Saturday

The "clash within the Muslim world"



Phyllis Bennis at Znet:
The political framework of this “Global War on Terror” has tweaked the idea of a “clash of civilizations” to refer to something slightly different. Now the Bush administration speaks not of that clash between civilizations, but rather a clash within a civilization – specifically within the Muslim world. It is a “clash,” administration officials warn, in which “we” must prevail. This has shaped the latest version of how the U.S. proposes to understand the Arab world, the Middle East, the Islamic countries – as a clash between “moderates” and “extremists.” Those people, governments, countries, dictators, militias whom “we” define as “moderate” support U.S. efforts towards control and domination of their country/region/world. The “extremists” are those who resist such efforts.

Cartoon Kate

Cartoons by Kate Evans...

The bombings in Madrid

The end of the Spanish army participation in the "global war" was coming, the governing Partido Popular (PP) soon after it lost the elections...

Maggie Schmitt, 2004:

Around the rest of Europe and the US the hypothesis that the bombings were produced by Al Qaeda was circulating since midday: here in Madrid the media has treated that hypothesis as a "subversive campaign" and suppressed it entirely. The government has called for a massive demonstration under the slogan "With the victims, For the Constitution, Against Terrorism." "For the Constitution," you must understand, is to say 'for the centralized state', perhaps even 'for the present government': the Spanish Constitution of 1978 was a compromise made to facilitate the transition from Francoism, but which left many (from the Left and from the autonomous regions) extremely dissatisfied. It continues to be a point of tension. Thus the demonstration proposed is a means of gathering up all the pain and fear and anger and confusion of the people and soldering this into a national consensus of support for the PP, a ban on any criticism. Three days before elections.

Now as I troll through newspapers all around the world, the hypothesis that Al Qaeda is responsible for the attacks seems more and more generally confirmed. Still the Spanish news insists on ETA. Who knows? As was the case with September 11th, to the degree that I don't have any access to the truth or any criteria for judging what is true and what is not in this case, what is important to think about is not so much 'who did it' as 'what are the consequences.' On the level of immediate consequences, many people from social movements breathed a sigh of relief to hear that Al Qaeda claimed the bombings: at least about that we have something to say. At least about that we can intervene, we can respond with things like: "This is the fault of the government that got us involved in a global war despite the opposition of 90% of the population." Or we can denounce them for having assumed it was ETA. Or we can group around the migrants' organizations, which will no doubt find themselves bombarded by a new intensified islamophobic criminalization.

War reporter Robert Fisk retired

He has related war too much to the concept of anarchy because war is a lot about power and domination, but this is a video worth showing.

Friday

The US Military Expenditure



9/11 and the culture of fear



Cindy Milstein, 2003:
The period of a transparent politics-from-below that interlinked a multiplicity of uprisings from the Zapatistas to Genoa in a global movement against capitalism seemed to disappear with New York’s twin towers. Certainly, the nonhierarchical forms of organization that defined the “anti-globalization” movement lingered — from consultas and spokescouncils to a do-it-yourself infrastructure of media, medics, and legal aid — but now only among anti-authoritarian leftists, who had introduced such utopian notions in the first place. In the post-September 11 culture of fear, liberal social justice activists and orthodox Marxists alike raced away from the grassroots practices that had become normative at the mass direct actions of the recent past.

The anti-war movement in North America

Naomi Klein in Socialist review about her new book “The Shock Doctrine” and the movement against the war in Iraq:

I'm not really in a position to comment on the anti-war movement in Britain. But one problem with the anti-war movement in North America was the fear of seeming unpatriotic after 9/11. It really distorted the honesty of the movement.
It used slogans and iconography which were designed in response to this fear. The economic analysis was dropped because it was seen as divisive. I wrote the book because we need to be drawing the connections between the violence and the economic system it serves, and even if it means that there are fewer people out for demonstrations it would be a more sustainable movement.
We don't want activism that is just a short blast and then followed by disillusionment.

Saturday

German Greens : the transition to professionalism

Janet Biehl (1993):

Almost as soon as die Grünen entered the federal apparatus, the defining democratic impulses of the movement were brought into question and even abandoned by many of the Bundestag delegates themselves. Those who became generally committed to exercising parliamentary power came to be known as "realos"; those who defended the original values, in turn, generally came to be known as "fundis" and later regrouped as the left within the movement; this also encompassed Greens who accepted the use of the parliamentary apparatus to publicize and dramatize their program. It was the realos who now rejected the principles of Green extraparliamentary grassroots-democratic radicalism and adapted to the conventional framework of the parliamentary establishment. Otto Schily, a lawyer who in the 1970s had been a flamboyant, defense attorney for the members of the Baader Meinhof terrorist group, now basked in the limelight as a Bundestag deputy and did as much as he could to professionalize die Grünen and eliminate rotation. (He later left the Greens and joined the Social Democratic Party.) Two former leaders of the "Spontis" (or Revolutionary Struggle, anarchistic street revolutionaries from Frankfurt in the 1970s) ―Joschka Fischer and Daniel ("the Red") Cohn-Bendit― entered the party after it had achieved a measure of success and became media darlings and joined Schily in arguing that Greens should be able to hold parliamentary offices in the conventional way. Together these realos attempted to professionalize the Greens into an environmentalist and pragmatist party that would be comfortable within in the existing system rather than remain a collectivist "non-party party" that would challenge it.


More about the early Greens in Europe...

Monday

Social ecology and humanism

What was social ecology according to Murray Bookchin? How did it relate to humanism and "deep ecology"?

Morally, it is avowedly humanistic in the high Renaissance meaning of the word, not the degraded meaning of humanism that has been imparted by Foreman, Ehrenfeld, a salad of academic deep ecologists, and the like. Humanism from its inception has meant a shift in vision from the skies to the earth, from superstition to reason, from deities to people---who are no less products of natural evolution than grizzly bears and whales. Social ecology rejects a "biocentrism" that essentially denies or degrades the uniqueness of human beings, human subjectivity, rationality, aesthetic sensibility, and the ethical potentiality of this extraordinary species. By the same token, it rejects an "anthropocentrism" that confers on the privileged few the right to plunder the world of life, including women, the young, the poor, and the underprivileged. Indeed, it opposes "centrism" of any kind as a new word for hierarchy and domination---be it that of nature by a mystical "man" or the domination of people by an equally mystical "nature." It firmly denies that nature is a scenic view that mountain men like Foreman survey from a peak in Nevada or a picture window that spoiled Yuppies place in their ticky-tacky country homes. To social ecology, nature is natural evolution, not a cosmic arrangement of beings frozen in a moment of eternity to be abjectly revered, adored, and worshiped like the gods and goddesses that priests and priestesses place above us in a realm of supernature that subverts the naturalistic integrity of an authentic ecology. Natural evolution is nature in the very real sense that it is composed of atoms, molecules that have evolved into amino acids, proteins, unicellular organisms, genetic codes, invertebrates and vertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, primates, and human beings---all in a cumulative thrust toward ever greater complexity, ever greater subjectivity, and finally ever-greater mind with a capacity for conceptual thought, symbolic communication of the most sophisticated kinds, and self-consciousness in which natural evolution knows itself purposively and willfully.

