走在同一條爭取自由解放的路上 西雅圖戰友寫給香港戰友的信

多謝凱雄, JZ, Catta 與 Phyllis 幫忙翻譯。(英文版)

走在同一條爭取自由解放的路上

西雅圖戰友寫給香港戰友的信

親愛的香港戰友,

我們是幾名「佔領華爾街(Occupy Wall Street)」和「反殖/佔領西雅圖(Decolonize/Occupy Seattle)」運動的參與者。我們之所以寫這封信,是想要表達我們強烈支持對你們的反壓迫運動。你們的勇敢激勵了我們。我們想告訴你們的是,這裡的人十分關注你們的運動。

十月一號在西雅圖,大約有四、五百名來自香港、台灣、大陸、以及其他華僑一起出來抗議,支持你們的抗爭。

我們認為自己是全球社會運動的一部分。在這些運動中,我們試圖創造不同形式的民主,來挑戰資產階級以及那個為資產階級服務的體制。如此便能將人們從資產階級所操控的選舉和工作等場域中解放出來。

我們看到你們在為真正的普選戰鬥。美國政府雖然自稱有普選,但我們的普選其實並不是真正的普選。真正的民主選舉並不會讓全國最有錢的前百分之一的人,比其他百分之九十的人擁有更多的金錢和財富;真正的民主選舉並不會讓銀行在空屋率是無家可歸人口的五倍之多的情況下,仍將人們逐出住所。

一個真正民主的政府不會用坦克車將槍口對著密蘇里州佛格森*的抗議的民眾。一個真正民主的政府也不會將那些來自拉丁美洲,為了逃離暴力傷害的孩子們關進監獄。在美國,資本主義式的民主摧毀了美國過去所建立的工業基礎,只留下大量的法拍屋和被汙染的土地。同时,水力壓裂(fracking)之類的新資源開採方式,使得我們陷入環境汙染的危機。

*今年8月在美國密蘇里州的佛格森(Ferguson)案(也有人譯成「費格森」),至今仍然在美國造成相當大的爭議和動盪。事件發生的過程是這樣的:當地一個黑人大學生Michael Brown在沒有攜帶武器的情況下,被白人警員開槍射殺。由於案件疑點重重(警方表示懷疑Brown涉及某宗劫案,但當時警員與手無寸鐵的Brown接觸不到三分鐘,就使用武力;目擊證人證供顯示Brown當時不可能有機會搶奪警員的武器),警方反應遲緩又引起欲蓋彌彰的非議(Brown身中六槍,其中兩槍打中頭顱;然而他曝屍數小時,警方依然沒有通知其家人),引起當地黑人群體極度不滿。

我們看到你們在對抗自認為遵循共產主義的政府。但我們相信在真正的共產主義社會中,富士康工人不會在生產智慧型手機時選擇跳樓自殺。這些工人應該是對未來充滿希望的,而且不應該浪費他們保貴的生命為財團賣命工作。

這些勞工不該在發薪日前過著捉襟見肘的日子;與此同時,他們的老闆卻像李嘉誠一樣坐擁金山,

我們雖站在不同位置,卻都被這些二元政治觀點給誤導了。這樣變質的政治氛圍源自於過去的政治壓抑和迫害。現在,我們這一代要建立政治的新氣象,一個由下而上的、由每一位社會公民形塑並實踐的嶄新政治型態,改變職場、學校及社區:與所有人分享,也和大家一起集體決策,建立更美好的生活。

我們想建立一個讓人們能夠「各盡所能、各取所需」的新社會。投票權雖然只是民主政治中的一小部分,但是我們不只要據理力爭,還要要求公平正義。如果選舉制度依舊被國家機器主宰,我們就只能決定怎樣分配全球資本經濟剩下的那一小部分。

我們相信,在不同領域的抗爭其實是基於同樣目標的全球抗爭,所以我們想分享我們成功與失敗的經驗。今時今日的國家機器已經有許多打壓我們運動的方法。當我們聽到香港反壓迫運動的策略以及分歧的意見,我們聯想到過去我們曾經有過的爭論。

我們也用了佔領和封鎖以及其他手法。我們與你們的抗爭脈絡雖然存在差異,但都是面對相似的挑戰和問題。我們在美國的佔領運動參考了埃及和希臘的抗爭運動,希望我們過往的經驗能對你們的抗爭有所幫助。

考慮到香港示威活動的規模之大,我們不知道是否該貿然提出建言。你們在旺角、銅鑼灣和金鐘都設了障礙物。然而,我們在反殖/占领西雅圖運動只設了一道障礙物防線。在香港,所有的勞工都走上街頭。但當時在西雅圖,我們並沒有如此有效且成功的動員示威民眾。

