By kate | August 25, 2012
(This essay originally appeared on Frontline: http://www.frontlineonnet.com/stories/20120907291709500.htm)
The whole thing is a blur to me. It was sometime in 1985 or 1986, a warm night, when a band member from either Black Flag or the Circle Jerks told me about Alexander Cockburn. We were standing in one of the side alleys near Los Angeles’ Roxy Theatre, smoking, when he told me about Cockburn’s fulminations against Ronald Reagan and contemporary America. Reagan’s jarringly brutal wars were a preoccupation for me. My political friends and I took our lessons from the cyclostyled sheets produced by the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) and the various solidarity committees for divestment from apartheid South Africa. Their content was of the essence, but the papers were dreary to read.
Events seemed to drain the ink of human vitality: massacres of Salvadorian peasant farmers and police firing at black workers did not require embellishment, only the dry tones of an activist’s pen. Finding Cockburn was a treat. He was no less moved by the outrages of our time, and he seemed to be reading the same activist broadsheets as I did. But his stylistic translation into his columns of those events and the rage that should greet them for The Village Voice and The Wall Street Journal, for The New York Review of Books and Vanity Fair took my breath away. As my musician friend told me, this guy was a punk writer.
Already known as a superb left-wing stylist in England, Alexander came to the United States in June 1972 to escape what he called “the relics of an empire corrupted far beyond the reach of popular indignation”. He arrived in the U.S. at the time when President Nixon’s burglars broke into the Watergate hotel, and when the bombardment of South-East Asia had discomfited U.S. allies, who had begun to leave its side (the Thai army left in January and New Zealand’s forces left in December).
Washington and its hypocrisies provided sufficient material for his acidic pen. Alexander took up residence at The Village Voice, the counter-cultural journal of New York City, where he hosted the “Press Clips” column and (with James Ridgeway) wrote “The Moving Target” reports. As the American media gasped for breath between the claustrophobia of its ulcerative political landscape and of its corporate-induced “balanced” journalism, The Village Voice became a life raft. Old-school municipal journalism came from Wayne Barnett, vibrant essays on imperialism, socialism and gay rights came from the witty pen of Andrew Kopkind, amusing music journalism and bold essays on abortion rights and feminism came from Ellen Willis, and sharp and witty film reviews came from J. Hoberman. This was good company.
By christa | July 27, 2012
Territories in Resistance: A Cartography of Latin American Social Movements
By Raul Zibechi, Translated by Ramor Ryan
A community has an emancipatory approach to health care when it recovers its own healing powers, which have been ex- propriated by the medical industry and the state, and liberates itself from the control that capital exercises over health care through multinational pharmaceuticals. Zapatista health care practices, as well as those of many indigenous peoples and piqueteros groups, share many commonalities despite their enormous cultural differences.
Indigenous peoples often recover their ancestral knowledge, which goes hand-in-hand with recognizing the wisdom of traditional health practitioners while not discarding modern medicine. In fact, they attempt to combine the two. Much like when communities decide to construct a school, so too the first step in community health care is constructing a lo- cal dispensary capable of dealing with those emergencies that cause the highest mortality rates.
But Indian peoples have their own long tradition of healthcare.
By AK Press | July 24, 2012
The AK Press collective was saddened this weekend to hear of the death of our comrade Alexander Cockburn. Over the years, we have had the privilege of working closely with him on publishing our popular CounterPunch book series—including several titles written or edited by Cockburn himself.
We find ourselves a bit at a loss for words at the moment, so we’ll leave you with the words of his longtime collaborator (and CounterPunch book series co-editor) Jeffrey St. Clair:
He taught at least two generations how to think, how to look at the world, how to live a life of joyful and creative resistance. So, the struggle continues and we’re going to remain engaged. He wouldn’t have it any other way.”
(Photo by Tao Ruspoli, from CounterPunch.)
By christa | June 29, 2012
It is held in some circles that anarchism, like Marxism, is a form of thought and praxis that originated in nineteenth-century Europe and as such is inseparably related to this social milieu; interventions and mobilizations taken outside of this geographical-historical intersection, however strongly critical they be of patriarchy, the State, and capital, are in patronizing manner considered not to be anarchist. This raises the question of ethnocentrism among self-identified proponents of anarchist social philosophy—a concern that is not without its historical basis, given that even the Spanish anarchists of the CNT and the FAI refused seriously to consider emancipating Spain’s colonies in Morocco as part of the radical socio-political program it would counterpose to feudalism and capitalism in the Iberian peninsula.1 These glaring trends are ones that anarchist academic David Porter confronts and challenges strongly with his Eyes to the South: French Anarchists and Algeria, an extensive work that examines the various dramas of modern Algerian history and the engagement by French anarchist observers of this. In broad terms, it can be said that Porter in this work seeks to advance a mutual enrichment between established Western anarchist perspectives with the effectively anarchist practices seen in the Algerian context after the military defeat of Nazism in Europe, in addition to challenging the reactionary tendency of residents and workers of core Western societies to identify with the colonial projects promoted by their ruling classes as well as showing the potential of anarchism’s relevance to the lives of the social majorities of the world—following in the example of the CNT-FAI in Spain.
By christa | June 21, 2012
Our friend and author Cindy Milstein has been spending quite a bit of time in Montreal recently and has been thoughtfully blogging about the Maple Spring.
