Posts tagged Infoshop News

Keep on rocking in the free world: Anarchist Communications

Upcoming

  • Anarchy Summer Camp. 17-19 July 2009. Northern Virginia. Anonymous, Infoshop News (2009-06-12): Virginia: Anarchy Summer Camp 17th-19th, Nova. As we prepare for the upcoming G20 summit in Pittsburgh, the Spring World Bank and IMF meetings, the ebbs and flows of our respective local campaigns, and anything else under the sun, we’ll be congregating in the woods of Northern Virginia for an action-packed Anarchy Summer Camp.

  • Belfast, Ulster. 18 July 2009. Organizing for Anarchism. Belfast: Organising for Anarchism. A day of workshops and discussions organised by the Belfast branch of the Workers Solidarity Movement and the Anarchist Communist Discussion Group. (High Church Platformism, in case you’re curious.)

  • Sao Paulo, Brazil. 18-19 July 2009. 2nd Encounter towards a Sao Paulo Anarchist Federation. The Pró-Federação Anarquista de São Paulo collective invites everyone to participate in the 2nd Encounter towards a Sao Paulo Anarchist Federation on 18-19 July 2009 in the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil. … It was from that Encounter che this collective was formed, with the aim of carrying on the debate. The purpose of this second Encounter, then, is to present and discuss the collective’s experiences and the work done so far, and also to invite new comrades to join us. Over this first year, the participants have engaged in many activities with the aim of joining the popular struggles and contributing social and practical ideas such as direct action, autonomy, combativity, solidarity, horizontality and independence from parties. (Especifismo, if you’re curious.)

  • 2009 Northeast Anarchist People of Color Conference. 6-9 August 2009. Philadelphia, Pennslvania. The conference announcement, mission sttaement, and Principles of Unity are all available from http://illvox.org/.

  • Providence, Rhode Island. 15 August 2009. Providence Anarchist Bookfair and street festival. Anonymous @ Infoshop News (2009-06-28): Providence Anarchist Bookfair and street festival The annual Providence Anarchist Bookfair is back again this year and we want you to come on by and enjoy the events , get some books and participate. … In the past there have been workshops and interactive presentations on radical and revolutionary topics , please feel free to submit workshop proposals or hit us up to get a table.

Openings, anniversaries, report-backs, etc.

  • Toledo, Ohio. Summer 2009. The Black Cherry community space. A new coffee-and-info-shop opening this summer in Toledo under the auspices of the October 15 Anarchist Collective. 1420 Cherry St., Toledo, Ohio.

  • Santa Cruz, California. June 2009. SubRosa community space. SubRosa celebrates six months! SubRosa is a non-profit space in downtown Santa Cruz for art and radical projects run by a collective of volunteers from the local anarchist community. It offers radical books and literature, gourmet coffee and tea, performance and a weekly open mic, gallery art by emerging local artists, and a garden courtyard social space. Free wi-fi and public computers are also available for use. A variety of radical community events are held at SubRosa, including monthly art shows, Free Skool classes and a weekly Open Mic on Thursdays at 8pm.

  • United Kingdom. Free Activist Records. Anonymous, Infoshop News (2009-07-16): New donation based UK anarchist record label launched. A new free to download donation based record label Free Activist Records has just been launched. Our first release will be a 20 track compilation to raise awareness of Sean Kirtley anarchist AR prisoner. We are a small collective of music lovers, artists, punks, workers and activists. We are veganarchist, anti-consumerist, anti-fascist, anti-millitary, pro union, feminist, pro-choice, anti-globalization, anti-authority and we support direct action to smash oppression it all of its forms, whether it come from the state or corporations. We also love music. … We rely on help from, bands, illustrators, artists, promoters, activists groups and YOU to keep FAR running. Please do contact us to find our what help we need.

  • East London, England. Anarchist Movement Conference 09. Another, very detailed reportback: Infoshop News (2009-06-13): Britain: More on the Anarchist Conference 09. (See GT 2009-06-10: Wednesday Lazy Linking for previous report-backs and No Pretence’s anarcha-feminist intervention.)

