We have lit the torches of thought.We have brandished the ax of action.And we have smashed.And we have unhinged.But our individual “crimes” must be the fatal announcement of a great social storm.The great and dreadful storm that will smash all the structures of the conventional lies, that will unhinge the walls of all hypocrisy, that will reduce the old world to a heap of ruins and smoking rubble!– Renzo Novatore
The group – which claimed responsibility for the attack, together with several other unidentified groups – explained they inherited the “fiercest” struggles of their predecessors against progress when it comes to the destruction of natural habitats.
“Cities grow exponentially devouring mountains and wild habitat, taking over territories where coyotes, deer, hawks and natural reserves, forcing extinction of wildlife and natural reserves,” the Pagan Sect of the Mountain said in statement, accepting responsibility for the attacks.
“If civilization continues to destroy nature, we will respond in the same way,” by attacking targets in the metropolitan area.The group, which proclaims to be anarchist, explained their attacks have nothing to do with the plights of bus drivers, nor did they claim to be in opposition to the bus line.
“We are not interested in the cancellation of bus routes, nor do we advocate in favor of bus drivers who have been fired, nor do we demand more security for the bus stops, as the press has been saying,” they said.
The group’s statement was sent to a website called Contra Info along with photos of a bomb and the buses. Contra Info was founded in Athens, Greece, in 2010 and claims to be run by anarchists and activists.
The Attorney General’s office said investigations have been initiated, but no other statement has been released by the local or federal government regarding the attack.
this article originally appeared on teleSur
the ones who walk away…
in the summer of 2009, a group of literary-minded
people hosted a “summer reading” series of events in
portland. one of the events featured ursula k leguin’s
short story THE ONES WHO WALK AWAY FROM OMELAS.
the story was posted online for interested parties to
read, and the author herself made an appearance at a
trendy watering hole to discuss it. no way i was going
to miss a chance to attend a (free) public event featuring
one of the most amazing writers in the science fiction genre.
instead of giving a summary of the story, i’ll paste it
below, then share my impressions of the crowd’s reaction.
The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas
by Ursula K LeGuin – from The Wind’s Twelve Quarters
With a clamor of bells that set the swallows soaring, the Festival of Summer came to the city Omelas, bright-towered by the sea. The ringing of the boats in harbor sparkled with flags. In the streets betweenhouses with red roofs and painted walls, between old moss-grown gardens and under avenues of trees, past great parks and public buildings, processions moved. Some were decorous: old people in long stiff robes of mauve and gray, grave master workmen, quiet, merry women carrying their babies and chatting as they walked.
In other streets the music beat faster, a shimmering of gong and tambourine, and the people went dancing, the procession was a dance. Children dodged in and out, their high calls rising like the swallows’ crossing flights over the music and the singing. All the processions wound towards the north side of the city, where on the great water-meadow called the Green Fields boys and girls, naked in the bright air, with mud-stained feet and ankles and long, lithe arms,exercised their restive horses before the race. The horses wore no gear at all but a halter without bit. Their manes were braided with streamers of silver, gold, and green. They flared their nostrils and pranced and boasted to one another; they were vastly excited, the horse being the only animal who has adopted our ceremonies as his own. Far off to the north and west the mountains stood up half encircling Omelas on her bay. The air of morning was so clear that the snow still crowning the Eighteen Peaks burned with white-gold fire across the miles of sunlit air, under the darkblue of the sky. There was just enough wind to make the banners that marked the racecourse snap and flutter now and then. In the silence of the broad green meadows one could hear the music winding throughout the city streets, farther and nearer and ever approaching, a cheerful faint sweetness of the air from time to time trembled and gathered together and broke out into the great joyous clanging of the bells.
Joyous! How is one to tell about joy? How describe the citizens of Omelas?
They were not simple folk, you see, though they were happy. But we do not say the words of cheer much any more. All smiles have become archaic. Given a description such as this one tends to make certain assumptions. Given a description such as this one tends to look next for the King, mounted on a splendid stallion and surrounded by his
noble knights, or perhaps in a golden litter borne by great-muscled slaves. But there was no king. They did not use swords, or keep slaves. They were not barbarians, I do not know the rules and laws of their society, but I suspect that they were singularly few. As they did without monarchy and slavery, so they also got on without the stock exchange, the advertisement, the secret police, and the bomb. Yet I repeat that these were not simple folk, not dulcet shepherds, noble savages, bland utopians. There were not less complex than us.
The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can’t lick ‘em, join ‘em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe happy man, nor make any celebration of joy. How can I tell you about the people of Omelas? They were not naive and happy children–though their children were, in fact, happy. They were mature, intelligent, passionate adults whose lives were not wretched. O miracle! But I wish I could describe it better. I wish I could convince you. Omelas sounds in my words like a city in a fairy tale, long ago and far away, once upon a time.
Perhaps it would be best if you imagined it as your own fancy bids, assuming it will rise to the occasion, for certainly I cannot suit you all. For instance, how about technology? I think that there would be no cars or helicopters in and above the streets; this follows from the fact that the people of Omelas are happy people. Happiness is based on a just discrimination of what is necessary, what is neither necessary nor destructive, and what is destructive. In the middle category, however – that of the unnecessary but undestructive, that of comfort, luxury, exuberance, etc.–they could perfectly well have central heating, subway trains, washing machines, and all kinds of marvelous devices not yet invented here, floating light-sources, fuelless power, a cure for the common cold. Or they could have none of that: it doesn’t matter. As you like it. I incline to think that people from towns up and down the coast have been coming to Omelas during the last days before the Festival on very fast little trains and double-decked trams, and that the trains station of Omelas is actually the handsomest building in town, though plainer than the magnificent Farmers’ Market. But even granted trains, I fear that Omelas so far strikes some of you as goody-goody. Smiles, bells, parades, horses, bleh. If so, please add an orgy. If an orgy would help, don’t hesitate. Let us not, however, have temples from which
issue beautiful nude priests and priestesses already half in ecstasy and ready to copulate with any man or woman, lover or stranger, who desires union with the deep godhead of the blood, although that was my first idea. But really it would be better not to have any temples in Omelas–at least, not manned temples. Religion yes, clergy no. Surely the beautiful nudes can just wander about, offering themselves like divine souffles to the hunger of the needy and the rapture of the flesh. Let them join the processions. Let tambourines be struck above the copulations, and the gory of desire be proclaimed upon the gongs, and (a not unimportant point) let the offspring of these delightful rituals be beloved and looked after by all. One thing I know there is none of in Omelas is guilt. But what else should there be? I thought at first there were no drugs, but that is puritanical. For those who like it, the faint insistent sweetness of drooz may perfume the ways of the city, drooz which first brings a great lightness and brilliance to the mind and limbs, and then after some hours a dreamy languor, and wonderful visions at last of the very arcane and inmost secrets of the Universe, as well as exciting the pleasure of sex beyond all belief; and it is not habit-forming. For more modest tastes I think there ought to be beer. What else, what else belongs in the joyous city? The sense of victory, surely, the celebration of courage. But as we did without clergy, let us do without soldiers. The joy built upon successful slaughter is not the right kind of joy; it will not do; it is fearful and it is trivial. A boundless and generous contentment, a magnanimous triumph felt not against some outer enemy but in communion with the finest and fairest in the souls of all men everywhere and the splendor of the world’s summer: This is what swells the hearts of the people of Omelas, and the victory they celebrate is that of life. I don’t think many of them need to take drooz.
