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Monthly Archives: November 2011

(AlJazeera) London, UK – Almost every time I’m interviewed by a mainstream journalist about Occupy Wall Street I get some variation of the same lecture:

“How are you going to get anywhere if you refuse to create a leadership structure or make a practical list of demands? And what’s with all this anarchist nonsense – the consensus, the sparkly fingers? Don’t you realise all this radical language is going to alienate people? You’re never going to be able to reach regular, mainstream Americans with this sort of thing!”

If one were compiling a scrapbook of worst advice ever given, this sort of thing might well merit an honourable place. After all, since the financial crash of 2007, there have been dozens of attempts to kick-off a national movement against the depredations of the United States’ financial elites taking the approach such journalists recommended. All failed. It was only on August 2, when a small group of anarchists and other anti-authoritarians showed up at a meeting called by one such group and effectively wooed everyone away from the planned march and rally to create a genuine democratic assembly, on basically anarchist principles, that the stage was set for a movement that Americans from Portland to Tuscaloosa were willing to embrace.

I should be clear here what I mean by “anarchist principles”. The easiest way to explain anarchism is to say that it is a political movement that aims to bring about a genuinely free society – that is, one where humans only enter those kinds of relations with one another that would not have to be enforced by the constant threat of violence. History has shown that vast inequalities of wealth, institutions like slavery, debt peonage or wage labour, can only exist if backed up by armies, prisons, and police. Anarchists wish to see human relations that would not have to be backed up by armies, prisons and police. Anarchism envisions a society based on equality and solidarity, which could exist solely on the free consent of participants.

Anarchism versus Marxism …

Read more: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2011/11/2011112872835904508.html

(examiner.com) Sunday, Anonymous hacktivists assaulted PERF because of their alleged involvement in coordinating police crackdowns on Occupy protests across the country.

Anonymous hacktivists assaulted PERF, the Police Executive Research Forum, by taking down their website and releasing the private information of Sherwin B. “Chuck” Wexler – Executive Director at PERF.
PERF is a private but extremely influential national, non-governmental organization with close ties to law enforcement agencies across the country, as well as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The group allegedly orchestrated and coordinated the sometimes brutal police crack down on Occupy Wall Street, and other Occupy movements across the country.
After several news organizations identified PERF as being responsible for advising and coordinating the police crackdowns resulting in Occupy evictions and other brutalities, the hivemind of the nebulous and notorious international Internet collective known as Anonymous began to swarm, and sting.

(aljazeera.com) With 1% of Americans controlling 40% of the country’s wealth, we examine the gap between the rich and the rest.

The richest one per cent of Americans earn nearly a quarter of the country’s income and control an astonishing 40 per cent of its wealth.

Inequality in the US is more extreme than it has been in almost a century – and the gap between the super-rich and the poor and middle class people has widened drastically over the last 30 years.

Meanwhile, in Washington, a bitter partisan debate over how to cut deficit spending and reduce the US’ $14.3 trillion debt is underway. As low and middle class wages stagnate and unemployment remains above nine per cent, Republicans and Democrats are tussling over whether to slash funding for the medical and retirement programmes that are the backbone of the US’ social safety net, and whether to raise taxes – or to cut them further.

The budget debate and the economy are the battleground on which the 2012 presidential election race will be fought. And the US has never seemed so divided – both politically and economically.

How did the gap grow so wide, and so quickly? And how are the convictions, campaign contributions and charitable donations of the top one per cent impacting the other 99 per cent of Americans? Fault Lines investigates the gap between the rich and the rest.

Wazch it: http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/faultlines/2011/08/201181125338194522.html

(guardian.co.uk) The violent police assaults across the US are no coincidence. Occupy has touched the third rail of our political class’s venality

US citizens of all political persuasions are still reeling from images of unparallelled police brutality in a coordinated crackdown against peaceful OWS protesters in cities across the nation this past week. An elderly woman was pepper-sprayed in the face; the scene of unresisting, supine students at UC Davis being pepper-sprayed by phalanxes of riot police went viral online; images proliferated of young women – targeted seemingly for their gender – screaming, dragged by the hair by police in riot gear; and the pictures of a young man, stunned and bleeding profusely from the head, emerged in the record of the middle-of-the-night clearing of Zuccotti Park.

But just when Americans thought we had the picture – was this crazy police and mayoral overkill, on a municipal level, in many different cities? – the picture darkened. The National Union of Journalists and the Committee to Protect Journalists issued a Freedom of Information Act request to investigate possible federal involvement with law enforcement practices that appeared to target journalists. The New York Times reported that “New York cops have arrested, punched, whacked, shoved to the ground and tossed a barrier at reporters and photographers” covering protests. Reporters were asked by NYPD to raise their hands to prove they had credentials: when many dutifully did so, they were taken, upon threat of arrest, away from the story they were covering, and penned far from the site in which the news was unfolding. Other reporters wearing press passes were arrested and roughed up by cops, after being – falsely – informed by police that “It is illegal to take pictures on the sidewalk.”

In New York, a state supreme court justice and a New York City council member were beaten up; in Berkeley, California, one of our greatest national poets, Robert Hass, was beaten with batons. The picture darkened still further when Wonkette and Washingtonsblog.com reported that the Mayor of Oakland acknowledged that the Department of Homeland Security had participated in an 18-city mayor conference call advising mayors on “how to suppress” Occupy protests.

