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August 31, 2007

Comments

LS

Yes, this is why it's good that there's an anarchist scene.

Did the left history nerds out there catch the reference to the 1980s Twin Cities anarchist group RABL (Revolutionary Anarchist Bowling League) in the video?

The video has created a bit of a buzz in the Twin Cities - the main daily capitalist newspaper, the Star Tribune, even featured the video on their website!

repeater

rofl, fucking awesome!

dmx

Thats hilarious. Awesome.

ZACK

Fun stuff.

L.MAO

Anarchist vanguardism!

The devils!

G. Frohman

Just wonderful. The RABL bowling ball definitely brings back a few memories from the beginning of my activism, although the recruiting center reference unfortunately barely predates me.

Mr. Christopher, have you watched it yet?

Christopher Day

I love it.

I agree with JB here. Not to be overly analytical, but ... its not that reds can't tell jokes, but they do seem to lack an appreciation of the political power of humor and its importance to a healthy internal culture.

We need more of this.

srogouski

its not that reds can't tell jokes, but they do seem to lack an appreciation of the political power of humor and its importance to a healthy internal culture.

Wait just a goddarned minute. I thought Bob Avakian was a really funny guy who could talk sports and all that.

JB

Communists are not funny.

We don't laugh.

Ever.

srogouski

Communists are not funny.

We don't laugh.

Ever.

Nothing's really changed since Ernst Lubitsch

Red Heretic

I think Avakian is funny as shit!

Whities Advocate

After all the internet e-thuggery by the anarchists in the months leading up to the last rnc very little actually materialized in the streets. Most of the events were organized by other groups most memorable being UFP&Js big march and ACT UP! groups naked street blockade. A small group of maybe 5 or so anarchists shouted insults at old ladies at some hotel linked to the rnc. That was the extent of it. Don't believe their hype and bravado. Anarchists are a one hit wonder with Seattle fading away into 90s history they need to produce something new or retire.

JB

The last post, written by a right-wing troll who first discovered this site in reference to his racist opposition to the Khalil Gibran Academy here in Brooklyn is now dropping random anonymous turds on other threads. His previous posted name was "Whities Advocate", which while inaccurate certainly demonstrates his basic allegience.

In any case, I worked 10 month full-time on preparations of the RNC in New York – and the supposed "e-thuggery" of the anarchists must mean "setting up housing, childcare and food" for protestors. With banner headlines in the Daily News about "Anarchy Inc." and the threat of impending mob violence, there were over 2,000 arrests – no convicions, and NOT ONE BROKEN WINDOW.

How could that happen? Well, the anarchists were especially concerned about violence or destruction of any kind really in a city that had recently been the victim of a major military attack. So they played it cool, while the Murdoch-etc media played up chances for confrontation.

This set the groundwork for a massive violation of civil liberties of the kind we've almost become used to.

If 2,000 people were arrested without legitimate charge in, say, Tibet – you can be sure there'd be front page banner headlines. Even though 60% of New Yorkers told polling agencies that civil disobedience was justified in the face of Bush's re-coronation – there was virtually none.

Small group of anarchists? Yeah, they numbered probably in the high hundreds, maybe near a thousand at the actual convergences if you could those who rolled with them (but were not ideologically committed to "anarchism").

All and all, this video perfectly captures the theatricality and humor of anarchists – something "Whities Advocate" will have none of. He lives in a world where the Daily News is actually a "news" paper.

Don't you have to go iron your printout of the Euston "Kill Commies (I mean Arabs) Manifesto"?

JB

Just for historical accuracy: UFPJ did not "organize" the big march. They negotiated the permits, poorly. That they sat in a room getting bullied by the NYPD (and no doubt their Democratic Party allies) doesn't mean they had boots on the ground doing the work of popular mobilization. That was done by several coalitions of left-wing community organizations, scores of full-time activists associated with Not In Our Name, massive informational outreach by Indymedia circles, anti-authoritarian arts collectives... and the RNC Not Welcome group that was most certainly anarchist by culture and predilecation.

That whole "big march" was where UFPJ lost the confidence, pretty much permanently, of rank-and-file activists in the New York region. It became apparent that they were a "hollow office" that claimed "thousands" of member organization, yet could barely get a dozen people out to distribute hand bills.

Their prominence comes from their connection as self-appointed mediators between the Democratic Party (via a tight concentration of CPUSA-associated activists) and the larger activist and antiwar milieu.

