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The Brooklyn Free Store For the People!

The Brooklyn Free Store is today! We are doing it for the people and for the earth we share!

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The Brooklyn Free Store is located at Lafayette & Marcy Aves in BedStuy, one block from the Bedford-Nostrand G train stop. All are welcome to come and share what they have, or just take what they’d like. We will have crates of books (some bar review and law text books!), household goods,  as well as bags and bags of used and new clothing. Come by cause “It’s the people not the money that makes the neighborhood.

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Free Radical Movie Night Screening – “30 Frames a Second: The WTO in Seattle” Fri. Oct. 24th

RadicalMovieNightFlyer30FAS Free Radical Movie Night Screening   30 Frames a Second: The WTO in Seattle Fri. Oct. 24th

Oct. 24th Radical Movie Night “30 Frames a Second: The WTO in Seattle

Oct. 24th Radical Movie Night

September’s debut of the Las Vegas Radical Movie Night went well enough that we will now be doing two showings per month. So, on every second and fourth Friday of the month the Sunset Activist Collective (along with Nevada Cop Block and Food Not Bombs Las Vegas) will host a free screening of either a documentary or a movie with significant social value.

The location where Radical Movie Nights will take place is The Sci Fi Center, which many locals already know from its longstanding tradition for showing independent movies and cult classics that are often not available in a large screen setting. (Disclaimer: the Sci Fi Center is not actually involved in the Radical Movie Nights, outside of permitting us to use it as a venue for showing movies.)

In order to coincide with the national Day of Action Against Police Brutality, which is held annually on Oct. 22nd (for more info see: http://www.october22.org/) October’s screenings will involve movies that relate to police abuses. On October 24th we will be showing “30 Frames a Second: The WTO in Seattle” a documentary about the demonstrations during the World Trade Organization meetings in Seattle in 1999 and the police response to those demonstrations. (RSVP on Facebook here)

This film was one of the first to show large scale demonstrations from the perspective of those within the demonstrations. It also was in many cases the first time the average viewer saw uncensored and candid depictions of police tactics toward protesters and the way in which they often incited or even staged incidents within the protests in order to justify arresting and in many cases assaulting even peaceful protesters.

 Free Radical Movie Night Screening   30 Frames a Second: The WTO in Seattle Fri. Oct. 24th

30 Frames a Second: The WTO in Seattle

The level of organization, number of people participating, and type of tactics involved were all beyond what had been seen during any modern protests in the United States. For many years afterwards the “Battle of Seattle,” as it is often referred, was used as a sort of template for demonstrations both by protesters and the police.

About the Movie via Bullfrog Films (http://www.bullfrogfilms.com/catalog/30fr.html):

“30 Frames A Second: The WTO in Seattle, is a compelling first-person account of the events that unfolded during the week the World Trade Organization came to Seattle in November of 1999. It’s told from the perspective of 15-year veteran network news cameraman Rustin Thompson, who covered the WTO as an independent journalist. It is the story of how Thompson’s objective point-of-view evolved into a subjective account of what became an unscheduled, unruly outbreak of democracy.

Thompson, who had press credentials for the event, takes the viewer into the fray of tear gas, pepper spray, and police abuse; behind the lines and inside the convention center and press rooms; and along the marches, sit-ins, and demonstrations. His dynamic, up-close footage captures the passion, the confusion, the anger, and the courage of everyone involved, from protesters to police to delegates to bureaucrats.

RadicalMovieNightFlyerP Free Radical Movie Night Screening   30 Frames a Second: The WTO in Seattle Fri. Oct. 24th

Radical Movie Nights: Every 2nd and 4th Friday

With Thompson narrating, the film asks viewers to emotionally engage their own conflicting feelings about the demonstrations and behind-closed-doors meetings. “I was intrigued by taking a singular, personal approach to the events,” says Thompson, as he recounts how the protests affected him as a journalist and a common citizen. The result is an impressionistic journal of a decisive week that exploded into a massive expression of freedom: of speech, of assembly, and the press.”