From Social Ecology versus Deep Ecology:
A Challenge for the Ecology Movement

by Murray Bookchin

Saturday

What is anarchism?

Authentic anarchism is about some good ideas, but (unfortunately) also is apolitical and power phobic. The first anarchist was the 19th century thinker Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, he had differing intellectual periods in his life, some more interesting than others. The most interesting period was at the end of his life, when he laid the foundations for communalism, while advocating a federation of communes that would replace the concept of the Nation-State. But he was only very much interested in a negation of the existing economic (capitalist) institutions, and so, he never managed to develop very interesting alternatives for States and capitalism.
Anarchism then was, and still is, quite individualistic. There has been a tendency within anarchism that has tried to get rid of that situation, to get anarchism more organized, moral and rational, it's called social anarchism. Unfortunately, social anarchists have failed : anarchism experiences one of its most badly organized periods in history. Social anarchists try to overthrow coercive and exploitative social relationships, and are often so impatient that they start behaving in an irrational, flippant way.
So the gap between social and individualist anarchism has become quite bridgeable. Social anarchists try to replace exploitation with egalitarian, self-managed, and cooperative society forms. They want to obtain more liberties, even freedom. But while trying to achieve freedom, they often get disappointed, because these times are reactionary, not times at all in which we can achieve (social) freedom. So anarchists often look for scapegoats, that can be Socialists or Greens or former anarchists. Anarchists do not easily understand why anarchism is doing so bad, and remains so much unpopular.
The primary concern of the classical libertarian socialists and anarchists was negation, an opposition to the States and capitalism. They were against politics, they did not understand that politics was something else than statecraft. And so, they were not much interested in alternative, communal politics. They liked alternative economics, but they were thinking of power and politics as things that were bad. They did not want political empowerment, so they remained quite powerless.



And this only changed when revolutionary syndicalism got more influential wthin the libertarian part of the Left, about a century ago. The organized anarchists were opposing power but achieved empowerment, because they were advocating workers' assemblies, factory occupations and social revolutions. And before the rise of fascism, revolutionary syndicalism was quite succesful, a dream so many people liked to believe in, a fairy tale. This kind of syndicalism was about involvement in trade unions, mutual aid, and decentralization of decision making. In Spain, revolutionary syndicalism became so influential that it led to a Spanish revolution in the thirties.
Later, the social anarchist critique widened into a more generalized condemnation of domination and hierarchy : libertarian socialists like Murray Bookchin not only opposed classism but often also criticized patriarchy and racism. Many people within the Left realized what racism could lead to, they had experienced the World War holocaust and the victories of fascism. Bookchin also opposed the devastation of non-human nature and was a forerunner in making ecology and libertarian municipalism vital themes for the neo-libertarian left.
But anarchists did not always appreciate all of this renewing of the anarchist tradition. Many anarchists wanted anarchism to remain old-style or individualistic. And so, Bookchin and some other influential left-libertarian thinkers or activists left the anarchist movement, or were never willing to participate in it. Anarchism then further degenerated.

Friday

Ulrike Meinhof. A biography


In november 2007, a book will appear about Ulrike Meinhof and her involvement with the Rote Armee Fraktion: “Ulrike Meinhof. Die Biografie”. Jutta Ditfurth is the writer. Before, she has written much about ecofascism, the German Greens and left-wing theory. I mentioned some time ago that this book had already appeared in 2005, but I was wrong.
I got a letter from Jutta Ditfurth. Apparently, Wikipedia was not correct. "Ulrike Meinhof. The Biography" has not appeared yet. Jutta wrote to me that it "will be in its first edition on german market on about the 20th of november (latest), Publisher is: Ullstein Buchverlage, Berlin"
Thanks for letting us know Jutta! And good luck with your book.

Sunday

A memoir of Cathy Wilkerson



Flying Close to the Sun: My Life and Times as a Weatherman.

"In the 1960’s Cathy Wilkerson, a white, middle-class girl from Connecticut, became a member of the Weather Underground and famously blew up a Greenwich village townhouse. In this thoughtful memoir, she wrestles with the legacy of the movement; the absence of women’s voices then and in the retelling; the incompetence and the egos; the hundreds of bombs detonated in protest. In searching for new paradigms for change, Wilkerson asserts with brave humanity and confessional honesty an assessment of her past."

Friday

Murray breaks with anarchism

In Norwegian, as in other European languages, the word municipalism is translated as an equivalent of “communalism.” Our Norwegian comrades therefore easily called themselves “communalists.” In 1994 Murray had referred to communalism as “the democratic dimension of anarchism”; his next, inevitable step was to separate communalism from anarchism. The Norwegians gave him the political and psychological support he needed in order to make the break with the ideology that had been his home for forty years.



From “Bookchin Breaks with Anarchism”. A new excellent text at communalism.net, written by Janet Biehl, explaining the development of the ideas of Murray Bookchin, who died in 2006.



Janet Biehl : “I realized after Murray died that some people didn't realize that late in life he'd broken with anarchism, or if they did, they didn't understand the reasons. I saw what happened during the late 1980s and 1990s, and how the break unfolded, so in this article I recount what I observed.”

INDIGENOUS ANARCHISM IN BOLIVIA - An Interview with Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui

The South American nation of Bolivia has filled the headlines of the global press with its fight against water privatization, struggle for nationalization of gas, non-compliance with free trade policies, and the 2005 election of the continent’s first indigenous president, Evo Morales. These struggles are rooted in the long history of indigenous resistance to colonialism and imperialism in Bolivia. In an interview conducted during her recent stay in Pittsburgh. subaltern theorist Aymara sociologist and historian Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui discussed Bolivian anarchism, the health benefits of the coca plant and the cocaleros' (coca growers) fight for sovereignty. Rivera Cusicanqu is a founder of the Taller de Historia Oral Andina (Workshop on Andean Oral History) and author of Oppressed But Not Defeated: Peasant Struggles Among the Aymara and Quechua in Bolivia, 1910-1980 (United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, 1987). She was born in 1949 in La Paz.
More...

Wednesday

Mexico’s “Democratic” Transition: Impunity and Counterinsurgency

A text by John Gibler

Almost a year after President Felipe Calderon took office, “democracy” in Mexico continues its study of the theater of the absurd. As Calderon gives speeches on the rule of law, police and soldiers attack social movements, drug-trafficking gangsters murder with impunity killing 1,951 people since January, and femicides continue in Ciudad Juarez and spread to other states. Roughly 50 million people are dropping deeper into the wreckage of hunger and exclusion. The true design of the political class may be deciphered by juxtaposing Fortune magazine’s announcement that Mexican monopolist Carlos Slim, with an estimated wealth of $59 billion, is now the richest man in the world with the tales of impunity and counterinsurgency in two of Mexico’s most marginalized states, Oaxaca and Chiapas.
The divisions in Oaxaca could not be starker, or more revealing. As the Oaxaca Peoples’ Popular Assembly (APPO) spent the late spring months preparing a cultural festival, the state government was preparing to crack skulls. Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz hired a North Korean Tae Kwon Do champion, Kim Myong Chong, to come to Oaxaca to train the state police in submission techniques using a four-foot long wooden staff.


More...

