Monthly Archives: March 2013

What is AS up to right now?

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Working on developing a communist theory and practice

We’ve had a wave of activity hit our blog in the past month due to the debates around “the union question.”  Due to this, we’ve been bombarded with many people’s quality positions regarding the question of whether or not, and how, to intervene in unions.  We’ve also received some critiques that the wave of blog posts around unions was not theoretically and historically rigorous enough.  We can only agree with this critique and acknowledge the limitations of our current position as a group to immediately churn out analyses that meet the academic standards of some of our graduate school comrades.

With that said, we’d like to emphasize a few points about where AS is at as a collective, as well as where our current thinking is at so that we can clarify for folks near and far. Continue reading

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Irish Insurrection 1969


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We move from our last post which dealt with capitalist agriculture, specifically, dairy, to the topic of working class insurrection, specifically, Derry. The We Know What’s Up blog bring us a first-hand account of a militant of the Derry uprising in Northern Ireland in 1969.  Can a riot turn into a commune?

Capital milking its system – poetry from a comrade

When I lived briefly in North Carolina and Wisconsin, I worked as a farm hand and fruit picker in some very prolific farming communities. I worked alongside Amish, immigrants, and high-end industrial farmers and made a point to jot down notes every day from my conversations and observations. A few years later, I came across my old notes, and rearranged them into a longer dairy capitalismstream-of-consciousness specifically about the Dairy-Industrial-Complex; a configuration of all the players involved in dairy production. The poem has no conclusion or clear ending; it is merely a commentary on the deterioration of health and food production for profit. This type of Industrial-Complex shows the absolute necessity for the complete unity of class struggle and ecological struggle.

In the Industrial-Complex, the global domino effect, in a global competition for greater profit, imported milk is condensed, canned, and distributed without charge to the poor countries of Mali, Niger, and Yap. The canned milk, though labeled “Nor forSale” in English, is sold in the local markets.
The amount of canned milk for sale worldwide depends on the economic conditions in North America, Europe and the South Pacific.
It depends on how much milk Nestle, Hershey or Kraft buys for their annual production and on the fluctuating value of the dollar, yen or Euro, which maintains its colonial ties to the CEFA in West Africa.
It depends on the consumption of milk in the rich countries; how hot the summer is and how much ice cream people eat.
It depends on the world’s annual yield of soybeans, one of the major competitors of milk products.
It depends on the consumption of corn for ethanol, for cow feed, for high fructose corn syrup.
It depends on Michelle Obama’s “War on Obesity” and the Department of Health’s concern for any diseases in raw milk.
It depends on the black market of raw dairy products, the costs of middle men, transportation costs and the popularity of whole foods stores.
It depends on the dairy subsidies and foreign aid appropriations made by U.S. congress; the food policies of the United Nations high commissioner for earthquake victims in Haiti and Pakistan; and the mercurial aid programs of religious and other private charitable organizations all over the world.
In the beginning, it started with the small farmer, bought out by a factory farm. The crops are then rotated annually- three years soy beans, one year corn, and again. The sprays; the pesticides.
It started with the land purchase. Forty acres and 30,000 cows, all walking around in their own feces; milking machines; tasers; small, confined spaces.
It started when the soil depletes and the factory farm moves to a different area. When a corporate hustler gives a high five to a politician who sells out their state’s land for a competitive profit.
And in the end, it changes the nature of the landscape, the culture of the towns, the priorities of local governments, monopolization of local economies. We see Walmart, green-washing, and cancer. The soil is sick and it runs off into the water. The people are sick and rush to Walgreens for prescriptions. The plants are sick- tomato and cucumber blight.
It ends with cultural phobias- bacteria is harmful and must be eliminated. Adding chemicals, taking out proteins, homogenization, pasteurization, skim, fat free; a culture of fat phobias.
When we get back to canned milk in Mali, we see advertisement. When Nestle suffers, they tell mothers that breast feeding is unhealthy. So buy our powdered milk products for life longevity, for child’s health!
A suffered profit perpetuates the war on the Global South, the class struggle, the prioritization of profit over decent milk in elementary schools, over growing cancer cells, over fractured communities, and brainwashed understandings of health.