They aren't leaders, they are permit catchers who are every bit as petty as ANSWER when it comes to the dueling bureaucracies of protest mobilization (to nowhere).

WE MUST NAME THE SYSTEM AND STOP IT, not fight for bragging rights to protest bonafides.

Not only was this extremely funny it also points to the need for more real action - not meaningless talk of action and endless planning for events that are at the start doomed to failure.

The competition for bragging rights is worse than meaningless when right now there is a need to form broad unity with other forces - in fact the divisions that are formed from this type of 'competition' only aids the other side.

However, it is important to keep in mind that different forces to have different visions of the future they are fighting for - from anarchist to democratic refosrmist and this does affect the type of action that they are willing to take.

Do you act outside the system?

Anarchist ultimately do not believe that a state is necessary and this, to a great extent determines their actions. They are also typically ultra-democratic and this is refelected heavily in their organizing. However it does not mean that it is not of value.

Democratic reformist believe that they can cause changes to make the current system better and tend to remain in the box of politics as usual... I include CPUSA in this since they do not see Communist Revolution - or any revolution as desirable but rather seek to 'extend democracy'.

I hate to say that while the RCP claims to be working for Revolution, their actions - or lack there of - speak louder than words. In many ways their organization is being reduced to promoting Bob Avakian with the strange belief that this will somehow cause people to become communist.

Now, this is not to say that there is not a lot of value in the intellectual work that Bob Avakian has done and that it is not worth the study - it is - however people are not typically won over to a Communist point of view through the study of books although it is possible that a handful of intellectuals may be but even when it does happen it is backed up typically by life experience that jives with what they are reading. That life experience is necessary.

For example, without to some extent either entering the struggle and seeing example after example of police brutality or coming from a background where it is a common day to day experience of the people around you it is hard for the fact that it exist to resonate with you. This is not saying that it is not possible to grasp it from reading but if you grow up in the burbs completely isolated from fact of police brutality, if all you see of the cops is 'helpful' such as being someone to go to as a kid if you get lost your personal experience can actually contradict what you are reading... you simply may not be able to believe such things happen! Involvement in the actual political battels can do a lot to open your eyes about what the conditions of the basic masses and others in society outside of your limited personal experience can often be a much faster teacher than anything else.. although it should be supported with study of theory so as to better understand what is really behind what you are seeing happen.

Bonnie

Chen Duxiu

Yeah, but why are you suggesting police brutality has to do with capitalism? Some of the most brutal police in history were communist.

First, police brutality is something that is carried out by the oppressive powers of the STATE, not by the economic base. The extremes to which it is carried out can vary from one period to another as can be seen by looking at the history of Germany as it moved from a form of Democracy to a Fascist state. This can also be seen by looking at different historical periods in the US. Over time there has been a great deal of variation is the extent to which the oppressive powers of the state were used against the people.

However, in a socialist state the oppressive powers are not used against the masses since the state represents the dictatorship over the old ruling class (and the new sprouts of it that develop under socialism during the struggle to move toward communism). What has happened in the past are primarily two things. Stalin failed to distinguish the enemy from the people and used the oppressive powers of the state against the people thinking that a lot of the dissinet that arose was the actions of German and other imperialist agents. This was a major error and led to a stiffiling of the masses and helped open the way for all out revisionism in the Soviet Union. Once revisionism was in power after the death of Stalin the class in power changed and the oppressive powers of the state where then focused all out against the people.

In China something similar happened although there was not the failure to distinguish between the people and the enemy. After Mao's death there was a bloody coup in China in which Revolutionary leaders were arrested and sentenced to death. Sometime after this we see the Red Army turned on the people in a bloody massacre. China today has taken on many of the aspects of a fascist state and is and has not been for many many years, a socialist state.

A note: Cuba has never been a Socialist state. One cannot have a socialist revolution with the people not even knowing it and then some time later simply announce that it is a socialist revolution. Also, land reform was never really carried out and there was not a lot of change in the conditions of the people -- especially in the country side. I do admit that there has been social programs in Cuba, but social programs are not what socialism and communism are about. You can have social programs - and unions - and still be a slave. What determines i it is socialism or not is what class holds state power.

Never forget that Mussolini carried out nationalization of major industries while maintaining close ties to and the support of major blocks of national capital within Italy. He also lead the development of the national economy and limited forien investment - it seems accept from the US and people like JP Morgan.

