a few scraps

David Marr, A crowded hour, an endless pursuit, The Sydney Morning Herald, March 22, 2008

Marr’s is easily the best account of G20 and its aftermath to appear in the state/corporate media thus far. Note that while Marr makes a reference to ‘persons of interest’, he fails to consider the implications of The Age‘s decision to publish a compilation of photos provided to the newspaper by police. Note also that, according to figures provided by UNICEF, since the G20 summit ended on November 19, 2006 to today, March 27, 2008, 14,850,000 children have died as a result of ‘poverty’. See also : afterg20.org: organising support for arrestees | G20 @ slackbastard

…By the time it was all over, police had about 10,000 photographs and 3500 hours of footage to scan for malefactors.

The white paper overalls worn by so many “persons of interest” presented a challenge. Police had to rely on glimpses of shoes, bandanas, glasses, earrings, moles, teeth and T-shirts to identify suspects. When the raids began around Melbourne and later in Sydney, police headed straight for clothes cupboards. The 109-page official Summary of Offences reads like a rag-trade inventory.

Arrests began even before the G20 flew out of Melbourne. Drasko Boljevic, who was out of town on the Saturday, was picked up in the CBD on Sunday and thrown into a police van. The Age quoted Boljevic saying he was tied up and driven round the city with a policeman sitting on his head. He was then handcuffed, arrested and released. Later, the police commissioner, Christine Nixon, confirmed a man had been mistakenly arrested.

Arrests continued for a year. One accused was brought down [December 10, 2007] from Queensland. Another was arrested at Mascot [November 15, 2007] as he flew from New Zealand to Spain on holiday. One was arrested quite by chance after an off-duty policeman out shopping saw a hardware store employee showing his mates his face in a newspaper photograph of the demonstration. Police reckon luck has been running their way throughout the G20 clean-up.

They are naturally reluctant to say how many demonstrators they’d hoped to arrest. They emphasise the case is not closed. Fresh arrests could be made at any time if they identify more faces in their picture files. But, as of now, the total number arrested is 28.

■ Akin Sari went wild at G20. He was a Monash student and political refugee from Turkey with a history of psychiatric difficulties. His role in the occupations made him the “poster boy” of G20. His picture was everywhere. Earlier this month he was sentenced to a minimum of 14 months’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to aggravated burglary and theft, two counts of common assault and riot, and three counts of criminal damage;

■ Ten other demonstrators, average age 24, have pleaded guilty to charges of riot, affray and assault. They are university students – Monash and Melbourne – plus a barman, child-care worker and a couple of unemployed. They are to be sentenced in the Melbourne Magistrates Court;

■ Four children – three arrested in Melbourne and one in Sydney – face serious charges including riot and affray. Their cases will resume in the Melbourne Children’s Court late next month; and

■ The 13 sent to trial last Thursday. Police have done well in the committal proceedings that began in February. Apart from a few charges they have withdrawn over the past few weeks and a handful rejected on Thursday by the magistrate, Sarah Dawes, the G20 case will go through to the County Court intact.

The media ballyhoo that marked the demonstration and early stages of this case has died away. The magistrate’s decision went unmarked in Melbourne newspapers.

No one can say when the trial will decide the deeply contested issues of G20. The best estimate is not before its third anniversary late next year.

Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group
TV SMITH Live at the 100 Club, April 5, 2007
Re//Fusing Structures : Stevphen Shukaitis
Constituent Imagination : Militant Investigations // Collective Theorization, Edited by Stevphen Shukaitis + David Graeber with Erika Biddle : “From the ivory tower to the barricades! Radical intellectuals explore the relationship between research and resistance.”

Students for a Democratic Society : A Graphic History, Written (mostly) by Harvey Pekar,* Art (mostly) by Gary Dumm, Edited by Paul Buhle, Published by Farrar, Straus & Girroux / Hill & Wang, 2008
ephemera : theory & politics in organization

more seriously (and intelligibly)…

Anthony Rocca kicked six goals in Collingwood’s 26 point season opening win over Fremantle as the Pies ran out the game better than their rivals.

