Saturday, December 03, 2011


A little over 28 years ago the United States of America invaded the tiny island of Grenada according to Ronald Reagan either to save a bunch of medical students who didn't realize they needed saving, or to put a stop to the expansion of the islands airport by those nasty Cubans who no doubt planned to use it to invade Texas (Apparently no one told Ronald that Cuba is only ninety miles from Florida while Grenada is much, much further away).  Of course, it was about more than that.

I was in Grenada a few years after that.  It is a wonderful place with the aroma of spices filling the air.  The people are incredibly friendly and the concept of the mightiest military power the world has ever known living in fear of a new airport (which I landed on and is exactly like the airports on most every other Caribbean island), in so much fear that it needed to launch an air and naval invasion, well, seemed to border on the insane.

But again, that isn't what it was about.

Anyway, first I am going to present you with the Manifesto of the New Jewell Movement from the Grenada Revolution Online.  The New Jewell Movement was something the United States couldn't tolerate.  You can guess why.  After that you will find a piece I found at Black Commentator.

The Manifesto of the New Jewel Movement

[Administrator's Preface]

The New Jewel Movement Manifesto was issued late in 1973 by the New Jewel Movement party of Grenada. The Manifesto was presented at the Conference on the Implications of Independence for Grenada from 11-13 January 1974.

Many believe the Manifesto was co-written by Maurice Bishop and Bernard Coard. According to Sandford, in August 1973, “the NJM authorized Bishop to enlist the services of Bernard Coard in drafting a manifesto . . .” In 1974 Coard was part of the Institute of International Relations and would not return to Grenada to take up residency until September 1976; nevertheless, he traveled between islands. When an unidentified author was writing on "The Unity Question", that author stated:

In October 1973, our "Manifesto for Power to the People", after months of discussions with our Groups and broad membership and after formal approval by our Co-ordinating Council of Delegates, was distributed to the public.

Scholar Manning Marable asserts this: “The NJM's initial manifesto was largely drafted by MAP's major intellectual, Franklyn Harvey, who had been influenced heavily by the writings of [CLR] James.” Another influence is attributed to Tanzanian Christian Socialism. Still another influence is TAPIA of Trinidad. Tapia House Printing Company printed the report on the Conference on the Implications of Independence for Grenada from 11-13 January 1974.

Below is a combination of the text from versions of the Manifesto with keyboarding input and site maintenance, including expenses, by the administrator of,
Preface ©2003-2010 Ann Elizabeth Wilder. All rights reserved.
The Manifesto begins with this introduction:




The people are being cheated and have been cheated for too long--cheated by both parties, for over twenty years. Nobody is asking what the people want. We suffer low wages and higher cost of living while the politicians get richer, live in bigger houses and drive around in even bigger cars. The government has done nothing to help people build decent houses; most people still have to walk miles to get water to drink after 22 years of politicians.

If we fall sick we catch hell to get quick and cheap medical treatment. Half of us can't find steady work. The place is getting from bad to worse every day-except for the politicians (just look at how they dress and how they move around). The police are being used in politics these days and people are getting more and more blows from them. Government workers who don't toe the Gairy line are getting fired left and right.

Even the magistrates better look out!"

The government has no idea how to improve agriculture, how to set up industries, how to improve housing, health, education and general well-being of the people. They have no ideas for helping the people. All they know is how to take the people's money for themselves, while the people scrape and scrunt for a living.

We believe that the main concern of us all is to (1) prevent the daily rise in prices of all our food and clothes and other essentials (it is unbelievable but that the price you can get for a pound of cocoa can't buy a half-pound of fish) and (2) develop a concrete program for raising the standard of housing, living, education, health, food and recreation for all the people

The present situation we face is that we are forced to live in jammed-up, rundown, unpainted houses without toilet and bath, without running water, very poor roads, overcrowded schools where our children can't get a decent education, and without any proper bus service. There is almost no ambulance service in case of illness. We can't afford the cost of food to feed our children properly and this makes it easier for them to catch all kinds of illnesses. There are very few places near home for recreation. All we have is the rumshop to drown our troubles. It's almost impossible to buy clothes or shoes these days. The prices are ridiculous.