The Left in Norway gets bad electoral results

Norway’s Socialist Left Party (SV) was the clear loser in the local and county council elections of september. The Party, which was a coalition partner in the country’s centre-left government, saw its support falling nationally from 12.3 per cent at the 2003 election to only 6.1 per cent.
In Oslo, communalists participated in the municipal elections, but received very poor media coverage... so the electoral results were also very disappointing (not even 200 votes).
Demokratisk Alternativ for Oslo :
“The goal of our participation was not to get a seat in city-hall, but rather to present a program for a different Oslo.”



Some facts from the electoral campaign of Demalt for Oslo:
In March through April Demokratisk Alternativ (Demalt) gathered more than 900 signatures to be able to participate in the elections. “In total our activists talked to more than 2000 individuals during the signature-campaign.”
Demokratisk Alternativ handed out several thousand leaflets and about 1000 programs in the streets of Oslo, during the campaign in August and September.
Despite poor media coverage during the actual campaign, Demokratisk Alternativ got some coverage in important newspapers and radios some months earlier.

You can find the program of Demalt for Oslo (in English) here.

Sunday

Saartje


Saartje liked to play the music of the Dutch band De Kift in her caravan for me. "It's great!", she said. She really liked that poetry in Dutch put on music. Soon after that, Saartje moved to another city. She was young and active in the libertarian left of 'our' city for many years. She had lived for a long time in the Antwerp neigbourhood of the alternative youth center Scheld'apen, in a caravan standing on squatted terrains.
One day, she told me Hugo Schiltz was mad at her. Schiltz was one of those well-known politicians in the region, and a member of the Ultraright as a youngster in the forties, he has always been a supporter of Flemish nationalism too. Schiltz was a lawyer and tried to get her sentenced for a thing that happened at the squatted terrain, a crime she had not commited. She was convicted and had to pay a lot of money.
And then Saartje died last year. De Kift played in Antwerp at the day of her funeral. Just like yesterday : it was a really good concert at Scheld'apen. After they had performed, I talked to the singer. "You're too old for Scheld'apen", I said... and we both laughed. Hugo Schiltz has died too.

Manuel Castells and neo-anarchism

Manuel Castells (picture) has had a significant impact on sociology, urban studies, communication, and many other fields. He is best known in Spain and Latin America, where he regularly contributes columns to daily newspapers. What follows is a long comment on an essay that he published in Catalonia’s La Vanguardia on May 21, 2005. If you want to read the entire text, you can find the translation in English of it here.



I have some problems with this text. Castells says that anarchism “seems to enjoy excellent health in the social movements that sprout everywhere from the depths of the resistance to our increasingly destructive global social order.” I would not agree with this, social movements are not sprouting everywhere and anarchism isn't enjoying excellent health.
It is enough to follow the debates in the movement against capitalist globalization, online or otherwise, to note the prevalence of anarchist principles such as self-organization and the rejection of the state in any form”. Maybe so, but a lack of organization (often an anarchist principle) in this movement is also very present.
Likewise, the autonomist perspective, which is so closely linked to anarchism, has a very strong presence on the theoretical and political terrains.” That's not true, autonomism isn't that much theoretical or political, it can also just be sometimes about fighting in the streets or throwing bricks at people. Ofcourse, I'm not saying that Negri and Hardt do that. But France’s May ‘68 revolt, I guess these writers have been much inspired by that event, was also about these violent things happening in the streets of Paris.
Anarchism’s great difficulty has always been reconciling personal and local autonomy with the complexities of daily life and production in an industrialized world on an interdependent planet. And here technology turns out to be anarchism’s ally more so than Marxism’s.”
I'm much more interested in a social revolution than in personal or local autonomy actually. People have to work together, communes too. I don't know why Castells is so positive about autonomy, people often need support from others. I prefer the things Murray Bookchin has written about autonomy at the end of his life, he wasn't that positive about autonomy either, it's just too much individualistic. And to think of technology as an ally of anarchists? Many anarchists don't like the fact that technology is so important these days, some of them have even opposed technology.
And instead of the nation-state controlling territory, we have city-states managing the interchange between territories.” That cities have become statified is largely the result of nation-states controlling territory. And with a striving for utopia one not always dreams, Castells is wrong about that too, it can be realistic to strive for utopias. Then Castells wants us to believe that anarchists don't believe in God and that socialism is settling into retirement.
With ideology one struggles. Anarchism is an ideology. And neo-anarchism is an instrument of struggle that appears commensurate with the needs of the twenty-first century social revolt.”
I think anarchism was a lot more suitable for struggle in the 19th century. Authentic anarchism is not an ideology, it's several ideologies in one package. Some of its most known proponents, have not cried out “no God, no master!”. The christian-anarchist Tolstoyans have never done that for example. And authentic socialism that is “settling into retirement”? It's regaining its strength in Europe and Latin America, it's not much libertarian either.

Saturday

The undemocratic thoughts of Wolfi Landstreicher

Wolfi Landstreicher is the name of a contemporary activist. He has edited the anarchist publication Willful Disobedience, which was published from 1996 until 2005, and currently publishes a variety of anarchist texts and booklets through his project, Venomous Butterfly Publications. "Landstreicher" is the German word for vagabond, tramp.



Landstreicher is an insurrectionist, he thinks an individual should rise up in open revolt against her or his condition (individual insurrection) and wants “a destructive, subversive rupture on the large scale with the current social order”, indeed, the rising of “the exploited and excluded classes against their condition (social insurrection). “ Now, I never believed much in the importance of destruction, I nowadays think it is really important to revolt in a constructive way, by advocating true democracy, educating people and myself, working together with others.
This is why I really dislike individualist anarchism. While Landstreicher thinks that daily acts of sabotage, theft, subversion and revolt of exploited people are interesting, I think such acts are often badly informed, and can also just be personalistic revolts or deeds of despair. While Wolfi Landstreicher sees no dichotomy between individualism and libertarian communism, I do. And I also see individual revolts as something really differing from class struggle. Individual revolt often is unorganized behaviour. But class struggle can only be successful when it's organized well. While Landstreicher thinks of freedom as something that is opposed to democracy, I and other communalists see democracy as a necessary condition for freedom. Democracy should be deepened and established in confederations of communes. Democracy should therefor become authentic, not often be faked or “representative”.
“At present, capitalism and the socio-political system that best corresponds with it—democracy—dominate the planet”, writes Landstreicher in one of his pamphlets. But capitalism is not at all democratic, in fact it is close to the totalitarian. The anarchist perspective of Landstreicher is egoist and communist at the same time, which is very eclectic. I believe in ecological industrialism, he opposes industrialism. I think institutions of property, commodity exchange and work can sometimes lead to some liberation, he wants to destroy them. No, I am not an ecological anarchist.

Anarchoprimitivism and corporate media

Brian Oliver Sheppard (2003):
With the rise of the anti-corporate globalization movement in recent years, the primitivist problem has assumed a new urgency. Whereas in the past primitive thinkers were consigned to the margins of the movement by virtue of the absurdity of their ideas, a recent absence of lively, mass class struggle activism has allowed primitive thinkers to exert greater influence. The onus is on traditional anarchists to take the movement back, and force primitive thinkers to their previous place on the sidelines.

