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We don’t need a “Plethora of tactics”, We need a climate strategy

By Anarchy Nouveau - Freedom, February 21, 2024

In the spirit of starting a debate and dialogue, we republish this article from Conspiracy of the People in response to Matthew Azoulay’s article in Freedom:

In Freedom Anarchist Journal’s Winter 2023-2024 issue, Matthew Azoulay submitted an article introducing readers to Murray Bookchin’s ideas of the communalist assembly, which disturbed and surprised me because of how outdated it was. The means it proposes to achieve ecologically revolutionary ends are lacking, stagnant, and fall back on modes of thinking that seem directly inherited from the anti-globalisation and Occupy era, which the anarchist movement cannot afford to normalise as we continue to enter an exponentially growing ecological collapse. While there are decent ideas to take from both Murray Bookchin and Peter Gelderloos, as Matthew Azoulay has, they are both rather flawed in their own ways. There are some well thought out points and ideas within the article, so my criticisms are entirely constructive, and I aim to avoid sectarianism. But that this is what Freedom News is publishing in their own journal on climate struggle has me very concerned, to say the least.

The lack of revolutionary strategic thinking on ecological struggles will be both humanity and the planet’s downfall if the revolutionary movement doesn’t get its act together soon. If a diversity of tactics was all it took to overcome the limits of social movements, as Matthew Azoulay suggests in this article (and Peter Gelderloos in The Solutions are Already Here), then comrades worldwide would not be facing defeat after defeat in what are ultimately defensive struggles for the ecology. These insurrectionary limits are visible internationally, from the massive years-long and ongoing fight to defend Weelaunee/Atlanta forest from destruction in the “Stop Cop City” movement, the French struggles in the ZAD’s and against the ecocidal Basin megaprojects, German struggles for forest defence and against ecocidal development such as the Tesla “gigafactory” and the mass movement against coal mining. In the global South, anti-extractivist movements have similarly hit wall after wall since the global descent into neoliberalism and fascism from the 70s to today. Many valiant stands have been made against imperialist extraction projects, but the power of capital has more often than not prevailed against the power of the organised and rebellious masses, except where said rebellion has reached every layer of the popular masses and turned into an all-out insurrection. For example, the recent social explosion in Panama against a proposed mining project, the Zapatista movement’s struggle for autonomy across indigenous territories in so-called Mexico, or the 1991 struggle from revolutionaries in Bougainvillea against the Papua New Guinea government, the Rio Tinto mining corporation and the “Australian” navy.

What Workers Want Is a Function of What They Think They Can Get

By Benjamin Fong and Jeremey Brecher - Labor Network for Sustainability, January 30, 2023

Workers in the Great Depression were beaten down but desperate for change. When a militant new labor federation, the Congress of Industrial Organizations, raised their sense of political possibility, they seized the opportunity and unionized en masse.

The following is an interview conducted for Organize the Unorganized: The Rise of the CIO, a Jacobin podcast series produced in collaboration with the Center for Work and Democracy.

Deep Organizing Against Genocide: Palestine and Rooted Social Movements

By staff - Black Rose, January 29, 2024

In this article several members of Black Rose / Rosa Negra offer reflections on their efforts to bring the fight for Palestinian liberation into their long term organizing efforts. Throughout, an emphasis is made on the distinction between temporary mobilization and an orientation toward sustained organizing in sites of everyday life—our workplaces, schools, and neighborhoods.

Introduction

More than 100 days into Israel’s genocidal assault on the people of Palestine and in turn some of the most vigorous anti-war mobilization in over a decade, so many of us who have been out in the streets have asked: What will it take to actually stop the US war machine? 

Reflecting on the 2003 protests against the invasion of Iraq, it’s clear it takes more than marching from point A to point Band even more than scattered direct actions like taking over highways, occupying politicians’ offices, or minor vandalism. Coming out into the streets, pouring our energy into actions, escalating to risk arrest, disrupting business as usual, and then feeling exhausted and defeated is a common cycle in the anti-war movement and in every struggle.