Most of the processions have reached the Green Fields by now. A marvelous smell of cooking goes forth from the red and blue tents of the provisioners. The faces of small children are amiably sticky; in the benign gray beard of a man a couple of crumbs of rich pastry are entangled. The youths and girls have mounted their horses and are beginning to group around the starting line of the course. An old woman, small, fat, and laughing, is passing out flowers from a basket, and tall young men wear her flowers in their shining hair. A child of nine or ten sits at the edge of the crowd alone, playing on a wooden flute.
People pause to listen, and they smile, but they do not speak to him, for he never ceases playing and never sees them, his dark eyes wholly rapt in the sweet, thing magic of the tune.
He finishes, and slowly lowers his hands holding the wooden flute.
As if that little private silence were the signal, all at once a trumpet sounds from the pavilion near the starting line: imperious, melancholy, piercing. The horses rear on their slender legs, and some of them neigh in answer. Sober-faced, the young riders stroke the horses’ necks and soothe them, whispering. “Quiet, quiet, there my beauty, my hope…” They begin to form in rank along the starting line. The crowds along the racecourse are like a field of grass and flowers in the wind. The Festival of Summer has begun. Do you believe? Do you accept the festival, the city, the joy? No?
Then let me describe one more thing.
In a basement under one of the beautiful public buildings of Omelas, or perhaps in the cellar of one of its spacious private homes, there is a room. It has one locked door, and no window. A little light seeps in dustily between cracks in the boards, secondhand from a cobwebbed window somewhere across the cellar. In one corner of the little room a couple of mops, with stiff, clotted, foul-smelling heads, stand near a rusty bucket. The floor is dirt, a little damp to the touch, as cellar dirt usually is.
The room is about three paces long and two wide: a mere broom closet or disused tool room. In the room, a child is sitting. It could be a boy or a girl. It looks about six, but actually is nearly ten. It is feeble-minded. Perhaps it was born defective, or perhaps it has become imbecile through fear, malnutrition, and neglect. It picks its nose and occasionally fumbles vaguely with its toes or genitals, as it sits hunched in the corner farthest from the bucket and the two mops. It is afraid of the mops. It finds them horrible. It shuts its eyes, but it knows the mops are still standing there; and the door is locked; and nobody will come. The door is always locked; and nobody ever comes, except that sometimes –the child has no understanding of time or interval – sometimes the door rattles terribly and opens, and a person, or several people, are there. One of them may come in and kick the child to make it stand up. The others never come close, but peer in at it with frightened, disgusted eyes. The food bowl and the water jug are hastily filled, the door is locked; the eyes disappear. The people at the door never say anything, but the child, who has not always lived in the tool room, and can remember sunlight and its mother’s voice, sometimes speaks. “I will be good, ” it says. “Please let me out. I will be good!” They never answer. The child used to scream for help at night, and cry a good deal, but now it only makes a kind of whining, “eh-haa, eh-haa,” and it speaks less and less often. It is so thin there are no calves to its legs; its belly protrudes; it lives on a half-bowl of corn meal and grease a day. It is naked. Its buttocks and thighs are a mass of festered sores, as it sits in its own excrement continually.
They all know it is there, all the people of Omelas. Some of them have come to see it, others are content merely to know it is there. They all know that it has to be there. Some of them understand why, and some do not, but they all understand that their happiness, the beauty of their city, the tenderness of their friendships, the health of their children, the wisdom of their scholars, the skill of their makers, even the abundance of their harvest and the kindly weathers of their skies, depend wholly on this child’s abominable misery.
This is usually explained to children when they are between eight and twelve, whenever they seem capable of understanding; and most of those who come to see the child are young people, though often enough an adult comes, or comes back, to see the child. No matter how well the matter has been explained to them, these young spectators are always shocked and sickened at the sight. They feel disgust, which they had thought themselves superior to. They feel anger, outrage, impotence, despite all the explanations. They would like to do something for the child. But there is nothing they can do. If the child were brought up into the sunlight out of that vile place, if it were cleaned and fed and comforted, that would be a good thing, indeed; but if it were done, in that day and hour all the prosperity and beauty and delight of Omelas would wither and be destroyed. Those are the terms. To exchange all the goodness and grace of every life in Omelas for that single, small improvement: to throw away the happiness of thousands for the chance of happiness of one: that would be to let guilt within the walls indeed.
The terms are strict and absolute; there may not even be a kind word spoken to the child.
Often the young people go home in tears, or in a tearless rage, when they have seen the child and faced this terrible paradox. They may brood over it for weeks or years. But as time goes on they begin to realize that even if the child could be released, it would not get much good of its freedom: a little vague pleasure of warmth and food, no real doubt, but little more. It is too degraded and imbecile to know any real joy. It has been afraid too long ever to be free of fear. Its habits are too uncouth for it to respond to humane treatment. Indeed, after so long it would probably be wretched without walls about it to protect it, and darkness for its eyes, and its own excrement to sit in. Their tears at the bitter injustice dry when they begin to perceive the terrible justice of reality, and to accept it. Yet it is their tears and anger, the trying of their generosity and the acceptance of their helplessness, which are perhaps the true source of the splendor of their lives. Theirs is no vapid, irresponsible happiness. They know that they, like the child, are not free. They know compassion. It is the existence of the child, and their knowledge of its existence, that makes possible the nobility of their architecture, the poignancy of their music, the profundity of their science. It is because of the child that they are so gentle with children. They know that if the wretched one were not there sniveling in the dark, the other one, the flute-player, could make no joyful music as the young riders line up in their beauty for the race in the sunlight of the first morning of summer.
Now do you believe them? Are they not more credible? But there is one more thing to tell, and this is quite incredible.
At times one of the adolescent girls or boys who go see the child does not go home to weep or rage, does not, in fact, go home at all. Sometimes also a man or a woman much older falls silent for a day or two, then leaves home. These people go out into the street, and walk down the street alone. They keep walking, and walk straight out of the city of Omelas, through the beautiful gates. They keep walking across the farmlands of Omelas. Each one goes alone, youth or girl, man or woman.
