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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6. 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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Dismantling tyranny

by Paul Cudenec

The only good thing to have come out of recent nightmarish months is that a lot of people have had to think seriously about the way they see the world.

I have not been exempt from this phenomenon, of course, and have been forced by circumstance into serious bouts of ideological soul-searching, but am delighted to report that, as 2020 draws to an end, I remain attached to the same principles with which I began the year!

What has changed, though, is that I now feel the need to provide certain additional explanations to my overall viewpoint which I would not have previously considered necessary.

Take, for example, my position with regard to the nation-state. I have been outspoken in my condemnation of nation-states and nationalism in my writing, but the global fascist coup has reminded me that a different perspective exists.

This says that truly independent nation-states, free from the chains imposed by all those globalist institutions from the World Bank and the IMF to the United Nations and the World Health Organization, would not have succumbed so meekly to the global capitalist putsch.

I can concede that the resurgence of anti-globalist national sovereignty, in the Global South as well as in Europe and the USA, might well be the best short-term bet for seeing off this horrific attempt to permanently enslave humankind in a techno-fascist world dictatorship.

However – and I would emphasise that word! – it is crucial to remember that nation-states were the first form of centralised authority imposed on free human communities and that the nation-state is the tool with which the exploiting class has long kept us in line.

The weary old mantra of “we’re all in this together” is the language of nationalism, in which the supposed common “national” interest of the serf and the billionaire, and their shared hatred of “foreigners”, is supposed to override any sense of social injustice on the part of the former.

If we ever want to taste real freedom, we will have to decentralise power completely, to the community level

The nation-state, with its fake “democracy”, its “legitimate authority”, its controlled media narratives, its public figures, its academic institutions, its police and its monopoly on violence, is the very real and immediate means by which we are oppressed.

Globalism may be the prison, but the nation-state is both the cell in which we are held and the prison guard standing outside.

If we ever want to taste real freedom, we will have to decentralise power completely, to the community level.

Unless we dismantle the national level of tyranny as well as the global one, everything will remain in place for the same thing to happen all over again.

A second issue I have been contemplating has been the issue of private property. My past criticism has been levelled at the system of private property (particularly land ownership) rather than at individuals who own their own home or farm.

In this society, we have no choice as to whether we want to participate in the system of private property. If we are not home-owners then we are home-renters. It is no better to be ripped off by a landlord than by a building society. People get by as they can.

When I first saw the World Economic Forum propaganda proposing a future in which we “own nothing”, my blood ran cold for a moment. Had I had been inadvertently promoting their agenda through my criticism of private property?

No, because the globalists’ vision is, like everything else they come out with, a lie. They certainly want the vast majority of human beings to own nothing, but that is because they want to own everything themselves – including those selfsame human beings!

Their “own nothing” option in fact represents the next step in the domination of private property, rather than its reversal. They want to consolidate the power of their own ultra-rich ruling class to the extent that the rest of us are left with nothing at all.

It is important to note that it is only through the development of private property as we have hitherto known it, that they have been able to reach this point.

Over many centuries, the ruling class has used its property to create wealth, used its wealth to acquire property and power, used its power to protect and increase its property and wealth.

Our overlords may have thrown us a few crumbs from the table as a sop to keep us quiet – convincing us that we too were part of their “property-owning democracy” – but it was always only a matter of time before they would try to push the thing a step further and grab everything for themselves.

Again, if we were able to pull back from the brink of this global totalitarian coup, there would be no point in returning to the pre-Covid status quo, as all the conditions would remain in place for the global ruling elite to try the same thing again, a few years down the road, using a different trick.

We need to prevent property from being used as a form of power and exploitation over others and develop organic form of communal democracy and co-operative ownership which cannot be hijacked by greedy tyrants.

I do not want to see land or homes owned either by billionaire capitalists or by the state, but by people, in ways that suit them best, on the most decentralised local level possible, in a spirit of sharing, caring and mutual aid.

The third issue I want to address here is that of business. I hate the “business” ethos which was notoriously instilled in the UK under Margaret Thatcher. Greed is good. Anyone who makes money (off other people) is a hero and the rest of us are all losers.

So it was strange to find myself sympathising with the plight of smaller businesses in the face of the lockdowns.

Strange, but perfectly explicable when I looked at it more closely.

As with the previous two thorny issues, what we are seeing today is the massive amplification of the “business” principle which I oppose, not its negation.

The Great Fascist Reset is, after all, being promoted by a business organisation, the World Economic Forum, and all the bias built in to the so-called “sustainability” agendas of the EU, the UN and so forth concerns prioritising the ongoing growth and expansion of business “stakeholders”.

The version of “business” sold to the little people by the global financial mafia was nothing but a gesture, a carrot dangled in front of them to persuade them to consent to the marvellous capitalist system and to stand with the billionaires against any “freedom-hating” left wingers who wanted a fairer distribution of wealth.

Now, that little game has outlived its usefulness and the people who thought they were living the free-market dream will find themselves herded into the same electronic concentration camps as the rest of us, as the slave-masters move to seize complete economic and social control.

The seeds for this have been there all along, from the moment that our societies started moving away from old-fashioned community values and towards the worship of money above all else.

Ferdinand Tönnies

In the words of the German sociologist Ferdinand Tönnies (1855-1936), this was the historic transition from Gemeinschaft (traditional community) to Gesellschaft (modern commercial society).

The French radical Georges Lapierre talks about the dominating “cosmovision” of a society based entirely on money: “In a mercantile society we are all merchants, our heads are filled with the thoughts of big capitalist merchants, we all think about money”.

If there is a Great Awakening from the Great Reset, there is no point in falling back into the money-thinking that has progressively corrupted our world for the last 500 years or more.

Just because things are worse now, with the Covid coup, than they were a year ago, or ten years ago, does not mean that we should aim to return to that previous step of the process.

I keep thinking of the apocryphal story of the man who fell from the top of a skyscraper and, as he passed each floor on the way down, was heard declaring “so far so good!”

While it may have been better to have been alive in 1960 or 1980 or 2000 than in 2020, rewinding to any of those stages would only condemn us to live through the same thing again, as we plummet towards the current calamity.

We need to rediscover what it means to be truly human

Instead, we need to go back to the point before we fell off the edge and take a different civilizational direction.

We need to rediscover what it means to be truly human, to cherish value over price, communal belonging over personal self-interest, honour above wealth.

We need to look deep inside ourselves and search out and nurture everything that makes us noble, authentic, generous and kind.

We need to remember that we are animals, that we are part of nature, part of the living cosmos and that respect for everything around us is essential for our happiness and survival.

That ancient human wisdom is still there, even though it has long been marginalised and spat upon by the same venal parasite class which is currently trying to steal everything from us and turn us into their slaves.

Our task is to find it, to drink it in deeply and then to share it as the health-giving elixir of a free and natural future for all of humankind.

Further reading: Organic radicals website

See our Great Reset and Climate Capitalists pages for more resources.

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Money, lies and power

blogfree2

by Paul Cudenec

We all know that money is what makes this commercial world go round.

The cult of money has swept away the traditional ethical codes of humankind and become the sole indicator of “value”.

If something makes money, it is good. If it doesn’t, it is useless. If someone accumulates money, by whatever means, they are “successful”. If they don’t, they are a “failure”.

But we also all know that money is not real. It consists of nothing more than pieces of paper, or electronic figures, which are universally agreed to represent something.

For most of us, money is the whip that keeps us in line. Because we need it in order to survive, we are forced to spend the best decades of our lives working for money.

Most work does not directly give us what we need or want. It is merely a means to another means, a way of earning money so we can buy various goods and services.

The vast majority of people use money to pay for food and drink, shelter, clothing, leisure activities and whatever little luxuries are affordable in the part of the world in which they live.

What about the really “successful” people, though, the people who have accumulated unimaginably vast amounts of money, at the expense of the rest of us? What does money do for them?

It provides them with their lavish lifestyles of course – all their mansions and private jets and designer clothes and furniture and cars and plastic surgery. Money can buy people too, whether to work for their interests, massage their egos or satisfy their sexual desires.

But most of all, and most worryingly for the rest of us, it brings them power.

Lies are another important part of their domination.

There is the lie that they “deserve” their wealth because they are somehow better than the rest of us – a total inversion of the truth since the obsessive pursuit of money speaks only of ruthless and sociopathic greed.

There is the lie that all of this is somehow normal, that it is right and proper that a tiny elite are sitting smugly at the top of a pyramid of global exploitation which sees those at the bottom condemned to lives of abject misery.

And there is the lie that this world of theirs is “democratic”, that we have the freedom to collectively determine the way we live.

Anyone who is the slightest bit awake will have noticed that today this last lie is looking hollower than ever.

With the totalitarian measures being introduced on the back of the Covid panic, it looks as if the ruling class have decided to finally ditch the pretence of “liberal democracy” and its illusion of freedom.

As Frank Zappa warned: “The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater”.

I am beginning to wonder if money will be the next illusion that is ditched by the ruling class.

This is not going to happen quite yet, of course. The Covid crisis promises to be a bonanza for the richest of the rich, who will be greedily hoovering up all the wealth previously in the hands of small-scale businesses and individuals, as well as ramping up their relentless robbery of the working classes.

Not only will the ultrarich benefit from “emergency” spending by the world’s governments, but their banking branch will be happily harvesting the interest on the debts run up to pay for it all.

And of course there is all the Fourth Industrial Revolution technology in which they have invested, which will now be forced on us under the pretext of public health, and the planned monetisation of everything alive through the so-called “New Deal for Nature“.

But, as we have seen, money is just a means to an end. It is the key to the door of power and, after a few more years of what we are seeing now, the ultrarich and their vitaphobic death-cult will have all the power that they crave.

This would no longer have to be gained by buying anything, whether resources, land, infrastructure, institutions or people, because the elite would already own them.

All they would have to do is to maintain that power, by using all the totalitarian techniques of surveillance and control that are currently being rolled out at such an alarming speed.

George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four merits regular re-reading and every time I do so, my eyes are opened to a new level of this extraordinarily prophetic warning.

During the torture session towards the end of the book, O’Brien asks Winston Smith why he thinks the Big Brother regime wants power.

George Orwell

Smith starts by telling O’Brien the lie he thinks his torturer wants to hear, that the Party is ruling people for their own good because “you believe that human beings are not fit to govern themselves”.

He receives a hefty electric shock for this mistake and O’Brien puts him straight, explaining: “The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power”.

He adds: “We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end… The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power”.

For centuries now, the ruling class have been stealing everything from us. They have thrown us off our land, destroyed our communities and our cultures, deprived us of our precious days of living by forcing us to work for their fake money just to survive. They have stolen our very sense of who we are, our connection to nature, to each other, to our own bodies.

And now, in 2020, they are trying to take this a step further. Just look at everything happening on the back of the Covid hysteria!

People are being forced to wear masks, symbolising their silent submission to authority, are told they now have to be bound in electronic chains and be injected with whatever toxic substances our rulers see fit.

We are not allowed to go outside unless Big Brother says so, not allowed to socialise with our friends, not allowed to ask any questions or express any dissent.

We are being stripped of our dignity, our freedom, our privacy, our autonomy, of everything that makes us human.

This is psychotic megalomania, deliberate humiliation, sadistic mistreatment amounting to torture, carried out on a global scale. We are being whipped and beaten and pissed upon, while our ruling class prison guards laugh in our faces.

And why? Because the ultrarich have utter contempt for us and want to lock us permanently down into a condition of cowed slavery.

That, for them, is the ultimate power-trip, the ultimate confirmation that they are “successful” and “superior” to us. The object of power is power. The object of domination is domination.

They have obviously calculated that they can get away with this, that their wealth, power and lies are now so all-conquering, and the majority of humankind so supine, gutless and malleable, that they will simply be able to trample all over us, for ever.

It is up to us to prove them wrong.

 

Anarchists against freedom!

by Paul Cudenec

A number of rather strange criticisms have come flying my way over the last few weeks.

For the moment I am going to address just one of them – the one which strikes me as the most serious.

I had always been under the fond impression that freedom was an untouchable cornerstone of the anarchist worldview. The word certainly features a lot in anarchist literature and culture!

However, it turns out that sometimes freedom is not a good thing at all, according to certain comrades with whom I have been exchanging views.

Their issue was with the concept of individual freedom, which they even insisted on writing in inverted commas to make their distaste for the term quite clear.

The first objection that sprung into their minds was that individual freedom was part of the language of Donald Trump and gun-toting libertarians in the USA.

This meant, according to the usual fashionable anti-logic, that anyone who believed in individual freedom was therefore dangerously contaminated with the ideologies of the American capitalist right.

Putting this absurdity aside, there is a serious point lurking in there, in that it is true that individual freedom is cited by capitalists in defence of their world of exploitation and inequality.

The anarchist concept of freedom necessarily also involves a collective aspect, recognising that the freedom of the individual depends on the freedom of the society of which she or he is a part.

There is also the issue of responsibility, in that anarchists do not expect individuals to pursue their freedom at the expense of others, but to feel their responsibility to the greater whole.

As one anarchist writer has put it: “Real freedom and real responsibility are so intertwined and interdependent in their meaning as to be almost inseparable”.

The fact that this anarchist was me (in my 2015 book Forms of Freedom) should hint strongly that I am not in fact advocating the me-first kind of freedom touted by capitalist libertarians.

But this is how it apparently seemed to my critics, purely because of my opposition to the global police-state lockdown of our basic freedoms imposed on the back of the coronavirus panic.

From their point of view, it was irrresponsible to complain about loss of individual freedom (sorry, “individual freedom”) when the greater good of the community, the need to protect ourselves and others from contagion, was at stake.

I disagree with this on two levels.

In the specific context of what is happening today, I do not accept that the virus is a threat that justifies the authoritarian clamp-down on our lives that has been rolled out, as I have already stated.

Therefore, the freedom of the individual is not trumped by an overriding social responsibility to accept what is basically a state of martial law.

Moreover, because the virus has been massively exaggerated as cover for a totalitarian-financial grab of power and wealth, the true social responsibility lies in the opposite direction.

From my point of view, the freedom of the individual to seek out a quiet life by just going along with all this, by keeping his or her head down, is overriden by the responsibility to speak out, to challenge the propaganda, to alert society to what is happening and to urge people to resist.

Obviously from my critics’ stance, this is not a valid argument, because they are starting from the assumption that the virus is as real and as deadly as we have been constantly told by the authorities and their media.

This, in itself, is deeply problematic. What happened to “question everything?” It is not possible to build a critique of oppression without being prepared to challenge the assumptions used to justify that oppression.

The anarchist argument about collective responsibility, when transplanted into the soil of deceit, grows upside-down.

The logic that should require people to act for the common good is reversed and serves to instead condemn those who are acting for the common good and trying to expose the fraud.

The second level of my disagreement with these critics concerns their ideological interpretation of responsibility and freedom.

Here, I find that their thinking strays a very long way from the anarchist outlook.

I did, in fact, deal with all this in Forms of Freedom. It’s now available as a free pdf on the Winter Oak site (as are all my other books) and to understand my position in more depth, I recommend having a look.

This passage on responsibility is particularly relevant:

“Part of the confusion surrounding the term responsibility arises from the manner in which it is abused to suit certain purposes. It is often conflated with the notion of conformity or obedience not to the interests of the collectivity, but to an entity which is passing itself off as representing those interests”.

By this I meant the state, of course, as I went on to explain: the entity which tells people that their responsibility to obey orders overrules their individual freedom.

I pointed out in the book that this responsibility to obey the law is never imagined as emerging from an individual’s own judgement – hence the perceived irresponsibility of ‘taking the law into your own hands’ – but is seen as required in the interests of a collective good defined from above rather than below.

Whether that law is good or bad is irrelevant: “The important point is that the responsibility in question is seen as something that must be accepted regardless of one’s free conscience, rather than as the result of it”.

“There is an important conflict here between fake and real responsibility, between imposed and free responsibility, between responsibility dictated from the outside and responsibility assumed from the inside of the individual.

“Ultimately, those who propose an imposed responsibility do so because they are afraid of the real responsibility which emerges from within.

“An imposed responsibility can be invoked to demand obedience to arbitrary rules constructed for the selfish interests of a minority which maintains control of stolen wealth through the violence of authority in all its forms.

“A real responsibility could well lead individuals, or communities, to challenge those arbitrary rules and the phoney morality built up around them”.

“To turn our backs on the symbiotic relationship between individual and collective interests is to turn our backs on anarchism”

Anyone who champions a duty of collective responsibility which involves suppressing individual freedom is not invoking real responsibilty, but the imposed kind.

“The individual is part of the collectivity and the collectivity is made up of individuals. They are the same living thing with the same interests at heart“.

Freedom and responsibility are two aspects of the same thing and so are the individual and the collectivity.

The collectivity needs individuals to be free, because without that freedom the social organism would be dead.

“It is important for the collectivity that individuals are free to live according to the subtlest demands of their nature, for only in that way can the collectivity also live according to the subtlest demands of its nature.

“A collectivity cannot be free unless the individuals who make it up are all free. An individual cannot be free unless they are living in a collectivity which is free, that is to say in which all individuals are free”.

To turn our backs on the symbiotic relationship between individual and collective interests is to turn our backs on anarchism.

It is, in fact, to adopt a way of thinking shared by liberalism and fascism, which are not at all the opposites which they might appear, as this article explains.

Both these systems of control (the first more subtle than the second) are based on lies. They twist the truth, even reverse the meanings of words in order to impose their own agenda, as George Orwell so perfectly showed us in Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Liberalism and fascism both use a language which suggests the full participation of the population in the workings of society, which even appears to involve a kind of symbiosis like the one referred to above.

Liberals label this involvement “democracy” and have, until now at least, gone to great lengths to maintain this illusion, which is the principal justification for the legitimacy of their system.

But it’s just a sham, of course. It always has been. The game is rigged in so many ways and on so many levels.

Fascists don’t like the term “democracy” and prefer to talk about “the nation”, which is supposedly the incorporation of the collective interests of the people.

Sometimes they have even stolen the language of the social organism to give the impression that there is something natural about their system.

“They are systems which impose the control of the ruling class over the people”

But the social organism, for fascists, can never be a living entity of free individuals acting according to their own consciences, as it is for anarchists.

Their imagined organism is more like a robot, under the total control of the fascist state.

The reality behind the liberals’ fake democracy and the fascists’ fake organism is one and the same – a ruling elite which only pretends to be acting in the interests of everyone.

A contempt for the “masses”, for the “mob”, for the “great unwashed”, the “Untermensch” is shared by both systems because they are elitist and authoritarian.

They are systems which impose the control of the ruling class over the people.

From the perspective of the ruling class, the idea that we could run our own lives and our own societies without their structures of control is a dangerous one.

That is why they talk fearfully about “descending into anarchy”. Their worst nightmare is that their slaves might break free.

This is why they often depict human nature as selfish, greedy and violent – thus needing the firm hand of the liberal/fascist state to keep it under control.

This is why they sometimes prefer to say that there is no such thing as human nature at all, thus rejecting the empowering anarchist idea that we are all born with the natural capacity or tendency to live co-operatively and more or less harmoniously.

It is a primary assumption of liberalism/fascism that we cannot be trusted to make our own decisions, that we are basically irresponsible and in need of control and “protection” from our wise and benevolent leaders.

To keep us safe. From each other.

So why is this living freedom sourced from the individual-collective symbiosis, not recognised by all anarchists today?

Why do they regurgitate the liberal/fascist lie that individual freedom and the collective good are incompatible?

The problem, for me, is that too many anarchists are today entirely trapped within what I called “the inherent thought-restriction of the dominant system”.

This stifling contemporary newthink completely negates the timeless human wisdom from which anarchist philosophy emerged.

It sees human beings as programmable and malleable machines. Artificiality triumphs over authenticity. Any talk of social organism is seen as reactionary or borderline fascist (a typical inversion, as noted above – see also this article).

The notion of essence is dismissed out of hand, the idea of innateness can provoke panic attacks, meaning is regarded as meaningless, nature as reactionary, ethics as a construction, quality as an illusion.

There is no truth or reality. Two plus two can equal five if it suits the liedeology.

“Any way of thinking outside this ever-narrowing framework becomes impossible in a post-natural, post-human, post-authentic intellectual climate that effectively constitutes a complete paralysis of the collective human mind”, as I wrote.

Contemporary newthink is binary, one-dimensional. It does not understand multi-dimensional thinking and cannot embrace creative paradox.

It can only ever see individual freedom and collective responsibility as opposites.

It is incapable of even hearing, let alone understanding, oldthink arguments that soar above its empty and flattened-out dogmas.

In short, people are attaching the anarchist label, and a sort of shallow parody of anarchist ideology, to something which is not anarchism at all.

This pseudo-anarchist thinking has not grown from anarchist philosophy and therefore can never be anything but a replica anarchism, a zombie anarchism which appears to be the real thing but lacks the anarchist soul.

This fake anarchism is the sworn enemy of true anarchism. By stealing the body of anarchism, it banishes real anarchism from the world.

Whenever real anarchism does emerge, this zombie anarchism points an accusatory finger at it and declares it to be dangerous.

This is anti-anarchism, upside-down anarchism, inverted anarchism.

I have been going on about all this for years. Sometimes I have wondered if it is as important as all that, whether I could not just accept some philosophical differences with comrades in the interests of working and campaigning together.

But now that anarchists are getting angry with me for believing in freedom, I can see very clearly what was worrying me all along.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roadblock!

 

Ales roadblock2 - Copie

Report by Paul Cudenec of Shoal Collective.

There weren’t too many hi-vis jackets in evidence when we arrived at one of a series of roundabouts on the “rocade”, the ring road, at Alès in south-east France on Tuesday March 19.

Would there be enough protesters to pull off the roadblock that had been agreed at the previous night’s meeting of the Gilets Jaunes assembly at the trade union HQ in the former mining town?

I needn’t have worried. It was just that the 6.30am meet-up time had been a little too early for some, and a steady flow of people soon arrived. There were 30 or so at this point.

A dark blue gendarme van arrived, toured the roundabout but didn’t stop and disappeared again. They weren’t going to interfere at the set-up stage, it seemed.

Suddenly, Yellow Vests started streaming off the roundabout towards a side road. They were heading towards a large white van which had just pulled up.

The doors were flung open to reveal that it was packed full of road-blocking material – palettes and tyres, mainly huge lorry ones.

This was all quickly carried, or rolled, to the edges of the roundabout. Some Gilets Jaunes headed off down the ring road towards the next junction.

Before long, this stretch of dual carriageway was blocked from both ends. The operation was remarkably efficient. These people knew what they were doing!

As the morning rush-hour got underway, the blockade, part of a national day of action to coincide with a trade union strike, firmed up even further.

There were enough Gilets Jaunes, easily more than 100, to send a second group to block another roundabout a few miles down the road.

At the original site, the filtering operation came into effect. This was made easier by the use of trolleys borrowed from a nearby supermarket, weighed down with tyres and decorated with yellow cardboard fists.

Someone driving a flat-bed truck loaded with old tyres, apparently on the way to the dump, decided to make an impromptu donation to the Gilets Jaunes cause, creating an impressive heap of rubber on the roadside.

Ordinary car drivers were not allowed through the road block. If they stopped to ask, they were given directions for an alternative route.

However, doctors or nurses on duty were allowed to pass if they could prove who they were. Ambulances and firefighters had the automatic right to go through the barricade.

Every time one was seen, or heard, approaching, the call went out – “pompiers!” – and people rushed to pick up the palettes and roll aside the supermarket trolleys until they had passed, taking care not to let any uninvited traffic through in their wake.

Although car drivers were obviously inconvenienced by the ring road being blocked, and had to take the long way round, they were not the real target.

The aim was to block the economy, in the shape of the heavy goods vehicles which are the life blood of capitalist commerce across Europe.

When lorries – or certain lorries, anyway, as there were some complicated criteria that I never quite grasped – approached the blocked section of road, they were not turned away but invited to enter.

Some of them took a bit of convincing, with Gilets Jaunes standing in front of their vehicle or blocking their way with some of the ample supply of tyres.

But others were more than happy to pass through the blockade into the stretch of road sealed off at both ends by the protesters, where they would have to remain until the end of the action at 8pm.

I was a little surprised by this, until it was patiently explained to me that this amounted, effectively, to a day off for the lorry drivers.

They could phone their boss, report that they were blocked in by the Gilets Jaunes, and spend the day sleeping in their cab, sitting in the sun, drinking coffee, chatting with other drivers or protesters, or whatever. And be paid for it.

When we see a HGV branded with the name of some foul capitalist business, it is too easy to forget that the man or woman driving it is not part of that business, but a victim of that business and can be a willing accomplice in a struggle against the world which that business represents.

After six hours of the blockade, there was no space for any more lorries and disappointed drivers had to be turned away at the barricades.

I took a walk down the blocked stretch of dual carriageway, which was essentially now a lorry park with a narrow central lane for emergency vehicles.

More than fifty lorries had rolled into the Yellow Vest net – mostly French ones but some from Poland, Hungary and Romania. Quite a haul!

There had been a lot of talk at the Monday night assembly about the possible reaction of the police, who had previously used tear gas to clear a roundabout and against a town centre protest.

People were advised to bring protective masks, goggles and so on and were armed with information on solicitors and arrest support.

So it was slightly surprising that when the Police Nationale first turned up at the action, they exchanged smiles and handshakes with some of the Yellow Vests.

I asked somebody about this. “It’s because they’re local police, they’re from here,” he replied. “They’re friends, family members even. One of the Gilets Jaunes is a retired cop, in fact!”

Later the gendarmerie, part of the French armed forces, also turned up and were surrounded by a huddle of Gilets Jaunes.

Something termed a “negotiation” took place and the “forces of order” went on their way. The local paper, Midi Libre, reported later that the authorities in Alès said they did not, on this day of national action, have enough policing resources available to dislodge the blockade.

THE GILETS JAUNES

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The sunshine revolution

Dions832
3,000 Gilets Jaunes gathered in the countryside near Nîmes in southern France

Report by Paul Cudenec of Shoal Collective.

Saturday March 16 2019 will probably go down in history as the day that Macron and his government gave up waiting for the Gilets Jaunes movement to fade away.

Huge numbers of Yellow Vests packed the Champs Elysées in Paris for Act 18 of their revolt and were immediately attacked by police.

But they had come ready for a fight, for a revolution even, and took the offensive against the armed forces of the regime, despite all the tear gas, water cannon, rubber bullets, grenades and armoured vehicles.

Police were pelted with stones and repeatedly forced to retreat, in an eight-hour battle in the boulevard that has long symbolised chic Parisian affluence.

The rabble that had invaded this inner sanctuary of wealth wasted no time in trashing boutiques, eateries and banks, leaving them inscribed with their own philosophical reflections on the state of French society.

To the general consternation of the Parisian media and political elite, they even laid waste to that tiny minority’s spiritual home, the swanky gourmet restaurant Le Fouquet’s.

There was also much one-per-cent outrage over a video showing protesters in Black Bloc mode being cheered by others wearing the usual hi-vis singlets.

All of the lies peddled for months by the government were falling apart. No, the Gilets Jaunes movement had not faded away to insignificance. No, there was not a clear divide between the “extremist vandals” who broke windows and the rest of the movement. It was all just different aspects of the same uprising.

Interior minister Christophe Castaner declared afterwards that there had been no Gilets Jaunes in Paris that day, only 10,000 “casseurs” or vandals (there were at least ten times that many protesters, in fact).

This rhetoric allowed him to, again, completely brush aside the reasons behind the revolt and instead focus on a hard-line repressive strategy, firing the Paris police chief for not having ordered enough violence and announcing bans on protests and unspecified action against prominent Gilets Jaunes spokespeople.

A couple of days later the government announced that the army would be deployed to “protect public buildings” in France, a decision greeted with alarm and derision even by rivals on the conservative right.

Big shows of “strength” are tell-tale signs of an underlying sense of weakness, and the regime’s aura of authority had suffered as badly as the shop windows of the Champs Elysées.

* * *

Hundreds of miles away from Paris another huge crowd of Gilets Jaunes had gathered together, in completely different circumstances.

The occasion was a pre-release screening of the first film to be made about the movement, the documentary J’veux du soleil (I want some sunshine).

The local Gilets Jaunes at Dions, in the Gard department of southern France, appear in the documentary, made by Gilles Peret and François Ruffin, a well-known MP for the left-wing France Insoumise party.

Ruffin’s documentary Merci patron! (Thank you, boss!) was a massive box office hit in 2016 and fed into the mood of popular revolt of the Nuit Debout movement.

This was an outdoor event, as are so many such occasions in this Mediterranean corner of the country – in any case, no village hall or cinema could have accommodated the 3,000 people who turned up!

The giant inflatable screen had been installed in a manade, a ranch, on the rural plain north of Nîmes, surrounded by the vineyards which dominate this famous wine-producing region.

Before the film showing – which was after sunset, of course – there was a concert of the Spanish gypsy-style music that is very popular in these parts.

The culinary focus of the event was a “giant paella”, for which tickets had to be reserved in advance, but there were also plenty of food stalls and a “buvette”, an outdoor bar, where you could acquire a plastic beaker of local red wine for ninety-something pence.

The event as a whole was free, as might be expected for a political movement that is, above all, the voice of those with no money.

I took the time to look around me and to try to sum up the kind of people who were present. I was struck by the fact that it was impossible to do so.

Obviously it wasn’t “everyone” who was there (there was a serious overflow of the massive makeshift car park as it was! ) but this was certainly a cross-section of “everyone”.

These were the people you see everywhere here – at the market, sitting outside the cafés, or attending other general concerts or social events.

They were of mixed age and sex. There was nothing about the way they looked or dressed that marked them out as part of any particular “scene”.

That, perhaps, is the role played by the yellow vests worn by about half the people present – it represents the spirit of shared identity which unites these people and turns them from a collection of individuals into a whole.

This was a theme which cropped up again and again in the film, which is a kind of road movie in which Ruffin and Peret call in on Gilets Jaunes occupying roundabouts across France, from the Somme in the north to the Mediterranean coast.

People had been suffering in life but keeping it to themselves. They felt personally responsible, ashamed even, to struggle to pay the bills and feed themselves or their families.

Then the Gilets Jaunes appeared. They were accessible, friendly, and ready to talk. You didn’t have to pass an ideological examination to be allowed to take part in their revolt. You didn’t have to dress in a certain way or eat the right sort of food. Nobody even asked you how you voted at the last election.

Lonely and desperate people, spat out and cast aside by the capitalist consumer society which has taken hold of France, had suddenly rediscovered the community from which they had been separated.

In the Gilets Jaunes movement they did not just have political comrades, but friends. A new family, even. The hours spent on the roundabouts together had built solidarity, warmth, love.

J’veux du soleil is a powerful documentary because Ruffin allows himself to fade into the background and lets the Gilets Jaunes speak for themselves, with a frankness and intimacy that is rarely seen on camera.

The film intersperses these interviews with clips of Emmanuel Macron. The effect is stunning – the empty slickness of the neoliberal poster boy is the complete opposite of the raw honesty of the featured Gilets Jaunes.

The footage shows the arrogant “centrist” president, from his position of ultimate power and privilege, dismissing protesters as “people who are nothing”, as “lazy”, and as a “hateful mob”.

At the Dions screening, I was clearly not the only member of the audience who found Macron’s feudal contempt for the revolting peasants hard to stomach. His words were all but drowned out by a huge chorus of boos every time he appeared.

There were bursts of applause for particularly well-chosen words from Yellow Vests from elsewhere in France and great cheers of approval at the video of Gilets Jaunes famously smashing through the front gate of a government building in Paris with the aid of a construction vehicle they had borrowed from some nearby roadworks.

There was an outbreak of dancing at the end, too – the film draws its title and its sense of jaunty yet bittersweet optimism from a 1992 song by the group Au p’tit bonheur.

There were also, I was told later, plenty of tears – not just tears of sorrow for all the lives crushed by the dictatorship of money, but tears of joy for the renewal of hope in resistance.

THE GILETS JAUNES

HOME

The Acorn – 47

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Number 47

In this issue:

  1. Yellow voices
  2. Defending nature means fighting capitalism
  3. Zombie archaeology
  4. Everybody expected the Neoliberal Inquisition
  5. Tall tale of “eco-terrorism”
  6. Acorninfo

1. Yellow voices

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The Gilets Jaunes, or Yellow Vests, movement in France is the most important political phenomenon to emerge in Western Europe so far this century. It has smashed through the barriers of political stagnancy and sterility which so often disempower and stifle spontaneous expressions of popular discontent.

The yellow banner of revolt has rallied parts of the population previously unreached by political organising and the relentless determination of hundreds of thousands of men and women has shaken the citadels of neoliberal power to the core. As well as the rubber bullets, grenades, water cannon and tear gas deployed by the French state against the uprising, another major weapon against the Gilets Jaunes has been the corporate media.

Constant lies, smears and alarmism in France have been matched by almost total silence elsewhere, punctuated by small dribbles of largely inaccurate information. We at Winter Oak have been trying to help counter this information war against the rebellion by reporting their activities and opinions in English. Below we present five new translations which offer some useful insights into what is currently being spelled out in yellow in France.

The uprising is very much ongoing as we write this, with Act 18 of the protests on March 16 likely to be significant, particularly in Paris. For  news updates about the movement follow us on Twitter.

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i. Power to the people!

This declaration was agreed at the Yellow Vest assembly of assemblies in Commercy at the end of January, attended by delegates from across France. It was then “sent back” down to the local assemblies, who have gradually been endorsing it from the grassroots.

Ever since November 17, from the smallest village in the countryside to the biggest city, we have been rising up against this profoundly violent, unfair and unbearable society.

We are not going to be pushed around! We are revolting against the high cost of living, against precarity and misery. We want our loved ones, our families and our children to live in dignity.

26 billionaires own as much as half of the human species and that is unacceptable. Let’s share wealth and not misery!

Let’s do away with social inequality! We demand immediate increases in pay, in the minimum wage, in benefits and in pensions; the unconditional right to healthcare and education; free public services for everyone.

It’s for all these rights that every day we occupy roundabouts, that we organise actions and protests and hold discussions everywhere.

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With our yellow vests on, we are having our say, which we have never had before.

And what’s the response from the government? Repression, contempt, denigration.

People killed and thousands injured, the massive use of weapons fired directly at us which mutilate, take out eyes, wound and traumatise.

More than 1,000 people have been arbitrarily prosecuted and jailed.

And now the new so-called “anti-vandal” law aims simply to stop us demonstrating.

We condemn all violence against protesters, whether it comes from police or violent factions. None of that is going to stop us!

The right to protest is fundamental. End the impunity for the government forces! Amnesty for all the victims of repression!

And what a con, this Grand National Debate which is nothing but a government PR exercise taking advantage of our desire to discuss and take decisions!

The real democracy is the one we practise in our assemblies and on our roundabouts. It is neither on the TV nor in the fake debates organised by Macron.

He insults us, says we’re less than nothing, then depicts us as hateful crowd, fascistic and xenophobic.

But in fact we are completely the opposite: neither racist, nor sexist, nor homophobic, we are proud to be together with our differences to build a society of solidarity.

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The diversity of our discussions is our strength and even now hundreds of assemblies are drawing up and putting forward their own demands.

They involve real democracy, social and fiscal justice, environmental and climate justice, the ending of discrimination.

Among the most debated demands and strategic proposals we can find: the eradication of misery in all its forms; the transformation of institutions (citizen-initiated referenda, constituent assemblies, an ending to privileges for elected representatives); environmental transition (energy precarity, industrial pollution); equality and the valuing of all women and men regardless of their nationality (people with disabilities, gender equality, ending the neglect of working-class districts, rural areas and overseas territories).

We, Gilets Jaunes, invite everyone to join us, as and how they see fit. We call for a continuation of the series of “acts” of protests, of the occupation of roundabouts and the blockading of the economy and of the effort to build a huge national strike.

We call for the setting up of committees in the workplace, at places of study; and everywhere else so that this grave can be built on the basis of the strikers themselves.

Let’s take control of our own activities! Don’t stay on your own, join us! Let’s organise democratically, autonomously and independently!

This assembly of the assemblies is an important step which allows us to discuss our demands and our means of acting.

Let’s come together in federations to transform society!

We ask the whole of the Gilets Jaunes movement to circulate this call.

If, as a Gilets Jaunes group, you agree with it, then don’t hesitate to send your support to Commercy.

Please do discuss and draw up proposals for the next assembly of the assemblies, already under preparation.

Macron resign!

Power to the people, for the people, by the people!

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The “nothings” are on the streets

ii. The ghost of 1789

This is an extract from a leaflet issued by a group of Gilets Jaunes in southern France after a local bigwig, the Prefect, accused “anarchists” of inciting hate of the state and confrontations with the police.

Mr Prefect, there is no need for anarchists to sow hate as your government is managing to do that all on its own. Oh, nobody for the moment is talking about reaching for their rifle, but everyone can see what they earn and what the rich earn. Hate is on the rise. The Gilets Jaunes are simple people, generally workers at the bottom of the scale on low wages, or people living on modest pensions…

They say, when they talk about the rulers and the fat cats in this country: “They are like the kings and aristocrats used to be”. They are not talking about having a revolution here and now but they talk a lot about our great revolution: it is always coming up in conversation.

Macron has said repeatedly that he won’t change course: so we can expect nothing from him but scraps of charity. One day or the other the poor, like in 1789, will take action and a lot of others with them.

This won’t be a revolt, but a revolution!

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It is clear that every government since 1983 has done all it can to ensure that the poor are in this state of mind.

In our assemblies there are, among the hundreds present, lots of workers and pensioners. There are also teachers and nurses.

Some anarchists work and earn roughly as much as the other Gilets Jaunes, others are unemployed, like many others.

Sorry to disappoint you, but there is nothing to differentiate them from other Gilets Jaunes except that, perhaps, some of them are more active than most: that’s their right and we don’t hold it against them!

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iii. Our community is the struggle!

This analysis comes from issue 2 of an eight-page A3 street paper, Jaune: Le Journal Pour Gagner (Yellow: the Paper for Winning).

From the start of this movement, two symbols have been competing on the roundabouts. The yellow vest and the tricolour flag. Of course, many wouldn’t put it that way. They would say that the flag is the symbol of the French people, while the yellow vest is the symbol of the struggle, so the two are complementary. And it’s true that in each instance those who sport them regard them as signs of rallying around something in common. But there are different kinds of commonality.

The idea of a community founded on belonging to a territory, defined by a state and the defence of the borders of that state, is very old. We can see it in the founding myths of the Roman Empire.

Some will say that this is a hard reality. They will argue that every country has its share of misery and that at the end of the day defending your tribe, your territory, your compatriots, is a necessary part of being human. Their slogan is “our own before the others”.

