Posts tagged Direct Action

Alabama Sin Miedo / Alabama Unafraid

The immigrant justice movement is a freedom struggle. This is exactly what is needed. More confrontation. More direct action. Not one more deportation.

Shared Article from inthesetimes.com

The Immigration Movement’s Left Turn

Advocates are moving away from the “pathway-to-citizenship” compromise—and are demanding a moratorium on deportations.

inthesetimes.com


#Not1More #BordersAreStupid #ShutDownICE

Shared by Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice.

Who will be the Obama administration’s two-millionth deportee? The question haunts neighborhoods, schools and workplaces from Phoenix to Philadelphia.

And as the Obama administration continues its en masse removal of undocumented immigrants, that unlucky distinction could go to any of the roughly 11 million undocumented people who call the U.S. home—a carwash worker nabbed for a broken taillight; a field laborer who has overstayed her work visa; or a youth donning a cap and gown, deliberately crossing the path of the border patrol in a show of civil disobedience.

Deportations are expected to reach the 2 million mark in early April, and activists are campaigning fiercely at the gates of detention centers, border checkpoints and congressional offices to show the White House they will not let the Obama administration’s reach that milestone without a fight.

Last month in Alabama, immigrant rights advocates organized one such action by forming a human chain outside the Etowah County Detention Center, chanting “not one more”—the rallying cry of a wave of anti-deportation actions that have swept the nation over the past year, gaining political currency as a social media campaign, a slogan at street demonstrations, and more recently, a political salvo in Washington, where more conciliatory policy demands from inside the Beltway have sputtered.

One protester at the Etowah rally, Gwendolyn Ferreti Manjarrez, declared, “I am tired of living with the fear that my family or any family can be torn apart at the seams for living our everyday life.”

— Michelle Chen, The Immigration Movement’s Left Turn,
from In These Times (1 April 2014)

Don’t Vote

I’ve never opposed voting on moral principle. Of course, I oppose government on moral principle, but, Patriotically Correct mythology to one side, the notion that casting a vote has any meaningful relationship to controlling the apparatus of government is one of the more ridiculous lies that representative democracies — that is, elective oligarchies — such as the United States government love to promote. Defensive voting is not immoral; it’s a strategy. But strategies may be foolish. And if the last few election cycles have proved anything, they’ve proved that this is a strategy with no pay-off. No matter how many times you change out the party in power, the interests of power remain the same, and even when you win, you lose.

So I am boycotting the election today. I hope that you will too. I will not vote for any candidate for political office, Democrat, Republican, or other, no matter what promises they make, and no matter what party they come from. I do not support them as candidates, and I do not support the oligarchical political machine they represent. If the last few election cycles prove anything, they prove that power-plays beat promises every time. It’s not just a few radicals who have noticed that something is deeply wrong; it’s not just a handful of malcontents who know that we need a radically different direction, away from the insane and destructive Beltway consensus — away from this government’s wars, this government’s bail-outs, this government’s secret surveillance, corporate health-insurance cartels, PATRIOT Acts, runaway police powers, catastrophic economic policeis, shameless fear-mongering and constant, unremitting power-grabs. But people have HOPEd and parties have CHANGEd and if it all accomplished anything at all, it was only to prove that we’re never going to get anything but more of the same as long as we maintain a false hope in electoral politics. If what you want is social progress, there is no shortcut around principled agitation, grassroots social movements, community organizing, civil disobedience and direct action. There is no low-calorie political substitute for D.I.Y. social transformation. Elections and party politicking are no way to make a revolution. They’re not even a way to make small change.

No matter who you vote for, the winner is always the government.

Welcome, FreeTalkers

For those of you who have been around here for a while, you may be interested to know that I recorded a brief interview this afternoon on agorism and electoral politics with Mark Edge from FreeTalkLive. The interview will be attached to the end of the podcast, which I’m told will be available late tonight. Due to time constraints on the interview, there’s a fair amount that I got the chance to mention but didn’t allow myself the time to follow up on; if there’s anything that you want to hash out at greater length, please do drop it in the comments and let’s talk.

Update 2009-10-09. [An MP3 of the 2009-10-07 show, with my interview included, is now available for download](http://media.libsyn.com/media/ftl/FTL2009-10-07.mp3).)

For those of you who found out about me, or about agorism, or about this website, through the interview, or the show notes, welcome! Let me take a moment to introduce myself. I’m Charles Johnson, also known as Rad Geek. I’m an individualist anarchist, originally from Alabama, now living and working in Las Vegas. I am a member of the Southern Nevada Alliance of the Libertarian Left, maintainer of several anti-statist web projects, and an occasional writer for The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty. If you’re new to the blog, or to agorism and individualist anarchism as a set of ideas, here’s some things which might give you some idea of where I’m coming from, and what I care about.

