The Slap of History. A Movie

•February 27, 2015 • Leave a Comment

help poster Russia 1921 famine by Orlov

[A psycho-historical prose poem from my latest book Cut a Long Story Short about my Russian grandfather Arkady, an artillery officer in the Tsarist White Army, and the Russian Revolution(s). The family manor was located near the village of Lachi in Belarus, now, like about 40% of Belarus, thoroughly contaminated by the radioactive fallout from the nuclear meltdown in Chernobyl in 1986. Eisenstein is a famous Russian film director. The poster by Orlov is related to the great Russian famine of 1921, partly a result of the Bolshevik Red Terror of violent food requisitioning from the peasants during the civil war.]

The Slap of History. A Movie

flashback & I’ve been told both grandfathers leave their bog-bound farms in the tsunami of cities gathering might when Capital strikes rich baby rich yeah its factories coal oil manning the pumps of accumulation Marx first spells out getting his piles writing Das Kapital in the British Museum, factory cities Mammon like Ginsberg howled pumping moneyed nothings into safes & banks vampiric numbers now re-make the world into an image of its stern & glittering nothing self going round the bend of more baby more till it all peaks now in wanky machines & melting poles

that’s the intro folks now let’s zoom in on Russian grandad Arkady going to cadet school learning to time trajectories of horse-drawn guns getting posted to Siberia where he meets his Lydia a merchant’s lass from Penza a little below his class whence my daddy’s born an only child & difficult birth that both become the family tune & Lydia according to the genteel breast-droop wont farms out my infant dad to peasants’ wives for breast milk & a bit of bond, suck on that dad, while mornings he’ll kiss the back of her out-stretched hand & not see her again till bed; & by the way Arkady also has a lot to do

so anyway we’re building up to it as they travel the land as armies do but never home to his White Russian place that still sits millennial proud prosaic as history on a rise above its old serf villages it has sucked lean as ribs for centuries

& that’s where the slap comes in

because Lieutenant-colonel A. L-N also teaches his Tsar’s peasant soldiers how to read & write & add & one day he asks a soldier the sum of two plus two & he answers: five & he asks again & the soldier repeats: five, & looks him in the eye & Arkady returns the look, then slaps him in the face

cut

so this is where I pan out & howl & wonder does the ancient rock on which the manor sits at Lachi sigh & subtly crack at that moment when millennia of oppression issue without thought from peasant eye & gentry hand, a peasant soldier spits out the bitter truth of their inverted lives where nothing adds up but lies I wonder is the red cockerel already shaking its fire feathers in the wings of a bloody dawn rolling with armies, heads, justice, revenge as in some montage of Eisenstein’s I have never seen

whatever; the manor is razed in the revolution

fade out now let me tell you not a trace remains but a grey rock in a white expanse of radioactive snow edged by firs whispering unintelligibly in the wind, or so I’ve heard

My Father and the Shadows of the Holocaust

•February 16, 2015 • 6 Comments

Chagall, white-crucifixion

[Last month was the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. This essay is based on old taped interviews I did with my father who died in 2007. My collective karma via my German and Russian ancestries is much tied up with that of the Jewish people. Many of my important intellectual mentors, or ‘elders of the book’, were Jewish. The sources of historical information I quote below in square brackets and italics are from Davies’ history of Europe, Hosking’s history of Russia, the 15th edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica and the second volume of Emma Goldman’s autobiography My Life. The image is by Belorussian Jewish painter Marc Chagall.]

The outbreak of the World War in 1914 finds my grandfather Arkady (artillery colonel in the Tsarist army) and family stationed in Kamenets-Podolsky in the Ukraine. What does my father Oleg remember about something the history books call ‘The First World War’? Playing in the yard little five year-old Oleg already fears overflying Austrian planes. Anxiously, he sees one in difficulties. It later turns out to be a Russian plane hit by friendly (Russian) fire. Then, for the first time, he sees a massed marching column of uniformed men; it takes a whole hour to pass him by.

As Arkady’s lung issue keeps him from the front, he is sent to the local HQ of the Ukrainian front in Berdichev. The HQ is perched up on a hill overlooking the predominantly Jewish town. Lydia fears going into the dirty town full of orthodox Hasidic Jews, there are rumours of ritual murders of Christian children…

Press Stop.

History intrudes once more, this time with considerable force, and darkly. A welling ocean of lean hungry ghosts and confused voices. Is this finding all the oppressive weight of history within the most personal, a dark macrocosm within the microcosm of a conversation between father and son? Reflect the reflection, tread warily and carry that anti-Medusan shield, Perseus, for here are monsters indeed.

The Shadows of the Holocaust, or: My Father as a Mask of History.

My father is an extremely kind, gentle person. And, although he would probably reject the term as another example of ‘Jewish intolerance’ of critique, my father’s unexamined memories here are clearly anti-Semitic. My father was no authoritarian character, never fanatical, hateful, or even angry, about anything and vaguely social democratic by political temperament. At this point in his narrative, my father expresses various theories about Jews that are stereotypical, logically incoherent and even delusional, that are, undoubtedly, anti-Semitic.

And so, at this moment, between us falls the shadow of history, the long shadow of European anti-semitism, the deep shadow of the Holocaust, the dark tenebrae of the 20th century that will forever painfully link the histories of Germany, Russia and Poland. In a sudden jolt of alienation I feel my father move out of personal uniqueness and become a historical character. The irony is that even as he expresses what he feels are his personal, reasonable opinions (the genesis of which are doubtless here in the parental and social context of his childhood), he becomes de-personalised, a persona, a mask, a mere mouthpiece of historical forces beyond his awareness…

I struggle with a double reality that will not jell into coherence: my father is a kind, gentle, compassionate man who would not hurt a fly and my father voices anti-Semitic propaganda. Is this a form of the ‘banality of evil’ Hanna Arendt famously diagnosed in the case of Eichmann? Is this how otherwise kind, gentle, good people can blindly uphold a state terror structure like fascism? Our conversational dance is broken, made dys-kinetic by the shadow of history. At this moment he and I seem to exist dys-synchronistically, as it were, i.e. in radically differing mental and temporal dimensions. I think of Ernst Bloch’s subtle analysis of German fascism: ‘Nicht alle sind im selben Jetzt da’: not all inhabit the same Now. My father was born in the 20th century and some of my father is also stuck in the 12th century. I listen with growing unease as my father’s persona, the mask, aware of my discomfort and irritated dismay, intones with increasing defensiveness…

Press Play.

‘Jews are not liked in the whole world…so they are careful and fearful and they look at everything as anti-Semitic. If you say a Jew murdered someone, they say: ‘Why Jew?’ If a Pole, no-one cares, but if it’s a Jew, it’s anti-Semitic.’

