Austin's Picks: Is Class Struggle Anarchism

Austin K sent this link along in an email this morning. It’s a couple of years old, but it’s still worth sharing and reading. The links go to interesting websites if you have an open mind about politics, which is to say, that you can imagine political positions that are broader than the republican and democratic party talking points. I am only posting two of the points that Nate pulls from Tom’s article. If you want to see the third point, you are going to have click on the link.  Fair use can look tyrannical.

Nate uses his What in the Hell …? website the way I use smallblueplanet.org, as a staging area to gather ideas, to store links and info, then to compose from that website for publication elsewhere. For me, that makes Nate’s What in the Hell… ? particularly interesting.

What in the Hell is Class Struggle Anarchism?

July 24, 2009

Austust another WordPress.com siteIt’s

Hat tip to Tom Wetzel for this fine article. Check it out. Full disclosure and a little bragging, I know Tom, we’re both involved in the Workers Solidarity Alliance, so I’m biased. Anyhow, read his piece.

My favorite three bits are quoted below. With these bits I was reading it and I was like “yeah, this is what I try to do in this kind
of work but I haven’t put it this clearly before,” which is a cool feeling, like the article put clearly into words what had been more of a gut feeling for me or stuff I’d fumbled and put badly before.

1. “Dual organizational anarchists often say that the role of the anarchist political organization is to “win the battle of ideas,” that
is, to gain influence within movements and among the mass of the population by countering authoritarian or liberal or conservative ideas. Bakunin had said that the role of anarchist activists was a “leadership of ideas.”

But disseminating ideas isn’t the only form of influence. Working with others of diverse views in mass organizations and struggles, exhibiting a genuine commitment, and being a personable and supportive person in this context also builds personal connections, and makes it more likely one’s ideas will be taken seriously.”

2. “mass struggles and mass organizing as the process for changing society…because it is through the active participation of growing numbers of ordinary people, building and controlling their own movements, that they develop the capacity and aspirations for changing society.

From the point of view of “organized anarchism with a class struggle perspective,” two kinds of organization are needed: (1) forms of mass organization through which ordinary people can grow and develop their collective strength, and (2) political organizations of the anarchist or libertarian socialist minority, to have a more effective means to coordinate our activities, gain influence in working class communities, and disseminate our ideas. In the World War 1 era Italian anarchists coined the term “dual organization” for this perspective.

Read the whole piece if you have a couple of minutes.

Politics and Entertainment!

M & I are working on two campaigns for the regular election. The first is Thomas Bjorgen’s run for the Court of Appeals. Tom would simply make a superb judge and I think it’s going to happen. I am certainly going to work to make it happen.

The second campaign we are pounding on is the Thurston Public Power Initiative. This initiative will allow the existing Public Utility District to expand from water services to water and electricity. Thurston is the only county in SW Washington that does not have a public power option. We are going to fix that. This is a pretty simple matter of keeping electric rates low by allowing for competition. A private banking company from Australia purchased Puget Sound Energy a few years ago. PSE is not a local company and the Macquarie Group that owns PSE took 17 million dollars out of Thurston County last year in profits. These profits were offset by the power outages that occurred in Thurston County last winter with the ice storm. I am on PUD power in Lewis County, my power never blinked. Some PSE customers in Thurston County were without power for a week or more. Some advocates for the PSE power monopoly think the solution is that homeowners buy generator sets for back up power. Lots of us think the solution is local jobs trimming the trees and maintaining the lines, local power generation through a PUD that is rooted in the local community and has a commitment to local, sustainable power generation, and local accountability. The PUD commissioners get to face the voters on a regular basis. When do we get to vote on the management of the Macquarie Group or Goldman Sachs or other private financial institutions?

Public power or private profits? That is the choice.

Here is Jon Eppo Epstein sharing his thoughts on the matter:

The State is a Condition

“The State is a condition, a certain relationship between human beings, a mode of behaviour; we destroy it by contracting other relationships, by behaving differently toward one another…”

Gustav Landauer

Have to pack and set up the Really Really Free Market in Olympia.  Contracting other relationships, behaving differently toward one another?  Can we really destroy the state by behaving differently?

