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(en) Us, Boston Anti-Authoritarian Movement (BAAM)* #5 - page 2 - The Northeast Anarchist Network Launches Anti-Election Campaign by Jake Carman + Two Jars of Peanut Butter, Quarts......

Date Tue, 25 Dec 2007 08:07:53 +0200

This election season, members of the Northeast Anarchist Network (NEAN) will
launch a campaign across the region aiming to discredit representative democracy
and to promote truly democratic alternatives. Like most people in this country,
we are tired of the same political game: two parties, and no good choices. For
2004's presidential election, the rallying call was "The lesser of two evils,"
and even though Bush clearly stole that election, nobody cared enough to do
anything about it because Kerry only sucked a little bit less. Now the wingnuts
are coming out of the woodworks again, kissing babies, debating the hot topics
and making election promises that no one expects them to keep. ---- More and
more, US voters are realizing that there is really only one party--the corporate
party--which makes sense as candidates need millions of dollars in campaign
contributions and airtime on corporate media to even have a fighting shot.

We may have a female candidate, we may have an African-Ameri-
can candidate, hell we even have a Mormon, but you will nev-
er see a poor or working-class candidate. Even if you did, it
wouldn't matter because for you to have ever heard their name
or seen their face, they would have to have sold out to the rich.
Why do we let the greedy capitalists bastards trick us into
thinking we're using democracy, and then pick our candidates for
us? In a real democracy, we would vote on everything: whether our
communities should have more schools or jails, whether companies
should lessen their environmental impact or continue to destroy the
earth, whether we should send soldiers to die for corporate greed or
not, whether our cities should let developers bulldoze our homes,
etc. There is a reason we DON'T get to vote on these topics: the rich
know they'd lose! We know how the politicians vote on these is-
sues, for they vote with their wallets and not with their hearts. The
good news is that in a real democracy, we don't need politicians!
I kid you not, my friends, another world is possible.
Throughout much of human history, people have lived in well-
organized societies without politicians or government. Anar-
chists have worked to build such societies for centuries, writing
thousands of books and essays, projects, organizing communities
and experimental societies, and launching countless revolts and
revolutions. Even today, thousands of people throughout the
world practice true democracy--including some in our neighbor
to the South (See Mexico's Zapatistas and the Popular Assemblies
of the People of Oaxaca). They don't need politicians to make
decisions for them, and neither do we! So this election season, vote
or don't vote, it won't make a lick of difference either way. Dedi-
cate your thought, time and energy into building stronger com-
munities in your neighborhood, at your job, in your school. Find
cracks in the political machine, the places where true democracy
can grow, and fill those cracks: encourage your friends and peers
to work together to make your own decisions. Strive to build a
movement for popular democracy, so that 4 years from now, when
they once again try to trick us into thinking we are using democ-
racy, we will laugh at them and run the politicians out of office.
For a true democracy, Viva La Anarquia, Muera Toda Autoridad!

Two Jars of Peanut Butter, Quarts of Squash Soup, and a Paper Bag of Sunflower
Seeds by Anonymous

One day not long ago I found myself in a food pantry. A
deep depression had left me unable to work for several weeks, I
was broke, and I was hungry. Massachusetts has hundreds of food
banks, usually run by volunteers, frequently in churches. Most of
them have residency requirements. I live in Malden, and the food
bank that serves our community is run by the Salvation Army.
The Salvation Army requires an interview before they will give
you food. The next interviews were in two weeks. If I satisfied
their requirements, I would be able to visit their food bank the
week after that.
I finally found a food pantry in Cambridge that has no
residency requirements, and distributes food three times a week.
I arrived early, nearly half an hour before the doors opened, and
there was already a crowd waiting in the cold. When we en-
tered, we signed in with the volunteer and were informed we
could visit once a month. We were given a number, and then
sat and waited for our number to be called. I had number 32.
A little about myself: I am 42, male, white, a college
graduate, a product of the academic middle class. I have collected
unemployment, after I was laid-off by IBM. I was evicted for not
paying my rent, and I have been broke many times, but essentially
I am a child of privilege. I am ashamed to be waiting for free food,
and I am waiting to be spotted for the fraud that I imagine I am:
I am not the poor. Depressed? So what?
W.E.B. Du Bois called it the American Assumption: With
enough hard work and thrift every American can be a success. This
Assumption infects me, and I will hazard a guess that it infects
you too. I encourage you to be a trouble tourist for a little ex-
periment, and find a church in your neighborhood that has a food
bank. About half an hour before it opens there will be a line out-
side, and I'd like you to look at each man and woman in that line
and take an honest inventory of your reactions. Are you dividing
the crowd into people who belong there and people who don't?
The people at this pantry are more female than
male, more old than young, about evenly split between black
and white. There are only two single men here, myself and
a black man about my age. He sits across from me, carry-
ing a similar software-company shoulder bag, relics of our for-
mer prosperity, and we studiously avoid making eye contact.
I received: Two jars of peanut butter, two quarts of
squash soup, 4 cans of sweet potatoes, two cans of peaches, one
bag of Trader Joe's biscotti, some cans of fruit juice concentrate,
and a paper bag containing about a pound of unsalted sunflower
seeds. There had been bread and jam, but it ran out by the time
my number was called. In a month I can go back for more.
This time of year it gets dark around four o'clock. My
room is cold, it's been dark for hours, and I'm spreading generic
peanut butter on yuppie biscotti while soup heats in my kettle. The
click of the kettle's thermostat and the soft bubbling of the soup
are the only sounds in my room. In a day or two, the food will
be gone, and I'll have a week of fasting until I am paid. Eating
warms me, insulating me against the cold and the winter dark.

* A General Anarchist Union in the Boston Area
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