A Man for All Seasons - The Devil Speech (by dniete97)
An interesting perspective on revolution. Until people are good with this idea, it won’t get off the ground.
La Canadiense Strike: How Spanish Anarchists Led Spain To Pass The World’s First 8 Hour Work Day Law
A short history of the Barcelona general strike of 1919 which began after the sacking of eight workers, and ended up as one of the most successful working class actions in history.
In February of 1919, eight workers from the maintenance department of a Canadian financed hydroelectric plant in Barcelona colloquially known as ‘La Canadiense’ were laid off for political reasons. These layoffs were to spark the most successful strike action in Spanish labour history. The strike, led by the anarcho-syndicalist union, the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT) led to a city-wide general strike in Barcelona, involving more than 100,000 workers and became the most successful action in Spanish labour history, forcing the Spanish government to pass the eight hour day law, the first government in the world to do so.
By 1919, membership of the CNT had swelled to about 755,000 (as declared at the unions Madrid conference of that year), far ahead of its socialist rival union, the Union General de Trabajadores (UGT), whose membership was about 208,000 at that time. Roughly speaking, about 10% of the active Spanish adult population was a member of the CNT in 1919.
After the initial layoffs by the bosses at La Canadiense in early February, 140 workers walked out on February 5th and three days later were joined by the vast majority of plant employees. Workers at another Barcelona plant were staging a sit-in in support of their comrades and about a week later, on February 17th, 80% of workers in the textile industry walked out, as well as striking in support of the laid off workers at La Canadiense, the textile workers demanded a recognition of their union, and a recognition by the authorities of the eight hour day. Soon after, the majority of other electrical workers in the city declared themselves of strike, also demanding a wage increase. On February 21st, a citywide general strike of power workers was called, leading to the closure of 70% of firms in Catalonia.
Fearing the growing power of the working class in Barcelona and the economic stagnation the strike was bringing, the Captain-General declared martial law in the city. The Madrid authorities then declared a state of emergency, and in an attempt to break the strike, called up all workers to the army. This call, of course, was ignored by the strikers, and the print workers even refused to print any information about the call-up, or for that matter, anything that reflected negatively on the strikers - enacting “red censorship”. Following this, the railway and tram workers also declared themselves on strike.
Under the state of martial law in the city, almost all CNT officials were arrested alongside 3,000 strikers. However, the authorities in Barcelona were panicking and the economic situation in Catalonia was becoming too desperate for concessions not to be made to the workers. On the 15th and 16th of March, negotiations began between the union and the authorities, Salvador Segui, the Regional Secretary of the CNT demanded a maximum working day of eight hours, union recognition, the reinstatement of all fired workers and called for a general strike to take place from March 24th, lasting until April 1st.
The authorities quickly conceded to all demands. The CNT also demanded the release of all prisoners, which was agreed to by the government, apart from the release of prisoners who were currently of trial. The workers responded with shouting, “Free everybody!” and threatened that the strike would continue in another three days if the prison gates were not opened.
This did happen, but the members of the strike committee were swiftly arrested and the police effectively stopped the strike gaining the momentum of the first. Soon after, tens of thousands of workers returned to their jobs, and an eight-hour day. Through the incredible solidarity of the Barcelona working class, all demands of the strikers had been met by the authorities, as well as wage increases in some industries.
To this day, the Barcelona general strike of 1919 remains the most successful strike action ever to have taken place for the cause of Spanish labour.
This “red censorship” is a very interesting idea.
#Anonymous - Operation Awake the Masses (Awakening the Young, 2013)
Political Prisoner Illegally Arrested For Writing Political Publications, Banned From Making Media Publications Without Permission By Government (Must Read)
After more than seven years, the stack of dehumanizing and seemingly unconstitutional interactions between Daniel McGowan and the American prison system is now piled so high it is teetering over into a recursive mess of bleak and Kafkaesque absurdity.
Last Monday, McGowan published a piece on the Huffington Post that laid out much of his situation to date. After years in prison for his role in environmentally motivated property destruction that was prosecuted as acts of terrorism, he wrote, he was finishing up the remaining months of his sentence in a halfway house in Brooklyn.
The various perversions of the case that sent McGowan away are well documented in the documentary (streaming on Netflix!) If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front. But, as McGowan wrote, less publicized is what happened to him a year into his prison term: Despite a flawless disciplinary record, McGowan was transferred to an experimental new Communications Management Unit, a supermax-like extreme-isolation facility some have dubbed a “Little Guantanamo.”
Why was McGowan transferred to a CMU? He never got a good answer to that question, even after a Freedom of Information Act request, so, along with other CMU inmates, he filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the CMUs and alleging that they are effectively political prisons designed to silence the voices of people whose message the government doesn’t like. As it turned out, McGowan was right: Bureau of Prisons memos discovered through the lawsuit appear to link his transfer to the CMU to the fact that he continued to write things the government found politically objectionable.
“While incarcerated and through social correspondence and articles written for radical publications, inmate McGowan has attempted to unite the radical environmental and animal liberation movements,” one memo states, before dilating on other political statements McGowan made in interviews and his own writing.