Awards:

ALA Video Round Table’s 2001 Notable Video for Adults

Chris Award, Columbus International Film Festival

Best Documentary, Portland Festival of World Cinema

Gold Jury Prize, Chicago Underground Film Festival

Best Documentary, Seattle Underground Film Festival

Most Inspirational Short Film, Reel to Real International Film Festival

Taos Talking Picture Festival

Northwest Film and Video Festival

Further Information:

Watch the Trailer: http://youtu.be/K2vOnKyxYik

Check out the director’s website: http://www.whitenoiseproductions.com/

Thanks for reading. Free Radical Movie Night Screening – “30 Frames a Second: The WTO in Seattle” Fri. Oct. 24th is a post from Nevada Cop Block

TPL · History of Quaker War Tax Resistance: The Pennsylvania Experiment

At the upcoming national gathering of NWTRCC at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, I’m going to be presenting a summary of the history of war tax resistance in the Society of Friends (Quakers).

Today I’m going to try to coalesce some of the notes I’ve assembled about the second, and possibly most important, period of Quaker war tax resistance — between the establishment of the Quaker colony in Pennsylvania and the relinquishment of political control there by Quakers during the French and Indian War.


The Pennsylvania experiment ()

The advance of war tax resistance among English Quakers had ground to a halt. Quakers in England still would not pay certain explicit war taxes like “trophy money,” nor pay for substitutes to serve in their places in the military, nor buy goods stolen at sea from enemy nations by government-sanctioned pirates, but attempts failed to extend this testimony to other taxes that were clearly designed to pay for war.

For example, Elizabeth Redford tried to convince Quakers to refuse a new tax in on the grounds that it was obviously meant to fund the Seven Years War (the act that enacted the tax was entitled “For granting to his majesty certain rates and duties upon marriages, births, and burials, and upon bachelors and widowers, for the term of five years, for carrying on the war against France with vigour”). Her meeting brought her up on charges of violating the discipline and declared that whatever the purpose of the tax, it was being raised by the crown for expenses of its choosing and Quakers should not inquire further into what those expenses were but should pay the tax without question.

Several years later, during the War of the Spanish Succession, this got thrown back in Quaker faces. William Ray, in a letter to Quaker Samuel Bownas, argued that Quakers should stop resisting tithes because they had stopped resisting war taxes: “though the title of the act of parliament did plainly show that the tax was for carrying on a war against France with vigour” he wrote, “since the war against France began your Friends have given the same active obedience to the laws for payment of taxes as their fellow subjects have done.” Bownas did not deny this, but instead he tried to argue that tithes were different.

Meanwhile, Quaker William Penn was granted a royal charter for a large North American colony, to which many Quakers emigrated and established a colonial government that would be run, to some extent, on Quaker pacifist principles. I say “to some extent” because it was still a royal colony, under the military protection of the crown, and with an explicit colonial mandate to engage in military battles against enemies of the home country. The Quaker Assembly of the colony was also subservient in many ways to the crown-appointed governors and to the British government itself.

Occasionally during wartime, that government would appeal to the Pennsylvania Assembly to raise some funds to help out the war effort — to help defend Pennsylvania against pirates, Frenchmen, hostile Indians, and the like. The Assembly would sometimes respond to such requests with noble-sounding statements of Quaker principle, like this one by Assembly Speaker David Lloyd in : “the raising money to hire men to fight or kill one another is matter of conscience to us and against our religious principles.”

But most commentators on the period, even those who are sympathetic to the Quaker pacifist position, tend to read these statements cynically. The Assembly used these requests for money as opportunities to try to wrest more control from the governor and from London. These statements of conscience seemed often not to be principles so much as gambits in the negotiation process. The Assembly would usually, in the end, grant the requested money, or some amount anyway, but would thinly veil its nature by eliminating any wording about the money being intended for the military and instead would simply decree that it was intended as a gift to the crown from its grateful subjects, “for the Queen’s [or King’s] use.”

