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Analysis & Polemic

The following article was obviously written before the complete collapse of the Taliban and the formation of an interim government. Nevertheless, Sanya and Flint's piece addresses a number of issues that remain to be considered, in the present situation as well as ones in the future.

Supporting the Revolutionary Women of Afghanistan

by Sanya and Flint (NEFAC)

This article will try and sketch out why anarchists should critically
support the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) as
part of an active anti-war work (as well as part of a larger
anti-patriarchal struggle!). RAWA has been on the frontline in radical
agitation for women's rights in Afghanistan for over 26 years. They have
fought against Soviet occupation in 1979, against the rise of the
US-supported fundamentalist reaction which followed, and since 1996, against
the similarly misogynist and fundamentalist Taliban. Self-described as "a
political/social organization of Afghan women struggling for peace, freedom,
democracy and women's rights in fundamentalism-blighted Afghanistan," they
are the only grass roots, feminist, secular, and social democratic women's
organization on the ground in that country.

Molly Maguire writes: Many who embrace social contestation still have not got the message about free software. As a result, political measures which hinder its growth do not receive the attention I believe they merit. The following interview is helpful not only in explaining what free software is, but also in offering a hopeful vision of what it may be a harbinger of on a wider social level.


Interview with Stefan Merten, Oekonux, Germany

by Joanne Richardson, November 2001

>> Q: Oekonux - an abbreviation of "OEKOnomie" and
"liNUX" - is a German mailing list discussing the
revolutionary possibilities of Free Software. Many
people speak of Free Software and Open Source Software
interchangeably - could you explain how you understand
the differences between them?

The term "Free Software" is older than "Open Source".
"Free Software" is used by the Free Software
Foundation [http://www.fsf.org/] founded by Richard
Stallman in 1985. The term "Open Source" has been
developed by Eric S. Raymond and others, who, in 1998,
founded the Open Source Initiative
[http://www.opensource.org/]. It's not so much a
question of definition as of the philosophy behind the
two parts of the movement - the differences between
the definition of Open Source Software and Free
Software are relatively few. But whereas Free Software
emphasizes the freedom Free Software gives the users,
Open Source does not care about freedom. The Open
Source Initiative (OSI) was founded exactly for the
reason to make Free Software compatible with business
people's thinking, and the word "freedom" has been
considered harmful for that purpose.

hydrarchist writes: "
Through the aut-op-sy list, we have just been informed that the full text of Harry Cleaver's 'Reading Capital Politically' (2nd ed. AK Press, 1999)has now been made available online as a PDF at the following address:
http://lists.village.virginia.edu/~spoons/aut_html /cleaver_rcp.pdf

The file is very large (1.5mb) and thus we here provide you with a HTML version of the Preface which will give readers some feel for the style, content and subject matter of the text. Enjoy.


New prefaces to old works are problematical. What to say about something you wrote
a quarter of a century ago? Instead of writing a preface, it’s tempting to simply rewrite
the book in ways that would bring it up to date with your current ideas and formulations.
However, books, as some have pointed out, take on a life of their own after they’ve been
published and the generous leave them unmolested, not tinkered with, but allowed
to follow their own course. About all you can do is introduce them, tell a bit of their
story and then leave them to the mercy of their readers. This makes sense to me. So
here I tell something of the genesis of this book, about how it came to be, and then
something of the subsequent implications of its ideas for my own work since.(1)

Some books are intentionally crafted. Conceived and written as part of a political
project with a particular purpose, an objective, they are designed from the start as a
contribution. The first volume of Karl Marx’s Capital is such a book. He conceived and
wrote Capital as one step in a larger project of laying out his analysis of the nature of
capitalism. That laying out was, in turn, part of an even larger project of contributing to
the overthrow and transcendence of capitalism. His writing was part of his contribution
to the ongoing struggles of workers against their exploitation and alienation and for
the crafting of better, alternative forms of social life.

This interview was originally circulated on the nettime list. The article was submitted to us by a reader, but as it had been reproduced elsewhere in the meantime, such as news.openflows.org, I have decided not to place it on the front page.

Interview with DeeDee Halleck by Jakob Weingartner

How would you describe the strategy of indymedia?

The Seattle Indymedia site was inaugurated as part of setting up an
Independent Media Center so that all of the many movement media comng to
Seattle could collaborate. There was a growing realization that radio,
video, print and art groups could effectively work together on specific
issues. Before Seattle, there was the case of the impending execution of
independent radio journalist Mumia Abu Jamal. Although there was no
physical center, nor a coordinating web site, a national meeting of
alterntive media folk made a committment to try to collaborate a campaign.
In the space of very few weeks many of us worked collaboratively to make a
media blitz to counter the State of Pennsylvania’s assigned date for
execution: radio programs, videos, satellite broadcasts, special print
inserts, posters and a CD Rom were made with, for the first time, a real
sense of collaboration between different media. Throughout the country
there were continual messages against the death penalty and in favor of a
new trial for Mumia. For the moment, it worked, and the state postponed
the execution. (Though Mumia is still in jail and may still be executed.)

debonaire@mindspring.com writes:

12/05/01 As this story has attracted some interest and discussion, we have decided to bring it back to the front page.

This is a glossary/appendix from a forthcoming book published by Softskull Press titled 'Battle of Seattle: The New Challenge to capitalist Globalization (December, 2001)

Readers are invited to submit terms/cliches/buzzwords which they find worthy of elaboration, ridicule or dissection. Please post.

Glossary of Terms Relevant to Globalization

Iain A. Boal

The compiler salutes that small band of writers drawn to the critical glossary as a literary form: first, contrarian lexicographers such as Ambrose Bierce (The Devil's Dictionary) and Charles Bufe (The Heretic's Handbook of Quotations); poets, too, of a committed imagination with an accurate ear for the demoralization of the dialect of the tribe - - and here I think, for example, of Benjamin Peret, W.H. Auden, Allen Ginsberg, and Tom Paulin; but most to the purpose, a pair of critics, one American and the other Welsh -- Kenneth Burke and Raymond Williams -- who composed what the former called "a dictionary of pivotal terms" and the latter dubbed "a vocabulary of culture and society". These glossators were far from nostalgic for some Adamic speech, for the "true meaning" of a word; nor did they intend to combat, in the manner of reactionary linguistic watchdogs, loose usage with precision, let alone vulgarisms with a style book. It is, in fact, the active range of meanings that matters, since the immense complexity and contradiction within terms like "environment" and "violence" register deep conflicts in the social order.

Louis Lingg writes: "Freethought Mecca has posted a respectful yet skeptical article about Sulayman X, a gay convert to Islam 'whose Sufi interpretation of Islam exalts the qualities of divine love and mysticism.' Sulayman X has embraced the challenging task of struggling for the acceptance and tolerance of queer Muslims by Muslims: Queer Jihad."

hydrarchist writes: " Although this essay was originally circulated in 1999, it remains useful as an introductory overview of the innovative practices of the radical movement in Italy. Given the interest in our Genoa coverage and the work of Hardt/Negri, it appeared opportune to recirculate it.

The Future At Our Backs: Autonomia and Autonomous Social Movements in 1970s Italy

by Patrick Cuninghame (School of Social Science, Middlesex University)


The Italian new social movement of the mid to late 1970s, Autonomia (Autonomy), also known as Autonomia Operaia (Workers’ Autonomy), represents a key collective actor in the history of late 20th century European protest and social conflict. Firstly, there is its role in the highly conflictual and relatively rapid transformation of Italy from a recently industrialised nation to a ‘post-fordist’, post-industrial society from the mid 1970s onwards; a process which is still very much ongoing with the gradual emergence of a Second Republic, within the broader context of European integration, from the political instability, regional imbalances and corruption scandals of the First Republic. Secondly, there is the light the experience of Autonomia has thrown on the question of the changing nature of collective identity, political organisation and social contestation in urbanised, advanced capitalist societies.

The One Measure of True Love Is: You Can Insult the Other

An Interview with Slavoj Zizek

by Sabine Reul and Thomas Deichmann

The Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek has gained something of a cult
following for his many writings -- including The Ticklish Subject, a
playful critique of the intellectual assault upon human subjectivity.

At the prestigious Frankfurt Book Fair in October 2001, he talked to
Sabine Reul and Thomas Deichmann about subjectivity, multiculturalism, sex
and unfreedom after 11 September.


Has 11 September thrown new light on your diagnosis of what is happening
to the world?

Slavoj Zizek: One of the endlessly repeated phrases we heard in recent
weeks is that nothing will be the same after 11 September. I wonder if
there really is such a substantial change. Certainly, there is change at
the level of perception or publicity, but I don't think we can yet speak
of some fundamental break. Existing attitudes and fears were confirmed,
and what the media were telling us about terrorism has now really

David Grenier writes:

"Signs you didn't see at the "Walk for Capitalism"

The Capitalists are trying to coopt our tactics, just as some of them have tried to coopt our language. Nothing is funnier than seeing Capitalists claim they are "anarchists" because they want private tyrannies to replace ones that at least theoretically have a small modicum of popular control. Any understanding of the history and theory of anarchism would make a person realize that property rights (designed not to ensure that you can use something, but to ensure that everyone else can't), corporate hierarchy, and a transfer of wealth from laborers to "owners" (stockholders) has absolutely nothing to do with the anarchist vision of a leaderless society based on cooperation, freedom, and mutual aid with abundance for workers and nothing for parasites.

So now the Capitalists are trying to pull off a "global day of action" a la World AIDS Day and May Day. But people who feel that the only real motive is greed and the only reason to do anything is for money are obviously incredibly bad at organizing. This is why two years ago there were fifty thousand people in downtown Seattle fighting global Capitalism (and managing to shut down the WTO meetings) while yesterday, on "D2" (see, the Capitalists are even trying to co-opt the worst part of current radical culture - the Bingo naming system) about three dozen people showed up at the "Walk for Capitalism."

Read the rest of this story at the infoshop.

Anonymous Comrade writes:


Appendix 1


One of the IAC's best-known campaigns is aimed at lifting all economic sanctions against Iraq. By raising this issue, the IAC is trying to appeal to many people who have no sympathy for Iraq but who are rightly concerned that the way sanctions are currently imposed only ends up punishing ordinary Iraqis, particularly children, who are deprived of food and medicine while the ruling elite remains unharmed. UN agencies involved with Iraq believe that as a result of the way the sanctions policy has been implemented, thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians are needlessly dying every month. The sanctions policy has also been seized upon by Saddam Husayn to generate sympathy for Iraq, both in the West and especially within the Muslim world. Husayn, of course, wants an end to all sanctions so that he can go about rebuilding his war machine. From his point of view, humanitarian concerns about sanctions serve as a perfect "wedge" issue to force an end to any UN-imposed restrictions on Iraq's sovereignty, restrictions that were heightened after he violated his promise to allow UN inspectors to freely examine potential nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare sites on Iraqi soil.


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