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Posts tagged New York

Oh for Christ’s sake

I don’t at all agree with Bash Back’s tactics. For a lot of reasons. But this ain’t one of them:

Look at the Civil Rights movement, I dont see minorities storming anything and doing this sort of thing and look what we have in the White House. I hope those guys are all arrested and fined.

This is stupid, Marquette County, Wednesday, November 12, 2008 at 8:07 a.m.

O.K.; let’s look at the Civil Rights movement.

Black students storm the whites-only Blue Boar cafeteria and sit in. Louisville, Kentucky.

Black students sit in at a whites-only lunch counter. Nashville, Tennessee, February 1960.

Sit-in at a whites-only Woolworth’s lunch counter. Jackson, Mississippi, 28 May 1963.

Black students arrested for storming a whites-only library and illegally reading in it. Jackson, Mississippi, 1961.

Oh, and while we’re at it:

Eric Evans and other members of the Afro-American Society announce the end of their 36-hour takeover of Willard Straight Hall at Cornell University. 20 April 1969.

You know how you can tell when some discussion in mainstream politics is going to have absolutely nothing to do with the history of the Civil Rights movement? Answer: if it starts out with someone saying Look at the Civil Rights movement….

See also:

Metropolitan secession

(Via Serf City 2008-01-31.)

Here’s something I mentioned some time back during a conversation about secession, decentralism, and decoupling the revolutionary doctrine of secession from the noxious notion of states’ rights:

I mean, one kind of decentralist politics that you might endorse would be to advocate the secession of urban centers from the surrounding states and a decentralist order that’s partly based on people forming a network of poleis around these urban centers. Certainly there are a number of cities (New York, San Francisco, Detroit, Austin, Atlanta …) where enough people are disgusted enough with their state governments that this kind of idea might have some real traction. After all, the power of suburban and exurban and rural counties to lord it over cities through majoritarian control of the state government is, or at least ought to be, just as much a concern for decentralists as the reverse.

So it’s interesting to read that Peter Vallone, a City Council rep from Queens, was proposing something like that earlier this year–stressing, in particular, the way that Albany’s tax-eaters parasitically exploit the wealth that the City produces, and the futility of trying to make your voice heard in a majoritarian regime where you’re outnumbered and have no right of exit:

Emboldened by Mayor Bloomberg’s testimony in Albany this week that the city’s taxpayers pay the state $11 billion a year more than they get back, a City Council member is offering legislation that would begin the process of having New York City secede from New York State.

Peter Vallone Jr., a Democrat who represents Queens, is pushing the idea, and the Council plans to hold a hearing on the possibility of making New York City the 51st state.

I think secession’s time has definitely come again, Mr. Vallone, who spearheaded a similar push in 2003, told The New York Sun yesterday. If not secession, somebody please tell me what other options we have if the state is going to continue to take billions from us and give us back pennies. Should we raise taxes some more? Should we cut services some more? Or should we consider seriously going out on our own?

During a visit to Albany this week, Mr. Bloomberg called on lawmakers to give the city its fair share of tax revenue and said that the state took in $11 billion more from New York City than was returned in the state budget. Mr. Vallone says that the state’s demands on the city in worsening economic times now make it necessary to dissolve the political bands, which have connected them.

Not only is it about self-determination and self-rule, but it’s about fairness, Mr. Vallone said. It’s something we see every year in the budget. They take $11 billion from us and give us back a mere pittance and they make it seem like they’re doing us a favor to give that pittance back. Somehow they missed the point that that is New York City’s own tax money and we deserve it.

— Benjamin Sarlin, The New York Sun (2008-01-30): A Secession Plan Is Floated for New York City

Of course, Vallone is an elected Democrat, and like any politician, he takes a perfectly good radical idea and waters it down with stupid concessions to power: immediately after decrying the way majoritarian state government swindles people in New York City and denies them control over the fruits of their own labor, he goes on to propose that New York City ought to fix it by seceding from New York State, and then subordinating itself directly to the majoritarian rule of the United States federal government as the 51st state. I suppose there’s something to be said for cutting out the middle-man, but if you think that’s going to stop you from having billions taken from you and getting a pittance back, well, I have a fine bridge in the autonomous city-state of Brooklyn that you might be interested in buying.

And, like a politician, he proposes a stupid means to his stated ends:

Mr. Vallone’s legislation would create a commission to study the issue and then recommend whether to put it to a referendum. Since secession would have to be approved by the Albany legislators, its passage would be unlikely.