This was such a transparent dodge that it became hard for anyone to take seriously the part of the Quaker peace testimony represented in Lloyd’s quote. On one occasion, according to colonial legislator Benjamin Franklin, the Assembly refused to vote war money, but instead granted funds “for the purchasing of bread, flour, wheat, or other grain” knowing that the governor would interpret “other grain” to include gunpowder.

The Assembly were able to get away with this, in a colony full of ostensibly conscientious Quakers, because the orthodox point of view about war tax resistance in the Society held that only explicit war taxes were to be resisted, while generic taxes that only happened to be for war were to be paid willingly. So long as the government kept the name of the tax neutral and didn’t detail how it would be spent, a Quaker could pay it without having to worry about it.

But some Quakers were unable to remain blind to the Assembly’s sleight-of-hand. In , the Rhode Island Quarterly Meeting sent emissaries to some of its rebellious Monthly Meetings who were beginning to refuse to pay state taxes on these grounds. In , William Rakestraw published a pamphlet in which he agreed that “we ought not to ask Cæsar what he does with his dues or tribute, but pay it freely,” but added: “if he tells me it is for no other use but war and destruction, I’ll beg his pardon and say ‘my Master forbids it.’” He argued that the latest “for the Queen’s use” grant, in spite of its generic name, should fool nobody: it was meant to fund war, and no Quaker should pay a tax for it. Thomas Story, who visited the colony from England, defended the orthodox position, and had traveled Pennsylvania encouraging Quakers to pay their war taxes.

During the French & Indian War, Pennsylvania was invaded from the West. The westernmost European settlers in Pennsylvania were largely non-Quaker, and were impatient for a military defense — they felt that the Quaker pacifists in Philadelphia were using them as a shield. The Pennsylvania Assembly eventually gave in to their demands. It organized a volunteer militia and appropriated money for fortifications. This time it did not use the “for the King’s use” dodge by giving the money to the crown and letting it allocate the funds to war expenses, but instead the Assembly appointed its own commissioners to spend the money, and so became responsible itself for the war spending. (The legislation itself still tried to put a happy face on things, saying the grant was “for supplying our friendly Indians, holding of treaties, relieving the distressed settlers who have been driven form their lands, and other purposes for the King’s service,” but it was that last clause — “other purposes” — that hid where most of the spending would actually happen: largely building and supplying military forts.)

This compromise pleased few. Back in London there were calls to ban Quakers from colonial government entirely for their refusal to support the military defense of the colonies. London Quakers were urging pacifist Quakers to resign from the Pennsylvania Assembly as a way of forestalling complete disenfranchisement.

At the same time, a set of American Quakers felt that this was the last straw and if Quaker legislators were going to abandon their pacifist principles and enact a war spending bill, it would be up to Quaker taxpayers to refuse and resist. Several of them, including Anthony Benezet, sent a letter to the Assembly announcing that “as the raising sums of money, and putting them into the hands of committees who may apply them to purposes inconsistent with the peaceable testimony we profess and have borne to the world, appears to us in its consequences to be destructive of our religious liberties; we apprehend many among us will be under the necessity of suffering rather than consenting thereto by the payment of a tax for such purposes.”

That petition was not viewed sympathetically by the Assembly. They reminded everyone that nobody had had any problem paying those “for the Queen’s use” taxes in the past, and that this new tax was really not very different, even though the fig leaf had been removed. Meanwhile, the anti-Quakers in London got word of the petition which further enflamed them and gave them ammunition in their fight to get Quakers disenfranchised. The London Yearly Meeting was furious about the petition and it sent two emissaries to the colonies with orders to “explain and enforce our known principles and practice respecting the payment of taxes for the support of civil government.”