  • Tampere, Finland. 10-12 July 2009. Musta Pispala: Anarchist counter-cultural festival. via Anonymous @ Infoshop News For us anarchism means for example the critique of all forms of domination and hierarchy and on the other hand creating non-oppressive, egalitarian culture. We see domination not only in large structures of society, but also in oppressive customs among ourselves. Our analysis is not limited only to human relations. It also includes our relationships with non-human beings. Our aim is to strengthen critical views and empowerment in the form of taking control of our lives. Kill the police within! Through the workshops in the festival you can get familiar with topics such as basics of anarchism and anarcha-feminism. There will be a couple of workshops on anarchist parenting and unschooling. Anti-psychiatry criticizes mainstream views on mental problems, and offers alternatives for mental care. Environmental themes are approached practically and theoretically through worm-composting, edible wild plants, climate change and the environment and technology thinking of anarchists. We also have workshops about specifically local struggles such as anti-gentrification/yuppification and a counter campaign against the city council’s efforts to clean the streets of Tampere from street art and posters of small scale events.

  • Antioch, California. 20 June 2009. Antioch Arrow Block Party Antioch Block Party Report Back

Wednesday Lazy Linking

Dialogue.

  • Libertarians Against Property Rights and Freedom of Association. (Cont’d.) Vin Suprynowicz Vs. Rad Geek on so-called illegal immigration. In which I argue keep your borders off my property and Suprynowicz argues that a libertarian community ought to have the government constitutionally policing people’s political views. Democracy, you know.

News and Comment.

Arts.

Communications.

Mutual Aid: support Infoshop.org

Received in my inbox a few days ago. I don’t know what their current financial condition is, but these are trying times for all kinds of community projects. Infoshop.org is an invaluable resource for the anarchist community online, and they’ve been working really hard lately on a fundraising drive to to make sure that the project has the base of donations that it needs to keep on running and remain economically sustainable. If you can help, any donation will go a long way towards sustaining anarchist projects online.

From: chuck
Date: 6/11/2009 8:41pm
Subject: Support Infoshop with a donation

We are asking our fans and users to send us a financial donation so we can continue our operations. Recently we’ve gotten several generous donations from supporters. We really appreciate this support. While those donations really help out our project, we are asking our other regular readers to consider donating today or in the near future.

We appreciate the support that many of our users extend to our project in the form of story submissions, comments, promotion and financial donations. Every month, over 100,000 users visit Infoshop News and another 50,000 visit Infoshop and associated websites. This makes Infoshop the most popular English language anarchist website and one of the most popular independent news sites.

We aren’t asking for much. A $20 donation can make a big difference. You can contribute to “AMP” with a donation via PayPal (which takes all credit cards) or by mailing a check or well-concealed cash to our snail mail address:

AMP
PO Box 7171
Shawnee Mission, KS 66207

Online donation options: http://www.infoshop.org/page/Donate

Thanks!

Chuck Munson
for Infoshop.org and Infoshop News

Rad Money w/ John Brill

One of Mikhaela Reid’s latest cartoons, besides being grimly funny, makes an excellent point about the financial-advice industry: it offers sensible advice for people who have the time, money, security, and leisure to take advantage of it, but nothing beyond moralistic hectoring for those who don’t. (Not that this is the fault of, say, Suze Orman; it’s the fault of the way that comfortable members of the middle and upper classes use the ideas they get from the financial advice industry as another way to bully people who make less than they do.) As Mikhaela glosses it on her website,

I am of course, referencing financial-advice programs like the Suze Orman Show and CNBC’s Mad Money w/ Jim Cramer (a popular show described by Businessweek as Louis Rukeyser meets televangelism meets Pee-wee’s Playhouse). Not that Suze Orman doesn’t have sound financial advice, because she does—budget, save, invest, take realistic vacations, etc. (Jim Cramer, on the other hand, just strikes me as off his rocker, telling people to invest in crazy random stocks, but hey, what do I know?)

