Saturday, August 03, 2013


Well, for Theoretical Weekends at Scission, I thought we would take a different route, or, more like, a different medium.  It's our old friend Antonio Negri, and when you are sitting around twiddling your thumbs, you can lay back and watch this video from

In case you don't actually get the video, here is the link to it

Documentary about the life and ideas of Italian Marxist Antonio Negri. With interesting footage and information from Italy in the 1960s-70s it follows his development from the 'Operaisti' through to his trial for supposed involvement in the Red Brigades all the way up to Empire and the anti-globalisation movement.

Friday, August 02, 2013


Today is prison friday and the hunger strikes in California continue and many prisoners are now in bad shape and need all the support you can give them.  

I, however, am turning to another story involving an immigration detention center in Arizona.  These places, these "concentration camps," for lack of a better word are notorious.  

Anyway, read the post below and support another hunger strike now in progress.

By the way Dream 9 refers to nine activists, "undocumented" immigrants who have been in the country since they were children and lived here most of their lives.   They have been in custody were picked up after crossing the border from Mexico into the US in protest of immigration policy and the detention of hundreds of thousands. .They are now awaiting a decision on whether or not they will be deported or granted asylum.

The LA Times reports:

Margo Cowan, attorney for the nine, said U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials finished interviewing her clients this week and will probably hand down a decision soon on whether the Mexican nationals will be deported to their place of birth or released back to the American communities they’ve lived in most of their lives.

As the nine await a decision, they’ve kept busy organizing within the facility, staging hunger strikes and gathering dozens of names and numbers of other people who are with them in immigration detention. Their case information has been passed to activists on the outside. The hope is to find these detainees some sort of immigration relief and to make their stories public, said Mohammad Abdollahi, organizer with the National Immigrant Youth Alliance.

The Arizona Star adds:

 Domenic Powell, a spokesman with the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, said the group is awaiting formal notification on their applications for humanitarian parole but is also seeking asylum based on "credible fear" of persecution should they return to Mexico.

Powell initially said earlier Thursday the parole requests had been denied, but later indicated the group's attorney had not yet received official word from U.S. authorities.
Should asylum be considered, the group may be released into the U.S. temporarily pending hearings before an immigration judge on their ability to remain.

These are some brave folks...

The following is from ColorLines.

‘A Girl Hanged Herself Here’

Immigrant detainees sit in their housing cell in the women’s wing of the Eloy Detention Center on` July 30, 2010. John Moore/Getty

When the Dream 9 entered the Eloy Detention Center last week in Florence, Arizona, they planned to start organizing. That effort has now grown into a hunger strike protesting the conditions in one of the most notorious immigrant detention centers in the country—and a deportation machine that continues to remove more than 1,000 people per day out of the United States. 

Shortly after arriving at Eloy, the Dream 9 say their phone use was unfairly restricted. In protest, they began a hunger strike—but six were placed in solitary confinement for their decision to do so. Most are back in the general population, but two remain. At the time of publication, 24-year-old Lulu Martinez and 22-year-old Maria Peniche have spent 104 out of the last 108 hours in complete isolation. Mohammad Abdollahi works with the National Immigrant Youth Alliance (NIYA), which organized the action that resulted in the Dream 9’s detention, and he remains in steady contact with the nine. He says that when Martinez and Peniche are brought out of their individual cells and into the yard once a day, they are shackled and interact only with guards.

But Martinez and Peniche aren’t the only ones facing horrid conditions at Eloy. Thesla Zenaida, who met the Dream 9 at Eloy and is now participating in a hunger strike along with other women detainees, explained in a phone call that a guard’s treatment at the detention facility drove a fellow detainee to suicide.

Look, a girl hanged herself. A girl was hanged here. [After] she was hanged, they didn’t want to take her body down. And for the same reason—because they treat us poorly. A guard treated her poorly, and that guard is still working here. They us like the worst dogs.

There were in fact two apparent suicides at Eloy in as many days in March of this year.

