English lady in the USA. I like technical things, my husband, and our cats.
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jhamill
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California
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Overland Park, KS
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SF Bay Area
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Deface Columbus Day: A Call to Action

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The post Deface Columbus Day: A Call to Action appeared first on It's Going Down.

The battles lines have been drawn and white supremacists are on notice. White nationalist statues are crumbling all over the US as our collective revolutionary power is growing. As the monuments of white supremacist society fall we must continue to make it clear that their reign of terror is coming to an end.

For the occasion of Columbus Day, October 9th, one of the most vile ‘holidays’ of the year, the Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement is calling for collectives all over the country to take action against this day and in support of indigenous people in the US and abroad who have been victims of colonialism and genocide.

We are calling for groups to “decorate” their neighborhoods as they see fit: put up murals, wheatpaste posters, drop a banner, etc. On October 9th put a picture of your action on social media and use the hashtags below. With these actions multiplied around the country, we will make it unequivocally clear that revolutionaries will always stand with the indigenous!

Revolutionary greetings to the insurgent Zapatista communities, the Lakota warriors, the Mapuche fighters, and all of our indigenous comrades in the struggle. With these actions, we renew our commitment to building a revolutionary movement strong enough to turn the tide permanently.

Resistance is life!

#FuckColumbusDay
#DestroyColonialism

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subbes
58 days ago
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Anti-Fascism Is Self-Defense : A General-Purpose Flier

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In response to an epidemic of fascist rallies and recruitment drives around the US, we have prepared this general-purpose flier. You can mass-produce this to distribute at anti-fascist mobilizations and everywhere else it is necessary to explain the importance of confronting fascists.

Click image for PDF

Anti-fascism means defending our communities from racists, xenophobes, homophobes, transphobes, and other bigots. Anti-fascist organizing requires no special skills. It isn’t limited to any one political identity.

Far-right groups don’t actually want dialogue. They aim to spread paranoia to escalate the ongoing violence against marginalized people. Anti-fascists aim to deny them any platform for doing this, even when fascists use code words instead of openly identifying themselves. The issue is not “free speech”—it is whether we stand idly by while they recruit for violent attacks.

We must confront the fascist menace. Organizing against them doesn’t make them stronger; fascists have gained momentum precisely because they’ve met so little opposition recently. Everyone must be free to decide for himself or herself how to go about resisting fascism. The far right claims that anti-fascists are the same as fascists because they meet force with force. But just as a firefighter is not a fire, an anti-fascist is not a fascist.

Police are part of the problem. They kill a thousand people every year; they imprison and deport millions, disproportionately targeting people of color, tearing apart families and communities. When police coordinate with racist militias to run security at far-right rallies, this is not an aberration, but an example of the normal relationship between police and fascists. The US government is already implementing the fascist agenda more effectively than a group like the KKK ever could.

Don’t count on a return to normal. It’s not clear yet how far things will go. It won’t help to call on the courts for assistance; any power we give the government can end up in the hands of fascists. We need to establish bonds of solidarity across difference, learn to care for each other, and build the infrastructure we need to live and fight as the political crisis deepens.

Anti-fascism means more than fighting in the street. It is an orientation toward life, a practice of collective resistance. It entails raising children to be compassionate, confronting racism in our neighborhoods, and sabotaging the efforts of far-right organizations. The stakes are high. To avoid acting is not only irresponsible, but dangerous. This is why we say: Anti-fascism is self-defense.

Further Resources for Fighting Fascism

Why We Fought in Charlottesville: A Letter from an Anti-Fascist

Squaring off against Fascism: Critical Reflections from the Front Lines

Not Your Grandfather’s Anti-Fascism: Anti-Fascism Has Arrived, Here’s Where It Needs to Go

The Ex-Worker Podcast, episode 11: Fascism and Anti-Fascism

The Ex-Worker Podcast, episode 12: Anti-Fascist History

The Ex-Worker Podcast, episode 56: Charlottesville

The Ex-Worker Podcast, episode 58: Not Your Grandparents’ Anti-Fascism

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subbes
62 days ago
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Ann Arbor, MI: Doing What We Can, Teens on Diversity of Tactics

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The post Ann Arbor, MI: Doing What We Can, Teens on Diversity of Tactics appeared first on It's Going Down.

