Radical media, politics and culture.

The State

The South African State Moves Againts Shackdweller

Abahlali baseMjondolo

Today the KwaZulu-Natal Elimination & Prevention of Re-emergence of Slums Bill will be tabled in the provincial parliament. Abahlali baseMjondolo have discussed this Bill very carefully in many meetings. We have heard Housing MEC Mike Mabuyakulu say that we must not worry because it is aimed at slumlords and shack farming. We have heard Ranjith Purshotum from the Legal Resources Centre say that “Instead of saying that people will be evicted from slums after permanent accommodation is secured, we have a situation where people are being removed from a slum, and sent to another slum. Only this time it is a government-approved slum and is called a transit area. This is the twisted logic of the drafters of the legislation”. We have heard Marie Huchzermeyer from Wits University say that this Bill uses the language of apartheid, is anti-poor and is in direct contradiction with the national housing policy Breaking New Ground. Lawyers have told us that this Bill is unconstitutional.

It is very clear to us that this Bill is an attempt to mount a legal attack on the poor. Already the poor, shack dwellers and street traders, are under illegal and violent attack by Municipalities. This Bill is an attempt to legalize the attacks on the poor. We know about Operation Murambatsvina. Last year one of our members visited Harare and last week we hosted two people from Harare. This Bill is an attempt to legalize a KZN Operation Murambatsvina before the World Cup in 2010. We will fight it all the way.

Christian Parenti Speaking Event/Benefit July 5 NYC

A benefit for Green Scare defendant facing trial in September, Eric McDavid

Thursday, July 5th @ 7 pm

6th Street community center

638 East 6th street between Avenue B and C

Cost-$5 suggested donation

Food and drink will be available

Eric's trial is slated to begin in early September and he needs $6,000 to retain adequate council. All proceeds will go toward his legal fees.

Who is Eric McDavid?

Eric McDavid was arrested in Auburn, CA on January 13, 2006 as part of the government’s ongoing Green Scare campaign. He now faces two decades in prison. Eric has been held in solitary confinement at the Sacramento County Main Jail since the day of his arrest. He was arrested along with Zachary Jenson and Lauren Weiner and all three were charged with “conspiracy to destroy property by means of fire or explosives.” The government’s case is based on the word of a single FBI informant who was paid over $75,000 to fabricate a crime and implicate the trio. Both of Eric’s co-defendants have since caved under the threat of being imprisoned for 20 years and plead guilty to a lesser charge. In doing so, they also agreed to testify against Eric and cooperate in every way possible, including testifying in front of secret grand jury proceedings. Eric has been repeatedly denied bail. For over a year, he has only been allowed to leave his cell for a few hours per week and receives very little contact with the outside world. He needs your support now more than ever, as his trial date is quickly approaching.

For more information and past support updates, please click here.

To read the criminal complaint against Eric McDavid, please click here.

CIA to Air Decades of Its Dirty Laundry:

Assassination Attempts Among Abuses Detailed

Karen DeYoung and Walter Pincus
Washington Post

The CIA will declassify hundreds of pages of long-secret records detailing
of the intelligence agency's worst illegal abuses — the so-called "family
jewels" documenting a quarter-century of overseas assassination attempts,
domestic spying, kidnapping and infiltration of leftist groups from the
1950s to
the 1970s, CIA Director Michael V. Hayden said yesterday.

The documents, to be publicly released next week, also include accounts of
break-ins and theft, the agency's opening of private mail to and from
China and
the Soviet Union, wiretaps and surveillance of journalists, and a series
"unwitting" tests on U.S. civilians, including the use of drugs.

"Most of it is unflattering, but it is CIA's history," Hayden said in a
to a conference of foreign policy historians. The documents have been
sought for
decades by historians, journalists and conspiracy theorists and have been
subject of many fruitless Freedom of Information Act requests.

Solve et Coagula writes:

"Monopoly Men"
Fraud at the Federal Reserve

Solve et Coagula

The U.S. Federal Reserve, or the Fed as it is lovingly called, may be one of the most mysterious entities in modern American government. Created during Wilson's presidency to protect the economy in times of financial turmoil, its real business remains to be discovered.

During the Wilson presidency, the U.S. government sanctions the creation of the Federal Reserve. Thought by many to be a government organization maintained to provide financial accountability in the event of a domestic depression, the actual business of the Fed is shrouded in secrecy.

Many Americans will be shocked to discover that the principle business of the Fed is to print money from nothing, lend it to the U.S. government and charge interest on these loans. Who keeps the interest? Good question. Find out as the connective tissue between this and other top-secret international organizations is explored and exposed.