Judging the Judge Candidates

Ok, a little more on the judge races.

And specifically on the question of how to figure out who is really qualified to sit on the bench.

The table below is from VotingForJudges.org.  VFJ does not do a rating, it simply compiles and attempts to present an unbiased presentation of the judge races.  All of the groups that provide ratings are subject to charges of bias.

In order to receive a rating, a candidate sometimes needs to sit for an interview or complete a questionnaire and submit documents.

The asterisks below indicate that for one reason or another, a candidate was not rated by an organization.  Sometimes that means the candidate did not respond to an organization, other times it may mean that scheduling conflicts made it impossible for a candidate to make an interview with an organization.  It can also mean that a candidate was not contacted by an organization that was conducting ratings.

These ratings are all reference points to help a voter make an informed decision about voting for judges in non-partisan elections.  These are difficult decisions and many voters do not have time for research so they rely on these tables of ratings (or on the presence of sign-wavers at busy intersections and simple name recognition).

Sorry about the readability of this table, I had to squeeze it pretty hard to get it to fit in this space available at WA Liberal website.

 

Candidate ratings:

ORGANIZATION TOM
BJORGEN
JIM
FOLEY
PAM
LOGINSKY
MICHAEL
LYNCH
TOM
WEAVER
BRENDAN
WILLIAMS
Cardozo Society * * Well Qualified * Well
Qualified
*
Justice for WA
Foundation
Well Qualified Unqualified Well Qualified Well
Qualified
Qualified Unqualified
Q-Law: The GLBT
Bar Assoc of WA
* * * * * Well
Qualified
Tacoma-Pierce County
Bar Association
Well Qualified * Exceptionally
Well Qualified
* Well
Qualified
*
Washington Assoc
of Prosecuting Attorneys
Well Qualified * Exceptionally
Well Qualified
Well
Qualified
Qualified Well
Qualified
Washington
Women Lawyers
Exceptionally
Well Qualified
* Exceptionally
Well Qualified
Qualified Qualified *

Important note! Each of these organizations uses its own standards and rating terms when evaluating candidates; please check their pages for further information. We do not have ratings for candidates with an asterisk (*), and the reasons vary. Some evaluations may still be in process, or we might not have received them yet; some candidates may not have been offered an opportunity to participate, or they may have declined to participate. Again, please check the organizations’ pages for further details.



 

Dana Walker for State Treasurer!

It’s official. We are running a write-in campaign against Jim McIntire for Washington State Treasurer.

I have imposed on my friend Dana Walker to accept the role of running against the previously unopposed Jim McIntire for Washington State Treasurer.

Here is what Dana had to say about the write-in campaign:

Hi, I am Dana Walker and while I am somewhat ambivalent about this ad (I am proud of the fact that I would make a lousy politician) I approve of it nonetheless.

Now it’s official.

Do you think McIntire would debate me?

I don’t think McIntire will want to debate Dana, but we will make the offer.

Jim McIntire has been running unopposed for State Treasurer. He has been running unopposed despite the fact that he has done everything in his power to keep the power of the big banks intact in the State of Washington. He actively opposed the State Bank legislation that could provide economic stability for investment in Washington State that Chase Bank and Goldman Sachs never will. McIntire is the State Treasurer for the 1% and he is running unopposed. Our democratic system could not even muster an opponent to challenge McIntire’s corporatist economic agenda as State Treasurer. Until now.

As an act of conscience, as a symbol of resistance to the unopposed dominance of Wall Street Banks that are dictating the policies to the Washington State Treasurer, we are encouraging you to cast your ballot for a write-in candidate for State Treasurer. Every community in Washington State has a better candidate for Washington State Treasurer. In South Puget Sound, the Olympia Coalition for a Fair Budget has drafted Dana Walker as our write-in candidate for State Treasurer.

Dana Walker for State Treasurer. Write it in.

Or write in your favorite candidate who is not a creature of the Wall Street Banks.