“If Anthony Rocca kicks six they will usually win. But they have got good run and movement – but he (Rocca) is still the main strike weapon,” Matthews said.

“(Lions fullback) Daniel Merrett will get that job and it will be a big task.

“They were impressive on the weekend. They were strong.”

Matthews was clearly licking his lips ahead of the Friday night showdown.

“Collingwood games are always big. You have the big crowd, big interest – the love `em or hate `em attitude is what Collingwood is all about,” he said.

“From a marketing point of view playing them up here early in the year is exactly what you want and from a playing point of view it’s always a little different for all the same reasons.”

*classic…

PS. Anton Pannekoek, ‘Class Struggle and Nation’ (1912)

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2020 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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11 Responses to a few scraps

  1. bronze medalist says:

    the constituent imagination website is nice. would like to get a copy of militant investigations. i keep thinkin’ of black’s essay on anarchism. to digress, is john zerzan’s critique of chomsky not quite right?

  2. @ndy says:

    cheers ana! love, solidarity, peace and mungbeans.

    um… which of black’s essay do you mean bm? and zerzan’s essay on chomsky… hmmm, it’s been a while since i read it, and i’ll read it again now that you’ve mentioned it, but from what i can recollect zerzan was unhappy with chomsky’s uncritical embrace of both civilization and technology, but also elements of his political practice, viz, his tendency to lend his name to all sortsa ‘progressive’ — as opposed to radical, i guess — political projects. (is that right?)

  3. Ultimate Hater says:

    Yes but in this academic framework of discussion we must not also forget that John Zerzan is a turd, a broccoli turd.

  4. Nick says:

    ANDY:

    YOU ARE FUCKING AWESOME MAN! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK BATTLING THE BONEHEAD MORONS!

    PS You should put Chappelle’s rendition on your site – they’ll love that.

  5. @ndy says:

    John Zerzan, ‘Who is Chomsky?’, [?]

    Noam Chomsky is probably the most well-known American anarchist, somewhat curious given the fact that he is a liberal-leftist politically, and downright reactionary in his academic specialty, linguistic theory. Chomsky is also, by all accounts, a generous, sincere, tireless activist — which does not, unfortunately, ensure his thinking has liberatory value.

    Reading through his many books and interviews, one looks in vain for the anarchist, or for any thorough critique. When asked point-blank, “Are governments inherently bad?” his reply (28 January 1988) is no. He is critical of government policies, not government itself, motivated by his “duty as a citizen.” The constant refrain in his work is a plea for democracy: “real democracy,” “real participation,” “active involvement,” and the like.

    His goal is for “a significant degree of democratization,” not the replacement of political rule by a condition of no rule called anarchy. Hardly surprising, then, that his personal practice consists of reformist, issues-oriented efforts like symbolic tax resistance and ACLU membership. Instead of a critique of capital, its forms, dynamics, etc., Chomsky calls (1992) for “social control over investment. That’s a social revolution.” What a ridiculous assertion.

    His focus, almost exclusively, has been on U.S. foreign policy, a narrowness that would exert a conservative influence even for a radical thinker. If urging increased involvement in politics goes against the potentially subversive tide toward less and less involvement, Chomsky’s emphasis on statecraft itself gravitates toward acceptance of states. And completely ignoring key areas (such as nature and women, to mention only two), makes him less relevant still.

    In terms of inter-government relations, the specifics are likewise disappointing. A principle interest here is the Middle East, and we see anything but an anarchist or anti-authoritarian analysis. He has consistently argued (in books like The Fateful Triangle, 1983) for a two-state solution to the Palestinian question. A characteristic formulation: “Israel within its internationally recognized borders would be accorded the rights of any state in the international system, no more, no less.” Such positions fit right into the electoral racket and all it legitimizes. Along these lines, he singled out (Voices of Dissent, 1992) the centrist Salvadoran politician Ruben Zamora when asked who he most admired.