Night falls; the traveler must pass down village streets, between the houses with yellow- lit windows, and on out into the darkness of the fields. Each alone, they go west or north, towards the mountains. They go on. They leave Omelas, they walk ahead into the darkness, and they do not come back. The place they go towards is a place even less imaginable to most of us than the city of happiness. I cannot describe it at all. It is possible that it does not exist. But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.
i arrived late to the event, and ms. leguin was addressing the overflow crowd. afterwards, a microphone was made available so that people could make comments or ask questions about the story.
the reaction was pathetic. one speaker after another stepped up to demand that people would not tolerate such cruelty and that it was possible to show compassion for the sad, mistreated child, who suffered so that everyone else in omelas could live carefree, joyous lives. to me, the entire point of the story was that we, here in the nations formerly designated as the “first world,” enjoy lives of comfort and ease that the majority of the people in the world will never attain. instead – in africa, south and central america, polynesia, and asia – millions of people live in squalor and destitution.
many of the regions with almost incalculable amounts of wealth in natural resources are also the location of failed nations, where the local inhabitants are massacred, the women raped, the children conscripted into service as slave laborers and soldiers by the latest rogue militia. why? because working people to death is cheaper than paying them.
the corporations that bankroll these atrocities make unbelievable profits from illegal mining and other resource extraction.
we all live in omelas, but the good, kind, happy citizens just aren’t interested enough about the lives of distant, dark-skinned people to be bothered to care about how much the opulence available to us causes suffering around the world, to billions of people. i get heartsick every time i think about this. isn’t it time for us to abandon this globalized deathcamp and create something different?
since there is no “away” for us to walk to, we’ll have to make our something different here. though this may seem like a dangerously daunting task, we must never forget is that we – the people – made this country, and we can remake it according to our own desires. we should not be afraid of creating ruins.
this is the final part of a reflection on the controversy surrounding Black Flame. It’s nice to be a part of the conversation again, even though i know this will bring the haters out. what can you do? i appreciate constructive criticism, but that can only mean not referencing dead white guys. i don’t care much. sorry for you if you do.
to see the piece in its entirety, on one page, go to:
-ROMANUS PONTIFEX, JANUARY 8, 1455 - the doctrine of discovery
“[W]e bestow suitable favors and special graces on those Catholic kings and princes…intrepid champions of the Christian faith…to invade, search out, capture, vanquish, and subdue all Saracens and pagans whatsoever, and other enemies of Christ wheresoever placed, and…to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery, and to apply and appropriate…possessions, and goods, and to convert them to…their use and profit…“
There you have it, spelt out in fairly clear language – His Excellency, Pope Babyraper the Umpteenth, authorized his co-conspirators to go out and rob, murder, rape, and plunder in every land which had not been “saved” by J-Zeus, the dying/resurrecting sun deity. At the time of the edict, that was around 80 percent of the inhabited world.
It’s easy enough to dismiss this document as an out-dated relic of a long-gone era.
The problem with that is, this is the SINGLE, LEGAL DOCUMENT that created the court systems of the US, Canada, Australia, much of Latin America and the Caribbean, the Philippines, most of Africa, swaths of Asia…
This single document is the foundation for laws before the US Supreme Court when considering matters of copyright, property, regulation of corporations, and trade agreements – including the current one. Yeah, all that bullshit about separation of Church and State…just window dressing. Without this Roman Catholic doctrine, the foundation for rule of law by the court systems in just about every nation on earth goes straight out the window.
Ever heard of a place called Latin America? No one spoke fucking Latin in the god-damn 15th century. Except for the Catholic Church clergy and Lawyers. Who established the court systems that preside over these places to this day! And that’s why it’s refered to as Latin America, because of their Latin legal systems.
Think this is a ridiculous over-simplification (I get that a lot)? Ever read a US law book? See all the Latin phrases? When exactly was it that Latin-speaking people inhabited the US? Isn’t US law supposed to be based on English court systems? And just what is the foundation of English law? Again, written in Latin. Little known fact – “Empress of the Holy Roman Empire” is one of Queen Lizzie the 2nd’s titles.
INTER CAETERA, MAY 3, 1493
“…in our times especially the Catholic faith and the Christian religion be exalted and everywhere increased and spread…and that barbarous nations be overthrown…”
This Papal decree is so much a part of the Great American Mythology that it was referenced by none less than US Chief Justice John Marshall in an 1823 decision, JOHNSON v. MCINTOSH, 21 US 543 to assert American authority over indigenous Peoples. His decision legalized exploitation, theft, and genocide by establishing that indigenous Peoples were indeed not quite people, not being Christians and all, so anything done to or against them is all good and well, and the Good Lord’s work as well, hallelujah!
This decision has never been overturned (see “Native American Sovereignty: now you see it, now you don’t”).
And why should it be overturned? It’s necessary to dehumanize indigenous Peoples in order to rob, rape, and murder them wholesale, even over the objections of the more squeamish members of the invading society.
This notion that indigenous Peoples must be “saved” from their ignorant, savage existence by having the gifts of religion and poverty bestowed upon them fuels wars even in the 21st century. This idea has been enacted through many expressions over the years: saving souls, bringing them civilization, educating them, making them into citizens of the state. This is the doctrine of Manifest Destiny – that god almighty has given Europeans superior weapons in order to subjugate other Peoples. Most of whom were not warlike, and almost none of whom had standing armies.
This is the notion of Progress. Lands previously untouched by the foul hand of the West had to be incorporated into the European legal systems in order to rule over them, for the benefit of the Europeans. It is solidly, irrefutably white supremacist to the core, an excuse to commit genocide and feel good, even proud, for doing it. There sure is a long list of names – venerated in every nation overrun by Europeans – of murdering, ignorant scum who slaughtered indigenous Peoples and later became well-respected members of the communities where they dwelt. Some of these genocidal pieces of shit are Saints in the Catholic church.
This Progressive ideology has never been refuted by anyone with a Eurocentric worldview. It enables people who depend on markets for everything they need for personal survival – but who must first find a master to serve in order to access markets – to think of indigenous Peoples as poor, filthy, ignorant savages. Even though the indigenous Peoples are able to hand craft everything they need. Food, clothing, shelter – what they can’t do for themselves, is often available from others, as sharing is much more widespread in Peoples who do not have the notion of “poverty” in their lives. They mostly live in abundance. Hell – right now, pharmaceutical corporations are falling all over themselves to get at indigenous healers in the field. They are making billions of dollars off of the knowledge and experience of indigenous Peoples, then they have the audacity to cry about “intellectual property rights.”
