery speaks to just how completely we are caught up in the delusion of capitalism’s legitimacy.

Some of the most famous figures in American history were bank robbers: Jesse James, Butch Cassidy and the Sun Dance Kid, Bonnie and Clyde, John Dillinger. Robin Hood is a kind of universal archetype, the model bank robber from an era before the existence of banks.

It’s both curious and appalling that we have these buildings all around us just filled with cash while many of us are barely scraping by and struggling for fundamental necessities. We routinely walk past these cash warehouses, with holes in our shoes and our stomachs grumbling.

A friend of mine, who was more often a successful bank robber than an unsuccessful one, shared with me his observation that, during bank robberies, police never want to catch bank robbers inside the bank. There’s an old movie called, “Dog Day Afternoon,” where two bank robbers are inside the bank when the police arrive, and the robbery turns into a prolonged hostage situation. Police want to avoid that, so, according to my bank robber friend, they never respond immediately. They’d rather let you get out of the bank where they can arrest you on the street, or chase you, or follow you with helicopters. So, that gives you some time to grab a substantial amount of cash.

Also, according to my friend, most bank tellers are trained to do as you instruct. So, if you hand them a note with instructions not to trigger the alarm in the drawer, not to include dye packs in the money bag, and not to put a GPS locator in with the cash, they’re supposed to comply. Banks don’t want tellers to defy bank robbers, get caught doing it, and end up getting somebody killed.

For a period of time in the late 1990s, bank robberies had one of the highest rates of unsolved crimes. Robbing banks was pretty fashionable. In fact, in the Cleveland area, there was one guy who successfully robbed several banks and in each robbery he left on foot. The guy didn’t even have a car. Authorities voiced a hunch that he was probably homeless.

Well, he was homeless when he started the crime spree, anyway.

I would suggest that in this modern era, BANK robbery is no longer bank ROBBERY. Consider: In 2008, when greedy banksters bottomed out the global economy, George W. Bush and his treasury guy, Larry Summers, who was himself an alumni of the Lehman Brothers/CitiBank locker room, decided the banks were “too big to fail,” and offered billions of dollars in bail-outs. They gave the banksters money that the government took from you in taxes. When Obama came into office, he got together with his treasury guy, Timothy Geitner, also an alumni from the same crowd of usual suspects, and they continued the billion-dollar bail-outs.

So, that means all of those banks that won’t willingly give you any loans have their vaults and registers filled up with YOUR money. So, I would suggest to you that it’s not robbery to take what’s already yours; it’s re-appropriation. That’s no crime. The real crime is letting a single bank get away with keeping it.

Think about it. To be successful, all you really need are pistols, ski masks, dufflebags, and an assertive sense of indignation. If we all did it, you know, like setting up an International Bank-Fund Re-Appropriation Day or something, the whole banking system would collapse. It would cease to exist. We would have a future without banks.

So, if you dream of such a future just as I do, I encourage you to act. After all, that dream is “too big to fail.”

This is anarchist prisoner Sean Swain from Warren Correctional Institution in Lebanon, Ohio. If you’re listening, you ARE the resistance…

“Beyond right and wrong” by the Conspiracy of Cells of Fire – FAI/IRF (Greece)

From 325:

faiInter Arma received and translated:

I don’t believe in the right. Life, which is all a manifestation of incoherent forces, unknown and unknowable, rejects the human artificiality of the right. Right was born when life was taken away from us. Indeed, originally, humanity had no right. It lived and that was everything. Today, instead, there are thousands of rights; one could accurately say that everything which we have lost we call right. I know that I live and that I desire to live. It is most difficult to put this desire into action. I am surrounded by a humanity that wants what everyone else wants. My isolated affirmation is a most serious crime. Laws and morals, in competition, intimidate and persuade me. The “blonde rabbi” [I.e., Christ or Christian values.-translator] has triumphed. One prays, one implores, one curses, but one does not dare. Cowardice, caressed by Christianity, creates morality, and this justifies baseness and begets renunciation. […] “Society, on the other hand, modest and clean in appearance, but horribly infected with gangrene throughout its body, makes me vomit, fills me with horror and loathing, kills me.” How I envy the great Bonnot! “Il me faut vivre ma vie!” (“It is necessary that I live my life” — from the known “defense” of the French illegalist Jules Bonnot)
Bruno Filippi

(Italian anarcho-nihilist who was charged with several armed attacks and was killed by a bomb he carried, on September 7th, 1919, when trying to place it to the “Nobles Club”, headquarters of the wealthiest Italian businessmen)

Beyond the right and the wrong…

For Anarchy
The most important and nicest things are spoken in the simplest way. Today, though, the reality of our lives is far from simple. So, we often note that the most complicated (and boring, at the same time) words the political delivery “specialists” and the “revolutionary” rhetoric alchemists use, the most uninvited their oversimplifications are. The theorists “rebels” construe the world through the tyranny of their “obvious truths”. Their whole rhetorical calcification and their wooden words, that lulls to sleep through their undeviating dogmatism, comes to transfer “social revolution” to a oversimplified version of the eternal fight between the “good” people and the “bad” state, between the “right” and the “wrong” fairytale.

But if things were that simple, why hasn’t this fairytale, for centuries, come to an end, with the triumph of the “good” and for all of us to “live happily ever after”?