[Pogrom was an old Russian word meaning ‘round-up’ or ‘lynching’. It was used to denote a coordinated assault by one ethnic group against another, and had been applied to many sorts of victims, including Armenians and Tartars. After 1881 it gained the special connotation of assaults on Jews.

The crisis [in Russia] of 1878-82 had suggested that both Panslavism and revolutionary Populism had failed as strategies for reknitting the torn ethnic fabric, for bringing state and people closer together. The wave of anti-Jewish pogroms which followed the assassination of Alexander II encouraged the idea that a more successful way of generating patriotism among the masses might be to play upon anti-Jewish prejudice.

The church and the tsarist authorities went so far as to condone, and even encourage, the violent pogroms that were perpetrated against the Jews in 1881-82 and again in 1905.]

Press Play.

‘Secondly, in every religion people were starved or tortured for religious reasons and they were made saints. Why shouldn’t there be such things in Judaism? I can imagine they’re concerned about that and want to keep it secret because they’re disliked anyway, but that something like that is possible – that for me is indisputable. I have read, by the way, a book about ritual murders…’

[The ritual murder canard, or blood libel – i.e. the alleged sacrifice of Christian children at Passover – was first made in the 12th century. The legend was revived sporadically in eastern Europe and Poland and, in the 1930s, became part of Nazi anti-semitic propaganda, as did another instrument of 12th century anti-semitism – the compulsory yellow badge, which identified the wearer as a Jew.

Russian Orthodoxy was active as well in spreading the so-called blood libel, a superstitious belief in Jewish ritual murder which had re-emerged even in the 19th century (…). The most infamous recurrence of the blood libel in modern times, however, was the Beilis case of 1911-13, in which the tsarist government, with church complicity, sought unsuccessfully to convict a Jewish bookkeeper in Odessa of ritual murder.
]

Press Play.

‘The book no longer exists. If it isn’t true, why did they buy up all the books and destroy them, just like they did with the Protocols?’

I: ‘I don’t understand what you’re saying.’

Father: ‘They could just prove that it [ritual murder] is all just lies, then they wouldn’t have to buy up all the books or try to ridicule them.’

[Successive Ministers of the Interior, especially V.K. Pleve (1902-04), warned that [Finance Minister] Witte’s [modernising] measures were encouraging Jews (…) to tighten their grip on the country’s economy, to gain control(…). Witte’s opponents persistently characterized him as a ‘state socialist’ and ‘friend of the Jews’.

The anti-Witte campaign reached its climax in a document forged inside the Police Department of the Minister of the Interior. The so-called Protocols of the Elders of Zion purported to be the verbatim record of a meeting of leaders of international Jewry, planning the final stage in their campaign to take over the world, a stage in which the Russian autocracy would be the chief target as the most serious obstacle remaining in their path after Western Europe and North America had fallen to them. It recorded how the slogans of liberalism and of the French Revolution had been launched by Jews to undermine legitimate monarchy all over Europe, how they had used industry and finance to destroy the landed aristocracy, had exploited schools and universities to weaken morality, and had preached atheism to turn people away from the church. ]

Press Play.

‘I remember as a child, there was a trial in the Ukraine, the Yushinski case. A boy had been found murdered with his blood let in the way Jewish butchers do it. They couldn’t do anything according to the law at the time because the suspects, visiting Hasidic Jews, had disappeared. (…) The interesting thing was that the Jews also sent their experts, but there was a Catholic priest who was a Talmud expert. And they said: ‘Our religion forbids us from using any blood’. (The Hasidic Jews allegedly ate the blood in their matzoth). ‘Yes’, said the priest, ‘but look at this,’ pointing to words in the Talmud. ‘That means ‘wine’”, said the Jews. ‘Maybe,’ said the priest, ‘but isn’t it the same word for ‘blood of a Christian’?’ (My father aggressively spits like a triumphant prosecutor who has nailed a point… QED!) ‘Anyway, everything petered out. (…) Anyway, that was in the newspapers at the time.’

I: ‘Which newspapers?’

(My father ignores the question.)

[After bloody pogroms linked to the murder of an adolescent boy in Kishinev in 1903] The principal Bessarabian newspaper (…) persistently denigrated Jews for disloyalty and subversion, and for exploiting other nationalities economically. (…) The prosecutor were lenient to anti-Jewish protestors (…) Besides, the Tsar himself supported the formation of the [anti-Semitic and violent] Union of the Russian People, accepted the insignia of the movement and ordered that it be publicly subsidized. (…) [After a series of pogroms during the revolution of 1905-06] he wrote to his mother: “(…) evil elements boldly raised their heads, but then a strong reaction set in and the whole mass of loyal people took heart. The result, as is natural and usual with us, was that the narod [the people] became enraged by the insolence and audacity of the revolutionaries and socialists; and because nine-tenths of them are Yids, the people’s whole wrath has turned against them. That is how the pogroms happened.]

Press Play.

I: ‘Were you afraid of the Hasidic orthodox Jews as a boy? They did look quite strange…’

Father: ‘No. Later in Zhytomyr my playmate was a Jewish son of a local shopkeeper. I went to visit the synagogue out of curiosity. I wasn’t afraid and didn’t have any prejudices.’

[The third wave [of pogroms, P.L-N], in 1917-21, far exceeded all previous horrors. An initial massacre at Novgorod Severski was perpetrated by the Red Army, which had invented the slogan ‘Beat the bourgeoisie and the Jews’. Ukrainian nationalist and Russian ‘White’ forces proved themselves still more merciless. Denikin’s army flaunted the slogan Biy zhyda, spassiy Rossiyu, ‘Thrash a Jew and save Russia’. 1, 700 were killed at Proskirov (1919), 1, 500 at Fastov (September 1919) and 4, 000 at Tetiev. Total Jewish casualties exceeded 60, 000. How far they were victims of civil war, or exclusively of anti-semitism, is another matter.