And to FINALLY arrive at the main point I want to make here – Socialism and Marxism are not in any way different from any of the other ideologies of Progress. Indeed, Marx himself stated that indigenous Peoples must submit to proletarianization or disappear from the world. Anyone who did not slave for a master for monetary gain was a lumpen, and Marx saw them – always the majority of the population in industrialized nations – as reactionary, enemies of the working class. He used much the same rationale we hear today from the far-right. Lumpen want to take our jobs (scabs). They are criminals. They are no-good layabout alcoholics and drug addicts. They are whores. They are ignorant. As someone who has spent much of his adult life either homeless or in prison, but always struggling against the coercive forces of elite rule, I gotta say a big, ol’ “Fuck you!” to orthodox Marxists.
There are Marxists I have some respect for, though – libertarian and autonomous Marxists are at least breaking from the orthodoxy of building a Party to centralize power. Some groups that started out as Marxists have evolved to the point that they no longer spout fiery working-class rhetoric. Instead, they humbly ask the communities they rely on for support what their group can do to help them. The trend in anarchy in the 21st century is for revolutionaries to focus on building autonomous communities instead of taking over industry. Except, of course – in the industrialized West.
In Europe and North America, the white working classes are terrified of losing the few precious scraps of privilege they’ve been allowed until now. Still clinging to their notion of Progress, orthodox Marxists, Anarcho-Communists, and Syndicalists refuse to let go of racist, outdated 19th century ideas that see them – the true and only revolutionaries – as the saviors of the world. Anyone who dares to challenge them to join the rest of humanity in the 21st century is silenced as “ignorant” or “reactionary” or “fascist.”
I’ve written before that Marxism’s main failure was that the working class never seized control of anything. I’m more of the opinion these days that the greatest failure was in only offering substitutions for the social order they were allegedly opposing. Substitute the Party for the working class. Substitute a Chairman for an emporer. Substitute expansion of the revolution for economic expansion. Substitute “safeguarding the revolution” for “protecting investments.” In short, Marxism has never offered anything but more of the same horrors, with just slightly different jargon. In function, the fascist state is little different than a communist one, and neither system is much different than democracies or republics. They all seek to divvy up the world’s resources for the enrichment of very few people, with treats for their lackeys, jails for the complainers, and bludgeons for the those who get in their way. Absolutely nothing has changed in the structure of civilized societies throughout history. They are slave systems.
It took the old European colonial powers centuries to overrun the entire planet and install court systems acceptable to their aristocracies. But it pretty much took until the 20th century for whities to look around at the places they had conquered and think “hmmm – wonder what all that stuff is?”
Naturally, being the superior civilization and all, they had no need for anything the heathens had. Not their medicinal herbcrafting. Not their stories and legends about geological events. Not their ambitions, thoughts, and dreams. Not their extensive written histories which receded far, far past the time when the Christian book of lies was written. And especially not for their heathen technology, which was the work of demons, after all – amen.
Many of the civilizations annihilated by the invading savages (the invading forces were at least 95 percent illiterate, for what that’s worth) were far superior in every way to what existed in Europe at that time. There are irrigation systems in Peru that are thousands of years older than historians are willing to admit there have been people in the Americas. Megalithic ruins all over the world suggest that there was a one-world culture of sea-faring people who built magnificent cities globally, until just after the end of the last ice age, when climatic chaos destroyed many coastal areas. Thus, the universal flood myths in people’s written and oral histories.
I can write this with confidence because much of this is readily – even scientifically, if that’s your religion – verifiable now. As a matter of fact, it’s getting to be common knowledge. This may well be one reason why education systems are being undermined. There will be no way to keep this knowledge out of textbooks unless there is such tight control of publishing and educational institutions that traditional narratives remain unchallenged. Religious institutions worldwide depend on this forgetting of the human saga.
Almost all the great dietary “breakthroughs” constantly in vogue in the US have come about as American consumers somehow found out about Ayurvedic and Naturalpathic medicinal traditions in Asia. As mentioned before, pharmaceutical corporations are scouring Amazonia and Africa, looking for new drugs and other biological knowledge from shamans and traditional healers. That’s not Progress, that’s just more plunder. We could accumulate this knowledge ourselves by TALKING TO PEOPLE and LISTENING WITH RESPECT TO WHAT OTHER CULTURES HAVE TO SAY! Fucksake…
I’m gonna go ahead and put this out there; some people suspect that this one-world, seafaring culture still existed, here and there, until fairly recently. Until the era of conquest. Their civilization had collapsed, for the most part, and they had to rebuild. I’ll write a lot more about this in the future.
The point I want to make here is that Polynesian Peoples sailed thousands and thousands of miles of open, uninterrupted seas at times. The Hopi and some Australian aboriginal Peoples claim to have sailed to their continents around 30,000 years ago. Most of the older ruins in the Americas are along the Pacific rim. Mayan civilization had a written history that covered 30,000 years, including daily records. Tenochtitlan, the capitol city of the Mexica, was an engineering marvel unmatched by the West: huge stone plazas and gigantic, megalithic pyramids built on a swamp. There are irrigation systems so old, there are no records of their construction, nor memories; in SE Asia, Russia, Australia, South America…
And even the approved annuls of history tell of the constant attack on knowledge. Libraries burned by invading forces, almost always from Europe, in Alexandria, Heliopolis, Persepolis, Babylon, Palmyra…We will never know how much was destroyed in the era of conquest. How far back did that put the human race, as far as accumulated knowledge? So much for “progress.” Most of this knowledge was lost forever to us, some of it we are actually rediscovering.
One civilization succeeded in preserving some of this ancient knowledge in Buddhist temples, written in archaic forms of Sanskrit. If it isn’t being destroyed by some goddam government or another, that’s where we could find a lot of details about the things i’ve mentioned above.
The history we’ve been force-fed is so much just a load of bullshit, i’m not sure if we should believe anything written up until the end of the last century. EVERYTHING the education system has indoctrinated us into accepting is wrong. Fucking goddam Everything. I hope I can convince enough people in the anarchist movement of this that we can actually band together and use the new knowledge – the stuff being rediscovered – to our advantage.
to make things very clear;
the idea of “progressive” history is racist to it’s very core. not to mention complete Bullshit. anything coming from that tradition is nothing more or less than white supremacist propaganda. not just including Marxism, but ESPECIALLY Marxism because of its failure to understand that industrial society is not the Ultimate Achievement of humankind. Free living people do not have to be enslaved through employment in order to find liberation.
Here in the US, the Black Lives Matters movement opened a door to dialogue among radicals and activists that we haven’t had for a generation at least. Interest in Anarchist ideas are widespread in an entire, new generation of activist who are not at all interested in advancing the status of Movement Pimps and politicians. And…damn! If this generation isn’t sharp enough to see that “classic” Anarchism rarely – if ever – addressed issues of race. Since there is abundant cross-cultural discussion taking place between activists in the black, indigenous, latinx, asian, queer, and other communities around issues of white supremacy, police violence, mass incarceration, and what to do about them, we – everyone with dark skin and at least partially of non-european ethnicity – are becoming less and less concerned with what dead white guys had to say about ANYTHING. Except, of course, when they agree with us.