Especially today, when power is not centralist and abstracted to the king’s throne, however, it is spread inside the transparent social factory, both our anarchist words and our actions ought to deepen more and tear the “religious” missals and the aphorisms of the “good” and “bad” and “right” and “wrong” lack of depth.

Power is not just unfair, bad and malicious, that the most we denounce, even violently, will draw back for the rebels’ right to come off.

Power is a social relation, a social hierarchical organization model, a way of life management.

In addition to its directorates and its officials, it owes its own preachers, its mentors, its advisers, its jesters, its armed defendants of course, its loyal followers, even its inside objectors – usurpers…

It’s not just a bad oligarchic elite∙ it is an intricate system of relations that defines our everyday lives.

We know, of course, that if you cut the snake’s head, the rest of the body, after a few convulsions, stops… Power, however, has proven to be more like Hydra.

This is why, while our armed targeting gathers its firepower on the heads of the managers of power and their uniformed mercenaries, our words seeks to blow up the social relations that give rise to power. Let’s keep in mind that the phrase “no one is indispensable” goes for the power, as well. If we don’t hit both the heart of the beast (armed attacks against the officials of the power) and the veins of the social machine (criticism and rejection of the submission mindset), then, maybe, soon, after every attack of ours, we will hear “the king is dead, long live the new king”. Because unless slaves, even when they revolt, deeply renounce the mindset of submission, they will soon wish to crown their new king, next to the corpse of the former.

This is why the Conspiracy of Cells of Fire, FAI/IRF and the “political” groups in affinity, that form the stripe of black anarchy, both in the proclamations following our attacks, and in our texts, use heretic – provocative words, that do not comply with the traditions of the revolutionary automatism of the dipole “good – bad”, “fair – unfair”… We always have the sledgehammer of rudeness available, in order to shatter the window of the good and innocent society and highlight its guilty silence and frustrating passivity.

Of course, through our criticism we do not aim to build the crystal tower of the “revolutionary” self-admiration. This is why we detest the conceit and the arrogance that we sometimes find in our circles, by people who are alternative artists of nothing, not anarchists of praxis.

Our aim is to disassemble the stereotypes and the prevailing morality that poison our lives, through the small and the large informal power representations (family, school, work, relationships).

Our way is challenge and not a political politeness that caresses the ears of the repressed ones audience, most of whom don’t even bother to read a proclamation. An inconvenient truth is more inelegant but it is also more liberating than a pleasant lie…

So, it’s not enough to talk about the “right” of the repressed ones, the proletarians, the people’s…

First of all, the “fair” and the “unfair” is a moral subjectivity of the reality impression. There’s no such thing as an objectivity scale that defines what’s right and what’s wrong.

Power and the capitalistic management of it, along with the armed enforcement of their truth, they have their own think tanks, their own arguments, their own culture, their own civilization, their own suggestion of a way of life. Power does not dominate only supported by the power of its arms’ barrels, but also (supported) by its persuasion and its propaganda.

This is why anyone who makes the mistake to talk about the “right” of the many, will have to be careful because the interpretation of the “right” as a quantitative measurement unit, will not… prove them right. The right of the many is often the right of the viewers, the consumers, the voters’… The anarchist struggle is not about counting participation, nor does it have to do with the majority’s right. It is something much bigger than the conflict between the “right” and the “wrong”… It is a constant war between different values, a war that bisects society in two parts. The one part is the world of anarchy and the other part is the world of power and organized tedium. In this conflict, several people, who are excluded from the privileges of power, poor and oppressed, stands shoulder to shoulder with their elite rulers’ interests. The mass is usually fond of the mediocre, the immobility of habit, the rigidity of prudence and afraid of the new, the radical, the unknown of insurrection.

The bureaucratic tense inside the official anarchism and its communist components use the rhetoric of the “common good” and the “just of the oppressed ones”, thinking there is a conscious proletarian class, which will turn into the basic ingredient of “social revolution”, as long as it has its ears caressed.

We, on our part, want to set the conditions for the creation of a confrontational anarchist affinity between groups, cells and individuals, which are will transfer the experience of rupture with the existent immediately, here and now.

This way, a dangerous enemy in the heart of the beast can be formed, aiming to the diffusion of anarchy.

For this to happen, we have to make the conflict with authority permanent, to create a short circuit in the neurons of the system, to exploit and expand the contradictions of society, to provoke social peace, to qualitatively deepen anarchist thought and aggressively upgrade anarchist action, to challenge law and order. to overcome the moral denunciation of the injustices of authority and to prepare the war against it by promoting the new anarchist urban guerrilla.

Here follows the strategic matter between the moral impeachment of system and the continuous attack. The biggest part of the anarchist milieu in Greece is usually navigating through the maelstrom of events resulting from short circuits of authority. Occasional demonstrations and sometimes conflicts in an anti-war demonstration, student marches, strikes. The recent three-year “drought” of social mobilizations caused the “drought” of violent clashes in the streets of the metropolis.