To Europeans, the enormity of this breach may not be obvious at first. Our system of government prohibits the creation of a federalised police force, and forbids federal or militarised involvement in municipal peacekeeping.

I noticed that rightwing pundits and politicians on the TV shows on which I was appearing were all on-message against OWS. Journalist Chris Hayes reported on a leaked memo that revealed lobbyists vying for an $850,000 contract to smear Occupy. Message coordination of this kind is impossible without a full-court press at the top. This was clearly not simply a case of a freaked-out mayors’, city-by-city municipal overreaction against mess in the parks and cranky campers. As the puzzle pieces fit together, they began to show coordination against OWS at the highest national levels.

Why this massive mobilisation against these not-yet-fully-articulated, unarmed, inchoate people? After all, protesters against the war in Iraq, Tea Party rallies and others have all proceeded without this coordinated crackdown. Is it really the camping? As I write, two hundred young people, with sleeping bags, suitcases and even folding chairs, are still camping out all night and day outside of NBC on public sidewalks – under the benevolent eye of an NYPD cop – awaiting Saturday Night Live tickets, so surely the camping is not the issue. I was still deeply puzzled as to why OWS, this hapless, hopeful band, would call out a violent federal response.

Read more: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/nov/25/shocking-truth-about-crackdown-occupy?newsfeed=true

(telegraph.co.uk) An unpatched security flaw in Apple’s iTunes software allowed intelligence agencies and police to hack into users’ computers for more than three years, it’s claimed.

A British company called Gamma International marketed hacking software to governments that exploited the vulnerability via a bogus update to iTunes, Apple’s media player, which is installed on more than 250 million machines worldwide.

The hacking software, FinFisher, is used to spy on intelligence targets’ computers. It is known to be used by British agencies and earlier this year records were discovered in abandoned offices of that showed it had been offered to Egypt’s feared secret police.

Apple was informed about the relevant flaw in iTunes in 2008, according to Brian Krebs, a security writer, but did not patch the software until earlier this month, a delay of more than three years.

“A prominent security researcher warned Apple about this dangerous vulnerability in mid-2008, yet the company waited more than 1,200 days to fix the flaw,” he said in a blog post.

“The disclosure raises questions about whether and when Apple knew about the Trojan offering, and its timing in choosing to sew up the security hole in this ubiquitous software title.”

Read more: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/apple/8912714/Apple-iTunes-flaw-allowed-government-spying-for-3-years.html

(anarkismo.net) On the weekend 19-20th a new wave of mass protest all over Egypt broke out because of the systematic violence of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) against the Egyptian masses. People are tired of its dictatorial behaviour, the use of extreme force against protesters, the military trials that in 10 months have ended up with 12,000 comrades rotting in jail, their censorship, the torture, kidnappings and selective murder of activists. People are tired of the military council hijacking the banners of our revolution to continue the same old dictatorship through other means. People are tired of the sectarianism they promote to divert us from our real fight for justice, equality and freedom.

Imperialism has dictated an “orderly transition” to democracy in Egypt. The military have shown themselves obedient in implementing this design. The people in Egypt demand an end to dictatorship and the uprooting of all the remnants of the hated Mubarak regime. People in Egypt want to feel, at last, that they have a country run by themselves for themselves.

The anarchists in Egypt, and the international solidarity movement with the libertarian revolutionaries, wholeheartedly support the just struggle of the Egyptian people to continue their revolution and deplore the massacre of protesters that shows that the SCAF is no different to Mubarak.

Unlike other sectors that hold illusions about bourgeois democracy, we believe that democracy and the State are irreconcilable. Real democracy was put into practice by the Egyptian people when they formed their popular committees and ran their own communities, their own towns, their own affairs from the bottom up. We call to strengthen these popular committees, we call to decentralise the country, to make every single political position recallable by the committees if they fail the popular mandate.

We also believe that the yearning for democracy is incompatible with the capitalist system, based on the elite control of the economy and the means of life, which condemn 25,000 human beings each day in the world to die of hunger. Real democracy is only possible when all of society democratically runs the economy and the industry of a nation. This requires collective ownership of land and companies and self-management by the workers and peasants themselves. If the few control the wealth of the world, the few will keep having power over the majority. The free market is a more subtle form of dictatorship.

Therefore, we call for the trade unions and the workers to take a leading role in the current struggle, to occupy their workplaces, to turn them into workers’ cooperatives and to prepare for the full self-management of the Egyptian economy.

The crisis of Egypt will not be solved with half-hearted solutions. We need the commitment of the youth, of the women, of the working class in order to uproot the sources of tyranny and violence in our country – the capitalist system and the State. Let us all unite under the banner of the struggle against military rule, but let us defend a revolutionary, libertarian option for the Egyptian masses.

25 November 2011

Libertarian Socialist Movement (Egypt)
Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici (Italy)
Organisation Socialiste Libertaire (Switzerland)
Workers Solidarity Movement (Ireland)
Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (South Africa)
Workers Solidarity Alliance (USA)
Confederación Sindical Solidaridad Obrera (Spain)
Grupo Libertario Vía Libre (Colombia)
Centro de Investigación Libertaria y Educación Popular (Colombia)
Instituto de Ciencias Económicas y de la Autogestión (Spain)
Federación Comunista Libertaria (Chile)
Revista Política y Sociedad (Chile)
Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group (Australia)
Common Struggle – Libertarian Communist Federation (USA)

Source: http://www.anarkismo.net/article/21229