As for myself, i want no part of this wretched deathculture. it’s built on lies, fraud, genocide, rape, and plunder. we are capable of creating something so much better. we should get on with building it. now.
full disclosure; i AM going to be referencing a dead white guy in some of my future diatribes, but he just died like, a month ago, and i was hoping to have a beer and conversation with him one day…sad…
Juchari Uinápikua, Our Force, Our Strength.
The P’urhepecha people in Cherán rose up to defend their forests and community from cartel control and the corrupt police that partnered with organized crime. It was spearheaded by women who were tired of their sons and husbands disappearing into the void that is cartel abduction and violence.
They began by trying to protest against the cartel backed loggers on the streets, it ended with molotovs and the storming of police stations to gather assault rifles to defend themselves. There was no turning back at that point, they began to establish fogatas, something like a camp fire, in every block to keep watch and stay vigilant to any attack. This became a nightly routine, it was also in these community camp fires that they made decisions on what to do in their communities. You know it as direct democracy, they know it as decolonization. Through the process of decolonization, they also established their form of self defense, how their communities used to defend themselves in the past.
Ronda comunitaria. Communal self defense.
A literal translation wouldn’t work, so I gave you what it is in practice. I’ll explain what that practice is, and you can see it here.So a community kicks out cartel elements, and the police along with the politicians because they all knew these were all the many heads of the same hydra. Of course those they kicked out would attempt to return, angrily to be certain. Campfires on every block is good to stay vigilant, but how do you defend your community should these vile elements return? Ronda comunitaria was the traditional form of self defense, now in their modern form they used what used to be police vehicles and assault rifles that used to belong to the police. Instead of using those tools to repress, kidnap and help cartel forces like before, they used them to defend not just their community, but also their forest.
Naná Echeri, our mother earth, land.
The trucks that once belonged to corrupt police were used to patrol the forests to keep loggers out. They not only defended Naná Echeri, they also replenished her with reforestation efforts. Over 50 thousand trees were planted to help heal the damage the loggers had brought upon Naná Echeri. The people of Cherán not only defend, they also heal. Above that, they shine like a lighthouse guiding the lost ships in a violent cold sea to a vibrant Naná Echeri. Where once Tatá Jurhiata, father sun, gave his light to a land that was nothing but burned tree stumps, now nourishes the growing trees of Naná Echeri. The people of Cherán are now in direct control of not only their politics, lives and selves, but also their environment.
It is difficult to find an equivalent in so called modern societies, we claim democracy in Europe and the United States of America, but there is no self determination in either. In Cherán, an indigenous people became the Tatá Jurhiata for the rest of the world. I once thought it was just the light for Mexico, to show our people how to not only resist but flourish. It is the sun for the whole world to show you how to not just defend life, but how to nurture it so it can grow in many beautiful ways on Naná Echeri. They are now an autonomous community using traditional self governance. They’ve taught us so much. I hope the language is never lost upon you.
originally posted on:
Freda Huson, spokesperson for the Unist’ot’en clan of the Wet’suwet’en Nation, has maintained a checkpoint at the bridge into her territory for the last six years.
“I am not demonstrating. I am not protesting,” she is quoted as saying in the Rising Tide call to action. “I am occupying our traditional homelands.”
Individual disobedience or even mere failure to “produce” in spite of the individual’s best efforts will result in stigmatization, marginalization, a degrading dependency on the state and, as state support for the economically disengaged is cut back and removed, starvation, homelessness and imprisonment; even the fact of homelessness is defined as a criminal offense by more local jurisdictions with each passing year.
The fact is that life is cheap; the idealistic visions of humanitarians are swept aside by those advocates of “austerity” and “tough choices,” whose calculations in service of usury on a global scale will determine the level of human suffering in each nation up to and including death by starvation, disease, and the inevitable outcome of manufactured scarcity, war.
The blurry and dim imagery of the concretes of suffering fades from vision in the glare of the deadly abstractions; political ideologies, religions, money that does not exist anywhere other than in the record keeping of the money lenders remains in clear focus. The conclusion returns stark, glaring and obvious: human life is a commodity, the value of which is consistently decreasing. The devaluation of an individual human life to a unit of production and consumption, which therefore can be discarded if determined to have no economic value, is all that is required for the machinery of mass exterminations and genocide to be set in motion.
Arguing about wages, prices, social systems and ways of arranging economies, even in cases where “progress” is made, will be useless. The dominance of the fundamentalist-materialist cults, as well as the authoritarian religions that create legitimacy for them in the eyes of the masses (and even Stalin, the ultimate fundamentalist-materialist, allowed for the return of religion as an adjunct of the state when he realized its value) will continue to crush and compress human life, until the perverted and inverted values themselves are overthrown, shattered, burned and buried.
When will the biocentric (life centered) ethos replace the thanatocentric (death centered) ethos as the dominant culture’s value system? I cannot answer even the “if” of this question, let alone the question itself. The fact that the power to collect interest on nonexistent money and the lifestyles that such usury on a global scale supports is presented, and apparently accepted, as an immutable law of nature rather than as an imposition of culture’s order on the true nature of humanity seems by way of this very acceptance to be a “natural law.” Images of vultures waiting for starving children to crawl to their deaths and mothers weeping over infants at the bottoms of pits do not move the master manipulators of numbers. If anything, only the fact that the die-offs are not more extensive is cause for lamentation.
Do we care anymore? I’m not speaking of our little “jobs” and “futures,” and relative degree of comfort/discomfort in oppression that seems to be everyone’s primary concern. I’m demanding of myself, of you and above all of those who have declared themselves to be “leaders;” what is it that matters to you? Do you feel anything at all? Can we set aside all calculations save for those needed to ease human suffering? The primary demand of all protests, occupations, strikes, boycotts and further actions of increasing effect and extremity will be “Life First!”
The life of one human being hanging on the edge of death, in suffering, is too high a price to pay, for all the glorious achievements of the fundamentalist-materialist cults, their leaders and their adherents. The cult of power, authority, war, and property as a weapon of coercion has, for all its trillions of dollars and stockpiled weapons of mass destruction, a single and fatal vulnerability; to function it depends on obedience. For obedience to be guaranteed, the “obey or suffer” directive must be enforceable. This directive is only enforceable if the doctrine of fundamentalist-materialism enjoys continued acceptance as a “fact of life,” rather than the monstrous fraud that it is.
*The term “docile bodies” is a chapter title in Michel Foucault’s “Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison” 1977, Random House, NY, NY.
read more, from OpEdNews.com
from non-fides, with the help of google translate
Bologna, 4:30 Tuesday, 23 December 2014. A sabotage causing havoc in rail traffic. And for good reason: fire was set to four wells that contain power signaling cables at the intersection of the lines to Milan, Verona, and High Speed Line for Milan. Rags soaked with flammable liquid were the cause: simple but effective as – say – cops and journos. On site, tags against the TAV.