But who are “our own”? Have you really got more interests, aspirations and sufferings in common with the rich of France than with someone who works on the same building site as you but hasn’t got the same passport? More in common with the Loréal family than with an Italian or Algerian delivering for an Amazon subcontractor? More in common with someone else on the minimum wage, regardless of nationality, or with someone who used to pay the highest rate of income tax until Macron scrapped it?

Nationalism will tell you that yes, French people, regardless of their social position, have more interests in common together than with any other form of solidarity, such as that based on a common situation. But where does that lead? Who profits from saying that? Who benefits from nationalism?

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Everybody knows the line about divide and rule. It implies, of course, that it those who rule who divide the others. So, let’s put the question this way: who rules? Who owns the wealth and the means of producing more wealth? The rich, the bourgeoisie. And who is divided according to passport and nationality? The poor, the workers, the unemployed.

Anyway, do you really think the bourgeoisie practises what it preaches for us? Do you really think that the French rich feel closer to you than to their friends in such or such a country, with whom they go skiing in Switzerland or Dubai while you go to work? Let’s not be naive.

But there is another community: the community of struggle. Thus, in France, for a long time now, a revolutionary tradition welcomes all those who want to struggle. As far back as the French Revolution, lots of people from every corner of the world came to lend a hand. During the Paris Commune, as well, the organisation of the barricades was partly organised by Polish revolutionaries.

And we can see this solidarity in struggle and revolution at many other times of history and in many other parts of the world. That is the community which brings us together. Today, it has a rallying call: the yellow vest. This call is universal and as such it is closer to the spirit of past revolutions, including the French one.

So we are saying it loud and clear: we are on the side of the yellow vest, of what it says about common struggle and also about a shared refusal of our dire situation, about chilly early mornings blockading and about evenings around a pile of burning palettes, talking about our rock-bottom living conditions.

Yellow Vests of every country, unite!

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iv. Poisoned by neoliberalism

From an interview with François Boulo, a lawyer and a Gilets Jaunes spokesman in the northern city of Rouen (source: Thinkerview).

How do you see the current situation with the Gilets Jaunes?

There is a fight to be won in terms of communication. The mainstream media are trying to criminalise the movement. But the real question of immorality lies with the distribution of wealth. To live in a country and pile up a personal fortune that is 10, 100, 1,000 times more than you need to live, while in France 9 million people teeter on the brink of poverty and 140,000 are homeless…

What kind of politics are you proposing?

For the last 40 to 45 years there has been an ideological drive to poison our minds with the dominant neoliberal thinking, which is presented as the only possibility. This is the framing for the way we think about politics today. This economic framing is imposed on us and they tell us that there is no alternative. This has generated a mood of resignation.

The economic debate has been closed down. They explain to us that we have to have permanent growth, even though we live in a finite world. We have a cake and they tell us we can’t change the rules for allocating the slices of the cake. I think citizens’ control is needed.

What do you think of the political and policing climate around the Gilets Jaunes movement?

Right from the start, everything was done to ramp up the climate of tension. On the second Saturday of protests in France, from 8.30 or 9am people were being “kettled”, caught in a trap, and teargassed! How do you expect them to feel that their right to protest is being respected?

What about Europe ?

We have got to stop following the demands of the banks and investors, because their financial games do not help the real economy. We should finally create the social Europe we were promised.

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v. A breath of fresh air

Here is an abridged version of an in-depth article in issue 12 of Avis de Tempêtes: Bulletin anarchiste pour la guerre sociale (Storm Warning: Anarchist bulletin for social war), a 20-page A5 zine with a yellow and red cover. The piece takes a witty swipe at a certain kind of comrade who considers themself too ideologically pure to possibly be able to join in the diverse and mould-breaking Gilets Jaunes uprising.

For once, a movement has erupted in a self-organised way without political parties and trade unions, for once it immediately set its own agenda – an agenda which is often daily and not at the weekly or monthly rhythm of the big days out orchestrated by the troop masters and agreed in advance with the police – even deciding for itself its own places and routes of confrontation and blockage by obstinately refusing to beg for official authorisation.

In short, a breath of fresh air for all those activists who have been waiting for nothing other than a big collective movement before venturing out of their homes. However… While the meagre crumbs claimed by any number of reformist, trade-unionist or victimist organisations – backed up by a show of strength in the streets to help their representatives in their negotiations with authority – have never put too many people off taking part, now we see those marvellous anti-authoritarian activists diligently dissecting those who have lit the yellow-vest fuse.

The anti-authoritarian activist, well schooled in swallowing all kinds of reformist demands in order to join in various struggles, this time finds that there is not enough familiar common ground.

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With the Gilets Jaunes movement, the activist has suddenly discovered the world around him. Having been in raptures over the Arab Spring without finding his enthusiasm impossibly deflated by the “interclassist” use of the term “the people” (“The people wants the fall of the regime” was a much-used popular slogan) and the abundance of national flags, he is now disgusted by the same limitations on his own side of the Mediterranean.

Having rioted against the Loi Travail labour reforms, or last May Day, without feeling his presence incompatible with that of  massed hammer and sickle flags, or with the sometimes-dubious banners at the head of Parisian demos (emblazoned with the wise words of 100%-reactionary rappers), he is now mortified by the tricolour flags and populist slogans.

He had chosen to be blind to the hundreds of tricolour flags in the left-wing France Insoumise rallies at the last elections, as well as to those wielded by hundreds of thousands in the streets after the epic victory in the footballing spectacle of July 2018 (sported in unison by poor urban youth and old rich racists).

No, the activist is as simple as his organic-supermarket ideology. An unclean symbol equals a fascist. Full stop.

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Further reading:

Tear gas and rubber bullets on the streets of southern France

Yellow is the new bloc

Yellow fever: long live the revolutionary mob!

Gilets Jaunes: unfiltered anti-capitalism

“Police everywhere, justice nowhere!” – Gilets Jaunes on the streets of Nîmes

The heartbeat of the yellow jacket revolt is rural

Christmas with the gilets jaunes

May our yellow sparks of revolt set the world ablaze in 2019!

France on the brink: either we topple the system or it will crush us

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2. Defending nature means fighting capitalism

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A radical anti-capitalist dimension to the Extinction Rebellion (XR) has emerged in the UK, with the creation of a new alliance.

The Green Anti-Capitalist Front is born of the realisation that if we want to defend nature we have to fight capitalism.

It says it wants to support the high-profile XR “with a parallel mobilisation that has a greater focus on the capitalist roots of climate catastrophe”.

GAF explains: “As we all know, capitalism is killing the Earth. We have been observing the rise of the Extinction Rebellion movement and, while we are glad to see a growing interest in fighting climate change, we do not think their critique goes far enough and believe a specifically anti-capitalist critique is needed.

“As such we are calling for the formation of an anti-capitalist block to tap into this rising interest in radical politics and to fill the vacuum of a green and anti-capitalist movement in London. We plan to loosely work alongside Extinction Rebellion’s actions, especially their week of actions planned from April 15th, while also developing our own unique
approach.

“The Green Anti-Capitalist Front is intended as a broad coalition of groups with varying ideologies, but with a common interest in tackling environmental problems at their social roots”.

GAF logo

In an open letter to XR, GAF praises it for having reinvigorated environmental activism at a time when this was most needed.

It says: “XR has been bold in its aims when much of the established movement has been cynical, and has managed to tap into a broader sense of alarm over environmental degradation, and mobilised many people not previously involved.

“XR has grown at a speed that many people would have thought impossible before we saw it happen.

“XR has also been far more radical in this broad appeal than many people would have thought, pursuing a strategy built around both local direct action while maintaining an international orientation.

“We cannot overstate the overwhelmingly positive effect that XR is having on environmental politics”.

However, GAF says it has “doubts about some of the tactics that XR has adopted” and thinks a conversation is needed about this.

GAF is inviting like-minded people and groups to get in touch via
greenanticapitalistfront@riseup.net. It has a website, Twitter account and Facebook presence.

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3. Zombie archaeology

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by Eric Fleischmann

In the 21st century, the world is now veritably swamped with commodities. According to APLF ltd. American consumers purchase an average of 7.5 shoes per capita per year. The LA Times reports that “the average U.S. household has 300,000 things, from paper clips to ironing boards.”

I am not by any means claiming that everyone is an affluent borderline-hoarder. One of the fundamental problems of capitalism is the unequal access to this seeming abundance of goods.

With so much paraphernalia in the world, it is inevitable that significant portions will be wasted.

In an article for The Atlantic, Derek Thompson explains that in a year the world creates around 2.6 trillion pounds of garbage—“the weight of about 7,000 Empire State Buildings.”

Much of this is food waste, but many inorganic items are produced with cheap plastic and other materials that fall apart quickly. Some companies, such as Apple, even reportedly preprogram their products to stop functioning properly after a certain amount of time in order to force consumers to buy new wares at a much greater rate than they otherwise would.

All this waste, all this stuff tossed away, has to go somewhere. Such rubbish becomes part of the planet’s topography, enters into its ecological systems, and eventually returns to the human sphere of interaction – much to human detriment.

This is zombie archaeology; when the remnants of our past are not uncovered by human beings but return to us by themselves with a vengeance.

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In this age of capitalism-induced ecological collapse, zombie archaeology is certain to become only increasingly suited for describing the world. Walter Benjamin, in his Theses on the Philosophy of History, writes of Paul Klee’s Angelus Novus, “This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But… …[t]he storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward.”

But what happens when the wreckage and debris – both literal and figurative – begin shambling towards the present? When the dead are, in a sense, awakened? Zombie archaeology poses these questions.

See full article here.

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4. Everybody expected the Neoliberal Inquisition

spanish inquisition

We have been drawing attention for some time now to the ideological smears being deliberately used by the neoliberal elite to stifle dissident voices.

Unlike Monty Python’s ridiculous “Spanish Inquisition”, this one has long been expected by everybody who has been paying attention.

The most important task, we feel, is to point out the essential dishonesty behind these attacks.

Neoliberals differ from the old-fashioned right in that they like to paint themselves as the Guardians (yep, quite!) of Progressive Thinking, as somehow vaguely left-wing despite their full-blooded backing for capitalism, militarism, imperialism and everything that goes with it.

So they cannot attack the left in the traditional way, by simply saying they do not like it because it is too left-wing and threatens the status quo which they support.

Instead, they pretend to be attacking their enemies from a progressive position, one which occupies the liberal moral high ground.

This is the case with the longstanding smears against deep green thinking which try to claim it is a continuation of Nazi ideology, even though Hitler’s regime was the epitome of industrialism (see our article Organic Radicalism: Bringing Down the Fascist Machine for a full analysis of this).

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Neoliberals, including pseudo-leftists, aren’t honest enough to say that they oppose deep green politics because they support industrial capitalism – that would blow their ideological cover.

Instead, they have to pretend that it is because they have cleverly identified it as a sinister right-wing threat to democracy as we know it.

The same phenomenon is basically at work with the “anti-semitism” allegations cropping up everywhere at the moment.

This issue is slightly complicated by the fact that it is partly about Palestine and the need for the pro-Israel lobby to silence all criticism of the apartheid state by conflating anti-Zionism with anti-semitism.

A real witch-hunt atmosphere has been created here, which the original Spanish Inquisition would surely have been proud of.

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Once accused of “anti-semitism”, the victim is faced with a dilemma similar to that of the famous ducking stool  – if you drown you are not a witch and if you don’t then you are a witch and you have to be burned alive.

If the person accused of anti-semitism admits guilt and apologises, not only will they not be left alone, but they will also have surrendered important political ground and will have set a precedent for the next absurd denunciation.

If they deny having said anything wrong, this denial will be regarded as a further offence of perhaps even greater severity.

This is what has been happening to UK Labour Party figures such as Chris Williamson and to US lawmaker Ilhan Omar (see here and here).

The secondary smear technique has also been used against the Gilets Jaunes in France, particularly following an incident in which intellectual Alain Finkielkraut was called a “dirty Zionist”.

Comments, or lack of comments, on the much-hyped confrontation were used to attack prominent Yellow Vest supporters such as journalist Aude Lancelin and leftist politician Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

It is important to note that all these smear attacks have been targeted at the political left. Anti-semitism on the right is rarely even mentioned.

It is clear that the Palestine question, important though it is both for supporters and critics of the Israeli state, is not the only issue at stake here, as the likes of Jonathan Cook have been pointing out.

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Seattle 1999

One of the great successes of the wave of global protests that took place in the 1990s and at the start of the 21st century was to put anti-capitalism on the public stage.

Previously, the mainstream had never even accepted that we lived in a capitalist society, let alone that people could be against that.

The word “capitalism” was regarded as a nonsensical one, used only by communists or other left-wing cranks.

Suddenly, they were talking about anti-capitalism on the BBC, examining who these troublesome anti-capitalists were and what exactly they wanted.

Twenty years on, the Establishment feels under threat, its system crumbling and its mind-control power over the population lifting like fog in the sunshine.

It therefore seems to have decided to try to push anti-capitalism back out of the public domain, beyond the perimeter fence of ideological validity.

99 per cent

We have commented previously on the peculiar political argument that there is something “anti-semitic” about opposing the “1%” who own most of the world’s wealth (it’s a lot fewer than that…) or about condemning bankers or international capitalist organisations like the IMF, the WTO or the Bilderberg group.

As we pointed out last July: “What appears to be happening, in some cases at least, is that the ‘Jewish banker’ figure is again being deliberately deployed to thwart opposition to capitalism.

“Previously, it was used to steer people away from anti-capitalism and into anti-semitism, but now the aim is rather to steer people away from anti-capitalism with the threat of being labelled anti-semitic”.

This twisted approach is now being presented as a common-sense view by mainstream media, in tandem with the other smear attacks on left-wingers.

Right-wing Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh spun this toxic propaganda on BBC Radio 4 on March 4, with presenter John Humphreys helpfully summing up: “In other words, to be anti-capitalist you have to be anti-semitic?”

Such are the desperate, dangerous lies of a system that senses its days are numbered…

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5. Tall tale of “eco-terrorism”

edinburgh castle

In his new “extremist” novel, No Such Place as Asha, Paul Cudenec gives a fictional airing to the ideological smears often deployed by neoliberals against opponents of their ecocidal industrial capitalist system. This excerpt describes a speaker at a private conference of the “Transatlantic Alliance for Freedom” (TAF) in Edinburgh…

His special subject was environmentalism. He started off paying lip service to the importance of balancing economic growth with sustainable practices, of ensuring the well-being of human and animal communities, so on and so forth. Responsible environmental organisations acted as crucial watchdogs that reminded the authorities and industry of their responsibilities. While TAF did not always agree with their positions, they recognised the role they played, etcetera, etcetera.

Then he moved on to the substance of his talk. Unfortunately, there was always a fringe of green protesters who took things too far, who refused to play by the rules. He talked about “eco-terrorists” in the USA and “hardcore” environmentalists in Europe, such as 1990s road protesters in the UK, a mobilisation against a high-speed rail line in Italy, a protest camp against an airport in France, another against mining in Germany.

More recently, the “worst” instance of these campaigns was the anti-fracking movement in the UK. The dangers of these extremists’ illegal direct action were well known, he said, as was the “Luddite” ideology that inspired them.

But lately things had taken a turn for the worse. These groups were starting to develop a common ideology, aided by the exchange of news and views made possible by the internet. They were borrowing ideas from campaigners on the other side of the world and incorporating them into their own rhetoric. They were increasingly identifying the enemy not just as their local government, or business, but as something they termed “the industrial capitalist system”.

Up against this, they were piecing together their own counter-position. They had taken the idea of “sacred land” from indigenous struggles in North America, Australia and elsewhere and were applying it to their own sites. The use of direct action was turning into an ideology of direct action, an anarchist contempt for the rule of law and the due democratic process. French and German groups had fed into the mix the idea of “degrowth”, which rejected the very fundaments of our society – the idea of progress, economic growth and increased prosperity for humankind.

I wrote down a complete quote at this point. “Let’s be clear, these people are negationists. They are guilty of progress denial. And I would suggest that this brand of negationism should be treated as seriously as the other one of which we are all too well aware. Because that’s where it ends, ultimately. It all ends at the same place. The destruction of civilization. The deaths of millions of men, women and children in the name of fanaticism.”

There was a great burst of applause across the room at this point. Having established his moral high ground, Heath went on to spell out the particular form this Eco-Terrorist Apocalypse would take, which seemed to involve mainly a drop in the profits of “important wealth-creating institutions”, faced with increased grassroots resistance to their projects and falling levels of consumption as the “poison” of anti-growth views contaminated the population.

More info here.

asha cover

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6. Acorninfo

A top-notch new comic has been published by Corporate Watch in London. Worlds End uses words and pictures to help people understand climate change and capitalism and encourage a different approach, one that builds power to fight them. Read it online here.

worldsend

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“Just because the participants in the growing number of Extinction Rebellion actions may be predominantly middle class, it doesn’t mean to say that we as working class people aren’t concerned about environmental issues”. So says a useful article in The South Essex Heckler. It adds: “What we need to do is to start to own the narrative of the campaigns around those issues so that it’s our voices that are being heard. We’re the ones on the frontline from traffic induced air pollution through to being housed in flood risk areas”.

traffic fumes

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Disturbing evidence keeps emerging about the way the environmental movement, particularly the climate justice element, is being hijacked and manipulated by big business. For instance, a Daily Mail report in February revealed that Tory peer John Selwyn Gummer, who heads the UK government’s Climate Change Committee, has a private company which has been paid more than £600,000 from “green” businesses hoping to profit from government subsidies. And the full report from Cory Morningstar mentioned in Acorn 46 is now online and a must-read for any nature-defender who wants to avoid being used as a useful idiot by a bunch of lying industrial capitalists.

Gummer

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The threat of new industrial capitalist mega-projects in Mexico has been highlighted in a letter from Zapatista women to their sisters across the world. The authorities’ destructive schemes include the Mayan Train, the “development” of the Tehuantepec Isthmus and massive commercial tree farms. The letter declares: “We’re going to fight with all our strength and everything we’ve got against these mega-projects. If these lands are conquered, it will be upon the blood of Zapatista women”.

zapatista women

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“Fracking is stoppable, another world is possible!” is the title of a highly informative and inspiring new online bulletin from the frack free movement. Issue 1 is available here but issue 2 should be out very soon – follow the excellent frackfree_eu on Twitter for updates.

frackingisstoppable

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The 2019 Liverpool Anarchist Bookfair will be held on Saturday April 13, 11am till 5pm at The Black-E, 1 Great George Street, L1 5EW. This will be a day of stalls and workshops, with a vegan cafe and kids’ space – free entry (donations towards event costs welcome). Says the website: “Books, zines & more to feed your brain  let’s learn, organise, grow & create!”

liverpoolbookfair

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If the neoliberal Establishment succeeds in totally destroying the (very mild!) threat presented to its domination by Corbyn’s Labour Party, there will no doubt be a few we-told-you-soes from us anarcho-cynics. But the anger sparked by such a collapse in people’s hopes could well lead to something more interesting happening in the UK. As Jonathan Cook notes: “If parliamentary politics returns to business as usual for the wealthy, taking to the streets looks increasingly like the only option. Maybe it’s time to dust off a Yellow Vest”.

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Acorn quote: “The poorest man hath as true a title and just right to the land as the richest man. True freedom lies in the free enjoyment of the earth”.

Gerrard Winstanley

Gerrard Winstanley GJ2

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

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Back Issues

The Acorn 46

The Acorn 45

The Acorn 44

The Acorn 43

The Acorn 42

The Acorn 41

The Acorn 40

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Follow Winter Oak on Twitter at @WinterOakPress

No Such Place as Asha – an extremist novel from Paul Cudenec

asha cover

No Such Place as Asha: An Extremist Novel by Paul Cudenec has now been published and is available to buy online.