McGowan wrote about all of this in his Huffington Post piece last Monday. Two days later, the staff at the halfway house to which he had been assigned told him that his work permit had been revoked on order of the Bureau of Prisons. The next morning, federal marshals arrived and brought him to the Metropolitan Detention Center. Once there, he was presented with a document explaining that he had violated the terms of his release to the halfway house. Specifically, the incident report stated that McGowan had violated a prison regulation that stated “an inmate currently confined in an institution may not … act as a reporter or publish under a byline.”
That’s right: McGowan was sent back to jail for writing about how he’d been imprisoned in a CMU for writing things.
There’s more: The regulation that the Bureau of Prisons cited to justify returning him to jail had actually been declared unconstitutional by a federal court in 2007, and the Bureau of Prisons had finally taken it off the books in 2010. McGowan’s lawyers mentioned this to the bureau and to the lawyers representing the government in his lawsuit, and he was re-released to the halfway house on Friday.
But that’s not the end of it. Back at the halfway house, staff presented McGowan with a document and directed him to sign it. The document stated that “he is not permitted to have any contact with the media without approval from the BOP’s Residential Reentry Manager. Accordingly, Resident McGowan was advised that writing articles, appearing in any type of television or media outlets, news reports and or documentaries without prior BOP approval is strictly prohibited.”
It’s worth noting that McGowan hadn’t been asked to sign this document when he first arrived at the halfway house, nor, as far as his lawyers can tell, has anyone there been asked to sign it. In fact, there’s nothing in the Bureau of Prison’s published media policy that requires pre-approval before publishing anything.
“There is no national prohibition on publishing,” Chris Burke, a spokesman for the Bureau of Prisons, confirmed this afternoon.
“I thought I had lost my ability to be surprised by what the Bureau of Prisons does years ago,” said Rachel Meeropol, a lawyer with the Center for Constitutional Rights who’s representing McGowan. “But restricting an individual’s freedom of speech in this manner is truly surprising. It’s beyond ironic that Daniel was retaliated against and returned to prison for publishing a blog about being retaliated against for speaking out in prison.”
Here’s the incident report explaining McGowan’s return to prison:
Armed men stand at the entrance to the town of Tierra Colorada, Mexico, where vigilantes have arrested local police and officials accused of gang links. Photograph: Alejandrino Gonzalez/AP
Ask for work. If they don’t give you work, ask for bread. If they do not give you work or bread, then take bread.
Power that is completely unaccountable is silent.
When you walk past a group of ants on the street and you accidentally crush a few you do not turn to the others and say ‘Stop complaining or I’ll put a drone strike on your head’, you completely ignore them.
And that is what happens to power that’s in a very dominant position. It does not even bother to respond, it doesn’t flinch for an instant.
And yet we saw all these figures in the United States coming out and speaking very aggressively.
…these people are frightened of the true part of history coming up and coming forth. So I see this as a very positive sign.
Residents of Port Said, plagued by weeks of deadly clashes between protesters and security forces, say they want the reviled police force out of their canal city and the army to take control.
Such is the disdain for the police that residents have taken to providing their own security services, setting up a makeshift security post in a public park dubbed “The People’s Police Station.”
“It may not be a real police station, but it’s a real sign of objection,” said engineer Mohammed Hashem, 40.
“So far we have had 480 reports, we provide traffic duties. We are providing citizens with what the police have failed to give: safety and security,” said Mohamed Ali, 33.
Tensions between police and residents of the Suez Canal city go way back but a deadly football riot last year — which many residents blamed on the police — ushered in a drumbeat of tragedies for the strategic city.
“The police were responsible for the Port Said stadium massacre which has caused all this destruction,” Hashem told AFP, echoing comments of many residents who believe police stood by while rival fans laid into each other.
The clashes at the stadium in February last year between fans of home side Al-Masry and Cairo’s Al-Ahly left more than 70 people dead and sparked days of violent protests in Cairo, in which another 16 people were killed.
Thousands of Egyptians packed the streets in Port Said on Friday in protest at the deaths of local people in clashes with police and before a court decision in a contentious football riot case.
“If there won’t be dancing at the revolution, I’m not coming”
- Emma Goldman
In your international omens post there is a picture of people from what looks like Mexico or Spain wearing ski masks. A- Are these women?( they look kind of like men in dresses) B- What is going on were and why. thanks so much! from ggpromisingperfection
They’re Zapatista (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional - EZLN) women, a revolutionary mostly Mayan group from Chiapas, Mexico that declared war against the government & imperialism around the time NAFTA was signed.
They demanded “land, liberty, work and peace.” They’re widely recognized for seizing multiple towns throughout Chiapas where they freed prisoners & set fire to law enforcement & government buildings.
This past December 40,000 Zapatistas marched through Chiapas once again in opposition to Enrique Peña Nieto & the drug war murders, femicide & poverty that has plagued Mexico.
Zapatismo is characterized by mutual aid, collectivism & autonomy.
