Saturday, May 15, 2010
Obama says he is angry at BP for the oil spill. Then why did he not drive for enforcing the safety protocol and regulations that would have prevented this tragedy? The aggression and avarice coupl;ed with the indiffreence towards the survival of the planet as long as their mansion remains uneffected, being allowed to run amok is also the fault of our failed attempt at a Welfare State.
Resolutions from the most collaborationist to Revolutionary:
1-Perhaps this will serve as a wake-up call to the State to remind them of how Privatized Tyranny running amok leads to discontents in the populace, particularly that most affected. Which will lead to a few more safety regulations and restrictions on how said tyrannies will play a role in oil production and extraction.
2-Perhaps this will serve as a wake-up call to the populace to put stresses on the State and the Oil Bourgeoisie to do the functions mentioned above.
3-Hopefully this will serve as a wake-up call to people that States and Corporations are never to be trusted, and that any good is done by the will of democracy, real authentic democracy. And this wake-up call will lead to a bit more of authentic democracy.
4- Maybe this will help point out that Capitalism is a dangerous system, and when looked at from the point of view of the decent human being, a flawed system, as it gaurantees an extreme imbalance of wealth and power, and will culminate towards the desctruction of the Neoliberal-Capitalist regime and the creation of the democratic and egalitarian society everyone longs for.
Who knows? Maybe nothing will happen.
Friday, May 7, 2010
The text below summarises some initial thoughts on Wednesday’s tragic events by some of us here at Occupied London. English and Greek versions follow – please disseminate.
Κάποιες πρώτες σκέψεις πάνω στα τραγικά γεγονότα της Τετάρτης (5/5) από κάποιους/ες από εμάς του Occupied London. Ακολουθεί αγγλική και ελληνική έκδοση του κειμένου, παρακαλούμε διαδώστε το.
What do we honestly have to say about Wednesday’s events?
What do the events of Wednesday (5/5) honestly mean for the anarchist/anti-authoritarian movement? How do we stand in the face of the deaths of these three people – regardless of who caused them? Where do we stand as humans and as people in struggle? Us, who do not accept that there are such things as “isolated incidents” (of police or state brutality) and who point the finger, on a daily basis, at the violence exercised by the state and the capitalist system. Us, who have the courage to call things by their name; us who expose those who torture migrants in police stations or those who play around with our lives from inside glamorous offices and TV studios. So, what do we have to say now?
We could hide behind the statement issued by the Union of Bank Workers (OTOE) or the accusations by employees of the bank branch; or we could keep it at the fact that the deceased had been forced to stay in a building with no fire protection – and locked up, even. We could keep it at what a scum-bag is Vgenopoulos, the owner of the bank; or at how this tragic incident will be used to leash out some unprecedented repression. Whoever (dared to) pass through Exarcheia on Wednesday night already has a clear picture of this. But this is not where the issue lies.
The issue is for us to see what share of the responsibilities falls on us, on all of us. We are all jointly responsible. Yes, we are right to fight with all our powers against the unjust measures imposed upon us; we are right to dedicate all our strength and our creativity toward a better world. But as political beings, we are equally responsible for every single one of our political choices, for the means we have impropriated and for our silence every time that we did not admit to our weaknesses and our mistakes. Us, who do not suck up to the people in order to gain in votes, us who have no interest in exploiting anyone, have the capacity, under these tragic circumstances, to be honest with ourselves and with those around us.
What the greek anarchist movement is experiencing at the moment is some total numbness. Because there are pressurising conditions for some tough self-criticism that is going to hurt. Beyond the horror of the fact that people have died who were on “our side”, the side of the workers – workers under extremely difficult conditions who would have quite possibly chosen to march by our side if things were different in their workplace – beyond this, were are hereby also confronted with demonstrator/s who put the lives of people in danger. Even if (and this goes without question) there was no intention to kill, this is a matter of essence that can hold much discussion – some discussion regarding the aims that we set and the means that we chose.
The incident did not happen at night, at some sabotage action. It happened during the largest demonstration in contemporary greek history. And here is where a series of painful questions emerge: Overall, in a demonstration of 150-200,000, unprecedented in the last few years, is there really a need for some “upgraded” violence? When you see thousands shouting “burn, burn Parliament” and swear at the cops, does another burnt bank really have anything more to offer to the movement?
When the movement itself turns massive – say like in December 2008 – what can an action offer, if this action exceeds the limits of what a society can take (at least at a present moment), or if this action puts human lives at danger?