(…) the pogrom organized in 1919 by Denikin [in Fastov, P.L-N] had been the most fiendish one. It had lasted a whole week and had taken the lives of four thousand persons outright and of several thousand more that had perished while escaping to Kiev. But death had not been the worst infliction, the rabbi said in a broken voice. Far more harrowing had been the violation of the women, regardless of age, the young among them repeatedly and in the presence of their male kin, whom the soldiers held pinioned. Old Jews were trapped in the synagogue, tortured, and killed, while their sons were driven to the market square to meet similar fates.(…) When the Denikin hordes tired of their blood orgy, they pilfered every home, demolished the things they could not carry away, and set the houses on fire.(…) In the Jewish hospital [in Kiev, PL-N…] we came upon the victims of the Denikin outrages in Fastov. Though considerable time had elapsed since the last pogrom in that city, many of the women and girls were still very ill, some of them crippled for life as a result of their injuries. The most fearful cases were those of children suffering from the shock of having been forced to witness the torture and violent death of their parents.(…) In the whole gruesome picture of Fastov two redeeming features stood out. The Gentiles of the town had had no share in the massacres. And no pogroms had taken place since the Bolshevik forces had entered the district.(…) One Gentile was pointed out to us as a physician who had done heroic rescue work during the Denikin pogrom. Repeatedly he had braved grave danger to save Jewish lives.
]

Arkady is an officer in General Denikin’s army. Was he in Proskirov, Tetiev, Fastov? If not, surely he at least would have known about all this? Did he condone it? If not, where was his notorious anger and sense of justice then? Uncomfortable questions. Father, you never told me any of this. Do you plead ignorance, too? Biy zhyda, spassiy Rossiyu? You do not thrash Jews, and you do not save Russia. But (and, father, why do you not see the irony?) Jews save you…Fast forward the story. A screenplay:

Flight alone with father’s orderly after Red attack on the White troop train at sidings. Bullets whizzing, ricocheting off the train. Father/mother at a dim-lit Jewish café in town. Running, running, lost, separated from parents. Dreamlike fragmented images of birch and alder woods, bogs, small rivers, distant gun shots, small artillery. Suddenly, as if by a miracle, found again at a crossing in the woods. Jubilation. (Ten minutes later and Oleg may never have seen his parents again…). No possessions with them at all, no food, no water, just the clothes on their backs. Reduced to nothing, to the human archetype of bare survival in the wild. A whole day of wandering without direction through the countryside. A trek into the unknown. What is ten year old Oleg feeling?

Nightfall. They are hungry and exhausted. They have no shelter for the night. Suddenly, a poor Jewish village in the darkness, a few dilapidated huts.

(His narration is inevitably over-layered in my imagination with the well-known Vitebsk images by Marc Chagall, Belorussian Jewry’s contribution to 20th century painting: Hasidic Jews carrying walking cane and bag over shoulder or dancing with violins on roads or roofs, huge cow and rooster heads, colourful elongated lovers floating above landscapes of church steeples and brown villages…Or else Isaac Babel’s depictions of peasant anti-Semitism and Jewish villagers during the Civil War in his Red Cavalry. Imagined imaginings…).

Father, even (or especially?) in his nineties, most clearly remembered the beauty of the still moonlit night, the fresh clean air, the sound of frogs. Arkady knocks on the shutters. An old Hasidic Jew with the traditional flowing beard and long curled sidelocks appears at the window, his wife and little children in their nightgowns anxiously peering over his shoulder.

Welcome, pan. Make room for the three Russian gentiles, move over, make room on the straw bedding on the floor.

In this orthodox Jewish household, there is room at the inn for the strangers, for the Gentile father, mother and son fleeing persecution. This ethos was laid down around two thousand years ago to remind Jews of their own first persecution and exile from their homeland: ‘Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt’ (Exodus 22:21). For ye were strangers. The memory of exile kept over the millennia. An empathy with the stranger is shown that is rarely shown to themselves, the perennial strangers, the wandering exiles. Just as one thousand nineteen hundred and eighteen years previously another couple fleeing persecution, the woman pregnant with a famous only child, were given refuge among the animals in the stable of an inn.

Saved. Saved by a Jew and his family. Without the compassion of that old oppressed Hasidic peasant you, father, may not have survived, or at least, if caught, never have left Russia. And, as you were always pregnant with me, in that sense I may also owe my own existence to that old compassionate Jew and the warm milk of his human kindness.

The Good Jew saves, the Bad Jew threatens. Father figures, God and Satan, good daddy/bad daddy, the simple polarised dualism of the infant and small child. The small child we all still carry within, for better or for worse. Abraham is willing to sacrifice Isaac. The ultimate mystery of universal sacrifice or, more simply, just infantile fear of threatening Big Bad Daddy? Psychoanalytically, he may be the Oedipal rival, the castrator, the tyrant, the punisher. This individual psycho-dynamic can easily become collective, psycho-historical trauma. Especially at times of social and demographic upheaval, ‘bad daddy’s’ threatening power and demonic intent can be projected by both the socially powerful and the collusive socially powerless onto some ‘other’, weaker, marginal group or nation. In the case of Christians this has often been The Jew, ‘the killer of God’s Son’ (conveniently ‘forgetting’ that this son of God was of course himself a Jew). A projection, an image arises among the smoke and mirrors.

Anti-Semitism and Infantile Castration Anxiety

My father’s infantile anti-semitism and its unconscious dimensions are perhaps visually represented in a typical Renaissance woodcut of an imagined ‘Jewish ritual murder’ of a Christian boy. It is possibly a depiction of the purported death of a Simon of Trent in 1476 . In this anti-Semitic image a naked five or six year old boy is standing on a table and held by three Jewish men who also stick knives in his arm and chest. Two Jews are at his feet. One of them is sticking a knife in his genitals while the other catches the resulting blood in a dish, presumably to incorporate into ritual food. Two other men and, interestingly, a woman, a mother figure, look on as the phallic torture and castration proceeds. Psychoanalytic, Christian and social data, projections and deformities here seem to blend into a potent, darkly psychotic brew.

Anti-Jewish pogroms and massacres go back centuries, particularly and fatally in the three European nations I find myself born into: Germany, Poland and Russia. The Holocaust was geographically and spiritually centred on the death camps of Poland, original land of my paternal ancestors and perpetrated by Germans, countrymen of my maternal ancestors. Anti-semitism is thus a collective psycho-historical shadow that I cannot escape from, its collective ‘karma’ a part of my own. It will play a significant role in our inter-generational conflict of the sixties over the painful question of responsibility for the Nazi Holocaust. Conversely, the multi-facetted and rich legacies of the Jewish diaspora and its millennial and dissenting traditions will have a lasting influence on the development of my own philosophical and political mindset through the mediation of my overwhelmingly Jewish personal ‘elders of the book’: Karl Marx, Rosa Luxemburg, Gustav Landauer, Herbert Marcuse, T.W. Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Ernst Bloch, Günther Anders, Murray Bookchin.

Can it be that father, five to ten years old, in the ‘medieval’ phase of his development as it were, simply needing his ‘bad bogey man’, unconsciously transfers his repressed Oedipal fears and resentment of all-powerful daddy Arkady onto those black-garbed Hasidic Jews?