Art & Revolution: Thoughts of a young artist from East Oakland

Attached are a couple images of drawings as well as an image of a shirt that a young radical comrade has produced.  He’s chosen to remain nameless for security purposes.  Below is a brief statement from him about the connection between art and revolution.  We look forward to much more from this comrade.

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I made this shirt for the communist collective Advance the Struggle because I saw the communist symbol and recognized that it could easily be used to spell out ATS; the communist symbol is the mainlogo for the marxist/communist tendency.  It’s a good way to intrigue people; from an artists’ perspective, I think of logos and what people see the most; if you separate it (the hammer and sickle) and force people to have to think about it to get it then it intrigues people. 

Art is an easy way to display what you think; it doesn’t have to be hella complex like in a text; art has been in movements throughout history and will always be . . . it’s an easy way of depicting a movement and a movement’s thoughts.  There is less censorship in art; the only censorship is your own imagination; you can use humor and irony; there’s a lot of freedom in art. 

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Graffiti is in a way counter to the state; you don’t have to get permission from the state to do what you want; it shows that people have freedom, and it removes the fear that people have of the state; it shows that we can put our own message, whether it’s explicitly political or not.  

Even if it’s not explicitly political, it’s still political because it shows by the artists’ action that you’re going against the state; Graffiti is taking back space, it’s taking over occupied space that capital has taken over; Graffiti is showing love for our city and for the working class; we’re showing respect for ourselves by showing that we have the power to control our own city and our own space.  photo (19)

 

Who you calling an Outside Agitator: Rebellion in Brooklyn

Justice for Oscar Grant: A Lost Opportunity?

Justice for Oscar Grant: A Lost Opportunity?

On March 14th, Brooklyn had a rebellion against the NYPD killing of 16 year old Kimani Gray.  He was shot in the back. The community of East Flatbush rose up and 46 people were arrested from the rebellion. As usual, the establishment is blaming the outside agitator for the rebellion. The usual forces who do this are politicians of color who have decade long roots in the established components of the “community,” accumulating political power to rise higher in the state power structure. These people are our political enemies for liberation.  

 

In Oakland, the politicians of color, and the capitalist media, blamed outside white anarchist for the Oscar Grant rebellions. This was a joke. The anarchist could not pull off actions of such caliber. It was an organic rebellion made by largely the Black working class and dispossessed sections of society. It was youth of color who had enough.  What did not exist in Oakland during the Oscar Grant rebellions, nor in Brooklyn with the Kimani Gray rebellions, is an organization that speaks to, and coordinates these particular rebellions. These rebellions are not to turn into non profit permitted protest, nor ideological stages for demagogues, but fluid anti-permitted actions that are organized by Black and West indie youth.

 
As austerity is forced on us and the welfare state is eroded, the state has become almost a solely disciplinary force; one that’s focus is to terrorize and police the predominately black and brown  surplus populations of the city in order to ensure the smooth functioning necessary for capital accumulation.  With this in mind, struggles around police violence in communities of color will increase in number and importance.  We have written extensively about these experiences and the lessons we have drawn from them, and would encourage others to check it out.    

Here is a 10 point program to propose to our NYC comrades for the development of such a movement. These are the crystallized lessons we learned from the Oscar Grant movement.
 
 1) Coordinate unpermitted struggles in the streets in general terms. No permits.
 2) In particular, have successful snake marches that can make quick turns at moments notice against the state.
3) Have a spatial analysis of your landscape in order to do this.
 4) Have general assemblies in the street, to deepen the participatory character.
5) Play music in the streets that keeps the energy going.
6) Develop organic leaders through democratic means from these movements so its moves beyond the “tyranny of structurelessness .”
7) Link with Ghettos and Barrios across NYC and beyond.
 8) Orient towards the unionized working class of color, who are sympathetic to this rebellion. As the majority of ILWU local 10, who is majority Black, was sympathetic to the Oscar Grant rebellion, they shut down the port on October 23rd, 2010.
9) Politically struggle against the politicians of color, clergy and NGOs who will seek to co-opt this struggle for their own political capital.
10) Publicly advocate a revolutionary organization in these high times of struggle, to explain to the masses in struggle why spontaneous struggle is not enough.  
 
Hopefully, this movement in NYC, coupled with an increase of organized rebellion that maintains an anti-statist character, armed with a vision of a building a revolutionary working class movement, a new force for liberation can emerge in NYC.  With all that said, we would like to re-post Fire Next Time’s piece.