Many of us in Black Rose / Rosa Negra (BRRN) first came to the organization because we had grown tired of the cyclical nature of activism. We were reacting to crises just to end back up where we started, only with depleted morale and fewer resources. We wanted to find ways to gather and sustain momentum, retain historical memory, tend to the needs of movement participants, and build leverage to win fights in the here and nowall to the ends of pushing toward a revolutionary rupture. This is one reason why BRRN prioritizes rooted movement-building where we live, work, and study and thus seek to move away from a focus on single-issue campaigns and activist subcultures.

Admittedly, because we are still in the early stages of re-building fighting social movements, it can make mobilizing around emergencies like the genocide in Palestine slower. This is in part because we are organizing with heterogeneous groups of people and trying, for example, to bring our coworkers to actions, rather than to mobilize other radicals or activists. We believe that this approach will ultimately be more effective because we are building lasting organization in rooted sites of everyday struggle that can respond swiftly to future struggles as well. We seek to do the organizing work of bringing new people into social movements and the political work of bringing them toward organized anarchism, so that there will be more prepared militants down the line. We know that organized, rather than simply mobilized, political struggle is far more effective in challenging imperialism in moments of crisis.

Our approach often flies under the radar. For one, it prioritizes acting in broader social movement spaces as co-equal participants, rather than placing an emphasis on ensuring our brand as a political organization is visible on every call for mobilization or protest sign. While we also organize and participate in large marches and other actions, believing that they are necessary component of any social movement struggle, these are not the core of what we focus on. Because of the aforementioned lack of visibility, combined with how important we think this organizing model is for actually building power, we want to highlight some of the less visible work that our membership is engaged in around Palestine solidarity.

This is not to show how to do things “the right way”, but to show how in a variety of different contexts we can all do the basicand often very modest but necessarywork of building the foundations of movements so that we end up with more comrades, power, and solidarity than we started with. At the end of a lot of Palestine solidarity marches, the speakers make calls to go out and keep organizing because marches alone can’t stop Israel’s genocidal attackthis is objectively true, but it’s often unclear what that can look like, particularly for rank-and-file militants outside of the professionalized NGO and union bureaucracy systems. So what could these next steps look like? Here are some examples of what members of Black Rose / Rosa Negra have found success with.

IWW Stop COP CITY and its investors

Renewable Energy is (Mostly) Green and Not Inherently Capitalist, Volume 1: Wind Power (REVISED)

By Steve Ongerth - IWW Eco Union Caucus, Revised January 16, 2024

Is renewable energy actually green? Are wind, solar, and storage infrastructure projects a climate and/or envi­ronmental solution or are they just feel-good, greenwashing, false "solutions" that either perpetuate the deep­ening climate and environmental crisis or just represent further extractivism by the capitalist class and the privileged Global North at the expense of front-line communities and the Global South? 

This document argues that, while there is no guarantee that renewable energy projects will ultimately be truly "green", there is nothing inherent in the technology itself that precludes them from being so. Ultimately the "green"-ness of the project depends on the level of rank-and-file, democratic, front-line community and working-class grassroots power with the orga­nized leverage to counter the forces that would use renewable energy to perpetuate the capitalist, colonialist, extractivist system that created the cli­mate and environmental crisis in which we find ourselves.

In‌ order to do that, we mustn't fall prey to the misconceptions and inaccuracies that paint renewable energy infrastructure projects as inherently anti-green. This series attempts to do just that. This first Volume, on utility scale wind power addresses several arguments made against it, including (but not limited to) the following misconceptions:

  • Humanity must abandon electricity completely;
  • Degrowth is the only solution;
  • New wind developments only expand overall consumption;
  • Wind power is unreliable and intermittent;
  • Wind power is just another form of "green" capitalism;
  • The extraction of resources necessary to build wind power negates any of their alleged green benefits;
  • Wind power is an extinction-level event threat to birds, bats, whales, and other wildlife (and possibly humans);
  • Only locally distributed renewable energy arrayed in microgrids should be built without any--even a small percentage--of utility scale wind developments;
  • Only nationalized and/or state-owned utility scale renewable energy developments should be built;
  • No wind power developments will be green unless we first organize a socialist revolution, because eve­rything else represents misplaced faith in capitalist market forces.