We can clearly see in the media response to Bolshivism and Fascism the difference in the class that is in power. While the western media condemned Bolshivism to the extremes it openly carried and sought out articles by Fascist leaders. Articles by Mussolini were carried in major papers in the US. Many articles in the major papers were in SUPPORT of fascism and the critical view points were rejected by publishers at the time. Of course the media in the US is backed by powerful people within the ruling class and it was in their interest to condemn Bolshevism and at the time it was in their interest to uphold Fascism as it seemed to be the answer to 'the communist threat'.

In fact Fascism developed partially as the answer to the threat of impending communist revolution in Italy and it was that threat that made the collusion between the major blocks of national capital and the Fascist leaders possible since there was fear of what would happen (dis-appropriation of the ruling class) should communist manage to gain power in Italy. Keep in mind that they had just seen what went down in Russia!

I have gotten a bit off topic - however it is important to look at which class is in power in a given form of state. Simply "does a society have social programs" is not enough. Fascism had social programs, btw. What class is in power determines - in the main - what class the oppressive powers of the state will be used against. It is correct to use the oppressive powers of the state against those seeking to overthrown the new socialist state however this in no way should include police brutality - the beating and killing of people in the streets and through this killing denying them the due process. This is summary execution.

Bonnie

First, police brutality is something that is carried out by the oppressive powers of the STATE, not by the economic base. The extremes to which it is carried out can vary from one period to another as can be seen by looking at the history of Germany as it moved from a form of Democracy to a Fascist state. This can also be seen by looking at different historical periods in the US. Over time there has been a great deal of variation is the extent to which the oppressive powers of the state were used against the people.

However, in a socialist state the oppressive powers are not used against the masses since the state represents the dictatorship over the old ruling class (and the new sprouts of it that develop under socialism during the struggle to move toward communism). What has happened in the past are primarily two things. Stalin failed to distinguish the enemy from the people and used the oppressive powers of the state against the people thinking that a lot of the dissinet that arose was the actions of German and other imperialist agents. This was a major error and led to a stiffiling of the masses and helped open the way for all out revisionism in the Soviet Union. Once revisionism was in power after the death of Stalin the class in power changed and the oppressive powers of the state where then focused all out against the people.

In China something similar happened although there was not the failure to distinguish between the people and the enemy. After Mao's death there was a bloody coup in China in which Revolutionary leaders were arrested and sentenced to death. Sometime after this we see the Red Army turned on the people in a bloody massacre. China today has taken on many of the aspects of a fascist state and is and has not been for many many years, a socialist state.

A note: Cuba has never been a Socialist state. One cannot have a socialist revolution with the people not even knowing it and then some time later simply announce that it is a socialist revolution. Also, land reform was never really carried out and there was not a lot of change in the conditions of the people -- especially in the country side. I do admit that there has been social programs in Cuba, but social programs are not what socialism and communism are about. You can have social programs - and unions - and still be a slave. What determines i it is socialism or not is what class holds state power.

Never forget that Mussolini carried out nationalization of major industries while maintaining close ties to and the support of major blocks of national capital within Italy. He also lead the development of the national economy and limited forien investment - it seems accept from the US and people like JP Morgan.

We can clearly see in the media response to Bolshivism and Fascism the difference in the class that is in power. While the western media condemned Bolshivism to the extremes it openly carried and sought out articles by Fascist leaders. Articles by Mussolini were carried in major papers in the US. Many articles in the major papers were in SUPPORT of fascism and the critical view points were rejected by publishers at the time. Of course the media in the US is backed by powerful people within the ruling class and it was in their interest to condemn Bolshevism and at the time it was in their interest to uphold Fascism as it seemed to be the answer to 'the communist threat'.

In fact Fascism developed partially as the answer to the threat of impending communist revolution in Italy and it was that threat that made the collusion between the major blocks of national capital and the Fascist leaders possible since there was fear of what would happen (dis-appropriation of the ruling class) should communist manage to gain power in Italy. Keep in mind that they had just seen what went down in Russia!

I have gotten a bit off topic - however it is important to look at which class is in power in a given form of state. Simply "does a society have social programs" is not enough. Fascism had social programs, btw. What class is in power determines - in the main - what class the oppressive powers of the state will be used against. It is correct to use the oppressive powers of the state against those seeking to overthrown the new socialist state however this in no way should include police brutality - the beating and killing of people in the streets and through this killing denying them the due process. This is summary execution.

Bonnie

A note: Hitler also received help from the US and individuals within the US.

Also, it was wrong of me to say basically that Mussolini only got help from the US. I need to look into this part more.