The people didn’t take the streets and anarchists were insufficient in creating their own autonomous collective violent actions. This is the result of a conscious and subconscious (because of a habit) strategy, which presents anarchists as the violent reflex of “the sense of justice” of the masses. There is, namely, a certain timidity for the anarchist attack to be organized and expressed autonomously without moral coverage from the masses. In fact, of course, there is no moral cover in large social protests either, as the mass of protesters is a diverse crowd, from which, some believe in peaceful protest, others are professional walkers and members of unions and parties, others are angry and want to clash, others operate as internal repression, others are not members of some group… The issue is that the strategy of social counter-violence as a moral justification – response of the oppressed, is not defined by us at a time when authority can set alternative questions and the answers of the masses can come, not as a rupture, but as consent to them.

So, by waiting for the next social explosion, the next rally, the next big march, we abandon our ideas and actions in luck. But even when the social tension takes place, in order for us to get lost in the riots, we look like stowaways who jump in the last car of the train, a train that others drive on different tracks from ours. Even if we derail the train it will soon return on its rails.

Obviously, in no case do we advocate our absence from the field of metropolitan riots whose context we do not define (student rallies, anti-war mobilizations, large marches), in the name of a supposed anarchist purity. Within these mobilizations we can organize attacks against cops, burn banks, destroy cameras, expropriate shops, break the peace in the metropolis.

All these are intense and pleasant moments that, however, when not accompanied by a wider anarchist plan, end up staying isolated moments and beautiful memories, that just wait for the next march to be repeated. They lose the overall perspective and the potential to sharpen the attack and to make the tension in our lives permanent. This is the result of not only the lack of operational planning, but mainly of overall perception.

The notion of moral vindication of social counter-violence solely in response to systemic anomalies (violence of cops, racist attitudes, employers’ “arbitrariness”, harsh laws) incorporates the denouncement of system (even with violent form) and prevents the passage from the defensive counter-violence, to the aggressive continuous challenge of anarchist urban guerrilla.

We, on our part, want to articulate and organize a proposal of continuous attack, a complete anarchist plan, an insurrection that does not stop when the masses withdraw from their protests, but continues to feed from its fires,to grow big and to be diffused …

We feel like the hands of our clock have stopped in the moment of attack. We do not now need neither a cause, nor the moral justification. We know that the ugliness of this world is only repealed when one acts.

Our proposal is to create an informal network of anarchist cells that will promote the continuous attack against authority and  society.

Many anarchists fear the word “organization” in the way Christians fear the devil.

Others misunderstand and confuse the meaning of organization with bureaucratic fossils of Marxist centralized organizations, central committees, hierarchies, simple members, constipated rules, obligatory moral guidelines, statutes and enlightened vanguardism… Others prefer the alternative ways, sureness, adventurism and safety of an anarchist lifestyle, rather than an organized anarchy and a dangerous internal enemy that attacks without looking for pretexts as the causes are more than enough …

Some will hastily become indignant, saying that organization kills spontaneity, individuality and desires…

Let’s say, however, what we mean by “anarchist organization”… Anarchist organization is the living mental and physical coordination of a group of comrades, in order to carry out a certain plan. The more complete that plan is, the more comprehensive is the relationship of group’s comrades while the commitment and consistency have as a measure, the power of desires to achieve the plan and not the discipline of a military duty. Each comrade is unique and independent within the group and through the collective life and action of the cell, discovers and releases more of himself. There is no membership card, but only the individual desire to take part in something genuinely collective.

Of course, organization is not an end in itself, it is the means to get where we want. This means that an anarchist organization, an anarchist cell, must keep its procedure under constant review, to develop its relations, to upgrade its actions, to sharpen its theory, so that it comes closer to the purpose of its formation.

It is only logic that within an anarchist group come up tensions, contradictions, anger and even potential departures. This is because every human relationship is confrontational, sometimes at the level of evolution and sometimes at the level of rupture.

The sure thing is that the existence of informal anarchist organizations and direct action cells fuel anarchist violence against authority.

Every anarchist group is a living war outbreak against the system. Through discussion, friction and composition within a group of comrades, anarchist action evolves, the threat of an organized internal enemy becomes permanent, the means of attack are upgraded, thought gets sharpened and the plan of the destruction of authority and the social machine is promoted.

We know no team can develop those associations of strength in order to decapitate the beast of authority and its products by itself. Nevertheless, even so, the comrades of the group, through their action, free themselves from the conventions of a world that wants us to be spectators of our lives. But if we want to maximize our action, satisfying more and more our desires, we can try to create informal coordination of individuals, groups and affinity cells which promote the anarchist urban guerrilla. The creation of such coordination is not subject, in any case, of the crucible of the quantitative centralism, which crushes the autonomy of each one of us. We are not interested in creating a central super-structure which will cause the creation of central committees and informal hierarchies. We are simply talking about coordinating groups and people looking towards the same direction. We are talking about the coordination of desires that become more dangerous when they are communicated and shared by accomplices.

The basic agreement within such an organization is the desire not to be a moment of truce with the enemy. Without, therefore, waiting for a favorable wind of social change to act, we decide to arm ourselves and turn our lives into a confrontational reality now. So we do not limit ourselves to the anniversary symbolism (this does not mean that we are absent from the days of wrath and vengeance in memory of our dead), we do not expect fixed appointments, waiting the state to get out of line causing the people to demonstrate, nor are we satisfied by opportunistic street fights with cops, in order to pretend that we’ve executed our “duty” to the struggle.

This does not make us arrogant to devalue everything from the balcony of an ideological purity. On the contrary, it makes us more prepared to throw ourselves in those battles that we will choose, even in intermediate social struggles, which we think are of interest (i.e. student occupations) without being disoriented by the circumstances.