The NIYA’s presence at and near Eloy is also inspiring those on the outside with loved ones in detention as well. Jesus Magaña, 24, says that his sister Alejandra Pablos has been at Eloy for two years. Magaña says the 29-year-old had permanent residency after arriving to the U.S. at the age of two—but was picked up by authorities after two misdemeanor convictions. The vigils outside of Eloy have renewed his hope that his sister might be released. Pablos refuses to allow herself to be deported to Mexico because she has no family there, and is afraid what she’ll face in a country she doesn’t know.

Magaña returned from service in the Air Force one year ago, and recently moved from California to Arizona in order to be closer to his sister, whom he visits every weekend. He says he can’t imagine being separated from his sister, who has always supported him and wrote him for the four years he was on duty. “It’s like we were both deployed—she was in Eloy and I was in Kuwait,” says Magaña. “But they get treated worse here than I was in deployment.”
Magaña says that treatment includes humiliating remarks and the constant threat of solitary confinement. He adds that Pablos explained that she’s been told by guards that 70 women in various pods have joined the hunger strike—but that she was warned that if she did so, she would “face charges.”
The NIYA has started a campaign encouraging supporters to hold a one-day hunger strike in solidarity with the strikers inside Eloy.

Thursday, August 01, 2013


What is wrong with white people anyway?  They go about rioting and tearing up their own communities, shooting, raping, tearing up their schools, killing each other and anyone who gets in their way,  and just committing all kinds of mayhem on each other...and everyone else.  Kids walking around looking like a bunch of schlumps...and the parents, well, they just don't give a damn.

I'm thinking we need some sort of program to teach white how to act in a civilized manner.  Or maybe, it is just in their genes and their isn't a damn thing we can do about it.  

I'll tell you one thing for sure, we don't need any more of these whites coming into our country from their historical homelands where violence and savagery are legendary.  Keep em out I say.  We need a wall on our northern border since I have a feeling a lot of white people are slipping in, I mean, states like North Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Idaho, are full of whites.  Where is our heritage going?

It is all an outrage.

The following is from  Gawker.

Video of Violent, Rioting Surfers Shows White Culture of Lawlessness
L0 annotations

Video of Violent, Rioting Surfers Shows White Culture of Lawlessness

A frightening and violent mob swept through the normally quiet seaside community of Huntington Beach last night following a surfing competition in the area. Businesses were vandalized and looted, portable toilets overturned, and brutal fistfights waged right out in the open. It was an ugly display and a sad day for California. But more than that, it was a reminder that we must begin to seriously consider the values of our thuggish white youth.

      (You can find the video which was not found at  the link above for gawker)
Many people don't want to hear this kind of tough love, of course. They'd like to bury their heads in the sand and pretend that all white children are as sweet and harmless as Taylor Swift. But the reality is that the statistics tell a different story. For instance, according to research from the Department of Justice, 84 percent of white murder victims are killed by other white people[PDF]. Similarly, white rape victims tend to be raped by other whites [PDF]. White-on-white violence is a menace to white communities across the country, and yet you never hear white leaders like Pastor Joel Osteen, Bill O'Reilly, or Hillary Clinton take a firm stance against the scourge.
More important than white politicians are the white parents. I'd like to ask the caregivers of the children in these videos what they've been doing. When did so many white parents fall asleep at the wheel? You can complain about poor schools all you'd like, but the fact of the matter is that it's the parents of these children who are letting them leave the house looking like slobs in their baggy board shorts and Hollister t-shirts. It's the parents of these kids who are letting them listen to violent, self-destructive trash like "Anarchy in the UK" or "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue"—performed loudly by noted conservative rocker Johnny Ramone.
As I said, I know a lot of whites don't want to hear this kind of tough talk. But as an American of color who considers himself an ally to the white community, I'm just tired of seeing young, belligerent white people disgrace themselves year after year at surfing events, horse racing infields, and Ivy League campuses. Whites in America have been out from under their European ancestors' boot heels for centuries; California specifically outlawed preferences for nonwhites in state hiring and education nearly two decades ago. So being "oppressed" is no longer an excuse for behavior like this. How long must we wait for the white community to get its act together?