Psycho-history and history, little world and big world, seem inextricably interwoven in most subtle and complex ways. Who can unravel these fatal threads of transference, displacement, projection? Who can follow the blood-red thread through the shadowy labyrinths that may lead from the abandoned darkness of a child’s chamber, a Renaissance woodcut or a Grimm fairy tale to the gas chambers of Auschwitz? And yet, if we do not try, could not such unconscious threads again lead to new historical horrors?

Global Activist Think-Tanks, Foundations and Media

•February 13, 2015 • Leave a Comment

toddler with laptop

[This is the second part of the list I’ve researched relating to global grassroots movements, radical organizations, think tanks, foundations and media. ‘Another world’ might already be there but has as yet not become self-conscious of itself as a possible system-transforming power. This list is part of a conversation about how to get these movements and organizations to come into dialogue, find common ground (perhaps around saving civilization from climate chaos), develop a more coherent common narrative about a desirable future, a good society, a global democracy of people power, and how to get there…Suggestions for further inclusion welcome.]

Global Activist Think Tanks and Foundations [28]

Adbusters (global network of artists, activists, writers, pranksters, students, educators and entrepreneurs who want to advance the new social activist movement of the information age, Canada)

Beautiful Solutions (website connected to Naomi Klein’s book This Changes Everything, ‘gathers the most promising and contagious strategies for building a more just, democratic, and resilient world’)

Great Transition Initiative (Tellus Institute in Boston, its network ‘continues to expand and diversify as a forum for engaged thinkers and thinking activists to advance together toward a vision and praxis for a decent planetary civilization’; working towards a ‘massive and coherent’ Global Citizens Movement for essential systemic change)

Social Justice and Democratization Space (International Sociological Association at University Complutense, Madrid, Spain, aiming ‘to build a global community who can access and share resources through an open participatory approach to research, policy, pedagogy and practices on social justice and democratization’)

European Institute for Progressive Cultural Policies (Austria: explicitly understands its cultural activity of ‘art, theory and politics’ as ‘a form of commitment whose context is a transnational struggle against neo-liberal hegemony’, a linkage to ‘the concrete activism of a leftist “counter-globalization” movement’)

P2P Foundation: The Foundation for Peer to Peer Alternatives

Resilience.org (US site linked to Post-Carbon Institute: both information clearinghouse and network of action-oriented groups: focus on building community resilience in a world of multiple emerging challenges: the decline of cheap energy, the depletion of critical resources like water, complex environmental crises like climate change and biodiversity loss, and the social and economic issues linked to these)

May First/Peoples Link (US organization that ‘redefines the concept of “Internet Hosting Service” in a collective, progressive and collaborative way’; ‘growing networks to build a just world’)

Babels (international network of volunteer interpreters and translators whose main objective is to cover the interpreting needs of the World Social Forums)

Association for Progressive Communications (mission: to empower and support organisations, social movements and individuals in and through the use of information and communication technologies to build strategic communities and initiatives for the purpose of making meaningful contributions to equitable human development, social justice, participatory political processes and environmental sustainability; both network and organisation: 50 members in 35 countries in 2010, the majority from developing countries)

Open Source Ecology (developing open source industrial machines & sharing designs online)

Workerscontrol.net (international worker self-management site)

Association Autogestion (France, worker self-management site)

CrimethInc (US libertarian org)

Ruckus Society (US, non-violent skills training)

Waging Non-Violence (US, news and non-violence advocacy)

Institute for Social Ecology (US)

International Forum on Globalization (educational think-tank, US)

Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung (leftist foundation and think-tank, Germany)

Focus on the Global South (leftist think-tank, Thailand)

Transnational Institute (US, radical informed analysis on critical global issues, builds alliances with social movements, develops proposals for a more sustainable, just and democratic world; established 1974 as international network of activist researchers (“scholar activists”) committed to critical analyses of global problems, aiming to provide intellectual support to movements struggling for a more democratic, equitable and environmentally sustainable world)

International Forum on Globalization (North-South research and educational institution composed of leading activists, economists, scholars, and researchers providing analysis and critiques on the cultural, social, political, and environmental impacts of economic globalization)

Centre d’études et d’initiatives de solidarité internationale (France, involved in the International Solidarity campaign against the various evil effects of neoliberal globalization, a European alliance of civil society groups)

Tribunal Permanente de los Pueblos (Mexico, integrado por cerca de 130 miembros, de alta reputación moral, nombrados por el Consejo de la Fundación Internacional Lelio Basso y la Liberación de los Pueblo; ha respaldado y acompañado las luchas de los pueblos contra las violaciones a sus derechos fundamentales, contra la negación de su derecho a la autodeterminación, contra las invasiones extranjeras, las nuevas dictaduras, las esclavitudes económicas y la destrucción del medio ambiente)

Ubinig (Bangla Desh, action research and support group for social movements)

India Resource Center (works to support movements against corporate globalization in India)

South Asia Citizens Web (‘linking dissent in South Asia and beyond since 1996’)

Simplicity Institute (non-profit education and research for the Simplicity Movement, Australia)

[Avaaz (global clicktivist site claiming 30 million members in 194 countries)?
[Sum of Us (global clicktivist site claiming five and a half million members)?

Radical Media [33]

Indynews

Linksnet (online site of all left media, Germany)

Graswurzelrevolution (German direct action, anarcho-pacifist magazine since 1972)

Contraste (German magazine for self-organisation)

Roar Magazine (US: media collective seeking to contribute to the ongoing wave of global uprisings by freely sharing information and breathing inspiration into the CreativeCommons)

Occupy.com (US)

Zcomm (US)

Common Dreams (US)

Democracy Now (US)

Truthout (US, a platform for transformative ideas, through in-depth investigative reporting and critical analysis to spur ‘the revolution in consciousness and inspire the direct action that is necessary to save the planet and humanity’)

Rabble (Canada, ‘blurring the line between readers and contributors, provides a needed space for issues, a place to explore political passions and an opportunity to expand ideas’)

Open Democracy

Samar (‘South Asian magazine for action and reflection’)

India Together (independent critical journal)

The Electronic Intifada (Palestine-Israel)

Mosireen (Egypt, a collective space dedicated to supporting citizen media of all kinds)

SubMedia.tv (video production ensemble which aims to promote anarchist and anti-capitalist ideas, and aid social struggles through the dissemination of radical films and videos)

Global Uprisings (independent news site and video series dedicated to showing responses to the economic crisis and authoritarianism)

Reel News (UK, activist video collective)

Kaosenlared (Spain)

Madrilonia (Spain)

Rebelion (Spain)

Desinformemonos (Spain)

Reports from the Edge of Borderline Democracy (journalists based in Athens, Greece)

Everywhere Taksim (Turkey, ongoing solidarity and news about Turkey)

Sendika (Turkey)

Bianet (Turkey)

Diha (critical Turkish online newspaper in English)

Bosnia-Herzegovina Protest Files (News and documents about protests in B-H)

Que Se Lixe a Troika! (Portugal)

Abitare nella crisi (Italy)

Infoaut (Italy)

World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC: international non-governmental organization serving the community radio movement, with almost 4 000 members and associates in 130 countries; goal is to support and contribute to the development of community and participatory radio along the principles of solidarity and international cooperation)

Global Grassroots Movements and Organizations

•February 3, 2015 • 5 Comments

climate_drum at Forward on Climate March Washington 2013

[This is a list I’ve been compiling of global grassroots movements and organizations on the progressive spectrum. How do we get these millions of activists into a dialogue, to find common ground and a common narrative about the global transformation we so urgently need? Another world is possible if a global Movement of movements can emerge which seeks it. Could a global dialogue website help this process along, or is it too early? I’ll publish a second list of global think-tanks and media after this. Further suggestions for inclusion welcome.]

Global Grassroots Democratic Movements and Organizations (No Parties!) 2014-2015

Summary

TOTAL movement organisations: 108

Of which: Transnational 31, Europe 16, North America 22, Asia 12, South America 8, Africa 6, Middle East 7, Australasia 4

Other: 28, Media: 33

Total movement organisations, foundations, institutes, think tanks, media: 169

(Note: No parties, mainstream trade unions, big NGOs (except FOE and AMARC) or lobby groups were included as they are all hierarchical, bureaucratic machines that are largely part of the problem. No national sections or member groups of international federations were listed (except the Landless Peoples Movement in Africa). Some group descriptions have been left in their original languages. Groups marked with an * are those I personally would focus on initially in terms of reaching as broad a progressive spectrum as possible and as many of the global south and non-Anglophone as possible. We need a few people speaking Spanish and Portuguese for a start. I read French and am bilingually German, but that’s about it.)

Global Organisations/Federations [31]

*Democraciarealya International (grew out of Spanish #15 M movement, cf. Take the Square)

*Take the Square (international network, with participants from all over the world, organized to establish a global network of citizen activism based on the #15M ideals; goal is to get over local determinations to become a movement with truly global roots, in the fight against global problems, to give global alternatives and solutions) [Cf. its ideas at the end of this list]

Other Worlds (women-driven education and movement-building collaborative; inspires hope and knowledge that another world is possible, and helps build it; brings to light political, economic, social, and environmental alternatives that are flourishing throughout the world, and helps the public throughout the Americas open up new pathways to adapt and replicate them; supports global movements propelling the alternatives)

*Third World Network International (international network of organisations and individuals involved in issues relating to development, developing countries and North-South affairs based in Penang, Malaysia, and Geneva)

Food Not Bombs (over 100 autonomous chapters on all continents)

Attac (International movement with national sections working against neo-liberal globalization and towards global social, democratic and ecological alternatives)

Our World Is Not For Sale (international network of associated groups and movements fighting the current model of corporate globalization embodied in global trading system)

International Organisation for a Participatory Society (participatory socialist org)

Migrants Rights International (non-governmental organization and federation of migrants’ and migrants’ rights organizations, trade unions and faith-based groups within the various global regions promoting and defending the human rights of migrants at local, national, regional or international levels)

*La Via Campesina (international movement of peasant and rural people, 150 million peasants in 60 countries)

Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN International)

Cultural Survival (US, global advocacy for indigenous rights)

*Transition Network (global re-localisation and local resilience network, end 2014 there were 462 initiatives officially registered in 43 countries)

350. org (global climate change alliance of 300 global orgs, based in US)

*Climate Justice Now! (global network of 37 climate justice activist orgs)

Oilwatch International (network of resistance to oil activities in tropical countries; members in over fifty countries around the world; national and regional networks in Asia and Africa and also organisations in the global North to support its activities; coordinated from offices in Nigeria and Ecuador)

*Rising Tide (international grassroots network of groups and individuals on four continents who organize locally, promote community-based solutions to the climate crisis and take direct action to confront the root causes of climate change)

World Rainforest Movement (part of a global movement for social change that aims at ensuring social justice, the respect of human rights and environmental conservation; works to secure the lands and livelihoods of forest peoples and supports their efforts to defend the forests)

Friends of the Earth International (autonomous federations in many countries)

The Rules (global activist group based in Nairobi, Johannesburg, Mumbai, Rio)

War Resisters International (global pacifist, anti-militarist network with over 80 affiliated groups in 40 countries, founded in 1921)

Women in Black (global network of anti-militarist women)

International of Anarchist Federations (anarchist global federation since 1968 of ten national federations in Europe and Argentina)

*International Workers Association (anarcho-syndicalist International since 1922, with sections in ten European countries, Brazil, Argentina and Australia)

Industrial Workers of the World (old anarcho-syndicalist federation since 1905, branches in Europe, North America, Australia and Taiwan)

Anarkismo.net (cooperation site between 22 ‘platformist’ anarchist groups in Europe, North and South America, South Africa, Australia)

Squat!net (provides websites, email, mailing lists for squatters and related projects re squatting, housing rights and land struggles, support in seven languages)

*International Alliance of Inhabitants (global network of associations and social movements of inhabitants, cooperatives, communities, tenants, house owners, homeless, slum dwellers, indigenous populations and people from working class neighbourhoods; objective is the construction of another possible world starting from the achievement of housing and city rights)

*NoVox (global network of grassroots social movements and organizations of ‘deprived peoples’ – from work, from housing, from legal residence, from earnings etc.; linked to World Social Forum)

Global Network for the Right to Food and Nutrition (21 global member orgs, initiative of public interest civil society organizations and international social movements, including peasants, fisherfolk, pastoralists, indigenous peoples, and food and agricultural workers)

World Social Forum/Forum Social Mundial and regional Social Forums

*Intercontinental Network for the Promotion of Social Solidarity Economy (RIPESS: intercontinental network connecting social and solidarity economy networks throughout the world; a network of networks, it brings together continental networks, that in turn bring together national and sectoral networks; believes in importance of global solidarity in order to build and strengthen an economy that puts people and planet front and center; organizes global forums every four years and is a nexus for learning, information sharing and collaboration)

Europe [16]

*Agora99 (grassroots activists ‘European meeting on Debt, Rights, Democracy’)

*Democracia Real Ya! (Spain, federation of 200 groups initiating #15M movement)

Ecologistas en Accion (federation of 300 eco-activist groups, Spain)

Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca (anti-eviction movement, Spain)

Mondragon Cooperative (world’s largest producer cooperative, Spain)

Cooperativa Integral Catalana (Catalan Integral Cooperative, Spain)

Yesca (organización juvenil castellana y combative; un espacio de lucha para la juventud revolucionaria de nuestra tierra, Spain)

Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT, confederation of anarcho-syndicalist labour unions affiliated with the IWA, Spain)

Kommuja (Egalitarian Commune Federation, Germany)

Nyeleni (European Food Sovereignty movement)

European Water Movement (network for recognition of water as a commons and as fundamental universal right, against water privatisation and commodification, for communal management of water via democratic participation of citizens and of workers)
London Coalition Against Poverty (coalition of solidarity and direct action groups around issues of housing, wages and benefits)

Alliance for Green Socialism (UK)

Sveriges Arbetares Centralorganisation, SAC – Syndikalisterna (Syndicalist trade union federation, Sweden)

Syndikalistiska Ungdomsförbundet (SUF, youth-based anarcho-syndicalist federation in Sweden that supports independent working class struggle)

Vio.me (small self-managed factory, Greece)

Asia [12]

Karnataka State Farmers Association (KRRS India, Gandhian peasant movement, 10 million members)

*Navdanya (women-centred network of seed keepers and organic producers spread across 17 states in India, has helped set up 111 community seed banks across the country, trained over 5,000,000 farmers in seed sovereignty, food sovereignty and sustainable agriculture over the past two decades, and helped set up the largest direct marketing, fair trade organic network in the country)

Nayakrishi Andolon (Bangla Deshi New Agricultural Movement, farming communities practicing biodiversity-based ecological agriculture, 65,000 families)

*Bangla Desh Krishok Federation (peasant movement org for food sovereignty and social change)

Community-based Biodiversity Management South Asia (CBM-SA) Programme (conservation for livelihoods programme implemented in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, works towards making resource poor farming communities more resilient to the impacts climate change)

Pakistan Action Network (network of overseas Pakistanis working to promote democracy, human rights and social justice in Pakistan and within overseas Pakistani communities, based in Vancouver, Canada)

Sri Lanka Democracy Forum (a global network of human rights and democracy activists committed to promote democratisation and inter-ethnic co-existence in Sri Lanka, based in London)

South Asian Progressive Action Collective (‘Chicago-based organization that developed out of a common desire for a forum to take up progressive issues pertinent to South Asia and the Diaspora through direct action, creative expression, and discussion’)

*Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (oldest political/social organization of Afghan women struggling for peace, freedom, democracy and women’s rights in fundamentalism-blighted Afghanistan since 1977)

Hong Kong Federation of Students

Nihon Seikatsu Kyodo Kumiai Rengokai (Japanese Consumers’ Cooperative Union, world’s largest consumer cooperative)

Thai Climate Justice Working Group

North America [22]

*Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (US alliance of grassroots organizations building a ‘popular movement for peace, democracy and a sustainable world, supporting each other’s local struggles and collaborating with international allies who share our vision and commitment to building a transformative social justice movement beyond borders’)

Popular Resistance (resource and information clearinghouse seeking to ‘aid in bringing movements for peace, justice, economic fairness and environmental protection together into an independent, nonviolent and diverse movement that can end the power of concentrated wealth, shift power to the people and put human needs before corporate greed’)

Occupy Wall Street (now operated by Occupy Solidarity Network, New York City)

Occu-Evolve (‘Hub of thought, info, action focussed on evolving OWS movement in NYC’)

*InterOccupy (seeks to foster communication between individuals, Working Groups and local General Assemblies, across the movement, in the spirit of the Occupy Movement and general assemblies)

*US Federation of Worker Cooperatives (100 member workplaces)

BlueGreen Alliance (14 million member alliance, US)

International Labor Rights Forum (org advocating for global working poor, US)

Federation of Egalitarian Communes (US)

Global Exchange (human rights/social justice org, US)

Greater Toronto Workers’ Assembly (open space for voices on left, Canada)

The Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign (committed to uniting the poor across color lines as the leadership base for a broad movement to abolish poverty, US)

Seattle Solidarity Network (direct action network standing up for working people’s rights, linked to numerous other solidarity networks in many US towns and cities)

Organization for a Free Society (participatory socialist organization, US)

Left Roots (activists engaged in mass organizing committed to developing the skills necessary to ‘formulate, evaluate and carry out strategy to build twenty-first century socialism’, US)

Nonviolence International (decentralised network of NV resource centres, US)

System Change Not Climate Change (eco-socialist coalition, US)

Global Justice Ecology Project (eco-activist group, US)

*Peaceful Uprising (revolutionary climate justice collective, US)

Idle No More (indigenous movement for peaceful revolution to honour indigenous sovereignty and protect land and water, Canada)

Indigenous Environmental Network (US)

Tar Sands Blockade (‘coalition of affected Texas and Oklahoma residents and climate justice organizers using peaceful and sustained civil disobedience to stop the construction of TransCanada’s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline’)

South America [8]

*Movimento dos Trabalhadores Sem Terra (landless workers’ movement, 1.5 million members, Brazil)

Movimento dos Trabalhadores Sem Teto (urban shackdwellers’ movement, Brazil)

Movimento Passe Livre (Free Fare Movement, arising out of WSF, Brazil)

*EZLN (Zapatista National Liberation Army, about 3000 members and militia, Chiapas, Mexico)

*Consejo Indigena Popular de Oaxaca ‘Ricardo Flores Magon’ (CIPO-RFM, non-violent direct democratic action group of 26 indigenous rural communities, c. 2000 activists, Oaxaca, Mexico)

Yo Soy 132 (student Occupy movement, Mexico)

Asamblea Nacional de Afectados Ambientales (National Assembly of the Environmentally Affected, Mexico: espacio vivo de encuentro de todos los barrios, pueblos, comunidades, organizaciones y movimientos que a lo largo de los últimos años, tanto en el campo como en la ciudad, hemos luchado contra el proceso de degradación, destrucción y despojo de nuestras aguas, aires, suelos, bosques, biodiversidad, semillas, salud y convivencia)

Confederación de Estudiantes de Chile (CONFECH, National Student Confederation, Chile)

Africa [6]

*NO REDD in Africa Network (collective of African organizations and individuals that oppose REDD/carbon trading and see it as false solution to Climate Change, in 15 African countries)

*Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM, libertarian shack-dwellers movement, South Africa)

Landless Peoples Movement (rural and urban shack dwellers’ movement, affiliated with Via Campesina, South Africa)

*The Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign (direct action, anti-authoritarian umbrella movement of poor and oppressed communities in Cape Town, South Africa)

Solidarité Maroc

Mamfakinch (‘site d’information citoyen géré par un collectif de blogueurs et d’activistes Marocains’)

Middle East [7]

*Peace Now (Israel)

New Profile (feminist women and men working to demilitarize Israeli society)