The compass of organized expression points steadily towards the the intensification of the attack and the diffusion of our theory. The words “anarcho-nihilism”, “black anarchy”, “anarchist terrorism” are truly dangerous, when tested in the heat of battle.

The constant challenging of the enemy through autonomous guerrilla strikes (using the fan of the diversity of means, but with the constant desire of upgrading to armed guerrilla) and organized aggressive intervention to intermediate social struggles are part of the anarchist war. We say again, that the effectiveness of the strategy will not be measured by the figures of participation.

We want to create the possibilities of acting with people who feel stifled in the social cages imposed on them by authority and want to rebel… Our joy is great in any such new meeting with new comrades who bear the sign of complicity. No matter their numbers … What is important is that the effort is worth it…

“I am not led by the will of the masses. Nor do I mourn for the sorrows of the people. I never accepted the fate of the slave that was prepared for me, I didn’t speak their language, nor imitated their look. I refused to be with the many. My demons never sleep… I always long for the unsatisfied. And when they set fire to the foundations of society, they don’t daydream on the ashes. They are seeking wildly for the next scarecrow of authority to surrender it to the stake. They do not get comfortable, nor do they rest, they want war with everything that haunts our lives.

They say that whoever loves debris, also loves and statues. My demons live in the debris because nobody can hide there. The material of which each of us is made, is revealed there. You will find me among them, where the battle is raging”…

Conspiracy of Cell of Fire – FAI/IRF

August 2015

[Spain] About comrade Gabriel Pombo Da Silva and maxi prisons

Translated by Act for freedom now!:

via:.lacavale.be

faltan-los-presos

A year has passed since comrade Gabriel Pombo Da Silva was transferred to the Topas penitentiary centre (Salamanca). He continues to resist the harsh experience of the deprivation of liberty (after already more than 30 years behind bars), but also various stratagems that the prison administration is continuing to come up with in the best of its interests and those commanding it.

Topas prison was created as part of the program of construction of about twenty maxi-prisons promulgated in the early 90s by the PSOE government of Felipe González.

At the same time, the left and socialist head of the AP, Antoni Asunción, introduced the internal directive governing the FIES regimes. So Topas prison has the characteristics of these new mass incarceration factories – in Spain, the number of imprisoned persons has doubled in 20 years, from roughly 35 000 – 70 000 between 1991 and 2011.

One of the criteria of this modernization consists of distancing prisons from urban centres, so Topas was built in the open countryside. This serves several purposes: to hide these wretched places as much as possible; further separate those imprisoned from their loved ones, forced to travel many kilometres for any visit – (?!) luck, unlike most other jails, Topas is located along a main road served by a bus route, a ‘luxury’ that avoids the collective punishment of expensive trips or forced marches.

The distance is also intended to reduce demonstrations of solidarity in neighbourhoods as they once existed, especially when there is movement inside the prison, and to make escapes extremely difficult.

This program of new prisons is therefore the response to the waves of struggles, riots and escapes that rocked Spanish prisons regularly from the 70s to the 90s. Bringing together different types of detention inside them (remand, central etc.), these are maximum security prisons, equipped with automatic doors, increasingly sophisticated computerized control systems and a multitude of high tech devices among other things.

The size and architecture of these prisons makes it possible to lock up over a thousand prisoners in each of them, while separating them according to the requirements and experimentation of the prison management. They are in fact divided into separate autonomous buildings each with their own exercise yard, visiting areas and canteen. Any kind of interaction between the different units is carefully avoided, and prisoners have little way of knowing what is happening in the rest of the prison, which reduces the possibilities of struggles or even riots. To prevent “dangerous combinations”, it is also very easy to move a prisoner from one building to another without the need for a transfer to another jail – even if dispersion remains an effective way to punish prisoners and their relatives. After 5 transfers since arriving in Spain, Gabriel for example has already been able to discover 5 different internal modules in Topas. This organization based both on massification and atomization contributes to continuing the dirty war by breaking bonds of solidarity or encouraging rivalries and entanglements in a context of emotional and economic misery. To add a layer to the hardship and the struggle for survival, the latest find to date in Topas has been to reduce visits to two a month, to be conducted only by family or a lawyer …

Parallel to this architectural model the modern concept of scientific treatment of prisoners is also being developed. Contemporary guinea pigs, they are classified according to a long list of regimes, degrees and phases. This cataloguing is extremely precise and is carried out by a whole range of specialists (so-called “technical teams” or “trucologues [trickalogues]” as Gabriel quips, who refuses to submit to their examinations: psychologists, sociologists, educators and other social workers … ) according to essentially behavioural and disciplinary criteria.

What carries the sweet name of “individualized treatment” amounts to scrutinizing the behaviour of each prisoner to establish their profile and the treatment to be applied to them. To put it bluntly, it is a question of hitting where it hurts – knowing that this bureaucracy is also critical for exit permits and conditional liberty. All this obviously goes towards constituting huge databases and tighter control.

Beyond the regular interrogations required by these battalions of experts, daily monitoring is ensured through various means: the system of ubiquitous cameras and incident reports distributed by the screws are unfortunately often supported by the effective control of fellow prisoners.