Wednesday, July 31, 2013



So who is Irina Lipskaya?  She is a friend and she is a comrade and she is an anti-nazi fighter and she is brave and she is in jail and she has been there for over a year with no trial.

She is in Russia.

Remember Russia.  Thank god, they cast off the yoke of "communism" and became free...well, not exactly free, well not really free at all, and it really wasn't communism they cast off, but whatever...Mr. Gorbachev bring down that wall...and all that bully rahahahaha.

Russia is sort of a center of the international not just fascist, but out and out nazi movement.  It's odd, since Mr. Putin seems, oh so powerful, and oh so able to get his way, to crack down on whoever he wants, yet these nazis just keep being there.

What's up with that?

You may write to Irina using this address:
Irina Antonovna Lipskaya, k. 308
SIZO-6 "Pechatniki"
ul. Shosseynaya 92
109383 Moscow Russia
But note that letters in English are seldom accepted in Russian prisons, so if you do not have the chance to write in Russian (i.e. by using simply phrases and translating them via the google translation program) just send photos and postcards.

The following is from Denver Anarchist Black Cross.

Irina Lipskaya, Imprisoned Anarchist and Anti-Fascist in Moscow, Needs Support!

Irina Lipskaya
Irina Lipskaya

Irina was arrested on the 2nd of July 2012.  She has been on the inside for a little over a year, awaiting a trial.  Her incarceration is prolonged due to dubious claims by her alleged “victims” that they still have not acquainted themselves with the results of the investigation.  However, according to sources within Moscow doing support for Irina and other anti-fascist and anarchist allies (Alexy SutugaIgor Kharchenko, and others) clear evidence of their guilt still has not been presented.

On July 4th, 2012, the Presnenski district court of Moscow’s judge Dmitry Dolgopolov, fulfilled a police request to imprison two of six anti-fascists who were remanded on the second of July, not far from club “Barrikada” (see story here).  23 year old Irina Lipskaya and 19 year old Andrey Molchanov, were picked up on suspicion of having violated statute of Russian criminal codex 213 part 2 (hooliganism, committed with a group of people).

According to police reports, anarchists and anti-fascists attacked guests of a Nazi concert with rubber bullets and flares.

Irina and Andrey’s story is different. According to them six anti-fascists were traveling by Zvenigorskoye highway in Moscow. They stopped their car near the club to have a smoke. Guests of the fascist concert attacked their car with rubber bullets.  Anti-fascists jumped into their car and attempted to drive away, but were arrested after few seconds by SOBR special forces of the police.

They were beaten both during their arrest and inside of the Presnenski district police station. The “victims” that the police took statements from were the same fascist nationalists from the club, who were more than happy to imprison our anarchist allies.  It is clear that despite any actual evidence of their involvement, Irina and Andrey are being held because of their anti-fascist beliefs.

It is obvious, that this is a political case against anti-fascists. As SOBR special forces were on the spot, anti-fascists were under police surveillance prior to arrest.  This is not the only political case against anti-fascists in Moscow – besides Irina and Andrey, three more anti-fascists are currently detained in Moscow – Alexey Sutuga, Alexey Olesinov and Igor Kharchenko.

She has been charged with three felonies, including “hooliganism, committed by a group and with a preliminary intent” and “involving minors to a felony hate crime”.

Irina was arrested just few days after her graduation from the Journalist Faculty of the Moscow State University. She needs a medical care for her hand, as she was stabbed by Nazis during a fight in 1st of May of 2011, but while in prison she may not receive proper medical care.

During the remand court session of 27th of June, Irina was strong and showed that system is not about to crush her.  According to Moscow ABC, she is also not in a need of material support. However, moral support is necessary, a full year of prison is hard for anyone especially because during the investigation she has been betrayed by some of her former comrades.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


The peasantry has always been a perplexing "class" for Marxists.  Let's face it, most of us have always considered them somewhat reactionary, hardworking, but most assuredly not part of the working class.  There are many reasons for this, none of which I am going to bother getting into now.  I will just say that   Marx considered the peasantry to be disorganized, dispersed, and incapable of carrying out change. Marx also expected that this class would tend to disappear, with most becoming displaced from the land and joining the proletariat. The more successful might become landowners or capitalist farmers.  It has not exactly yet turned out that way, though the peasantry has certainly diminished in size, just take a gander at China.  It is also that when Marx wrote of the peasantry he saw them as a feudal remnant that stood in the way of the progressive development of capitalism.