Watch the video

NOT BORED! writes:

"Protest to the Libertarians of the Present and the Future

About the Capitulations of 1937"

An 'Uncontrollable' from the Iron Column


"This appeal[1] from an unknown anarchist militia, part of the famous "Iron Column," appears to be — even to this day — the truest and most beautiful text that the Spanish proletarian revolution left us. The contents of this revolution, its intentions and its practice are coldly and passionately summarized in it. The principal causes of its failure are denounced: those that proceeded from the constant counter-revolutionary action of the Stalinists relieved the disarmed bourgeois forces under the Republic, and the constant concessions of the leaders of the CNT-FAI (here bitterly evoked by the term "our own") from July 1936 to March 1937. Those who proudly claimed the title, then insulting, of incontrolado [uncontrollable] proved to have the greatest historical and strategic sense. One had made the revolution half-way, forgetting that time does not stand still. "Yesterday, we were the masters of everything; today, they are." At that time, the libertarians of the "Iron Column" could no longer "continue until the end," together. After having lived such a great moment, it was no longer possible to "to separate us, to leave each other, to no longer see each other again." But all the rest had been repudiated and squandered."

"This text, mentioned in the work by Burnett Bolloten,[2] was published by Nosotros, an anarchist daily newspaper in Valencia, [in installments] on 12, 13, 15, 16 and 17 March 1937. On 21 March, the "Iron Curtain" was integrated into the "Popular Army" of the Republic under the name of the 83rd Brigade. On 3 May, the armed uprising of the workers in Barcelona was disavowed by its leaders, who succeeded in putting down it on 7 May. There would then remain two Statist powers of the counter-revolution, the strongest of which would win the Civil War." — Guy Debord

[1] Translator's note: Protest to the Libertarians of the present and the future about the capitulations of 1937, by an "Uncontrollable" in the Iron Column, was translated from the Spanish by "two aficionados without qualities," that is to say, Guy Debord and Alice Becker-Ho. It was published in French by Editions Gerard Lebovici in December 1979. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! June 2007.

[2] Translator's note: The Great Camouflage by Burnett Bolloten (1961), published in 1977 by Ruedo iberico under the title The Spanish Revolution, the Left and the Struggle for Power.

Protest to the Libertarians of the Present and the Future About the Capitulations of 1937

I am one of those who was rescued from San Miguel de las Reyes, the sinister penitentiary that was elevated by the monarchy to bury alive the men who — because they were not cowards — never submitted to the infamous laws that the powerful dictate to the oppressed. They took me down below, like so many others, for having committed an offense, for rebelling against the humiliations of which an entire village was the victim: in other words, for killing a "leader."[1]

I was young, and I am young now, since I entered prison at 23 and I left — because anarchists opened the doors — when I was 34. Eleven years submitted to the punishment of not being a man, of being a thing, of being a number!

'High-Value' Detainees Were Held in Secret CIA Detention Centres in
Poland and Romania
PACE Committee

Strasbourg, June 8, 2007 – So-called US "high-value" detainees (HVD) –
whose existence were revealed by President Bush in September 2006 –
were held in secret CIA detention centres in Poland and Romania
between 2002 and 2005, according to a report of the Legal Affairs
Committee of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE)
adopted today.

The report was based in part on the cross-referenced testimonies of
over 30 serving and former members of intelligence services in the US
and Europe, and on a new analysis of computer "data strings" from the
international flight planning system.

NLG Calls "Terrorism Enhancement" Chilling to Free Speech

The National Lawyers Guild calls the terrorism sentencing enhancement issued to Daniel McGowan yesterday an unnecessary and excessive government tactic to discourage the exercise of free speech. U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken sentenced McGowan to seven years in prison, calling one of the fires an act of terrorism because of a communication issued after the first that referred to potential legislation aimed at activists
(which would indicate an attempt to influence the government). McGowan was one of four defendants who plead guilty with the understanding that they would not implicate others who took part in similar actions.

Ten activists plead guilty to committing property crimes-most of which were arsons-that carry average sentences ranging from 5-8 years in prison. The terrorism enhancement, Section 3A1.4 of federal Sentencing Guidelines, can add 20 years to each of the sentences laid out in the plea agreements. Formal sentencing began on May 22 and continued through today.

National Lawyers Guild Executive Director Heidi Boghosian says, "Is this what a terrorist is? Applying terrorism enhancement to property crimes where the perpetrators went out of their way to minimize the risk to human life makes little sense as a matter of law or common sense. Americans know the difference between Daniel McGowan and Osama bin Laden, and this effort to subvert the fairness of the judicial system is an affront to the values they hold dear."

At The Borders Of Europe

Etienne Balibar

[Lecture delivered October 4, 1999, on the invitation of the Institut francais de Thessalonique and the Department of Philosophy of Aristotle University of Thessaloni­ki. French text first published in Transeuropennes 17 (1999–2000): 9-17. This translation of this essay, by Erin M. Williams, originally appeared under the title "World Borders, Political Borders," in PMLA 117 (2002): 71–78.]

I am speaking of the "Borders of Europe" in Greece, one of the "peripheral" countries of Europe in its traditional configuration — a configuration that reflects powerful myths and a long-lived series of historical events. Thessaloni­ki is itself at the edge of this border country, one of those places where the dialectic between confrontation with the foreigner (transformed into a hereditary enemy) and communication between civilizations (without which humanity cannot progress) is periodically played out. I thus find myself, it seems, right in the middle of my object of study, with all the resultant difficulties.