然而,我們還是從大西洋的另一端捎來此信,因為我們希望能夠連結更多人,一起努力,建立全球的抗爭陣線。

希望在一切塵埃落定之後,你們也能和我們分享你們的經驗。我們並不在香港,所以我們並不了解問題的所在。請理解我們可能對某些議題有些重覆性的討論,也請明白這些建議是出於善意

反殖/佔領西雅圖的反思

(一) 阻斷資本主義的生產及產銷網絡,以直接行動来反制警方的暴力行為

雖然你們採取非暴力抗爭,但警方及被收買的幫派份子並不會因此不對你們暴力相向。雖然規模小得很多,我們在美國也正面對類似的問題。

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A letter from Seattle to Hong Kong Protestors/ 从西雅图给香港战友写信

中文版正在翻译当中!

Fighting For Our Common Freedoms:

A letter from Seattle to Hong Kong Protesters

policeacrosspacific

Dear Hong Kong protesters,

We write to you as people who participated in the Occupy Wall Street movement and Decolonize/Occupy Seattle. We are writing to express our solidarity with your struggle against repression. We are inspired by your courage and we want to let you know that people here are paying attention to your struggle.

On Oct 1st, 400-500 Chinese people from Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and the broader Chinese diaspora came to a rally in Seattle in solidarity with your struggle .

We see ourselves as part of a global movement where everyday people are trying to create forms of democracy that challenge the rule of the capitalist class and the political system that serves them – that frees us from their domination everywhere from the voting polls to the workplace.

We see that you are fighting for democracy, for the right to nominate your own leaders. In the US, this is something the government claims to practice, but doesn’t. In a true democracy, the richest 1% would not hold more wealth than the bottom 90% combined, and banks would not be able to evict families from their homes when the vacancy rate is five times the homelessness rate. A truly democratic government wouldn’t be pointing rifles from the top of tanks at protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, and or imprisoning children fleeing from violence in Latin America. Our capitalist “democracy” has dismantled the old U.S. industrial base, leaving cities full of foreclosed homes and toxic land, while generating new forms of resource extraction such as fracking that have left us struggling against pollution and environmental degradation.

We see that you are also fighting against repression by a government that calls itself Communist. But we believe that in a true communist society, the Foxconn workers producing our smart phones would not be despaired to the point of suicide: workers would have hope for the future and not have to waste away ten to twelve hours each day of their young lives making their bosses rich. Workers would not be counting their pennies before their next pay day while their bosses—whether they be mainlanders like Ma Yun or Hong Kongers like Li Kashing—roll in money enough to spread their investments over the world.

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Zine version of Reading For Revolution

Reading for Revolution is a three-part series of short articles that I wrote on collective learning and the struggle for a new society. 

The first article, “Steal the the Ability to Read this Book,” makes a case for seizing the reading skills that slave-masters and capitalist bosses have systematically denied oppressed communities. 

The second article, “Clowns to the left of me, Leninists to the right, here I am – Chillin and reading with you…,” argues for developing a learning praxis (reflective practice) that can break from the alienated and oppressive dynamics of capitalist classrooms.

The third article, “DIY Study Strategies,” is more practical, offering suggestions for how to start your own revolutionary study group.  I argue that how we read to make a revolution is different from how we are taught to read in school. I attempt to outline some of the more revolutionary reading strategies that we’ve learned and co-created in the hope that others will build upon these and share their own. I emphasize how to integrate literacy skills into discussion so that study groups will be more accessible to folks who did not learn these skills ins school. 

A group called Radical Ideas For a Moribund Society Distro turned these articles into a zine format that can be printed easily.  It is available here at their site.   I’ve also uploaded it here:  Reading For Revolution Zine Version.   Thanks to the folks who put in the work to format this.

Here are their suggestions for printing:

TO PRINT: Download the PDF and print onto 8.5×11 paper, flip on short-edge.

TO COPY: To make multiple copies from the original print, configure the copier settings to print both sides by selecting 2>2 SIDED or something similar if the option is available and STACK after each printed batch (if you select sort, you will have to compile each copy afterward – which is tedious.)

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Reading for Revolution Part 3: DIY Strategies for Study Groups

Assata on educationI recently published an article in the journal Perspectives on Anarchist Theory, sharing some suggestions for how to form revolutionary study groups.  It is available for free download here:  DIY study strategies.  Feel free to distribute it if you find it useful.  This is the third part of a series on revolution, education, and reading; the first two parts can be found here.