Another thing which is interesting to think about, while the Fascist States got help and support from the west, the newborn Soviet Union was invaded by at least 14 different nations including forces from the US.

Also, consider the use of the oppressive powers of the state by the US in Vietnam, although my point here is not to say that Socialism is better because Imperialism and Fascism is far worse but rather to look at who is using the repressive powers against who - and why!

A note: Hitler also received help from the US and individuals within the US.

Also, it was wrong of me to say basically that Mussolini only got help from the US. I need to look into this part more.

Another thing which is interesting to think about, while the Fascist States got help and support from the west, the newborn Soviet Union was invaded by at least 14 different nations including forces from the US.

Also, consider the use of the oppressive powers of the state by the US in Vietnam, although my point here is not to say that Socialism is better because Imperialism and Fascism is far worse but rather to look at who is using the repressive powers against who - and why!

sorry about the double posts, this thing was acting up on me this morning and the posts were not showing up so I reposted them... if the moderator could please remove the double posts it would be appreciated.

Thank you

Bonnie

ShineThePath

Bonnie,

Your notes on Cuba couldn't be further off and is not accurate to what did occur in Cuba. Do you honestly think it was just a rag tag group of Fidel's friends who took power from the Sierra Miestro with no support from the people? The people did KNOW and they supported it, it was a revolution, it was in the end (despite whatever Focoist tactics) a revolutionary struggle that replaced a US Imperialist puppet in Battista.

Lets remember, the guerilla group was a group of 200 who were fighting for over 3 years...successfully fighting at that.

There was also at the same time land reform, cooperatives were created, and state ownership of large plantations. Even Fidel's own family wasn't immune to these state take over of land ownings.

ShineThePath

Also to speak a bit frankly, I think there is a line of instrumentalism in your argument about the Fascists and their ties to capital and a bit of mechanicism in the idea tha Stalin merely confused the people for the enemy. How do you speak of the Trials? That wasn't merely 'confusion' on Uncle Joe's part, but a concentrated effort to eliminate the inner party struggle.

r. john

on the question of anarchist vs. communist humor:

Many forms of humor (satire, sarcasm, parody) require or assume a common set of cultural reference points between writer and audience.

That means that the more tight your "community"-- the more you can have "in-jokes" and the more you can play with assumptions, previous views, or norms.

In other words, a problem that emerges when you have an "object" or social target for your political work among people who ARE NOT YET FAMILIAR WITH WHAT YOU BELIEVE.

If you speak to the same choir, if you speak to an existing and closed community, or (if later) there is a genuine mass movement (or counterculture) emerging with common reference points -- then it becomes much easier to have humor in many forms blossom.

When speaking to new folks and to an international audience, all of which have very different cultural references and assumptions, there is a heavy pressure toward caution, precision and a kind of literalness.

Or else toward consciously making jokes that will inevitably leave the new folks out and bewildered (and who wants to do that?!)

The black block humor in that video is fine, and funny enough. But it is an in-joke essentially... it assumes you know why the GOP should be opposed, etc. It is aimed at other anarchists (and the post-anarchists types among us here!)

Also, the air of self-mockery in it is fine (in the abstract)...
but it rests on a familiarity with their circles. You have to be able to "get it" -- and it is worth thinking through what fore-knowledge is needed to "get it."

A thought experiment: Lets say you wanted to make a video that said "anarchists in St. Paul are preparing, what about you?" -- and it was aimed (not at other anarchists) but at other sections of the people...

What would such a video need to contain? How would it be different from this video? How could you make THAT funny (and what would the pressures be to avoid satire and self-mockery!)

Say you wanted a video for a Black high school in St. Paul? What if you showed the video above -- what would be the impact? Would it be funny? Would the self-mockery play the same way?

My secondary point here is to say that if you do real outreach, humor is harder. If you are a self-referencing circle-a in-circle and subculture, humor is easier.

But my main point is to actually raise: how can WE do humor that DOESN'T rely on small-group familiarity?

One thing: we can mock and satire things that our audiences are familiar also with (not mainly things that only WE are familiar with).

(So communists could do a great satire of hip-hop for example, skewering the bling, and the sucking up, and the god thing. So communists can do real satire on the fundis, or the government...)

What else?

[[P.S. did you see that Kathy Griffin at the emmies said that my award has nothing to do with Jesus? A hilarious and conscious diss of those who "thank jesus" for their petty awards!! And she got censored by FOX.... and attacked by the fundies, and is responding with relaxed humor and mockery?

www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,296382,00.html

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