It took until the afternoon for the circulation to return “almost” to normal. Meanwhile, the DIGOS (the political police) conducted raids on four anarchists in Bologna, without finding anything. The government talks of “sabotage” and also “terrorism” for attacks linked to the opposition to high speed.
Here indeed, beautiful new activities last month:
– Florence, 21 December: fire to a cabinet buried along the high-speed line. Two bottles filled with incendiary liquid (one per cabinet, on each side of the line), one exploded, the other not.
– Online Granaiolo-Certaldo, Province of Florence, 20 December: a signaling torch is thrown on the electrical box of the railway, the spoiling.
– Milan, December 18: Two Molotov cocktails were discovered along the High Speed Line Milan-Turin.
– Rivoli (Turin), December 16: on the eve of the trial against Chiara, Niccolò, Claudio and Mattia , two Molotov (which did not explode) were found next to company vehicles Torinoleggi de Rivoli, which participates the yards of TAV.
– Florence, 16 December: the night a DAB was burned: smoke signal solidarity with Chiara, Niccolò, Claudio and Mattia On the night of 15 to 16/12 were burned DAB FRC-bank Intesa Piazza Gualfredotto With love and rage! Fire to the prisons… ”
– Florence, December 2: a bottle full of gasoline is found at the feet of a crane at the construction site of TAV in Florence. Something went wrong in its ignition.
And how to forget the two pretty recent attacks carried out in solidarity with comrades in jail (and all the other prisoners)
“Milan, December 15th. It was degraded more than 20 cars of Enjoy, self-service car service [the Autolib ‘Milan NdT], designed by ENI in collaboration with Trenitalia Frecciarossa and FIAT. This action is in solidarity with Adriano and Gianluca and all anarchist prisoners”
Attack on 12.13.2014 against the Telecom center of Rovereto. We moved the cameras and incendiary devices were placed at different locations. The phone companies, in addition to the damage they cause to the environment, are close to the State, for the monitoring and security. Telecom, specifically, is one of the leaders of video conferencing imposed on the prisoners. In solidarity with Adriano and Gianluca , which was imposed via video conferencing, Maurizio Alfieri in which it was imposed because of his struggles in prison and Monica and Francisco against the orders of ” Operation Pandora .” To Alfredo and Nicola for claiming having wounded one of the leaders of Nuclear death. For No TAV! – arrested because the phone companies have had a fundamental role in their repression. For Tamara Sol , accused of shooting a security guard. In memory of Sebastian Overslvij and Remi, who was killed by the cops! and solidarity with all prisoners who are struggling. A hug to all those around the world who clash with authority. For direct action! For anarchy!
The fire of anarchy spreads!
“Nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the people who were oppressing them.” -assata shakur
Burn it all Down
What does it mean to say that Black lives matter when 12 year old Tamir Rice was shot and killed by a pig in Cleveland Ohio on November 24th. What does it mean to say Black lives matter when on the same day Mike Brown’s pig murderer, Darren Wilson, is charged with nothing. What does it mean to state that Black lives matter in a system based off of the exploitation and genocide of Black life, Indigenous peoples life, all life? This system was not built for us so why should we protect it? In the words of Mike Brown’s stepfather it’s time we “burn this bitch down!”
Self-determination is fought for in the streets not in the courts. Our actions must not legitimize a system that stands opposed to us. That is a distraction. We must connect and build with homies in other spaces too, who are resisting and decolonizing so that we may support each others work. I’ve learned from Zapatismo and compas in Mexico that you resist colonization through actively building the alternative. You don’t just pontificate about it like an academic. Autonomy is the unity of theory and practice. Lets not be afraid to think and tap into our brilliance and knowledge. Let’s not be afraid to imagine something radically different. Especially as Black and Indigenous womyn, because our lived experience is ripe with powerful wisdom and truths for our people. Our ideas and visions are our guides for action.
Lets not be afraid to burn it all down. Lets not be afraid to hold space and take it back for good. Not just for a day of protests, where we do something inspiring and then go home feeling good about ourselves. Liberation is a daily struggle and a collective one. Lets break the law. Lets Break everything. But take back space too and take it back longer. Take it back forever. From Oakland to Seattle to Klanada to LA to Ferguson to Mexico to Palestine, todo el mundo.
All power to the people. Always.
“Colonialism is not a machine capable of thinking, a body endowed with reason. It is naked violence and only gives in when confronted with greater violence.” Franz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth
I write to you from a humbled place. Striving to be a warrior for my people; looking and listening. This is an attempt to share some political reflections as a Black womyn in the struggle since I left the womb. The last two days Turtle Island (united states) has been on fire in solidarity with Mike Brown’s family and Ferguson, Missouri to protest the murder of Mike Brown by pig Darren Wilson, who continues to live freely with no charges filed against him. Mike Brown, like many of my brothers and sisters before me, was murdered for being a Black man in the White mans system. A system built out of the genocide of Black and Native folks. No justice will ever be served in their courts. This week in particular is a powerful week to be remembering and honoring native resistance, and Indigenous resistance all over this earth to white supremacy and state violence. Nothing has changed including the lies and bullshit holidays they try to feed us to distract us from these truths. We honor by continuing to resist.
My consciousness took a deep and important shift when Oscar grant was murdered nearly 6 years ago now at Fruitvale Bart Station on New Years of 2009. I begin building community here in Oakland to fight back against white supremacy shortly after. It is within this journey that certain political truths have been crystalized within me, which have helped root out reformism and liberalism, which serves to distract from the truth. There are many authoritarians within the spectrum of the left, who seek to manage and point out correct lines and such. Fuck them. That is not my purpose in these political reflections to gain ideological power over ‘the revolution’. That’s also not possible. The people will liberate themselves. But I do see too many of my own folks, (melinated, womyn, queer, combos of all) who fall into these liberal traps of seeking change through passive reformism and non violence. I see too many of my own folks who know the system is wrong or has to go in some kind of way, but aren’t sure what that is or are still too incarcerated within it, ideologically, to imagine what it would mean to truly break free and what it would take. We live in a world built out of white supremacy; manifested from the White mans vision, and implemented through deep violence. That is the only way the White man has won the world.
We live within colonial capitalism. A psychotic exploitative system designed to continually rob and take to keep a ruling elite in power. This system was created through European conquest, which helped set puppet governments up all over the world, who will act in accordance with these capitalist laws of domination over the earth and its peoples. All laws that exist are designed to protect this system. Protect the white supremacist hierarchy at its foundation. Protect the stolen wealth through genocide. As a people we are confronted with two choices, to integrate into the system and therefore legitimize slavery or to destroy it, which means breaking their slaveholder laws.
