Anarchist bloc presence at Obama inauguration

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woundedhobo
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Jan 6 2009 18:16
Anarchist bloc presence at Obama inauguration

http://hopefrompeople.com/

What do you think of these guys?

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Tarwater
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Jan 6 2009 21:11

what a weird list of endorsements.

akai
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Jan 7 2009 05:15

Nothing I wouldn't expect.

It's in not my personal style, very PGA-ish, but if people like that approach, fine. It has a certain appeal and potential for a wide recipient audience and think it could be very attractive, esp. for a US audience. Good luck to them - it looks like a good initiative and I for one am very happy that somebody is making a clear effort to present a more anarchistic vision to a broader audience especially in the case where so much of liberal America - including some self-professed anarchists - got caught up in Obama fever.

Slightly off-topic comment: I tend to dislike calls signed by individuals, which has a tendency to set up a division between "prominent individual activists" in the movement and the lesser-knowns. American political culture seems to have strong tendencies towards individual activism vs. collective, even though I know that some of the signatories are in fact members of collectives. This has the effect of reinforcing the notion that the revolutionary actor is really the individual more than or as much as any collective entity, which has had its effect on American anarchist politics. But's that's a whole different issue.

woundedhobo
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Jan 7 2009 17:33

I believe they are calling it a hope bloc on anarchistnews.org smile

It would have to be a tremendously awkward social situation for people who believe that both parties represent factions of the upper class. I mean people are crying, smiling, full of hope for the new governor, millions of people present,and the most natural thing for me would be to feel incredibly alienated, and to look disgusted. I know the proper place for a revolutionary is to be amongst the common people and to be part of their celebrations, but this is tough.

Another thing is that given the history of the United States, many people see the world through the singular lens of race. So that if the anarchists are overwhelmingly white and they say anything critical of Obama or even the Democratic Party, they may be finding themselves on the defensive from people who are angry/feel insulted, asking them if they are racist. "90% of black folks vote for the Democratic Party. Are you saying we are stupid for doing so?" I don't know if that is the way you want to start off with a conversation.

Also, the advantage of individuals signing on is that it does not require a meeting, and they are only a representing their own opinions so I don't see it as inherently conflicting with nonhierarchical organizing.

akai
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Jan 7 2009 18:58

Come on. The racist thing is not such a black and white issue as you think. (pun intended) Liberals are silly but talk to different blacks folks and you'll find for don't give a shit about Obama and quite a bit that do not like his politics or perceive him as upper class.

I also don't see individuals signing as a necessarily hierarchical thing, provided they print the names of all individuals who sign. My comment was just about the tendency towards individual politics.

I had assumed they were planning some sort of counter event. Maybe I misunderstand.

In any case, it's one of those very, very general "people power" type of events, trying to reclaim the word democracy, bla bla. The advantage of that is that it is so general and non-threatening that they might attract some people with some puppet-theatre politics.

Probably there is not much chance to reach the totally-hyponotized, but one could try to systematically present what is wrong with Obama. It's easy enough.

akai
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Jan 8 2009 05:03

Actually, have been to the US recently. smile That's not the point.

Of course it if true that many african-americans are going to see it this way, just as many liberal Americans see it this way. We're just looking at it from a slightly different angle. Because you are looking at a majority of people and ascribing their views to an entire group. What I'm saying is that there are plenty of people of colour who, for example, are more radical than that. There are supporters of McKinney, who never in their life would vote for Obama. There are also people more radical than that - although this is not typical. Then there are also a lot of people who just hate all politicians and don't vote. That's what I was saying. Those are the people who you have more chance reaching - but they are not the people who are going to the inauguration. The people there are a hard sell.

By the way, I have met at least two dozen Obama supporters in the past month and talked with them and found, surprise surprise, that at least half of them are actually critical of what he's doing and don't agree with many of his ideas / acts (for example the Afganistan business, his cabinet, etc.). They just really don't believe in their choices in the political system, that's all.

Hell, there were even anarchists voting for Obama,

akai
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Jan 9 2009 15:20

BTW
http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2009/01/08/1737468.aspx

woundedhobo
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Jan 9 2009 16:55
Quote:
Slightly off-topic comment: I tend to dislike calls signed by individuals, which has a tendency to set up a division between "prominent individual activists" in the movement and the lesser-knowns. American political culture seems to have strong tendencies towards individual activism vs. collective, even though I know that some of the signatories are in fact members of collectives. This has the effect of reinforcing the notion that the revolutionary actor is really the individual more than or as much as any collective entity, which has had its effect on American anarchist politics. But's that's a whole different issue.

Well, I live in the middle of nowhere and I bet I could sign on even though I am an unknown. Another thing, meetings are the Achilles heel of anarchism. Once you seize the means of production, if you are now involved in five hours of meetings a week in various production committees, it's likely that you make less money on an hourly basis if you consider the meetings as a work, then you did as a wage slave. So the only benefit of a worker's collective would be the dignity of being an equal partner. If we can figure out how to be democratic and efficient then we can get the bread and roses.

akai
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Jan 10 2009 08:19

Hobo, while I see your point about the signatures and may even say that I find your arguments valid enough to revise my opinion, your point about meetings is a little unclear or out of whack.

Listen, nobody likes unproductive and poorly-organized meetings. At least nobody with a life. It's a matter of good organization and practice to get meetings right. But what you're saying can be understood as that famous "I didn't go to the meeting today, I think I won't go tomorrow" attitude which equates meetings with work (since the slogan was a detournement of the famous "I didn't go to work" sleeper graphic. You also speak of the meetings in the same way as work when speaking of the meetings at work.

Meetings at work should not be held on private time if there is a workers' collective. (Unless of course we are after the revolution when there should not be hourly wages or forty-hour workdays anyway.) In terms of society in general, the ability to rule ourselves is going to depend on our ability to organize ourselves, learn the techniques of meeting and deciding together - otherwise we are bound to be ruled forever. We should be encouraging people to get out to meetings where people organize things from below, to get that experience and see that it's possible. If that means a few hours outside the house meeting with people instead of jacking off or watching TV or whatever, this should be seen as a positive thing that people would want to do that instead of shopping or retreating into their personal lives. Of course these meetings need to be well-organized because really inefficient ones tend to drive a lot of people away and generally encourage meeting leaders rather than each participant.

PS - A meeting asking people whether they want to sign a call, provided there is nothing too controversial about it, is a piece of cake and doesn't need to even be done in person. The fact that you or others in your situation don't have anybody to meet with I see as a valid argument, so I see your point about the individual signatures makes sense. But it seems that you are favouring this way not only because of this but also because of some predisposition against meetings, in other words against collective decision-making. Maybe i'm wrong, but those are the signals I've picked up.

woundedhobo
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Jan 10 2009 17:26

By saying that I am for democracy indicates that I am for meetings. I'm interested in ways to keep them short though. In addition to the tyranny of total consensus, I am against a meeting that takes five hours to reach total consensus when it could take five minutes to get two thirds of the people on board with a relatively minor detail. Sometimes you lose some, and if you always lose out at the meeting I hope there is another place to move to/to work.

akai
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Jan 10 2009 22:32

Ok, we're clear on what we mean here. Surely meeting techniques need to be practiced and refined.

Back to the "Hope" people, their planned activity for the events seem heavy on puppet making. Puppet making is another one of those things that don't do against non-hierarchical principles, but one would hope that people would put a little more energy into organizing for more important issues. Time's ticking. If we want to talk about wastes of time and look at it on a larger scale, one wonders how much energy goes into artsy feel-good projects in comparison with other issues - like building a movement for free health care, better social services, better working conditions, etc. The thing I'm more interested in is whether events like that will create follow-ups with any clearer social goals in mind.

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888
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Jan 14 2009 04:18

I don't understand the point of this. libcom arrow for bullet points

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Anrchst
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Jan 14 2009 14:51
weeler wrote:
Black people are going to see this as their day, if you are counter-protesting you would want to phrase your argument very well and not just a dismissive "this is just another member of the ruling class,"...

Black Anarchist here. I agree. They generally don't respond well to the truth. Who does? If people responded well to the truth, we'd have had insurrection by now.

Fuck Hope Bloc. We're fuckin' Anarchists. I mean what the hell? A ruler is a ruler. We're supposed to ease up on him because he's darker and less of a Fascist than the preceding ruler? Fuck that.