Twenty years of the GNP and the GULP have made us believe that there is no way out of this blasted mess. BUT THERE IS, and the time is NOW to do something about it.

What we want to do in this Manifesto is to give a rough idea of a way out. We can start by looking at some of the ways in which we can set about to wipe out poverty in Grenada.
Thus ends the Introduction to the 1973 Manifesto of NJM. The rest of the document is lengthy. It can be accessed by way of the following links:

The High Cost of Living
Social Planning and Health
Agriculture, Fisheries, Agro-Industries
Carriacou: The Forgotten Island
Building Our National Economy - A quote from this section put many people in a panic - "This means that a first priority must be the complete nationalisation of all foreign-owned hotels as well as foreign-owned housing settlements, such as Westerhall."
People and the Law
People's Assemblies for Power to the People
Regional and International Affairs
Independence - A comment for reparations appeared in discussion of the February 7, 1974 Independence from Great Britain. The Manifesto says this: "Also, in our negotiations with the British on the question of independence, we could have demanded from them an independence payment of at least one hundred million dollars as partial reparation to make up for some of the money stolen from us and the exploitation, human misery, suffering and degradation we have endured at their hands over the last 400 years."

In the Independence part of the Manifesto, the qualities of leadership is discussed; for example - "Leadership instead should regard itself as the servants of the people, and must aim at destroying the relationship of master and slave, employer and employee and of destroying the whole class relationship in our society."

Towards the New Life and New Society - In this closing section, a tentative plan is stated: "The NJM proposes to hold in the near future a National Congress of the People to work out the best strategy for taking power." A change reads like this: "To create the new life for the new man in the society, it is necessary that we reject the present economic and political system which we live under."

The paragraph about democracy in the New Society is as follows:

"The new society must not only speak of Democracy, but must practise it in all its aspects. We must stress the policy of "Self-Reliance" and "Self-Sufficiency" undertaken co-operatively, and reject the easy approaches offered by aid and foreign assistance. We will have to recognise that our most important resource is our people."


Remembering Grenada
Worrill’s World
By Dr. Conrad W. Worrill, PhD Columnist


Given the current media attention being given to the war against terrorism, African people should not forget significant events in our history. One of the events we should not forget is the United States invasion of the island of Grenada. The Caribbean island of Grenada has virtually been banned from international news coverage.

It was twenty-eight years ago that Grenada was a major international news item as a result of theUnited States invasion of this African island of 110,000 people on October 25, 1983.
The headlines of the October 26, 1983 issue of the New York Times was the following: “1,900 U.S. Troops, With Caribbean Allies, Invade Grenada and Fight Leftist Units; Moscow Protest; British Are Critical.”

Just as we observe the United States destabilization tactics in the Middle East today, these were the same tactics used in Grenada twenty years ago.

These tactics go something like this: Since the African people cannot govern and rule themselves; we must come to their aid in a humanitarian manner. We must provide them with food and other necessities of life. We must identify or create allies among the African people and create an atmosphere of support for the efforts of the United States to bring peace, harmony, and stability to the African people. Does this sound familiar? Obviously, the majority of the people in the Middle East opposes these tactics and is rebelling against them, just as the people of Grenada resisted the United States invasion twenty years ago.

I began writing my weekly column twenty years ago because of what we, in the National Black United Front (NBUF), observed as the continuing white supremacy policies of the United Statestoward Grenada, the New Jewel Movement and its leader Maurice Bishop.
This is what I wrote in my first column that appeared in the Chicago Defender on October 24, 1983:

***“The Black Liberation Movement worldwide is deeply saddened by the death of Grenada’s Prime Minister, Maurice Bishop. Mr. Bishop, along with other Grenadian Officials, including Education Minister, Jacqueline Creft, Housing Minister, Norris Bain, Unision Whiteman, a former foreign minister, Secretary of Home Affairs, Vincent Noel and union leader Fitzroy Bain were killed by the new army forces on October 19 in a demonstration to free hundreds of Grenadians who were arrested because of their support for Mr. Bishop. These supporters had been placed in detention in Fort Rupert Army Headquarters, named after Rupert Bishop, Maurice’s father.”

