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(en) Empires Will Fall Volume 2 Number 1

From Stevphen Shukaitis <patrioticdissent@hotmail.com>
Date Sun, 6 Jul 2003 11:10:28 +0200 (CEST)


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The new monthly installment of DualPower.net is available. DualPower.net is
a mutual aid network of ideas and information providing a space and resource
for the forumulation of community based strategies of resistance.
Somewhere between the liberatory celebrations of Juneteenth and the
proclaimed pretenses of freedom that pepper the 4th of July lies one of the
inner tensions that characterize American life, and probably the life of
many who struggle for genuine liberation under the pretense of it. The
proclaimed freedoms (more than often of the market) are used to overshadow
the overwhelming unfreedoms that still exist, whether in the 44 million who
have no healthcare or the communities that live under the terror of racist
cops and the working of the INS and Department of Homeland Security.
It is this tension, and the resistance to it that takes a multitude of forms
and manners, which runs through the ideas and writing of the articles on the
site this month. Looking over the past six months of the American empire’s
excess (not to mention the previous 500 or so years of colonialism,
imperialism, racism, etc . . .) it’s pretty obvious to see that all these
forms of oppression will not be dismantled in the next day, week, month, or
even the next few years. Struggle against such overwhelming power structures
must be firmly rooted in communities and bases of support that enable such
struggles to continue and grow despite the repressions they will inevitably
face. Hopefully these writings (and the site in general) will lead to more
dialogue between activists and organizers about such, hopefully leading to
some concrete planning.

But enough of my rambling. Starting this month the site will be moving
toward more of a “monthly” format, which will make the editing and posting
of articles much easier and coordinated. Any comments, suggestions, ideas,
articles, book reviews, projects, and other relevant information are as
welcome and encouraged (and can be sent to info@dualpower.net).

Here are the new articles on the front page:


-La Crisis de Ceniza by Scott
On November 3rd, 2002, just before 9:00 a.m. El Reventador, an Ecuadorian
“stratovolcano”, erupted for the first time in 26 years. The blast sent an
8.7-mile plume of ash (called “ceniza” in Spanish) and fire into the morning
sky, blackening the verdant jungle providences of Napo and Sucumbios. By
1:10 pm ash had begun to fall 60 miles southwest on the capitol city, Quito.
Titanic clouds of volcanic ash crossed borders into Colombia and Peru within
6 hours(1). Although the government acted slowly, a state of emergency was
eventually declared. Operating under “Plan Ceniza,” a strategy developed in
1999 after the eruption of Guagua Pichincha, authorities dropped the speed
limit to 20 km/hr in residential zones and canceled all classes; Quito’s
mayor declared that all business were required to close by 3:00 pm in order
to facilitate a citywide cleanup effort; and the International Airport of
Mariscal Sucre was shut down - postponing 180 flights a day. But the
majority of those most affected, Ecuador’s rural population, received
nothing from the government.

While volcanic activity is nothing new for Ecuador, a country that sits on
the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” this most recent eruption highlights the plight
faced by thousands of the region’s campesinos (small farmers responsible for
the production of 75% of Ecuador’s food supply). With almost 2 million acres
of pastureland and an unknown area of agricultural fields covered in 2
inches of ash, small farmers faced crop failures, widespread illness and
hunger among livestock, serious personal health risks, and a complete lack
of government aid.


-Toward an Ethnography of Nowhere by Stevphen Shukaitis
Face it. Anarchists on the whole have not articulated any sort of coherent
alternative vision of what a society not based on capitalism and the state
might look like. We have produced copious amounts of political, economic,
and social critiques – but a comparatively smaller amount of work has
focused on developing alternatives to what we’re critiquing. Least of all
has there been any clearly sketched out version of how a liberatory economy
might function. This has not to say there has not been thought or work put
into these subjects, which there clearly has been. But when faced with the
question “I understand what you’re against, what are you for?” far too often
radical activists and organizers on the whole are stymied; at best we end up
mumbling something about a world of autonomous or semiautonomous communities
based upon mutual aid, self-organization, and voluntary association. And
those are all very well and good, and could form the basis of a liberatory
society but for many people such statements mean virtually nothing. It’s one
thing to say that we want a world where people manage our own lives, the
environment isn’t destroyed, and life is life desolate and alienating – but
it’s another to start talking about what such might actually look like. And
starting to actually create forms of cooperative practice, to re-envision
utopian thinking as lived reality, is another.


-Looking to the Light of Freedom by Chris Crass
When thinking about organizing, about the possibilities for movement
building, about the potential of challenging injustice and fundamentally
altering the relationships of power in this society - my mind turns to the
Civil Rights movement of the 1950's and 60's. More specifically, my
attention focuses in on Ella Baker and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating
Committee who initiated some of the most exciting work that I've ever come
across. Today, when I read and hear so many debates, dialogues, and
discussions about movement building and "Where do we go from here?", I again
look to the insights and inspiration of Ms. Baker and SNCC.

The Black liberation struggle and movements for Civil Rights have shaped the
history of the United States. From slave revolts to Ida B. Wells
international anti-lynching campaign, to the 50,000 women in the National
Association of Colored Women at the beginning of the century, to the
struggle today against the prison industrial complex: these legacies of
resistance are at the heart of liberation struggles in this country. For
white organizers, it is key to study these legacies from the understanding
that when people of color oppose racism they are also re-affirming their
humanity. In a social order built on white supremacy, people of color
organizing for justice and dignity challenges the very foundation of this
society. This is why struggles against racism have repeatedly been catalysts
for revolutionary social change. The challenge for me, as a white organizer,
is to apply the insights and inspiration from these legacies to the work
that I'm currently engaged in. The mass ! actions against global capitalism
in the last two years have heavily influenced the local work that I'm
involved with.


-The Anarchist Knitting Circle by Lessley Anderson
In 2000, Harvard sociology professor Robert D. Putnam tracked the erosion of
American social networks and civic involvement in his book Bowling Alone:
The Collapse and Revival of American Community. Through his research on
Americans' declining participation in things like bowling leagues, church
groups, voting, and even dinner parties, Putnam concluded that 20th-century
Americans were an alarmingly isolated bunch.

Three years after publication of Putnam's seminal book, not much has
changed. Most people don't know their neighbors' names (much less the names
of the people they work out next to at the gym) and are still -- socially
speaking – bowling alone. This deeply troubles 22-year-old Mike Benham of
Hayes Valley. A Georgia native who moved to the Bay Area five years ago,
Benham has devoted his life to rebuilding the human networks he feels
society has lost. And in the last several months, Benham has unleashed a
torrent of what he calls “community-building” projects.



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