The so-called modules of “maximum respect” of so-called “life in common” are an extreme example of this co-management. The prisoners who enter them actually undertake to respect and ensure others’ respect not only of the prison rules, but a bonus code of conduct developed for the division itself. Under cover of assessment assemblies, they are actively involved in their own imprisonment and the reign of the equilibrium that tends to generalize, that is what rehabilitation means…

Of course, the whole system functions on the strategy of carrot and stick: rewards for those who show proof of their good will with regard to the prison administration in various ways, while the closed regimes, isolation and most FIES regimes are intended to punish “conflictual” prisoners and endorse the diagnosis or prognosis of social dangerousness.

FIES 3 awaited comrades Francisco and Mónica from the start of their incarceration. Gabriel, for his part, was put in FIES 5 while he was in A Lama, and this decision has already been renewed several times by the Topas administration. Noelia Cotelo, also considered a rebel, arrive at Topas in turn, where she was immediately put in solitary confinement. She is still in FIES 5. Among other special measures, it implies that all written and verbal communications are read, photocopied, listened to and recorded and can be censored based on criteria such as the vaguest “subversive content” or “endangering security or the proper functioning of the jail.” As it happens, for the comrade it is almost all the publications of an anarchist nature that are retained, even when they meet the mandatory selective criteria of having an ISBN number and mention of the printer. Hence her request not to send letters with this kind of post as they are totally denied. Her correspondence is also subject to the limitation of two letters to be sent per week, not counting delays or “unexplained” disappearances of letters, in order to silence and isolate her most likely.

The supervising judge of the region responded to the appeal sent by Gabriel by confirming his placement in FIES, with this sentence, that does not lack flavour: “It appears from the reports received and the content of the monitoring of calls made since he has been in this detention centre that he continues to carry out an anarchist and anti-system struggle against the regime and the institutions, encouraging his relatives and friends to fight.” This speaks volumes about what the State expects from the comrade: to renounce what he believes in and what he is; harassment and dirty games involving his release date (legal recourse is still ongoing) probably intended for this and obviously failed.

The functioning and function of prison reminds us yet again that it is a denser reflection of the society that produces and needs it. From the lowest to the highest levels, the wheels that maintain the institutions and the established order, need and demand the submission of the many. It’s about breaking individuals and eliminating possibilities of struggle. Consent can be bought with shots of good and bad points, crumbs, legal and illegal drugs or it can be snatched with the most direct violence, because all means are valid in the eyes of the powerful, democratic or not.

The “humanization” of prisons sold by power and media propaganda actually conceals the attempt at depersonalisation and total dispossession, just as their alleged “social peace” is merely a more or less covert war.

Outside as inside, it’s these gears that need to be broken, along with all the physical, technological and psychological chains. Only revolt and the struggle will finish with relations based on domination and satisfy our desires for freedom.

Down with the prison society, the State and all authority!

August 2015

anarchist solidarity

To write to the comrade:

Gabriel Pombo Da Silva
CP-Topas Salamanca
Ctra N-630, km 314
37799 Topas (Salamanca)
Spain

It is Time We Discussed Abolishing the Police

From CounterPunch:

“If I was an anarchist or even a regular protester,” explained the president of the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild Ron Smith, “I would probably not want to be infiltrated by the police… Just like the dope dealer on Third and Pike doesn’t want to get busted. That’s the price of doing business. It’s the whole package.” This startling bit of honesty from the Seattle police regarding their imperative to infiltrate and spy on social justice protests came as Ansel Herz, a reporter for the local newspaper The Stranger, questioned Smith regarding undercover cops at a Black Lives Matter protest last December.

For those involved in Left protest movements this is hardly news. I remember my early days in the antiwar movement at Texas Tech University. During the first rallies protesting the invasion of Iraq in 2003 local police with their crew-cuts, wraparound shades, and shirts tucked into Wrangler jeans would “blend effortlessly” into the crowd of college students. Campus police even intruded into a graduate student’s office—much to his surprise—in order to peruse our flyers and posters that were stored there. A year later an investigation by Salon revealed that police had infiltrated antiwar groups in Boulder, Fresno, Grand Rapids, and Albuquerque. A federal prosecutor even demanded Drake University turn over all of its records regarding an antiwar conference held there by the National Lawyers Guild.

Ahead of the Republican National Convention in 2008 Minnesota police in conjunction with the FBI raided the homes of antiwar activists “seizing computers, journals, and political pamphlets” according to reports. One of the many police officers who infiltrated antiwar groups prior to the convention would later brag of how protesters “were herded like sheep at the hands of the riot cops.” Ultimately he determined that the “strategy, tactic, and deployments were well planned and extremely effective in controlling [protesters].”

Detective Wojciech Braszczok was one of many undercover cops infiltrating the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York, a fact that came to light after his unrelated arrest following the release of a video of him violently assaulting a motorist. Braszczok’s participation in the movement went beyond monitoring protests as he insinuated himself deep into the personal lives of Occupy members even attending birthday parties—all the while collecting “intelligence” for the NYPD. Other undercovers in the Occupy movement worked as agent provocateurs “being paid to go to these protests and put us in situations where we’d be arrested and not be able to leave” as Occupy member Marshall Garrett discovered after his 2011 arrest.