The Philadelphia Yearly Meeting held a conference in to try to come up with some guidance for Friends on whether or not to pay the new war taxes. They were unable to reach consensus. A group of them, including Benezet & John Woolman, sent a letter to quarterly and monthly meetings that set out the reasons why they were choosing to resist. The Assembly’s attempt to hide its war tax as a “mixed” tax with beneficial spending in the mix did not impress them. They wrote:

[T]hough some part of the money to be raised by the said Act is said to be for such benevolent purposes as supporting our friendship with our Indian neighbors and relieving the distresses of our fellow subjects who have suffered in the present calamities, for whom our hearts are deeply pained; and we affectionately and with bowels of tenderness sympathize with them therein; and we could most cheerfully contribute to those purposes if they were not so mixed that we cannot in the manner proposed show our hearty concurrence therewith without at the same time assenting to, or allowing ourselves in, practices which we apprehend contrary to the testimony which the Lord has given us to bear for his name and Truth’s sake.

This is one answer to the dilemma many Quakers find themselves in today. The U.S. government is in a constant state of war and threatens the whole world with its vast nuclear arsenal and its drone assassins. But it pays for this out of the same budget and with the same taxes as it pays for everything else it buys — including today’s equivalents of “such benevolent purposes as supporting our friendship with our Indian neighbors and relieving the distresses of our fellow subjects who have suffered in the present calamities” — so what is a good Quaker to do? Benezet, Woolman, and the rest took the position that mixing good spending and bad doesn’t erase the stain from the bad, but stains the good.

The capitulation by the Quakers in the Pennsylvania Assembly was not a compromise that satisfied either the militant Pennsylvanians, the anti-Quaker antagonists in London, or the prominent pacifists in the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. In , under pressure from all sides, most Quaker legislators resigned from the Assembly, and the experiment in Quaker government in Pennsylvania came to an end.

Meanwhile, what had become of those London Quaker enforcers who had come across the pond to knock some sense into the war tax resisting faction? Something unexpected happened: they met with representatives from both the taxpaying and tax-resisting factions, held a two-day meeting on the subject, and ended up agreeing to disagree. The London representatives, rather than chastizing the resisters, instead recommended that Quakers “endeavor earnestly to have their minds covered with fervent charity towards one another” on the subject without taking a position one way or the other.

That’s not what the London Yearly Meeting had in mind. But the logic of the war tax resisters’ position, and the sincerity with which they presented it, had an infectious tendency. Not long after the emissaries returned home, the London Yearly Meeting had been expected to issue a strong condemnation of the resisters who had signed the letter urging Quakers to consider refusing to pay the war tax. Instead, the topic was dropped from the agenda entirely. Why? Because the more Quakers in England heard about the war tax resistance in Pennsylvania, the more sympathetic they became. The Yearly Meeting authorities decided it was better not to discuss the matter at all rather than risk facing the sort of enthusiasm for war tax resistance that had rocked the Philadelphia meeting.

To Paul Krugman: Thou Art the Man

Paul Krugman, in denouncing the excessive market power of Amazon (“Amazon’s Monopsony is Not OK,” New York Times, October 19), proclaims that the Robber Baron Era ended when “we as a nation” put an end to it.

There’s a powerful story in the book of 2 Samuel about the prophet Nathan confronting King David after he arranged the death of Uriah the Hittite and took his wife Bathsheba for himself. Nathan told David of a rich man, with enormous herds, who had a guest to feed. The man, to spare himself killing one of his own many livestock, instead stole and slaughtered the pet lamb of the poor man next door (which, the Bible says, he fed from his own plate and loved like a daughter). Upon hearing this David became outraged and swore “As the LORD liveth, the man who hath done this thing shall surely die.” And Nathan replied: “Thou art the man.”

Not only did the rule of Robber Barons in fact never end, but in denouncing them Krugman reveals himself as one of their foremost apologists.

