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__deleted_ wrote

"The political and social history of Western democracies records all sorts of efforts to ensure that the formal mechanisms are little more than wheels spinning idly. The goal is to eliminate public meddling in formation of policy. That has been largely achieved in the United States, where there is little in the way of political organizations, functioning unions, media independent of the corporate oligopoly, or other popular structures that might offer people means to gain information, clarify and develop their ideas, put them forth in the political arena, and work to realize them. As long as each individual is facing the TV tube alone, formal freedom poses no threat to privilege."

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__deleted_ wrote

I mostly disagree with what they said about anti-oppression work. The words of oppressed people shouldn't be taken as the literal word of god obviously, because lets face it - even oppressed people can say and do oppressive and/or stupid things. But I think the general mentality that oppressed people should have their own voice and that more privileged activists shouldn't try and speak for them is a good thing.

They are right though, anarchist groups can get a little cultish sometimes, which is something I'm trying to avoid. I'm lucky that most anarchist groups in my town are pretty open to working with non-radical activist groups, and this has lead to it being a more welcoming and diverse scene. I don't think it's wise to have your whole life consumed by anarchism, live in an anarchist house, only listen to anarchist music, only date other anarchists, only go to anarcho-spaces. Yeah that is a good way to develop a herd mentality. But it doesn't have to be that way and I don't think it's an excuse to become a "social democrat" and take the "capitalist road to communism" (wtf).

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__deleted_ wrote

Fascinating subject.

On United Fruit Company's Board of Trustees was Allen Dulles. He was also recently appointed head of the CIA. His brother, John Foster Dulles, also invested in UFCO, was the US Secretary of State. It should be noted that these companies often purposefully undervalued their property for tax reasons. Arbenz may have taken away their property, but he compensated them based on their own declared value.

25% of UFCO's Banana production was in Guatemala, so they weren't just a menace to one country; they were pulling this shit all over Latin America.

Check out this memo by the US Ambassador to Colombia communicating their exploits in Colombia: http://i.imgur.com/0cFFVnS.jpg

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Fruit_Company#History_in_Central_America

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana_Wars

The UFCO (now Chiquita) isn't/wasn't the only one with blood on their hands though.

For example there's also the ITT Corporation, who owned the telecommunications of Brasil. ITT feared the democratically elected João Goulart would bring about nationalization of this vital industry as a part of his land reform program - so the President of ITT Corporation, Harold Geneen, got his good buddy John McCone (director of CIA) to interfere.

This would eventually lead to the 1964 Coup in Brasil and the installation of the military dictatorship of Humberto de Alencar Castelo Branco. Fun Fact: John McCone would later work for ITT Corporation afterwards. ITT Corporation would then go on to finance opponents of the democratically elected (seeing a trend here?) socialist Allende government in the 1973 Chilean Coup, installing Pinochet.

And of course everyone already knows about the death squads in Nicaragua, which was very much a response to agrarian reforms. Same story with Cuba.

As you can see this is nothing peculiar, this is essentially the history of the US relationship with Latin America (and the west's relationship with much of "third world" in general). American companies owned (and still own) large areas of arable land, the product of which is/was being created to be exported and exchanged...

This creates an obvious problem - you can't feed a people if the land that would otherwise be used to produce food to be consumed is being used to produce food/goods in order to export and exchange them (the resulting profit also being exported). So when citizens of Latin American countries finally were allowed to vote for their leaders, naturally they voted for those who promised agrarian reform, hence why so many socialists are/were elected.

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__deleted_ wrote (edited )

The origin story of the Israelites suggests they started out as a people without a king, serving no one but God, with judges to mediate. They essentially demanded a king from the judges so they could be like other nations. This implies that the ideal form of government is a people without governance, serving no man, and only honoring the divine with their obedience. The vulgar Christianity we know today is that way mainly because they're tied up with the State. Humanity perverts everything it assimilates into its own systems, even the divine, and the State is the establishment of such perverted systems.

Also, consider that back in the day the wonders of the natural world were attributed to the hand of God. This insinuates that serving only God to most people was infused with the idea of simply obeying the laws of nature. Whatever religion formed up around such an idea is antithetical to serving the divine and nothing else.

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__deleted_ wrote

I would say that anarchist Ukraine was successful -- at least as successful as Catalonia, and perhaps even more so depending on how one measures success. The Ukrainian anarchist insurgents succeeded in complete liberation of a territory stretching north from Melitopol to Ekaterinoslav (modern-day Dnipropetrovsk or Dnipro as of very recently) east to Bakhmut near the far eastern border with Russia, and south again to Mariupol. The economic character of the core area was an anarchistic one, in which the direct producers democratically organized production through councils and organized distribution democratically through a council representing made up of the smaller councils together. Farmers decided the ins and outs of collective food production on their farms, teachers decided on curriculum and method for teaching students, factory workers on commodity production in the factories, etc. There was freedom of speech and by far the most tolerant and inclusive notion of community membership in all of Europe at the time: Jews, Christians, Ukrainians, Greeks, Russians -- no one was excluded on the basis of their identity. The character of the territory was very much anti-racist and intolerant of hate. The Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army was the only fighting group in Ukraine at the time other than the Bolsheviks to not take part in anti-Jewish pogroms, and the only fighting group, including the Bolsheviks, to actively hunt down perpetrators of pogroms, give them a trial, and execute them for crimes against the people. The needs of the Insurrectionary Army tasked with defending the territory and liberating further territory were determined by a Revolutionary Military Council made up of workers, peasants, and insurgents from all over the Free Territory, and the disposition of the Army was determined by a council as well, although certain voices (e.g. Makhno) within that council were definitely more persuasive than others. This fits with Bakunin's thoughts on the matter of expertise:

Does it follow that I reject all authority? Far from me such a thought. In the matter of boots, I refer to the authority of the bootmaker; concerning houses, canals, or railroads, I consult that of the architect or the engineer. For such or such special knowledge I apply to such or such a savant. But I allow neither the bootmaker nor the architect nor the savant to impose his authority upon me. I listen to them freely and with all the respect merited by their intelligence, their character, their knowledge, reserving always my incontestable right of criticism and censure. I do not content myself with consulting a single authority in any special branch; I consult several; I compare their opinions, and choose that which seems to me the soundest.

Beyond the core area, various degrees of liberation at different times set an even further limit on the territory, stretching from the outskirts of Odessa, north to Myrhorod, east to Starobilsk, and south again to Tagonrog in Russia.

It wasn't entirely perfect: Makhno himself complained that they weren't completely successful in eliminating the use of currency for trade, which means they didn't completely eliminate wealth and property for everybody in the entire region, but they did end the reign of the landlords, the capitalists, and the state bureaucrats, and production and distribution was by and large democratic and fair. There was one sort of undemocratic element of the administration of the Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army: the Kontrrazvedka, the counterintelligence group tasked with working against the spies of the Hetman, of the Whites, of the Nationalists, and eventually of the Bolsheviks. Intelligence work is always nasty, though, and that's especially true for the period in question at the end of World War I. The entirety of the territory didn't stay liberated for the entire lifespan of the Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army: Ukraine was in the middle of a 4-way civil war between the old Hetman monarchist-militarist state, the right-wing Ukrainian Nationalists like Petliura, the counterrevolutionary White Army led by the likes of Denikin, and the alliance between the anarchists and the Bolsheviks, which eventually broke. Different parts of the expanded Free Territory fell under the control of different factions at different times, had to be re-liberated, etc.

For more information, here are some sources:

Voline's book is absolutely worth reading, but most of the information in it about the Ukrainian anarchists comes directly from Arshinov's book, with a little coming from Voline's own direct witness testimony. Unfortunately, much primary source material has been lost. Most of it was held by Arshinov, and there were several instances in which he lost material like newspapers and documents of the councils. Some were lost in battle, some were lost in searches by other authorities (namely the Bolsheviks, who would not have been quick to publish these documents since they would directly contradict Trotsky's lies about the anarchists), and a large trove of irreplaceable documents was lost when a train was stopped and searched (I believe by the Bolsheviks) near Kharkov and Arshinov narrowly escaped.

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__deleted_ wrote

This is how it starts.

You've been indoctrinated into capitalism and the current democratic system since birth. From the second we pop out we're encouraged strongly to believe that any alternative way of running our lives is naive and impossible. Capitalism is great, representative democracy is great, we're told, over and over again.

Then suddenly you realise it's all a sham. You realize that it's all set up so the rich get richer while the poor get poorer. You realize that politicians can be easily bought and sold. You realize that the state, police force and military aren't there to keep order and peace for the many, but to protect the wealth of the few.

This is a crushing realization, and is followed shortly by feelings of absolute helplessness. "How did I never realize things were so bad?", "How can we fix this problem when so many people are still entirely blind to it?", "Oh crap, am I a dangerous radical? I don't even know how to make bombs!".

As you read more and understand more you'll start to see that there are small things we can do - some much more constructive than smashing windows, waving banners and throwing rocks. Progress will happen, even if it takes generations.

I used to have similar daydreams, be a pirate, run away to sea, watch society collapse into ashes and finally live free to rebuild amongst the ruins.

Now my daydreams are simpler, and more practical. There's a lot you can do to help out that's not necessarily anarchist, but still in line with the cause - from unionizing to feeding the homeless, there are plenty of community projects set up everywhere, and even more begging to be started.

I appreciate the small advances and differences we make as more and more people publicly denounce capitalism, as more people turn out in defiance of a corrupt state. As my statist friends start to understand how and why property is theft, and start asking questions. Hell, even as f/anarchism gains a new comrade, as it has today.