In the Streets

Movement, Learning: A Few Reflections on the Exciting UK Winter 2010 Manuela Zechner Something starts. An event rocks our world. It produces a rupture in the continuous flow of our life; is has a ‘before’ and ‘after’, it marks a clear point or intervention in the flow of our life and into our understanding of who we are, what we are doing and why. An event is a powerful dynamic of subjectivation, a movement through which we are recomposed as subjects. It’s not a merely quantitative dynamic that determines how much of an importance a situation takes on for us, but the degree to which we are moved by it, its degree of resonance. An event resonates, and so we hold it dear even once the situation that brought it about has passed: we want to stay faithful to it. Most events are short, pass in a flash, but they can have a long echo, many waves. They can transform us, and because we want them to transform us, we operate all kinds of efforts to stay close to what they made us see, feel, grasp, become. We try to re-member events, give them a body, inhabit and incorporate them into our previous life. And so we do with this November: remember remember. After Millbank, I heard people say, over and again and in different formulations: ‘I can’t believe it’, ‘something has moved’, ‘we have done it!’, ‘it is really happening’, ‘there’s a movement’… We remember by holding meetings, assemblies, training sessions, discussions, preparing ourselves to become more, more like what we want to be. This text tries to operate this sort of re-membering through writing.We liked the taste of 50.000 people gathered in joy and anger. It rocks what our bodies can do together. This text attempts to reflect on the emergence of a student movement in November 2010 through retracing its affective dimension.
Members of Russian Art Group Voina Arrested Members of the Russian conceptual art group Voina ("War") have recently been arrested in Moscow for one of their performances. The are facing a possible sentence of up to 7 years in prison for "aggravated hooliganism" resulting from one of their recent actions. Members of the famous elusive protest art group Voina were hunted down and arrested in Moscow on November 15. Voina refuses to cooperate with any official state or commercial art institutions and is known for its funny anti-state and anti-police actions. Members of the group played an important role in the defense of the Khimki forest and against the recent persecutions of Russian Khimki activists. On September 16, Voina overturned a police car in Saint-Petersburg, near the historical St Michael's Castle, where the Russian emperor Paul I was killed during a royal overthrow in the year 1801. During the action, which they called "Royal Overthrow", the artists locked the cops inside the castle, by putting a bike chain on the gate. The group explained that they wanted to bring public attention to the corruption within the Russian Interior Ministry and the police authorities, as well as to show, how the corrupt practices of the police can be resisted by people's direct actions.
The Debt-Based Tendency of Japan’s Student Movement: The View of the Association of Blacklisted Students Norihito Nakata Following the financial crisis of the fall of 2008, struggles in universities erupted across the world. Beginning from the Greek Insurrection, universities in Italy, Spain, England, and France witnessed student uprisings. In North America, the New School University in New York and the UCs in California were shaken by occupations. Having had its ups and downs, the impetus of students’ struggles goes on or is even intensified in places in Europe, as we have just heard about the Milbank occupation. In retrospect, what the financial crisis provoked was nothing but a reinforcement of the exploitative regime of cognitive capitalism, in the costume of a fake Keynsianism called the Green New Deal. During the past forty years, capitalism has been trying to dodge the material limitation of growth and the tendency of the interest rate to fall by way of capturing our immaterial activities and transforming them into commodities. Calling out “There is no money to clean up your mess”; “let capitalism die,” students and teachers have continued their struggles, precisely because they intuited this course of events from the onset. Having functioned as an authorized basis for cognitive and affective productions, universities are now the lifeline of capitalism that it cannot let loose. This essay is the contribution of the Association of Blacklisted Students (hereafter ABS), a Japan-based new student movement, to the discussion of “a global campaign for a debt abolition movement” and to promote “a global day of action,” launched by Edu-factory. We would like to share the history, problems, and aspirations of the student movement in Japan, now facing a new phase with the broad crisis surrounding student loans, with the participants and readers of the Edu-factory project, and get as much feedback as possible, to empower our movement and to be an active part of the global impetus to abolish capitalism and the state that in amalgamation are growing into an unprecedentedly menacing apparatus.

Protesting Degree Zero:
On Black Bloc Tactics, Culture and Building the Movement
Marc James Léger

[The following considers the use of Black Bloc tactics at anti-capitalist demonstrations with a particular focus on the Toronto 2010 protest marches. My conclusion is that the calculated use of violence, usually the smashing of windows of retail chain stores, can best be understood through an aesthetic appreciation of political action – politics interpreted through the lens of culture. I relate Black Bloc tactics to three works of contemporary art that examine contemporary conflicts in terms of training and role-playing. While anarchist politics typically refuse the logic of representation, mediation could be said to return in the symbolic performance of conflict. The fact that capital feeds on subjective violence, and the fact that systemic violence cannot be attributed to individuals, as Žižek argues, allows us to perceive both the merits of anarchist practice and some of its theoretical limitations.]