In fact, none of the above arguments are automatically true (and the majority are almost completely untrue). However, they're often repeated, sometimes ignorantly, but not too infrequently in bad faith. This document is offered as an inoculation and antidote to these misconceptions and misinformation.

Download a copy of this publication here (PDF).

Cop City Protesters Tried to Plant Trees. Atlanta Police Beat Them for It

By Natasha Lennard - The Intercept, November 15, 2023

Dozens of protesters began gathering early Monday morning in a small, unremarkable park in southeast Atlanta. By 9 a.m., over 400 people — a coalition of local Atlantans and visiting activists from around the country — had assembled to attend a day of protests dubbed “Block Cop City.” The event was just the latest mass demonstration in over two years of resistance against the construction of a vast police training facility, known as Cop City, over hundreds of acres of Atlanta’s forest land.

Cops reacted to the day of action by attacking a slow-moving, peaceful march with tear gas and rubber bullets, just the latest reminder of why the compound, designed to further militarized counterinsurgency policing, should never be built.

Organizers were clear from the start: The protest activities — as had been agreed on in hourslong meetings in the prior days — would not involve property damage to construction vehicles at the site of the planned police facility. The tactic had been tried before, when a small amount of vandalism during a March day of action led to indiscriminate arrests and overreaching state domestic terrorism charges against 42 activists.

Monday’s participants planned simply to march, carrying banners and giant handmade puppets, to the Cop City construction area in the Weelaunee Forest, where they would plant nearly 100 saplings on cleared forest land.

Protesters Hoped to Plant Trees at Cop City Site. They Were Tear Gassed Instead

By Cody Bloomfield - Truthout, November 15, 2023

An estimated 500 activists converged from around the country to march this week on the construction site for the police training and militarization facility dubbed “Cop City.” The breach of the Cop City site was planned as a direct rebuke of police and prosecutorial retribution against the movement: a demonstration that organizing will continue despite retaliation against activists; that repression can’t kill the movement.

On November 13, the “Block Cop City” march began jubilantly. Activists waved dozens of puppets overhead, including insects with anti-Cop City slogans, a bird and a dragon that took three people to operate. A marching band played “When the Saints Go Marching In,” and people danced to local Atlanta hip hop blasting from a speaker. A child wore a cardboard cutout of a sun that said, “Grow Resistance.”

“Today is not a time for cowards,” said Community Movement Builders founder Kamau Franklin at the opening rally. “When you stand today, you stand strong to stop police militarization.”

To many, the Stop Cop City movement had reached a critical inflection point, necessitating the need for ongoing protest, especially in defiance of Georgia’s Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) charges against the movement. Sixty-one people were arraigned on RICO charges last Monday for offenses ranging from allegations of arson, to signing “ACAB” on police paperwork, and reimbursing a forest defender $11.91 for glue. That’s on top of the previous 42 separate domestic terrorism charges against activists and the routine police intimidation of the movement, no matter where protests occur, no matter how large or legal.

Stop Cop City Activists Plan Mass Return to Weelaunee Forest

By Cody Bloomfield - Truthout, November 5, 2023

In April, as the Atlanta Police Foundation erected high fences with razor wire around the site of the planned Public Safety Training Center dubbed “Cop City,” Atlanta organizer Jaye C. began photographing the construction, poking her camera through the chain link fence, documenting as 33 acres of forest became part of a barren expanse. In March, police chased, tasered and arrested activists on domestic terrorism charges until protesters were finally forced to cede the forest that they had occupied for the better part of two years. The fences went up, and Stop Cop City organizers pivoted. Protest continued at public buildings, neighboring parks, and the homes and businesses of contractors. Activists doubled down on legal challenges to the project and launched a campaign to put Cop City on the ballot. But the actual construction site became impenetrable.