During the 2010 protests against budget cuts and tuition hikes on West Coast college campuses university police sent a spy into meetings of the University of Washington based UW Student Worker Coalition. At UC Davis the administration worked with faculty and police to form the Student Activism Team, a taskforce charged with infiltrating and surveilling Left groups on campus. Even more disturbing, a lawsuit filed last year by the Evergreen State College chapter of Students for a Democratic Society revealed further details of a surveillance ring dating back to 2009 and built around John Towery a member of the Army’s Force Protection Service who had infiltrated the Olympia, Washington student group. According to emails Towery was trying to “develop a leftist/anarchist mini-group for intel sharing and distro” with campus police and police departments in Everett, Spokane, Portland, Eugene, and Los Angeles as well as with various branches of the military.

Last week documents obtained by The Intercept revealed that undercover officers for the NYPD regularly attended Black Lives Matter events. Pictures of activists are kept on file by the department and their movements are tracked. In a statement on these revelations the Metropolitan Transit Authority which has been using its counter-terrorism task force to also spy on Black Lives Matter justified the spying by equating protesters with terrorists. And this is not just the view of local police departments, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force have both been monitoring Black Lives Matter protests across the country showing the dangerous and unfounded link in the minds of police between social justice movements and terrorism.

It is notable that the problem of police infiltration is unique to Left-leaning political groups. Right wing organizations like the Tea Party, the Oath Keepers, and the Ku Klux Klan are more likely to have police as enthusiastic members than moles. Even the FBI’s oft celebrated infiltration of the Klan during the Civil Rights Movement led to more cheerleading for Klan activity than arrests of its members. While police frequently paint Left organizations as violent in order to justify the violation of people’s right to organize politically these right wing terrorist groups are regularly leftunmolested by the supposed keepers of the peace.

There are many people who think the police exist to fight crime. The reality is that the police exist to maintain the status-quo with the rich on top and everyone else fighting for scraps. During the uprising in Ferguson last year comedian Chris Rock commented, “If poor people knew how rich rich people are, there would be riots in the streets.” The police represent the first line of defense between the rich and the rioters. Those involved in the Black Lives Matter movement—the latest challenge to the racist status-quo—learn quickly the true function of the police as they are shouted at and insulted by police in riot gear who hem in their marches, as they have their photos taken by police surveillance teams for further investigation, as they deal with the never ending stream of plain-clothes cops intimidating, monitoring, sowing seeds of distrust. Knowing the political role of the police perhaps it is time to stop hoping for reform and start imagining a world without the police.

“If I Die in Police Custody, Burn Everything Down!”

Originally posted to IT’S GOING DOWN:

Across the US, in response to the outpouring of rebellion in the wake of a tidal wave of police murders, a handful of cops have been charged, several have been fired, and a few have simply quit. Those in power, from president Obama to the local police chiefs, rush to make cosmetic changes to an ever militarizing police force. They hurry to buy police body cameras while at the same time departments spend millions on decommissioned military vehicles and weapons to suppress future rebellions.

if-i-die

They say the conversation on policing and race and America has changed, but the daily reality of American life continues to produce piles of dead bodies and millions of people incarcerated. Since Mike Brown’s murder by Ferguson police, over 1,100 people have been killed by law enforcement in the United States.

We aren’t in a crisis of policing – we’re in the middle of a war.

“That’s the Only Way Motherfuckers Like You Listen!”

At the same time, due to the ongoing rebellions in Ferguson, Baltimore, and Oakland, those in the “opposition,” from the unions, to Jackson and Sharpton, to the Nation of Islam, have all intensified their rhetoric. The commemoration for the ‘Million Man March’ is entitled, “Justice or Else!” The recent disruptions of the Presidential debates, from Sanders to Clinton to Bush all point to a growing anger at politics as usual and an acceptance of more radical action. But these protests also continue this idea that if “justice” is not served, there will be consequences. “If you don’t negotiate with us, we’ll set the rabble loose!,” say the activists and politicians in waiting.

But it hasn’t been the ‘leaders’ of the official Black Lives Matter group, the New Black Panthers, or any of the leftist parties that have pushed the current uprisings; the revolts has by and large been carried out by the people themselves and the youth in particular. In Baltimore, it was high-schoolers who trashed cop cars and threw stones at police, driving them out of the neighborhood. In Ferguson, it was the neighborhood of Canfield which fought back every night for weeks in the face of a military occupation. It was a collection of graffiti writers, youth of color, and anarchists who held the streets and blocked freeways in Oakland for close to a month.

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During these rebellions, the “official” organizations, whether the Democratic Party or the non-profits, were all trying to smoother the uprisings. Now, they hope to turn this energy into votes and new members. But while the official groups try to match their rhetoric to the actions of the people, all they have as leverage against those in power to make changes is the actions of the people they hope to drown out. “Listen to us and we will make sure there isn’t a riot,” they say. “Make these changes, put us in power, and there won’t be an uprising.”

But things must change, everything must change.

The riots were just the start, we must go much further.

“Rise the Fuck Up! Shut that Shit Down!”

Buildings have been burned, freeways have been blocked, and millions of dollars of property and police equipment has been destroyed. “But nothing has changed,” we hear people say over and over again. And they are right.

With each cycle of revolt, things only seem to get worse. The anti-war movement, the student movement, Occupy, and Black Lives Matter – all of these moments were largely based around the idea of exacting a cost on a system in order to push it to make structural changes. From blocked freeways, to burned buildings, to shaming hashtags, “Here, have a taste of our anger,” was our mindset.