This can be a scary step for some folks to take, but it is a necessary one to truly break free, and it begins within our own consciousness and spirits, which guide our actions. For most, the way this practically happens is through the process of struggle itself. Sure, most of us are politicized through our identities and lived experiences as powerful, creative beings, who have survived generations of trauma caused from colonization. But that doesn’t change the fact that we live in the White mans world and are manipulated through his institutions, such as skkkool, and have his media all around us. It messes up our mind. Materially and physically we are dependent on this system, because capitalism creates dependency. We all are integrated into it just through the need to survive. We have to work hard for crumbs just to afford the basic necessities of life. Its expensive to be poor in a system opposed to life and we are not free to leave it or to live differently according to their laws. That type of liberation will come through a larger decolonial struggle that has been in existence for over 500 years.
When we take to the streets. When we fight back in direct ways, in offensive ways, not just passive marches, boycotts or petitions, then something changes within us. Our spirits are awakened when we take back space, whether it be buildings, freeways, walls, parks, ect. Confidence is built through taking risks. And when confidence is built we can do it better and larger and deeper. We can start to imagine what it might be like to not live in fear of the backlash of the state. We can begin to imagine what it might be like to live without a state altogether. To be truly free and autonomous. To not just take back space for a few hours, but to really decolonize and live with the earth. All we need is each other and that bravery and so much can happen, but it’s hard to imagine without the practical experience. Without seeing your comrades beat down and/or kidnapped in the streets by the racist pigs you were out there protesting or when you see over a 1000 people in Oakland, CA take the 580 freeway twice, because why the fuck not. We are powerful and can do anything with the right experience and mindset, and some organization. Not revolutionary organizations or vanguard parties that seek to manage the people, but through being organized together and finding unity through struggle. Lets stop legitimizing the system and giving them power. All they have is their violence and their lack of feeling, which allows them to employ that violence in the most disturbing ways to enforce their laws. That’s real and scary, but we also have so much more. As a people we have a deep brilliance and creativity, and our own hearts and ancestral blood to guide us as we fight back. We stay protected. We would not have survived this long if we weren’t. Our ancestors want us alive.
Black lives fight back
Monday and Tuesday night in Oakland was inspiring, because it is a reminder of the dignified rage that flows through our people. That rage is the source of our power and magic. A righteous destruction we must employ against our oppressors, as well as a creative power to imagine and build something new. This is the beauty of militant decolonial struggle. The ways it builds upon itself through time and space. Nothing is purely spontaneous when the people have been self-organizing for 100s of years. What is important to me is how we build upon that energy so it hits the pressure points of the system as well as uplift one another.
A chant I heard over and over again throughout the protests is ‘black lives matter’. The slogan seems to be a rallying cry for this movement of solidarity with Mike Brown against white supremacy. Historically slogans have been important reflections of politics to inspire the people. The Black Panther Party said ‘All power to the people’ (Black, Brown, Red, Yellow, Poor, Womyn, Queer). To me that slogan reflected a radical politic that claimed the source of political power comes from the people; not bourgeois political parties and the police thugs who protect their money and hustle. The Black Panther Party and Black Power movement was also a youth movement. Radical struggles have always sprung from the youth. If our struggles are not centering the visions and actions of the youth then our struggles will lead to nowhere. There are a lot of non-profits that engage with young Black and Brown people and even seek to talk about ‘social justice’ and ‘activism’ but this work often stifles the movement of the youth narrowing it into the fields of education and assimilation, rather into freedom fighters. Outkast said it best, ‘youth full of fire and got nowhere to go’. The non-profitization of parts of the bay area left seeks to take out the fire of the youth and militant struggle, but young people see through these contradictions too. Especially young Black and Brown youth, who know what its like to not have political and social power within this white supremacist system; who see through the contradictions of the amerikkkan dream denied to them. The youth of Oakland have always represented in the streets and I’m proud to struggle alongside them.
So when we claim Black lives matter, who are we really talking to? I don’t need to tell another Black or Brown brother and sister that our lives matter. We know that. We are committed to that. Because if we weren’t committed to it then how would we have been able to survive and continue to survive genocide all these years? Through valuing ourselves in a system that doesn’t value life at all, let alone Black and Native life. We are alienated and isolated, but we are also strong and build our communities up out of nothing, and still have enough energy to take to the streets and resist. Our lives matter so how do we fight back against a system of genocide? We do not need to plea with the slave masters to recognize our humanity. These politics and tactics have come up time and time again during social upheavals against white supremacy and state violence. I saw it during Oscar grant struggles when some folks were pushing police reform. I ask what would Harriet Tubman do? What would Nat Turner do? Certainly not ask the slave master for freedom. We take it. It’s time we start valuing each other enough to struggle for one another so that we may live for one another. We do not need to convince the slaveholding system of shit. But with the legalist and reformist strategies also comes a certain policing of militants by ‘activists’ in the streets. Unfortunately a lot of times this policing comes from more liberal or non-profitized folks of color, who want to keep things non-violent. For me as a Black womyn this policing takes away my agency to get turnt up in the streets, which I need to do, because that is healing too. Black people aren’t just victims of white supremacy, we also fight back and rage against the system too. Always. And it isn’t just White people or ‘outside agitators’ breaking stuff. These claims disempower our people.
On monday night during the march I got in between these womyn of color, who were attempting to snatch a bandanna off this white boys face, who had attempted (and failed) to break some stuff. They yelled at him for taking up space in an event for Black people. Used the same condescending arguments that it will be Black people, who are arrested first (as if Black people aren’t also expressing a certain dignified rage in the streets). Then they demanded he show his face. I jumped between them then so they yelled at me too. I said I feel the arguments around White boys and space, but still, we can’t be snitches…they didn’t get it. A few hours later I smiled in a sea of fire and broken glass as I saw Black faces loot back. It made me think of those womyn from earlier and my peoples who fear these tactics, who want to contain some sense of ‘peace’ In the streets. Peace for what? Whose streets are these? Whose banks are these? Why are we more concerned about keeping the peace towards private property we don’t own, rather then letting people do their thing in the streets? And policing tactics in the name of protecting Black people and our vulnerability to the state? We don’t need that. We’ve been smashing against this private property thang since our ancestors burned down plantations. Monday and Tuesday night in Oakland, CA was no different and we should be proud of that.
reposted from Kissing in the Dark…
reposted from global revolution:
The Munduruku Indians: Weaving Resistance
The Brazilian government is planning to build a vast number of big dams on the rivers around the Amazon Rainforest, destroying biodiversity and disrupting the way of life of thousands of Amerindians and local populations. Now that the work is well under way on the huge Belo Monte dam, on the Xingu river, the government is pushing ahead with its next big project – a series of dams on the Tapajós river. But 12,000 Munduruku Indians, long feared as warriors, live here and are fighting back.
