Yearly Archives: 2010

Taxing Our Taxing Our Lives: Unpaid costs and wages in transit

by S. Nappalos

The film Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a surreal comedy-fantasy depiction of a city run on entertainment in which a corrupt judge, who runs a company that took over a trolley car line, attempts to take over and buy the city. The fantasy is based in some reality. In the 1930s and 1940s, an alliance of major automotive capitalists united to purchase mass transit companies and replace electric rail services with buses. Firestone, Standard Oil of California, Phillips, General Motors, Federal Engineering, and Mack formed corporate front companies for these purposes, and a 1947 federal anti-trust suit found them guilty conspiracy to acquire control of a number of transit companies to form a transportation monopoly, and conspiring to monopolize sales of buses and supplies to companies owned by the City Lines (one of their front companies)[i]. While it’s been suggested that this is the major reason for the collapse of mass transit in the US, the data is lacking. The impact of the so-called GM conspiracy has been overstated; other larger factors probably played a more significant role in the demise of mass transit. There is however a shadowy underbelly to the role that transit plays in our lives. Continue reading

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The Intermediate Level Analysis

by S. Nappalos

There is a left tradition of thinking about and taking action within two realms of activity: the mass level and the revolutionary political level. There are different ways to cash out these concepts, but at their most sensible they are distinguished by levels of unity and content. The mass level is where people come together based on common interests to take action in some form, with unions being the most obvious and traditional example. A higher level of unity is the revolutionary political level where people take action based on common ideas and practices. These are concepts which are tools or instruments that can help us make sense of the world, and better act to change it. In so far as they do that, they work, and if they don’t we get new ones. At the level of reality, this division is not so clear and in fact I think we see mixtures of unity and action everywhere. That being said, these concepts help us parse out how as revolutionaries we can relate to social groupings, and how we can intervene. Continue reading

Apoyos internacionales a la Huelga General convocada por CGT para el 29 de septiembre

El Estado español es, de cuantos componen la Unión Europea, uno de los que afronta una de las situaciones económicas más difíciles, con un desempleo real cercano al 20% de la población activa. Las medidas de ajuste presentadas por el gobierno para llenar las arcas del Estado y estimular la economía, hacen cargar todo su peso sobre las clases populares, en forma de bajada de salarios, impuestos sobre el consumo, reducción de las pensiones, recortes en las prestaciones por desempleo, privatizaciones y trabas a la organización de los trabajadores (como más facilidades para el despido y restricciones a la contratación colectiva). Continue reading

International support for the General Strike in Spain on 29 September

Of all the European Union countries, the Spanish State is facing one of the most difficult economic situations of all, with 20% of the potential workforce unemployed. The measures proposed by the government to fill the State’s coffers and stimulate the economy place all the burden on the popular classes in the form of lower wages, consumer taxes, pensions cuts, cuts in unemployment benefits, more privatization and the introduction of more obstacles to workers organizing (such as making it easier for employers to lay off workers and more restrictions on collective agreements). Continue reading

Why Women Should Join Political Organizations

By Dolores

In Miami Autonomy and Solidarity, we have discussions with people that might identify with the  “left” in general to see where our political agreement lies; as well as to learn from each other with the goal of reaching enough unity to become members of MAS.

While these discussions have helped us engage with a lot of different people, and have lead to new membership there is a noticeable hole in our group- a severe lack of women members.  MAS has prioritized recruiting more women and we have had many continuous discussions with women from different backgrounds, yet none have joined.

Continue reading

Hunger Strike for a real solution to the complex conflict between the Mapuche nation and the Chilean State

The untenable situation which the various communities of the Mapuche people have faced for centuries has once again reached crisis point.

Mapuche political prisoners, tired and weary of violations of their rights, torture and persecution, even against minors, and excessive and arbitrary treatment by the Chilean State and Judiciary, took the grave decision to go on hunger and thirst strike from Monday, 12 July this year.

These prisoners are all accused of attempting to occupy land or damage property of lumber companies, strategic businesses in Chile ‘s primary export model who have been occupying the ancestral lands of the Mapuche people.

Today, all 31 political prisoners who are split up in various high-security prisons in southern Chile (in Concepción, Temuco , Valdivia , and Angol), have risen once again as a single body and taken the difficult decision to forgo food and water, demanding a real solution to this political conflict.

Given this situation, the undersigned libertarian organizations from various parts of the world declare their full solidarity and denounce the Chilean State and judiciary.

1. Being the only country where members of an indigenous community make up the majority of political prisoners, is evidence of racism, discrimination, oppression and of an ideology typical of States managed through policies of colonial occupation, somewhat close to fascism.

2. The State of Chile has a legal structure that does not provide a fair and transparent process, i.e. what is known as the “rule of law” does not exist for the Mapuche people, since there is no equality of conditions, but only privilege for strategic economic interests of the current Chilean neoliberal accumulation pattern, i.e., lumber companies, mining companies, hydroelectric plants, big landlords, etc.