We deserve better than Jim McIntire as Washington State Treasurer.

Who Is Puget Sound Energy? Let's Check the Title and See Who Owns PSE

Thurston County will get to vote to authorize the Public Utility District to expand into electricity in November. It is on the ballot, friends. We did it. No paid signature gatherers, just volunteers knocking on doors.

Let’s talk about Puget Sound Energy for a moment. It is not a Puget Sound based company despite the name. PSE is owned by the Macquarie Group of Australia. I have nothing against Australians, but the Macquarie Group appears to be an investment company. A slinger of high finance instruments including Collateralized Debt Obligations, one of the casino style financial models that create privatized profit and socialized risk.

The SEC is reported to be considering lawsuits against the Mac Group. Should we continue to trust them with an electricity monopoly in Thurston County or should we vote for PUD Power and have them compete with a utility that is locally owned, locally controlled, and locally accountable? Want to know more about Macquarie Group? here’s a piece from The Australian:

Macquarie Group unit faces US probe over deal

MACQUARIE Group is being investigated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission over a botched subprime mortgage bond deal from before the global financial crisis.

It was revealed yesterday that Delaware Investments, now a subsidiary of Macquarie Group, and Mizuho Financial Group are likely to face civil charges over the $US1.6 billion Delphinus bond offer in 2007.

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the SEC, the US corporate regulator, was about to file lawsuits against the two groups.

It will be alleged that the bond deal consisted of a collateralised debt obligation that “imploded” just months after it was sold to investors.

Want to read the whole article in The Australian? Sure, why not. I don’t think The Olympian is covering the Macquarie Group story. just sayin…

Release the Tax Returns, Mitt

Washington Post carries story this morning about pressure from both sides to have Romney release more tax returns. I don’t think he is going to do it. I think he is going to try to tough it out and claim principled stand that he has shared enough personal information. That would fly better if his father, George Romney, had not staked out the bipartisan ground 40 years ago for transparency by releasing 12 years of returns.

I think the simple truth is ten or twelve years of tax returns is going to show how much money Romney has made and how little tax he has paid in that time period. I think the returns would also undermine his story about himself as a job creator as his personal income would be revealed to be derived from passive investments, job out-sourcing, smart investing, but not from economic activity that has any significant connection to job creation. And there is the problem for the Republicans and the 1%ers. They keep trumpeting about the Job Creators, but if anyone has failed in the current economy it is the job creators. Outsourcing for profit, moving manufacturing industries off shore to areas with low wages and non-existent environmental regulation has been very profitable to the 1%ers, but it has not created or sustained good jobs for Americans, just the opposite. Hence, the big lie: we have to give the job creators more tax breaks if working folks want good jobs. That is simply not the way this thing plays out.

Show us the returns, Mitt.

With or without tax return release, pressure on Romney ramps up from both sides

By and , Published: July 17

The political pressure on Mitt Romney to release more of his personal income tax returns is causing some divisions inside the GOP presidential candidate’s camp, according to a Republican strategist close to the campaign.

Although some advisers are arguing privately that Romney needs to release additional filings to curb the political fallout, others are resisting that suggestion, reflecting the candidate’s longtime reluctance to publicly disclose information about his personal finances.

Read the whole article? Why not? Read’m and weep.

Some Thoughts of Equality, Diversity and Class

My email buddy Austin Kelly gathers and distributes some really amazing stuff. Here’s something that I got from him today under Gender and Liberation:

Critique of Liberal Anti-Racism: A Way Forward or Regression on Race?
2009 DECEMBER 7

The following essay by Walter Benn Michaels appeared in the London Review of Books.