When we take to the streets we are one with the people around us; we are next to them, by their side, with them – this is, at the end of the day, why we work our arses off writing texts and posters – and our own clauses are a single parameter in the many that converge. The time has come for us to talk frankly about violence and to critically examine a specific culture of violence that has been developing in Greece in the past few years. Our movement has not been strengthened because of the dynamic means it sometimes uses but rather, because of its political articulation. December 2008 did not turn historical only because thousands picked up and threw stones and molotovs, but mainly because of its political and social characteristics – and its rich legacies at this level. Of course we respond to the violence exercised upon us, and yet we are called in turn to talk about our political choices as well as the means we have impropriated, recognising our -and their – limits.
When we speak of freedom, it means that at every single moment we doubt what yesterday we took for granted. That we dare to go all the way and, avoiding some cliché political wordings, to look at things straight into the eye, as they are. It is clear that since we do not consider violence to be an end to itself, we should not allow it to cast shadows to the political dimension of our actions. We are neither murderers nor saints. We are part of a social movement, with our weaknesses and our mistakes. Today, instead of feeling stronger after such an enormous demonstration we feel numb, to say the least. This in itself speaks volumes. We must turn this tragic experience into soul-searching and inspire one another since at the end of the day, we all act based on our consciousness. And the cultivation of such a collective consciousness is what is at stake._
Thank you Occupied London.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Mean while... As the worker suffers from the plight of political disenfranchisement, an absence of economic liberty, a continual drop in her focus by the charade of the mass media, and ultimately a humiliating defeat for her dignity, the capitalist who owns her, reaps the benefits of her labors as a capital, and enjoys the luxuries of that capital through economic subsistence, political power, a decent education, and an elevation of his status. In this setting, we see the likelyhood of the persistence of class, that is the inheritance of the class a child was born into. The child of the worker has fewer chances of a decent and excellent education than the child of the capitalist.
Surely someone will respond alike Milton Friedman and attempt to quote Adam Smith out of era (18th century, and 21st century are different centuries) to say that the worker has as much freedom as the capitalist and has the option to quit her job from the capitalist if he treats her unfairly. Regarding the former, to consider the material conditions of the worker, and the wealth of the capitalist, this is a ridiculous and condescending lie. Regarding the latter, Bakunin said it best,
"Easier said than done. At times the worker receives part of his wages in advance, or his wife or children may be sick, or perhaps his work is poorly paid throughout this particular industry. Other employers may be paying even less than his own employer, and after quitting this job he may not even be able to find another one. And to remain without a job spells death for him and his family. In addition, there is an understanding among all employers, and all of them resemble one another. All are almost equally irritating, unjust, and harsh." (Bakunin)
So it is seen that the worker is always in a sort of serfdom to her masters, the capitalists. No matter the turbulance of the economy, the worker suffers more than the capitalist.
Someone may say, yes I see that capitalism can be oppressive, but is it true to call it 'slavery'? Again, Bakunin says it best,
"M. Karl Marx, the illustrious leader of German Communism, justly observed in his magnificent work Das Kapital2 that if the contract freely entered into by the vendors of money -in the form of wages - and the vendors of their own labor -that is, between the employer and the workers - were concluded not for a definite and limited term only, but for one's whole life, it would constitute real slavery. Concluded for a term only and reserving to the worker the right to quit his employer, this contract constitutes a sort of voluntary and transitory serfdom. Yes, transitory and voluntary from the juridical point of view, but nowise from the point of view of economic possibility. The worker always has the right to leave his employer, but has he the means to do so? And if he does quit him, is it in order to lead a free existence, in which he will have no master but himself? No, he does it in order to sell himself to another employer. He is driven to it by the same hunger which forced him to sell himself to the first employer. Thus the worker's liberty, so much exalted by the economists, jurists, and bourgeois republicans, is only a theoretical freedom, lacking any means for its possible realization, and consequently it is only a fictitious liberty, an utter falsehood. The truth is that the whole life of the worker is simply a continuous and dismaying succession of terms of serfdom -voluntary from the juridical point of view but compulsory in the economic sense - broken up by momentarily brief interludes of freedom accompanied by starvation; in other words, it is real slavery." (ibid.)
I admit that times have changed, and that technological advances and class mobility has increased, but it must not be forgot, that class mobility in one country, is at the expense of class mobility in another.
Hopefully I have helped to clear away the delusions of liberty and equality in Capitalism. But what hope does the worker have in achieving her liberties and rights? A Social Revolution would be most appropriate in gauranteeing the rights of all, maintaining that it is led by the people and not a vanguard (such as a militia or a party).