Later communists such as Lenin and Mao took different and often contradictory positions on the role of the peasantry...mostly to suit the needs of how they viewed the revolutionary situation within their respective countries.

The question now is for some is with Empire, with global capital, with social production, where is the peasantry in relations to the working class, and, perhaps, more importantly, in relation to the multitude.

Antonio Negri writes:

I think that after ’68 and with the beginning of the neo-liberal counterrevolution the structure of organising labour and in consequence the organization, the making of class composition has changed profoundly.

The factory stays no longer in the centre of value production. The value is created by putting to work the whole of society. We call multitude all the workers who are put to work inside society to create profit. We consider all the workers in the whole of society to be exploited, men, women, people who work in services, people who work in nursing, people who work in linguistic relations, people who work in the cultural field, in all of the social relations, and in so far as they are exploited we consider them part of the multitude, inasmuch as they are singularities. We see the multitude as a multiplicity of exploited singularities. The singularities are singularities of labour; anyone is working in different ways, and the singularity is the singularity of exploited labour....

When we take for example the peasantry. Peasants have always been considered to be outside the working class, to be something that should become working class. This always has been complete rubbish because the peasants always worked, worked hard, worked on things, worked as singularities. Nowadays we find ourselves facing a peasant class in the countries that are becoming increasingly irrelevant for capitalist development, and inside this peasant class we find on one side to a great extend the organisation of industrial labour, on the other side we find the specificity of peasant labour, which is singular, which means a specific contact with nature, the making of good cheese, of good vine. It means finding this unique quality of labour, finding inside the diversity, inside the difference the common elements, that are, of course, joint elements of exploitation, but on the other side the specificity of the peasant’s capacity to relate oneself to the earth and to transform it, transform it into good cheese and good vine. Only in this way we can think of relations with the industrial working class, and not with workers’ aristocracy, that wouldn’t be mechanical.

In a review of the book Empire by Negri and Hardt, Eric Mason writes:

One problem caused by giving immaterial labor a central role in the project of the multitude is the question of the participation of those who labor on the land and do not trade primarily in immaterial labor-namely, peasants. Hardt and Negri admit as much when they state that the “figure of the peasant may pose the greatest challenge for the project of the multitude.” The disappearance of the peasant from struggles over democracy (like the disappearance of the “figure of the industrial worker, the service industry worker, and all other separate categories”) is welcomed by Hardt and Negri, who see this as part of the “more general trend of the socialization of all figures of labor.” In other words, the multitude depends on the becoming common of multiplicity, while each form of labor is assumed to be able to retain its singularity.

Of course, there are "multitudes" who disagree totally with Negri and Hardt and others who make a mountain out of the multitudes.  They say they are totally muddling class and class struggle...and worse.

The truth is I am not getting into that debate here, today.  

The post below is simply an example of the fact that not everyone is all that concerned with how anyone defines class or the peasantry.  They just are...

The following is from Red Pepper.

Twenty years of peasant organising

Adam Payne of the newly-formed Landworkers’ Alliance in the UK reports from La Via 

Campesina's global conference

La Via Campesina's 6th conference

Between the 5 and 14 of June, La Via Campesina, the global peasants union, held its 6th international conference in Jakarta, Indonesia. Alongside 500 delegates from member organisations around the world, two representatives from the recently affiliated ‘Landworkers’ Alliance’ in the UK joined the gathering.

La Via Campesina (literally ‘the peasants’ way’) is an international union of peasants and small farmers representing 188 member organisations in 88 counties. The total membership is in excess of 200 million and growing constantly as new organisations join. The international conferences are held every four years and are the highest forum for decision making within the organisation. This conference also marked the 20th birthday of the movement and was a place for the membership to celebrate as well as strategise.