All of that is all very well for middle-class people (although maybe not as well as it could be when you think about college tuition and other skyrocketing costs). But there’s only so much people can do personally when they’re in really, truly horrible money situations and the social safety net has been pulled out from under them (see How Tax Cuts for the Rich Can Help You!).

With cuts to federal student aid, health-care programs, child-care programs, retirement programs, etc., the burden falls more and more on individuals. We hear more and more about individual responsibility to save for health-care, for retirement, for college. But you know what? When you make barely enough to feed your family, that’s a goddamned cruel joke. Expecting people who can hardly pay their rent in the moment to put away for the future is just bizarre. The math just doesn’t add up. There’s only so far you can squeeze a penny.

And these same jerks in the Bush Administration and Congress who are cutting the social safety net (didn’t they learn ANYTHING about poverty from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina?) are happy to spend billions on the Pentagon, which then uses the money that could have gone to education and sound investments in the future of our country to bomb the crap out of innocent civilians in Iraq.

— Mikhaela’s News Blog (2006-01-15): New Cartoon: $AD MONEY! w/ Susie Poorman!

All of that’s true, of course. And well taken. But of course it leaves open the question: now what do we do about it?

One option that’s always available is to despair and do nothing. This seems, in fact, to be one of the most popular plans among professional-class Progressives who don’t actually need to worry about these issues in their everyday lives. Actually, that’s not a bad plan for them to follow; I’d be quite happy if all the Progressives out there kept doing nothing, given what happened the last time Progressives got enthusiastic and active. But not everyone has that luxury, so let’s move on.

Another option is that you could get back into the lists and fight to recover the alleged government protections that have been lost: more social welfare programs, more regulations demanding that bosses give such-and-such benefits or such-and-such a wage to workers, repeal of free trade agreements, nationalized medicine, or whatever your bag is. But besides having any number of moral and economic objections to these ideas, I also just think that this is unworkable advice for people who don’t have the money, time, security, or leisure to get involved in politics. If the kind of advice that Suzy Orman has to offer isn’t going to get you very far in personal finance when you’re living on the minimum wage, it’s not going to get you very far in politics either, because politicians respond to political pull, and rich people have more resources for buying political pull than you do. The welfare programs that you do get out of a strategy like this typically amount to little more than the bait on the steel trap of social control (government schooling, to take one obvious example; the government-sponsored dead-end employment agency known as TANF to take another). And what politicians give, they can easily take away, as recent experience shows. The labor regulations that you get, when you get anything at all, are no less easily taken away, and also usually amount to yet another silver cord to bind workers to the bosses. (These days a lot is made of the fact that boss-provided medical coverage and pensions are in a state of crisis. That’s true. It might help demonstrate why the tax and regulatory structure that encouraged workers to depend on the bosses for their pensions and medical insurance was a bad idea to begin with.)

So, fellow workers, here’s my financial planning advice for you. Planning, investing, and saving is as important for folks working at or near the minimum wage as it is for the comfortable and the wealthy, but a different situation means different strategies. My suggestion is that you invest in membership dues for a fighting union, plan on firing your boss, and save yourself from depending on the milder sentiments of corporate or government bureaucrats for your money, your raise, your benefits, or your retirement. Let’s call it the John Brill Working-Class Rad Money Plan.

Like any other financial planning advice program, this one needs some Real Life Success Stories. Need a raise? Immokalee farm-workers joined a fighting union, and that’s what it got them. Need more money and a better benefits package? New York transit workers joined a fighting union, and that’s what they got.

But that’s not all, either. Here’s a couple of new stories. Neal Rysdahl joined a fighting union, and here’s what it did for him:

On January 14, 2005, members of the Chicago General Membership Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World labor union (IWW) called for an informational picket to boycott the Ideal Hand Car Wash in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood after the managers and owners of the business refused to pay Neal Rysdahl, a longtime member of the IWW, the $227.50 he was owed for over 45 hours of work he preformed for them.