This documentary, filmed in late 2013 and early 2014, looks at life in a Munduruku village, where traditional skills are practised and children are brought up with remarkable freedom. It documents the growth of resistance, even among the women, not traditionally fighters, some of whom are emerging as guerreiras (woman warriors).
This video was produced independently, with the support of some organizations in the UK, such as LAB and Lipman Miliband Trust, Munduruku leaders and their local supporters. The post-production process was made thanks to collaborative and solidarity work.
Dir.: Nayana Fernandez
see vimeo for full transcript
The Munduruku Indians: Weaving Resistance by MiráPorã is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on a work at mirapora.com/
Live stream recording – 2014-10-21 21.35 [part 2]
PART 1: http://vimeo.com/debalie/statelessdem…
(there’s more info linked below)
The fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has often been portrayed as a fight between the West and its Arab allies against Islamic ultra-fundamentalists. Over the last several years, however, a progressive Kurdish-led resistance has been forming in Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan) amidst the Syrian Civil War. The resistance has successfully implemented new models of grassroots democracy, gender equality, and sustainable ecology, its members practicing a political project they refer to as Democratic Confederalism. Women and men stand side-by-side in its armed forces in the face of both ISIS and the Bashar al-Assad regime. Despite the resistance’s efforts, Rojava is currently threatened by a massacre, and the international community continues to stand by silently as tragedy unfolds.
This conference discusses the current Kurdish resistance in Kobanê, Rojava against ISIS. With help of representatives from the Kurdish movement as well as specialists in the field, it explores the politics and culture of Rojava and the reasons behind the formation and growth of the self-proclaimed Islamic State. The question as to what and how the international community and civil society can help is also addressed—not only to stop ISIS, but more crucially, to support a movement from within the region that is offering a new democratic horizon from which the world can learn.
Keynote speeches by Dilşah Osman (co-president of the Kurdish Democratic Society Congress in Europe, KCD-E) and Dilar Dirik (PhD researcher and activist of the Kurdish Women’s Movement), contributions by Joost Jongerden (researcher and Kurdish specialist, Wageningen University), Jolle Demmers (co-founder of the Center for Conflict Studies, Utrecht), Jonas Staal (artist), Jasper Blom (Director Scientific Bureau Groenlinks / Green Party), Dilan Yezilgoz-Zegerius (Amsterdam council memberfor Liberal Party VVD, former Amnesty International specialist on Turkey) en Golrokh Nafisi (artist) and many others.
The conference is hosted by New World Academy; BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht; Center for Conflict Studies, Utrecht; and De Balie, Amsterdam.
Stateless Democracy: The Revolution in Rojava Kurdistan is the first of a series of events on stateless democracy organized by New World Academy in collaboration with the Kurdish Women’s Movement.
The Kurdish women’s movement, the Union of Free Women (YJA) has changed its name to the Kurdistan Communtiies of Women (Komalen Jinen Kurdistan, KJK) in order to reorganize itself under a confederal system. The Women’s Movement has issued a statement to announce its name change, stressing the importance of women’s organisation on the basis of the ideological and political requirements for a universal liberation of women.
Excerpt from “Between Nationalism and Women’s Rights: The Kurdish Women’s Movement in Iraq”
With the fall of the Baath regime in 2003, many Kurdish women activists initially joined with women activists in the rest of Iraq to promote women’s rights for all Iraqis. However, the violence that has engulfed central and southern Iraq as well as the Islamization of politics there, mean that a large number of women activists in Kurdistan have put their efforts into supporting autonomy for Iraqi Kurdistan as a means of defending women’s rights there. Moreover, many Kurdish activists tend to emphasize their difference from Arabs through reference to their desire for women’s rights (as opposed to what they perceive as a lack of desire for women’s rights in the rest of Iraq). Even those women in Kurdistan who believe that it is important to work with women in the rest of Iraq are largely prevented from doing so due to the practical difficulties of travelling to/within the rest of Iraq. However, some women’s rights activists from central and southern Iraq travel to Iraqi Kurdistan for meetings and workshops as it is much safer than other parts of the country.
The comparison with the rest of Iraq has made some Kurdish women more optimistic about the gains that they have made within the Iraqi Kurdistan region, whilst others remain critical of politicians within the KRG. Some women activists believe that Kurdistan politicians are marginalizing women’s rights to concentrate on the “bigger national questions” of Kirkuk, oil, and federalism. Other women activists believe that these questions of Kurdish rights are also inseparable from achieving women’s rights in Kurdistan. However, both the critics and the optimists believe that autonomy for Kurdistan must be respected by the government in Baghdad.
IRAQ: Interview: Between Nationalism and Women’s Rights – The Kurdish Women’s Movement
KURDISH WOMEN AND FEMINISM IN GUERILLA WARFARE
Within the movement, Kurdish women have their own party, and even community. In the heart of Qandil Mountains, you can find PKK women do everything by themselves, even building houses and military outposts.
If we compare the women members of Turkey’s parliament in the country’s 17th general election which was held on 12 June 2011 to elect 550 new members of Grand National Assembly, we see a huge difference between Kurdish women deputies in the only Kurdish party and the two other opposition parties. There are 20 female deputies out of 135 deputies from the opposition Republican People’s Party, three out of 53 from the Nationalist Movement Party and 11 out of 35 among the Kurdish Peace and Democracy party.
This is the innovation of Kurdish freedom struggle movement that you cannot find in the whole Middle East region. You can hardly find female political figures in Middle East. This is not to say that some female political figures don’t exist in Middle East, but of those that do they rarely get to the higher positions. But in Kurdish the freedom struggle and political ideology, it has become a system that will go forward in the future.
Bear in mind, the women that are guerrilla fighters are not married and if you ask them about marriage, they straightly tell you “If our land is not free, marriage is meaningless.” This is the same for the male guerrillas as well.
To fight side by side to men, Kurdish women fighters have become the soul of the revolution. Though they are martyred every now and then, but they are so proud that they have dedicated their life to the nation and the land.
PKK women say that they are one hundred percent equal to men, yet they want more! They will never see their families once they have joined the revolution. Once I asked a PKK female guerrilla in Qandil Mountains: “Do you miss your mother?”
“Your mother, is my mother, too. Daily, I see her several times here. My mother is here, she is there, she is everywhere in the country. My mother is my HOMELAND.” she replied
The latest achievement of PKK’s women is that they were able to become the top leaders of the KCK. Bese Hozat became the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) Executive Council Co-President in KCK’s last congress which was held in the beginning of 2013. Despite KCK affiliated parties and organizations impleneting the Co-chair system, KCK had not done so. Consequently the last congress became a milestone for PKK’s female fighters because they were able to acheive equality to men within the political structure of KCK.
Gaining equality and high positions within the PKK revolutionary movement was not handed to women on a silver plate. Women struggled against the patriarchal mentality of men, and through constant struggles they acomplished what they set out to do.