    Chomsky has long complained that the present system and its lap- dog media have done their best, despite his many books in print, to marginalize and suppress his perspective. More than a little ironic, then, that he has done his best to contribute to the much greater marginalization of the anarchist perspective. He has figured in countless ads and testimonials for the likes of The Nation, In These Times, and Z Magazine, but has never mentioned Anarchy, Fifth Estate, or other anti-authoritarian publications. Uncritically championing the liberal-left media while totally ignoring our own media can hardly be an accident or and oversight. In fact, I exchanged a couple of letters with him in 1982 over this very point (copies available from me). He gave a rather pro-left, non-sequitur response and has gone right on keeping his public back turned against any anarchist point of view.

    Chomsky’s newest book of interviews, Class Warfare, is promoted in the liberal-left media as “accessible new thinking on the Republican Revolution.” It supposedly provides the answers to such questions as “Why, as a supporter of anarchist ideals, he is in favor of strengthening the federal government.” The real answer, painfully obvious, is that he is not an anarchist at all.

    Long a professor of linguistics and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he achieved fame and fortune for his conceptions of the nature of language. Professor Chomsky sees language as a fixed, innate part of some “essential human nature” (Barsamian, 1992). Language develops along an intrinsically determined path, very much like a physical organ. In this sense, Chomsky says language “simply arose” (1988) and that we should study it as “we study any problem in biology” (1978).

    In other words, language, that most fundamental part of culture, has no real relationship with culture and is a matter of instinct-driven formation through biological specialization.

    Here, as everywhere else, Chomsky cannot even seem to imagine any problematics about origins of alienation or fundamental probings about what symbolic culture really is, at base. Language for Chomsky is a strictly natural phenomenon, quite unrelated to the genesis of human culture or social development. A severely backward, non-radical perspective, not unrelated to his unwillingness to put much else into question, outside of a very narrow political focus.

    The summer 1991 issue of Anarchy magazine included “A brief Interview with Noam Chomsky on Anarchy, Civilization, & Technology.” Not surprisingly, it was a rather strange affair, given the professor’s general antipathy to all three topics. The subject of anarchy he ignored altogether, consonant with his avoidance of it throughout the years. Responding to various questions about civilization and technology, he was obviously as uncomfortable as he was completely unprepared to give any informed responses. Dismissive of new lines of thought that critically re-examine the nature of civilization, Chomsky was obviously ignorant of this growing literature and its influence in the anti-authoritarian milieu.

    Concerning technology, he was, reluctantly, more expansive, but just as in the dark as with the question of civilization. His responses repeated all the discredited, unexamined pro-tech cliches, now less and less credible among anarchists: technology is a mere tool, a “quite neutral” phenomenon to be seen only in terms of specific, similarly unexamined uses. Chomsky actually declares that cars are fine; it’s only corporate executives that are the problem. Likewise with robotics, as if that drops from heaven and has no grounding in domination of nature, division of labor, etc. In closing, he proclaimed that “the only thing that can possibly resolve environmental problems is advanced technology.” Yes: more of the soul-destroying, eco- destroying malignancy that has created the current nightmare!

    In the fall of 1995, Chomsky donated much of the proceeds from a well-attended speech on U.S. foreign policy to Portland’s 223 Freedom and Mutual Aid Center, better known as the local anarchist infoshop. As if to honor its generous benefactor appropriately, the infoshop spent the money first of all on a computer system, and several months later financed a booklet promoting the infoshop and the ideas behind it. Among the most prominent quotes adorning the pamphlet is one that begins, “The task for a modern industrial society is to achieve what is now technically realizable.” The attentive reader may not need me to name the author of these words [Chomsky, see below*], nor to point out this less than qualitatively radical influence. For those of us who see our task as aiding in the utter abolition of our “Modern industrial society,” it is repellant in the extreme to find its realization abjectly celebrated.