Against Kamikaze Capitalism Oil, Climate Change and the French Refinery Blockades David Graeber On Saturday, 16th October 2010, some 500 activists gathered at convergence points across London, knowing only that they were about to embark on a direct action called Crude Awakening, aimed against the ecological devastation of the global oil industry, but with no clear idea of what they were about to do. The plan was quite a clever one. Organizers had dropped hints they were intending to hit targets in London itself, but instead, participants—who had been told only to bring full-charged metro cards, lunch, and outdoor clothing—were led in brigades to a commuter train for Essex. At one stop, bags full of white chemical jumpsuits marked with skeletons and dollars, gear, and lock-boxes mysteriously appeared; shortly thereafter, hastily appointed spokespeople in each carriage received word of the day’s real plan: to blockade the access road to the giant Coryton refinery near Stanford-le-Hope – the road over which 80% of all oil consumed in London flows. An affinity group of about a dozen women were already locked down to vans near the refinery’s gate and had turned back several tankers; we were going to make it impossible for the police to overwhelm and arrest them.
Becoming Multitudes: Workers, Students and French Social Movements Jason Francis McGimsey Officially speaking, the mass mobilizations against the now congressionally approved pension reform in France have come to an end. The biggest unions met yesterday (November 8th), collectively signing a document that promises another day of action on November 23rd, promoting “multiform actions” that will, however, be decided on by “local and professional categories”. Substantially, unions are strategically biding their time and delegating the responsibility for the movement for two reasons. First and foremost, they are waiting for the right moment to take advantage from the crushing popular opposition to Sarkozy’s policies: the presidential elections for 2012. Their fear is that continuing strikes will eventually alienate the popular consensus that they have enjoyed so far, “degenerating” into radical actions that they would then be forced to distance themselves from. The second and more interesting reason why French unions have backed down from full-contact opposition to the government is that they never were in control of the movement in the first place. Over the last few months, in the best case scenario, unions functioned as temporary organizational tools, loose containers that provided communication networks between various groups and resources. In the worst case scenario, they assumed their (typical) role of paternalistic social intermediaries, quelling the more heated expressions of social opposition and reconducting them within union lines. In reality, smaller antagonistic flares continue to sporadically erupt throughout France. There are unannounced strikes, slowdowns and pickets in sectors ranging from transportation to services and oil refineries. Solidarity groups of inter-professional strikers remain active, passing from one strike to the next, blocking entrance ways and insisting that the movement is far from over. And they’re right: although the national bonfire of révolution is not burning brightly, the cinders are still incandescent and there is no smoke in sight.
33 Lessons on Lenin: For a Marxist Reading of Lenin’s Marxism - Lesson 1 Toni Negri This year we will be working with Lenin, with no intention of reaching a comprehensive definition of this figure, but, rather, to confront a few problems which are born from Leninist thought with the problems which presently face the class movement, and we will do this in three blocs of lessons and some other interval and supplementary appendices. The three blocs of classes are the following: the first bloc has a propaedeutic character, on the internal dynamic of Leninist thought. We will seek to follow the way in which problems are formed in the political theory of Lenin, comparing them with the way in which we tackle similar themes. The second bloc of lessons will make reference, in a more specific form, to the discourse on organization and, in particular, on the subject of the soviet-party in the thought of Lenin. Lastly, in the third group of lessons the focus shall be on the subject of the extinction of the State starting from, on the one hand, from his work The State and Revolution and, on the other, from the actual conditions of the relations of force between classes and the development of the productive forces. In addition to these three blocs of lessons and questions a few notes and appendices (which work around the dialectic in Lenin, on sovietism, on Left-Wing Communism, an infantile disorder) Three blocs of lessons of uneven content and importance. Putting these disproportions aside, the invitation to think and act which a reading of Lenin provokes is so great and thrilling that it will be of great benefit, without a doubt, in this work.
We will begin with the first point: Lenin and us, Lenin and the political experience of the movement of these years and let us ask the question: what has been the contribution of Leninism to our theoretical and political formation? The question begs confrontation and, as happens with any confrontation, there appears implicitly the need for a standard or judgment, which can be radically expressed in this way: we ask if Lenin, for us, continues to mean something, if the method used by Lenin continues to be valid in our current era, and if this corresponds with the practice of investigation and action which, often spontaneously, we have found and renewed within the class struggle. “Spontaneously”; we say this not because ‘spontaneity’ is our religion, but because no one, during the 50’s and 60’s, helped us analyze the class struggle.
Luca Tornatore, Copenhagen Detainee, Petition Online Please sign the petition: Luca Tornatore isn’t only our friend. He is a scientific researcher at the Department of Physics at the University of Trieste. He is a scientist, one who combines passion and a desire to change the world to his scientific skills. These are the ingredients that pushed him to go to Copenhagen together with hundreds of Italian environmentalists. Luca is in Copenhagen to demand climatic justice, to participate in the Climate Forum and to network with others who believe that the environmental emergency must be faced beginning from a democratization of decision-making and not through delegating the question to those who started the problem in the first place or to those who are worsening it.

Seder in the Streets
March 20, 2013, New York City

It's time for Seder in the Streets - a raucous action connecting the Exodus from Egypt to the struggle for justice against discriminatory policing. Through protest and performance, JFREJ will connect the celebration of Passover to our campaign for real police accountability.

Seder in the Streets!
Wednesday, March 20 fr/ 4:00pm - 7:00pm
Foley Square (between Lafayette, Worth, and Centre Street)

Full Schedule

"In Italy, An Ambiguous Justice"
Salvatore Palidda (Genoa University)

[This article, “En Italie, une justice ambiguë”, was first published in French in
“Mediapart” on 20 July 2012. Translation by Statewatch.]

Everyone recalls the violence, abuses of power and torture by numerous police officers against demonstrators during the Genoa G8, as well as the violence by the self-styled “black bloc”. Eleven years after the 20th and 21st of July 2001, the third instance of Italian justice [the Corte di Cassazione, Italy’s highest appeal court] has just issued its definitive sentence against the officers accused of beating the 93 demonstrators who were sleeping in the Diaz school and then, straight afterwards, a second verdict against ten demonstrators who were charged for “destruction and looting” and accused of being responsible for the “devastation” of the city and for seriously endagering public order.

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