East Flatbush Rebellion, Not “Outside Agitators”

The following is a brief reportback from Will, a member of FNT who witnessed two of the last three nights of protests in East Flatbush following the police killing of 16-year old Kimani “Kiki” Gray.

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The “outside agitators” are back!

The legend of the outside agitator has returned. Clowns like city councilman Jumanee Williams and the leadership of Occupy the Hood are fueling the myth that last night’s rebellions was led / caused by white people or outside agitators.  I was there at last night’s rebellion, and let me tell you: there were fewer then 10 white people involved in a rebellion of hundreds of young Black militants.  Last night was led by young Black militants. Period.

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Are we gonna let the ACCJC and the State punk us? Hell no!

Below is text and a link to a flier – written by an AS member – that will be circulated at tomorrow’s (3/14/13) CCSF anti-austerity rally.  The rally will converge on Civic Center, in front of San Francisco City Hall at 4pm.  For more information see here.  This continues our coverage of the ongoing struggle at CCSF.  Please join the discussion and check back for more updates!

Click for full PDF version in English.

Click for full PDF version in English.

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Click for full PDF version in Spanish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Isn’t the Accreditation Threat Because of Problems with CCSF?

No, the accreditation threat is a very political attempt to force major negative changes to this college, and ultimately every other one in CA and the USA.  CCSF has a lot of problems, but none of them will be solved by cutting student services, programs, class sections and laying off staff and professors.  But that’s the main requirement of the accreditation group: to pull money out of all of these central services of the college, and put it into more administrators and a savings fund! (check out saveccsf.org for more details)

Why Would the Accreditation People Want to Hurt CCSF?

Because they have a vision of education in the USA that’s about building a profitable industry where people go into heavy debt, instead of a society that shares the costs of education.  In the economic system we live with, capitalism, there’s always rich people with extra money looking for opportunities to make some extra profit. The big one they have now is that a lot of government services are being cut, to pay for all the money that government gave to other rich investors when their gambling went bad in 2008.

Is this just happening at CCSF?

No! It’s happening worldwide (although that means we have a lot of potential allies!)  All over the world, governments have responded to the financial crisis with a political choice to make working-class people pay.  Instead of taxing the rich, or taking over the failing banks and investment funds, governments have massively drained the public sector, cutting spending on anything that benefits regular people (but never cut the funding for their wars or prisons!)

In the US, a major part of this plan to cut social services, like education, both k-12 and college, which has all kinds of negative effects: less financial aid, less classes, higher fees, and lower quality education in general.  Basically people are getting shut out, mostly working-class people of color.

No more cuts! Restore and expand all services for teachers, workers, and students! 

To the ACCJC, Board of Trustees, and the State: Get your dirty hands out of City College! We will not allow you to destroy it! The school belongs to the students and workers, those who use it! 

Power to the People!

Union Debate: Jocelyn and James Respond

Jocelyn and James submitted a piece that challenges the notion that an orientation towards the unions is productive for contemporary revolutionaries based off a serious analysis of the shifting nature of modern capitalism.  Advance the Struggle apologies for the title, “a lost cause” as an introductory title. We would like for the audience to read this response to get more clarity on Jocelyn and James’ position on the unions. More submissions to come.  

We appreciate the engagement with our piece. There has been a breadth of engagement in the comments on Advance the Struggle’s blog that we are unable to address in the time and space provided, but are grateful for the height of the debate. We apologize for comments left unaddressed, but we plan to respond to much of what’s left unsaid (especially Nate’s challenging points) in subsequent writing. Also we tried to address multiple questions in our responses to particular questions. Other comments seem to reflect a lack of thorough reading or misreading of our piece, and we urge their authors to give our piece a charitable reading before attempting to engage.

We are responding in three parts: the first addresses misunderstandings or mischaracterizations, the second addresses a few of the questions raised in the comments sections, and the third is a series of general responses which help elucidate the purpose of the piece. All of this points to a need to critically interrogate the present moment in its generalities and particularities, toward concrete activity. We staked out a clear theoretical domain, as a position piece requires, but it was our intention to raise questions rather than make pronouncements. The discussion so far has borne this out very well.

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