    [*The actual quotation in the 223 pamphlet read as follows: “The task for a modern industrial society is to achieve what is now technically realizable, namely, a society which is really based on free voluntary participation of people who produce and create, live their lives freely within institutions they control, and with limited hierarchal structures, possibly none at all.” — Noam Chomsky]

    John Zerzan
    POB 11331
    Eugene, OR 97440
    USA

  6. @ndy says:

    …also stumbledupon while googling ‘Chomsky’ and ‘Zerzan’, a review of an essay by Saul Newman on ‘Anarchism, Poststructuralism and the Future of Radical Politics’:

    http://derrida.wordpress.com/2007/11/30/s-newman-anarchism-poststructuralism-and-the-future-of-radical-politics/

    Essay in SubStance, #113.

    On postanarchism:

    http://www.geocities.com/ringfingers/postanarchism2.html

    Interview with Saul:

    http://community.livejournal.com/siyahi/2019.html

    7. Another critique of your book claims that you quite reduced the implications of the general body of anarchism. Together with this, we would like to ask, what would be your postanarchist re-reading of anarchist practices like the Spanish Revolution?

    It’s true that my account of anarchism is by no means comprehensive, and in focussing largely on thinkers like Bakunin, Kropotkin and Stirner, I have neglected many aspects of this rich and diverse tradition. But my book was not supposed to be an encyclopaedia of anarchist thought, or a historical account of anarchist movements. I was trying to explore a certain political logic at the heart of classical anarchist theory and to show how this ran into certain conceptual limitations, which I tried to address through poststructuralism. I have to confess that I’m not really an expert on the history of the anarchist militias and collectives during the Spanish Civil War. By all accounts a very significant and profound social revolution was taking place – a revolution that was also realised in the free collective social arrangements that started to emerge on a wide scale in many parts of Spain. Unlike the horrific forced collectivisation of industry and agriculture that was occurring at the same time in the Soviet Union, the Spanish anarchist collectives were free, decentralised, semi-autonomous and run democratically. These communities had collectively-run factories, workshops, farms, bakeries, hospitals, schools, public transport – all managed directly by the workers themselves, through decentralised committees where decisions on production, distribution and working conditions were taken democratically. Furthermore, these collective arrangements were apparently very efficiently run and they significantly improved the lives of poor and working class people, who benefited not only from a much more egalitarian distribution of resources and improved working conditions, but also from social services like free health care, education, care of the elderly, etc. So it’s clear that something very profound was happening in Spain at the time – a radical Event [?] which contained a real emancipative potential. I see this movement as being an instance of the radical democratic imaginary that began with the French Revolution, and later with the Paris Commune, whose dreams were so mercilessly crushed. Radical democracy involves an extension of the democratic principle beyond the limits of the political domain, to social and economic sectors. This might take a number of forms, and the anarcho-syndicalist collectives in Spain provide a possible model to follow. But the crucial thing here is the decentralised, democratic and non-hierarchical forms for decision making that this involves – the way that it allowed for a much greater degree of reciprocity in power relationships between people (which was what Foucault advocated), and went beyond the logic of political representation. In this sense, I see radical democracy – of which the Spanish anarchist experience was a very moving example – as being at the core of the post-anarchist political project.”

    *fuck*

  7. juancastro says:

    I’d like to begin by stating that my only brush with Zerzan was reading his insanely infantile and ‘unclass-concious’ text Future Primitive, and I disliked his style from the word go. Essentially he conflates feudalism and capitalism with technological development, and rejects 3 alongside 1 and 2 with very little real analysis taking place.

    Now let me address this part of the essay (although I agree with much of his critique of Chomsky’s failure to adequately promote anarchist/”libertarian socialist” media sources, let alone his (ultimately, fatal) failure to weave a polemic against capitalism in every thing that he writes):

    “Chomsky’s newest book of interviews, Class Warfare, is promoted in the liberal-left media as “accessible new thinking on the Republican Revolution.” It supposedly provides the answers to such questions as “Why, as a supporter of anarchist ideals, he is in favor of strengthening the federal government.” The real answer, painfully obvious, is that he is not an anarchist at all.”