As I continued to write in this first column, “This Caribbean identity simply means the interconnectedness of the African experience that resulted in millions of African people being captured and brought to this region of the world during the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade of the fourteenth through seventeenth centuries.”

Further, as I explained in this column, “This area of the world is predominately African and the people in it have been struggling against white domination in an effort to achieve independence and sovereignty. Grenada under the leadership of Maurice Bishop was a shining example of an African government and nation seeking independence and sovereignty.”

There are many lessons that the invasion of Grenada taught us. Lessons that continue to plague the worldwide African Liberation Movement that are steeped in the efforts of the white supremacy forces to always find some African person or persons to keep us divided and fighting each other, rather than focusing on and fighting the real enemy.

In the case of Grenada, an African man with whom Maurice Bishop had practiced law and who became the Deputy Prime Minister, was the chief architect of Maurice Bishop’s and the New Jewel Movement’s overthrow that provided the open door for the United States’ invasion of the island.

As I wrote twenty years ago in my first column, and as so many had stated before me, “The real question for the Black Liberation Movement worldwide is when will we stop killing each other over political disputes? This was clearly a political dispute between different forces within the New Jewel Movement. All factions had pledged a commitment to bring about change for the people of the island, and Bishop was beginning to bring about that change as the popular outpouring of support for him during the fighting intensified. Did someone want that change to stop?”

In the same context I wrote, “One thing is certain; African Movement forces must find political solutions to political disputes. Killing each other is not the answer to changing systems that are exploitive of our people.”

We must always remember Grenada and the words that Maurice Bishop spoke at Hunter College inNew York on June 5, 1983. Maurice said, “Our people, therefore, have a greater and deeper understanding of what the revolution means and what it has brought them.”

The people of Grenada and the New Jewel Movement will return, as all African people will once again find our place in the sun. Even though it appears to be bleak, we must continue to struggle and move forward. Columnist, Conrad W. Worrill, PhD, is the National Chairman Emeritus of the National Black United Front (NBUF). Click here to contact Dr. Worrill.

Friday, December 02, 2011


Something a little different for "political prisoner Friday" here at Scission.  Instead of focusing on one person today, let's think of a bunch of them and lets think of one very small material thing we can do to show them we have not forgotten.

"Twenty-six years ago, the Partisan Defense Committee revived the program of the early International Labor Defense (ILD) under its secretary, James P. Cannon, of sending stipends to the class-war prisoners—irrespective of their political views or affiliations."

"This is not charity but an elementary act of solidarity with those imprisoned for their opposition to racist capitalism and imperialist depredations"

The following is from the ICL web page.