For an extended treatment of agorism, counter-economics, and what it’s all about — including its positive aspects, above and beyond its critique of electoral politics, you may want to check out this interview I recorded with Jason Talley of the Motorhome Diaries back in May:

For an in-depth discussion of counter-economics and direct action, and of the inherent limitations of electoral politics, see:

Among agorists, I’m a bit unusual in the extent to which I stress counter-economic that are either already-existing projects of, or else inspired by the historical examples of, and tied to goals traditionally associated with, the anti-authoritarian Left — including, notably, anti-statist radical labor unions, grey-market mutual aid networks like Food Not Bombs or LETS and other localized trading networks, black-market mutual aid networks like the Jane abortion network, existing feminist projects like the battered women’s shelter and rape crisis center movement, and existing social anarchist projects like CopWatch and the Anarchist Black Cross Federation. For some discussions of why, see:

If you’re curious, I discuss my views on why I think that some more familiar forms of libertarian political strategy — such as voting for Ron Paul, or running nominally libertarian candidates for government office, or trying to lobby the state to act less statist, or trying to vindicate some less-statist reading of the United States Constitution in the courts, or indeed spending any considerable effort on teaming up in an ongoing, open-ended political party with minimal-statists — are at best futile, and often actively destructive of serious politics, at some length in:

And since the topic of Ron Paul, specifically, came up, and since, out of concern for time, I stated my views but did not spend long on elaborating them — and since, while we’re here, the miserable failure of Ron Paul’s single-digit primary showing is currently the show pony for the awesome potential of libertarian electoralism — it may be worth pointing to some more detailed discussion of what my problems with the Pauliticos are, or were:

I suppose I could also discuss the even more miserable miserable failure of the Libertarian Party, and particularly of its recent strategy of mercilessly pruning away anything resembling libertarianism from the platform in order to advance the prospects for failed candidacies by ridiculous conservative tools, as in the recent Barr/W.A.R. ticket. But really, I am at the point where I think that kind of thing is really beneath comment. The Pauliticos may be wrong, but they have the benefit of being comprehensible. Not so, at this late date, those who still believe that serious political transformation is going to come about by means of the supporting LP.

Border politics

From Ray Ybarra:

Someday children will be able to walk into a library and read about a period in history when thousands of migrants died attempting to unlawfully enter nation-states. The children will be appalled to read in this history book that there was once a time when human mobility across borders was not recognized as a human right. In the final chapter of the book, they will read about how the oppressed and disenfranchised across the globe organized to demand recognition of what was already known in their hearts. The time to write that final chapter is now.

For two years, I tracked anti-immigrant vigilantes through the desert along the U.S.-Mexico border. I met migrants who had blood coming out of their noses and purple masses where their lips used to be. I came upon migrants who were drinking their own urine to postpone death and saw mothers carrying their babies through the scorching, unforgiving terrain. I cannot forget the faces of people who were walking for days simply to find a job. I met mothers whose children died of dehydration and spent countless hours trying to conceive of a solution to the human rights tragedy created by borders. After many discussions with migrants, from rural communities in Mexico, to the border, and in communities across the United States, I kept hearing the same phrase: Tenemos un derecho humano a cruzar fronteras, translated, We have a human right to cross borders.

. . . Challenging the assumption that the rights of countries to regulate migration are superior to our rights as human beings to cross borders is long overdue. Now is the time for migrants and their allies to share their experiences, hopes, and aspirations, and to stop tailoring the discourse to sound appealing to the oppressors.

Past social movements provide examples of individuals asserting their rights despite immoral laws. Rosa Parks knew she possessed the right to sit anywhere on the bus. Before the passage of the 19th Amendment, Susan B. Anthony knew that women possessed the right to vote. Similarly, we must now turn to those who are most profoundly affected by immoral and inhumane immigration policies to lead us by example. Let us bury the notion that migrants are simply economic victims who need activists to be their voices. Every footstep in the desert can be considered an act of civil disobedience by visionaries paving the way for a movement for equality, liberty, and freedom. Migrants across the world cross international boundaries because they know that mobility is a human right. They have already provided the leadership—now it is time to identify followers.

— Ray Ybarra, Movement Vision Lab (2007-11-25): Crossing the Border: Human Mobility as a Human Right

Read the whole thing.

Right on. My only caveat — the only thing that I’d want to change — is to suggest, instead of act of civil disobedience, to view independent border crossings as direct action. Immigrants aren’t crossing borders in order to get arrested, or to challenge the morality of government border laws; they are crossing borders in order to find homes and jobs — to get the things they need in their lives, even without the approval of coercive governments — in order to render the destructive violence and stupidity of government border laws simply irrelevant to the lives that they lead. Not because political actors have been challenged to the point that they are no longer willing to go on enforcing unjust border laws, but rather because the actions of the immigrants themselves, and those who stand in solidarity with them, have made them unable to go on enforcing unjust border laws, even if they wanted to.

See also: