The Acorn – 64

Number 64

Double-sided A4 pdf version to print out and distribute


In this issue:

  1. The dictatorship will fall!
  2. Shocktroops of the New Fascism
  3. Spreading a message of hope
  4. Covid-1984: the truth about techno-totalitarianism
  5. Resist the G7 in Cornwall!
  6. René Guénon: an orgrad inspiration
  7. Acorninfo

1. The dictatorship will fall!

mar20london4

In these dark times for people all over the world, the UK seems to be slipping deepest of all into the shadows of tyranny.

With vaccination rates higher than elsewhere, the authorities are now suggesting that their “vaccine passports” may be needed not just for travel but for basic social activities, such as going to the pub.

But, at the same time, the country is also seeing an impressive wave of resistance to the newnormalist dictatorship.

Saturday March 20 saw protests for freedom in some 40 countries in Europe and beyond (see round-up videos here, here, here and here).

And the biggest of all was in London, UK, where tens of thousands of people took to the streets.

There were the usual attempts by mainstream media to avoid spelling out the huge numbers involved, to focus on arrests and to otherwise marginalise the participants.

But, this time, they couldn’t just pretend the protest hadn’t even taken place.

Overseas observers are noting “increasing signs that the British public are growing frustrated with the constraint” and seeing that there is “palpable restlessness among members of the public”.

Behind the scenes, our rulers must be quaking in their boots. They know that their power is crumbling and they risk losing control!

There was also a big turn-out in Kassel, Germany, with a crowd of at least 20,000. Many protesters were chanting “Wir sind das Volk” (“We are the people”), a slogan taken from mass protests in 1989.

mar20germ2

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Cops in Amsterdam, Netherlands, used water cannons and violence against a large crowd which was chanting slogans like “Love, freedom, no to dictatorship” and singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone”.

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In Belgium, people gathered in the Bois de la Cambre in Brussels to protest against “restrictions to our freedom and the harbingers of a dictatorship”.

A shocked journalist reported: “The majority of the protestors are not wearing face masks and are not keeping (sufficient) social distance, despite repeated calls from the police”.

A mass protest was staged by around 3,000 people in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. Banners were emblazoned with slogans like “Covid-1984”, “Give our Freedom back”, “Leave the kids alone”, “The media is the virus”, and “Experimental vaccines: we will not be guinea pigs”.

In Romania, there was a protest with music in Bucharest and campaigners burned facemasks in Timisoara.

mar20romania

This followed on from a big event on March 7, when thousands of protesters took to the streets of Bucharest, chanting “Freedom!” and “Down with the mask,” and bearing the message “Say no to forced vaccination!”

In Croatia, freedom protests were held in Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Split, Šibenik and Osijek.

mar20croatia

Hundreds of people defied Covid-pretexted restrictions on protesting in Helsinki, Finland, with a police chief complaining that “an uncontrolled number of people have packed in”.

Protester Jonas Nordberg told media: “This event has nothing to do with coronavirus. It’s about the right to be a free citizen in this country”.

mar20finland

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In Warsaw, Poland, protesters, mostly without masks, carried banners with slogans like “Stop compulsory vaccination”, “Stop the plandemic” and “Stop genetic therapy”.

Police used stun guns and tear gas against the freedom campaigners. A government minister said it was “scandalous” that they had defied Covid rules and talked of “zero tolerance” of such dissent in future.

In Sweden there were protests in Stockholm, Malmö and Gothenburg.

mar20sweden

In Austria, more than 1,000 people in Vienna protested against Covid tyranny near the city’s central railway station.

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In Italy there were protests in cities including Udine, Venice and Turin, with placards reading: “Truth, justice, freedom, breath!”.

10,000 people protested in Liestal, near Basle in Switzerland, many wearing white suits and holding signs reading “Enough is enough”, “Vaccines kill” and “Let love be your guide, not fear”.

mar20switz

In France, there was a carnival flavour to the defiance of totalitarianism, with unauthorised pro-freedom festivities in places such as Marseilles and Les Vans in Ardèche.

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In Ireland, anti-lockdown protesters chanted “Whose streets? Our streets!” as they marched through central Dublin.

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A protest was held in Sofia, Bulgaria, where a man was photographed with a poster declaring “I want a normal life!” and in Serbia, demonstrators danced around a Belgrade monument.

mar20bulg

Freedom rallies were held in Canada, too, for instance in London, Ontario, and Calgary.

A huge and angry crowd turned out in Melbourne, Australia, with one speaker at the rally declaring:”We’ve gathered here today because of the lies that have been told to us for way too long!”

The March 20 protests were not a one-off, of course, but the continuation of an ongoing global revolt.

Since the last Acorn came out, there have been significant protests in the UK, Ireland (including Cork), Israel, Quebec, Australia, the Netherlands

And March 20 was certainly not the end of protests against Covid tyranny either; more like the start of a new phase of intensified resistance as awareness spreads of exactly what is going on.

As a reporter for the New York Times writes: “A year after European leaders ordered people into their homes to curb a deadly pandemic, thousands are pouring into streets and squares.

“Often, they are met by batons and shields, raising questions about the tactics and role of the police in societies where personal liberties have already given way to public health concerns.

“From Spain and Denmark to Austria and Romania, frustrated people are lashing out at the restrictions on their daily lives.

“With much of Europe facing a third wave of infections that could keep these stifling lockdowns in place weeks or even months longer, analysts warn that tensions on the streets are likely to escalate”.

* The next advertised protest date for London, UK, is 1pm on Saturday April 24, with the emphasis on medical freedom and the right to protest.

April24demo

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2. Shocktroops of the New Fascism

toy-soldiers

For a long time, our freedom and autonomy have been under attack from two sides.

On one flank is the State, which uses physical violence to impose its rules on us, to insist that we never step outside of the cage it has built for us.

On the other flank is Money Power, which constantly tries to manipulate and exploit us, to leech off our labour and to sell us the products and lifestyles from which it can profit.

For a long time, too, there has been a serious overlap between the goals of these two oppressive forces, in that Money Power depends on the State to protect its interests and to keep the people in their place.

But they have remained, on the surface at least, distinct entities, allowing some to fondly imagine that we might find refuge from one in the arms of the other.

Socialists and communists say that the State can be wrestled from the grip of Money Power and turned into a transitional force for good, before perhaps being allowed to gradually wither away in the new post-capitalist world.

Some libertarians, identifying the State as the main enemy, insist that only the “free market” economics of some kind of imaginary “pure” capitalism can free humanity from the dead hand of tyranny.

anarchyOnly anarchists have understood that both State and Money Power have to be swept away if we are to reclaim the freedom and happiness that is our birthright.

Anarchists know that all power corrupts, that true authority can only come from within the heart of the individual and the collective to which they belong, and that the State, no matter how supposedly benign and democratic, can never be anything other than an obstacle to the free organic flowering of human community.

They also know that no healthy society can be built on the pursuit and accumulation of individual wealth, on selfish greed, on a commercial mindset in which quantity is favoured over quality and in which all higher values have been replaced by the lowest of financial calculations.

Today, in the 2020s, the anarchist insight that State and Money Power are one and the same enemy has been dramatically shown to be right.

ronald cohen bookBehind the scenes, the two became increasingly entwined during the neoliberal period, with decades of privatisation, outsourcing, and public-private partnerships.

Money Power has dominated the agenda of government to the point that its demands for limitless “growth” and increasing access to public funds have become unrefusable in the corridors of power.

The global coup launched under the cover of “Covid” has finally drawn back the curtain on the frighteningly advanced point which this State-Money convergence has now reached.

We are far from alone in identifying the new hybrid entity as nothing other than a 21st century form of fascism.

This should be the time for all anarchists to step forward proudly from the political shadows and declare that we were right all along, that our struggle has always been about opposing State, Money Power and fascism and that we invite everyone else to join us in slaying this monster.

However, the State-Money system has so thoroughly corrupted society with its unlimited networks of wealth and power that even this potentially powerful source of resistance has been neutralised.

Incredibly, many who have flown the flag of “anarchism” (or some half-hearted version) have chosen this crucial historical moment to back away from the principles they claim to uphold and have been aggressively insulting those few anarchists who have remained true to the philosophy.

anarchists for masksThey have abandoned opposition to the State and called for people to obey its most draconian laws, echoing its own line that to do otherwise is irresponsible and “puts lives at risk”.

They have failed to stand up to Money Power, by refusing to acknowledge its influence and by refusing to listen to those who have researched and exposed the way in which has taken over our societies, and in doing so they have again adopted the terminology of the system by branding these dissidents “conspiracy theorists”.

These anarchists, all avowedly “anti-fascist”, have abjectly failed to stand up to the New Fascism with which we are now faced.

Indeed, they will not even admit that it exists or that it presents any real threat to humankind.

Clinging to their juvenile cardboard cut-out understanding of fascism as purely a 20th-century form of authoritarian nationalism, they refuse to recognise its re-emergence in a new and even more dangerous guise.

Worse still, they direct their phoney “anti-fascism” against the dissidents who dare stand up to the real contemporary New Fascism, accepting without question the system’s strange and wildly inaccurate narrative that opposition to worldwide tyranny is the sole preserve of the “far right”.

One of the leading exponents of this approach in recent years, Alexander Reid Ross, has recently been exposed (unsurprisingly as far as we are concerned) by The Grayzone as a complete sham, now openly working with former cops and CIA agents at a militaristic think tank funded in part by billionaire Charles Koch.

Alexander Reid Ross exposed

These Ross-style “anarchists” (who, by jettisoning the philosophical basis of anarchism, are now indistinguishable from the rest of the fake left) are not simply failing to engage in the struggle.

By amplifying the system’s narrative, by helping it to conceal its fascistic nature, by smearing and abusing its opponents, they are actively aiding and abetting tyranny.

On top of all this there is a problem that has dogged the left since the 19th century – its largely uncritical embrace of industrial “progress”.

It has failed to see that technology is far from being “neutral”, something which could be used for the common good in certain conditions, and is instead the ever-more powerful tool with which the ruling class has gradually imprisoned and disempowered the rest of us.

Miguel amoros2It has neither understood nor accepted Miguel Amorós’s crucial insight that “factories, machines and bureaucracies are the real pillars of capitalist oppression”.

More than that, it even joins the ruling class in declaring any such fundamental critique to be ridiculous, unrealistic or “reactionary”, a threat to the “progressive” values with which it associates.

When we add to this the insidious way in which “left-wing” agendas have been realigned to suit the needs of impact investors, as exposed here and here, an ugly reality starts to emerge.

We find ourselves looking at a pseudo-left, including pseudo-anarchists, which defends both State and Money Power, disallows analysis of their inter-connections and machinations, refuses to acknowledge or challenge the New Fascism and eagerly embraces the very structures and technologies through which humanity is being enslaved.

What is the meaning of a “left” which actively supports everything that was previously associated with the right? In what way can we distinguish it from the right, other than by the self-righteous framing with which it presents the very same insidious life-denying agenda?

For real rebels, real freedom-fighters, real anarchists, this fake left has now clearly identified itself as our enemy and its Covid-reinforcing activists have been revealed as nothing other than the shocktroops of the New Fascist global dictatorship.

Authentic revolt will come neither from left nor right, but from below!

alibi of tyrants

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3. Spreading a message of hope

Freedom protester

We are clearly at a crossroads in political history, particularly that of the resistance to global capitalist tyranny.

With too many people under the spell of media indoctrination, it is more important than ever that we communicate our message of empowerment and liberation.

We recently heard from a fellow dissident who has drawn up ten points to bear in mind as we move forward in this crucial struggle and we share them here:

1. Using populist rhetoric to counter the right wing demagogues.
2. Making left wing politics seem less radical, less intellectual and more connected to the masses.
3. Stop letting the ruling class dictate the limits of debate.
4. Making it more socially acceptable to discuss “conspiracy theories” and ask tough questions about deep events like false flag terrorism, wars, the economy, and the ruling class behavior.
5. Start bringing class consciousness to the working class and the petite bourgeoisie which means 99.9% of humanity (even more) and start explaining to people that socialism is not more collectivist than capitalism (on the contrary), not less free (capitalism is tyranny) and it’s not about hating the rich (they hate us more than we hate them and most of them suffer from the system).
capitalist slavery6. Connected to number 5, enough of demoralized class collaboration mentality and capitulation. We should not be unrealistic but we should make very clear what our goals are and that we oppose class collaboration at any cost.
7. Explaining to people that capitalism is not “free” nor anti government and that what we see now is not communism (under Stalin, Bill Gates and his friends would have probably doing several months of labor in the Gulag).
8. Explaining to people that demagoguery and other distractions are nothing more than bourgeois control over society. In a sense, telling people to stop being afraid of what the “news” tells them and to beware of the strategy of tension.
9. Giving people hope! The ruling class spent the last 50 years pacifying and demoralizing our society.
10. Explaining the dangers of liberalism and the idea of free countries and free thought.

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4. Covid-1984: the truth about techno-totalitarianism

Covid-1984 book

Gaslighting has been one of the main weapons with which the system has tried to silence critics of the New Fascism it is imposing on the world.

Those of us who have spoken out against what is happening have been derided as idiots, lunatics, whose opinions are based on ignorance and “unscientific” prejudice.

Tame academics and intellectuals have played their (well-paid) role in this operation by repeating and amplifying this message, effectively declaring all questioning of the global coup to be beyond the intellectual pale.

It is therefore good news to come across a book from an academic, a philosophy professor in fact, which wholeheartedly challenges the current dictatorship and everything that lies behind it.

The bad news for most of our readers is that it is in French, so here we are summarising the contents of Covid-1984 by Michel Weber (Chromatika, Belgium, 2020), subtitled “The (political) truth about the medical lie: digital fascism”. (1)

Michel WeberWeber is forthright in his description of what is happening to humankind, warning: “The political system which is being put into place is totalitarian”. (2). “This is about the extension of the neoliberal sphere, which wants to transform everything into a product”, (3) he says. “The real-fake crisis health crisis of 2020 is the pretext used to definitively strip populations of the social and political gains conceded after 1945”. (4)

He makes it clear that we are witnessing the massive extension of corporate rule and draws comparisons with pre-war Germany and Italy. “We have to understand, for once and for all, that politicians do not represent the people, but the oligarchs and their multinationals”, (5) he says, concluding that this amounts to “a new fascist totalitarianism, much more pernicious than its 20th century predecessors, because of its digital nature”. (6)

He agrees with German lawyer Reiner Fuellmich that the Covid coup is “the greatest crime against humanity ever perpetrated”. (7)

Weber addresses the physical means by which this New Fascism seeks to control us: “Technology – and in particular the devices associated with 5G – now allows total panoptical surveillance: tracing of all internet activity (big data) and physical movement (geolocalisation), the disappearance of cash transactions, house arrest (electronic bracelets, remote working, online education, interent shopping, online consultations) etc” (8).

He explains how 5G is needed to launch the Internet of Things and the Internet of Bodies and entails “a radical advance of technoscientific totalitarianism, since it aims to master, and thus control, every aspect of our existence”. (9)

He cites the prophetic Edgar Evans Cayce, who warned as long ago as 1934: “Some day tiny radios placed in the brain may make possible the enslavement of entire nations”. (10)

DARPAAnd he quotes this sinister 2014 question from Michael Goldblatt, former head of the Defense Sciences Office of the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA): “How is having a cochlear implant that helps the deaf hear any different than having a chip in your brain that could help control your thoughts?” (11)

Writing about the use of fear to control people, Weber invokes Leo Löwenthal, who was writing just after the Second World War about what had happened to the individual under the heel of the first fascism: “Fear robs him of the power of spontaneous emotional or mental reaction. Thinking becomes a stupid crime; it endangers his life. The inevitable consequence is that stupidity spreads as a contagious disease among the terrorized population”. (12).

Along with fear comes cowed conformism: “It is striking to see with what facility an individual can ignore what his senses are telling him and renounce his own free will so as not to break the consensus of the group”. (13)

The book essentially consists of a series of interrelated essays and in some of these Weber looks more generally at the direction our society has been taking over recent decades.

He explores, for instance, how education has been largely reduced to a training programme “which corresponds very closely to the demands of businesses”. (14)

He examines the link between war and capitalist economics, referencing George Orwell when he wrote in Nineteen Eighty-Four that the primary aim of modern warfare was “to use up the products of the machine without raising the general standard of living”. (15).

Weber adds: “The gigantic military market is underwritten by the State and funded by taxes (paid by the poor) and loans (benefiting the ‘financial markets’)”. (16)

Weber also takes a close look at the idea of economic growth, asking why it is generally regarded as an economic necessity, even by the left. He concludes that this “growth” is needed to pay interest to the banks on money lent into circulation: “It’s a huge Ponzi scheme”. (17)

The Only Sustainable Growth is DegrowthInsisting on the need for a radical form of décroissance, or degrowth, he explicitly insists on the need to bring down the system before any better society can be envisaged.

“It is neither possible nor desirable to draw up a priori a detailed political agenda before deciding to bring down capitalist tyranny”. (18)

Weber reflects that contemporary society has managed to spawn the apparent contradiction of an ideal consumer-citizen who is, at the same time, both individualist and conformist.

He declares that “authenticity requires solidarity to replace atomisation and the individual to replace the clone” (19) and calls for “communities which allow both free individuation and solidarity among each and all”. (20)

And he suggests that this authentic way of living might be based on the watchword of the ZAD free zone at Notre-Dame-des-Landes in France: “Resist, act, live”. (21)

1. Michel Weber, Covid-1984 ou La vérité du mensonge sanitaire: un fascisme numérique (Chromatika, Belgium, 2020).
2. p. 9.
3. p. 21.
4. p. 42.
5. p. 33.
6. p. 36.
7. p. 217.
8. pp. 46-47
9. pp. 137-38.
10. p. 147.
11. cit. p. 149.
12. Leo Löwenthal, ‘Terror’s Atomization of Man’, 1945/46, cit. pp. 95-96.
13. p. 98.
14. p. 135.
15. cit. p. 183.
16. p. 184.
17. p. 159.
18. pp. 172-73.
19. p. 204.
20. p. 189.
21. p. 204.

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5. Resist the G7 in Cornwall!

ResistG7beach

The G7 is coming to Cornwall… and so is resistance!

A Resist G7 Coalition has been established in the UK to confront the global capitalist gathering planned for June 2021.

There is a call for international days of action from June 11 to 13, with a Mass Day of Action on Saturday June 12.

Says the campaign website: “Boris Johnson has chosen to host the G7 in a luxury resort in Cornwall with its own private beach. But Johnson is bringing the G7 to one of the poorest places in Europe. Behind the beauty is severe poverty.

“World leaders will not see the real Cornwall. Holed up in their fancy hotels that locals couldn’t afford to spend a night in, they won’t see the rundown estates, the child poverty, the fuel poverty and the misery their unjust system creates.

“But it’s there. On the doorstep of the hotel they’re staying in. Down the road from Carbis Bay, in St Ives, child poverty is at some of the highest rates in the country.

“Meanwhile, due to the prevalence of second homes, the average property price in the area is a whopping £416,892.

resistg7-g7cornwall“Cornwall has become a playground for the rich. Locals are supposed to be grateful for the money created in menial jobs to serve their needs.

“Many kids leave as soon as they’re able. With either no jobs or only seasonal work, no infrastructure and no services, it shouldn’t be surprising.

“The Resist G7 Coalition is made up of local, national and international groups who’ve come together to build resistance and positive alternatives to the G7.

“This isn’t about opposing one summit. It’s about building on and creating a legacy, of showing what’s possible when diverse groups come together and start organising the world we want to see.

“We believe in a world where we put people and planet before profit, where justice means justice on a global scale, where wealth is shared equally and not pocketed by the 1%.

“Our world should not be a play thing for the rich. It belongs to all of us. And it’s down to us, the people, to stand together, to resist, and to create the future we want to see.

“The world leaders at the G7 aren’t going to do it for us. The system needs changing. And if we want change, we have to act”.

resistG7

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6. René Guénon: an orgrad inspiration

The latest in our series of profiles from the orgrad website.

reneguenon3

“Everything seems to be increasingly artificial, denatured, and falsified”

René Guénon (1886-1951) was a Sufi philosopher and important 20th century critic of Western industrial capitalist civilization.

Because his primary interest was metaphysics rather than ideology, Guénon is sometimes regarded as apolitical.

But there is a strong organic radical dimension to his thought. In his early life he was heavily influenced by the anarcho-Sufi Swedish artist Ivan Aguéli (1) and by Gérard Encausse, part of an alternative spiritual scene embracing feminism, homeopathy, anarchism and animal rights. (2)

Guénon’s own traditionalist or perennialist philosophy was an appreciation of the age-old and timeless universal human wisdom at the esoteric core of all the world’s major religions.

He abandoned his native France to spend the rest of his life in Egypt, with the new name of Abd al-Wâhid Yahyâ, and condemned all nationalism as “essentially opposed to the traditional outlook”. (3)

Like his friend Ananda Coomaraswamy, Guénon was appalled by Western imperialism and the way in which it everywhere imposed its exploitative, productivist, industrial way of life.

britishimperialism2

In 1927’s The Crisis of the Modern World, he described the concept of “civilization” as a pretext designed to fool the public, “mere moralistic hypocrisy, serving as a mask for designs of conquest or economic ambitions”. (4)

He poured scorn on the idea that capitalist powers like Britain or France were “improving” the lives of indigenous peoples by colonising them.

He wrote: “It is really an extraordinary epoch in which so many men can be made to believe that a people is being given happiness by being reduced to subjection, by being robbed of all that is most precious to it, that is to say of its own civilization, by being forced to adopt manners and institutions that were made for a different race, and by being constrained to the most distasteful kinds of work, in order to make it acquire things for which it has not the slightest use”. (5)

For Guénon, the whole Western idea of work, the idea that people should be made to spend their lives producing goods and profit, was abhorrent.

He wrote: “The modern West cannot tolerate that men should prefer to work less and be content to live on little; as it is only quantity that counts, and as everything that escapes the senses is held to be non-existent, it is taken for granted that anyone who is not in a state of agitation and who does not produce much in a material way must be ‘lazy’”. (6)

Guénon saw capitalist modernity as a hideous affront to everything that was traditionally important to human beings. It promoted objects above people, quantity above quality, money above life.

In 1924 he wrote in East and West: “Modern civilization suffers from a lack of principles, and it suffers from it in every domain. By a monstrous anomaly, it is, alone, among the others, a civilization without principles, or with only negative ones, which amounts to the same thing. It is as if an organism with its head cut off went on living a life that was at the same time intense and disordered”. (7)

industrialism

Inseparable from the insanity of this foul Western civilization was the industrialism with which it expanded and imposed its power.

He observed: “What the modern world has striven after with all its strength, even when it has claimed in its own way to pursue science, is really nothing other than the development of industry and machinery; and in thus seeking to dominate matter and bend it to their service, men have only succeeded in becoming its slaves”. (8)

Twenty years before Guy Debord wrote The Society of the Spectacle, Guénon identified modern Western society in 1945 as one in which “everything seems to be increasingly artificial, denatured, and falsified”. (9)

The falsity of this society extended to the way it encouraged people to think – or rather, not to think. If the public could understand clearly what was going on it “might endanger certain political interests”, Guénon suggested.

This would explain why the education system favoured certain methods over all others: “Consciously or not, they begin by removing everything that might make it possible to see things clearly, and that is how ‘public opinion’ is formed”. (10)

As an example of this, he cited the way that philosophy had increasingly been dominated by academics who focused on narrow facts and details at the expense of the bigger picture.

Guénon complained: “What interests them is not whether a certain idea is true or false, or in what measure it is so; their only concern is to find out who first propounded the idea, in what terms he formulated it, and at what date and under what accessory circumstances he did so; and this history of philosophy which busies itself exclusively with the scrutiny of texts and biographical details, claims to take the place of philosophy itself, thus bringing about its final divorce from any small intellectually valuable residue that it might have retained in modern times. By clinging to the letter only, it is unable to enter into the spirit”. (11)

He noted elsewhere: “Modern man, instead of attempting to raise himself to truth, seeks to drag truth down to his own level”. (12)

voteliberalGuénon described how the Western system deliberately used this disconnection from the truth to keep its victims in a permanent state of disempowered delusion: “The great ability of those who are in control in the modern world lies in making the people believe that they are governing themselves”. (13)

The biggest lie of all was the absurd optimism projected in the notion of “progress”, the idea that industrial development had improved human society and would continue to do so in the future.

Guénon identified instead “a change that is the direct opposite of ‘progress’, amounting indeed to a veritable regression of intelligence”. (14)

This cultural regression, which went hand in hand with economic growth, was rapidly gathering speed, he thought, like “a mobile body running down a slope and going faster as it approaches the bottom”. (15)

In these circumstances, a “mere readjustment” of society would not be enough and Guénon welcomed the opportunity for “a complete renovation”. (16)

And how might this renovation be achieved? “Modifying the mental outlook of a people is the one and only means of bringing about any deep or lasting change”. (17)

Video link: Guénon, Coomaraswamy, Schuon, Burckhardt, Pallis and Nasr (13 mins)

reneguenon

1. Robin Waterfield, René Guénon and The Future of the West: The life and writings of a 20th-century metaphysician (Wellingborough: Crucible, 1987), p. 41.
2. Mark Sedgwick, Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), pp. 45-48.
3. René Guénon, The Crisis of the Modern World, trans. by Arthur Osborne, Marco Pallis & Richard C. Nicholson (Ghent NY: Sophia Perennis, 2001), p. 98.
4. Guénon, The Crisis of the Modern World, p. 92.
5. Ibid.
6. Ibid.
7. René Guénon, East and West, trans. by Martin Lings (Hillsdale NY: Sophia Perennis, 2004), p. 106.
8. Guénon, The Crisis of the Modern World, p. 87.
9. René Guénon, The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times, trans. by Lord Northbourne (Hillsdale, NY: Sophia Perennis, 2004), p. 192.
10. Guénon, East and West, p. 15.
11. René Guénon, Introduction to the Study of the Hindu Doctrines, trans. by Marco Pallis (Hillsdale, NY: Sophia Perennis, 2004), p. 215.
12. Guénon, The Crisis of the Modern World, p. 66.
13. Guénon, The Crisis of the Modern World, p. 74.
14. Guénon, The Crisis of the Modern World, p. 50.
15. Guénon, The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times, p. 43.
16. Guénon, The Crisis of the Modern World, p. 17.
17. Guénon, Introduction to the Study of the Hindu Doctrines, p. 250.

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7. Acorninfo

People who froth at the mouth at any hint of what they call “conspiracy theory” are stuck in an infantile state of mind where they see all authority as the trustworthy “mummy and daddy” on whom they emotionally depend. So judges a fascinating article from Tim Foyle. He writes: “This is the core, comforting illusion at the root of the conspiracy denier’s mindset, the decrepit foundation upon which they build a towering castle of justification from which to pompously jeer at and mock those who see otherwise”.

AntiConspiracist

* * *

A new Coronavirus Megalab is being developed in Leamington Spa, in the English Midlands, with another in Scotland. A government statement says: “Cutting-edge technology made by British manufacturers will be used in both labs, including automation, robotics and consumables. This means more tests will be processed more quickly and at a lower cost, and therefore faster turnaround times for test results”. Local campaigners warn: “Warwick District will therefore become the hub of the biosecurity state for England”.

Megalab

* * *

“The ruling elites consider democracy a ‘necessary illusion'” but “a society that is thoroughly democratic is incompatible with an organization of society favored by the ruling elites”. So writes Rainer Mausfeld, a retired professor of psychology, in an important article translated from German by Dr Daniel Wollschläger, which can be read here.

Rainer Mausfeld

* * *

Tributes have been paid to Ian Crane, the dynamic UK anti-fracking campaigner who died on February 25. Writes Ruth Hayhurst: “Some in the anti-fracking movement disagreed with his views and tactics. But his supporters have described him as hugely influential, inspirational, courageous, determined and a great speaker”. A week after his death, victory was claimed in the long battle against fracking in the Sussex village of Balcombe, when councillors blocked industry plans for a well test.

ian-crane

* * *

“Central to the protest is how much people loved the land and the price they paid for that in terms of serving jail sentences, and suffering physical attacks and intimidation”. A new book by Helen Beynon, with Chris Gillham, called Twyford Rising: Land and Resistance explores the massive anti-road struggle at Twyford Down in Hampshire, England, 30 years ago.

twyford

* * *

“Eventually I began to feel that each new species I harvested represented a single note and as the season of each species layered with or followed the next, the procession of species became a repeating rhythm to me. I was beginning to make out the melody to an ancient and never-ending song, that I could play along with. But only if I were there, living closely amongst its natural composers, could I hear it loud enough to join in”. This beautiful passage comes from an article on mushrooms and anarchism originally published in Black Seed magazine.

mushroom

* * *

This video is a real smoking gun from 2019. Marc Van Ranst, Belgian Flu Commissioner, is talking at Chatham House in London. Nothing about caring for sick people, his speech is all about using the media to sell a pandemic narrative.

marc van ranst

* * *

“It was one of those moments during which the exploited class rises up out of the shadows to express its revolutionary vitality, its capacity to shake the foundations of this world which imprisons it, and so breaks the logic of commodity accumulation, profit-making and the increase in value of capital”. The 150th anniversary of the Paris Commune is celebrated in this useful analysis.

Paris Commune art

* * *

“We are living through historic times. We will be judged by history for what we do now and over the coming months”. We heartily recommend this excellent article by Dave, editor of the Essex Stirrer, one of the rare UK anarchist outlets to have remained true to long-held ideals in the face of the Covid coup and all the associated cowardice and collaboration.

divided we fall

* * *

Acorn quote:

“For the cyber-liberal left there is no equality without recourse to biotechnology”.

Alexis Escudero

PMA

(For many more like this, see the Winter Oak quotes for the day blog)

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The Acorn – 63

Number 63


In this issue:

  1. Breaking point draws near
  2. Guided by the light of life
  3. Nevermore on the anarchist response to Covid-19
  4. Safe & Sanitized: interview with artist Jordan Henderson
  5. Wanted: a new resistance movement
  6. Georges Bernanos: an orgrad inspiration
  7. Acorninfo

1. Breaking point draws near

Netherland riots

A year after the start of the Covid crisis, the fault lines of major social conflict are becoming apparent.

On the one side, authorities are ramping up the repression as they seek to push us all permanently into their New Normal of techno-fascist global slavery.

On the other side, as the Great Reset agenda becomes more widely noticed and understood, resistance is growing, albeit largely under the radar of corporate media subservient to the dictatorship.

“Europe is in revolt against lockdown. Protests, riots and civil unrest have broken out across the continent. People are starting to reach breaking point,” says this February 2021 report by Paddy Hannam of Spiked Online.

Dutch people reacted angrily and courageously against a police-state curfew imposed on their country for the first time since it was occupied by the (original) Nazis.

Netherland riots2

Youths torched a COVID-19 testing center and threw fireworks at police in the fishing village of Urk, reports DW.

“Police in the capital of Amsterdam also used a water cannon to disperse an outlawed anti-lockdown demonstration on a major square ringed by museums,” adds AP.

John Jorritsma, mayor of Eindhoven, where major riots broke out, warned: “We’re on our way to civil war”.

The Dutch love of vrijheid (freedom) was considered worrying by US pro-system propagandist Frida Ghitis, who described how “political extremists, hoping to shake up and undermine the system, blended into the crowd, turning the protests into an explosion of violence”.

Denmark protest2In Copenhagen, Denmark, “crowds of black-clad protesters have taken to the streets, launching fireworks, torching an effigy of Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, and clashing with cops”.

There have also been big protests in Denmark’s second biggest city, Aarhus.

In Brussels, Belgium, hundreds of people defied a police-state ban on protesting, with nearly 500 arrests.

Brussels protest

Meanwhile, some 10,000 people marched through the centre of the Austrian capital, Vienna, to protest against “Covid” restrictions and to demand the resignation of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

There were reports of police removing their helmets in apparent solidarity with the crowds.

In France, resistance has been focusing on opposing the Macronist regime’s fascistic Global Security legislation, a cause which has mobilised part of the traditional left as well as Covid dissidents.

The brutal way in which protests have been attacked by riot cops has caused widespread outrage and fuelled concerns over the direction in which the country is being taken.

sécurité globale manif

On Saturday February 13 protests continued all across the country (Brest, Strasbourg, Montpellier, Chapelle-en-Vercors…)

There is a call for angry citizens from across France to descend on Versailles, symbol of the pre-revolutionary ruling elite, on Saturday February 27 to demand the restoration of freedom for the people and the end of the Macronist regime.

And in London, UK, the first anniversary of lockdown, on March 20, is set to be greeted with a huge protest in the capital, with a target of 50,000 people in London at a location yet to be announced.

Unite for freedom 20.3.21

All the time, all across the world, people are standing up to the global tyranny, often on a very local level.

For instance, on Monday February 15 “anti-lockdown protesters clashed with police” at Eaton Mall in the Oakleigh area of Melbourne, Australia.

Oakleigh Austr protest

On the same day, a group of protesters “representing a range of different ethnicities” gathered outside New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s offices in Auckland to protest against the latest lockdown measures.

In Jerusalem, “ultra-Orthodox” Jews have been at the forefront of lockdown resistance.

Reports The Times of Israel: “Some demonstrators blocked traffic, burned trash bins, damaged vehicles and heaved stones and other objects at officers.

“Police used water cannons to disperse the protest and arrested at least one person on suspicion of disturbing public order”.

Protesters have labelled Israeli police “Nazis” and “kapos” – Jews who collaborated with fascism during World War II.

Israel lockdown protest

In Lebanon, people took to the streets of Tripoli, Beirut, and Sidon for several nights to protest against the two-week extension of curfews and lockdown.

In Vancouver, Canada, protesters rallied to demand an end to PCR testing.

In the USA there have been anti-vaccination protests in Los Angeles and elsewhere, with system propaganda warning of a “dangerous new anti-vaccination movement growing in California”.

When the system’s mouthpieces warn of bad omens and dangers, we know that there is still hope that we can win this great battle for our freedom.

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2. Guided by the light of life

woodcut sun

by Paul Cudenec

The last year has been an extremely disorientating one for those who have always used a traditional political compass to navigate their way through the contemporary world.

All the readings that previously served to guide their thoughts, affiliations and reactions have been madly scrambled.

What used to be left now looks more like right, human rights have been rebranded as bio-hazards, telling the truth is now regarded as spreading dangerous misinformation and what was once the dividing line between state and corporate power now looks like just another link in the 21st century chain of total control.

Our political compasses don’t work any more because we are no longer living in the old manufactured political reality, in the liberal spectacle of “democracy” and “human rights” and “rule by consent”.

The illusion has been abandoned and now there is nothing above us but raw force and nothing below us but fear, obedience and servile conformity.

boot stamping 2

It is hard to find words that do justice to the empty, odious and inhuman future that the global elite are trying to impose on us.

They want to stop us from breathing, from living, from loving, from talking, from singing, from laughing, from dancing, from dreaming and from thinking or acting for ourselves.

They are prepared to use every weapon they have, from toxic brainwashing propaganda to brutal physical force, to destroy humanity as we have known it, to crush the last vestiges of organic community that have survived their previous onslaughts, to break all real connection and communication between us and reduce us to total dependency on their matrix of techno-fascist control.

The struggle ahead of us is no longer about fine-tuning the kind of society we want to live in, about discussing exactly where our priorities lie or the way we want to organise things.

Our fight is for the survival of free human beings and the natural world which gave birth to us.

In order to find our bearings in this struggle we have to throw away our now-useless political compass, and the outdated ideological maps that go with it, and take our position on the fundamental basis of right against wrong, good against evil, light against darkness.

Here too, confusion abounds, since, with their usual low trick of inverting truth, the corporate pharaohs have been busy disguising the means of our enslavement as tools for our liberation and their own goals as being for the “sustainable” and “inclusive” benefit of all.

We are not going to be able to tell good from bad if we listen to their version of reality, a version which is being zealously spread by the robot armies of sycophants and mercenaries they have assembled to advance their plan.

guruInstead, we have to listen to what Indian tradition calls the jagad-guru, the universal guiding wisdom to be found inside each one of us, deep within our hearts.

One of the great tragic traps in the Christian religion is the suggestion that the divine light only shines through one figure, Jesus Christ, and that to achieve redemption the rest of us miserable sinners have merely to obey the commands of those who claim to represent him in our world.

In fact, every single one of us is a small and transcient manifestation of the whole universe and we can all allow the light of truth and liberation to shine through us, if we can only rid ourselves of all the petty fears, vanities and jealousies that block its way.

This is what we all have to do now, at this time of unprecedented danger. We must open ourselves up to the light and trust it to guide our thoughts, words and actions in this holy human war against the enemies of life.

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3. Nevermore on the anarchist response to Covid-19

nevermore cover

Extracted from an article in the first issue of a new review from Canada, Nevermore.

The Covid19 crisis has presented a challenge to anarchists and others who believe in a fully autonomous and liberated life.

We write this today because we feel too many people who in better times carry these political and philosophical banners are setting aside their core beliefs – or worse – by twisting and contorting those beliefs in wholly disappointing ways, conforming to the mandates of technocrats and politicians, and are convincing themselves that doing so is some grand act of solidarity with the most vulnerable people in our societies.

We say loudly that if the political tenets you promote and encourage in the best of times whither and shrink in times of crisis, then your political tenets are worthless.

Any system of organization or any belief about human autonomy that needs to be set aside when history lays a challenge at our feet, is not worth keeping around when the emergency subsides.

For truly, it is times of difficulty and challenge that place our ideas on the scale of utility to tell us whether or not they are as robust as we may believe.

As anarchists, autonomy over one’s own mind and body are essential to our values. We believe that human beings are intelligent enough to decide for themselves how to assess their surroundings and to make determinations on how to go forth living in a way that meets their needs and desires.

Of course, we recognize that this autonomy comes packaged with genuine responsibility not only to one’s self, but to those with whom they are in community – including the non-human world.

anarchistflagWe certainly recognize that individuals may be asked for their cooperation in achieving a collective goal. But we also recognize the fundamental importance of consent in such situations, and that force and punishment are antithetical to an anarchist worldview.

That is why we write today. To reach out to our friends, our comrades, our intellectual and philosophical allies to ask that if you haven’t yet, that you begin to seriously critique and question the state responses to the Covid19 pandemic that we are witnessing around the world.

We have watched over the preceding year, meekly, quietly, as other anarchists have toed the lines drawn by state bureaucrats. We have remained silent when witnessing anarchists act with hostility towards those who have pushed back against state mandated curfews and lockdown orders, only because those doing the most pushing are affiliated with right wing politics, unfortunately ceding this ground to the right wing, instead of forging their own critiques of state policy and thus providing an intellectual home for those who have in isolation grown antagonistic towards those in power who are trifling with our lives.

The impetus for this behaviour amongst anarchists seems to be rooted in their desire to do well by those in need, and as this particular crisis is being caused by a virus, that seems to unfold as an enthusiastic willingness to accept state mandates and to shame those who would violate them.

It is admirable to want to do well by the elderly and infirm, but that instinct is where the conversation should begin, not where we should resolve to set aside our fundamental principles and to justify this by taking technocrats and politicians at their words, using the pronouncements of sanctioned experts as a gospel by which to claim our lack of resistance to mandate is because the mandate makes such good sense.

Politicians lie. They select the analysis and the technicians who promote their agendas.

Corporate executives line up to support them, knowing that the public purse is open to them when they do so. And the media, always wanting to be in the good graces of those with political and fnancial power, manufacture consent in twenty-four hour news cycles. We know this.

We have libraries full of books that we have read and recommended explaining in detail the workings of this reality. Therefore, to be critical of politicians who declare that their emergency violations of basic freedoms are warranted by crisis is always a necessity.

To be critical of pharmaceutical executives who tell the public that only they hold the keys to a future of freedom and safety, and of the media who act as propaganda machines in service of official narratives, is always a necessity.

Anarchists seem to know all of this instinctively when the war politicians want us to wage is a war fought with literal weapons, when the victims are more obvious, when the propaganda is more nationalist, xenophobic, and racist.

nevermore2But with the Covid19 crisis, the war being waged by those in power is ostensibly a war to save lives, and this shift in presentation seems to have effectively hacked the hearts and minds of so many anarchists who at the bottom of everything, carry a deep and genuine care for others.

But we must pull back and think critically about our situation. It is forgivable when in the throes of a quickly unfolding emergency, while lacking the information necessary to make confident decisions, to want to go along with the experts that are put before podiums when they ask that we all pull together for the greater good.

That is no longer the situation. Much time has passed since SARS-COV-2 was a mysterious new respiratory virus. Data has been pouring forth from researchers around the world, and there is now no excuse for fear-based decision making, for accepting as gospel the perceptions and prescriptions stamped by the state and distributed by their lackeys in the media.

We believe that this crisis is like all the crises that came before it, in that it is a period of time in which those with power and wealth see an opportunity to extend their claws and to steal more of both.

It is a moment of collective fear and uncertainty they can exploit to seize more control and to enrich themselves at the expense of the masses of humanity.

nevermore

The only thing that seems to separate the Covid19 crisis from those that came before it, is just how willing so much of the public (sadly including many anarchists) is to willingly and enthusiastically support the loss of their own autonomy.

As anarchists, there are principles we return to as guiding stars in the dark night of the unknown, and these include freedom, autonomy, consent, and a deep belief in the ability of people to self-organize for their maximum benefit as individuals and as communities.

