Posts tagged anarchy
Posts tagged anarchy
Welcome to another year of the Harbinger. We’ve managed to stay alive and even grow a little stronger, despite the best prayers of conservative FBI informants everywhere. We thought we’d start this semester off with an short explanation of some of the values and ideas that guide us as Anti-Capitalists, allowing us to set right some false assumptions the power structure, and Fox news in particular, has helped cultivate.
Our group, The Student Socialist Union is a multi-tendency leftist organization. We embrace the common ideals of Socialism, Communism, and Anarchy in an effort to build a united front against capitalism. The enemy is too strong for us to be caught up in sectarian bickering: only through coordinated action can we hope to seize our future back from those who seek to sell it for a better bottom line.
Socialism is not the boogie man that the right likes to build it into, but a centuries old ideology of liberation and equality. It encompasses a wide variety of theories all based around the idea that in this modern age, with the vast wealth that our society produces, there is no longer any need for hunger, homelessness, or major inequalities. We believe that the means of production, that is the factories, land and machinery used to produce commercial goods, should be held in common among the people that work and utilize them. Wealth is created through group action, and should be divided amongst the group, not hoarded by an individual. State Socialism, Communism, and Anarchism are extremely dynamic and varied theories, what follows are mere sketches of the ideas entailed in each.
Socialism, as a term is the most general of these ideologies, and has been used to refer to everything from the Labour party in Britain to the Bolsheviks in Revolutionary Russia. The basic idea of socialism is that the majority of the population to take control of government, be it through democratic or revolutionary means, and administer the means of production through the state. This is usually done through a workers party which represents the will of the people, and administers the state in their interests. Socialists governments generally launch a broad platform of educational, medical, housing, and other social programs, also bringing major industries and utilities under the control of the government, and by extension the people.
Communists believe in a radical reorganization of society to create a truly democratic way of life. Generally they believe in worker’s control of the means of production; economic democracy, meaning decisions of what and how much to produce are made by the community; and the end of private property. Some communists see socialism as but the first step on the road to a communist society. They see using the state to redistribute wealth and create the structure of the future society: organizing communes and planning the economy. Others believe that communism should be brought about from the grass roots by expropriation, and localized organizations of working people who come together to create national and international economic organizations.
Finally, Anarchists believe that inequality and oppression are caused by coercive , force based authority. It is a common misconception that anarchists don’t believe in any sort of organization. This is false. Anarchists believe in voluntary democratic organization who’s decisions are enforced by the community, without professional police or army. They believe the people should overthrow the state without taking power, decentralizing decision making to the local level and administering the economy through trade and regional economic unions. Generally Anarchists seek a communist future without resorting to state authority to create it.
It is the goal of our group to find the unities within these ideologies, namely their opposition to capitalist exploitation and sham democracy, belief in worker control of their own lives and jobs, and a more equitable distribution of wealth. We must stand together to oppose the corrupt immoral system of global capital, and fight in concert for a truly better tomorrow.
On November 3rd Students Allied for Freedom and Equality (SAFE) brought Gal Lugasi, a member of the Israeli organization Anarchists Against the Wall, to campus. Gal spoke about her organization and its activities, which consist mainly of participating in protests and direct action against the separation wall being constructed by Israel in the West Bank. Anarchists Against the Wall does not organize any of these demonstrations, nor does it set the agenda for them. As Gal emphasized repeatedly, they only participate in actions that are organized and led by Palestinians, and then only when they have been invited by the Palestinian organizers. AATW supports Palestinian resistance against the construction of the wall and the military occupation of the West Bank by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). This resistance can take many forms, such as protest marches in towns where the wall is being built, blocking the path of armored bulldozers attempting to demolish Palestinian homes, and cutting the fence which makes up the majority of the separation barrier. The presence of Israelis at these events can be beneficial for the Palestinian demonstrators as the IDF is less likely to use lethal force against a crowd that contains Israeli citizens, although deaths and serious injuries at demonstrations where Israelis and other internationals are present are not infrequent.
Anarchists Against the Wall began its activities in 2003, soon after construction began on the wall’s first segments. Israel claims that the purpose of the wall is to protect its citizens from violent action taken by some Palestinians to resist the occupation of the West Bank. As Gal pointed out, this justification is absurd as the easiest and most effective way to eliminate attacks on Israelis would be to end the occupation and the brutal violence used by Israel in the repression of Palestinians. And this is not the only function the wall performs. As it deviates significantly from the 1949 Armistice border (“Green Line”), the wall takes a large portion of the West Bank and effectively annexes it to Israel. About 12% of the area of the West Bank is surrounded by the wall in this way, cut off from other Palestinian territory. In addition to further complicating the already difficult task of moving around the West Bank as a Palestinian, the wall in several cases stands between towns and fields, making farming impossible. Farming is an important part of the Palestinian economy and in this respect the wall contributes to the further impoverishment of the Palestinian people.
As soon as the Israel began to build the wall, Palestinians and their allies started fighting back against it in the form of direct actions and protests. Many towns along the wall’s route hold weekly demonstrations to attempt to stop its construction and bring its unjust character to the world’s attention. Although Anarchists Against the Wall is one of the better-known organizations working against the wall, it is only one of many groups participating in the Palestinian movement against the wall, against the occupation, and against the Israeli apartheid system.
By Jack Hagen