The highly visible protest began at 8 AM, with a small but dedicated group of picketers banging bucket drums, shaking noisemakers, passing out leaflets, and carrying signs reading, Ideal Car Wash Cheats Workers, and An Injury to One is an Injury to All! Notably, one picketer dressed in a clown costume held a sign reading, Ideal Bosses Are Bozos! to mock the clown Ideal usually uses to attract customers.

Humboldt Park Food Not Bombs showed up to serve bread, pastry, hummus, and coffee, and joined in the picket. I knew this was an important picket to support because it was an opportunity to make a real difference in someone’s life through direct action, said Robert Clack, a member of Humboldt Park Food Not Bombs.

The picket effectively shut down business at the car wash for the morning, as most drivers who intended to patronize Ideal drove away after talking with picketers or seeing signs blasting the business for unfair labor practices.

After only three hours of picketing, Eduardo Eddie Amanero, a manager of the car wash, agreed to pay Rysdahl in full, in cash, on the spot, in order to bring an end to the picket.

The point of all this is, if you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us, said Patrick Brenner, a members of the National Executive Board of the IWW. We stick up for our members.

… When asked what he was going to do with his back wages, Rysdahl said, I’m going to catch up on some debts. And, of course, I’m going to pay all of the back dues I owe to the IWW!

— Industrial Workers of the World (2006-01-15): Direct Action Gets the Goods! - IWW Chicago Victory for Unpaid Worker

And it’s important to remember that the success of the Brill Plan doesn’t depend on filling out the right set of forms. Of course a formalized union structure can help, but it isn’t necessary. The Brill Plan works from the bottom up; it begins when you get to know your fellow workers and agree to stand by each other. With no formal union and no government recognition, Wal-Mart employees in Florida still made a fighting union of their own, and here’s what it did for them:

In central Florida, Wal-Mart workers are fighting and sometimes winning campaigns using collective action to solve both shop floor and larger industry-wide problems.

In one rural Florida town, over 20 percent of workers in the local Wal-Mart had their hours cut. In response, workers went into their community with a petition to reinstate the workers’ lost hours, and collected 390 signatures in three days. Their hours were returned.

In South St. Petersburg, a popular third-shift employee was accused of theft and fired. The next day, half the day shift quit in protest. In another store, 20 workers marched on management after a 70-year-old workplace leader had her schedule changed. Her schedule was returned within days.

Several workers rode their bikes to work even though Wal-Mart didn’t provide a bike rack. With some co-workers, they demanded management buy a bike rack. When management refused, they bought a rack with their own money and demanded that management install it. Management gave in, and donated the cost of the rack to a local charity.

These actions were initiated and led by members of the Wal-Mart Workers Association (WWA), a growing group of 300 current and former Wal-Mart workers in over 40 stores.

This is a protest movement of Wal-Mart workers uniting to make their lives better at work and in their communities, said Rick Smith, WWA organizer and Florida director of the Wal-Mart Association for Reform Now (WARN), a coalition of labor, community, homeowner, and anti-poverty groups. It’s about Wal-Mart workers sticking together, honoring their work, arranging carpools, and providing child care for each other.

Non-majority unions such as the WWA don’t wait for a court to license workers’ use of collective action. They harness that anger and ingenuity to both win day-to-day victories and launch longer-term pressure campaigns. The strategy has roots in industries in which union recognition is rare: retail chain workers, state workers, and computer programmers and manufacturers.

We have the right to organization, regardless of what the boss or the state do, said Smith.

Infoshop News (2006-01-03): Even Without a Union, Florida Wal-Mart Workers Use Collective Action to Enforce Rights

There’s only so far you can squeeze a penny, but a fighting union means more dollars to squeeze or spend as you see fit. The Brill Plan works. When workers stand together, workers win. So if you’re working for a living and barely scraping by, the best financial advice that I can offer is: stop being sad and start getting rad.