Not to be discounted, either, is the influence of the corporate media, which has taken primitivism and situated it front and center, presenting it to the public as the lifeblood of a 21st-century anarchist resurgence. Primitivism, the corporate media tells us, is the "new" anarchism - and young adults, hungry for any ideas that point to a way out of the capitalist ghetto, sometimes believe it, and sign up. The popularity of the anti-corporate globalization movement holds much promise for anarchism; the media's attempts to associate it with primitive ideas, however, does not.

Time magazine, for example, ran two articles in 2001 on John Zerzan and the cult-like following he has attracted in his home town of Eugene, Oregon (among other places). And a few years prior, Time bestowed the title "king of the anarchists" upon primitivist/Unabomber Ted Kaczynski in one of the more than 30 articles they devoted to him. The December 13, 1999, issue of Newsweek featured a picture of anarcho-syndicalist Noam Chomsky with images of Zerzan and convicted murderer Kaczynski beside him; the publication associated all three as leading lights of modem anarchist thought. NPR, 60 Minutes, and other news outlets have given air time to the absurd proclamations of John Zerzan even as the unofficial media ban of Noam Chomsky and other more capable analysts continues. Again, as Fabbri, noted: "[A]nd so anarchism comes to be known precisely for the illogical character and ridiculousness which ignorance and bourgeois calumny have attributed to anarchist doctrines."



The effect of the media's focus on anarchism's most embarrassing side has been advantageous for elites; by focusing laser like on the looniest elements of anarchism, the entire movement can be marginalized and discredited. This follows a historical pattern in which anarchist activists are ignored by the establishment until one does something so antisocial or outlandish that elites can score cheap points by reporting it. If the public sees only the primitivist wing of anarchism, it will be unlikely to support anything associated with anarchism. Understandably, few people want to support something that is hostile to the life-saving medical care, information technology, and electronic entertainment they enjoy.

The media's gravitation towards primitivism has pressured other parts of the anarchist movement to accept it as well. The University of Michigan's Joseph A. Labadie collection, commonly regarded as an "archive of record" for the anarchist movement, recently decided to admit the papers of unabomber Theodore Kaczynski into its vaults. This includes interviews where Kaczynski reports on attempts to have a dialogue with terrorist Timothy McVeigh, dragging again the shadiest figures of modem politics into anarchist history. The shelving of Kaczynski's murderous Unabomber Manifesto alongside classics by Emma Goldman and others is presumably something the anarchist community will have to live with. The acquisition is of further irony, given that the figure for which the University of Michigan's archive is named, labor activist Joseph Labadie, favored public control over industrial society, not a Kaczynski-style mail bombing of it. As well, Kaczynski admirer John Zerzan works with a self-styled "Green Anarchy" collective in Oregon. When Z Magazine editor Michael Albert approached John Zerzan to debate primitivism, Zerzan ultimately sniffed, "As an anarchist, I'm not interested."

Tuesday

Murray Bookchin in Dutch

1964

“Ecology and Revolutionary Thought,” under the pseudonym Lewis Herber
translated into Dutch as “Ekologie en revolutionair denken,” in Ekologie en anarchisme (1977)

1965

Crisis in Our Cities, under the pseudonym Lewis Herber (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall)
translated into Dutch as Stikkende Steden

1967

“Post-Scarcity Anarchism,” written Oct. 1967-Dec. 1968
translated into Dutch as “Anarchisme in het tijdperk na de schaarste,” in Ekologie en anarchisme (1977), online.

1973

“Toward an Ecological Society,” lecture to Future World Lecture Series, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Feb. 19, 1973
translated into Dutch as “Naar een ekologiese maatschappij,” in Ekologie en anarchisme (1977)

1974

“Radical Agriculture,” written Sept. 20, 1974
translated into Dutch as “Radicale Landbouw,” by André Bons, in De AS, no. 130-131 (Summer 2000)

1975

“Energy, Ecotechnocracy, and Ecology,” Liberation (Feb. 1975)
translated into Dutch as “Energie, ‘ekotechnologie,’ en ekologie,” in Ekologie en anarchisme (1977)

1979

“Self-Management and the New Technology,” address to international conference on self-management, Venice, Italy, Sept. 28-29, 1979
translated into Dutch as “Zelfbestuur en de Nieuwe Technologie” (Bas Moreel, NL-Wageningen, Feb. 1980), brochure

1984

“Theses on Libertarian Municipalism,” written Sept. 9, 1984
translated into Dutch as Stellingen over libertair municipalisme,” in Eerste Jaarboek Anarchisme, ed. Wim de Lobel and Hans Ramaer (Moerkapelle: De AS, 1994), pp. 135-50

Interview by Peter Einarsson, Stockholm, Oct. 22, 1984
translated into Dutch as “Murray Bookchin: Het anarchisme was als het breken van een schaal,” De Vrije (n.d.)

1987


“Social Ecology versus ‘Deep Ecology’: A Challenge for the Ecology Movement,” written Jun. 1987
translated into Dutch as “Social Ecology versus ‘Deep Ecology’: Een uitdaging voor de ecologische beweging,” Perspectief (Apr.-Jun. 1989), pp. 11-42

1989


Remaking Society: Pathways to a Green Future (Montreal: Black Rose Books)
excerpts translated into Dutch as “Over Vrijheidsidealen,” by Marius de Geus, in De AS: Anarchistisch Tijdschrift [Rotterdam] 94 (Apr.-Jun. 1991), pp. 20-22

“Radical Politics in an Era of Advanced Capitalism,” Green Perspectives, no. 18 (Nov. 1989) (a revised version of “Society, Politics, and the State”)
translated into Dutch as “Radicale politiek in een tijdperk van voortdurend kapitalisme,” by Simon Radius, in De AS: Anarchistisch Tijdschrift [Rotterdam] 91 (Jul.-Sept. 1990), online.

1990

“The Meaning of Confederalism,” written Nov. 3, 1990
translated into Dutch as “De betekenis van het Confederalisme,” in De AS: Anarchistisch Tijdschrift [Rotterdam] 93 (Jan.-Mar. 1991), online.

1991

“The Left That Was: A Personal Reflection,” written Apr. 3, 1991
portions translated into Dutch by Rafa Grinfeld (2007), online at http://libertair.blogspot.com

“Libertarian Municipalism: An Overview,” introduction to Readings in Libertarian Municipalism (Burlington, Vt.: Social Ecology Project, 1991), written Apr. 3, 1991
translated into Dutch as “Libertair Municipalisme: Een Overzicht,” by Ferd. v.d. Bruggen, in De AS, no. 107 (Summer 1994), pp. 18-25, online.