Free the Class-War Prisoners!
26th Annual PDC Holiday Appeal
An Injury to One Is an Injury to All!
(Class-Struggle Defense Notes)
The holiday season is once again upon us. Any day now, we’ll be assaulted 24/7 with commercials hawking the latest PlayStations, full-page newspaper ads featuring Christmas lingerie and jewelry, sitcoms with oafish dads sporting hideous Christmas ties and endless broadcasts of the movie about the Midwestern banker who, thanks to his guardian angel Clarence, discovers that “It’s a Wonderful Life.” For most, this year’s holidays mean that the bosses are in the Bahamas sucking up single malt scotch while paychecks are replaced with pink slips and the Santa shimmying down the chimney is a marshal serving a foreclosure notice. At the same time, poor families debate whether the small bit of money set aside for the holidays will be spent on presents or a bus ticket to visit their loved ones behind bars.
For us, this time of year is an occasion to redouble our commitment to those among the inhabitants of America’s vast network of prisons who were singled out for standing up to racist capitalist oppression—the class-war prisoners. Twenty-six years ago, the Partisan Defense Committee revived the program of the early International Labor Defense (ILD) under its secretary, James P. Cannon, of sending stipends to the class-war prisoners—irrespective of their political views or affiliations. As Cannon wrote:
“In one sense of the word the whole of capitalist society is a prison. For the great mass of people who do the hard, useful work there is no such word as freedom. They come and go at the order of a few. Their lives are regulated according to the needs and wishes of a few. A censorship is put upon their words and deeds. The fruits of their labor are taken from them. And if, by chance, they have the instinct and spirit to rebel, if they take their place in the vanguard of the fight for justice, the prisons are waiting.”
—James P. Cannon, “The Cause that Passes Through a Prison” (Labor Defender, September 1926)
We provide monthly stipends to 16 class-war prisoners and holiday gifts for them and their families. The $25 monthly stipends help ease a little bit the horrors of “life” in capitalist dungeons. More importantly, they are a necessary expression of solidarity with these prisoners—a message that they are not forgotten.
Since we initiated this program in 1986, we have provided stipends to over 30 class-war prisoners around the world. Among the first was former Black Panther leader Geronimo ji Jaga (Pratt), who spent 27 years in prison, for a crime that the state authorities knew that he did not commit, before being released in 1997. Geronimo died in June, an untimely death undoubtedly linked to his many years in prison.
Most of the class-war prisoners who receive PDC stipends have already spent decades in prison, and the capitalist rulers are determined not only to see them die behind bars but also to repeatedly subject them to harassment and degradation. American Indian Movement leader Leonard Peltier wrote us about his recent transfer to a prison in Florida far from his family and supporters, where the authorities placed him in a cell with a skinhead sporting on his back a tattoo of a KKK nightrider!
For those behind bars, the human tragedies that befall us all are made ever more acute by the enforced separation from family and friends. Jaan Laaman recently informed us of the death of his son Rick. Earlier this year, death row political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal lost his sister, Lydia Barashango, who was a tireless activist in Mumia’s fight for freedom. Mumia also had the bittersweet experience of seeing his son, Jamal Hart, railroaded to prison on bogus gun-possession charges in retaliation for speaking out on his father’s behalf, finally released from prison after serving every single day of his 15 and a half year sentence.
Persecution of those imprisoned for their political views and actions has not only continued unabated, but Obama and his top cop, Attorney General Eric Holder, are making reservations for many more to join those already behind bars. The Obama administration has expanded the repressive measures adopted during the Clinton/Bush years that are being wielded against those who propelled him into office—labor, blacks, immigrants and liberal youth. Obama has used the “anti-terror” laws to target leftist supporters of Latin American guerrillas and oppressed Palestinians, far surpassed the Bush regime in deporting immigrants and carried out the assassination abroad of an American citizen without even the pretense of charges or a trial.
The struggle to free the class-war prisoners is critical to educating a new generation of fighters against exploitation and oppression—a schooling centered on the role of the capitalist state, comprising the military, cops, courts and prisons. In recent weeks, the young activists of the “Occupy” protests have been on the receiving end of pepper spray, tear gas and police truncheons, with thousands arrested—a small taste not only of the daily hell of life for black people in this country but also what the bosses’ government unleashes against workers when they engage in class struggle. This was seen in the brutal cop attacks and arrests this September of over 130 leaders, members and supporters of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) in Longview, Washington. In its battle with the giant union-busting EGT grain exporter, the union has engaged in the kind of militant labor actions that built this country’s industrial unions. A defeat in Longview would be a body blow against the ILWU as a whole.
The 16 class-war prisoners receiving stipends from the PDC are listed below:
Mumia Abu-Jamal is a former Black Panther Party spokesman, a well-known supporter of the MOVE organization and an award-winning journalist known as “the voice of the voiceless.” This year the Philadelphia district attorney’s office unsuccessfully petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate the death penalty for this class-war prisoner. The D.A. now has until mid April to convene a new sentencing hearing, the sole purpose of which would be to determine whether Mumia is to be again sentenced to death or will rot in prison for life.
