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(en) Us, Boston Anti-Authoritarian Movement (BAAM)* #5 - page 4 - What is Anarchism? + *Brian Morris* A Most Excellent Anarchist Writer + Boycott Burger King: the Coalition of Immokalee Workers needs your help

Date Wed, 26 Dec 2007 09:45:34 +0200

What is Anarchism? ---- Anarchism is the theory and practice of a human society
organizing without hierarchy, authority and oppression. This means that all
people have equal access to the decision-making process and to the products of
their collective labor. Anarchy can be described as true, direct democracy. It
is horizontal: i.e. workers working together without bosses, neighbors
organizing housing and neighborhoods without landlords, and people making
decisions without politicians. There are many different ideas on how to get
there and what exactly it will look like. We can talk all we want, but only a
truly free and revolutionary people will be able to decide what their revolution
will look like. So comrades, let's get to work!

*Brian Morris* A Most Excellent Anarchist Writer by James Herod

This is just an alert. There is no space here for a prop-
er introduction. I merely want to call your attention to one of
the most brilliant anarchists writing today. He's British. He has
written a number of outstanding books which USAmerican an-
archists could greatly benefit from studying, considering how
our culture is so completely riddled with fanatic individual-
ism, which affects almost everyone, even social anarchists. He's
an anthropologist and an ecologist, but his studies have taken
him far and wide, into the history of philosophy and religion.
One of his big books is Western Conceptions of the
Individual (1991, 505 pages). This text can almost serve as
an introduction to modern social thought, as seen through
the eyes of an anarchist. He covers all major schools of an-
archist thought: mechanistic philosophy, empiricism, marx-
ism, sociological theory, pragmatism, critical theory,
psychoanalysis, phenomenology, structuralism, and so forth. His
brief sections on Hegel are among the most lucid I've ever read.
Morris has a thorough understanding of humans as intersubjec-
tive beings. There is a companion volume, Anthropology of the
Self: The Individual in Cultural Perspective (1994). He examines
concepts of the person in Greek philosophy, Buddhism, Hinduism,
Taoism, African philosophy, Oceania, and feminist philosophy.
Another important book is Kropotkin: The Politics of
Community (2004, 314 pages). This text can serve as an intro-
duction to radical social thought, because in the process of ex-
plicating Kropotkin's ideas, he bounces them against most major
critics and alternative theories. It's well worth studying. He also
has another, shorter book on Kropotkin, The Anarchist Geogra-
pher: An Introduction to the Life of Peter Kropotkin (2007, 120
pages). His book Bakunin: The Philosophy of Freedom (1993)
will forever change your understanding of this founder of anar-
chism (assuming you are suffering from the prevailing misin-
terpretation). His collection of essays, 1978 to 1995, is a truly
amazing book. Morris has an uncanny ability to size up think-
ers and locate them in relation to anarchism. It's called Ecology
and Anarchism: Essays and Reviews on Contemporary Thought
(1996). He covers Lao Tzu, Gandhi, Erich Fromm, Thomas Spen-
ce, Chomsky, Tolstoy, Bookchin, Flores Magon, Ayn Rand, and
many others. He has a book on Religion and Anthropology. Re-
cently, he has been excavating the founding of ecology, with two
books, one on Ernest Thompson Seton, and one on Richard Jef-
feries. I urge you to study the writings of this anarchist thinker.

Boycott Burger King: the Coalition of Immokalee Workers needs your help by

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers is a tomato-pickers
union in Immokalee, Florida that has
been fighting for farm workers' rights since 1993. About two-
thirds of the tomatoes sold in the U.S. are grown in Florida.
Currently, pickers are paid 40 - 45 cents per 32 pounds of to-
matoes for a maximum of about 14,000 per year. This is when
they get paid at all. The CIW has uncovered several cases of out-
right slavery, including one in November in which three work-
ers escaped from a locked U-Haul truck through the air vent.
Even workers who are not technically slaves face appall-
ing working conditions. Violence, intense heat, sub-standard living
conditions and threats of deportation are some of the hazards they
encounter. The work is intermittent, and there is no overtime pay.
The CIW has had success in improving workers' lives. In addi-
tion to breaking up slave operations, they organized a boycott of
Taco Bell in 2001. Four years later Taco Bell caved and agreed
to pay a penny-per-pound surcharge for tomatoes, amounting to
a 75% pay increase. In April 2007 McDonald's followed suit.
So what's the problem, Burger King? In a stun-
ning display of corporate greed, Burger King has not only
refused to pay a surcharge, but has pressured the Florida
Tomato Growers Exchange into withholding the surcharg-
es paid by Taco Bell and McDonald's.
Burger King claims that the surcharge violates "federal and
state laws related to antitrust, labor and racketeering." Even
for the home of the Whopper, that's a new low. Taco Bell and
McDonald's have not been prosecuted and Burger King itself
routinely pays fuel surcharges to the growers. The surcharge
would cost Burger King only $250,000 a year, a pittance con-
sidering that Burger King's CEO made $4.15 million this year.
This is obscene even by the standards of corporate America.
So what can you do? Start by not eating at Burger King
(duh!). Tell your friends not to eat there either. Picket your lo-
cal Burger King franchise. Use your imagination, but if all else
fails you can always call Burger King HQ and tell the $4.15
million dollar man, John Chidsey, exactly what you think
of his lying, greedy, corrupt company. The number is 305-
378-3000. For more information, check out ciw-online.org.

* A General Anarchist Union in the Boston Area
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