Your Ann Arbor local teenage rebel-rousers are going back to high school this week (along with every other public school student in Michigan). Before we get bogged down with schoolwork, though, we wanted to engage in some productive trouble-making. This was how my friend Amílcar (pseudonym) and I ended up on our one ladder in our downtown’s Graffiti Alley with a can of spray paint each, trying to make an artsy mural that said “A2 WANTS DC TO DROP J20 CHARGES.”

When our unlikely hero showed up, he was pretty unhappy with us. He stoped his bike in front of us, watched us taping up stencils for a second, and said, “Hey. I’m gonna paint over that tonight.” He let us know that we were painting over his mural, and that he was just going to cover it up when we were done.

I guess this caught us a little off guard. Apprehensively, we asked him if he was familiar with J20. “Yeah, I know it. But you’re painting over my stuff,” he said. We started to quickly explain how this was for an important cause and to please paint somewhere else, but by then he was biking away. The two of us were left a little dazed and very pissed off.

“Let’s just finish it and take a lot of pictures,” Amílcar said. “No,” I said. “Fuck that. Fuck all of that. Let’s finish this, and then I’m staking out here with a fucking bat.”

Amílcar looked at me like I had just proposed a really bad idea (which, I mean, yeah. Pretty bad idea.) He had barely finished talking me out of it, though (which didn’t take much more than an “uh, no,” because, again, bad idea) when the guy came back on his bike. He apologized for approaching us the way he did. Then he said, “I actually am familiar with J20, and I believe in probably a lot of the same stuff you guys do.” He told us that he paints a lot–professionally as a commissioner, and, on his own time, rebelliously–and that he had put his mural up so high because he wanted it to last. Sympathetically, he offered to help us paint a different mural for J20 away from his. “That…would be awesome,” we said. I think we were both pretty surprised, but were more than open to help.

We gave him our ladder. He produced a can of paint from his backpack, climbed up, and drew out clean, flamboyant letters way bigger and more impressive than ours. He broke us out of our mesermized observational state by letting us know he believes we live in a police state and that he’s into prison abolition (which we agreed with him on.) While he painted and showed us the best way to do block letters, we talked about the abolition movement, the role of art in movements and revolutions, the hazardous relationship humanity has with its new technology, and some of the times he’s been almost caught by police for graffiti. We found that we agreed in the paramount role art plays in a revolution–landscape sets a tone for the climate; very important–and the importance of art in general. “It’s organic. It’s human expression, and like, it’s just what we’re supposed to be doing.” “Yes!”

We very briefly discussed antifascism, where we found what I guess was our only point of disagreement: our comrade was a pacifist. “I’m personally not really sure about the violence with antifa,” he said. He said he believed in egalitarianism, but he went about pursuing it through street art. Unwilling to get into how people categorize “violence” and distinguish state violence from political and interpersonal violence, inform him that he was participating in a type of antifascist work at the moment, or point out that antifascism was literally about opposing fascists–those subscribed to an inherently violent ideology–we asked him to talk more about the resistance art he had engaged in. Speculating whether that conversation would have been productive or not is all hypothesis contrary to fact right now. He wasn’t expressly disrespecting combative action; he just said he wasn’t into it personally, which I guessed I could respect for the sake of respecting diversity of tactics (and at least he wasn’t a liberal.) We continued our work untroubled and focused. This guy was doing us a huge favor, but when I looked at his face, he was smiling. I thought about how this must have been for him and concluded that based on what he’d shared with us, this was probably a pretty rewarding experience for him too. That made me really happy.

After we filled in his outlines, we watched him use red, silver, and white to accentuate the letters. We continued to talk about our lives, our world views, and art. I was thrilled to be able to bond with a local community member over resistance art. When he was finished, we had “DROP J20 CHARGES NOW!” emblazoned across half the span of the alley. We had silently agreed on letting him cover up our mural, so when we were done, we left him with our ladder and a can of our blue paint. Before we left, we thanked him profusely and told him how awesome he is, exchanged contact information and handshakes, and told him to just leave the ladder in the back of the alley and that we’d come back for it later. He left us with encouraging words and told us he’d catch us around.

Everyone, even pacifists and kids like us, have something to contribute to the movement toward a world without hate and hierarchy.

As exemplified by our comrade’s unfounded disdain for antifa, there’s a very particular version of antifascism sensationalized by the media right now that is embodied by masked-up fash-bashing and rioting. While that’s a part of the (unfortunately) needed work to be done for the safety of marginalized people right now, antifascist action can also take shape in masked-up teenagers and a community member collaborating to make rebellious street art. Everyone, even pacifists and kids like us, have something to contribute to the movement towards a world without hate and hierarchy.

Amílcar and I talked on the car ride back later that afternoon about school coming up, about college applications, and that superhero we had met. “I’m tryna get better at spray painting,” Amílcar said. I seconded that notion, excited for prospective projects to come.

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subbes
78 days ago
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i love teens
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America needs its unions more than ever

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September 4, 2017

The central issue in American politics is the economic security of the middle class and their sense of opportunity for their children. A pervasive sense of vulnerability and missing opportunity leads to dissatisfaction, reduces faith in government and institutions, diminishes willingness to support the least fortunate, increases resentment towards members of other ethnic groups and fuels truculence towards other nations.

As long as a substantial majority of American adults believe that their children will not live as well as they did our politics will remain bitter and divisive. Middle class anxiety is surely also fed by the slow growth of wages even in the ninth year of economic recovery with unemployment at historic low levels. The Phillips curve – the view that tighter labour markets spur an acceleration of wage growth – appears to have broken down. The Bureau of Labor Statistics just reported that average hourly earnings last month rose by all of 3 cents or little more than 0.1 per cent. For the last year, they rose by only 2.5 per cent. In contrast profits of the S&P 500 are rising at a 16 per cent annual rate.

What is going on? Economists do not have complete answers. In part there are inevitable fluctuations. Profits have declined in recent years. The wages that are reflected by the BLS are earned in the US, whereas a little less than half of profits are earned abroad and have become more valuable as the dollar has declined. In part, wages have not risen more because a strengthening labour market has drawn more people into the workforce.

But I suspect the most important factor explaining what is happening is that the bargaining power of employers has increased and that of workers has decreased. Bargaining power depends on alternative options. Technology has given employers more scope for replacing Americans with foreign workers, or with technology, or by drawing on the gig economy. So their leverage to hold down wages has increased.

On the other hand various factors have decreased the leverage of workers. Employers increasingly offer gigs rather than jobs. For a variety of reasons, including reduced availability of mortgage credit and the loss of equity in existing homes, it is harder than it used to be to move to opportunity. Diminished saving in the wake of the crisis means that many families cannot afford even a very brief interruption in work. Consumers also appear more likely now to have to purchase from monopolies rather than from companies engaged in fierce price competition meaning that pay checks do not go as far.

On this Labor Day we would do well to remember that unions have long played a crucial role in the American economy in evening out the bargaining power between employers and employees. They win higher wages, better working conditions and more protection from unjust employer treatment for their members. More broadly they provide crucial support in the political process for broad measures such as Social Security and Medicare, which benefit members and non-members alike. Both were at their inception passionately opposed by major corporations.

The shrinking of the union movement to the point where today only 6.4 per cent of private sector workers – a decline of nearly two-thirds since the late 1970s – are in unions is one important contributor to the decline in the relative position of labour in general and those who work with their hands in particular. The decline in the unions is also a contributor to the pervasive sense that too often our political system is for sale to the highest bidder.

What can be done? This is surely not the moment for policy to tilt further to strengthening the hand of large employers. Sooner or later labour law reform that gives organisers a chance by seriously punishing employers who engage in illegal reprisals should be back on the agenda. Union efforts to organise non-traditional groups in non-traditional ways need to be encouraged. And policy support needs to be given to institutions where workers have a chance to share in profits and in corporate governance.

In an era when the most valuable companies are the Apples and the Amazons rather than the General Motors and the General Electrics, the role of unions cannot go back to being what it was. But on this Labor Day any leader concerned with the American middle class needs to consider that the basic function of unions – balancing the power of employers and employees – is as important to our economy as it has ever been.

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subbes
79 days ago
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79 days ago
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Washington, DC
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cjheinz
79 days ago
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True dis.

Eat Sheet (Cake) And Die, or, Give Your Cakes To Antifa

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Walking on the freeway during a protest is like a fear of heights on Hard Mode. You get light-headed, you have to take very small steps, constantly looking down at your feet to make sure the ground doesn’t give out beneath you. You feel around for things to latch onto or to push away to make sure you don’t […]
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subbes
93 days ago
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yay jetta
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bibliogrrl
94 days ago
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Chicago!
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