Combatants for Peace (Israeli and Palestinian ex-combatants advocating and educating for non-violent struggle in Israel and Palestine)

Anarchists Against The Wall (Israel)

Unity (Ahdut/Wihda: anarchist org in Israel/Occupied Palestine)

*Alternative Information Center (joint Palestinian-Israeli org promoting justice, equality, peace)

Jordanian Anarchists

Australasia [4]

Lock the Gate Alliance (anti-fracking direct action, farmers and environmentalists, Australia)

Brisbane Solidarity Network (anarcho-syndicalist union initiative, Australia)

Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Network

Wellington Solidarity Network (New Zealand, linked to US, UK and Australian solidarity networks)

Notes on Self-Organization and a Global Dialogue Website

•February 2, 2015 • 4 Comments

3 year old with tablet, no toys

Notes on Self-Organization and a Global Transformation Dialogue Website

How can we contribute to the process of finding a global Network of networks, a Movement of movements, a Hyper- or Meta- or Super-Movement which might be capable of turning around the Titanic of global capitalism, of rescuing civilization from climate chaos, of making another democratic, just and sustainable world possible? A tall order.

One idea has been to try to help facilitate this process by creating a global participatory website of dialogue for movements and concerned individuals, possibly called ParticipatePlanet. A prototype is under discussion by an affinity/interest group emerging from the International Organization for a Participatory Society. If it should eventuate, the final website will of course be self-managed by the participating movements, networks, groups and individuals themselves. Hopefully it might itself approximate the libertarian social ideal of ‘an interwoven network composed of an infinite variety of groups and federations of all sizes and degrees, local, regional, national and international – temporary or more or less permanent – for all possible purposes’ (Peter Kropotkin).

These notes are meant to provide some very general thoughts about self-organization as a first principle and guiding value for participatory website construction.

The Tao of Anarchism. Self-organizing, self-regulation, self-management, is not merely an ‘ideal‘, but ‘natural’, the Way of Nature itself (‘Tao’). It, and its synonyms spontaneity and freedom, pertain at all levels and scales of nature, from sub-elementary particles to the biosphere, galaxy and beyond. ‘There has existed throughout the whole process of evolution an ability to move on to new planes of existence, to create novelty. Freedom is not an essence only available to the sensibility of man; it is germinatively at work in all living things as spontaneity and auto-plasticity’ (Herbert Read, ‘Anarchy and Order’, p. 156). Libertarian social philosophy is thus not mere utopian wish-fulfilment but makes the claim of being grounded in contemporary science, in biology and ecology, in ontology and metaphysics.

Intrinsic (v Extrinsic) Control. Any natural or human system is self-regulated when it is intrinsically controlled by its own internal mechanisms rather than by the intervention of agencies outside the system (extrinsic control). A healthy animal body self-regulates and heals itself after disturbance (Walter Cannon’s ‘homeostasis’), as does a healthy ecosystem without chemical or technological intervention, a co-operative work team without a boss, a healthy community or society without the intervention of the state.

Autonomy (v Heteronomy). Human social systems over millennia have been self-regulating. The rise of ruling classes and states, ‒ often building on and extending the rule of men over women and the old over the young ‒ meant the usually violent attempt of controlling and/or intervening from outside and from above in the complex local self-regulations of the people. Networks became pyramids. Palace and church sought to dominate tent and hut, lord the peasant, merchant the cottager, factory-owner the worker. Heteronomy (the rule of others) replaced autonomy (self-rule).

This also happened inside people as heteronomy was internalized as ‘natural’ (obedience, authoritarian and outer-directed character etc). Yet the spark of autonomy, of spontaneity, freedom and self-activity, lives on in all people.

Super-System Interdependence. Independent self-regulation of a system, intrinsic control, of course does not mean independence from external context. On the contrary, this external context, the infinite web of interdependence between systems and organisms, e.g. the planetary biosphere, is itself a self-regulating super-system of self-regulating systems. As is the super-organism of the human body. Our global website will, necessarily, also be such a super-organism expressing self-managed interdependence.

Holonic Nesting. Any self-regulating system or web of interdependencies is made up of parts that are themselves self-regulating systems or wholes. The self-regulating parts/wholes (or ‘holons’, Arthur Koestler), made up of other self-regulating parts/wholes, are thus embedded or nested within larger self-regulating wholes which in turn are parts of larger self-regulating wholes, and so on.

A bacterial ecosystem lives in the gut of a parasitic mite on a beetle that lives under bark that is part of a tree that is part of a forest that is part of a continental biome that is part of the Earth’s biosphere that is part of the solar system that is part of the Milky Way galaxy that is part of a galaxy cluster that etc.

Each of these nested systems is self-regulating, as is the Whole System, the universe: there is no extrinsic Prime Mover regulating the whole show from the outside or above. The universe is not a dominator-hierarchy and pyramid but a horizontalist ‘holonarchy’. Our global website will be a nested holonarchy like the universe.

Horizontality. In a food web, for example, each part/whole is horizontally linked to many different other parts/wholes through relationships of predation, competition, commensalism, mutualism/cooperation, symbiosis. These horizontal, ‘grassroots’ relationships are the actual form that the system’s self-regulated complexity takes. There is no hierarchical top-down control of the system. ‘Nature knows no king of beasts’ (Murray Bookchin). The human brain has no hierarchy or central boss. Our global website will cater for horizontal grassroots inter-connection and dialogue.

From Affinity Group to Infinity Group. Take the complexity of libertarian self-organization just in my simple case. I am at present in an affinity group with a mutual interest in creating a global dialogue website. Most in this group are, or have been, affiliated with IOPS. In turn IOPS itself could in theory (if conceived differently) be part of some larger international federation of libertarian/’participist’ groups of some kind. In turn this international federation could be part of this global Movement of movements (a kind of ‘Infinity Group’) and its website. At the same time I have ‘horizontal’ connections with the local Community garden which is part of the local Transition initiative which in turn is part of the international Transition Network which could be part this global Movement of movements and its website.

The website could thus cater for me as an individual, as a member of an affinity or interest group, as a member of IOPS, a member of a Community Garden, a member of the local/international Transition Network. Like Wikipedia it could have meta-portals, i.e. portal opening upon portal up and down the holonic scale from most local to most global. These portals could be organised both geographically by continents and via global activist themes or issues (e.g. climate justice, direct action, ‘Blockadia’, social justice, participatory democracy, indigenous rights, peace and non-violence, gender and sexuality, another world visions etc.)

Coherence not from Unity but from Complexity. The website structure should reflect a libertarian vision of a complex, diverse, self-managed society, a Confederation of federations or Network of networks, where coherence is not found through an enforced top-down unity (as in all parties right and left) but through the free, bottom-up communication of its diverse parts.