The term border is extremely rich in significations. One of my hypotheses is that it is undergoing a profound change in meaning. The borders of new sociopolitical entities, in which an attempt is being made to preserve all the functions of the sovereignty of the state, are no longer entirely situated at the outer limit of territories; they are dispersed a little everywhere, wherever the movement of information, people, and things is happening and is controlled — for example, in cosmopolitan cities. But it is also one of my hypotheses that the zones called peripheral, where secular and religious cultures confront one another, where differences in economic prosperity become more pronounced and strained, constitute the melting pot for the formation of a people (demos), without which there is no citizenship (politeia) in the sense that this term has acquired since antiquity in the democratic tradition.

flint writes:

"Where License Reigns With All Impunity"

An Anarchist Study of the Rotinonshón:ni Polity

Stephen Arthur

The traditional society of the Rotinonshón:ni (Iroquois), "The People of the Longhouse," was a densely settled, matrilineal, communal, and extensively horticultural society. The Rotinonshón:ni formed a confederacy of five nations. Generations before historical contact with Europeans, these nations united through the Kaianere'kó:wa into the same polity and ended blood feuding without economic exploitation, stratification, or the formation of a centralized state.

"Their Policy in this is very wise, and has nothing Barbarous in it. For, since their preservation depends upon their union, and since it is hardly possible that among peoples where license reigns with all impunity — and, above all, among young people — there should not happen some event capable of causing a rupture, and disuniting their minds, — for these reasons, they hold every year a general assembly in Onnontaé. There all the Deputies from the different Nations are present, to make their complaints and receive the necessary satisfaction in mutual gifts, — by means of which they maintain a good understanding with one another." — François le Mercier, 1668 (1)

Some historical materialists claim a densely settled, agricultural population will inevitably develop into a hierarchically stratified society, with a centralized state and an exploitative economic redistribution system, in order avoid warfare while resolving blood feuds among its members.(2) While this is a common occurence, it is not the only way these issues have been resolved. Located along the southern banks of Kaniatarí:io (Lake Ontario), the traditional society of the Rotinonshón:ni (Iroquois),(3) "The People of the Longhouse," was a densely settled, matrilineal, communal, and extensively horticultural society. The Rotinonshón:ni formed a confederacy initially of five nations: Kanien'kehá:ka (Mohawk), Oneniote'á:ka (Onedia), Ononta'kehá:ka (Onondaga), Kaion'kehá:ka (Cayuga) and Shotinontowane'á:ka (Seneca). Generations before historical contact with Europeans,(4) these nations united through the Kaianere'kó:wa (“the Great Good Way”) into the same polity(5) and ended blood feuding without economic exploitation, stratification, or the formation of a centralized state.

Against and Beyond the State: An Interview with John Holloway

From ZMag

John Holloway and Marina Sitrin discussed the new social movements in Latin America, power, the state, and prefigurative politics, in February of 2007. This is a continuation of a discussion that began in 2004, also on the topics of power, prefigurative politics and Latin America.

MS: Our last interview/conversation was in 2004. In that we focused a great deal on the question of state power, and on not taking it in particular. We grounded most of the conversation in the autonomous social creations that have been and are taking place in Latin America. Today, in February of 2007, many people argue that much has since changed in Latin America . I am thinking in particular about the 7 "left" governments now in formal positions of power, from Bolivia and Venezuela to Ecuador and Nicaragua, and the people who say that "now" the left has arrived. Has there really been the shift that people are talking about? Is the important shift in formal power, as most commentators address? Should this even be the starting point of our conversation?

JH: Yes, I think it is a good place to start. These are not miserable times. Perhaps that is the most important point. Friends write to me from Europe sometimes and it is clear that they are thinking in terms of Johannes Agnoli’s argument, that it is important to keep subversive thought alive especially in miserable times such as the present. But, living in Latin America, it is very clear that these are not miserable times. They may be awful times, frightening times (especially in Mexico at the moment), but they are not miserable: they are exciting times, full of struggle and full of hope. The importance of the rise of the “left” governments is that they are a reflection of the strength of struggle in the continent as a whole, and that is very important.

I say “reflection”, but they are also a response to the rise of social struggles, a very complex and contradictory response. In all cases, they represent the attempt to statisfy the struggle, to give it a state form, which means of course to de-fuse the struggle and channel it into forms of organisation compatible with the reproduction of capital. In some cases the “left” governments are openly reformist and repressive (Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay), in other cases (Venezuela, in particular), there seems to be a genuine attempt to push the state form to the limit, to open it out into real forms of popular control. How far that can be done from within state structures and from within a leader-dominated organisation I doubt very much, but certainly the trajectory of the Venezuelan government has been much more interesting than what one would have expected.

So the real importance of the “left” governments is NOT the façade but that behind the façade the continent is fizzing.


Subscribe to The State