The past 20 years have seen La Via Campesina grow to become the largest and most internationally respected farmers organisation in the world. Not only is it seen as the representative voice of peasant farmers in civil society and inter-governmental forums; it is also considered by many as offering the most legitimate critique of neoliberalism and the most convincing vision of alternatives. Its power in international forums is derived from its strict ‘producers only’ membership policy, and its democratic functioning which give it a grassroots and representative voice.

La Via Campesina was established in 1993 to unite the opposition of peasants movements to the World Trade Organisation’s agreement on agriculture, a free market trade agreement that has had disastrous implications for the livelihoods of small-scale producers. Since then they have been extremely successful in giving international visibility to the peasant movement. As Julia, a farmer from Germany said: ‘we have the dexterity of an organisation combined with the courage of a social movement’. They take every opportunity to remind the world that 75 per cent of our food is produced by peasants, but that rural areas are often the most deprived and exploited. La Via Campesina argues that peasants and peasant-led solutions must be seen and heard as protagonists in food and agricultural policy.

A primary aim of the conference was to build consensus in the organisation about the focus for the coming four years. Unlike the last conference, which focused on improving internal functioning, in Jakarta a lot of space was given to formulating strategy. A number of topics emerged and were passionately articulated but there was a remarkable consensus on the main challenges that peasants farmers face worldwide and the most effective ways to challenge these forces of oppression. 

Land grabbing and agrarian reform emerged as a significant issue at the conference. It is clear that in the five years since the 2008 food crisis the enclosure and privatisation of land and common resources has increased significantly worldwide. Both state led and private sector land acquisitions are leading to higher and higher concentrations of ownership, taking previously common resources away from peasants and driving up the cost of land. The issue of land grabbing is set firmly in a wider critique of the corporate ‘green’ economy and the commodification of nature. 

In response to the increase in land grabbing, La Via Campesina has amplified its discourse on agrarian reform. Redistribution of productive land to producers and public legislation to prevent land grabs are high on it’s agenda. This is happening at national levels through lobbying and direct actions and internationally through the UN’s Comittee on Food Security (CFS) where ‘voluntary guidelines for the responsible tenure of farms, fisheries and forests’ have recently been agreed, and ‘guidelines for responsible agricultural investment’ are being discussed. As always, these international forums have yielded vague results, with no binding mechanisms for implementation, but represent important steps in the slow path to public policy on tenure, land grabs and investment. 

Closely linked to the opposition to land grabbing are increasing campaigns against public-private partnerships that use development rhetoric to open markets and create space for international investment in agriculture. The G8’s new alliance on food security and nutrition is one such example of a ‘development programme’ that seeks to facilitate access to land and markets for agribusiness at the expense of peasant livelihoods and traditions.

GM and the commodification of seed remained high on the agenda with a recent proposal from the European commission on the regulation of plant health and marketing taking up a lot of energy in the European regional meetings. The proposal seeks to streamline the European seed industry, creating better incentives for companies to invest in seeds. However the proposal would place fees and registration requirements on small scale seed breeders and growers that would threaten livelihoods and the development of peasant seeds. Internationally the anti GMO campaign has been growing in strength with large scale direct actions against GM in Spain, France, Mexico, India and Haiti. La Via Campesina’s position on GM is that it is an unnecessary technology that damages peasant livelihoods and food security by concentrating power in the food chain in the hands of a few companies and commodified crops. They argue that to end hunger we need to address the situations of those who already produce food, and those who want to. Seeking to build a diverse and resilient local food system rather than the export-focused business-led model that GM is designed for.

La Via Campesina’s struggle against agribusiness spreads far beyond the issue of GM. The conference saw the adoption of a global ‘campaign against agrotoxics’ (genres of chemical known in the UK as pesticides which includes herbicides, fungicides and insecticides) that was initiated by Latin American organisations in 2011. The campaign highlights that monopolies in the agrochemical market (just 6 control 67.9% of the market) force farmers into debt and dependence, but also that agrotoxics are dangerous to people and ecology and are responsible for a lot of death and disease among agricultural workers.