Beer-loving Brighton journalist Jon Harvey has been dragged out of semi-retirement by an old friend, who wants him to find his missing adult son, Henry.

Relying on his famous sense of intuition and some strange coincidences, Jon follows the trail from an eccentric left-wing library in Edinburgh, to an anti-capitalist convergence centre in London and then to an isolated corner of rural France.

The questions just don’t stop coming in this intriguing political detective story from Paul Cudenec, author of The Fakir of Florence and The Anarchist Revelation.

What is Henry up to? What is the significance of the books that seem to be guiding his movements? What is the precise agenda of the Kitson Institute of Democracy, for which Henry has been working?

And, most of all, what, who or where is Asha and why does it seem to lie at the centre of this whole entangled ideological intrigue?

“Police everywhere, justice nowhere!” – Gilets Jaunes on the streets of Nîmes

Paul Cudenec of Shoal Collective reports from Nîmes in southern France and finds that a deeply-rooted belief in social justice lies behind the unprecedented uprising.

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Gilets Jaunes protest outside the police HQ in Nîmes on Saturday December 29

I had been warned not to say anything to anyone about the meet-up
point for the Gilets Jaunes protest in Nîmes on the afternoon of Saturday December 29.

People were going to be heading there in dribs and drabs. Some had been spending the morning together on private land, out of sight of the police. This was to be a surprise.

Half an hour after the wildcat march set off from outside the football stadium, the reason for the caution became clear.

Hundreds of protesters in their now-iconical hi-vis yellow jackets streamed on to the concourse of the city’s police HQ, the Hôtel de Police.

As helmeted riot cops emerged from the building to protect it from the intruders, a large banner was unfurled, condemning police violence.

“France isn’t the country of liberté any more,” remarked Lionel, standing at the edge of the crowd. “Most of the police brutality is hidden. By the media, yes, but also everything that people put on the internet is erased.”

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Protesting against police violence at the Nîmes police HQ

Nîmes is a good-sized city, the 19th biggest in France, but it hardly has a tradition of political unrest.

It is better known for its Roman architecture, its bull-fighting culture, its celebratory ‘ferias’ and the cloth that originally came “de Nîmes” and is now globally known as denim.

It is a sign of how far the roots of the Gilets Jaunes reach into deepest France, that the nîmois have been pouring out on to the streets in huge numbers, blocking the motorway, torching toll booths, closing down the main railway line.

From the police HQ, we headed into the centre of the Occitanian city. Outside the 1st century Roman amphitheatre we were joined by a squadron of motorcycling Gilets Jaunes, revving their engines furiously in support.

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Motorcycling Gilets Jaunes join the Nîmes protest

Then it was into the maze of narrow pedestrianised streets, where the police escort was repeatedly shaken off and their reappearance greeted with boos.

“Police everywhere, justice nowhere!” went the chants. “Macron resign!” “Everyone together!”

Social justice lies at the heart of the Gilets Jaunes’ cause – it is the first thing all of them want to talk about.

Martine is a retired company boss who describes herself as middle class. She said: “I could stay at home if I wanted to, but I can’t. I can’t stand seeing people not having enough to eat at the end of the day. And these are working people!

“France is the most envied country in the world for our culture, our know-how and our economy, but we are turning into a country in need”.

Those running the country were completely out of touch, she said, and had no idea of the everyday reality that people were living.

Lionel, who is also retired, likewise named poverty as the main reason why he was on the protest.

“People are living in misery. There are shanty towns, even here in Nîmes. People are badly paid and live in abominable conditions, but they are not necessarily on the street. We don’t see them.”

Lionel stressed it was not his own personal situation he was complaining about: “You have to protest for other people as well, not just yourself”.

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Hundreds of Gilets Jaunes took to the streets of Nîmes

Corporate media in France and beyond have made much of the involvement of some far-right elements on the fringes of the Gilets Jaunes, suggesting that the protest movement represents a slippery slope towards populist fascism.

I raised this issue with Riton, a libertarian communist from nearby Alès who had made the 25-mile trip to join the protest.

He assured me that the far right was very much a marginalised minority in the Gilets Jaunes movement.

“The movement is really about the class question, although it is not expressed in that way.

“It rejects the idea of leaders and is against all kinds of division. Racist arguments just don’t wash.

“There is also the criticism of the police and the calls for self-government. The extreme right is finding it harder and harder to identify with the movement.”

The “inter-class” flavour of the revolt had also faded after commercial traders whose businesses had been affected by the Gilets Jaunes realised the protests conflicted with their own personal interests and dropped their support, he said.

Riton said it was true that Gilets Jaunes often talked about “the people” and about being French.

“But you have to see what they mean by that. For them, being French is about being in revolt, about solidarity”.

As the Gilets Jaunes waved their tricolours and sang La Marseillaise, I realised he was right, in a way British people find it hard to grasp.

There is, after all, a world of difference between national anthems and flags that sing the stale praises of monarchies and empires and those that are the fruit of a living revolutionary tradition.

See also:

The heartbeat of the yellow jacket revolt is rural

Christmas with the gilets jaunes

Gilets Jaunes: unfiltered anti-capitalism

Yellow fever: long live the revolutionary mob!

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Fake-left pro-war neoliberals break cover

A special Acorn report

The war-hungry capitalist propaganda machine has been in overdrive in recent weeks.

It has, of course, been relentlessly amplifying the views and narratives of the status quo and giving no platform for dissident opinion – that’s what it’s there for!

But in these days of social media and independent online journalism, that is no longer enough to ensure that its message is swallowed by the public and the system has also been churning out endless bile vilifying its opponents.

It has been doing this not only through its mainstream media but, as we will see, by means of commentators who superficially appear to be on the left.

A strange incident in Salisbury

Neoliberal reaction to the Skripal aftermath, in which people actually dared to question the official narrative, was furious, with former ambassador turned blogger Craig Murray attracting particularly vitriolic abuse.

The same thing happened all over again after the alleged chemical attack by the Syrian government in Douma.

A particularly nasty article which appeared on the BBC’s website on April 19 2018 had the clear aim of rubbishing opponents of a US/UK/French war against Syria, depicting them as “conspiracy theorists”.

It said: “The group includes activists and people who call themselves ‘independent journalists’, and several have Twitter followings reaching into the tens or hundreds of thousands. The activists call themselves ‘anti-war’, but as they generally back the Syrian government’s military operations against rebel forces seeking to overthrow Mr Assad and Russian air strikes carried out in support, it might be more accurate to describe them as ‘anti-Western intervention’ or ‘pro-Syrian government’.”

The BBC’s conclusion is clear. There is no such thing as an independent journalist or a genuine anti-war activist, only shady agents of sinister foreign forces. Challenging UK/US foreign policy means you are probably in the pay of The Enemy. Questioning official propaganda regarding Russia or Syria makes you an apologist for Putin or Assad and your opinions can therefore be disregarded.

This isn’t a subtle approach to winning an argument. It’s just an attempt to completely close down any possibility of dissent: “Our side are good. The other side are bad. If you criticise us, then you too are bad so nobody should listen to you.”

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn

A similar approach has been taken in the fabricated controversy over alleged antisemitism within the UK Labour Party.

Because antisemitism is a sensitive issue, it has proved particularly easy here to disallow any challenge to the smears.

A denial that there is a particular problem with antisemitism in the Labour Party is regarded in itself to be evidence of antisemitism, or at the very least of a wilful desire to conceal the existence of antisemitism.

This little trap, worthy of the Inquisition, tells us nothing about the reality of the alleged antisemitism, because it would work just as well with any allegation against any group.

And, at the end of the day, the issue at stake is not actually antisemitism.

In an excellent article in Jacobin magazine, Daniel Finn, deputy editor of the New Left Review, pulls apart the agenda behind the smears.

He concludes: “Insinuations of antisemitism can be used, not merely to defame critics of Israel, but to discredit any radical critique of capitalism or imperialism in the modern world”.

This is the key point. The aim behind these smear attacks is not to oppose antisemitism as such – in fact, by crying wolf at the wrong targets,  the accusers distract attention from real antisemitism and other forms of racism.

Instead their purpose is to attack the left using the “antisemitism” angle as the perfect weapon, because of the way that it is so difficult to refute without digging a deeper hole.

In the past, during the 20th century Cold War, the capitalist system would attack opponents by calling them Communist sympathisers, lackeys of the evil USSR.

The collapse of the Soviet bogeyman meant it had to modify its tactics. Instead of denouncing its anti-capitalist critics as being on the extreme left, which no longer seemed so scary, it sometimes found that allegations of far-right contamination were more effective.

When these allegations came from sources which appeared to be “left-wing”, the ideological smears could be effective in manipulating thinking within the left.

Ideally, the left would be remodelled along lines acceptable to the capitalist system. It would be allowed to espouse certain liberal social causes, demand a certain amount of reforms and so on, but would be steered away from challenging neoliberal imperialism or the fundamental assumptions of the global capitalist system.

The end result of this approach was very apparent in Germany, with the emergence of the Antideutsch movement which, in the name of this new authorised “leftism”, applauds US and Israeli imperialism.

Fake-left pro-imperialist Antideutsch

In the UK, an important role was played by Norman Geras, a “left-wing” academic who supported the US-led 2003 invasion of Iraq and in 2006 published his Euston Manifesto.

Under the guise of “a renewal of progressive politics”, this sought to push the UK left away from the opposition of the US and its neoliberal wars that had been so apparent.

It declared: “We reject without qualification the anti-Americanism now infecting so much left-liberal (and some conservative) thinking. The United States of America is a great country and nation. It is the home of a strong democracy with a noble tradition behind it and lasting constitutional and social achievements to its name.”

Norman Geras: a UK “left-wing” fan of US militarism

Nafeez Ahmed, in a 2015 article, explored the links between Geras and James Bloodworth of Little Atoms, a notorious defender of US neoliberalism who frequently lays into its critics from an apparently left-wing position.

