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Start Your Long Weekend at the Brooklyn Free Store!

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The Brooklyn Free Store has been growing larger and involving more people sharing more each week! Join us this and each Friday (weather permitting) at the Brooklyn Free Store located at Lafayette & Marcy in BedStuy! We will be there from 12 noon ’til 5pm (at least.) How much we have available at the start will depend on how many volunteers we have committed to helping us close down the store at 5pm. If you can help out, please let us know. We don’t expect to have a bike mechanic volunteering today.

Expect crates of books (lots of law text books!), records, household goods,  as well as bags and bags of used and new clothing that we would love to share with people.

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All are welcome to come and share what they have or just take what they’d like. There is no obligation to share or anything. These items and others are being shared in the spirit of community and mutual aid, please participate with that in mind and respect others.

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Os policiais realmente “se encaixam na descrição”

A morte de um jovem negro desarmado em Ferguson, Missouri, e a brutal resposta da polícia local aos protestos fez com que a mídia merecidamente passasse a examinar as práticas dos policiais nos Estados Unidos. Várias entrevistas revelam histórias de perseguição policial constante, mostrando que o tratamento desproporcional dispensado às minorias é generalizado. Trata-se, infelizmente, de uma ocorrência muito comum. Contudo, às vezes casos particulares podem mostrar a injustiça geral ao destacar o absurdo de uma situação.

No dia 22 de agosto, em torno das 5h da tarde, um homem negro que andava em LaCienega Boulevard em Beverly Hills, Califórnia, foi cercado pela polícia, algemado, revistado e preso com uma fiança estipulada em 6 dígitos. Ao contrário dos retratações dos procedimentos policiais na cultura pop (a não ser no seriado da FX The Shield), ele não teve lidos os seus direitos nem pode entrar em contato com um advogado por várias horas. Foi preso por suspeita de assalto à banco na área, cujo suspeito era descrito como “homem negro, alto e careca”.

Para os policias, tinha pouca importância que uma descrição tão vaga pudesse servir tanto para Shaquille O’Neal quanto para o motorista da van dos correios da região. Era um homem alto, negro e careca, muito parecido… até que, ao observarem a câmera de segurança do banco, viram que se tratava do homem errado e o liberaram.

O que fez com que essa história ganhasse notoriedade foi o fato de que esse homem errado era Charles Belk, produtor, diretor e dono de sua própria empresa de marketing. Ao vê-lo discutir sua vida e seu encontro com esses policiais, lembrei da campanha “If They Gunned Me Down” (“Se tivessem atirado em mim”, em português) no Twitter após a morte de Michael Brown e o que ela dizia a respeito da política da respeitabilidade. Se alguém que aparentemente marca todos os pontos múltiplas vezes no teste da sociedade americana que avalia se a pessoa é um Cidadão Respeitável pode ser tratado dessa forma, imagine o que aconteceria se ele não tivesse tais recursos à sua disposição — imagine que fosse um ator com dificuldades financeiras ou um garçom.

O tratamento dispensado às minorias. particularmente nos EUA, não importa se forem um Charles Belk ou João Ninguém, é parte do sistema que vê os não-brancos como uma massa amorfa e indiferenciada. Nas cidades em todo o país, as minorias são desproporcionalmente mais paradas e revistadas em busca de drogas e armas, são tratadas de forma mais dura pela polícia e tendem a “se encaixar na (ridiculamente vaga) descrição”. Dado o histórico de perfilamento racial, brutalidade policial e corrupção, aqueles que carregam o distintivo da polícia de uma ordem injusta são eles próprios suspeitos. As acusações são milhares de assassinatos e milhões de agressões, assaltos à mão armada, sequestro e terrorismo.

Traduzido por Erick Vasconcelos.

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Cumpleaños 95 de Líber Forti: teatrero, gestor cultural y -sobre todo- anarquista

Lupe CajíasEl pasado 19 de agosto, el libertario Líber Forti cumplió 95 años que festejó en su hogar cochabambino tomando mate con artistas, dramaturgos, gestores culturales, periodistas y amigos que durante décadas gozaron de su palabra lúcida …

Continue reading at El Libertario: Anarquismo y movimientos sociales autónomos …

Anarquismo y racionalismo


Capi Vidal

Aclaramos, adelantando la crítica, que cuando hablamos de "racionalismo", no lo hacemos en un sentido simplemente cartesiano, sino de un modo todo lo amplio posible, es decir, una corriente de pensamiento que prime la razón frente a otros factores como la fe, la autoridad o toda suerte de irracionalismo.