— Benjamin Sarlin, The New York Sun (2008-01-30): A Secession Plan Is Floated for New York City

The idea of holding a direct referendum is fine; but making that referendum contingent on a politically-appointed council of Experts is a waste of time and energy. If you want New York City to be free, begging Albany to let your people go isn’t about to work. You’ve got to just start talking with your people about getting up and leaving, whether Albany likes it or not. I mean, Christ. Supposing that you talked it up and got it organized and actually had enough people in New York City behind you, what are they going to do about it? Boycott Manhattan? Invade the South Bronx? Why wait on their permission?

The answer, of course, is that this is most likely half-sincere at best, and in large part an act of pointless political grandstanding by Vallone, which he would not be attempting but for the fact hat he can be sure it won’t go anywhere. But even if his plan won’t, it’s very interesting, and worth the attention of genuine secessionists and real revolutionaries, that a party hack from Queens figures there’s enough of that kind of sentiment in his neighborhood that he can exploit it for an applause line. And that other dissident city council members would be willing to endorse the same logic in the course of public political debate:

Another to council member, Simcha Felder, who chairs the Governmental Operations committee, said the bill will be considered this year.

It certainly has merit, Mr. Felder said of the proposal. Why in the world should New York City be held hostage to the state? It just doesn’t make sense.

Mr. Felder acknowledged that the bill would face many hurdles, but said it deserved a debate.

I think the people in New York City are very interested for the most part in it. The question is the people outside New York City in New York State who have been eating the fruits of our labor for all this time. They aren’t going to be ready to just say forget about it.

— Benjamin Sarlin, The New York Sun (2008-01-30): A Secession Plan Is Floated for New York City

So don’t give them the opportunity. Why choose a strategy that requires you to wait on them to get ready for your freedom? If the people in New York City really are very interested, then do what every successful independence movement in history has done: stop worrying about what the people who oppress and exploit you will say about it. Get talking, get organized, declare independence and then, if the state keeps trying to issue you orders, act like you mean it — by ignoring those orders and treating the people who issue them the same way you’d treat any other lunatic who thinks he’s Napoleon. Of course, a strategy like that is hard. Of course, it’s likely to fail. (Lots of independence movements have.) Of course, it will take years to organize and win even if it doesn’t fail. But it is a strategy that might possibly succeed, which puts it ahead of plans for having the city government petition the state legislature. And it’s also a strategy we can start talking about now. And talking about that may start a lot of other conversations that are worth having, about taxes, war, empire, and the rest.

New York City ALLies: how many people do you know who are very interested in the idea of an independent New York City, which is no longer held hostage to the state? Remember that interest and sympathy and idle wishes are enough to start with: conviction and solidarity and organization are things that you can build by getting people to take the idea seriously, by educating them about it, by dispelling their ars, and by showing them that another City is possible. So, are there possibilities in doing anti-imperialist education, outreach, and, ultimately, organizing to free Occupied New York from the Empire State?

If so, let’s talk about how to do it. Maybe we can start in the comments here. Free the New York 8,274,527, and all political prisoners!

See also:

ALLy ALLy oxen free….

Guess who wins a government award, from the Ministry of Cultural Exchange in this secessionist republic of one, for the most attractive ALL local outreach logo?

The answer is Shawn Wilbur, of the Northwest Alliance of the Libertarian Left, with his call for ALLiance in Occupied Cascadia:

Northwest Alliance of the Libertarian Left - Join!

Sure beats my photoshop defacements of tourist traps and paint company logos, anyway. Congrats, Shawn!

Alliance of the Libertarian Left Ad Hoc Global Organizing Committee

Now, then. Do you know any individualist anarchists, agorists, mutualists, left-Rothbardians or others on the libertarian left in or nearby any of the following metropolitan areas, who might be interested in getting involved, or getting more involved, in local activism and organizing? (If that description matches you yourself, that’s good enough, too.)

If so, please drop me a line with their contact information. I have some requests from prospective local organizers who are looking for people to start locals for the Alliance of the Libertarian Left. I would love to be able to put them in touch with anyone locally who might be interested.

On the subject of the Organizing Committee website, I’ve been getting some very good suggestions from other ALLies about materials to make available up there, and sketching out a few ideas of my own on paper. Most of these I hope to be adding over the next several days.

The main one that is now available, more or less live, is a feature to provide contact pages specific to each location where the Organizing Committee has gotten inquiries (click through on the links to each city above — for example, Baltimore — to see what it looks like). The main point is to have a landing-pad for each place we get an inquiry from, and to give prospective ALLies more information about how many people are interested in getting organized. Right now, this consists of a landing page, a map with one or more pins representing inquiring ALLies, and a quick count of the number who have inquired. My hope is to make this somewhat more sophisticated over time (right now, it’s mainly just some pretty wrapper over an e-mail form; I hope to add some features to find, e.g., how many people are interested in a particular state, possibly some sort of public Wall feature, etc.). But this will do for a start.