Here are some excerpts:

“My point is not that anti-racism and anti-sexism are not good things. It is rather that they currently have nothing to do with left-wing politics, and that, insofar as they function as a substitute for it, can be a bad thing. American universities are exemplary here: they are less racist and sexist than they were 40 years ago and at the same time more elitist. The one serves as an alibi for the other: when you ask them for more equality, what they give you is more diversity. The neoliberal heart leaps up at the sound of glass ceilings shattering and at the sight of doctors, lawyers and professors of colour taking their place in the upper middle class. Whence the many corporations which pursue diversity almost as enthusiastically as they pursue profits, and proclaim over and over again not only that the two are compatible but that they have a causal connection – that diversity is good for business. But a diversified elite is not made any the less elite by its diversity and, as a response to the demand for equality, far from being left-wing politics, it is right-wing politics.”

and

“Thus the primacy of anti-discrimination not only performs the economic function of making markets more efficient, it also performs the therapeutic function of making those of us who have benefited from those markets sleep better at night. And, perhaps more important, it has, ‘for a long time’, as Wendy Bottero says in her contribution to the recent Runnymede Trust collection Who Cares about the White Working Class?, also performed the intellectual function of focusing social analysis on what she calls ‘questions of racial or sexual identity’ and on ‘cultural differences’ instead of on ‘the way in which capitalist economies create large numbers of low-wage, low-skill jobs with poor job security’. The message of Who Cares about the White Working Class?, however, is that class has re-emerged: ‘What we learn here’, according to the collection’s editor, Kjartan Páll Sveinsson, is that ‘life chances for today’s children are overwhelmingly linked to parental income, occupations and educational qualifications – in other words, class.’”

Read the essay over at the London Review of Books.

**

Sex, Race and Class – Selma James

 

 

 

The left itself is largely responsible for narrowly defining working class politics. Historically, some seriously problematic marxist forces have limited the definition of working class politics to issues concerning white, male, industrial workers.

 

 

 

 

On the contemporary left scene we find many forces (even, or especially, self-labeled marxists and communists) who seek to right the wrongs of previous generations. While these efforts may be honest and genuine, they often fall far short of actually re-aligning theoretical paradigms of “class” and “struggle” in a positive direction. Often times, race & gender become atomized and separated from class in efforts to develop an intersectional approach.

Selma James’ classic piece “Sex, Race and Class” represents a serious analysis of the organic intersections of the often-mentioned triad of oppression. One need only read the first paragraph to sense it contains important insights into the contemporary struggle to develop a mixed gender, multiracial working class revolutionary theory and struggle.

. . . if sex and race are pulled away from class, virtually all that remains is the truncated, provincial, sectarian politics of the white male metropolitan Left.

Capitalism and the Left have mystified the real relationships between these categories, and it’s an important task for revolutionaries, particularly in the US, to understand the poverty of our current theory in order to begin pulling ourselves out of the self-imposed silos our theories have us incarcerated in.

Continues at: http://advancethestruggle.wordpress.com/2009/07/12/sex-race-and-class-selma-james/

Washington Investment Trust – State Bank Now

 

 

Why was North Dakota the only US State not affected by the banking crisis? (It’s not the oil.)

Because it was the ONLY State with its own Public Bank!

The State Bank bills are down to the wire in the WA Legislature. SB 6310 needs to move out of committee now or the bill is dead for this session. You can read all about the legislation at WA Public Bank Project.

This would be a bank for the 99%. North Dakota’s State Bank is the model. We are not reinventing the wheel with this idea.

The Washington State Treasurer James McIntire has weighed in against the bill and the idea of the State Bank. McIntire has shown himself to the be the Treasurer for the 1%.

Senators Steve Hobbs and Mary Haugen are the two primary votes in committee that are holding up the bill at this moment.

Steve Hobbs
Steve.hobbs@leg.wa.gov

Mary Haugen
marymargaret.haugen@leg.wa.gov

Democracy is not a spectator sport.

Live Feed from the Occupation of Wall Street

It’s a live feed, for as long as it lasts or as long as they loop the footage, so the activity and engagement level varies depending on what is going on at any given moment, but thought I would embed the video in case you want to plug in for a minute or two and “be present at this moment” in the Wall Street occupation.

Watch live streaming video from globalrevolution at livestream.com

I think it’s fair to say that the corporate media coverage of this real occupation is very slight, but they will jump and run to cover a tea party event funded by right wing plutocrats. Connect the dots, Kemosabe. Catapult the propaganda.