3. A systematic policy of annihilation of the Mapuche people, not only promoted by the State and the judiciary, but also by the economic and political Right, which is implemented through:
a) the Anti-Terrorism Law, created during the years of the authoritarian regime of the genocidal dictator Augusto Pinochet. This legislation aimed at crimes against life, yet so far no Mapuche has been charged with murder. However, some prisoners have received sentences of 50 and even over 100 years.

b) application of double trials, in other words, the Mapuche are tried and sentenced twice for the same offence, both for the civil justice system for the filthy military justice system, which is applied only in this country and those among the most conservative throughout the world.

c) militarization of the territory over which the Mapuche communities assert their political and territorial rights. This consists of a series of measures to apply the military and police arsenal, such as helicopters and tear gas, and the harassment of women and children without the protection of adult men, most of whom are in prison.

d) media corporations, who have ensured invisibility by ignoring the hunger strike and who, on the other hand, have consistently criminalized the Mapuche’s historic social protest and their just and legitimate struggle by generating quick and widespread condemnation among the public opinion.

e) false testimony from witnesses and testimony from witnesses with their faces covered, paid by both the prosecution and by individuals. An example is the attempt by State prosecutor Francisco Ljubetic to link the organizations of the Mapuche people with the FARC in Colombia , thus trying to create a false and disproportionate parallel between each country’s internal conflicts.

f) investigation secrecy imposed during almost the entire legal process, an action that severely impedes the right of defence.

g) most prisoners remained detained for the entire process of investigation (for over a year), a matter that does not respect the presumption of innocence, supposedly guaranteed by the current Chilean legal system.

h) prosecution and incarceration as a result of media farces stirred up by the Public Prosecutor.

i) and finally, the government continues to ignore the demands of the strikers, hoping to wear down the movement and playing with the health of community members on strike.

We thus demand:

JUSTICE AND FREEDOM FOR THE MAPUCHE POLITICAL PRISONERS AND OTHERS OF A DIFFERENT ETHNIC BACKGROUND WHO SUPPORT THEIR STRUGGLE

AN END TO THE ANTI-TERORIST LAW AND MILITARY JUSTICE

DEMILITARIZATION OF THE AREA

LAND AND AUTONOMY FOR NATIVE PEOPLES
Organizations that have signed the statement:

Convergencia Juvenil Clasista “Hijos del Pueblo” (Ecuador)
Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici (Italy)
Revista Hombre y Sociedad (Chile)
Organización Revolucionaria Anarquista – Voz Negra (Chile)
Estrategia Libertaria (Chile)
Red Libertaria Popular Mateo Kramer (Colombia)
Grupo Antorcha Libertaria (Colombia)
Workers Solidarity Movement (Ireland)
Unión Socialista Libertaria (Peru)
Organisation Socialiste Libertaire (Switzerland)
Anarchist Black Cross Wellington (Aotearoa/New Zealand)
Workers Solidarity Alliance (USA/Canada)
Red Libertaria de Buenos Aires (Argentina)
Federación Anarquista Uruguaya (Uruguay)
Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement (Aotearoa/New Zealand)
North-Eastern Federation of Anarchist Communists (USA)

Miami autonomy and solidarity (USA)

For updated information on the struggle and the conflict, see:
http://www.mapuexpress.net/
http://www.azkintuwe.org/

State Ownership and Socialism: A critical voice from Cuba

We are reposting here an article from Havana Times. While we cannot vouch for the sources, the article raises important issues and critical debates happening in Cuba that provide a challenge to the direction of the island.

Image by Red Protagónica Observatorio Crítico

Pedro Campos
Original Havana Times Article
HAVANA TIMES, April 27 — Recently in Granma, the newspaper of the Communist Party of Cuba, an article appeared about the economic efficiency of “socialist government enterprises” in the armed forces (4/16/10).

In the spirit of helping to clarify certain concepts, I have attempted to provide a few, more precise details here.

Apparently the comrades who wrote about the Military Agricultural Union “socialist government enterprise,” based themselves on the identification of state and socialist property by virtue of the fact that this property belongs to the Cuban state; they assume that all state property is, de jure, socialist.   However, what gives a property its social character —be it socialist or capitalist— is the form of its operation and the appropriation of its output, not its legal form.

This confusion was introduced in socialist theory by those who mistook estatización (state ownership) for socialization.  They thought that for property to be socialized, it was sufficient to place it under state ownership and then hold the state sacred above the rest of society.

The social character of a company is one thing and the legal structure of its ownership is something else.  The social character of property is determined by the form in which it is put to use, by the way in which work is organized, the mode of production (based on slave, serf, wage or freely associated labor) and the way in which the surplus obtained is distributed.  This is independent of the property’s legal structure, which can be state-owned, collective or privately owned.  This said, the natural tendency is for the content (the social character) of property to determine its legal form (structure), not the other way around. Continue reading