This December marks the 30th anniversary of Mumia’s arrest for a killing that the cops know he did not commit. Mumia was framed up for the 1981 killing of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner and sentenced to death explicitly for his political views. Mountains of documentation proving Mumia’s innocence, including the sworn confession of Arnold Beverly that he, not Mumia, shot and killed Faulkner, have been submitted to the courts. But from top to bottom, the courts have repeatedly refused to hear this overwhelming evidence.
While others plead with the current U.S. president and his attorney general to “investigate” violations of Mumia’s “civil rights,” the PDC says that Mumia’s fate cannot be left in the hands of the government of the capitalists. The racist rulers hate Mumia because they see in him the spectre of black revolt. The stakes are high and the situation is grim, but any real fight for Mumia’s freedom must be based on class-struggle opposition to the capitalist rulers, who have entombed this innocent black man for more than half his life.
Leonard Peltier is an internationally renowned class-war prisoner. Peltier’s incarceration for his activism in the American Indian Movement has come to symbolize this country’s racist repression of its native peoples, the survivors of centuries of genocidal oppression. Peltier’s frame-up trial, for the 1975 deaths of two marauding FBI agents in what had become a war zone on the South Dakota Pine Ridge Reservation, shows what capitalist “justice” is all about. Although the lead government attorney has admitted, “We can’t prove who shot those agents,” and the courts have acknowledged blatant prosecutorial misconduct, the 67-year-old Peltier is still locked away. This year, Peltier, who suffers from multiple serious medical conditions, was thrown into solitary confinement and then transferred to Florida, far from his family. He is not scheduled to be reconsidered for parole for another 13 years.
Eight MOVE members—Chuck Africa, Michael Africa, Debbie Africa, Janet Africa, Janine Africa, Delbert Africa, Eddie Africa and Phil Africa—are in their 34th year in prison. They were sentenced to 30 to 100 years after the 8 August 1978 siege of their Philadelphia home by over 600 heavily armed cops, having been falsely convicted of killing a police officer who died in the cops’ own cross fire. In 1985, eleven of their MOVE family members, including five children, were massacred by Philly cops in collaboration with the Feds. After more than three decades of unjust incarceration, most of these innocent prisoners had parole hearings this year, but none were released.
Lynne Stewart is a radical lawyer incarcerated for defending her client, a blind Egyptian cleric imprisoned for an alleged plot to blow up New York City landmarks in the early 1990s. Last year, she was resentenced to ten years, more than quadrupling her earlier sentence, in a loud affirmation by the Obama administration that there will be no let-up in the massive attack on democratic rights under the “war on terror.” Stewart, now over 72 years old and suffering from breast cancer, is known for her defense of Black Panthers, radical leftists and others reviled by the capitalist state.
Jaan Laaman and Thomas Manning are the two remaining anti-imperialist activists known as the Ohio 7 still in prison, convicted for their roles in a radical group that took credit for bank “expropriations” and bombings of symbols of U.S. imperialism, such as military and corporate offices, in the late 1970s and ’80s. Before their arrests in 1984 and 1985, the Ohio 7 were targets of massive manhunts. Their children were kidnapped at gunpoint by the Feds.
The Ohio 7’s politics were once shared by thousands of radicals during the Vietnam antiwar movement and by New Leftists who wrote off the possibility of winning the working class to a revolutionary program and saw themselves as an auxiliary of Third World liberation movements. But, like the Weathermen before them, the Ohio 7 were spurned by the “respectable” left. From a proletarian standpoint, the actions of these leftist activists against imperialism and racist injustice are not a crime. They should not have served a day in prison.
Ed Poindexter and Wopashitwe Mondo Eyen we Langa are former Black Panther supporters and leaders of the Omaha, Nebraska, National Committee to Combat Fascism. They were victims of the FBI’s deadly COINTELPRO operation under which 38 Black Panther Party members were killed and hundreds more imprisoned on frame-up charges. Poindexter and Mondo were railroaded to prison and sentenced to life for a 1970 explosion that killed a cop, and they have now served more than 40 years in jail. Nebraska courts have repeatedly denied Poindexter and Mondo new trials despite the fact that a crucial piece of evidence excluded from the original trial, a 911 audio tape long suppressed by the FBI, proved that testimony of the state’s key witness was perjured.
Hugo Pinell, the last of the San Quentin 6 still in prison, has been in solitary isolation for more than four decades. He was a militant anti-racist leader of prison rights organizing along with George Jackson, his comrade and mentor, who was gunned down by prison guards in 1971. Despite numerous letters of support and no disciplinary write-ups for over 28 years, Pinell was again denied parole in 2009. Now in his 60s, Pinell continues to serve a life sentence at the notorious torture chamber, Pelican Bay Security Housing Unit in California, a focal point for two recent hunger strikes against grotesquely inhuman conditions.
Contribute now! All proceeds from the Holiday Appeals will go to the Class-War Prisoners Stipend Fund. This is not charity but an elementary act of solidarity with those imprisoned for their opposition to racist capitalism and imperialist depredations. Send your contributions to: PDC, P.O. Box 99, Canal Street Station, New York, NY 10013; (212) 406-4252.