Repression of social movements was also high on the agenda and space was made in the conference to honour the hundreds of peasants who have been threatened, persecuted, imprisoned and murdered in their struggles. In a number of the regions where members are active state and paramilitary violence against peasant movements is extreme. A member of the delegation from Honduras described how many of his colleagues had been killed for speaking and organising to defend the rights of agricultural workers. The issue is linked closely to the campaign against violence against women which seeks to build the strength and solidarity in the movement by challenging prejudices. In recognition of the intense repression faced by many members, La Via Campesina works hard to build inclusion and solidarity within the movement. As practical steps towards this they set quotas on the participation of men, women and youth, ensuring equal space for different voices.

Food sovereignty and agroecology 

To develop their proposals for an alternative agricultural policy framework, La Via Campesina came up with the concept of food sovereignty in 1996. Set upon the recognition that food and agriculture are a key element of struggles for social justice in both rural and urban areas, food sovereignty is the fundamental right for all peoples, nations and states to control food and agricultural systems and policies, ensuring everyone has adequate, affordable, nutritious and culturally appropriate food. This requires the right to define and control methods of production, transformation, and distribution at local, national and international levels. Most significantly it encompasses as socio-economic and political transformation. Food sovereignty was a huge part of the discourse at the conference and is used by all kinds of organisations to describe the alternatives that the La Via Campesina offers. While it sounds complicated when dressed in the language of policy, the fundamentals of food sovereignty are the basic demands of farmers around the world: fair prices for food and agricultural products, prioritisation to local and sustainable production and support for new entrants to agriculture alongside a curbing of the power of transnational corporations. 

As the failures of the import dependant food security model become clearer, food sovereignty is getting a broader recognition in public policy. Some counties, including Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela, Senegal, Mali and Nepal have written food sovereignty into their policy frameworks, and it is gaining recognition in the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and Committee on Food Security (CFS). The sharing of victories and strategies for taking food sovereignty to public policy was a big component of the conference and something that will be happening more in the coming years. 

In the institutions 

The work of La Via Campesina was described to me by an Italian farmer as 1 per cent institutional, 99 per cent mobilisation and mutual aid. At the institutional level, La Via Campesina have been working to create and hold a space for social movements in the UN’s intergovernmental forums for agricultural policy. They are actively lobbying in the FAO, the CFS and the European Union. The main focus here at the moment is twofold, first, following a successful attack on the World Bank’s attempts to write an ‘initiative on responsible investment’, La Via Campesina has been active in taking the issue to the more democratic forum of the CFS where it is working to build the ‘guidelines on responsible agricultural investment’ into an instrument that can be used to defend communities against land grabbing.

In addition La Via Campesina have drafted a bill for the rights of peasants that has been accepted by the UN human rights commission and is now being pushed for ratification by the general assembly. 

In the institutions, La Via Campesina’s main aim is often just to give visibility to peasant issues and hold a channel open for farmers voices. As a farmer from Canada said at the conference, ‘often a victory in the institutions is just preventing a bad thing from happening’. Nevertheless, both the bill on the rights of peasants, and the guidelines for responsible agricultural investments hold huge potential for supporting la via campesinas work on the ground with internationally recognised frameworks. 

Don’t forget you are a farmer 

In the achievements of the organisation it is easy to forget that really this is a farmers movement, focussed on supporting the livelihoods of peasants around the world. It is in this realm that the movement is having its biggest impacts and it came through clearly in the feeling at the conference. The last 20 years have seen a huge quantity of visits and exchanges with innumerable ideas translated between producers in different contexts. The cumulative effect of all this is to build confidence and capacity among farmers organisations to take active and political roles in directing their futures. 

In a time when protest seems to come and go it is inspiring to see an organisation build to this size without compromising its vision, its voice or its demographics. It is amazing that the organisation remains such a united, democratic and honest representation of the issues producers face.