The full issue of the Perspectives journal focuses on anarchist strategizing, and can be purchased here, from the Institute for Anarchist Studies and AK Press.

In the article, I lay out some methods for learning from each other instead of treating the text or the facilitator as an authority.  I also wrestle with how to navigate differences in literacy skills among study group participants, and suggest some practical and creative ways to make texts and discussions more accessible to folks who have varying degrees of access to formal education.

The article includes reflections on a study group the Black Orchid Collective did together last year, and the appendix includes step-by-step outlines of a particular group session, writing prompts, and graphic organizers for note taking that we’ve developed.

My hope is that other affinity groups, collectives, and learning commons projects will engage with this and provide critical feedback based on your own experiences learning together.  I also hope you all will write up your own reflections on collective study so that we can share practical tips with each other for how to learn outside of the capitalist education system.  Our enemies have their think tanks, schools, and universities.  We have processes of freestyle thinking and learning that cannot be enclosed, and that can grow rhizomatically if we put in the effort to make it happen.

If folks are interested in continuing these conversations, I write semi-regularly for the blog Creativity Not Control.  It’s a collaborative project I’ve been working on with several public school parents; we are also involved in organizing against the school to prison pipeline and other forms of inequality in the schools.  We want learning for life, not for labor.  If this resonates with you, we welcome guest posts and collaboration in Seattle and beyond.

Posted in Education struggles, Organizational Practice, Strategy and Tactics, Study Group, Theory, What's up in Seattle | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Statement Against Snitch-Jacketing

An anonymous blog post recently emerged accusing someone we have organized with in the past of being a snitch; the post provided no evidence to back up this accusation. We have decided not to validate the accusations in this post by engaging with it. Instead we choose to emphasize the following points:

There is no place in radical movements for anonymous and/or unsubstantiated allegations. Such allegations, whether from well-intentioned but misguided individuals or from state agents, have the effect of sowing distrust and division within our movements. They put the accused people in the impossible situation of responding to no one and nothing in particular, or risk seeming to admit guilt by refusing to reply. And they put the rest of us in an uncomfortable position by seeming to demand a verdict of guilt or innocence, without providing any basis for judgment. Such tactics can divide and even destroy movements, as the FBI proved most decisively with its Counter-Intelligence Program, COINTELPRO, against the liberation movements of the 1960s and 1970s. We must learn the lessons of the past and refuse to engage in snitch-jacketing.

It is equally dangerous, and for precisely the same reasons, to speculate about who is responsible for such allegations and why. That sort of speculation merely worsens the problem that it pretends to solve. It increases the speculation; where once it was focused on a single person suspected as a snitch, it expands to envelope everyone as a potential snitch-jacketer. Division widens as we look to each other with suspicion and paranoia.

If people feel sure enough of their facts to launch public accusations against fellow activists, they should be willing to take personal and/or collective responsibility for such accusations and provide supporting evidence. Otherwise, if we fall into the habit of making accusations unaccountably, and accepting them without question, we have to assume that our enemies will observe the resulting divisions and exploit our weaknesses.

If you agree with these principles, we encourage you to sign onto this statement by leaving a comment below.

sincerely,

Amaranto
Jomo
Mamos

Posted in What's up in Seattle | 19 Comments

Dark Ecology, Hyperobjects, and the New Materialism

I recently wrote a piece on ecology, spirituality, and philosophy entitled “White Baby Jesus Vs. Dark Ecology” for my Aroma of the World blog.   Our comrade Matt, aka Bypolar the Toxic Cherub, turned it into a piece of youtube video art:

This is one manifestation of my recent engagement with the philosophical work of Timothy Morton.  Morton is part of an emerging movement of radical philosophers who academics are calling the “New Materialists”.   Like Marxists, these materialists emphasize there is a reality outside of our individual thoughts, and that we are shaped by social, political and economic forces.  Like Marxists, they emphasize humans have self-activity;  we shape ourselves and other objects through our creativity, which is alienated into labor under capitalism.  However, like many radical ecologists, they also emphasize that non-human beings have agency to shape each other and us; hence the universe is a rhythm of various objects imprinting themselves on each other.

Morton locates human subjectivity as one form of inter-objective activity among many.  In other words, our thoughts themselves are physical because they are happening in our bodies, and in the interactions between our bodies and other objects.

In his most recent book, Morton focuses on the historical agency of very large objects like the universe, the planet, and climate – what he calls “hyperobjects.”  But he is part of a broader trend called Object Oriented Ontology, which argues that even smaller objects engage in forms of uncanny, weird, aesthetic causation.  He talks about that in his (free) book called Realist Magic, a play on the literary tradition of magical realism.

