Radical media, politics and culture.

New York as the Occupied Territories
Mark LeVine

As the US security state grows and civil rights and liberties erode, Osama bin Laden gets the last laugh. A recently exposed decade-long relationship between the CIA and NYPD that shows how the two agencies have worked together to monitor Muslim communities in New York has alarmed lawyers and analysts

Only two weeks before the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Associated Press has broken a story that reminds us of just how much America has changed during the last decade, and how the government - and as important, some of the country's most powerful corporations - routinely intrude into the lives of communities and individuals in a manner that would few would have thought imaginable the day before the planes struck the World Trade Center.

After a lengthy investigation, the Associated Press has published a story detailing a highly secretive decade-long relationship between the CIA and the New York Police Department (NYPD), in which the two agencies have worked together in "a massive covert programme to monitor the Muslim communities" living in the New York metropolitan area and surrounding regions.

Dignified and Undignified Rage: Brief Notes on a Pending Invitation, the UK riots, and Our Collective Failure to Construct Revolutionary Responses to the Global Crisis
Kolya Abramsky

Up there, they intend to repeat their history.
They once again want to impose on us their calendar of death, their geography of destruction.
When they are not trying to strip us of our roots, they are destroying them.
They steal our work, our strength.
They leave our world, our land, our water, and our treasures without people, without life.
The cities pursue and expel us.
The countryside dies and we along with it.
Lies become governments and dispossession is the weapon of their armies and police.
In the world, we are illegal, undocumented, unwanted.
We are pursued.
Women, young people, children, the elderly die in death and die in life.
And up there they preach to us resignation, defeat, surrender, and abandonment.
Down here we are being left with nothing.
Except rage.
And dignity.[1]

With these words “the men, women, children, and elderly of the Zapatista Liberation Army in Mexico convoked all the rebellious of Mexico and the World” to attend the World’s First Festival of Dignified Rage, under the theme “Another World, Another Path: Below and to the Left”. Coincidentally, or not, the call was issued on the very same day that Lehmann Brothers bank, metaphorically, went up in flames, September 15th 2008.

Nearly 3 years later, in mid August 2011, the UK exploded in nearly a week of urban war. Sparked by the killing of a young Black man at the hands of the police, London and other major (and also not so major) cities proceeded to burn in the worst riots the country has seen in decades. A tinder box, waiting for a spark. And, though not directly related, it was nonetheless impossible not to notice the fact that the riots took place exactly the same time as the world’s stock markets once again found themselves hurtling towards a free fall.

Understanding the Present-Day World Economic Crisis
An Eco-Socialist Approach
Saral Sarkar

The current economic crisis that, roughly speaking, began in January 2008 and is, in July 2010, still going on, has shaken the world. Politicians, economists, and publicists are using superlatives to describe it, It has been described as the severest economic crisis since the Great Depression of the early 1930s. Seen superficially, similar, though not equally severe, crises have also taken place in the past few decades. There have been share market crashes, bank failures, crises in the finance market, credit crunches, strong recessions, state insolvencies etc. I have described them in my book Die Krisen des Kapitalismus (2010).

But the scale, depth and spread of the current crisis has been so great, that all concerned got panic. Many observers feared for the survival of capitalism. The question came up: is it only another crisis in capitalism, or is it the crisis of capitalism that Marxists, communists, socialists and other critics of capitalism have been waiting for since long? At least on one point all agree. Capitalism will never be the same again as it has been before the crisis, i.e. unbridled globalized neo-liberal capitalism will henceforth be bridled, more or less. That work has already begun.

Anarchist, Liberal and Authoritarian Enlightenments: Notes From the Arab Spring
Mohammed A. Bamyeh

The Arab spring, as far as we can see, appears to require no guardian intellectual authority, no political leadership, no organized parties. In fact even after revolutionary success, those elements still fail to materialize: there is no party of the revolution anywhere, no leader emerges to embody its historical spirit, and intellectuals still ponder the meaning of revolutions that most of them endorsed but none expected. Furthermore, these apparent absences—political, organizational, intellectual--were not due to any unfamiliarity with parties, leaders, ideologues or ideologies of revolt, for all of those have been tried before.

A revolution is an experiment in enlightenment. Experiments, as we know, may succeed, fail, or suggest revisions in their method, sometimes a reconsideration of what they are supposed to discover. 19th century revolutionary thought in Europe is often traced to the Enlightenment critique of the arbitrariness of absolute power, and to the Enlightenment's elaboration of the creative capacity of human will, reason, and freedom. Since these philosophical propositions were social in their implications, they could only be verified (or amended, or abandoned) only with the aid of grand experiments in the political, cultural and economic realms.

Preliminary Balance Sheet of the 13-Days Sit-Down Strike at Maruti Suzuki Factory in Manesar/Gurgaon, India
Guragon Workers News

From 4th to 17th of June around 2,000 young workers engaged in a wildcat sit-down strike at Maruti Suzuki factory in Manesar [1]. With the following text we hope to contribute to the necessary debate about this important strike and invite friends and comrades, particularly in Delhi area, to share their experiences and views. Before we go into chronological details of the strike we try to provide a rough political summary.

It was an important strike in local terms. The two Maruti assembly plants coordinate hundreds of local supplying factories [2], the Manesar plant dominates a new industrial area of major importance. There has been silence at Maruti Suzuki for more than a decade: the workers in Gurgaon plant have been silenced by the lock-out in 2000/01 [3], and they did not join the strike in June. The Manesar plant was opened in 2006/07, but the young and casualised work-force had not found their voice as yet.

Austerity is Prison
Anticut 3?

Now, finally, the money is gone. The world has run out of future, used it up, wasted it on the grotesque fantasies of the rich, on technologies of death and alienation, on dead cities. Everywhere the same refrain, the same banners and headlines: there is nothing left for you. From the US to Greece, from Chile to Spain, whatever human face the State might have had: gone. The State is no longer a provider of education or care, jobs or housing. It is just a police force, a prison system, a bureaucracy with guns. . .

Sometimes, maybe, we get treated to some political theater: faked expressions of concern or outrage from the puffy, grimacing faces. But the result is always the same –in Oakland, in Sacramento, in Washington, in the offices of the IMF –whatever the owners of wealth want, they get. The rest of us are sacrificed on the altar of the bottom line. No money on which to retire after a lifetime of crushing work. No money to go to college. No money for the grade schools and high schools, which every day look more and more like prisons. No money for the people maimed, sickened and driven insane by this unbearable society.

We could go through the new California budget line by line, but you basically already know what it contains. It’s not a budget but a bludgeon. Every line says the same thing: Fuck you. Die.

Happy Birthday, America
James Howard Kunstler

Do you, too, sense the dread abiding in our annual celebration of
national wonderfulness? Outside today's barbeque bubble the dark shapes
of wild events loom, exciting primal fears of unresolved woe and
travail. Yesterday, I saw a man on a back street of a small town with
spider webs tattooed on his elbows and a screaming skull on the back of
his neck. America, meet your new normal: a citizenry of exterminating
angels. Our political exertions mean nothing to them. They think Ronald
Reagan was the offspring of John Wayne and Minnie Mouse and the House of
representatives is a reality TV show about home improvement. Once they
are on the loose, even Rush Limbaugh and other like-minded jingo creeps
of the airwaves will despair.

Life and Labor in the Era of Climate Justice
Andrew Ross

As radicals, it is our job to respond to the very newest political formations, and few have presented themselves with the urgency of the tendencies that have sprung up to address and combat the climate crisis. For the purposes of this talk, let me outline four of these tendencies

1) The first is the emergence of the carbon calculus as an overriding measure of our ability to meet the crisis. If we cannot afford to allow atmospheric carbon levels to rise to 450ppm, should we hold the threshold at 400ppm or demand a reduction to 350ppm? For some climate activists, this is the only important question, and, for those who favor the quickest form of emissions reduction, we must proceed by any means necessary, even if it involves following pathways that are undemocratic. But the most everyday manifestation of this new calculus is the growing habit of assessing the carbon footprint of every product and every personal movement, including acts of labor. Indeed, quantifying the world’s energy throughput on the microlevel of personal conduct is becoming a pseudopolitical obsession. In some ways, it is a perverse spin on the statistical tyranny of the GDP, reducing our actions and our use of material things to a data-set––the outcome of which is a moral assessment of our thermodynamic performance. Carbon-Neutral Man is the goal, a model of ascetic behavior that is the obverse of the wasteful hyperconsumer.

All Power to the Free Universities of the Future
Statement in Relation to the Outlawing of the Copenhagen Free University

The Copenhagen Free University was an attempt to reinvigorate the emancipatory aspect of research and learning, in the midst of an ongoing economisation of all knowledge production in society. Seeing how education and research were being subsumed into an industry structured by a corporate way of thinking, we intended to bring the idea of the university back to life. By life, we mean the messy life people live within the contradictions of capitalism. We wanted to reconnect knowledge production, learning and skill sharing to the everyday within a self-organised institutional framework of a free university. Our intention was multi-layered and was of course partly utopian, but also practical and experimental. We turned our flat in Copenhagen into a university by the very simple act of declaring 'this is a university'. By this transformative speech act the domestic setting of our flat became a university. It didn't take any alterations to the architecture other than the small things needed in terms of having people in your home staying over, presenting thoughts, researching archival material, screening films, presenting documents and works of art. Our home became a public institution dedicated to the production process of communal knowledge and fluctuating desires.

The Tactics of Camping: Yes We Camp!
Eric Kluitenberg

Michel de Certeau observed that the tactics employed by the ‘weak’ are always on the watch for opportunities, and that these opportunities must be seized “on the wing”. Tactics, de Certeau writes, have no base at their disposal from where they can capitalise on their advantages, prepare their expansions, or secure their independence from circumstances. Instead tactics ‘insinuate’ themselves into the places of others. They operate on the terrain of strategic power, ‘fragmentarily’, without taking it over in its entirety. Whatever these tactics win, they cannot keep. [1]

Hence, tactics are always nomadic.