1994

“History, Civilization, and Progress: Outline for a Criticism of Modern Relativism,” written Feb. 15, 1994
published in Green Perspectives, no. 29 (Mar. 1994)
online at http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_Archives/bookchin/hiscivpro.html
translated into Dutch as “Geschiedenis, beschaving en vooruitgang: Een kritiek op het moderne relativisme,” by Bas Moreel, in Tweede Jaarboek Anarchisme/De AS no. 112 (1995), pp. 62-73

1996

“Interview with Murray Bookchin,” by Janet Biehl, Nov. 12, 1996
translated into Dutch by Ronald de Vries, online

1997


“The Unity of Ideals and Practice,” written Mar. 26, 1997
portions translated into Dutch as “De Eenheid van Idealen en Praktijk,” in De Raaf: Anarchistisch Tijdschrift, no. 106 (Apr.-Jun. 1997), pp. 9-10; no. 107 (Nov.-Dec. 1997), pp. 22-23

1999

Anarchism, Marxism, and the Future of the Left: Interviews and Essays, 1993-1998, completed in 1998; published by San Francisco and Edinburgh: A.K. Press
portions translated into Dutch as “Een beweging opbouwen”, translated by Bookshop Rosa and edited by Rafa Grinfeld (2007), online

2000

“Malé není vzdy krásné: Rozhovor s Murray Bookchinem,” interview by David Vanek, Aug. 2000
translated into Dutch as “Het sociale vraagstuk van de ecologie. Interview met Murray Bookchin”, translated by Filip Vanden Berghe, in De Nar. Anarchistisch actieblad. no. 172. Aug. 2002, pp 18-22, online

2004

“The Twilight Comes Early,” written Nov. 2004
translated into Dutch by Rafa Grinfeld (2006) as “De deemstering komt vroeg”, online


2005

"The Third Revolution" (Volume 4). Partly translated into Dutch by Johny Lenaerts, online

The Left that Was : A Personal Reflection

Some of you might wonder what has happened to the translation (I was working on it) of the text The Left that Was : A Personal Reflection by Murray Bookchin. I have now translated another part of the text. I'm going to stop for the moment with translating it. I had hoped it was not much work to improve the original translation that appeared in the Vlaams Marxistisch Tijdschrift (Flemish Marxist Periodical) many years ago, but I was wrong. Up until now, it hasn't helped at all, the original translation (it's full of mistakes and things that are quite unclear). Now, people who want to help me with translating or distributing texts of social ecology can ofcourse contact me at tomsk_be@yahoo.com. At my blog in Dutch, I will continue now with publishing some interesting text parts that have already been translated in Dutch and that deal with the issue of nationalism and nation-states.

Monday

Old Joy

The story of two old friends, who reunite for a weekend camping trip in Oregon's Cascade Mountains. It hasn't been shown in the cinema yet in Belgium, but it is shown this month at Cinema Nova in Brussels and it's also on DVD. I haven't seen it yet, but it looks like a nice movie.

Saturday

Erik De Bruyn and the Left in Antwerp


The party of the Social-democrats in Antwerp city is the electorally most succesful party in this megalopolis, a quite new situation because the Far Right party has been getting more votes here for a very long time before that occured.
It's strange that it obtains so many votes here in Antwerp (and delivers the mayor), because it's really badly organized. At the most recent general members meeting, there were about 200 people present, which is not much because the party has 4500 members in the biggest city of Belgium.
The most militant members in this party are the Marxists, who are trying to take over the party and want everybody to believe that this is possible. They mobilize a lot these days to try and make that happen. At this "general members meeting", a lot of left-leaning people showed up to support the candidacy of the Marxist Erik De Bruyn for the presidency in the party of the Social-democrats.
He got a majority of the votes, so he can participate in the elections for the presidency now. De Bruyn doesn't have a chance in winning these elections for the presidency, but wants everybody to believe that he has. For this he advocates "economic democracy" and "party democracy", but the Social-democratic parties of Belgium (one for each region) are two of the most bureaucratic parties around here. In Belgium they are only getting many votes in the big cities. They have been attracting a lot of currupt politicians, and have fully supported the capitalist economy of Belgium. The marxists in the party often like Leo Trotski and Hugo Chavez a lot, two politicians who have not been good at all in advocating direct democracy.
The bolsjevists Lenin and Trotski have been two of the most influential men within the Left of Antwerp city. The libertarian Left has always been very marginal and little organized here. It's about a few small groups gathering sometimes or some people being active in "social movements", the libertarian Left is not even a movement in Antwerp. In fact, members of the libertarian Left here often move to other cities or travel a lot.

The MOVE stigmata

In 1980 a judge sentenced nine people (the Move 9) in the USA to 30-100 years in prison, after a deadening confrontation with the police had occured. In 1978, a gunfight between MOVE and Philadelphia police had left one police officer dead and nine of the MOVE members later imprisoned for murder. Almost seven years later, a police effort to serve warrants on several other MOVE members resulted in more shooting and a raging house fire that incinerated an entire city block, leaving 11 MOVE members dead, including MOVE founder John Africa, and 250 people homeless. The police had bombed “MOVE's communal residence”. Six adults and five children in the MOVE house were killed.


MOVE is very committed to trying to get the Move 9, that have been in prison for a very long time now, liberated. It also tries to get Mumia Abu-Jamal (picture) out of prison, he has been the most known follower of John Africa. Mumia Abu-Jamal is a journalist from Philadelphia who has been in prison since 1981 and on death row since 1983 for allegedly shooting a Philadelphia police officer.


MOVE is also, in its own words, “a deeply religious organization”. The people in it see their message as very threatening to “those in power” and, according to the group, this is why the very powerful come down so hard on them. “JOHN AFRICA taught us that Life is the priority. Nothing is more important or as important as Life, the force that keeps us alive. All life comes from one source, from God, MOM NATURE, MOMA.“
It is disturbing to see how MOVE is mystical and idolizes its founder, many people see the group as a cult and therefor it receives little support. “JOHN AFRICA live very simply; JOHN AFRICA don't wear no jewelry at all because He don't believe in exploiting MOM-NATURE in any way”. What is also disturbing about the MOVE group, is that it is biocentric. “JOHN AFRICA teach MOVE people to believe in and love life, to understand the absolute necessity of life and protect all life equally, meaning all living beings (people, animals, water, soil, air), because all life come from one source and is necessary, so all living beings are equally important. JOHN AFRICA teach us the principle of equality, the principle of life and there's nothing crazy about that.” All of this makes it more hard to support those MOVE members that are in prison, because it leads to ideological confusion.

Friday

Naomi Klein on China

Naomi Klein in an interview published this week :

You have major new investments in the countryside, you have a commitment to waive school fees for the first nine years for rural children, because there were 87,000 protests in China last year -- an unbelievable statistic -- so clearly someone's not happy with how things are going in China.

At the same time we're starting to see the extraordinary ways in which China is becoming a laboratory for new technologies to put people under a level of surveillance that would have been impossible under Mao. There was just an article in the New York Times about how Shenzhen -- the port city where the export processing zone model was born -- is now this testing ground for biometric identification cards that have everything from your landlord's phone number to your reproductive history to your credit history to your police record. They are leading the way in terms of networking CCTV cameras -- there are 200,000 of them in one city -- and all the police are equipped with GPS. I mean, it is totally sci-fi what is going on there.

Naomi Klein: The Shock Doctrine

Revolution or Submersion: The Politics of Global Warming



"Tokar, an author, activist, and social ecologist, discusses the consequences of warming, the environmental destruction inherent in our political-economic system, and the revolutionary movement required to build an alternative.
A talk from June 2007 at the Z Media Institute in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Runtime, approximately 1 hour, 10 minutes."

Again intimidation in Iran

The wife and sister of the imprisoned Iranian bus union leader, Mansour Osanloo, were arrested in Tehran after they attempted to meet with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights who was visiting Iran.