No one knows one’s needs better than they do themselves, and truly, most people have self-preservation instincts that cause them to select behaviours that lead to their own safety and survival, as well as that of those they care for.

At the outset of the pandemic, when information was scant, we very much witnessed people making choices to distance themselves from crowds and gatherings they did not believe were essential, while they also began efforts to support and care for those who might be more vulnerable to a circulating respiratory illness that did not have well-established treatment courses within the medical field.

While we welcome information and data, even that which is unpleasant, that describes the continually unfolding circumstances, we also believe that people need to be trusted to analyze that information.

The current paradigm has the state and their selected technocratic experts filtering the available data and only highlighting that which supports the policy decisions they already decided to implement without any public input.

greenanarchy2Information and analysis that can be considered “good news” has been largely ignored by the state and their technocrats, while also being blacked out by the media.

“Experts” can always be found to justify horrors.

Indeed, we would likely be hard pressed to find a case in recent history in which massive crimes against humanity did not come packaged with a stamp of approval from some consortium of experts whom everyone else was asked to blindly trust.

The Covid19 pandemic is no different, and as anarchists we just ask that you remember that debate, critique, and dissent are all essential components of societies that value liberation and autonomy.

We ask that whatever you decide about the efficacy of lockdown measures, that you recognize no situation, no matter how dire it may seem, warrants edicts from on high that use the threat of force and violence to accomplish their aims.

Our steadfast commitment to human autonomy, and to our belief that no authority is valid without the consent of those it is exercised over, is what makes anarchism a thing apart from other political philosophies.

We will not abandon this commitment, and hope that you will not either.

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4. Safe & Sanitized: interview with artist Jordan Henderson

charset=Ascii binary comment

Fine artist Jordan Henderson has just released his third painting exposing the COVID-19(84) deception. The following is a interview with Jordan conducted by John C. A. Manley regarding the new work, Safe & Sanitized.

JOHN: Why do you associate a face mask (which is promoted as a life saving miracle) with a skull (a long dead head)?

JORDAN: The association of the face mask with the skull illustrates what COVID-19 restrictions really are: a cause of death, suffering and loss of freedoms. The people most likely to die of “COVID-19” are those who believe the official narrative. For example; they lock themselves away, live in fear, get a test, test positive, agree to a ventilator and are then killed by the ventilator.

JOHN: The mask appears not to merely be a face covering, but a gag. Can you speak more about this?

JORDAN: The mask acts as a gag, because forced covering of the human face is a direct assault upon freedom of expression. It is nothing less than suppression of dissent, “Oh, you see through the lie, well you must act as though you believe in it. Under threat of fines and imprisonment, we order you to act like you believe the official lies, and we order you to force anyone entering your business to do the same”.

JOHN: Now, masks are common enough these days; what about the handcuffs?

JORDAN: The handcuffs represent the lockdowns and restrictions on movement and travel. Blood is suggested through streaks of red paint underneath the handcuffs as a reminder of the very real deaths brought about by COVID-19 mandates. The blood is kept in the shadows, almost ignored; the same way the destruction caused by government mandates is ignored by the establishment media and figureheads.

JOHN: There’s nothing more sanitary than a bleached skull. Can you speak about the brilliant title you chose?

JORDAN: The title Safe & Sanitized is intended as dark humour, for the purpose of illustrating the hypocrisy of the Medical Police State. Death, destruction, censorship, imprisonment, persecution, and the ensuing loss of health and freedom for the general population are carried out under the guise of “safety” and “sanitation”.

SafeSanitizedJordanHatworkJOHN: You said you felt driven to paint this horrific image. What message are you trying to convey?

JORDAN: My drive in creating this image was the desire to visually encapsulate the end goal of all COVID-19 policies — the subjugation of the general populace. The subjugation of a human or group of humans by another human or group of humans is the common denominator to those things universally regarded as evil; murder, torture, rape, genocide, and slavery, all involve one human or group of humans being forced under the authority of another human or group of humans.

JOHN: Despite the horror of it, there is a definite and striking beauty to the painting.

JORDAN: While the subject matter is dark, the painting itself is meant to be aesthetically pleasing; hands, skulls, and blood, all have a beauty of their own. The beauty of these three elements (hands, the skull, and blood) hopefully remind the viewer of how marvelous human beings are, thereby increasing the viewer’s empathy for any human being forced under the authority of another.

JOHN: Thank you very much for taking the time to both paint it and answer my questions. Where can readers go to purchase the original or prints?

JORDAN: The original is for sale at JordanHendersonFineArt.com. And prints, as well as stationary cards, T-shirts and other memorabilia, are available at jordan-henderson.pixels.com.

John C. A. Manley has spent over a decade ghostwriting for medical doctors, naturopaths and chiropractors. Since March 2020, he has been writing articles that question and expose the contradictions in the COVID-19 narrative and control measures. He is also completing a novel, Much Ado About Corona: A Dystopian Love Story. You can visit his website at MuchAdoAboutCorona.ca.

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5. Wanted: a new resistance movement

Edge Fund poster

Earlier this month we published a new investigation presenting shocking evidence that UK “leftists” and “anarchists” are being secretly funded by the world of impact capitalism.

The implications are historic and merit being widely digested. Since the article is long and detailed, here is a summary of its contents and conclusions.

* In 2013 many UK anarchists received an email from Sophie Pritchard of Edge Fund looking for “groups that need funding for their work to bring about justice and equality”.

* Edge Fund has gone on to fund various antifascists and anarchists, plus Black Lives Matter and Rising Up (the network behind Extinction Rebellion) and many “intersectional” groups.

* Edge Fund is closely linked to EDGE Funders Alliance (Engaged Donors for Global Equity) in the USA, whose sponsors include the Rockefeller Foundation.

* Rose Longhurst of Edge Fund and EDGE Funders Alliance is part of George Soros’ Open Society Initiative for Europe and of the Atlantic Fellows scheme founded by Chuck Feeney, described by billionaire Warren Buffett as “my hero and Bill Gates’ hero”.

Bill and Melinda Gates2* Edge Fund’s Longhurst is also part of Bond, “the UK network for international development and humanitarian organisations”, which is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

* Edge Fund chair Isis Amlak is a trustee of Olmec, a “social enterprise” which supports BLM but which is in fact clearly belongs to the world of impact capitalism.

* Edge Fund co-founder and coordinator Sophie Pritchard is closely linked to Alliance Magazine, which is partnered with a range of impact businesses and New Philanthropy Capital (NPC).

lankelly chase Thinking Big* Edge Fund activities have been funded by Lankelly Chase, which was involved in the world’s 1st social impact bond alongside J Paul Getty Jr Charitable Trust, K L Felicitas Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation and Ronald Cohen.

* Katie Boswell of NPC, a fan of Edge Fund who like them writes for Alliance Magazine, is a member of Klaus Schwab’s Global Shapers.

Edge Fund is clearly an integral part of an impact capitalism scam, “wokewashing” hypocrisy of the first order, in which profiteers pretend to be acting in the interests of the very people they are exploiting.

A “radical” movement so thoroughly riddled with corporate corruption has obviously come to the end of its useful life and is completely discredited.

We need to start again with a radicalism that challenges the system to the core, a resistance to the global wealthy elite that is deeply and fundamentally opposed to everything they are promoting in their bid to further enslave and exploit us.

revolutionaries2Our resistance needs to be based on solidarity and unity in the face of oppression, rather than on divisive classification and fetishisation of people along lines of race or gender.

It has to be rooted in a love of freedom, independence and self-expression rather than grafted on to a fearful cowed obedience to authority and its propaganda.

We need to say clearly that the values we cherish have nothing to do with the low money-lust of the corporate crooks and their sweaty dreams of endless profit and power.

Turning our backs for ever on their corrupt transhumanist death-cult politics of artifice, hypocrisy and deceit, we need to stand tall and loudly proclaim our belief in nature, in humanity, in truth, in beauty, in justice, in the life energy itself.

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6. Georges Bernanos: an orgrad inspiration

The latest in our series of profiles from the orgrad website.

georges-bernanos2

The Civilization of the Machines is the civilization of quantity opposed to that of quality”

Georges Bernanos (1888-1948) was a French novelist and commentator who strongly criticised the industrial capitalist machine.

After a youthful flirtation with the far-right Action Française, he went on to condemn fascism as “disgustingly monstrous” and was a prominent supporter, from exile in Brazil, of the Free French Forces resisting the Nazi occupation during the Second World War.

From a radical organic perspective, he is significant for his outspoken opposition to the industrial capitalist world and its crushing of the human spirit.

In a 1944 interview Bernanos said: “This world, described stupidly as modern as it were sufficiently justified by the very fact of existing today, has enormous means at its disposal, and notably a propaganda system whose power, efficiency and all-embracing scope simply cannot be compared with anything man has previously known or even imagined.” (1)

la france contre les robotsThree years later he penned the essay ‘France Against the Robots’ (‘La France contre les Robots’), in which he declared war on those he described as “the imbeciles”. He condemned the machine-civilisation and its technology, declaring: “The Civilization of the Machines is the civilization of quantity opposed to that of quality”. (2)

Bernanos warned that the headlong plunge into productivism, consumerism and money-making was threatening humanity and its spiritual well-being.

He wrote: “We can understand nothing about modern civilisation if we don’t first accept that it is a universal conspiracy against all kinds of interior life”. (3)

Jacques Allaire nicely summed up Bernanos’ analysis of the industrial-commercial malaise: “Having has replaced being. In our modern societies, blinded by the speed with which they can produce, the sense of having has become the one and only sense. Having is even the essence of being”. (4)

Inevitably, Bernanos’ critique of industrial capitalism led to him being accused of being backward-looking or reactionary. But this was far from the truth and he always insisted that it was not a question of going into reverse gear but of changing the direction in which are moving forward.

He wrote: “The rule of Money is the rule of the Old. In a world which has succumbed to the dictatorship of Profit, anyone who dares to put honour before money is automatically reduced to powerlessness. It is the spirit of youth which is rejected. The youth of the world has a choice to make between two extreme solutions: surrender or revolution”. (5)

Audio link: Une vie, une œuvre : Georges Bernanos (59 mins)

georges bernanos art

1. Georges Bernanos, interview with Diaro de Belo Horizonte, June 1944.
2. Georges Bernanos, ‘La France contre les robots’, cit. Aux origines de la décroissance – Cinquante penseurs, coordonné par Cédric Biagini, David Murray, Pierre Thiesset (Paris: L’Échappée, 2017), p. 28.
3. Bernanos, ‘La France contre les robots’, cit. Aux origines de la décroissance, p. 31.
4. Jacques Allaire, Aux origines de la décroissance, p. 30.
5. Bernanos, La France contre les robots, cit. Aux origines de la décroissance, p. 31.

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7. Acorninfo

“The future of humanity is literally in our hands… We will not be silenced and we will not allow our children to become the slaves of a pharmaceutical technocratic dictatorship!” Powerful and intelligent video from Henna Maria.

Henna Maria

* * *

“We really are in the middle of a power grab by billionaires! Creating confusion and making people comply with nonsense is a proven and long-tested technique of breaking a nation’s spirit”. ‘Pandemic, Meet Panopticon. Panopticon, Meet Pandemic‘ is the latest article from Tessa Lena.

Tessa Lena

* * *

In a fascinating interview with independent journalist Eva Bartlett, Professor Mila Aleckovic-Bataille, a Serbian professor of psychopathology and psychology, with a doctorate from Sorbonne University in Paris, talks about ‘Black Psychiatry and Covid19 Measures’.

Prof Mila

* * *

“The Great Reset is packaged as a ‘great solution’. Just like how the ruling class has marketed ‘green capitalism’, it’s designed to prop up capitalism but also to transform capitalism to control of social relations while keeping the capitalist hierarchy intact”. So writes Hiroyuki Hamada in his latest piece, ‘Mechanism of Invisible Empire‘.

Hamada illus

* * *

“We have a limited window of time to reclaim the things that make life worth living: family, community, cultural heritage, the social sphere, public institutions, common spaces, and free movement. That window may be closing quickly, but it is not fully closed yet”. ‘The Great Covid Class War’ by Alex Gutentag can be found on The Bellows website.

The Bellows art

* * *

Irish medical consultant Prof Seamus O’Mahoney has spoken out against the corruption of his profession in a new book. He says: “Despite its global dominance, this medical-industrial complex has given us meagre, feeble comforts at vast expense. Its chief concern is its own survival and continued dominance”.

Seamus O Mahony

* * *

“Bankers once saw tackling climate change as a niche issue. Now it is a chance to fuel future profits”. This statement, surprisingly, doesn’t come from the No Deal for Nature campaign or investigative journalist Cory Morningstar, but from a perceptive article by Gillian Tett in The Financial Times. More on the climate capitalists here.

FT green is good

* * *

Would you like to make a donation to help set up the Stuart Christie Memorial Archive, a “catalogue of the hidden and subterranean history of workers’ resistance” in tribute to the inspirational Scottish anarchist? If so, go to this crowdfunder.

Stuart Christie

* * *

Enemies of the modern world is a new fictional work by Winter Oak writer Paul Cudenec, a triptych of novellas in which we find ourselves in chillingly close proximity to conspiracy theorists, denialists, technophobes and extremists, to anti-social misfits who turn up their noses at global smart governance, insist on the value of a reality that is not virtual and cling to outmoded notions of naturalness, community, truth and freedom… The book can be download for free here.

Enemies of the Modern World cover

* * *

Acorn quote:

“We didn’t make this culture. We didn’t turn the world into the battleground and cemetery it has become. We didn’t turn human relations into the parody they have become. But now it is our responsibility to overcome what our culture has created. Maybe you could say that now we must be what we must be to overcome it”.