Little Atoms is itself owned by an “impact agency” called 89up which, as we pointed out in Acorn 41, has been playing a key role in whipping up anti-Russian sentiment in the UK. Its boss Michael Harris has been a vociferous supporter of the bombing of Syria.

In France a site called confusionnisme.info, which is still online but hasn’t been updated since 2016, specialised in accusing various left-wingers and environmentalists of being tainted with fascism, of being “red-browns”.

Its leading light, one Ornella Guyet, even managed to get in very early on the antisemitism smears against Jeremy Corbyn, sticking the boot in via an article published in October 2015 just after he was elected Labour Party leader.

She says she is a “libertarian communist”, but in a piece exposing her activities, the left-wing website Le Grand Soir concluded that she was “an opportunist in thrall to the neocolonial and ultra-liberal system”.

It added: “Ornella Guyet claims to be ‘left-wing’, but her work proves the opposite.” It said she uses the cover of anti-fascism to attack genuine opponents of the capitalist system. “In this sense she is the perfect example of the Fake Antifa, a guard dog of power”.

Ornella Guyet

This is all just the tip of the iceberg, of course. In truth, there is an enormous and well-funded international network of pundits, think-tanks and websites feverishly defending the interests of global capitalism and the USA.

Part of their modus operandi is to contaminate genuine anti-capitalism and anti-imperialism with an unsavoury odour of antisemitism or a “red-brown” form of fascism.

This tends to work, because no anti-fascist wants to be thought by his comrades to be somehow tainted by fascism.

The effect of all this propaganda, often spread no doubt by genuine activists who are not aware of its dubious origins, is to shift the parameters of left-wing anti-capitalist thinking, to gradually exclude views and ideological insights which were previously considered perfectly acceptable and even mainstream in anarchist and anti-capitalist circles.

We, here at Winter Oak, came across this phenomenon after we published the essay Envisioning a Post-Western World by Rob los Ricos and Paul Cudenec in July 2017.

It attracted some positive comments and was later reposted by some American comrades at Antidote Zine, although with what was, to us, a rather puzzling disclaimer.

Antidote wrote: “In light of recent discussions among antifascists (including here within the Antidote Writers Collective) about an esoteric but significant kind of red-brown convergence—the potential for fascist counter-recruiting on the more nihilistic, misanthropic fringes of deep green, Euro-pagan, and Malthusian eco-anarchist groups—we recognize that some of the arguments put forward in the article that follows are right on the knife’s edge.”

Anyone who reads the essay will see no sign of nihilism, misanthropism or Malthusianism, nor of any paganism that is specifically European. What was this “knife’s edge” stuff all about?

It turned out that the “recent discussions among anti-fascists” centred around the work of Alexander Reid Ross, who teaches geography in Portland, USA and who got his MA in 2014 from the prestigious private Swiss university, the European Graduate School.

Alexander Reid Ross

Ross is author of Against the Fascist Creep (2017), a book which purports to show “how infiltration is a conscious and clandestine program for neofascist groups that seek to co-opt and undermine both mainstream and left-wing institutions”.

Here he claims that there is a “crossover” between fascism and revolutionary causes, conflates opposition to NATO with post-war fascism and claims that Earth First! has at some times in its history bolstered white supremacism through its appeals to Nordic paganism.

Not everyone was impressed. One online reviewer complained that the work “was absolutely ruined by a nearly complete lack of citations to back up the claims that were being made. As a result I had to do outside research to learn about the things that were being discussed, and when I did I discovered that many of the claims being made were exaggerations, manipulations, or outright lies”.

Anyway, that very same anti-fascist hero, Alexander Reid Ross, was back in ideological action on April 17 2018 with an article in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

This is entitled “How Assad’s War Crimes Bring Far Left and Right Together – Under Putin’s Benevolent Gaze”. The sub-heading declares: “The ‘anti-imperialist’ left is now shilling for tyrants in Damascus and Moscow. And conspiracy theories are the toxic glue binding them to their fellow Assad and Putin apologists on the alt-right”.

A clue to Ross’s stance comes from the fact that the term “anti-imperialist” has been placed in scare quotes, as if this political position didn’t actually exist!

He writes: “In recent months, the crossover between leftists and the far-right in defense of Syria’s tyrant and Russian geopolitics has become increasingly obvious. Its implications are potentially disastrous for the course of the international left and political society in general.”

This is nonsense of course. The fact that some far-rightists oppose war on Syria does not invalidate left-wing opposition to the attacks, any more than the fact that some far-rightists support Palestinian rights and criticise Israel means that leftists should stop criticising Israel and should instead applaud the IDF when they murder unarmed protesters.

Ross is reading from exactly the same ideological script as the likes of Norman Geras, Ornella Guyet, James Bloodworth, Antideutsch and the smear-piece on the BBC site.

He is trying to use the bludgeon of an alleged ideological association with the far right as a way of silencing voices on the left who challenge the US imperialist narrative.

Ross really lets the cat out of the bag with his comments on the UK’s Labour Party, where he notes that “its leader Jeremy Corbyn’s controversial comments on the Skripal case brought widespread condemnations” and remarks on “Labour’s tepid response to the Douma attacks and Corbyn’s rejection of any humanitarian grounds for military action”.

Hang on! Let’s just read that again! Self-proclaimed anti-fascist Alexander Reid Ross is complaining about “Labour’s tepid response” to the alleged gas attack in Douma and its “rejection of any humanitarian grounds for military action”?

Doesn’t that sound more like the opinion of a right-wing neoliberal war hawk?

Ross’s article certainly raised the suspicions of Robbie Martin, aka @FluorescentGrey, on Twitter.

He pointed out that Ross uses a quote from Caroline O, aka @RVAwonk whom Ross describes as a “public scholar”.

On her Twitter account she identifies herself as Writer/Editor @Shareblue Media: “We tell real-world stories to give voice to the heroes fighting for American values”.

Caroline O is a great supporter of Hamilton 68, the surveillance project which claims to “track Russian propaganda” but in fact amounts to a McCarthyite system of blacklisting people whose views don’t please the neoliberal establishment.

As she tweeted on September 1, 2017: “Hamilton 68 is a great project. I’m hoping to see it expanded even more. I can see a lot of potential for it [to] grow.”

The Hamilton 68 dashboard was launched as part of the Alliance for Securing Democracy (ADS), which is  described in its Wikipedia entry as a “transatlantic national security advocacy group”.

The ASD is “chaired and run primarily by former senior United States intelligence and State Department officials” and the Washington Post called the membership of the advisory council “a who’s who of former senior national security officials”.

It is part of the German Marshall Fund of the United States which, as we explained in Acorn 39, aims to maintain “transatlantic values” in Europe.

Robbie Martin suggests that “Caroline O.’s main mission was to inject Alliance for Securing Democracy / Hamilton 68 into the neoliberal/resistance dialog, from people on that side of the argument she promoted it/pushed it more than anyone else I saw”.

He expresses surprise that Alexander Reid Ross would be “so nakedly working with the same people promoting Hamilton 68 / Alliance for Securing Democracy”.

With hindsight, it’s clear that the aim behind Alexander Reid Ross’s book Against the Fascist Creep was not to counter actual fascism, nor even to warn the left of the dangers of fascist infiltration, but to attack and undermine anti-capitalism by claiming its beliefs are tainted with fascist associations.

The real problem faced by anarchists and anti-capitalists is Neoliberal Creep – or, in fact, a whole network of neoliberal creeps, hell-bent on ideological sabotage.

So what can we do all about this? How can we resist these attempts to cripple the cohesion, credibility and effectiveness of genuine anti-capitalism, anarchism and anti-imperialism?

The first thing to do is to talk about it, as we are doing here. We need to take a good look at where these fake left voices are coming from, understand why they spread certain memes and sow confusion around certain issues.

There is the possibility, in fact, that in breaking cover and making their propaganda so obvious, they have already hammered a nail into the coffin of their own political effectiveness. We can hammer in another few nails by spreading awareness of what they are up to.

We also need to talk about what it is we really believe in, what we are hoping for, how we define ourselves in relation to Western capitalist modernity and the global neoliberal military-industrial-prison complex.

We need to talk honestly and seriously, ignoring the ideological smears, shaking ourselves free from the fearful group-think that stifles free thought and discussion in the name of a phoney “consensus”. This received opinion has often in fact been injected into movements by elements out to manipulate and destroy it.

Yes, of course we need to remain constantly alert to the possibility that we may inadvertently find ourselves voicing the same views on specific issues as people whose general politics we do not appreciate and that they might be deliberately attempting to use us to advance their own unsavoury messages.

To combat this, we need to state clearly where we stand. We at Winter Oak, for example, place ourselves firmly and proudly in the anti-fascist tradition. We are committed to its values of internationalism, equality, solidarity, mutual aid, anti-militarism, anti-sexism and anti-racism and we will never work with anyone who does not at least share these basic values.

If we all adhere to similar principles, we have no reason to fear the toxic smears coming from the likes of Ross.

Meanwhile, those liberals in our midst who agree with the Washington-approved definition of “democracy”, with the profit-guided “progressive values” of capitalism, with its insane obsession with endless economic “growth” and with its deceitful “humanitarian” warmongering imperialism, may well decide to stop associating with a revolutionary global struggle for liberation which opposes all of these.

So be it.

Do we really want to have anything to do with them, anyway?

Related articles:

Criminalising anti-capitalism

The CIA and the war of ideas

So who’s behind all the propaganda?

Fake democracy – neoliberals ramp up information war

Extremists of the neoliberal “centre”

Time’s up for the fake neoliberal “left”

Attacks on Antifa

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

The murky world of US “counter-disinformation”

Fake news and propaganda wars

The system is losing control

Witch hunt: antisemitism smears are ideological warfare

Conspiracies and contamination

Complete control: “cleaning up” the internet

Deconstructing our resistance?