Peter Kropotkin already described this well in 1905 as ‘an ever-changing adjustment and readjustment of equilibrium between multitudes of forces and influences’ expressed in ‘an interwoven network composed of an infinite variety of groups and federations of all sizes and degrees, local, regional, national and international – temporary or more or less permanent – for all possible purposes: production, consumption and exchange, communications, sanitary arrangements, education, mutual protection, defence of the territory, and so on; and on the other side, for the satisfaction of an ever-increasing number of scientific, artistic, literary and sociable needs.’ (1905 ‘Anarchism’ article for Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th edition).

Flow (v Building). We can build a website but not a truly self-organizing movement and certainly no global Movement of movements. These emerge organically and spontaneously when the time is ripe from deep social and psychic sources beyond any extrinsic control or leadership. What we can try and do is facilitate global dialogue by offering a prototype website and then go with the Flow. Like the creative process in art, poetry, science, self-organization is itself Flow, a flexible and dynamic rather than rigid, static structure. It is creativity in response to challenges. It is surfing the surging and ebbing waves of social movements emerging from the Deep, from the Void, the Tao. Perhaps the waves have not developed enough as yet, perhaps the global crisis is not deep enough yet, and it could thus yet be too early for such a (ad)venture, who knows. Still, one can only find out by venturing, so it’s worth a non-violent shot.

Dark Aphorisms

•January 9, 2015 • 8 Comments

Exif_JPEG_PICTURE

[The first one hit me this morning on waking, the rest followed after I wrote that one down. Nice read perhaps for northern hemisphere readers now at the low point of the year, keeping warm in their cocoons…Own photo, light on water, which has always fascinated me…as it did two of my favorite film directors, Satiyat Ray and Andrei Tarkovsky.]

Dark Aphorisms

All good people contain – indeed must contain – a spark of dark, all evil people a splinter of light. If not, they become inhuman, cardboard caricatures of angels and demons. They become dangerous, or, worse, boring.

Iago is more interesting than Othello, Mephistopheles than Faust, the Trickster than the Dalai Lama or Mother Theresa. We humans love the twisted and wide, are quickly bored by the straight and narrow.

To embrace one’s own dark is not to identify with it. To identify with it is to deny one’s goodness. To deny one’s goodness is as predictable and boring as the opposite.

The Trickster creates culture, innovation, change. And their destruction. A bit like capitalism. Thus the anarchist quandary: How can we eliminate capitalism without losing the Trickster?

When the first humans left Africa, they were following the Trickster’s footsteps in the sands. Now his footsteps are leading us back to that little one world we had, but on a planetary scale.

The Trickster’s shimmering, Luciferian light leads us forward with its spark of dark.

Look in my eye, said the spider to the fly. Hello Shadow, my old friend, it’s good to talk to you again, said the fly. And saw the universe open up like a black hole pregnant with potential. So this is what ‘dying’ is, it thought, just before no-thought.

Conspectus for a Global Transformation Dialogue Website

•January 5, 2015 • 5 Comments

oxfam- 85 richest own as much as 3.5 billion poorest

[Happy New Year, folks. Here’s an idea. Some folks I’m involved with are in the process of discussing something similar. Will keep you posted if anything comes of it.]

Conspectus for a Global Transformation Dialogue Website

AIM

To find, through dialogue, common ground and narrative among activists and concerned individuals regarding changing the system in order to save the planet and humanity by creating a global democracy and self-managed, fair-and-sharing economy within the ecological limits of the biosphere

PREMISES (Why do we need global transformation?)

• We are heading towards total climate and ecological collapse and this would mean the collapse of global civilization and the beginning of a dark age in human evolution

• Our global economic system, its dependence on fossil fuels and its lack of social justice and true democracy, is the main cause of this threat

• We need ‘system change, not climate change’: we need to gain democratic control of the global economic and political system so that ‘another world is possible’

• To do this we need to come together globally in order to create a true democracy, a participatory democracy, where the people themselves rule and decide on the material and political conditions of a good life for all on an ecologically sustainable basis

• To come together globally we need to start with all those already active democratic grassroots movements fighting and/or building alternatives on many fronts

• To come together as a Global Movement of Movements and Network of Networks, these movements need to support each other across national boundaries, share ideas and, most importantly, begin to develop a strong, coherent and inspiring narrative focussed on what needs to be done to transform the system and save the planet and humanity

• This coming together needs to happen urgently to better cope with the effects of already dangerous climate change, avoid a rise in global temperature above 2 degrees Celsius, bring CO2 levels back down to 350 ppm, and thus avoid the increasing possibility of runaway climate chaos

• We are a broad spectrum of grassroots movements: we should both celebrate our diversity and work towards finding common focus and narrative in our dialogue, mutual aid and supportive direct actions to transform the system and realise the people power of participatory democracy

VALUES (Implied by the above Premises)

• Ecological sustainability as the key material condition for all viable social institutions
• Ecological stewardship and regeneration as key global tasks
• Elimination of fossil fuels, nuclear power and WMDs as unsustainable threats
• Democratic discussion and control of technology and innovation
• Climate justice (transition support for workers, reparations from rich to poor)
• The need for a ‘fair earth share’ for all (sustainable resource consumption)
• Food and energy sovereignty as the basis of democratic self-determination
• Public ownership of the global commons (biological and cultural)
• A fair redistribution of wealth nationally and internationally
• Democracy as direct or participatory democracy at all levels, including the economy
• Devolution of power, decentralisation/re-localisation of economies
• Internationalism, transnational and –ethnic solidarity and mutual aid
• Anti-racism, anti-fascism, anti-imperialism, anti-militarism, anti-police state
• Non-violent direct action and civil disobedience (congruence of means and ends)
• Individual freedom and human rights, ‘bread and roses’ for all
• Feminism and sexual equality

THE SPECTRUM (Of global activist movements here addressed)

From the anti-authoritarian, anti-capitalist left (no parties), egalitarian communes, indigenous activists, alternative media and think tanks, feminists and queer activists via ‘centre’ of workers and consumer cooperatives, free internet and P2P activists, transitioners and re-localisers, climate justice activists and environmental ‘blockadians’, to social democratic ‘right’ of Green New Dealers, ‘blue-green’ unionists and anti-austerity activists (no parties). Involve artists, poets and musicians from the start.

POSSIBLE NEXT STEPS

Where possible find grassroots activist networks already in existence on each continent (possibly via websites, alternative media and think tanks). Find their ‘keystone’ people. Develop a prototype website, then contact them with this global-website-for-dialogue idea. Let it evolve from there. (If it gets up, get statements of support from well-known activists and thinkers).

 
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