Thursday, December 01, 2011


Lots of folks around the world are pissed off and displaying that pissedofness in the streets.  So what is it all about, Alfie?  Is it just random violence by a bunch of lazy bums?  Is it just crazy youth?  Is it just a bunch of thugs out to grab some loot?  Is it a revolution?  What the hell is in the air? Does it really matter? The two folks who wrote the article below have an idea and it makes some sense to me.  

I admit I don't agree with everything Toni Negri has to say, but I agree with a bunch of it.  I recommend reading his stuff whenever you get the chance.

The following is from something with the cool name of UninoMadE.  It is in Italian, so if you want to see this article in english somewhere besides here just go ahead and click on the link at the bottom of the article.

The Common in Revolt

It did not take much imagination, once the analysis of the current economic crisis had been brought back to its causes and social effects, to foretell urban revolts akin to jacqueries. Commonwealth1 had predicted that already in 2009. What we did not expect, on the contrary, is that in Italy, in the movement, this prediction could be rejected. It seemed in fact, we were told, ancient; they told us, instead: now is the time to rebuild broad fronts against the crisis and establish within the movements forms of organization-communication-recognition to address political representation.
Well, now we are nonetheless facing movements that express themselves in more or less classic insurrectionary forms and yet are everywhere, thus uprooting the old geopolitical grammar within which someone stubbornly kept thinking. What we have is, therefore:
1)      A new proletariat, made of precarious and unemployed workers, joins the middle classes in crisis. These are diverse subjects unifying in unusual ways in the struggle, asking, as in the countries of the Southern Mediterranean, new, more democratic forms of government. The political dictatorship of the Ben Alis and the political-economic one of our fake democracies may not be equivalent – although for decades the latter have accurately built, supported, and protected the former – but by now the urge for radical democracy is everywhere and marks a common of struggles emerging from different sides, blending and intertwining, cross-breeding one another’s demands.
2)      The very same social forces, those suffering from the crisis in societies with class relationships by now definitely controlled by financial regimes within mixed, manufacturing and/or cognitive economies, are moving across different terrains (first movements of workers, students, and precarity more generally; now
complex social movements of the “acampados” kind) with equal determination.
3)      The resurgence of movements of pure refusal is crisscrossed by a societal composition as complex as ever, stratified both vertically (i.e. middle classes plunging towards the excluded proletariat) and horizontally (i.e. in relation to different sectors of the metropoles, torn between gentrification and – as Saskia Sassen notices – “Brazilianized” zones, where clashes among gangs start leaving the marks of AK-47 bullets on the walls of those neighborhoods where the sole – dramatic, entropic – alternative to organized struggles is organized crime).
The current English revolts belong to this third kind and are quite similar to the ones that some time ago have affected the French banlieues: a mix of anger and desperation, fragments of self-organization and crystallizations of other kinds (neighborhood associations, networked solidarities, soccer fans’ clubs, etc.) expressing by now the unbearability of lives turned to rubble. The rubble, surely unsettling, these revolts leave behind them is not in the end so different from what the everyday lives of so many men and women is made of today: shreds of life in one way or another.
How can we open a discussion on these complex phenomena from the standpoint of thinking the common? What we argue below has the mere intention to open a space for debate.
First and foremost, it seems to us that we need to debunk some interpretations voiced by the mass media of the ruling classes.
