Perspectives 2011

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The Panthers, the Black Liberation Army and the Struggle to Free all Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War, by Ashanti Omowali Alston


I want to get started off in a way that helps me get rid of the butterflies, and helps get us stirred as well. You know we always say, “Power to the People.” And usually the response back is, “All Power to the People.” If you don’t mind indulging me: “Power to the People!” (audience response) “All Power to the People!”

Second thing, to just take us back, again. There’s a little chant that goes along with a little march, that we used to do. I need your participation with it, if I may. It’s gonna go something like this: I’m gonna say, “Hold Your Head Up High, Panther’s Marching By. We Don’t Take No Jive.” When I say, “Sound Off,” you say, “Free the People!” Then at a certain point I’m gonna say, “Break it on down.” And you’re gonna say, “Free the People, Free the People, Free the People,” and then one loud one, “Free the People!” We got it? “Hold Your Head Up High, Panther’s Marching By. We Don’t Take No Jive, Got a Loaded .45. Sound Off!” (audience) “Free the People!” “Sound off!” “Free the People!” Right on!

Now imagine, in certain cities and certain towns where there were chapters, there were rank and file Panthers marching down the street. And here we are with this chant. It is performance, but it’s performance that’s really important. We are trying to show people that we are a disciplined force that is ready to act. We are trying to show people that there is a new role for us to play. And here we are: we’re the Black Panther Party. And it’s not only about the .45, but not without it.

Movement, Cadre, and Dual Power by Joel Olson


Global capital has weak spots. I want to hit them.

I do not believe, as Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri assert in Empire, that there is no “center” to global capital and that any strike at the beast is equally effective. Nor do I believe, as many anarchists do, that attacking any mode of oppression is equally effective. While I firmly believe that all forms of oppression are evil and must be abolished, I do not believe we can or should try to fight them all simultaneously, or that we even need to. Because global capital has weak spots, and we should hit them first.

The Meaning of Anarchism: Black Flame, Definitions, and Struggles over Identity by Gabriel Kuhn


Editors Note: Perspectives publishes this piece with the hope of generating lively discussion. Please use the comment section after the article. To make a comment, you must first register with our site and log in. Thank you!

Michael Schmidt and Lucien van der Walt’s book Black Flame: The Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism published by AK Press in 2009 has caused considerable debate within the anarchist movement. While the debate itself is refreshing, it might not always be conducted in the most productive of ways.

The Politics of Occupation: Anti-Authoritarianism and Direct Democracy by members of Parasol Climate Collective and The Institute for Anarchist Studies



Walking through the camp of Occupy Portland, it is hard to believe it has only been a few weeks since it began. The transformation of the space is nothing short of miraculous: from a few scattered tents, some cardboard signs, and a tarp or two, a miniature city has arisen, crafted with the energy, creativity, and good intentions of us all. Together, we are learning first-hand the difficulties, frustrations, and joys of democracy and of the experience of power.

One No, Many Yeses by Joshua Stephens


Reposted from Turning Wheel of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship.

Virtually anywhere I turn, I hear one of two criticisms about the Occupy Wall Street movement: a lack of organization, and a lack of demands. A visit to Zuccotti Park (or any of its offshoots from Nashville to Cape Cod to Beirut) quickly dissolves the first claim. As a member of the Education & Empowerment Working Group for Lower Manhattan’s occupation, I easily burn through 2-3 hours in each of our thrice-weekly meetings. These meetings manage multiple daily workshops, trainings and teach-ins proposed by a vast array of people, by way of multiple Google calendars and Twitter feeds, liaising with no fewer than five other working groups, in accordance with principles laid out by a face to face general assembly that meets twice a day. Few institutions can boast such tedious organizational commitments. Indeed, rather few would want to.