Far from bringing Robber Baron rule to an end, the Progressive Era stabilized it in a web of government protections and subsidies. For example, the FTC’s treatment of below-cost dumping as a “unfair trade” practice, by outlawing price wars, made stable oligopoly markets possible for the first time.

Let me state up front that, while Amazon doesn’t actually qualify as a monopsonist (that is, a market actor with monopoly buying power that can unilaterally set terms for sellers) it is at least an oligopsonist (in this case the largest of a relatively small number of major buyers/distributors). As an anarchist who viscerally hates large corporations, and hates perhaps even more all kinds of proprietary, walled garden platforms, I’d much prefer to see an open-source or cooperatively owned platform taking over Amazon’s current role.

But that being said, if Krugman wants to fight Amazon, he’s picked a mighty peculiar hill to die on. Specifically, he objects to Amazon’s use of its market power as a buyer to force down the prices of traditional publishers like Hachette. But those prices are themselves enormously bloated to begin with, because of the monopoly premiums attendant on copyright. Amazon’s use of its purchasing power to shave off that monopoly premium is analogous to, say, Medicare D using its market power as a large-scale purchaser to negotiate down the price of prescription drugs under patent. (Of course we know Medicare doesn’t actually do this, or hardly does it, because of the drug companies’ lobbying power.)

Support for draconian “intellectual property” laws, like the WIPO Copyright Treaty, the Uruguay Round TRIPS accord, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and the “intellectual property” components of all the so-called “Free Trade Agreements” proposed over the past decade or so, are strongly supported by both Republicans and Democrats. But the Democrats have an especially close relationship with proprietary content industries — the RIAA, MPAA and Microsoft are at the core of the Democratic coalition.

To repeat, the Robber Baron Era never ended. And far from being the Robber Barons’ enemy, the US government has been their chief tool for survival to this day. And perhaps the single most important function of the US government in upholding corporate power is enforcing “intellectual property,” so central to the business models of the proprietary content industries in the Democratic coalition. The most profitable industries in the global economy — entertainment, software, biotech, pharma, electronics — all depend on “intellectual property.” “Intellectual property” is central to the dominant industrial model by which Western corporations outsource all actual production to independent shops working on contract, but use patents or trademarks to retain monopoly rights over disposal of the product.

And perhaps more importantly “intellectual property” is at the heart of the business model of the new “green capitalism” or “progressive capitalism” personified by “patriotic billionaires” like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and their ilk. Their business model depends on using “intellectual property” to enclose new, green technologies as a source of monopoly rents, or — as in Buffett’s case — using heavily subsidized “smart grid” infrastructure to make his wind farms profitable.

The Robber Barons are with us just as much as ever, their power depends entirely on the capitalist state, and “progressives” like Paul Krugman — wittingly or unwittingly — are their shills.

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Quote of the day: “Are we the baddies?”

As the #GamerGate nonsense plods on with more and more geek idols speaking out against it, some of the people still delusively supporting it are starting to have increasing cognitive dissonance1:

I’ve been recommending them to my friends for years. I really expected more from them, but it’s just another hero to add to the list. Movie bob, adam sessler, Jim sterling, Tim Schafer, joss whedon, and now extra credits, basically all of my nerd heroes hate me now.

Yes, it’s quite surprising isn’t it? Could it be time for some heavy introspection maybe? Naaaah…

  1. not sure if this applies perfectly here but whatever
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A Plea for Public Property on Feed 44

C4SS Feed 44 presents “A Plea for Public Property” from the book Markets Not Capitalism, written by Roderick T. Long, read by Stephanie Murphy and edited by Nick Ford.

For many libertarians, the most important argument for private property is what Garret Hardin has labeled “the tragedy of the commons” (though the basic idea goes back to Aristotle). Most resources are rivalrous—that is to say, the use of the resource by one person diminishes the amount, or the value, of that resource for others. If a rivalrous resource is also public property, meaning that no member of the public may be excluded from its use, there will be no incentive to conserve or improve the resource (why bother to sow what others may freely reap?); on the contrary, the resource will be overused and swiftly exhausted, since the inability to exclude other users makes it risky to defer consumption (why bother to save what others may freely spend?). Hence private property is needed in order to prevent depletion of resources.