But those in power became quite adapt at making changes – changes that didn’t amount to shit. Their rhetoric changed; they said words like, “the 99%” and “Black Lives Matter,” around election time. They put cameras on police, but in the end the cameras are still pointed at us. They took healthcare away from prisoners and diverted it into higher education. They passed laws upping the minimum wage to $15 in several years time; keeping us squarely locked in poverty. All the while, this society continues to break down and the ecological system continues to hurtle us towards apocalypse.

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The militant movements of the last several years have been failures because they have only sought to generate reforms from the present system, even if they didn’t make demands. We went into the streets knowing something was wrong, but in the back of our minds we hoped those in power would listen to us and make changes.

Those in the Left groups with their newspapers claimed we lacked a vanguard party to guide us. The unions claimed we lacked representation in the workplace. The churches and mosques said we lacked moral superiority in the face of state violence. The non-profits whined we had a poor outreach strategy.

The riots, blockades, occupations, and shut-downs failed because they didn’t go far enough.

Revolutions that go half-way, dig their own grave.

“If I die in police custody, don’t let my parents talk to…Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, or any of the motherfuckers who would destroy my name.”

Being a revolutionary in the present terrain means knowing that things aren’t going to get better; that currently there are no reforms that the system can grant that will get us out of the current crisis. Those in power will continue to offer only more repression, surveillance, incarceration, and policing to quell in rebellion, while also attempting to placate to popular anger by attempting to offer cosmetic changes or “expand the dialog.”

But what would a revolutionary strategy look like? What has already taken place in the streets that can show us a way forward? In the past several years, across the world, from Oakland to Egypt, we’ve seen the proliferation of various tactics and strategies – all responding to a historical moment of crisis that defines our era.

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We have seen the proliferation of occupations, whether in camps, squares, or buildings. These communal spaces serve as a vehicle to get organized from and meet the needs of the insurgents involved. We saw this in many Occupy camps, in Tahrir square, and in Ferguson around the burned QT building. All insurrections need bases of operations; they need space. But we have to push and expand this space, into schools and universities (such as in various occupations across Chile and Europe), in occupied union halls and workplaces (such as in Greece), and into public areas and whole regions (such as in Turkey at Gezi Park, throughout the Rojava Revolution in the autonomous region of Kurdistan, indigenous blockades of pipelines such as across Canada, and at the ZAD in France).

Autonomy is power.

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Beyond just being a place where people talk and make plans, these places need to expand the communal activity of people organizing themselves and meeting their needs directly. But such space will always need to be defended. Whether it is the streets of Ferguson from the police and the National Guard, or the occupied Egyptian squares, rioting has been the offensive capacity by which people have defended themselves from government forces and expanded their territories.

“Let them know, that my sisters got this!”

Rioting, in a defense and offensive capacity also allows people to attack the infrastructure of the enemy: namely the police, surveillance systems, and the like. However, beyond bank windows and burned patrol cars, the use of blockades has proven to be a very effective tactic in shutting down the flows of capital, stopping the construction of a project, and preventing the movement of state forces. We can see this most spectacularly in the indigenous struggles in Canada (such as the Mi’kmaq and Unist’ot’en), where Native groups are setting up encampments to stop the development of fracked oil pipelines.

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But these tactics by themselves are just that, tactics. Blockading a freeway against white supremacy might be the start of a longer revolutionary struggle or a way to gather our forces, but simply going onto a freeway and hoping that something will materialize (or worse yet, someone will listen,) is delusional thinking. If we want to build a revolutionary force capable of destroying this system of domination, white supremacy, and exploitation, then we have to think about tactics in terms of a strategy.

Thinking about a strategy means paying attention to the situation we are in both locally where we live, but also nationally and internationally. We have to think about how the Left and those that try and control social struggles will react and try and hinder our efforts. We have to think about how the state will try and repress us for attacking the social order.

But above all, we have to think about how our actions can grow, expand, become more powerful, and ultimately link up with others across the social terrain.

 

The above text has been condensed into a flyer which you can download below. Use the box to fill in a link to local projects. 

Whole page. Quarter sheet.

Jalil’s analysis for Future Focus

Jericho Movement:

jalil-muntaqim-webIn seven years, by 2023, the U.S. will be 40 percent minority, and 50 percent of the entire population will be under 40 years old. These are the demographics that cannot be ignored as progressives move forward building opposition to institutional racism and plutocratic governing.

In my thinking, it is incumbent on today’s activists to take into account what America will look like in ten years, so we will be better positioned to ensure the future will not be governed by deniers of change. In this regard, I am raising dialogue toward building a National Coalition for a Changed America (NCCA) comprised of social, economic and political activists who are prepared to build a future-focused America based on equitable distribution of wealth. It is important that progressives seek the means to organize greater unity and uniformity in ideological and political objectives toward the construction of a mass and popular movement. It is well established that the most pressing issues confronting the poor and oppressed peoples are wage inequities, housing displacement, dysfunctional public schools and student debt, climate change, the criminalization of the poor, mass incarceration, and the militarization of the police. In each are negative racial and economic implications creating social conflicts and confrontations.