John Zerzan

john_zerzan

(For many more like this, see the Winter Oak quotes for the day blog)

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The Acorn – 35

acornmastheadnew1

Number 35


In this issue:

  1. “Welcome to hell!” Hamburg tells capitalist leaders
  2. Earth protectors: hundreds occupy Amsterdam coal harbour
  3. France: resisting the neoliberal police state
  4. Defiance in face of fracking onslaught
  5. The Green One is coming!
  6. Acorninfo

1. “Welcome to hell!” Hamburg tells capitalist leaders

Razor wire, water cannons and snipers are being lined up to protect the leaders of the capitalist world when they descend on Hamburg at the start of July.

The authorities are deploying 20,000 police to protect Trump, Putin, Erdogan, Merkel, May, Macron et al, turning the city into “a virtual fortress” under “something close to a state of emergency”, according to German media.

Summits like these were forced out of city centres 15 years ago by massive international anti-capitalist protests, with the global elite fleeing to inaccessible rural retreats.

But those in power now seem prepared to face the possible wrath of tens of thousands of opponents by holding the 2017 G20 Summit in downtown Hamburg.

The potential is clearly there for levels of resistance that would renew the energy of militant European anti-capitalism, as The Acorn previously pointed out back in November.

The authorities are of the same opinion.  Der Spiegel’s English-language website says officials are expecting up to 100,000 protesters “including militant groups seeking to disrupt or, if they can, prevent the summit”.

It adds: “The autonomous protest scene, which has a strong network across Europe, views the summit as a unique opportunity to restore their reputation within their political spectrum.

“Officials at the LKA [Landeskriminalamt] believe the radical anti-globalists will converge on summit sites from all directions in multiple prongs. If one prong fails to get through, the protesters hope another will be able to surmount the barriers.”

The article cites research conducted by Germany’s Federal Office of Criminal Investigation (BKA) as having detected activists in the Netherlands, the UK, Switzerland and Italy preparing to travel to the G20 summit. Other protest groups are expected from Austria and Greece, it says. And Kurds are likely to turn up in numbers to protest against Turkish leader Erdogan.

The authorities are, of course, rolling out their heavy weaponry to protect the powerful capitalist elite they serve. They are not only deploying miles of razor wire, but also water cannons, mounted police, dog units, snipers and “special forces”.

A new prison capable of hosting 400 people has kindly been laid on for protesters. The German federal police’s elite GSG 9 “counterterrorism” unit will also be in town.

Needless to say, extra-special protection is being laid on for the leader of the country which spearheads neoliberal capitalist imperialism – the USA. The Americans are even implying that they reserve the right to shoot dead any protesters getting in the way of Mr President.

Reports Der Spiegel:  “When U.S. President Donald Trump’s motorcade drives through the city, the streets will have to be empty. The doors of his Cadillac, nicknamed ‘The Beast’, are equipped with titanium armor and are as heavy as those of a Boeing 757 jet. The car even has its own oxygen system that can protect the president against a chemical weapons attack.

“The car has 8 tons of security technology and it cannot be allowed to come to any unplanned stops. Interior Senator Grote has already warned protesters against seeking to try and block Trump’s motorcade, saying nobody knows how the American Secret Service might react.”

Ahead of the summit, on Sunday July 2, there will be a symbolic and non-confrontational “wave of protest” with tens of thousands of people in the port city of Hamburg, on land and on the water.

Then on Thursday  July 6 there will be an international anti-capitalist demonstration against the G20 summit entitled “G20 Welcome to hell!“. This gathers at 4pm at the St Pauli Fischmarkt in Hamburg with a meeting involving cultural, musical and political contributions. From 7pm the demonstration will head towards the “red zone” and the final meeting will be held a stone’s throw from the summit’s location in the exhibition halls.

Friday July 7 will see the Hamburg City Strike, including the Block G20: Colour the Red Zone action; a bid to shut down Hamburg Harbour and with it the “logistics of Capital”;  a student strike and protest and a variety of surprise actions.

Then on Friday July 8, from 11am, there will be a mass demonstration with autonomous and anti-capitalist blocs.

As the Hamburg rebels say: “Don‘t let capitalism get you down – live resistance!”

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2. Earth protectors: hundreds occupy Amsterdam coal harbour

The fight against the ecocidal fossil fuel industry is stepping up, with an impressive mass civil disobedience action staged in the Netherlands on Saturday June 24.

Some 350 people occupied the coal harbour of Amsterdam, forcing it to shut down all activity for the day.

Said the Code Rood (Code Red) website: “We ruled the industry today, but the fight against the fossil industries continues.

“There is no time to lose. While the climate is already visibly changing and politicians allow for continued record-breaking greenhouse gas emissions we are building a militant climate movement that makes a switch from mass protest to mass disobedience.

“We are calling for everybody to join us in this collective struggle. When we join forces we can break the power of the fossil fuel industry!”

The successful action was linked to the nearby Climate Camp, which had opened two days previously.

The occupation did not go unopposed – protesters reported that once inside the site, they were sprayed with foul water “smelling of mud and manure”.

But more than 50 people managed to get to the top of a crane belonging to Coal Transport Terminal Amsterdam (OBA) with a banner declaring: ‘Robbers’ state is killing the climate.’

Wolfmann, one of the hundreds present who were taking part in a civil disobedience action for the first time, said: “It feels incredibly powerful and at the same time very vulnerable. You go with nothing other than your body to try and blockade the fossil fuel industry, that makes you feel vulnerable. At the same time you are with all these people and so you feel very strong together.”

Said another participant: “We are here because as long as there is profit to be made, they will not stop destroying the earth!”

A short video of the action can be seen here.  

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3. France: resisting the neoliberal police state

The way in which the neoliberal capitalist system uses the spectre of terrorism to impose its own social agenda has often been highlighted in The Acorn (such as here or here).

And one of the most blatant uses of this repressive device is currently unfolding in France, prompting urgent calls for resistance.

For the last 20 months, the country has been placed under a so-called “State of Emergency”. This legal device was first dreamed up in 1955, during the French state’s attempt to crush the anti-colonial Algerian Revolution.

60 years later it was rolled out again, in November 2015, in the aftermath of terrorist attacks in Paris. Since then, it has been renewed no fewer than five times, using various excuses, and is currently due to expire in November 2017, two years after it was introduced.

Right from the start it was used not just against Muslim communities, but against anti-capitalist dissidents. Initially this was against activists organising around the COP 21 Summit in Paris – homes and social centres were raided and activists placed under house arrest, without charges, until the summit was over.

The authorities also shamelessly used these “anti-terrorist” powers to combat the massive wave of revolt against neoliberal labour laws imposed by the previous “Socialist” Party regime.

Recent elections have brought in a new administration under President Emmanuel Macron. Presented as a “centrist” by the global media (see Acorn 34), he is in fact a hardcore neoliberal, determined to destroy the social structures which remain in France.

He is planning to introduce even more neoliberal labour “reforms”, stripping away workers’ rights in the interests of the ruling class he represents.

With trade unions and anti-capitalism still strong in France, Macron knows that he is going to face tough resistance in the months ahead.

Luc Rouban, a political scientist at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, has described the political situation in France as “potentially explosive” and said that “opposition is likely to express itself outside parliament.”

It is in this context that Macron is planning not to lift the State of Emergency, in the absence of any new terror attacks, but to incorporate it into French law!

This plan is already attracting wide concern from those committed to basic freedoms. The draconian and permanent new powers would allow central authorities to:

  • Ban people and vehicles from certain areas at certain times.
  • Create “zones of protection” or “security zones” to which the state can control entry.
  • Ban from any district a person considered to be in some way obstructing the actions of the authorities.
  • Order the temporary closure of any halls, bars or venues.
  • Ban any meeting considered to be liable to provoke disorder.
  • Make unconvicted “suspects” wear electronic tags.
  • Raid suspects’ homes at any time of day or night.
  • Use military courts instead of the usual ones.
  • Search any vehicle without the need for a warrant.

Activists are gearing up to resist this alarming move, as well as the onslaught of neoliberalism it is intended to help impose.

Declares a leaflet currently in circulation: “We refuse to see our fundamental rights reduced to nothing. We refuse to bow down to the police-state politics of a dictatorship!”

They are building for a “massive” day of mobilisation on [DATE NOW SATURDAY OCTOBER 7] in cities across France. Watch this space!

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4. Defiance in face of fracking onslaught

Demolished: the protection camp at Leith Hill near Dorking

Fracking remains the front line of environmental resistance in the UK, with courageous nature-protectors digging in their heels in a bid to see off this unprecedented threat to the countryside.

The frack free activists at Leith Hill, near Dorking in Surrey, featured in Acorn 29, put up a spirited resistance when bailiffs moved in to evict them at the summer solstice, June 21.

A wooden fortress and tunnel network meant that they were able to hold out for two days, as the representatives of the “law” cleared the way for the desecration of England’s land and water by the profit-hungry oil industry.

Even the mercenary in charge of evicting the protectors expressed a certain admiration for their efforts. Peter Faulding, CEO of SGI, told local media: “When we went on to the site we knew there was one tunnel already but we had no idea how complex their system was, it was a real shock to be honest. It was a completed rat run and the way they had dug them was really impressive. They had built in sections where they could lock themselves on to things and really hem themselves in”.

Keith Taylor, Green Party MEP for the South of England, said: “The people at these protection camps are defenders of the earth and they deserve medals”.

While Europa may have, disgracefully, got permission for exploratory drilling in this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and the camp may have been demolished, the fight obviously goes on and more and more people are becoming aware of what is happening.

Protesting at Broadford Bridge

Not far from Leith Hill, at Broadford Bridge near Billingshurst (see Acorn 2), UK Oil and Gas is pushing ahead with its drilling plans in the face of local opposition and lock-on blockades. It is now claiming to have found oil.

Placing Broadford Bridge in a broader context, an excellent article by journalist Kathryn McWhirter, published in the Brighton Argus, asks Sussex residents if they really want to see their countryside turned into a massive oil field.

She writes: “Are we prepared to see the countryside we love industrialised for the sake of a small, short-term reduction in our balance of payment deficit, and profits for the few?”

People are “sleepwalking into an oilfield”, she warns, adding that if the oil industry and their Tory friends get their way “there will be wells across the Weald, with West Sussex the prime target”.

Lancashire lock-on

Meanwhile, in Lancashire, there are persistent rumours that the drill will soon be arriving at Preston New Road near Blackpool.

Six opponents of the Cuadrilla’s shale gas site took part in a lock-on protest outside equipment supplier, A Plant, on June 19. Then they locked-on at the site itself on Monday June 26.

Targeting suppliers

And throughout July there will be “Rolling Resistance” to Cuadrilla, with mass actions every Friday, starting on July 7 with a “Not Here Not Anywhere” demo at Preston New Road – see the Reclaim the Power website for full details.

Over in Yorkshire on Saturday and Sunday July 7 and 8 there is a Frack Free Community Weekend at the Kirby Misperton Protection Camp.

Some good news on the fracking front came in the unlikely guise of the Queen’s Speech, which made no mention of the Tories’ manifesto threat to make fracking even harder to stop.

Campaign group Frack Free United said: “This is a good day for communities and local democracy. Yes, nothing has really changed and we will have to continue the fight to protect communities from being turned into fracking gas fields, but make no mistake, this is a tipping point.

“The industry will only flourish with government support and the Conservative party U-turn on the manifesto pledge is a real shot in the arm for the campaign, providing even more energy into our campaign for the battles ahead.”

And more good news came from the accounts of fracking parent company, Cuadrilla Resources Holdings Ltd, which showed a loss of $11.6m for the 12 months to the end of December 2016.

And who is to blame for this? Writing in the annual accounts, chief executive Francis Egan complained about “irresponsible and intimidating behaviour” by protesters

Some might suggest that “irresponsible and intimidating behaviour” just about sums up the entire fracking industry, which is why people with a social and environmental conscience are determined to stop it in its toxic tracks.

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5. The Green One is coming!

A new book by Paul Cudenec, The Green One, has been published by Winter Oak Press. It explores how the awareness of our belonging to nature has always been present in human thought and culture. Today this vital spirit, which the author personifies as The Green One, is inspiring global resistance to industrial capitalism.

I am The Green One, although I would maybe better be named The Green Many. Green is the colour of eternal youth, of rebirth, of nature springing back into life after the death-sleep of winter.

I am Pachamama, I am Isis, I am Yemoja. I am Jack in the Green, I am Tammuz, I am Khidr.

I am regeneration. I am the right way of living. Sometimes I am revolution.

I have taken up the mighty sledgehammers of the Luddites. The Virgins are escaping from the churches and heading for the woods. The May Queens are running riot in the streets. Joan of Arc is burning patriarchy at the stake.

The pylons are tumbling. The motorways are crumbling. The pipelines are fracturing.

I am your future.

The Green One is coming! The Green One is coming!

Below is an extract from The Green One. For more extracts go here.

When will the fields come back?

“When will the fields come back and the grass for my children?”  – Lord Dunsany, ‘Nature and Time’, Fifty-One Tales

Every time somebody tries to stop a copse being hacked down or a meadow being concreted over, they are me.

Whenever people come together to protect a river, and those beings that live in and around it, from the callous brutality of a dam, they are me.

Each and every person who says “no” to fracking, to pipelines, to power lines, to coal mines, to waste tips, to GM crops or to arms factories is saying “yes” to me and to my presence within them.

When “something” stirs deep within you and sends you out to fight against a new road, a new shopping mall, a new airport or a new power station, then that “something” is me.

If you ever have the feeling that the world you know is insane and risks destroying everything that you value, then you should know that this feeling is me.

And when that feeling becomes an opinion, an argument, a theory or a philosophy, it is me in yet another guise.

Sometimes that feeling takes a secondary form. It might be a theoretical hunch, an ideological sensitivity to the way that even philosophies of resistance can be recuperated by that which they supposedly oppose.

But that energy is still me, only now I am obliged to go to work on the thankless task of clearing all the philosophical tangle and debris that has been blocking your path.

I blossom in the human heart but the human heart needs to let me in. I have to become the opening-up before I can become the filling-in and the acting-out.