What I’d like to work on for the next few days is adding advice on getting started, on organizing, on ideas for activism, and so on. I’ll be incorporating some of the suggestions I’ve gotten already, and I’d like to put together some pages specifically on:

  1. A step-by-step guide to starting a new ALL local (along the lines of guides like Seven Steps To Starting A Food Not Bombs Group);

  2. Some advice focusing on organizing locals on college campuses, in particular;

  3. A sampler platter of actions and projects that existing ALLs have worked on, with an eye to giving people ideas for what they can do to kick off their ALL local, and what they might do as they get themselves established.

Which leads me to ask you all, gentle readers:

  1. If you have any suggestions, either for particular ideas or pieces of advice to add, or for focused sections that you think would be particularly useful, let me know. Let’s discuss in comments. And…

  2. If you were to pick out a sampler of four or five actions or projects that your own ALL local has worked on, or that some ALLies you know about have worked on, which you would like to add as suggestions for ALL organizers trying to make plans for a new ALL local, what would you pick? Let’s discuss in comments.

Onward.

See also:

The Spitting Image: “The Ship of Death Has A New Captain” edition

I’ve never much liked Rudy Giuliani.

It shouldn’t be hard to say why. There’s all the obvious reasons: the record of police brutality, the sadistic security-state Law-and-Orderism, the sleazy cronyism, and his unabashedly Mussolinist corporatism and dictatorial executive style. But I have to admit that there’s something more to it than all that. Setting aside all of the destructive policies and all the personal vices, there’s always just been something else about him, about how he holds himself, a certain I know-not-what, that gave me the uneasy feeling that I’ve seen this all somewhere before. And in light of recent photographic evidence, I now know that there can no longer be any doubt about Rudy Giuliani, his public persona, and the nature of his political career.

Van Helsing: Gentlemen, we are dealing with the undead.

Scholar: Nosferatu….

Van Helsing: Yes, Nosferatu.

Well. It would explain a lot, wouldn’t it?

Gangsters in Blue (#2)

Here is what the gangsters in blue do when you mess with their game:

NEW YORK, NEW YORK — A Queens bar owner claims the NYPD is trying to run him out of business because he helped prove his patrons were framed in a fake drug-dealing sting.

Eduardo Espinoza, 36, of Elmhurst, was hit with more than a dozen violations from the 110th Precinct — including two for failing to have liquid soap and paper towels in his bar bathroom — after handing over a videotape suggesting undercover officers made up a buy-and-bust deal in his club in January.

I been harassed so much, I’m selling my business, said Espinoza, owner of Delicias de Mi Tierra on 91st Place in Elmhurst.

Every two to three weeks, there’s cops in here, searching the bar. If there’s no violation, they’ll make it up. I lost all my clients — everybody’s scared to come in my place right now.

Espinoza was working in his bar about 1:40 a.m. on Jan. 5 when undercover officers busted brothers Jose and Maximo Colon and friends Raul Duchimasa and Luis Rodriguez for allegedly peddling $100 worth of cocaine.

Queens prosecutors dropped those charges last week because of Espinoza’s security video showing that the undercover officers had no contact with them in the bar, Colon’s lawyer said.

Prosecutors and the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau are investigating whether to bring charges against the officers. Investigators are also poring over the officers’ prior cases for signs of misconduct, sources said.

An NYPD spokesman said the department would look into the matter. But sources blamed the frequent police visits on community complaints.

Espinoza said he thinks police are retaliating against him because of a strange phone call he received shortly before the harassment began.

A man who identified himself as the officer who made the drug arrest in his club demanded to know if Espinoza had taped the events of that night.

I said I already gave it to the defendants, Espinoza said, He said, Oh s–t. He hung up.

Espinoza, who has owned the bar for 2-1/2 years, said he’d gotten only two summonses before this year.

Most of his summonses have been tossed — including one for having an 8-foot neon sign without a permit, he said.

He’s still fighting a $2,500 fine from the Buildings Department for being overcapacity and a summons for ignoring police orders when he tried to park outside the 110th Precinct stationhouse last month.

I knew they were innocent from the first moment, Espinoza said of the framed men. I felt so bad, I put myself in their shoes. Now [the cops] keep harassing me.

— Nicole Bode, New York Daily News (2008-07-01): Bar owner: Cops harassing me after fake bust

(Via Bad Cop News 2008-07-04, via Drug War Chronicle 2008-07-11.)

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