Posted on Anarkismo.net on Jan 31st.
The great revolts shaking the Arab world in Yemen, Algeria, Tunisia and now Egypt have caught everyone by surprise. They are, without a doubt, one of the most significant events of our time sending clearly out there the message that no place on this world is doomed to be some imperialist-backed-dictator's playground. Extraordinarily authoritarian regimes like that of Ben Ali were shown completely powerless in the face of a united and determined people on struggle. The people carrying these rebellions are youth, workers, unemployed, the poor, who are right now shaping the face of the region, sending cold shivers to the cliques sitting in Washington and Tel Aviv. Not all the weapons amassed by the Mubarak regime, not all the US military aid have had the power to stop the protest from growing. They are showing the might of the people and the working class when they come together, they are showing the political capacity of ordinary people to build organisms of dual power with a clear libertarian instinct and they are proving the world that we are in an era of revolutionary change. We have had a quick dialogue with our comrade and friend Mazen Kamalmaz in Syria, editor of the Arabic anarchist blog http://www.ahewar.org/m.asp?i=1385 who talks about the importance of this splendid political development.
While building solidarity between activists in the U.S. and Iran can be a powerful way of supporting social justice movements in Iran, progressives and leftists who want to express solidarity with Iranians are challenged by a complicated geopolitical terrain. The U.S. government shrilly decries Iran’s nuclear power program and expands a long-standing sanctions regime on the one hand, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad makes inflammatory proclamations and harshly suppresses Iranian protesters and dissidents on the other. Solidarity activists are often caught between a rock and a hard place, and many choose what they believe are the “lesser evil” politics. In the case of Iran, this has meant aligning with a repressive state leader under the guise of “anti-imperialism” and “populism,” or supporting “targeted” sanctions.
Translation of an article by Helen Álvarez Virreira about the Bolivian anarchist feminists, Mujeres Creando (from thecommune.co.uk)
To walk the streets of La Paz is also to walk through the story of Mujeres Creando (Women Creating) an anarchist and feminist movement which has used graffiti and creativity as its forms of struggle and has made the streets its canvas. “Women who get organised don’t have to iron shirts any more”, ”I don’t want to be the woman of your dreams, I want to be the woman of my dreams” and “Because Evo Morales doesn’t know how to be a father (he tried to disown his daughter), he doesn’t know what it means to be a mother” are among its graffiti.
"l have slain Pharaoh" were the words of the Egyptian military officer who led rebel army commandos that assassinated former Egyptian dictator Anwar Sadat while he was reviewing a military parade in 1981 for selling his country out to the West and abandoning the Palestinian people's struggle for independence. On February 11, 2011 Egypt's latest dictator, Hosni Mubarak, who replaced Sadat in 1982 and ruled for 30 years as a modern Egyptian Pharaoh, was pushed out of power by a people's revolt inspired by the January people's revolt in Tunisia that ended the dictatorship of Zine Ben Ali who ruled Tunisia for over 20 years. Mubarak ruled Egypt unchallenged for 30 years and was considered America’s Man in the Middle East. He was also America's partner in terror, allowing his country to be used in the C.l.A.'s rendition program the United States used to transfer so-called terrorist suspects to be tortured for information useful to the U.S. war on terror. Mubarak‘s regime relentlessly tortured and imprisoned members of the opposition in Egypt, and according to a classified U.S. diplomatic cable revealed by Wikileaks, torture was reported to be so widespread and epidemic that it affected every layer of Egyptian society. Under Mubarak Egypt also received over 2 billion dollars in U.S. aid. 70% of it is allotted to the Egyptian military which the U.S. used to prop up Mubarak's corrupt regime and the military equipment was aimed not at external enemies but rather at its own people.
Joel Beinin's analysis of the contribution of workers to the anti-Mubarak uprising and the possible consequences for both the social movement generally and the Egyptian working class specifically.
“Egyptian Workers Join the Revolution,” proclaimed the headline of Al-Ahram, the government-owned daily, the day before ex-President Hosni Mubarak’s resignation. Tens of thousands of workers—in textiles, military production, transportation, petroleum, cement, iron and steel, hospitals, universities, telecommunications and the Suez Canal—participated in strikes or protests in the three days before Mubarak’s departure. Although it is too soon to render a definitive judgment, the demographic and economic weight of workers in the popular uprising was likely one of the factors that persuaded Egypt’s military chiefs to ask Mubarak to step aside.
On March 2, 2011, The Army announced it had filed 22 additional charges against Pfc. Bradley E. Manning, the soldier suspected of providing classified government documents published by the WikiLeaks anti-secrecy group. The counts against him involve the leaking of the Afghan and Iraq war logs as well as the quarter million State Department cables disseminated last year.
I left Ireland in 2007 at the height of the economic boom there, the unemployment rate was under 5%1, house prices had gone through the ceiling and the head of state had suggested that anyone who thought there might be an end to the boom should go and kill themselves. I passed through Philly in March 2008 and the news from back home was not so good as the international banking collapse was having its impact. That June I moved back to Ireland, and from then on the economy went into free fall, pushed over the edge by property speculation, which had grown exponentially in the previous decade.
A global crash was always going to hit the Irish economy hard. Government policy was to rely on global corporations moving to set up factories, headquarters and tax shelters in Ireland to create wealth and employment. At the start of the Celtic Tiger Ireland had low wages and a skilled workforce by European standards, and this on top of a criminally low corporate tax base meant international investment poured in. For much of the 1990’s Ireland was attracting ten times more Foreign Direct Investment per capita than the next nearest European country, Spain. During this long boom the Irish unions had become bloated and lazy, there were almost no protests or strikes as everything was sorted out by the trade union leadership in national deals negotiated every three years, and without struggle there was no rank and file organizating. Worse still, these national deals (called social partnership) negotiated tax cuts instead of decent pay increases inevitably storing up trouble for when the boom ended.
Photo by Andalusia Knoll
For the past two weeks in Cancun, Mexico parallel conferences on climate change have taken place. One gathered behind closed doors and police barricades in a luxury beach side resort. The others met in downtown Cancun bringing together members of civil society, indigenous communities, environmental groups and campesinos from all over the world in encampments of shared food, housing and informational forums.