To lose something precious is bad enough, but what if you have forgotten that it was precious? Or that you ever had it in the first place? Why would you search for something you do not value? How will you find something that you do not believe was ever there?

Your fields and your green grass will not come back until your love calls out to them.

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6. Acorninfo

Anger is mounting on the streets of London, provoking memories of the wave of rioting which swept through the UK capital, and other cities, in the summer of 2011. The latest clashes took place in Forest Gate, on the night of Sunday June 25, and were provoked by the death of Edir Frederico Da Costa, thought to have been fatally beaten in police detention. There have also been furious scenes, amid feelings of deep injustice, in North Kensington after the Grenfell Tower blaze on June 14. Not only do people feel that working class communities are treated with contempt by the authorities, but they are also outraged by the way the death toll has been vastly underestimated: hundreds are believed to have died although officially the total is only 79.

Forest Gate on the night of Sunday June 25

* * *

The increasingly fascistic nature of the US authorities is highlighted in a video interview from Unicorn Riot with a young woman who was arrested for protesting against Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20, J20. She, along with others, faces a jail term of 75 to 80 years! As she points out, the prosecutions are clearly political and are aimed at sending a message that dissent on the streets of the USA will no longer be tolerated. It’s not even a question of protesting “within the law” because laws have been deliberately drawn up as “traps” to make it easy to arrest dissidents, whatever they are doing. She says: “There’s no way to be an activist against oppressive systems and the State in which you are devoid of the risk of arrest.” State repression in the USA is also the theme of the latest 30-minute Trouble video from submedia.

* * *

The Earth First! Summer Gathering 2017 will be held in Hertfordshire, England, from Wednesday August 9 to Monday August 14. It offers five days of skill-sharing for grassroots ecological direct action, where people can make links, share ideas, and get involved in the struggles against fracking, new roads and more. More info at http://earthfirstgathering.org

* * *

From August 18 to 23, the Degrowth Summer School will take place at the Climate Camp in the Rhineland in Germany for the third time. This year’s main topics are “Degrowth perspectives on the future of the Rhenish lignite region”, “Psychology of change” and “Skills for System Change”.

* * *

A shocking indictment of our modern civilization comes from data released by the NHS under a Freedom of Information request. This reveals that hundreds of children in England aged six and under are being prescribed anti-depressants. Anti-depressants at the start of their lives? What sort of insane world have these precious young human beings been born into?

* * *

“The evidence suggests that the barbaric Manchester bombing, which killed 22 innocent people on May 22nd, is a case of blowback on British citizens arising at least partly from the overt and covert actions of British governments. The British state therefore has a serious case to answer.” This is the conclusion of an impressive in-depth investigation from Mark Curtis and Nafeez Ahmed which focuses on UK policies towards Libya and also touches on some of those related to Iraq and Syria.

* * *

Acorn quote: “A great part of politics and law is always theatre; once a social system has become ‘set’, it does not need to be endorsed daily by exhibitions of power (although occasional punctuations of force will be made to define the limits of the system’s tolerance).”

E.P. Thompson, Customs in Common

(For many more like this, see the Winter Oak quotes for the day blog)

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The Acorn – 34

acornmastheadnew1

Number 34


In this issue:

  1. Manchester: an explosion of hate and fear
  2. Extremists of the neoliberal “centre”
  3. The CIA and the war of ideas
  4. Enemy of the system – the US campaign against Julian Assange
  5. Money, power and mining
  6. Acorninfo

1. Manchester: an explosion of hate and fear

The vile bomb attack in Manchester on May 22 has left a noxious smell of racism and fascism in the British political atmosphere in the election run-up.

Prime Minister Theresa May was very quick to ramp up the terror alert status to “critical” and send the army onto the streets in a bid to show just how strong and stable she is.

The gesture has a hint of coup d’état about it. Even pro-establishment Guardian journo Jonathan Freedland had to admit that troops  being deployed in the middle of a general election campaign was “new and unsettling terrain for British democracy”.

As Gianfranco Sanguinetti noted, in his book On Terrorism and the State, regarding a similar situation in Italy in the late 1970s:  “The reasoning currently in vogue is simple: if you love democracy, you have to defend it; to defend it you have to fight its enemies; to fight the enemies of democracy, no sacrifice is too great: the nobility of the end justifies every means; no democracy for the enemies of democracy! Something which was never essentially a democracy has now visibly ceased being so”.

But even worse was to come from media commentators who seem eager to pave the way to a grim authoritarian-capitalist future.

The right-wing Muslim-hating newspaper columnist Katie Hopkins sent a tweet in which she called for a “final solution” – this apparent call for genocide is apparently now the subject of a police enquiry.

Incidentally Hopkins, formerly of The Sun and now with Mail Online and LBC, was sponsored through her university education by the British Army’s Intelligence Corps.

Allison Pearson of The Daily Telegraph tweeted:”We need a State of Emergency as France has. We need internment of thousands of terror suspects now to protect our children.”

What a bright idea, Allison! Round up those enemies of the state at once!

Meanwhile, Brendan O’Neill, editor of Spiked, struck an equally fascistic note when he tweeted: “A nation whose children are attacked must take action”, adding that “there is a strong justification for hate right now”.

O’Neill, and Spiked in general, has a proud history of amplifying authoritarian capitalist viewpoints under the cloak of a seemingly “radical” background – Spiked used to be called LM, or Living Marxism, and emerged from the very peculiar Revolutionary Communist Party.

As George Monbiot noted, O’Neill’s group has travelled “from the most distant fringes of the left to the extremities of the pro-corporate libertarian right” and it has never ceased being divisive and disruptive.

Explains Monbiot: “The organisation began in the late 1970s as a Trotskyist splinter called the Revolutionary Communist party. It immediately set out to destroy competing oppositionist movements. When nurses and cleaners marched for better pay, it picketed their demonstrations. It moved into the gay rights group Outrage and sought to shut it down. It tried to disrupt the miners’ strike, undermined the Anti-Nazi League and nearly destroyed the radical Polytechnic of North London. On at least two occasions RCP activists physically attacked members of opposing factions.”

Fake radical Brendan O’Neill addressing Australia’s Centre for Independent Studies, which promotes “the rule of law” and “free enterprise”

O’Neill, like Spiked as a whole, has a particular love of industrial capitalism and can barely suppress his hatred for anyone who dares to put the health of the environment above the quest for endless economic growth.

Indeed, he has specifically complained that environment protest “contributes to the increasingly mainstream hostility to economic growth”.

And he described eco-activists opposed to the third runway at Heathrow as “plummy-voiced enemies of progress, those most entitled and eco-pompous of millennials”.

He has also condemned the”leftish set’s warped, myopic anti-Semitism” and “the way in which attacking Israel has become a means of being derogatory about Jews”.

His Wikipedia entry describes him “a keynote speaker for the pro-Israel advocacy organisation StandWithUs”.

Meanwhile, over in France, the new “centrist” president Emmanuel Macron,  a former investment banker, has announced that he wants to further extend the country’s State of Emergency, for the sixth time since the Paris attacks of November 2015, and bring in unspecified new “anti-terror” laws.

And “anti-terrorism” was said to be high on the agenda of the NATO summit in Brussels this week (see Acorninfo, below) where Macron was meeting with counterparts such as Theresa May and Donald Trump.

Rabid support for industrial capitalism, bitter opposition to environmentalism, anti-Muslim rhetoric, hysterical calls for “action” in response to terror attacks… Funny how so many of these people seem to be reading from the same centralised script…

Resisting the Psychology of Terror

Terrorism and the state – learning from history

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2. Extremists of the neoliberal “centre”

New French president Emmanuel Macron

One of the most insidious terms on the contemporary European political scene is “centrist”.

It is a label claimed by the new French president Emmanuel Macron as well as by former UK prime minister Tony Blair.

And it is insidious because it is used to define extreme neoliberal capitalism as a norm, as a default position, as a “common sense” non-ideology whose assumptions and aims can never be fundamentally challenged, except by “extremists”.

Centrists like to make great play of being beyond the “divisive” politics of left and right and yet are always happy to exploit those divisions to cement their own position.

Thus Macron’s supporters in France urged left-wingers to vote for him to keep out the extreme-right Front National and condemned defeated left-wing candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon for not ordering his supporters to vote for Macron in the second round.

Tony Blair – another warmongering neoliberal “centrist”

Fellow “centrist” Blair saw Macron’s election as “a real victory for a more global approach to politics”, adding that he represented “a spirit which has echoes in every European country and in the western world in general”.

Blair’s supporters in the UK like to claim that the “populism” of the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn is a mirror image of the right-wing populism of Donald Trump – the centrist line is always to lump all “extremists” together and suggest that if you go far enough round the “political spectrum” in either direction you will end up in the extremist hell of a kind of Nazi-Soviet pact, an anti-American, anti-semitic red-brown alliance that poses a chilling danger to strong and stable democratic values.

From the point of view of the centrist, which is of course well represented in the corporate media, anti-capitalism is peripheral and dangerous, always liable to open a Pandora’s box of hateful savagery.

This strategy is, unfortunately, very successful in terms of preventing the emergence of an anti-capitalist worldview that is capable of challenging reality as presented by the centrists.

Another inspiring revolutionary slogan from the mainstream “left”

Too many critics of neoliberalism allow themselves to be contained within the narrow political frameworks constructed by the dominant capitalist system.

Because centrists say that opposition to neoliberal globalisation amounts to a form of nationalism, some leftists are suckered into speaking in terms of “national” sovereignty as a bulwark against global Capital, rather than espousing a radical rejection both of the capitalist system and of the nation-states which maintain and enforce it.

Because centrists are always claiming that their policies are best for “growth” and for “creating jobs”, some leftists feel they have to justify their own policies using the same criteria.

Because centrists argue that the only alternative to imposing austerity is for states to borrow yet more money, some so-called left-wingers fall into their trap of proposing more debt to the bankers rather than the abolition of the whole capitalist money-system.

Because it seems obvious that, given the nature of elections and the shaping of public opinion, nobody can win an election on an authentically anti-capitalist platform, those leftists who engage on the electoral level of politics drop all real anti-capitalism from their rhetoric and programmes, and make do with reformism.

But this is a big mistake. They are not tailoring their politics to match the views of the public, but to match the views of the public as presented by the neoliberal centrists!

They are buying into the centrist line that the vast majority of the population are very happy with the way the world is organised and are firmly opposed to any fundamental change.

But what if that is simply not true? What if most people are sick to death of this hollow, money-fixated society and are longing for something else? What if most people are horribly aware of the dull limits of their daily grind, their daily consumption, and dream of a different existence?

What if most people are appalled by the spiralling destruction of the natural world, the police-state surveillance of every nook and cranny of their lives, the hypocritical warmongering propaganda churned out by the system’s media?

What if they are just waiting for someone to speak the truth, to say plainly that industrial society is a disaster, that the grey capitalist world of production, exploitation and consumption is a world not worth living in, that there are more important things than money, that  things could be so very different, so much better, if only we could smash down the walls of the cells in which have been imprisoned?

Where is the passion? Where is the rage? Where is the desire? Where are the calls to insurrection, to revolution, capable of stirring up a powerful groundswell of contempt for the self-defined centrists and everything they represent?

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3. The CIA and the war of ideas

It is not entirely accidental that there is a distinct lack of a coherent and vibrant ideological opposition to capitalism.

For many decades the agents of capitalist power, notably the CIA, have been engaged in what the Italian socialist Antonio Gramsci called a “war of ideas” to prevent any such movement arising.

Robin Ramsay of Lobster magazine, a specialist in secretive US interference in UK politics and culture, writes: “Much of the international political landscape of the postwar era in Britain consisted of US-funded or directed political projects – propaganda or psychological warfare projects they would now be called. And this was on top of the formal military-diplomatic-financial structure of NATO, the IMF, World Bank, Gatt, the UN etc.”

The pro-US, pro-Israeli, pro-imperialist “left” in Germany

In Germany, there has long been suspicion that American influence might have been behind the emergence of the “antideutsch” strain of leftism which conveniently combined anti-fascism with a fervent admiration for American imperialism and Israeli repression of Palestinians.

And a fascinating recently-released CIA document sheds some light on American capitalist attitudes to the “French Theory” philosophical movement which gave birth to postmodernism, postfeminism, postanarchism and that whole pompous school of pseudo-radical academic thinking which delights in pouring cold water on all notions of overturning capitalist hegemony and creating the other world for which we yearn.

The document, written in 1985, radiates with American self-congratulation that the anti-capitalist ideas which had been so powerful in France in 1968 had now been replaced by a philosophy that was friendly to US corporate and military interests.

It declares: “There is a new climate of intellectual opinion in France – a spirit of anti-Marxism and anti-Sovietism that will make it difficult for anyone to mobilize significant intellectual opposition to US policies.

“Nor will French intellectuals be likely to lend their weight, as they did before, to other West European colleagues who have become hostile to the United States on broad issues like disarmament.”

This shift in attitudes, it reports with evident delight, had been “weakening the traditional anti-Americanism of the leftist intellectuals and allowing American culture and even political and economic policies to find new vogue”.

The CIA reveal themselves to be very keen on “New Philosopher” Bernard-Henri Lévy, known as BHL in France, whose position of power at the Grasset publishing house was crucial in spreading the US-friendly ideology he was promoting.

BHL – a repeated target of anti-capitalist pie-throwing.

They also single out for ideological praise “the influential structuralist school associated with Claude Levi-Strauss, Foucault, and others”.

Of vital importance for the CIA is the destruction of an intellectual climate critical of capitalism and the imposition of a US-style money-orientated culture. They report gleefully: “There is no gainsaying that French youth, who once joined every new intellectual fad, now think of careers in science or business”.

The US agents note the rise of “a new wave of genuinely pro-American sentiment, rooted in the vogue of American popular culture, in respect for the American economic vitality of the 1980s, and in admiration for the new image of self-confidence that the United States now projects in the world.”

Opening up France to the rich delights of American culture

In a perceptive article on the implications of the CIA document, US philosopher and writer Gabriel Rockhill notes that it “should come as no surprise to those familiar with the CIA’s longstanding and ongoing investment in a global cultural war, including support for its most avant-garde forms”.

He notes that the Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF), which was headquartered in Paris and later discovered to be a CIA front organization during the cultural Cold War, was among the most important patrons in world history, supporting an incredible range of artistic and intellectual activities.

It had offices in 35 countries, published dozens of prestige magazines, was involved in the book industry, organized high-profile international conferences and art exhibits, coordinated performances and concerts, and contributed ample funding to various cultural awards and fellowships, as well as to front organizations like the Farfield Foundation.

Rockhill states: “The intelligence agency understands culture and theory to be crucial weapons in the overall arsenal it deploys to perpetuate US interests around the world.”

Former Marxists are particularly useful in channelling their propaganda as they provide “the perfect model for constructing deceptive narratives that amalgamate purported personal political growth with the progressive march of time, as if both individual life and history were simply a matter of ‘growing up’ and recognizing that profound egalitarian social transformation is a thing of the—personal and historical—past.”

Rockhill adds: “This patronizing, omniscient defeatism not only serves to discredit new movements, particularly those driven by the youth, but it also mischaracterizes the relative successes of counter-revolutionary repression as the natural progress of history.”

He correctly identifies the key aim of the CIA’s overall strategy to dismantle the cultural left in Europe and elsewhere as not being to abolish it entirely, which wasn’t regarded as possible, but instead “to move leftist culture away from resolute anti-capitalist and transformative politics toward center-left reformist positions that are less overtly critical of US foreign and domestic policies”.

There we have it. It’s the centre again. Indeed, the CIA report itself predicts that New Left intellectuals will weigh in heavily in supporting “moderate Socialists who are trying to create a broadbased center-left alliance”.

And the important point that Rockhill is making is that the CIA’s pro-capitalist contamination goes much deeper than mere party politics and into the heart of the contemporary ways of thinking that are considered by many self-defined radicals to be central to their “alternative” view of the world.

He says: “The CIA’s reading of French theory should give us pause to reconsider the radical chic veneer that has accompanied much of its Anglophone reception.

“According to a stagist conception of progressive history (which is usually blind to its implicit teleology), the work of figures like Foucault, Derrida and other cutting-edge French theorists is often intuitively affiliated with a form of profound and sophisticated critique that presumably far surpasses anything found in the socialist, Marxist or anarchist traditions.”

But the apparent sophistication of the postmodern position is simply intellectual bait in the CIA trap into which large sections of the so-called “left” have fallen.

As Rockhill writes: “According to the spy agency itself, post-Marxist French theory directly contributed to the CIA’s cultural program of coaxing the left toward the right, while discrediting anti-imperialism and anti-capitalism, thereby creating an intellectual environment in which their imperial projects could be pursued unhindered by serious critical scrutiny from the intelligentsia.”

Of course, the one thing the CIA report does not do is to spell out the US agency’s clandestine role  in bringing about this cultural shift away from genuine anti-capitalism and towards pro-imperialist postleftism, whether in France, Germany, the UK or elsewhere.

But then, they don’t really have to. Some of us are still perfectly capable of reading between the lines…

Exposed: fake “left-wingers” who hate the alternative media

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4. Enemy of the system – the US campaign against Julian Assange

The shocking way that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been intimidated and smeared by the pro-American neoliberal system has been condemned by investigative journalist John Pilger.

He writes on his website: “For almost seven years, this epic miscarriage of justice has been drowned in a vituperative campaign against the WikiLeaks founder. There are few precedents.

“Deeply personal, petty, vicious and inhuman attacks have been aimed at a man not charged with any crime yet subjected to treatment not even meted out to a defendant facing extradition on a charge of murdering his wife.”

Prosecutors in Sweden have now announced that they are suspending their investigation of highly dubious rape allegations against Assange, who has been sheltering in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London for five years to avoid extradition via Sweden to the USA.

“That the US threat to Assange was a threat to all journalists, and to the principle of free speech, was lost in the sordid and the ambitious. I would call it anti-journalism,” writes veteran anti-imperialist Pilger.

“Books were published, movie deals struck and media careers launched or kick-started on the back of WikiLeaks and an assumption that attacking Assange was fair game and he was too poor to sue. People have made money, often big money, while WikiLeaks has struggled to survive.

“The previous editor of the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, called the WikiLeaks disclosures, which his newspaper published, ‘one of the greatest journalistic scoops of the last 30 years’. Yet no attempt was made to protect the Guardian’s provider and source. Instead, the ‘scoop’ became part of a marketing plan to raise the newspaper’s cover price.

“With not a penny going to Assange or to WikiLeaks, a hyped Guardian book led to a lucrative Hollywood movie. The book’s authors, Luke Harding and David Leigh, gratuitously described Assange as a ‘damaged personality’ and ‘callous’. They also revealed the secret password he had given the paper in confidence, which was designed to protect a digital file containing the US embassy cables. With Assange now trapped in the Ecuadorean embassy, Harding, standing among the police outside, gloated on his blog that ‘Scotland Yard may get the last laugh’.

“Journalism students might well study this period to understand that the most ubiquitous source of ‘fake news’ is from within a media self-ordained with a false respectability and an extension of the authority and power it claims to challenge but courts and protects.”

And the reason for the unprecedented and co-ordinated judicial-media attacks on Assange, whom some useful idiots on the fake “left” are also happy to condemn? It is simply, Pilger points out, that “WikiLeaks has exposed the way America dominates much of human affairs, including its epic crimes, especially in Afghanistan and Iraq: the wholesale, often homicidal killing of civilians”.

Challenging the criminal hegemony of the US-dominated global capitalist mafia remains the number one contemporary political heresy, it seems…

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5. Money, power and mining

“All the power’s in the hands
Of people rich enough to buy it”

As The Clash once pointed out, the close relationship between money and power is at the corrupt heart of our capitalist society.

Money buys power and money is used by those in power to ensure that money and power remain permanently in the same elite hands at the expense of the rest of the population and of the natural world.

Take, for instance, the experience of residents living close to the UK’s largest opencast coalmine at Ffos-y-Fran near Merthyr Tydfil in Wales.

Since 2007, they have been enduring what can only be described as a nightmare, with horrific levels of air and noise pollution, with cancer clusters and disturbingly high rates of childhood asthma.

Resident Alyson Austin told the BBC her family’s life had been ruined by the coal dust: “I find it difficult to put the washing out on the clothes line or enjoy my garden. On hot days we can’t even open the windows.”

Like good citizens, the locals went through all the “usual channels”, including a public inquiry, petitions, protests, High Court legal action and even a report from the UN’s special rapporteur on hazardous substances and wastes.

But their complaints have been ignored and calls for an investigation into the health implications dismissed.

Five hundred locals attempted to take court action as a group, but their application was refused by the High Court “as they were deemed unable to afford it”.

Money always wins. The game is fixed. If you have no money then you have no say in a society where money, and greed for money, is king.

With the democratic process well and truly exhausted – and exposed as a sham – the only way forward was direct action.

Thus, in the early hours of 21 April 2017, under the banner of Earth First! and Reclaim the Power, a bunch of plucky rebels disrupted the mining operations.

At 5am, two of them blocked vehicle access to the mine by using D-locks and an armtube to lock onto the cattle grid at the entrance, while three others climbed down towards the bottom of the vast hole to lock onto the 300 tonne excavators used to extract coal (see video).

No coal mining took place all day.

The response from the system? Guilty of aggravated trespass, they were ordered to pay £10,000 compensation to Miller Argent, the company which is profiting from the misery of the people living alongside its environmentally disastrous mine.

A crowdfunding initiative has been launched to help the brave activists pay off this sum and we would urge people to help out if they can.

In the meantime, we are left with a useful reminder of the fact that the judicial system, in the UK as elsewhere, exists primarily to protect private property and private financial interests. It is designed not only to favour the rich, but to systematically punish the poor for their lack of wealth.

It’s a fraud, a scam, which is imposed on us using all the “authorised” violence of a state which has always existed to serve the interests not of ordinary people but of an arrogant ruling class which despises and exploits them in every way possible.

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6. Acorninfo

Ten thousand people took to the streets of Brussels on Wednesday May 24 to tell US president Donald Trump, and the imperialist warmongers of NATO, that they were not welcome in the Belgian capital. Said the No to NATO protest call-out: “NATO and its member states participate in illegal wars and military interventions, from Yugoslavia to Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Syria, the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean. They contribute massively to international instability, fuelling the arms race and militarization. NATO remains committed to humanity’s biggest threat: nuclear weapons. NATO is the world’s most aggressive war machine. We must leave NATO and NATO must be dissolved.”

* * *

“By 2050, the US and UK will have evolved into two-class societies where a small elite lives a good life and there is declining well-being for the majority.” That is the prediction from Jorgen Randers, an academic and author of 2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years. He adds: “Western nations are not going to collapse, but the smooth operation and friendly nature of Western society will disappear, because inequity is going to explode.” The process seems to be well underway…

* * *

A victory has been notched up in the battle to save one of the few museums in the world to be dedicated to the life and works of an anarchist. As we reported in Acorn 33, the Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis Museum at Heerenveen, in the Netherlands, celebrating one of the fathers of Dutch anarchism and libertarian socialism, was faced with closure and a petition was launched to keep it open. This has succeeded in persuading the municipal council of Heerenveen to lift the immediate threat to the museum.

* * *

Opponents of plans to frack in North Yorkshire have welcomed confirmation by Barclays that it plans to sell its stake in Third Energy. Barclays owns 97% of Third Energy, which has permission to frack for shale gas at its KM8 well at Kirby Misperton in North Yorkshire. Friends of the Earth described the decision as “a massive blow for the fracking industry” and urged them to keep up pressure on the bank.

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Anti-fascists from across the UK are mobilising to oppose the Muslim-hating English Defence League in Liverpool on Saturday June 3. Email London Anti-fascists at ldnantifascists@riseup.net with the subject line COACH2LIVERPOOL to travel from the South of England.

* * *

Acorn quote: “Revolutionary movements do not spread by contamination but by resonance. Something that is constituted here resonates within the shock wave emitted by something constituted over there. A body that resonates does so according to its own mode. An insurrection is not like a plague or a forest fire – a linear process which spreads from place to place after an initial spark. It rather takes the shape of a music, whose focal points, though dispersed in time and space, succeed in imposing the rhythm of their own vibrations, always taking on more density. To the point that any return to normal is no longer desirable or even imaginable”.

Invisible Committee, The Coming Insurrection

(For many more like this, see the Winter Oak quotes for the day blog)

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The Acorn – 33

acornmastheadnew1

Number 33


In this issue:

  1. Stepping up the battle against fracking
  2. Three victories in fight to protect Sussex countryside
  3. Uprising paralyses French colony
  4. British state goes to court for the arms trade
  5. So what exactly is “extremist material”?
  6. Acorninfo

1. Stepping up the battle against fracking

Resistance to fracking in the UK has moved up a significant notch over the last  two weeks, with the launch of a series of actions against the whole support infrastructure for the toxic industry.

One activist told media: “Since last Monday Reclaim the Power has taken action against quarries, water suppliers, haulage companies, PR firms and gas companies – all with direct links to the fracking industry. By taking out the links in the supply chain we can break the whole industry into pieces. It is now or never to stop fracking in its tracks.”

The Break the Chain initiative is continuing until Monday April 10, so there are a few more surprises in store yet –  see here for updates on actions.

Even as this bulletin was being completed, on the morning  of Friday April 7, news came in from the north of England of a blockade of PR Marriott, supplier of drills to the fracking industry. There was a tripod, three lock-ons and a banner drop.

Other highlights so far include:

Opponents of fracking in Lancashire blockaded the gates of fracking contractors A.E. Yates in Bolton. Road haulage firm Eddie Stobart also had its depot in Warrington blocked. This was part of  successful ongoing local campaign, which previously saw quarry operators Armstrong Aggregates cancel a contract to supply AE Yates and drilling firm Cuadrilla with materials for the building of the shale gas exploration site at Little Plumpton after dozens of Bolton Against Fracking protesters targeted the Montcliffe Quarry.

Aggregate Industries had to work stop at their quarry in Carnforth, Lancs, when protesters on swings took over height restriction bars at two key access points. One of the protesters explained: “We’re up here today because fracking isn’t a playground game. We need to give Aggregate Industries a reason to rethink its position, which is at odds with local democracy.”

Three protesters dressed as brides chained themselves to the door of London PR firm St Brides Partners, declaring that PR firms that are “wedded to the fracking industry are locking the UK into a toxic marriage that funds dangerous and unwanted unconventional oil and gas in the UK”.

A group of anti-fracking campaigners held a party for Centrica’s chief executive, Iain Connor, at the company’s head office, to “celebrate” his £1.4m bonus.

Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, Lancashire, was closed by protesters.

Activist clowns staged a wrestling match outside Barclays in Piccadilly Circus, London, in protest at its 97% stake in fracking company Third Energy.

Bare-backed protesters spelled out an anti-fracking slogan and staged a noise demonstration in protest at Union Jack Oil’s stall at London’s UK Investor show. Said Reclaim the Power: “Everyone is becoming more aware of the equipment suppliers and haulage companies propping up the fracking industry because they are physically visible delivering to the fracking site in Lancashire. Events like these are doing the dirty work behind the scenes and are just as implicated and dangerous. They should be exposed.”

With at least five companies in the fracking supply chain having already pulled out after public pressure, the strategy behind Break the Chain could well have found a weak spot in the enemy’s armour.

We can now expect the fracking industry and their friends in high places to step up their efforts both to intimidate opponents and to  demonise them as dangerous “extremists” (see below).

Indeed, Morecambe and Lunesdale’s Tory MP David Morris has already got the ball rolling by declaring of the quarry blockade: “I condemn in the strongest terms this irresponsible intimidation of companies and road users trying to go about their lawful business and get on with their daily lives.”

But with massive support for campaigners, and less than one in five of the UK public now said to support fracking, this is a battle the powers-that-be may yet lose…

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2. Three victories in fight to protect Sussex countryside

Three significant victories have been won in the struggle to protect the countryside in Sussex, England, in recent weeks, showing  once again that determined local resistance can pay off.

Campaigners in both Eastbourne and Brighton have now joined land-defenders in Worthing in having defeated sneaky council proposals to sell off publicly-owned downland.

Dave Bangs of Keep Our Downs Public, a naturalist and author of three books on the Downs and the Weald, told The Ecologist: “This is the fourth time we’ve had to defend these public estates. These are struggles against privatisation that can be won. These resources are valuable to everyone, so you can get very broad alliances of people.”

Added journalist Jan Goodey: “This current south coast battle is of national significance: if a major part of the public estate is destroyed the prospect for landscape conservation becomes ever more precarious. The countryside could be further opened up to plutocratic predators, including many super-rich foreign investors.”

In Brighton the council’s U-turn came as a result of what Green MEP Keith Taylor called “an organised, passionate and energetic campaign to stop the sales”.

Eastbourne council was forced to concede defeat, after a cunning plan to persuade people to vote for the land sell-off spectacularly backfired. Locals saw through the false choice of either “service cuts” or “downs sell-off” and 75% of them voted for the (supposed) cuts and thus in favour of protecting the downland.

Sally Boys, of Keep Our Downs Public, said: “Eastbourne people have shown that we can see through the spin and unfair choice offered by the so-called ‘consultation’ in the Eastbourne Review. Above all, we have shown that the people of Eastbourne love and cherish their downs and will fight to protect them. The downland belongs to us all.”

The depth of feeling behind the Eastbourne campaign was apparent during a ceremony on the Downs in which the land was declared to be sacred to Sussex people, in the same way as the threatened land and water at Standing Rock in the USA are sacred to the Sioux people.

Campaigners were told: “This land is our land, not only because we own it, but because this is sacred land, the land where our forebears are buried in the barrows we see across this land.

“This land is the land of our ancestors, and we would not be here, not be the people we are today, without them. Just as we honour our ancestors today in this ceremony that reconnects us with them and with the land they cared for, so we honour our ancestors by fulfilling the sacred trust placed in us by the people of Eastbourne in 1926 to care for this land.

“And care for it we must, because, as the Standing Rock Sioux have shown by their shining example, we have to stand up as the Water Protectors of our time, in this place, on this, our land, because this land is also our source of water. This land is the aquifer that supplies our drinking water and makes it safe enough to drink. As the Standing Rock Sioux say so well, Water is Life. Without Water, there is no Life.

“So we own this land because we deserve to own this land, and we deserve to own this land because we are willing to care for this land, to protect it for all the wildlife here and for all the people of Eastbourne, and for all the people around this world who recognise with us how special, unique, and important this land is. We own this land because we belong to this land just as much as this land belongs to us.”

The third Sussex victory came in Chichester, where the government scrapped plans for £250 million A27 road “improvements” in the face of what it called “significant local campaigns”, just days before Highways England was due to announce its preferred route.

The local business lobby, along with its placemen on the local council and its cheerleaders in the local media, have reacted furiously to the news and are trying to pressure the government into reinstating the road scheme.

These road enthusiasts would do well to have a look at the latest report from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) entitled: The end of the road? Challenging the road-building consensus.

This shows that all the talk of new roads “easing congestion” is baseless propaganda.

The CPRE’s Shaun Spiers commented: “Evidence from the 13 cases analysed in detail for traffic impact concluded that road schemes generate more traffic. On average, traffic grew 47% more than background levels, with one scheme more than doubling traffic within 20 years. None of the four schemes assessed in the longer-term showed the promised reduction in congestion; all put pressure on adjoining roads”.

And, he added, the price to pay was a high one: “Sixty-nine out of 86 road schemes examined had an adverse impact on the landscape – not just obliterating views, but destroying ancient woodland and mature hedgerows. More than half damaged an area with national or local landscape designations for landscape, biodiversity or heritage”.

If the authorities choose to take no heed of polite warnings from the likes of the CPRE, then it will be down to the people themselves, in Sussex and elsewhere, to launch more “organised, passionate and energetic” campaigns to protect the sacred land to which they belong.

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3. Uprising paralyses French colony

The French state is facing a major uprising in one of its remaining colonies in South America.

French Guiana, an overseas territory which is officially part of France and the EU, has been brought to a standstill by a general strike and massive social protest movement.

Roads have been barricaded, businesses closed and protesters this week temporarily occupied and shut down the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, where European Ariane rockets are launched.

French Guiana is an Amazonian territory north of Brazil, which is the size of Scotland but has a population of only 250,000.

The people’s grievances are varied, broadly boiling down to the fact that they feel like second-class citizens who are ignored by Paris.

While the French state benefits from the prestigious rocket launch site, 15% of the local population has no drinking water and 44% of the children leave school at primary level.

The “who we are” section of the website of the Pou Lagwiyann Dékolé collective, founded on March 28 2017, states: “We are the inhabitants of French Guiana. We are the people of French Guiana. We are one. We have risen up like one man to declare our unity.”

A very high-profile protest group called the 500 Brothers are calling for more security in a country hit by crime – and their appearance and rhetoric has alienated many of the uprising’s potential supporters in Europe.

One French anarchist currently in the territory was asked about the 500 Brothers in an interview and commented: “I see it as a reactionary thing. I’ve asked a lot of questions and talked to people, but I don’t really understand what’s behind this massive support for the 500 Brothers.”

But another French commentator said: “We are all Guianese because the contempt they are feeling from the ruling class echoes the general feeling that is being voiced everywhere in France.

“All the parties of government are guilty and responsible for this dire situation. All of them have failed and are grovelling to the supporters of the financial oligarchy. In French Guiana as elsewhere, a wind of change is blowing… and not before time!”

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4. British state goes to court for the arms trade

The British state is trying to overturn an important legal victory in the fight against the arms trade.

On 15th April 2016, eight activists were acquitted at Stratford Magistrates Court in London of obstructing a road outside the DSEI arms fair the previous September.

They successfully argued that their actions were justified, as they were trying to prevent greater crimes taking place, including the marketing of torture weapons, repression in Bahrain and the mass indiscriminate killing of civilians in Yemen, Palestine and Kurdistan.

On acquitting the activists, District Judge Angus Hamilton had held that there had been “clear, credible and largely unchallenged evidence from the expert witnesses of wrongdoing at DSEI and compelling evidence that it took place in 2015.”

Following the verdict, the UK state’s Crown Prosecution Service twice sought to appeal  the acquittals, but was turned down on the basis that the CPS applications were “dishonest”, “frivolous” and “misconceived”. The CPS finally applied directly to the High Court seeking a judicial review of the activists’ acquittal.

It is hardly surprising that the UK state is desperate to overturn a verdict which directly challenges its support for, and close collaboration with, the arms industry and the regimes which buy its products.

It does not even dispute any of the facts found by the Magistrates Court as to wrongdoing at the arms fair and complicity of its regular invitees in ongoing war crimes. It simply says that the judge should not have allowed this evidence to be heard.

From the state’s point of view, the judge’s decision was outrageous. That’s not how the law is supposed to work! That’s not how the game is meant to be played!

The law was devised in order to protect Power and to justify the violence used by Power. If you are an enemy of Power, blocking a road is a crime. If you are a friend of Power, killing or torturing people is not a crime.

It’s not about “right” and “wrong”, but about “legal” and “illegal”. And it is Power which decides how “legal” and “illegal” are defined.

Andrew Smith of the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) said: “The campaigners should not be getting pursued for protesting – it should have been the arms dealers who have fuelled and facilitated war and oppression around the world.

“The arms trade is an illegitimate, immoral trade, and events like DSEI are central to it. Whatever the verdict, we need to mobilise the biggest possible opposition when it returns to London later this year. DSEI brings the world’s biggest arms companies together with some of the world’s most oppressive regimes. It needs to be closed down for good.”

In a joint public statement, the defendants’ campaign said:  “The CPS cannot dispute any of the findings of fact made at our trial concerning criminality at DSEI, or the high probability that weapons bought there would be used for war crimes.

“How could they, when every credible authoritative source only serves to confirm that the UK government and other repeat DSEI invitees such as Saudi and its coalition allies are solidly and persistently complicit in the mass indiscriminate killing of civilians?  It is little wonder then, that the CPS should seek to prohibit the admission of such evidence in court on arbitrary procedural grounds, arguing that expert evidence should not have been allowed to be heard by the court at all.

“For us it is clear that there is not only a right – but also a profound responsibility – for each of us to do all we can to stop war crimes and crimes against humanity where they start.”

Hajar Mansoor Hasan (second from right), apparently targeted by authorities in retribution for the human rights work of her son-in-law, Sayed al-Wadaei. Also pictured are Hasan’s children, aged 13 and 11, and mother, 90.

At the same time that the case against DSEI activists was being reopened, two family members of expert witness Sayed Ahmed al-Wadaei – who gave evidence at the activists’ trial – were detained by the Bahraini government in retribution for his speaking out about human rights abuses perpetrated by the regime.

His mother in law and brother in law are still being held and there is grave concern for their safety following reports that they have been subjected to torture.

More info on resistance to the 2017 DSEI arms fair here and here.

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5. So what exactly is “extremist material”?

The UK is ramping up its attack on online freedom, seizing on the excuse of last month’s Westminster Bridge attack to try and outlaw encrypted messaging.

It is also considering legislation to force firms to “take down extremist material” from the internet, although details of what this might involve are not yet clear.

The state’s definition of “extremism” has been left deliberately vague and in other contexts has already been applied to anarchism, anti-fascism and the growing frack-free movement.

Banning this kind of political content from social media or other websites might seem to be out of the question in a country that likes to claim it is a “democracy”, but it would be in line with increasingly repressive official attitudes.

After the Investigatory Powers Act was passed last year, no fewer than 48 government bodies – including the Food Standards Agency and Department for Work and Pensions – can view a record of the websites people have visited in the past year.

A year and a half ago, Theresa May launched a “counter-extremism strategy” which amounts to a McCarthyite witch hunt which The Guardian described as being targeted “against ‘entryist’ infiltration of the public sector, charities and businesses by Islamist and other extremists”.

The term “other extremists” stands out here. The UK Government defines “extremism” as vocal or active opposition to what it calls “fundamental British values”, by which it of course means the “values” of the British state, such as waging imperialist wars and protecting the arms trade that profits from them (see above).

Police monitoring group Netpol says it has spoken to many people “who are alarmed by the stifling of political debate in schools and in further and higher education – including discussion on issues like ‘eco-terrorism‘ and support for Palestine – and who are more worried than ever about attending political meetings or engaging in online discussion”.

Does “removing extremism” from the internet simply mean trying to ban dissent? We can tell them now – it won’t work!

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6. Acorninfo

Hundreds of demonstrators set fire to the National Congress building in Asuncion, Paraguay, on the night of March 31, in a furious reaction to a secret vote for a constitutional amendment allowing right-wing President Horacio Cartes to run for re-election. A 25-year-old opposition activist was later shot dead during a police raid.

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Two protests against the environmentally disastrous Drax Power Station will be held in the UK on Thursday April 13. One is planned for York from 10.30pm until 2pm, where Drax’s shareholders are meeting at The Royal York Hotel York (The Principle York), close to York rail station. On the same day in London a colourful protest will visit some of Drax’s key investors from 12 noon until 2pm – meet in Gresham Street.

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Encouraging people to take direct action in the defence of the environment is not always easy, particularly when they have the impression that this is something only carried out by semi-professional activists. One video that could very usefully be shown to the public, with this in mind, is La Bataille de l’Eau Noire. This inspiring and entertaining documentary tells of a village in Belgium threatened by a dam in 1978, and hears from a cross-section of decidedly non-“activist” locals as to how they unleashed guerrilla warfare to successfully see off the project. The DVD comes with English subtitles and copies are being offered to groups involved in  struggles who would like to arrange screenings. Contact benjaminhennot@yahoo.fr

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Pro-capitalist trade union GMB has called for police and courts to take “a firm line” against opponents of fracking, reports Drill or Drop. As we have previously revealed here, GMB is very much in bed with the oil and gas business mafia and has even done a deal with UKOOG, the front group representing the fracking industry in the UK. Freedom News commented that the sell-out union’s latest statement comes “in an apparent total disregarding of the long history of police dirty tactics breaking strikes and picket lines in Britain, as well as numerous reports of police misbehaviour against fracking protesters”.

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Anti-capitalists gearing up for the big protests against the G20 in Hamburg this  summer launched a spectacular attack on a police station on the Grundstrasse in Hamburg in the early hours of March 26, setting the police vans in the yard on fire. In a statement translated by Insurrection News, the activists explained: “Our target was selected with care, the repressive machinery has been working at full speed on the criminalization of the resistance”.

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A petition has been launched to save from closure one of the few museums in the world to be dedicated to the life and works of an anarchist. The Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis Museum at Heerenveen, in the Netherlands, celebrates one of the fathers of Dutch anarchism and libertarian socialism, who was also active in the vegetarian and anti-militarist movements. The petition can be signed here.

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Indigenous resistance to industrial capitalism and the thorny issue of the “enemy within” in the shape of “Peace Police”, sell-out NGOs and corrupt “tribal government” – this is the subject matter of the first in a series of monthly documentaries by sub.media, going under the name of Trouble. Well worth a look!

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A pioneering UK academic publishing project is aiming to make first-rate scholarship on anarchism freely accessible through a sustainable publishing model. Alexandre Christoyannopoulos of Loughborough University explained that the first volume of Essays in Anarchism and Religion is already in production and now a crowdfunding scheme has been extended in a bid to fund the next two volumes.

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Acorn quote: “In a culture where profit has become the true God, self-sacrifice can seem incomprehensible rather than noble”.

Starhawk, Webs of Power: Notes from the Global Uprising

(For many more like this, see the Winter Oak quotes for the day blog)

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