More...

Thursday

Iran newsticker

TEHRAN, Sep 6 (IPS) - The Iranian establishment has an unstated policy to deal with rising dissidence among academics, artistes and political activists -- encourage them to leave the country and go into self-exile.

More...

Car drivers in the mist

Not the ecology of everyday life...



Ivan Illich:
The habitual passenger cannot grasp the folly of traffic based overwhelmingly on transport. His inherited perceptions of space and time and of personal pace have been industrially deformed. He has lost the power to conceive of himself outside the passenger role.

Jutta Ditfurth and extraparliamentary movements of the seventies

Jutta Ditfurth studied Sociology, Politics, Art, Philosophy,... in Germany, Scotland and the USA. She became a sociologist in 1977 and has since then been very active in the city of Frankfurt. She already became quite active at the beginning of the seventies: in the undogmatic Left, the women's movement and the movement against nuclear energy.



Jutta Ditfurth was a cofounder of the German Green Party. But in 1991, she decided to leave this Green Party (die Grünen) to establish a party for the Ecological Left ( die Ökologischen Linken). Certain decisions had been made that had been destroying the party's alternative culture, step by step. Up until then, the Green Party had been an alliance of tendencies ranging from reformist to revolutionary. But at that time, all revolutionary positions and radical positions had been given up. There had been different left tendencies within the Green Party, there was an anticapitalist tendency that opposed the capitalist kind of economical growth and the social injustice inherent to it.
Jutta Ditfurth (1991) : “A lot of objective developments take place in every radical movement that takes part in parliamentarism. We knew before we founded the Green party that to found a party is an ambiguous undertaking: On the one hand, you get a chance to spread radical ideas to the public for a period of time, but on the other, you are in effect making an offer to integrate your radical movement into the state. But we went ahead and started it anyway in 1977-79 because of the historical situation, the large extraparliamentary movement of that time. We thought we had a chance to reach a large public.”


There was a corruptive careerism going on in the large Green bureaucracy, which led to many problems in and outside the Green movement of Germany. Jutta Ditfurth later wrote this book about the issue.




“Going beyond the Greens, radical ecology has to fill the enormous vacuum that once constituted the left--our movement must be against capitalism, it must be independent, and people in it must be accountable. With the Greens we were too naive--it was too easy for people like Joschka Fischer to take over the Green project for his own purposes. Now we have to keep this from happening again. And we must be prepared to work patiently to build this movement.” (Jutta Ditfurth,summer of 1991)
Before the Green Party was established, environmental and ecology associations, anti-nuclear (energy) groups, the women’s movement, the third world movement, and other alternative groups had not shown much interest in discussing the idea of a new political party (in West-Germany) that would bring these movements together. The social movement activists of the 1970s felt it was more important to establish public legitimacy, and for this they relied on journalists and often even Social-democratic members of city councils, among others. The demand for “an independent newspaper” was met in 1977 with the founding of the Tageszeitung (Taz) following the example of the French newspaper Libération. The idea of organizing regional and national networks of local activist groups was very much in the air in the 1970’s.


The Rote Armee Fraktion (RAF) had also been very active in Germany, with the support of the “intelligence services” of East Germany. In 1976, Ulrike Meinhof (of the RAF) was found dead in her cell, hanging from a rope made from jail towels. An investigation report concluded that she had hanged herself. The RAF described itself as a communist "urban guerrilla" group engaged in armed resistance, while it was described by the West German government as a terrorist group.


Jutta Ditfurth wrote many texts and books as a journalist, she has also been a novelist. She has remained politically very active. In november 2007, a book will appear about Ulrike Meinhof and her involvement with the Rote Armee Fraktion: “Ulrike Meinhof. Die Biografie”. Jutta Ditfurth is the writer. Before, she has written much about ecofascism, the German Greens and left-wing theory.



(edited post)

Wednesday

The radical criminology of Clara Wichmann

The short life of the criminologist and essayist Clara Wichmann (1885-1922) can be seen as a search for freedom. At the age of 17, she got interested in the study of Hegel's dialectical method, which became the core of her philosophical activity. She became active in the feminist movement, the libertarian left and got involved with revolutionary antimilitarism. She saw the application of violence as the most fundamental problem humanity had to deal with. Wichmann saw inner growth as the necessary condition for the emancipation of women. She once suffered from a serious depression, and received treatment in a sanatorium in the Netherlands for it. In her thoughts on crime she was very inspired by the ideas of the pedagogue Maria Montessori. Wichmann saw crime as a product of the existing conditions and relations in a society.


Clara Wichmann (1920) :
And all the inner contradictions and enormous abuses in the “rights”-position of the pet animals are a result of this: that, toward them (like once toward the slaves and in many legislations toward the women), one upholds the fiction that they are things.

Tuesday

The ALF past of Anja Hermans


Anja Hermans is clearly distancing herself from her past these days. She's giving interviews showed on Belgian television, and she's receiving other big media attention. There's also a book (in Dutch) that just has come out in which her story is told.
In March 2001, the in Belgium active Anja Hermans was found guilty of attempting to set fire to the car of a judge. Before that, the activist had put fire to many fast food restaurants in and around the city of Antwerp. Anja admitted then that she was involved with the Animal Liberation Front arsons. She spent many years in prison and in a psychiatric institution.
After a brain tumor had been found and removed, she largely recovered from her continuing physical disorders (leading to many psychological problems). She was a bright teenager, but then got influenced a lot by the ideas of animal liberation activists, anarchoprimitivism and authoritarian communism. At that time, she also got a small alcohol problem and suffered from depressions. Then, the arsons started to happen.

Nationalisms as social nightmares

Murray Bookchin (1993) :

The "nation" as a cultural entity is superseded by an overpowering and oppressive state apparatus. Racism commonly goes hand in hand with "national liberation" struggles, such as "ethnic cleansing" and wars for territorial gain, as we see most poignantly today in the Middle East, India, the Caucasus, and Eastern Europe. Nationalisms that only a generation ago might have been regarded as "national liberation" struggles are more clearly seen today, in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet empire, as little more than social nightmares and decivilizing blights.

Put bluntly, nationalisms are regressive atavisms that the Enlightenment tried to overcome long ago. They introject the worst features of the very empires from which oppressed peoples have tried to shake loose. Not only do they typically reproduce state-machines that are as oppressive as the ones that colonial powers imposed on them, but they reinforce those machines with cultural, religious, ethnic, and xenophobic traits that are often used to foster regional and even domestic hatreds and subimperialisms. No less important, in the absence of genuine popular democracies the sequelae of understandably anti-imperialist struggles too often include the strengthening of imperialism itself, such that the powers that have been seemingly dispossessed of their colonies can now play the state of one former colony against that of another, as witness the conflicts that ravage Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent.

Sunday

Nationality and the authentic anarchism of Proudhon

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1809 – 1865) was the first one to call himself an anarchist. He was also one of the most influential writers within the 19th century Left of France and Belgium. Together with anarchists like Mikhail Bakunin and Elisée Reclus, he has been very important for the historical anarchist movement in these countries.