    What rubbish. If Zerzan is what passes as a radical anarchist, I’m glad that I consider myself primarily a communist. As revolutionaries we have to work on the world as it is, not as we would like it. Today, the only thing that stands between millions of people and death via starvation, disease, and illiteracy are public services. That is, the nation-state we all loath currently is the only thing keeping people alive. Unfortunately, this reality is ignored by Zerzan who finds it more important to make a principled stance against the state than to actually engage and involve people in their day to day struggles.

    Because that’s the key thing here; engaging with existing struggles. Many people are already fighting for increased welfare, for increased wages, for increased health and education spending and decreased funding for the military. How does someone like Zerzan propose to involve the millions of people engaged in union work, charity work, autonomous organising around ‘reformist’ issues, etc? Or does he similarly oppose all those struggles on principle?

    Furthermore, Zerzan is being totally ahistorical when he denounces “strengthening the government” as a position that a true anarchist could never take. All revolutionary struggles have begun in struggles for less-than-revolutionary goals. It is precisely in these struggles that we have a role to play, this is how revolutions are made, not by playing games in the dirt in some remote forest. Of course, we try to create struggles too, but I think the way this is achieved is by balancing the tension between leading people in revolutionary directions and keeping broader levels of support…

    And I, unlike Zerzan, don’t think there is a hard and fast principle or rule to maintain this balance.

  8. juancastro says:

    A scrap of my own to post:

    http://last-of-iraqis.blogspot.com/2008/03/what-was-under-table-has-been.html

    An Iraqi doctor blogging from the warzone with an interesting perspective on the reality of US occupation and the internal politics of the resistance movements/militias.

  9. bronze medalist says:

    cheers for the links. ‘who is chomsky?’ that’s the article i read several days ago. i thought you were a mainframe computer. next time i’ll be specific. black’s ‘anarchism and other impediments to anarchy’.

    juancastro,

    rage against the megaphone.

  10. @ndy says:

    bm:

    i’ve read a number of txts on @ by black, and i think almost all of his published writings on politics in general. this is surprising to some. they’re entertaining, but black himself is a controversial figure, esp as a result of his dealings with jim hogshire, but also because of his scathing denunciations of (classical) anarchism. fyi, i once put his ‘anti-anarchist conspiracy’ to the test:

    …According to Kolhoff, the incipient anarchist, turning to the local library for guidance, would find nothing but “lies” about anarchism. So that’s the secret source of anarchist insignificance!

    I put this claim to the test of fact, as Kolhoff, a positivist, would want me to, I’m sure. I perused the heading “Anarchists & Anarchism” in the card catalog of the Albany (New York) Public Library. Albany is an old, economically stagnant city with a declining population of less than 100,000. Joe Average probably lives in a larger, more prosperous city with a bigger, better library (a friend of mine who works there assails its mediocrity). What would one learn of anarchism there?

    i tried this one at what was then my local library in melbourne, and the results conformed much more closely to kolhoff’s thesis than black’s experience would lead one to believe.

    see also: ‘My Anarchism Problem’ (1994)

    saul newman is credited with coining the term ‘post-anarchism’, but i can recall its use (and the use of the term ‘post-anarchist’ anarchy etc) from writings in the late ’80s and early ’90s; indeed, the critique of classical anarchism — which historians such as woodcock and others generally periodise as being from the mid-1800s to the end of the spanish civil war — probably began to develop in earnest from the 1960s. the more recent writings which locate the origins of this non-ideological ideology with newman (2001) and co are i think revisionist…

    a few more neat-o links:

    Jason Adams —

    http://jasonadams.livejournal.com/
    http://zoepolitics.blogspot.com/

    on the little i’ve read, i think paul nursey-bray’s essay on anarchism and post-structuralism points to some of the more pressing issues in the attempt to squeeze anarchism into pomo clothing…

    juan:

    i think zerzan is a really interesting and thought-provoking writer and, like black, i’ve been reading his work for some time (about 15–20 years). i think his work is in fact far from ‘infantile’ and instead quite sophisticated, even if his conclusions are objectionable or considered radically unreasonable (ie, ‘whadaya mean we never shoulda left the trees?’). i’m really not convinced zerzan simply conflates feudalism and capitalism; rather, he traces the history of technological development from the primitive (originary) to the contemporary (nano-tech). as to what drives this expansion… i think some support for this thesis can be found in marx, and the historical commandment humanity (Man) labours under — as homo economicus — to constantly seek to expand His domination of Himself and the Natural World (‘more more more! / how do ya like it? how do ya like it?’ etc); a commandment which i understand marx to locate in the ‘natural’ phenomenon of an ever-expanding human population, but which is most commonly expressed as being embodied in the contradiction between the forces and the relations of production. more generally, it seems to me that zerzan’s line of thinking relies on certain understandings of anthropology and the ‘primitive affluence’ thesis as found in the works of scholars such as sahlins. in this context, i think that the work of others such as david graeber and harold barclay are of interest (esp graeber’s txt ‘fragments of an anarchist anthropology’ [pdf]):

    If there is any question thrown at organizers within the various tendrils of the global justice movement intended to make our efforts appear utopian and unrealizable, it would have to be “I understand what you’re against, but what are you for?” The implicit idea being that there is no reason to believe that another world is possible in more than a rhetorical sense, or at least not examples to prove such is possible. Frequently those of us who dream of a liberated world without a market or state structures turn to anthropology for inspiration from the thousands of years of human history where such didn’t exist. Anthropologists, worried about being accused of romanticizing populations, have generally responded to these inquiries with a confused silence.

    In Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology [ex-] Yale based anthropologist and political activist David Graeber asks, “what if that wasn’t the case?” Drawing from the rich history of ethnographic materials and anthropological records as well as critical theory and current practices within the global justice movement Graeber demonstrates that there is an endless variety of revolutionary political and social organization to draw from. Rejecting both the Hobbesian fable of the “war of all against all” and the blatant forms of racism and Eurocentrism used to argue that so called “primitive” societies have no bearing on and are completely removed from the world we live in, Graeber explores the endless variety of political and organization which have existed throughout the world. From the Tsimhety of northwest Madagascar to Amazonian tribes what emerges are the dynamics of struggle and contention, of insurrection and resistance that have existed not just through the past two hundred years of European history but arguably since the dawn of human existence. The anthropological cannon, from James Frazer to Pierre Clastres, once removed from its arcane status as obscure purely academic knowledge, brims with ideas and examples of social organization that could be of use to organizers seeking for alternatives practices. Organizers and radical theorists have long drawn from anthropology to find useful ideas for their work, from the Situationists usage of the potlatch of the Kwakiutl to current practices of consensus, which have existed through numerous indigenous societies throughout the world long before activists began to employ them for spokescouncils. Anarchism in this light is revealed not to be a political philosophy invented by a particular set of bearded European males sometime in the 1800s, but rather the practices of voluntary association, cooperation, and egalitarian social arrangements pervading societies worldwide.

    Similarly Graeber connects currents of thought within autonomist traditions, such as the ideas of exodus and counterpower, to social structures within indigenous societies that operate in very much a similar manner. Particularly interesting is his exploration of the idea of ethnogenesis, or how enduring political projects and communities sediment and come to be recognized as ethnic categories. One can see such both in communities that formed in Madagascar as well as in the nomadic tribes formed in the United States by the mixing of escape slaves, indentured European servants, and Native American populations.

    The greatest flaw of the book is that Graeber is throwing out so many ideas and concepts at such a dizzying pace that he never really has time to delve into any of them at great depth. But perhaps that’s half the point. Drawing from the practice of ethnography in an attempt to reformulate radical intellectual practice, he argues that the task is to draw and tease out the hidden symbolic and pragmatic aspects of what people are doing and to give such information back as gifts. By beginning to draw out the liberatory possibilities contained within anthropology Graeber sets out not to define and delimit exactly what an anarchist anthropology is, but to point in some of the possible directions that those of us struggling for a better world could take such knowledge.

    i also appreciate graeber’s work ‘cos he seems like a nice fella who’s also prepared to engage in more practical activities that a number of other scholars seem to go out of their way to avoid…

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