It might be argued that this the-more-the-merrier effect occurs only with goods that are wholly or largely nonphysical, but could never apply to more concrete resources like land. As Carol Rose and David Schmidtz have shown, [4] however, although any physical resource is finite and so inevitably has some tragedy-of-the-commons aspects, many resources have “comedy-of-the-commons” aspects as well, and in some cases the latter may outweigh the former, thus making public property more efficient than private property.

For instance (to adapt one of Carol Rose’s examples), suppose that a public fair is a comedy-of-the-commons good; the more people who participate, the better (within certain limits, at any rate). Imagine two such fairs, one held on private property and the other on public. The private owner has an incentive to exclude all participants who do not pay him a certain fee; thus the fair is deprived of all the participants who cannot afford the fee. (I am assuming that the purpose of the fair is primarily social rather than commercial, so that impecunious participants would bring as much value to the fair as wealthy ones.) The fair held on public property will thus be more successful than the one held on private property.

Yet, it may be objected, so long as a comedy-of-the-commons good still has some rivalrous, tragedy-of-the-commons aspects, it will be depleted, and thus the comedy-of-the-commons benefits will be lost anyway. But this assumes that privatization is the only way to prevent overuse. In fact, however, most societies throughout history have had common areas whose users were successfully restrained by social mores, peer pressure, and the like.

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More Colours, Presents, Noize, Shirts, Paper & Solidarity !

STORE UPDATES: We restocked our cans selection and now got a lot of freaky colours of the Montana Black 400ml and for the pockets the Montana Black 50ml. Paint the world – spread the word – R.I.P. OZ! Again, the music section had been restocked, we also now have Fire and Flames gift certificates and the Sun, Sea, Socialism T-Shirt in bordeaux colours is back in all sizes. Additionally we listed a T-Shirt of the solidarity organization Rote Hilfe, all benefits will straight go to there. And brandnew just in this moment the fall number 104 of the essential Antifa Info Blatt and even the Antifa Kalender 2015 arrived. So there’s really no reason to wait any longer with your order !!

Send Molinari/C4SS/ALL to Libertopia!

usendus

Libertopia 2014 is coming up, Nov. 13-16. We – that’s the unholy triumvirate of the Molinari Institute, the Center for a Stateless Society, and the Alliance of the Libertarian Left (specifically the ALL Distro) – are hoping, as in years past, to have a presence at the conference, but we’re a bit tighter for finances than usual.

$400 gets us a booth for literature, outreach, and subversive convo; if you’d like to make a contribution toward this worthy goal, please visit our GoFundMe page.

Elections and the Technocratic Ideology on Feed 44

C4SS Feed 44 presents Erick Vasconcelos‘ “Elections and the Technocratic Ideology” read by Christopher King and edited by Nick Ford.

It’s not about being governed or not, it’s about who is going to do the governing. Who would we want to sit on the Iron Throne if not a “specialist?” Someone who wouldn’t be driven by politico-ideological passions, but by the “industrial values” Veblen cherished. Someone to oil up the gears of this great machinery that is society.

That is all hogwash, of course, because when we talk about politics, we talk about ideology — about prioritizing, about choosing one collective goal as preferable to another. However, there are no macro social ends, at least not apart from a sum of individual goals or as a mere metaphor. Which is also the reason why it isn’t possible to put public management under the control of experts, because the very definition of what constitutes “public management” is an ideological question subject to political negotiation and resistance.

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A look back at AFem2014

Sunday the 19th of October seen the first International Anarcha-Feminist Conference, aka AFem2014. The seed from which it would eventually grow fell from the tree back in August of 2012. That tree was the St Imier International Congress anarcha-feminist round … Continue reading