Proudhon (lying at his death bed at the picture) openly opposed nationalist movements in Poland, Hungary, and Italy. In 1851 he declared : “If then science, and no longer religion or authority, is taken in every land as the rule of society, the sovereign arbiter of interests, government being void, all the legislation of the universe will be in harmony. There will no longer be nationality, no longer fatherland, in the political sense of the words: they will mean only places of birth.”
And 11 years later he wrote : "I will never put devotion to my country before the rights of Man. If the French Government behaves unjustly to any people, I am deeply grieved and protest in every way that I can.”
In the Principle of Federation (1863) he argued that nationalism inevitably leads to war. To reduce the power of nationalism Proudhon called for a Federal Europe. He advocated a federation of autonomous communes. He believed that Federalism was "the supreme guarantee of all liberty and of all law, and must, without soldiers or priests, replace both feudal and Christian society." Proudhon went on to predict that "the twentieth century will open the era of federations, or humanity will begin again a purgatory of a thousand years."
But his antinationalist notions and strong opposition to the ideas of Napoleon Bonaparte were somewhat diluted by his own Francophilism. Proudhon (1851) : “It was the mania for annexation which, under the Convention and the Directory, aroused the distrust of other nations against the Republic, and which, giving us a taste for Bonaparte, brought us to our finish at Waterloo. Revolutionize, I tell you. Your frontiers will always be long enough and French enough if they are revolutionary.”
In 1995, Murray Bookchin wrote that Proudhon “attempted to formulate a fairly concrete image of a libertarian society. Based on contracts, essentially between small producers, cooperatives, and communes, Proudhon's vision was redolent of the provincial craft world into which he was born. But his attempt to meld a patroniste, often patriarchal notion of liberty with contractual social arrangements was lacking in depth. The craftsman, cooperative, and commune, relating to one another on bourgeois contractual terms of equity or justice rather than on the communist terms of ability and needs, reflected the artisan's bias for personal autonomy, leaving any moral commitment to a collective undefined beyond the good intentions of its members.”
Indeed, Proudhon did not advocate the principle “from each according to ability, to each according to need”. Leftists like Karl Marx, Errico Malatesta and others did do that later. The phrase summarizes the idea that, under a communist system, every person shall produce to the best of his or her ability in accordance with his/her talent, and each person shall receive the fruits of this production in accordance with his/her need, irrespective of what he or she has produced.

The problems with Limonov and National Bolshevism


Eduard Limonov (picture) set up the National Bolshevik Party (Russia). As in many former Eastern Bloc countries, this party is difficult to discuss in simple left-right terms. Eduard Limonov was once an important dissident writer in the Soviet Union. He left Russia but went back later to receive more press. He had a column in the English-language paper in Moscow called The eXile, which was a paper for the English-speaking people who came to Russia to grab what they could after the fall. He then also got involved with some of the ties between the Russian mercenaries who fought on the Serbian side during the Balkan wars.

Limonov looks to the era of Stalin as a period of social stability within the Soviet Union, and this is the part about National Bolshevism.

Peter McNally on the National Bolshevism of Eduard Limonov (the interview was published a few days ago):

Well, for him all this was a logical extension of where to push Russian nationalism, especially with the older folks, who might not have liked Stalin at the time, and it was not a stable regime, but it was a point of Russian dignity, et cetera. So that’s sort of where Limonov comes from.
And another thing about Limonov is that he attracts a lot of people on the cultural margins. And in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, because of punk rock, Oi and so on, you have the beginnings of what we’d now call Russian skinheads, in the sense of a worldwide skinhead movement, or a grouping of people who are aping right-wing skinheads in Britain. So you have people who are in punk bands, industrial bands or whatever, and he courted that because he was a marginal cultural worker and was sympathetic to those aesthetics and hyped them up. And these days he heavily recruits within the Goth and black metal scene, which is probably the central cultural scene for the more avant-garde, out-there far right – the bands, the graphic art houses and so on are serious cultural players there.

Wednesday

What was Rexism?


The danger in supporting Belgicistic nationalism is bigger than many people in and outside of Belgium think it is.



Ultranationalism of this kind was present in the once electorally very succesful Rexist movement. In the thirties, the party Rex could easily get ten or twenty percent of the votes in Belgium. It was a time when more and more people started to embrace very dubious forms of nationalism, also Social-democratic leaders like the Belgian Hendrik de Man (who began to sympathize with Nazism) and Bolsjevist leaders like Joseph Stalin.



Rexism was a fascist movement in the first half of the twentieth century in Belgium. The Rexist Party (Parti Rexiste), officially called Christus Rex, was founded by Léon Degrelle (picture). The name was derived from the Roman Catholic social teachings concerning Christus Rex, and it was also the title of a conservative Catholic journal led by Degrelle. Rexism was mostly about Belgicistic ultranationalism.

Early Rexism called for the “moral renewal” of Belgian society in large conformity with the teachings of the Church and other ultra-right parties, by forming a corporatist society and abolishing parlementiary democracy. Rexism soon began to ally itself with the interests of Nazi Germany.

Tuesday

Let people create politics themselves



Democratic Alternative For Oslo now has the possibility to run candidates in the upcoming municipal elections. But what is the purpose of the electoral campaign?

Anett Andreassen : "First and foremost: It’s about spreading our ideas, getting people to think about their role in politics and mobilize people to participate more active. It may sound strange for some but our main goal is to let people create politics themselves."

More about the organization Anett is active in , you can find here (in English).

An Ian Stuart Donaldson memorial festival in Belgium

Blood&Honour Flanders, which is notorious for organizing Nazi concerts to entertain boneheads from Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, will be organizing an Ian Stuart Donaldson memorial festival, the 27th of october 2007. Donaldson was the Nazi singer of a band called Screwdriver and died in a car accident. Unfortunately, these kind of concerts will not be stopped in Belgium. But Nazis from all over Europe gather at them. Blood&Honour Flanders likes to make it clear to people that it is friends with the ecofascist Groen Rechts and groups like the Ku Klux Klan.
There will be bands performing from Germany, the UK, Italy, Hungary, and a surprise band.

Monday

Social ecology in German

I have noticed that these are sites in German where one can find out more about social ecology:

Kommunalismus
Libertaerer kommunalismus: www.anarchismus.at/texte-anarchismus/libertaerer-kommunalismus









You can also read works of social ecology in German. Here are some books...








Sunday

Triskel, a bizar shop



Triskel is the paganist shop of the 64-year old Wim Verreycken. He has been one of the most known politicians of the Far Right in Belgium for many years.






Verreycken sells propaganda, Celtic and Germanic inspired jewelry, leather articles, swords, mystical postcards, etcetera. The shop is in the heart of the city of Antwerp.










People of the ultra-right have often tried to justify a nationalism that is mystical.







In the New Age milieu of today, the ultra-right may well find the mystical component it needs to make a truly updated, modernized authoritarian nationalism.












It is said that alternative people sometimes go to the Triskel shop and buy things there without knowing the background of the shop. Antirational cults of the New Age -- primitivistic, esoteric -- abound in the West of today. Such antirationalism and mysticism are appealed to by the 'New' Right. It wants to redefine social norms so that rational doubt is regarded as decadent and therefore eliminated.