A group of Stop Cop City activists aim to change that, to once again put their bodies on the line to block Cop City, to buy time before the Atlanta Police Foundation can destroy the remaining 50 or so acres of forest. A mere week after the RICO indictment of 61 activists, the newly christened Block Cop City wing of the movement issued a call to action to supporters around the country: Show up. Cause trouble (nonviolently, organizers clarify). We’ll see you in the forest.

The mass mobilization will take place in Atlanta from November 10-13. In the run-up to it, Block Cop City organizers embarked on a breakneck speaking tour, visiting over 70 cities in less than two months. They hope that at each place they visit, a few people will decide to come down to Atlanta, culminating in hundreds converging on November 13 to march on the construction site. Organizers have intentionally prioritized making plans for the protest public, and intend for the protest, described as mass nonviolent direct action, to challenge the legitimacy of the state through civil disobedience rather than sabotage. In the decentralized Stop Cop City movement, November’s action is but one tactic. But it’s an important one, particularly now, when Atlanta has ensnared dozens of activists in criminal proceedings while conspiring against democratic resistance.

Our Strategy for Avoiding Total Catastrophe

By collective - Earth Strike UK, October 2023

Our mission is to achieve a world in which humanity is not in constant competition with itself or with the environment, to halt the rapid deterioration of our biosphere and to live in a world that is not on the brink of ecological collapse. In order to do that we must end capitalism and all other forms of oppression and exploitation which are the cause of injustice and threaten the stability and viability of our environment.

We believe that collectively we have the ability to bring about that better world through the power of organised labour and the application of industrial action. Through strikes, occupations and other forms of industrial action over environmental issues in our own workplaces we can have a direct, tangible impact on the trajectory of our climate. By employing those same tactics on a massive scale, across industries and across countries, we can launch a direct challenge to capitalism and the institutions that are driving the climate and ecological crisis.

With this in mind, we aim to promote, support or initiate general strikes for the climate nationally and internationally, as well as employ industrial action in defence of the climate more generally, and to create foundations of solidarity and mutual struggle on which we can build a better and more sustainable society.

However, organising a general strike for the climate is no easy task. We could simply set a date and call a strike but without a broad base of support, a mandate given by all of the people actually striking, it is unlikely that enough people would be willing to take the risk and participate. To be able to build a general strike that is actually effective there are a few things that need to happen first. It is not enough to simply mobilise, first we must organise!

There are several conditions that need to be met for a general strike for the climate to become a viable option in the struggle for climate justice. These conditions do not necessarily need to be fulfilled directly by Earth Strike UK. Our aim is not to be the banner under which all action should be taken, but to facilitate and encourage action that moves us towards a general strike. In fact, it is better if these conditions are fulfilled by a variety of groups, organisations and movements working independently and in parallel with one another, as this will lead to a more broad, dynamic and robust movement. There are several elements to our strategy.

None of them are mutually exclusive and any action that reinforces one is likely to reinforce others. Importantly, each strand of our strategy is also an end in itself; each will individually improve the world in a tangible way, even if they can’t all be brought together to materialise a general strike.

Download a copy of this publication here (PDF).

More Juice?

By x364181 - Industrial Worker, October 19, 2023

Is that all labor needs?

Ever since the sharp decline of unions in the latter half of the 1900s people have been scrambling to “revive” the labor movement. The call to action gained momentum recently during the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hopes were rekindled with new Amazon and Starbucks organizing attempts. People shout for more unions, more certification elections, more contracts, more workers organizing, more oomph –We mean it this time, dammit!

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