¿Son plenamente identificables el anarquismo y el racionalismo? Esta pregunta resulta bastante jugosa en la llamada posmodernidad, en la que los valores de la Ilustración se dan por periclitados. El anarquismo histórico, aquel que podemos considerar "institucionalizado" -a pesar de ser una palabra sobre la que el propio anarquismo advierte continuamente-, puede considerarse un referente importante, un hilo conductor que no puede obviarse, incluso es y debe ser una base sólida sobre la que construir el futuro. Sin embargo, el peligro de la imposición, el peligro del dogma, planea sobre cualquier "ismo". Las ideas libertarias niegan tal posibilidad y poseen una historia rica y fecunda en aras de una sociedad plural e igualitaria donde no tenga cabida la autoridad coercitiva, tienen unas señas de identidad poderosas que nunca deben negar la posibilidad de la especulación filosófica y las múltiples vías de acceso a la verdad y al conocimiento. Me explico. El anarquismo "histórico" es materialista y racionalista, por supuesto, y posee una gran confianza en la ciencia -en la Razón, si se nos permite usar la mayúscula inicia, en definitiva- para organizar el mundo según un sistema ético y sociopolítico. Pero esos "ismos" (materialismo, racionalismo, cientificismo...) que pueden actúar como constantes medidores en la realidad -palabra a la que podemos dar un sentido objetivo, sin obviar lo importante de la subjetividad en su elaboración-, jamás deberían actúar como cortapisas y sí admitir sus posibilidades de expansión y las diversas lecturas.

El materialismo, mi manera de entenderlo al menos, parte de la materia en el análisis de la realidad con el fin de proporcionar el adecuado bienestar "material" para todos los seres humanos. Nada de identificarlo, como se hace usualmente, con la acumulación de bienes materiales, es decir, con el capitalismo y el ánimo de lucro. Se trata de combatir de raíz un sistema económico pobre, embrutecedor y desigualitario, aparentemente triunfador -"solo" aparentemente-, no de buscar fáciles evasiones -muchas veces, consideradas "espirituales" en oposición- con el subterfugio de identificarlo con una manera reduccionista de entender el materialismo. Precisamente, una sociedad más libre, equitativa e inteligente debe dejar mucho más tiempo al ser humano para el disfrute y para potenciar sus posibilidades (tal y como las entienda cada uno, claro está). Progreso es otro concepto cuestionado y, si no podemos reducir la historia a una linealidad simplista en ese sentido, sí debemos seguir indagando para expandir la razón y la libertad; ello supondría un continuo enfrentamiento con la ignorancia -con cautela al utilizar ese apelativo, sin superioridades culturales de unos pueblos sobre otros-, con los prejuicios, con un mal concepto del egoísmo -que conduce a la desigualdad y a la atomización- y con la tiranía.

Ricardo Mella ya advirtió sobre los peligros de la enseñanza doctrinaria, incluida la llamada educación racionalista. Recordó el brillante teórico español que el fanatismo y los axiomas no debían tener cabida en el anarquismo, por mucho que se amparase en la ciencia o en la razón. No obstante, si puede considerarse muy cuestionable la razón como método de indagación de la verdad, y mucho más considerada como algo "trascendente" al ser humano y a la sociedad, todavía constituye un impagable contrapeso a los constantes peligros del dogma, de la revelación y de la fe (y recordaremos que estos conceptos tienen muchas caras, no solo la cristiana o católica). Es por eso que cuando oigo frívolas críticas al racionalismo en aras de legitimar no sé muy bien qué teorías o qué creencias, me pregunto si lo que se hace es abrir una nueva puerta al oscurantismo o al dogmatismo -siendo necesario que el que hace la nueva proposición presente un argumento sólido, no vale con que resulte incognoscible para la razón o el intelecto humano- o a una suerte de relativismo, en el que cabría un "todo vale", más bien involucionista en cuanto a lo que atañe al conocimiento, e iluso en lo subjetivo. Esas críticas al racionalismo y a la modernidad merecen una profundización; es el sistema capitalista el que se ha adueñado de ciertos conceptos, por lo que ahí deberían estar dirigidos los ataques, en primer lugar, a un sistema que deja la ética a un lado, instrumentaliza al ser humano y pervierte la naturaleza en nombre de una razón meramente formal.