Notorious Nazi attacks in Norway

November 2000: a Nazi connected with the notorious Bootboys was arrested in Bergen (Norway), after pouring gasoline at the entrance of a left-wing book cafe. The Bootboys have commited several arson attacks, but also bombings, mistreatment, and illegal possession of firearms, illegal possession of dynamite, and knife stabbing.
The original Bootboys group was founded in the late eighties by Ole Krogstad. He had been convicted before that occured to ten months imprisonment. He was arrested after a bomb attack on a Muslim mosque in 1985. One of the most serious incidents with the Bootboys occurred eight years later, when Krogstad, together with several other Nazis attacked the anarchist youth house Blitz, hurling fire bombs at the building, and firing shots with a sawn-off shotgun when the youngsters inside the house tried to extinguish the fire.



Blitz has been a busy autonomist liberty space/social center in Oslo with a vegetarian cafe, newspaper, radio station, library/bookstore/record store, and meeting/hang out/band space. Just before it was attacked by the Bootboys, antifascists had “spontaneously” broken into the radio offices of fascists and smashed the place. It took the fascist radiostation Nite Rocket 3 hours to get back on the air.



A few days later Blitz was attacked by 25 boneheads, with molotov-cocktails. The Nazis fired four rounds from a shotgun through the windows. Nobody was hurt. The house was defended by people on guard inside the Blitz. It was clear that it was a revenge action after the attack on the fascist radiostation. Radio Nite Rocket (which was on air 8 hours per night) was sending threats on air to Blitz in the hours before the attack. And the bonehead leader Ole Krogstad was a guest in the studio. The fascists also used the radio offices to gather before they attacked Blitz.

A short history of La plume noire





La plume noire is a bookshop, info- and action center of anarchists in Lyon. It was established in 1989. Eight years later, an act of arson was committed there (probably by fascists), which destroyed a part of the bookshop. To try and destroy bookshops of the Left, by putting fire to it, regularly happens in Europe.

Social ecology in French

You can also order some writings of Murray Bookchin in France, at this site.


















You can also find a good introduction to libertarian municipalism in a translated version of a book that Janet Biehl wrote, and there is a book of Chaia Heller that has been translated in French.


Or you can read some texts online...


Textes de Vincent Gerber:

L'écologie sociale, ou l'utopie réalisable d'une société écologique

Apprendre à decider


Entretien avec Murray Bookchin par Janet Biehl (1996)

The case of Soetkin Collier


One of the most known folkbands in Belgium is Urban Trad. At the end of 2002, there was a small misunderstanding in this group. The leading vocalist, Soetkin Collier (picture), was accused of being in connection with ultra-Right Flemish groups, although this was mostly a thing of the past, when she was still singing in the (nowadays much into ecofolk) band Laïs. Still, Collier kept connections with her very nationalist parents. Collier could not perform at the very prestigious Eurovision Contest. Therefore, Urban Trad acted with another female vocalist who was born in Spain. The group became second in the Song Contest, representing “the French-speaking community” in Belgium.

National-anarchism in the United Kingdom and Belgium


The most known national-anarchist group is based in Great Britain. Le Cercle de la rose noire is a United Kingdom-based national-anarchist group.




The president of Le Cercle de la rose noire is the musician Troy Southgate and its web presence is the online journal Synthesis. According to Wikipedia, Southgate and other national-anarchists “have been on the editorial board of the journal Alternative Green for three issues”.
Alternative Green is (unfortunately) often called a Green Anarchist journal, and is much connected to the writings of the neo-primitivist Richard Hunt, who has also worked together with people of the 'New' Right in Belgium. In Belgium, the ideas of Hunt have inspired the people of the “neither Left nor Right” journal Vrijbuiter, in which national-anarchism has been embraced a lot. The group of Vrijbuiter is much into ecofolk, and very active near the city of Antwerp to preserve the village Doel from disappearing (a disappearance planned in the near future, due to the expansion of the Antwerp harbor).
According to Wikipedia, Hunt is “the editor of various environmentalist magazines, such as Green Anarchist and Alternative Green. He was widely criticised in the anarchist community for his support of nationalism, and consequent support of the 1991 Gulf War in Iraq, leading to him setting up his own Alternative Green magazine. Hunt has contributed to The English Alternative, the journal of Troy Southgate's National Revolutionary Faction.”

Synthesis is an irregularly-published “intellectual and cultural journal devoted to Anarchy”, "the appreciation and understanding of the Esoteric nature of Life and Culture”, and anti-humanism.
Its aim mainly is to explore key figures of the Right, such as Ernst Juenger or Julius Evola, but it also wants to explore key figures of the Left (like Mikhail Bakunin and Sergei Nechayev) or the neither Left nor Right (like Friedrich Nietzsche).

Saturday

The Belgian nation and "identity politics"


One of the worst nationalist groups in Belgium is called Nation. The members of it sometimes work together with Flemish Nazis, ecofascists and other members of the far Right. They generally are explicitly opposed to globalisation and the Nato. The Belgian identity is very important for them.

The Right is also successful in the south of Belgium

The Right is on the rise in Belgium. At first only in Flanders, but now also in the south of the country. The ultra-nationalist Front National de Belgique (Belgian National Front) can easily obtain 5 or 10% of the votes in the French-speaking part of Belgium (I refer here to the mother tongue). The party is won for a Belgian national unity. Some of its members are also explicitly against globalisation. The active defenders of right-wing liberalism and catholicism are even more successful. Taken together, all these parts of the Right in the French-speaking part of Belgium are not only won for a Belgian national unity, they also have the support of a French-speaking electoral majority.


The symbol of the Front National de Belgique : flames in the national colours of Belgium

ZNet, "communalism" and the libertarian Left

Are the people of the libertarian Left positive about communalism then? Do many of them understand that authentic communalism is a thing of the Left? Not really. ZNet will never be really positive about communalism for example. In French many people of the libertarian Left will start referring to something they will call communalisme libertaire, while rejecting the project of municipalisme libertaire. And when ZNet refers to communalism, it will almost never point to social ecology and the libertarian Left. It will just start publishing things about problems in India a lot. Like this...

Hanif Lakdawala (2005):

Muslim groups generally think that the only sort of communalism that has to be fought is Hindu communalism, but this is wrong since Muslim communalism is also a threat. In fact, it is more of a threat to Muslims themselves than to others. We should stop this habit that we have of blaming others alone for our plight and do some serious introspection and admit that we, too, have had our share of responsibility for the communal problem. Hindu and Muslim communalism, as I said, feed on each other, so both need to be combated. Hence, intra-Muslim dialogue on the issue of Muslim communalism is very necessary. There is an urgent need for internal reforms and democratisation within the Muslim community, be it on the issue of leadership, women or the poor. We need progressive interpretations of the Quran on issues such as women or inter-community and inter-faith relations.


ZNet will be positive about anarchism though, it will never point to the danger of national-anarchism for example. And it wil not easily criticize anarcho-syndicalism or other forms of anarchism. But ofcourse, it doesn't like individualistic anarchism or anarcho-capitalism very much.

The 'New' Right and symbols

People of the Far Right have tried to recuperate symbols for years and years. Nazis already tried to recuperate the symbol/name of socialism. In Flanders the Far Right does nothing else than trying to recuperate symbols of the Left. Famous examples : the celebrations of the 1st of May...