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Occupying the Imagination, Cultivating a New Politics

Vijay Prashad
Date Published: 
November 23, 2011

Melanie Cervantes & Chris Crass-www.dignidadrebelde.comMelanie Cervantes & Chris Crass-www.dignidadrebelde.comMy heart makes my head swim - Franz Fanon, "Black Skin, White Masks"

Part I: Bare Life

Reports and rumors filter out of government documents and family distress signals to locate precisely the ongoing devastation of social life in the United States. Unemployment rates linger at perilously high levels, with the effective rate in some cities, such as Detroit, stumbling on with half the population without waged work. Home foreclosures fail to slow-down, and sheriffs and debt-recovery paramilitaries scour the landscape for the delinquents. Personal debt has escalated as ordinary people with uneven means of earning livings turn to banks and to the shady world of personal loan agencies to take them to the other side of starvation. Researchers at the RAND Corporation tell us that absent family support, poverty rates among the elderly will be about double what they are now. In other words, economist Nancy Folbre’s “invisible heart” is trying its best to hold back the noxious effects of the “invisible hand.”

Another Father is Possible

Tom Ricker
Date Published: 
November 4, 2011


PM Press, 2011

“The other day someone asked why I keep doing Rad Dad even though my kids are teenagers. I smiled and said, 'I do it because I'm a father, and I know I'm a better father when I have community…'” - Tomas Moniz, co-editor, with Jeremy Adam Smith, of Rad Dad: Dispatches from the Frontiers of Fatherhood.

When I was asked to write a review of Rad Dad, I was like, “Oh yeah, I love that book!” Oddly that love has made this a real challenge. Over the last four weeks of fits and starts I began having the sinking feeling that I was not nearly rad enough of a dad to do the book justice. For a variety of reasons, mostly related to my son’s adoption but then I suppose to habit, I stopped going to protests in 2007. I really stopped being any kind of organizer a year and half later when I moved to Houston with my wife. And though I recently got refocused on organizing, my work has been submerged under a barrage of institutional crises that are far from exciting. At the same time, the Occupy movement has taken off across the country. And though it reached Houston a couple of week ago, surgery and the new job (ironically) have mostly kept me away from the parks and stuck in the house.  

So Real it Hurts - Notes on Occupy Wall Street

Manissa McCleave Maharawal
Date Published: 
October 4, 2011

I first went down to Occupy Wall Street last Sunday, almost a week after it had started. I didn't go down before because I, like many of my other brown friends, was wary of what we had heard or just intuited that it was mostly a young, white male scene. When I asked friends about it they said different things: that it was really white; that it was all people they didn't know; and that they weren't sure what was going on. But after hearing about the arrests and police brutality on Saturday, September 24th and after hearing that thousands of people had turned up for their march I decided I needed to see this thing for myself. 

So I went down for the first time on Sunday, September 25th with my friend Sam. At first we couldn't even find Occupy Wall Street. We biked over the Brooklyn Bridge around noon on Sunday, dodging the tourists and then the cars on Chambers Street. We ended up at Ground Zero and I felt the deep sense of sadness that that place now gives me: sadness over how, what is now in essence just a construction site, changed the world so much for the worse.

Yemen Wrestles with Revolution

Safa Ahmad
Date Published: 
October 2, 2011

Editor’s Note: What follows is an account of the unfolding Yemeni revolution by Safa Ahmed, a Middle East based journalist who travelled to Yemen in June and July of 2011. At the time, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh barely survived an assassination attempt and fled to Saudi Arabia for treatment. On September 23, Saleh managed to return to the capitol San’a. The United States and the Saudi governments immediately criticized his return, yet, clearly, he would not have been able to return without their consent. Within only a few days of his return, more than 100 Yemenis, mostly democracy protestors, were dead.

Tax the Rich, Save our Safety Net!

Save our Safety Net
Date Published: 
September 21, 2011

Victory: On September 20, 2011, the DC city council voted to increase taxes on residents making over $350,000 a year by approximately .5%.  By finally creating a new tax bracket targeting high-income earners the council acceded to the demand of Save Our Safety Net, DC! (SOS) and other local advocates who together have been fighting for a more progressive tax system in the district.  It was a strange victory for the coalition as there was no grassroots mobilization in the days leading up to the surprise vote.  Nor was there any guarantee that the more than $100 million in new revenue over the next four years would go towards rebuilding the city’s safety net.  Still, there’s no doubt that the groundwork for the vote was laid by the SOS campaigns over the past two and a half years.  Perhaps most pleasing was the sight of the most conservative, anti-tax members of the council squirming and bitterly whining as the proposal they had fought so hard to avert was finally put into law.

“America, your 9/ our 24/7”*, Ten Years of Fighting State Violence

Arab Resource and Organizing Center
Date Published: 
September 9, 2011

Imagine one day, you oversleep your alarm clock by a few hours. You wake up, and the world is a different place. You leave your house and your neighbors look at you with suspicion. You walk down the street and racial slurs are shouted in your direction. Your sister is harassed at her workplace. Your brother, a lawful resident, is forced to give his fingerprints to immigration. Your cousins are made refugees in their homeland (again). Confused, you turn on the news and see two planes have hit the World Trade Center. Your world has changed forever.  

Collective Liberation: Lessons Learned in Allyship with Indigenous Resistance at Black Mesa

Liza Minno Bloom, Hallie Boas, and Berkley Carnine
Date Published: 
August 12, 2011

The stories of the traditional Dineh people of Black Mesa, the land surrounding the sacred peaks of Big Mountain, tell us that coal is the liver of Mother Earth. Black Mesa is a rural area of the Navajo reservation in Northeastern Arizona, where for more than 30 years, Dineh (Navajo) have lived in resistance there, steadfastly refusing to relocate as strip mines rip apart their ancestral homelands and coal-generating plants poison the desert air.

Creating Space for Kids in Our Movements

Vikki Law
Date Published: 
August 11, 2011

Despite rhetoric about mutual aid and creating new worlds, social justice movements across the US and Canada often neglect the needs of caregivers and children. This has had the effect of excluding crucial organizers and reducing our ability to raise the next generation to be a part of our movements. 

Over the past six years, I have interviewed more than 20 mothers who explicitly identify as anarchists about the support (or lack thereof) they’ve received from their peers and movements. These mothers varied in terms of age, race, ethnicity, class, partnership status, and sexual identity. Many had been politically active before motherhood. Some found that continued involvement was not possible and that their peers were unwilling to support the challenges they faced as new mothers. Many who have stayed actively involved were able to do so largely because of community support.

Revolutionary Experiments

Andrew Willis Garcés
Date Published: 
July 30, 2011


AK Press, 2011

From 1971 to 1988, a group comprising several hundred “nonviolent revolutionaries” organized into collectives in cities across the country and put in motion a plan: to take down the US empire, while simultaneously uprooting oppressive behavior in themselves and the world around them. They built many Left community institutions that continue to exist today. They used militant direct action to stop weapons shipments to Pakistan—and helped coordinate an action in which 3,000 people occupied the proposed site of a nuclear plant, inadvertently popularizing a form of decision making and action prep that has become standard for large-scale direct actions. Andrew Cornell’s Oppose and Propose!: Lessons from Movement for a New Society offers us a look into this remarkable grouping.