El racionalismo, tal y como yo lo entiendo -alejado de su acepción clásica y dogmática que habla de "soberanía" de la propia razón-, daría una importancia primordial a la razón humana; sería un punto de partida con posibilidades de ser constantemente ampliado y enriquecido -recordemos que antes del siglo XVIII era un concepto instrumentalizado por la religión-, pero jamás un garante infalible del conocimiento. El partir de los postulados de la razón en el análisis de la realidad no puede negar tampoco la importancia de otros aspectos del ser humano, como la pasión o la voluntad, y debe tener en cuenta siempre la ética y los juicios de valor (las críticas posmodernas van dirigidas, sobre todo, a una razón meramente formal, subjetiva, y el anarquismo siempre ha buscado coherencia entre medios y fines). Además, ahora sí en defensa del racionalismo tal como lo ha entendido la modernidad, me parece fundamental dejar a un lado la especulación sobrenatural, antesala, tantas veces, de la institucionalización del autoritarismo. La racionalidad en la modernidad ha generado monstruos terribles, pero su corrección y su expansión en aras de la ética y en lucha con la autoridad puede llevar el bienestar material a toda la humanidad.

Aunque nos empecinemos en identificar al anarquismo con el racionalismo -o, para ser más flexibles, consideremos sin duda que es una de sus señas de identidad-, y por muy importante que consideremos la instrucción científica en cada ser humano -otro punto de partida importante- como herramienta para un posible acceso al conocimiento y a la verdad, lo libertario no debería caer nunca en el doctrinarismo, afirmando la fe ciega o la "indudable" superioridad de lo cientifico y lo racional -insisto, un medidor o un contrapeso importante, pero no un nuevo dogma-, y sí propiciar el estudio de las diversas verdades adquiridas. A mi modo de entender las cosas, es una manera de ir construyendo una sociedad libertaria.

[Tomado de http://reflexionesdesdeanarres.blogspot.com.es/2014/07/una-razon-contraria-al-dogma-y-la.html.]

God Save the Queen/Anarchy in the UK

 During the 25th  anniversary of the Queen the Sex Pistols rented a boat and went down the Thames full blast with No Future/God Save the Queen. The authorities, always in favour of free speech, had the cops attack the boat. Someone in the video shouts "They arrested Malcolm." Sure enough Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood were hauled away by the cops. Somehow the Pistols managed to escape.


It's hard to believe that ANARCHY IN THE UK  is 37 years old.  Still great to see and hear. This one song - in spite of its stereotypical view of anarchism - did more to open up anarchism to  the young than 50 years of pamphletting.

Red Lion Press, Anarchist Publisher

My publishing arm, RED LION PRESS now has a blog to keep people updated on publications as they appear. Go to http://redlionpress.wordpress.com/

It’s too Difficult to be a Dirtbag Anymore, Unfortunately

I love to backpack, surf, hike and climb. When I’m not able to engage in these pursuits, I sometimes find myself watching video of others adventuring in beautiful, remote locales. It helps me to hold on to some of those joyous and motivating travel feelings. I enjoy footage from decades past, when things were wilder, yet in many ways travel was easier.

I recently enjoyed watching “180° South,” a film about Jeff Johnson’s journey to Patagonia, Chile to climb Corcovado Volcano, surfing along the way and retracing Yvon Chouinard’s and Doug Tompkins’s 1968 trip.

Yvon, in the film, says,

(Jeff’s) just a dirtbag. He could live out of his car, climbing in the Valley … He’s just hustling his way along so he can stay on the road. He reminded me a lot about how I used to be … Life was pretty easy in the ’60s. I mean you could buy an automobile for 15 bucks and live out of your automobile and camp out.

Yvon’s right, and it disappointed me, because life should be much easier now.