They argue, to begin with, that these movements we are discussing should be considered, from a political point of view, in their “radical” diversity. Now, it is obvious that these movements are politically diverse. But to say that they are “radically” so is simply idiotic. All these movements are, in fact, radically characterized not only because they oppose Ben Ali or other dictators, whatever is the case, or because they denounce Zapatero’s or Papandreou’s political betrayal, or because they hate Cameron or refuse the impositions of the European Central Bank. They are, rather, characterized as radical because all of them refuse to pay for the consequences of the economy and the crisis (nothing would be more mistaken than considering the crisis as a catastrophe striking a fundamentally sane economic system; nothing would be more terrible than nostalgia for the capitalist economy before the crisis), which is to say the huge movement of wealth that is now taking place to the benefit of the powerful, organized as they are in the political forms of the Western regimes (democratic or
dictatorial, conservative or reformist alike…).
These are revolts born, in Egypt, Spain, or England, out of the simultaneous refusal of the subjection, exploitation and plunder this economy has prepared for the lives of entire populations of the world, and the political forms within which the crisis of this biopolitical appropriation has been managed. And this is also true for all the so-called “democratic” regimes. Such a form of government appears only preferable for the seeming “civility” with which it masks the attack on the dignity and humanity of the existences it crushes, but the vanishing of political representation is now at the point of collapse. To argue that there are – according to the criteria of Western democracy – radical differences between the representativeness of Ben Ali’s Tunisia and Cameron’s Tottenham or Brixton, is simply to denying the evidence: life has in both cases been so violated and plundered that it cannot but explode in a movement of revolt. Not to talk of mechanisms of repression, which are bringing England back to the times of primitive accumulation, to the jails of Moll Flanders and the factories of Oliver Twist. To the mugshots of youth in rebellion posted on the walls and the screens of England’s cities one should really juxtapose large sized prints of the swinish faces (a variant of the PIGS2?) of the bankers and financial corporate bosses that have turned entire communities to that condition, and keep fattening their profits out of this crisis.
Let’s go back to the newspaper’s trivia. They also say that these revolts are different from an ethical-political standpoint. Some would thus be legitimate, as in the Maghreb countries, because there the corruption of dictatorial regimes has led to miserable conditions; the protests of the Italian students or the Spanish “indignados” would still be understandable because “precarity is bad”; the revolts of the English or the French proletariat are, instead, “criminal” as they are allegedly marked by mere looting of other people’s property, hooliganism and racial hatred.
All this is largely false, because these revolts tend – with all the differences among them, which we don’t deny – to have a common nature. They are not “youthful” revolts, but revolts that understand social and political conditions that increasingly large layers of the population consider entirely unbearable. The degradation of the working and social wage has gone beyond the threshold identified by classical economists and by Marx with the level of workers’ reproduction, which they called a “necessary wage”. And now, we dare the journalists to argue that these struggles are produced by excesses of consumerism!
Here comes a first conclusion. These movements can be defined as “recompositional”. They actually penetrate populations – be they workers guaranteed up to now or precarious ones, unemployed or those who have only known odd jobs, improvisation and off-the-books activities – exalting their moments of solidarity in their struggle against destitution. Declining middle classes and the proletariat, migrant and not, manual and cognitive workers, retirees, housewives, and youth are joined in poverty and the struggle to oppose it. Here they found conditions for a united struggle.
Second, it is immediately apparent (and this is what mostly terrifies those who assume consumerist characteristics in these movements) that these are not chaotic and nihilistic movements, that they are not about burning for burning’s sake, that they don’t just want to sanction the destructive potency of an unforeseeable “no future”. