Monthly Archives: December 2010

200 Years of Imperialism in 4 Minutes

CAPITALIST uneven development – imperialism – speaks for its racist self.

… a large proportion of the so-called underdeveloped countries are in total stagnation, and… in some of them the rate of economic growth is lower than that of the population increase.

These characteristics are not fortuitous; they correspond strictly to the nature of the capitalist system in full expansion, which transfers to the dependent countries the most abusive and barefaced forms of exploitation. It must be clearly understood that the only way to solve the questions now besetting mankind is to eliminate completely the exploitation of dependent countries by developed capitalist countries, with all the consequences that this implies.

-Che Guevara, 1964
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We’ll Ride Until the Wheels Fall Off: Prisoners as Proletarian Actors

Georgia – On December 9, 2010, thousands of Georgia prisoners struck – making it the biggest prisoner protest in the history of the United States. What does this mean? Prisoners across the Georgia penitentiary system collectively refused to cooperate with the system incarcerating them, to leave their cells, to work for free for the government. They organized to exert direct control over their bodies, their lives and their circumstances, something they could only do by acting in concert in the thousands. Since December 9, the initial strike day, thousands have continued their struggle against brutal, punitive, unjust conditions, standing up against extreme violence from the prison guard forces.

Despite its size, the unique thing about this prisoner resistance is that it uses the most powerful weapon in the arsenal of the proletariat: consciously and collectively withholding its labor power across the divisions created by bourgeois ideology and its division of labor. One prisoner put out the following statement:

…Brothers, we have accomplished a major step in our struggle…We must continue what we have started…The only way to achieve our goals is to continue with our peaceful sit-down…I ask each and every one of my Brothers in this struggle to continue the fight. ON MONDAY MORNING, WHEN THE DOORS OPEN, CLOSE THEM. DO NOT GO TO WORK. They cannot do anything to us that they haven’t already done at one time or another. Brothers, DON’T GIVE UP NOW. Make them come to the table. Be strong. DO NOT MAKE MONEY FOR THE STATE THAT THEY IN TURN USE TO KEEP US AS SLAVES….

Across and against the extreme racial antagonisms which exist throughout all of capitalist society but especially in the USA’s “corrections” system, prisoners of all colors united against a common enemy: the coercive, violent, exploitative force of their captors. Organized through existing networks of prison life, using cell phones purchased from guards (who profit from illicit trade with the prisoners – charging as much as $800 for a cell phone!), the strike has put forward intelligible, clear, justifiable demands – demands that many of us can identify with as exploited workers, but also demands that go beyond working conditions or wages to challenge the logic of incarceration in the US today.   The list and more below the fold:

Pamphlet Release – Crisis and Consciousness: Education Struggle in CA

It’s been a while since we put up something of our own on the blog here, so we’d like to start another round of AS work on the blog with a compilation of our best work on one subject: the budget cuts struggle in California.

November 19th, 2009: UCLA students block the UC head administrators’ exit from a meeting where they voted to increase fees throughout the UC

Around the world for the last few years, working class people have been fighting back on a massive scale against “austerity measures”, new rounds of “structural adjustment” where state services are harshly cut back.  In times of high unemployment and economic slowdown, the lives and training of the working class aren’t profitable and get cut.  Students across California, just like students across the world, started to fight back against the cuts through protests, occupations, even riots….signs that folks are learning an important lesson: we can’t trust the Democrats to fight for our interests when the chips are down.

And like all mass movements, the student movement in California experimented and self-criticized as it struggled.  Democracy was debated, communization attempted, capitalism questioned, race and gender often ignored but then brought back with a smash on white male movement dominance.  Debates erupted about whether the “work within the system” folks are the only heirs to the history of ethnic studies struggle; occupations were announced, denounced, celebrated and apologized for.  Amongst all this, revolutionaries like us were wrestling with questions:

When do reforms push struggle forward, and when do they slow it down?

Should the militant minority with “advanced consciousness” act independently of the more conservative mainstream?

Is Left unity important, or just pointless bickering on the margins?

Will the “governator” joke ever end?

And centrally for us:

How does class consciousness develop?  (Pamphlet below the fold!)

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