Global markets and technology have made us significantly more productive today and has allowed for great wealth creation. We are able to provide for our needs with extraordinarily less effort than in the past. We shouldn’t need to work as hard as we do.

I am not necessarily supporting unproductiveness, although I highly value leisure, adventure and their uplifting benefits, but rather lamenting how much interventionism has impoverished us. I’m disheartened at how much worse off we are and how many people suffer unnecessarily because of governments’ intrusions into human rights and the free, voluntary trade amongst individuals that improves everyone.

The costs of the machinery of coercion are high. Taxes, inflation, debt, war (especially war!), regulations, tariffs, subsidies, bailouts, sanctions, licensing, bureaucracy, liability caps, all dramatically raise the cost of everything. And, most all of this adds nothing to our qualities of life nor betters the greater good.

These policies don’t benefit consumers, laborers or entrepreneurs. They obstruct and burden us while benefiting special interests and larger outfits that can more easily absorb these costs and they are often the ones who collude with legislators and bureaucrats to obtain unfair market leverage to drive out competitors and externalize their costs and risks. It’s been said that no one hates capitalism more than capitalists. In free markets, prices and profits trend towards zero. Despite any good intentions, interventionist policies protect cartels, diminish real wages, increase prices, decrease quality and safety, and cause scarcity.

Raw materials, nourishing ourselves with healthy foods, energy, clothes, homes, hot outdoor showers, educating ourselves and our children, providing for our health care and safety, protecting our environment, aiding others and engaging in the activities in which we delight all cost more due to the weight of interventionism.

It’s not just the pursuit of a simpler life that is harder, but also productiveness and endeavor, caring for our families, running businesses, creating art, science, innovation and discovery. This system discourages ingenuity, risk-taking, and adventure, the ingredients of self-satisfaction, joy, and human progress.

“180° South” also reaffirms how governments dispossess individuals and deliver land and usage rights to others. The film explains how so many Chileans have been stripped of their homesteading and property rights, as land, rivers, coastlines, and water rights are taken from individuals and given to corporations who are protected from recourse despite spoiling others’ land and water and damming up rivers. The film nicely displays Yvon’s, Doug’s, and their wives’ extensive conservation successes in Patagonia through their organization, Conservacion Patagonica.

Coercion isn’t the blueprint for a harmonious society, but rather unbalances us, creating frictions and conflicts. It has a way of turning would be cooperative participants into adversaries and is a terrible waste of human creativity and capital. Cooperation, not conflict, promotes peace, freedom and welfare. Things could be much better, more peaceful, fairer and greener. We could be healthier, more prosperous – happier. We could be both “dirtbags” and endeavor greatly.

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Victory for Striking SeaSol Members

by Josh S. A Message From the Seattle Solidarity Network: Thanks to Jeff and Hien’s courage and all the support from so many of you it appears that Cynthia, the owner of La Lot, is now prepared to meet all of our demands. This means implementing a fair tip structure and restoring Hien to the […]

Noontime Songs of Freedom

The Collected Writings of Renzo Novatore (2012, Ardent Press), edited by Wolfi Landstriecher is split up chronologically and features most of Novatore’s known work at the time. It most notably features his longest and relatively best known work “Towards the Creative Nothing” which takes up a big portion of the book at thirty-five pages. In…

Continue reading at Center for a Stateless Society …

Guide to American “Red” Groups

From Sprout Distro:

Over the past few years, there has sadly been an increase in the number of socialist political groupings active in the Grand Rapids area. While they tend to be small groups that have relatively limited influence and visibility in the larger community – seemingly content to pass out newspapers at demonstrations, organize speakers on college campuses, or host study groups – their presence is always concerning as both history and contemporary struggle show that the socialist left is the enemy of autonomous struggle.

Unfortunately, wading through obscure history or the vague populist rhetoric that they often use makes it difficult to understand where the various groups stand. We’d encourage folks to check out an older “Guide to American Red Groups” that offers interesting background on the origins and ideology of the various groups that one often encounters. Moreover, the project offers a helpful chart showing estimated membership:

Guide to American Red Groups

While it’s important not to dwell on the past and to realize that most of these groupings are largely irrelevant, they have a nasty habit of trying to co-opt struggles, both locally and nationally.

The post Guide to American “Red” Groups appeared first on Sprout Distro.