Women are obviously a huge part of the Zapatistas, so of course it was appropriate to put them among the other amazing women in the post. Also, in their first declaration, they included 10 Women’s Revolutionary Laws:
Women, regardless of their race, creed, color or political affiliation, have the right to participate in the revolutionary struggle in any way that their desire and capacity determine.
Women have the right to work and receive a fair salary.
Women have the right to decide the number of children they have and care for.
Women have the right to participate in the matters of the community and have charge if they are free and democratically elected.
Women and their children have the right to Primary Attention in their health and nutrition.
Women have the right to an education.
Women have the right to choose their partner and are not obliged to enter into marriage.
Women have the right to be free of violence from both relatives and strangers.
Ours is a time of multiple crises generated by global capitalism. It is a time of global resistance, occupation, and insurgency. It is a time to connect with the ideas of Luxemburg, Trotsky, and Lenin – a critical-minded engagement with revolutionary resources, based on past revolutionary experience, as we consider future action for social change.
New waves of young activists are compelled to become radical– going to the root of today’s problems, demanding a shift of power in society from the super-wealthy 1% to the increasingly hard-pressed 99%.
It will not be a simple thing to win the battle of democracy, to create a world in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all. The problems we face have been more than two centuries in the making. Millions of people, generation after generation, have engaged in revolutionary struggles for basic human rights and dignity – liberty and justice for all, experiencing defeats and victories, learning and passing on an accumulation of lessons for those who would continue the struggle.
Luxemburg, Trotsky and Lenin were among the most perceptive and compelling revolutionaries of the 20th century. The body of analysis, strategy and tactics to which they contributed was inseparable from the mass struggles of their time. Critically engaging with their ideas can enrich the thinking and practical activity of those involved in today’s and tomorrow’s struggles for a better world.
A global activist collective – multiple individuals exploring texts on how to understand and change the world, proliferating study groups connecting revolutionary theory with the struggles of today and tomorrow – reaching out to the rest of the 99%, can have a powerful impact for social change. It is time, in the most revolutionary sense, to get political.
Although power-points aren’t exactly the most thrilling or efficient way to present information with text & visuals (I like Tumblr for that, for instance) this is still a pretty cool, creative Marxist project. Click on the source to see their powerpoints and read more about the project.
Interesting, although it seems clear to me that Lenin, Marx and Luxemburg will not affect the next revolution as much as those who are building the platform for it right at this moment. If anything, it’ll be more Trotskyite, since the shorcomings of Leninism have been made clear by time.
I keep asking, why aren’t we aren’t we doing this? My partner said today, “Most Americans are wrapped up in their own lives. They don’t watch the news.” (She doesn’t think this state of affairs is acceptable; she was active with Occupy Philly, though not with my intensity. She still has more faith in the electoral system than I do.) Anyway, I responded: “Honey, Greeks have lives to be wrapped up in, and so do Spaniards.” She agreed.
So now we sit and waiting for the sequester. I hope it wakes people up; that way, maybe some good will come of it.
Thousands of people are marching on Spain’s parliament to protest austerity measures imposed by the government.
February 23, 2013
Saturday’s protest comes on the 32nd anniversary of a failed attempt by the armed forces to overthrow the government. Several protest groups joined forces under a single slogan called “Citizens’ Tide, 23F,” referring to the Feb. 23, 1981 attack by armed forces on Spain’s parliament.
Organizers say that Spain today “is under a financial coup” and have called on people to march to parliament to protest austerity measures and what they say is government favoritism toward financial institutions at the expense of ordinary citizens.
Marchers decried “the pressure of financial markets” and corruption in government and the country’s banking system, and called on lawmakers to find alternatives that won’t “give away” the welfare state.
I’ve also felt that we aren’t doing it here because people are so absorbed by the events of their own lives, as your friend said, and that the media can so effectively ignore these movements, and brush them under the table. If they do pay attention, as we’ve seen with the Occupy movement, they’ll often try to delegitimize the cause, and make it look like a “fringe nut job” movement. Selective media attention can make or break movements in the public eye in such a short period of time :/.
Which is why I’m so optimistic about using social-media for information activism.
Look, it’s not going to ‘bring the revolution’ (we’re going to have to do that ourselves once we reach some sort of political consciousness tipping point) or anything but it does help us surpass one of our biggest obstacles to forming solidarity & having access to information. The average user age on Tumblr has got to be like 15-18. These people are going to be college-age students very shortly, and societies’ ‘adults’ shortly after that. One day, we’ll be old people.
Generational differences in how and where we go to digest information are not insignificant to revolutionary possibilities/the potential for fundamentally restructuring society.
Instead of a few hard-to-find, hard-to-access, not-well-circulated, medium-poor-quality leftist newspapers as the only source for information about social movements around the world, and systemic/structural criticism/analysis we now have infinite Tumblrs, Twitters, Facebook pages & other independent & personal sources that do just that (with varying degrees of substance & quality).
What the printing press was able to bring within a few hundred years of its development (I believe) will be small in comparison to what the internet will be able to do in terms of fundamentally changing social conditions in the decades to come. We’re still at the beginning of the beginning.
“The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.” -Malcolm X
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