The past two days, I finally got my first chance to check out self-governance in Montreal: a neighborhood assembly yesterday, and the CLASSE Congress today. Both in 100% French, and my French is next to nothing. But I can recognize some words, such as “démocratie directe” and “autonomie.” Better yet, I can read the body language of good cheer and respectful interactions, and follow the informal & formal processes–all of which put most of what I participated in and saw within US occupy to shame.
This past weekend in Montreal’s unfolding maple-spring saga pitted the Grand Prix’s blatant display of wealth and sexism against the brave display of disruption and solidarity. Many of the always-illegal marches were a collaborative call from CLAC, an anarchist organization that’s at least 10 years old and probably more like 12 or so, and CLASSE, the most radical of the student associations, including many anarcho-syndicalists in particular from what I hear.
By kate | June 19, 2012
For our readers in Baltimore:
On Thursday June 21st 2012 at 9am community and student organizations will host a demonstration to demand the immediate reinstatement Friend of a Friend program at Jessup Correctional Institution following its arbitrary indefinite suspension. The demonstration will take place at 300 East Joppa Road in Towson, Maryland. Please join us, and bring signs and placards that read Reinstate Friends!
The Friends program was founded by a group of concerned men in the prison system, including political prisoner Eddie Conway, to provide mentoring to young prisoners. The program began with an attempt to identify the problems, expectations and daily needs of prisoners – many of whom are of African descent – and excluded from full participation in the social and political process.
Following a graduation ceremony for program participants at the Jessup Correctional Institution (JCI) we were informed that the project was being “dismantled” with no explanation except that contraband was found on the premises. There is no evidence that the Friends volunteers were involved in the smuggling of the contraband, nor is there any evidence that our incarcerated participants were involved. We are asking the entire community to attend this demonstration and support our incarcerated brothers, to demand immediate reinstatement of this program that has helped hundreds of prisoners and former prisoners, and more transparency in the Maryland Office of Public Safety and Correctional Services. We are asking concerned community members to email and/or fax the Secretary of Public Safety and Correctional Services Gary Maynard email@example.com and the fax number is 410-339-4240.
Demonstration Co-sponsors include: Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, Students Against Mass Incarceration-Howard University, The Social Justice Committee of Pleasant Hope Baptist Church, Red Emma’s, the Baltimore Free School, The Youth Resiliency Institute, and Nommo Theater.
By kate | June 19, 2012
By kate | June 14, 2012
By kate | June 11, 2012
The latest AK Press release, and the fourth in our popular collaboration with the Institute for Anarchist Studies, is Javier Sethness-Castro’s Imperiled Life: Revolution Against Climate Catastrophe.
Check out what readers are saying:
This is an extremely well-researched and well-written book, providing both a history of our awareness of the coming global environmental collapse, and a plausible and even inspiring plan for present and future action. The more people who read it, the better humanity’s chances will be.
—Kim Stanley Robinson, author of Green Mars
Imperiled Life is an angry and urgent dissection of the omnivorous economic system that is mercilessly turning the planet into a death camp.
—Jeffrey St. Clair, coeditor of Counterpunch and author of Born Under a Bad Sky
In a climate change debate pumped full of duplicity and evasion, Javier Sethness-Castro blasts in air-clearing testament to the calamity facing humanity. Sethness-Castro argues boldly that humanity is the asteroid this time, responsible for one of the great extinctions in earth’s history. Imperiled Life is no halfhearted call to shuffle the lightbulbs on a sinking terrestrial Titanic. It demands we rethink our philosophies, reorganize our societies, and rework our economies if we are to escape a fate of being survived only by valleys of bones and mountains of garbage.
—Arun Gupta, cofounder of the Indypendent and the Occupied Wall Street Journal
Javier Sethness-Castro here importantly diagnoses the ways in which today’s dominant trends toward fascist authoritarianism, casino capitalism, and cataclysmic militarism ominously intend a planetary future predicated on widespread genocide, ecological collapse, and the enclosure of moral progress. Moreover, Imperiled Life provides hope that social movements around the world are actively struggling to find common insurgent cause together—to democratically occupy the global power structure, work for human, animal, and earth liberation, and create sustainable community alternatives. May this fundamentally change the political climate of our future such that justice, peace, and happiness on Earth are more than just utopian urges or filthy privileges of the super affluent!
—Richard Kahn, author of Critical Pedagogy, Ecoliteracy, and Planetary Crisis
Want to know more? Click here to download an excerpt from the book: CLICK TO READ!
Convinced? Be sure to buy a copy on our website – 25% off through the end of the month: CLICK TO BUY
Spring Special for Wholesale Customers! Free Shipping (Within the US) on Orders of 25+ Units through 6/11!
By Suzanne | June 1, 2012
Just a quick note for all you wholesale customers out there—AK Distro is celebrating the season by offering a spring wholesale special, starting now! Place an order of 25+ units before Monday, June 11 and mention the spring special to get free shipping (within the US) on all in-stock items. It’s a great chance to put together that restock you’ve been putting off, as well as catching up on the latest AK Press and distributed titles you may have missed.
Bookstore buyers, if you’ll be at BEA next week and haven’t scheduled an appointment to go over our latest releases and place your order, it’s not too late, just get in touch and let us know your availability.
And for the rest of you, maybe you’re thinking of starting up an infoshop or distro? Or you’re about to go on tour with your band and want to take some books along for your merch table? Even if you don’t have a wholesale account with us yet, why not set one up, and take advantage of this free shipping special (as well as our usual wholesale discounts!) by placing your first order now. Check out this information on wholesale ordering, and send an e-mail with questions or to get set up and place your order.
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