Anarchist Interventions: A Review of Anarchism and Its Aspirations and Oppose and Propose!: Lessons from Movement for a New Society by A. Cates


The Institute for Anarchist Studies’ (IAS) and AK Press’s new book series, called Anarchist Interventions, begins with the publication of two books: Cindy Milstein's Anarchism and Its Aspirations and then Andy Cornell's Oppose and Propose!: Lessons from Movement for a New Society. (1) Milstein's book is a thoughtful primer on anarchism in the vein of Alexander Berkman's The ABC of Anarchism. (2) Cornell's book is a historical case study of an anarchist-inspired organization called Movement for a New Society (MNS), which analyzes and evaluates the many lessons the organization lays out for current anti-capitalist organizers. Using Cornell's book as a case study, readers are able to get a concrete example of many of the aspirations Milstein covers in her writing and see some of the limitations of those aspirations.

Writing Resistance: Team Colors Collective's Uses of a Whirlwind and A.K. Thompson's Black Bloc, White Riot by Geoff Bylinkin


The world cries out for resistance: glaciers melt, species go extinct, poor youth are shot down in the streets by police or warehoused in prisons, families are evicted from their homes, queers are beaten down, and workers labor long hours at miserable jobs for too little money. Across the planet, power exploits and brutalizes the lives of most people. People do, of course, resist. In China, workers riot against oppressive conditions. Palestinian youth throw rocks (or rockets) at Israeli soldiers, refusing occupation. In India and the Philippines, Left-wing guerrilla armies build power and wage war against conditions they describe as semi-feudal. In Chiapas, the Zapatistas continue to develop autonomous politics to empower the indigenous. Globally, people are organizing to fight back. Most recently, the people of Tunisia and Egypt rose up and, through mass mobilizations and community organization, overthrew corrupt US-backed regimes. We may well be seeing the beginnings of a new period of upsurge and popular struggle against oppression and exploitation.

Women, Love and Anarchism: The Rise of British Second Wave Feminism by Emma Dixon


I. The Resurgence of Anarcho-Sexism
“From a girl’s point of view the important thing to remember about the 60s is that it was totally male dominated. A lot of girls just rolled joints – it was what you did while you sat quietly in the corner, nodding your head. You were not really encouraged to be a thinker. You were there really for fucks and domesticity. The ‘old lady’ syndrome. ‘My lady’. So Guinevere-y. It was quite a difficult time for a girl."(1)

Britain belonged in the 1960s to the young. It belonged to a generation that knew nothing of the shackles of war time austerity experienced by their parents, leaving them free to express their most radical social, political and sexual desires. Both men and women were brought together in pursuit of their new worlds producing a flourishing countercultural movement that was inspired by the New Left ideology of Maoism, Trotskyism and anarchism.

Zapatista Spring: Anatomy of a Rebel Water Project by Ramor Ryan


“Solidarity requires that one enter into the situation of those with whom one is in solidarity, it is a radical posture.”
Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

Roberto Arenas is a small tseltal(1) community of twenty-three subsistence farmer families located in the Chiapas Lacandon Rainforest, a six hour drive from the nearest major commercial center, the market town of Ocosingo. The occupants, adherents of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN, its Spanish acronym), formed a nuevo poblado, a new community, here about three years ago. The land makes up part of the territory that was taken over or 're-cuperated’ by the Zapatistas in the midst of the January 1st 1994 uprising, as the land owners fled and the rebels took control of the zone. Under the mantle that the land is owned by those who work it, the Zapatistas began slowly dividing out the vast swathes to Zapatista militia and support base families – usually landless indigenous peasants or campesinos who previously labored on large fincas under difficult conditions. About 300,000 hectares of land were recuperated by the insurgent Zapatistas after the tumultuous state-wide uprising. The newly formed community of Roberto Arenas, fell under the jurisdiction of the Francisco Gomez Autonomous region, a self-governing Zapatista municipality where there is no state authority and, as the sign entering the municipality announces, “Here the people govern and the government obeys!”

Thinking More Than The State Allows: Radical Politics In These Troublingly Quiet Times... by Taylor Sparrow


“I know it's difficult in this country,
but we've got to think more clearly than the State allows.”

- Rick Turner


”Human beings can choose. They can stand back and look at alternatives.
Theoretically, they can choose about anything.
They can choose whether to live or to die; they can choose celibacy or promiscuity, voluntary poverty or the pursuit of wealth, ice-cream or jelly. Obviously they can’t always get what they choose,
but that is a different question.(1)

− Rick Turner

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