However, the most pervasive and devastating cause for all of these issues is the unequal distribution of wealth. It is well researched and recorded that the wealth disparity, income gap between whites and blacks is 40% greater today than in 1967, with the average black household’s net worth at $6,314 and the average white household’s at $110,500 (New York Times, “When Whites Just Don’t Get It,” by Nicholas Kistof). When we account for how such economic disparity impacts educational opportunities or criminal behaviour in the black community, we are better able to identify the overall pernicious problem. The Brookings Institute reported last July that: “As poverty increased and spread during the 2000s, the number of distressed neighborhoods in the United States—defined as census tracts with poverty rates of 40% or more—climbed by nearly three-quarters.” The report continued: “The population living in such neighborhoods grew by similar margins (76%, or 5 million people) to reach 11.6 million by 2008-2012.” (New York Times, “Crime and Punishment,” by Charles M. Blow).

Obviously, America is in increasing economic crisis, especially when considering … “According to a recent paper by the economists Emmanuel Saez of the University of California, Berkeley, and Gabriel Zucman of the London School of Economics, almost all of the increase in American inequality over the last 30 years is attributable to the “rise of the share of wealth owned by the 0.1% richest families.” And much of that rise is driven by the top 0.01%. “The wealth of the top 1% grew an average of 3.9% a year from 1986 to 2012, though the top one-hundredth of that 1% saw its wealth grow about twice as fast. The 16,000 families in the tiptop category—those with fortunes of at least $111 million—have seen their share of national wealth nearly double since 2002, to 11.2%.” (New York Times, “Another Widening Gap: The Haves vs. the Have-Mores,” by Robert Frank).

Can there by any serious disputing the reality that this so-called democracy is actually a plutocracy, and the governing plutocrats have us all hustling and scraping for the crumbs, demanding a minimum wage increase, when we should be demanding control of production? Hence, it is necessary for progressives to realize the future of our struggle must be based on participatory democracy, direct-action engagement. It is important for the more educated and experienced activists to teach the younger activists, and young people in general need to know the future belongs to them, and we are concerned about what that future will look like and how to make it productive. It is essential we figure ways to bridge differences between the evolving demographics and growing minority population.

For instance, I am heartened to see young people taking to the streets challenging the common impunity of police repression and violence. Indeed, Black Lives Matter! However, I am not confident these protests will result in anything substantial in terms of institutional changes or build a sustainable movement. We remember Occupy Wall Street (OWS) had created similar national attention, but void a national organization, leadership or agenda (demands), it was a matter of time before OWS would dissipate and disappear after police removed the public nuisances.

In this regard, I am asking activists to post on their Facebook pages and other online sites these musings, for open discussion and dialogue. Specifically, I suggest that young people across the country enter open debate about the future of specific issues that have captured national attention. Obviously, it is necessary to build a mass and popular movement to effectuate real institutional change in this country. This was a vital lesson from the civil rights movement challenging the institution of Jim Crow. Therefore, I am urging young activists to consider organizing toward a “Million Youth Independence Day March” (MY-ID March) for July 4, 2016, in Washington, D.C., making the following demands:

1. De-Militarization and De-Centralization of the Police, Demand Community Control of Police

2. Debt Relief for College Students, Lower Tuition Cost for College Education;

3. Support the Manifestation of the Dreamers Act—Stop Deportations and the Splitting of Families.

These three issues, as they become part of the national dialogue and challenge to the plutocratic government, are able to unite a universal national determination. A one-issue protest/campaign is not sustainable when confronting an oppressive/repressive government policy supported by right-wing corporate interests. However, these interwoven issues reach three demographics of young people, each directly challenging institutions of government. Again, it is important to use the current unrest to forge a unified and uniform national youth movement.

Secondly, politically, we need to consider how best to ensure these issues become a major factor in the national debate, possibly imposing them into the national election of 2016. In this way, inspiring and encouraging a mass and popular youth movement organized during the election year of 2016, we empower the youth to be future focused. It is well established that it was the youth who were instrumental in getting Obama elected as President. Despite our collective disappointment with his presidency, the lesson learned is the power of the youth when united and determined to accomplish a task. Again, recognizing that in 7 years the electoral demographics will be drastically changed, it is time to prepare for that eventuality, even if some do not believe in the electoral process. Therefore, during the election year of 2016, not a single candidate will be permitted to conduct a public forum without being challenged by these issues. These would be acts of participatory democracy and direct-action engagement. Obviously, to hold a national rally and march in Washington, D.C. during the July 4, 2016 weekend tells the entire country that young people will divorce themselves from the status quo, becoming independent of the Republican/Democratic party politics.

In closing, it is anticipated this proposal will raise questions concerning the potential for the development of a National Coalition for a Changed America (NCCA). Permit me to say that this proposed organization is only a suggestion. I firmly believe that building a national coalition is necessary to establish a mass and popular movement capable of forcing institutional changes, including the ultimate goal of redistribution of America’s wealth. I request this paper be widely distributed and discussed. I am prepared to enter discussion with anyone interested in the potential development of a National Coalition for a Changed America. Lastly, I humbly request activists to review what I wrote in“Toward a New American Revolution.”

“Our First Line of Defense IS Power to the People!”

Remember: We Are Our Own Liberators!

In fierce struggle,
Jalil A. Muntaqim
Attica, February 2015

Write to Jalil:
Anthony J. Bottom #77A4283
Attica Correctional Facility
P.O. Box 149
Attica, NY 14011-0149