Morton is attempting to develop a revolutionary aesthetic, artistic, and political response to the ecological crisis.  He wants to encourage us to take the partial, impure, impaired actions that are possible now to slow the destruction of the planet’s climate.  He wants us to  do something, however limited and hypocritical, instead of waiting in pure despair for the end of the world.  He argues that the end of the world has already happened because the concept of “world” implies the planet is simply a backdrop to our grand historical biographies, our world-building.  And that concept has already been destroyed by hyper-objects.  Global warming collapses the distinction between foreground and background, between humans and our environment, which destroys many of the philosophical underpinnings of BOTH western religions AND 19th century scientific rationalism.

In this sense, Morton’s thought stumbles right through some of the limitations of the Marxist humanism, postmodernism,  anti-humanism, and new-Ageism that are so popular here in Northwest radical communities.  He calls his perspective “Ecology without nature” or “dark ecology” because he thinks that truly overcoming the nature-human divide requires jettisoning the concepts of “nature” and “humanity” altogether.  Instead of going out to the woods to find nature, we can develop an ecological perspective right here in the middle of our polluted metropolis; it will simply be an uncanny, uncomfortable one.  We can meditate on the fact that the styrofoam cups we are using will last hundreds of years, and that the casual conversation we just had outside the grocery store about the weather is actually a conversation about global warming.

Like a Zen (martial) artist, Morton aims to provoke uncanny experiences of encounter with other human and non-human beings, encounters that can lead to ethical commitment, compassion, and radical action rather than apocalyptic waiting, cynicism, or  games of theoretical one-upmanship (the trap of acting “more meta than thou”).

I’m finding all of this very helpful in breaking out of some of the cynicism and demoralization that set in around here after the collapse and repression of the Decolonize/ Occupy movement.  I also think it’s very uncanny  how myself,  Morton (a celebrated professor) and Bypolar (a revolutionary artist from the ‘hood facing trumped up riot charges) are coming to some of the same conclusions. Maybe we are all becoming more attuned to the planet we are living inside.  Or maybe the planet is breaking its way into our thinking.

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“How to Overthrow the Illuminati” Pamphlet

pamphlet-coverThis summer, I collaborated with comrades in New York City to produce a pamphlet criticizing conspiracy theories.  We also set up a website to discuss and distribute the pamphlet.  For some reason, I forgot to link it here on the Black Orchid blog, so I figured I’d put it up now.

Here is how the pamphlet starts:

Everyone talks about the Illuminati. You may have heard Jay Z and Beyonce are members of the Illuminati, and channel demons when they perform. You may have heard Obama is a member of the Illuminati, and plans to implant microchips in all U.S. citizens, to prepare for martial law. You may have heard the dollar bill contains secret symbols, which reveal the U.S. has been controlled by the Illuminati for hundreds of years.

Illuminati theory helps oppressed people to explain our experiences in the hood. Society throws horrible stuff in our faces: our family members get locked up for bullshit. Our friends kill each other over beefs, money or turf. Our future is full of dead-end jobs that don’t pay shit. We struggle to pay bills while others live in luxury. On TV, we see people all over the world dying in poverty, even though we live in the most materially abundant society in history. Most people act like none of these terrible things are happening. Why does this occur? We start looking for answers, and Illuminati theory provides one.

We believe Illuminati theory is wrong, and we wrote this pamphlet to offer a different answer. We wrote this pamphlet because we know people who think about the Illuminati usually want to stop oppression and exploitation. They’re some of the smartest people in the hood today. Forty years ago, Illuminati theorists would’ve been in the Black Panther Party. Today most of them sit around and talk endlessly about conspiracies. This is a waste of talent. The world is in a deep crisis, and big protests, rebellions and revolutions are happening. In Egypt, South Africa, Turkey–and even in the U.S.–these movements are already taking 

place. 

People who 

say 

we can’t 

do 

anything because no 

one 

else 

is 

fighting are simply refusing to join the fight themselves. With the right tools, we can participate in these actions, and make history with millions of others.

table of contents

This pamphlet is a tool to help you understand the world around you. It offers a brief history of Illuminati theory: who invented it, when and where. It shows how Illuminati theory became popular in the hood after the defeat of the movements of the 1970s. It reveals that Illuminati theory is unable to explain how society works, or provide solutions for how to end oppression and exploitation. It offers an alternative explanation of why exploitation and oppression exists, and what we can do to change it. First, we have to unearth the origin of Illuminati theory itself.

To read the rest, click here

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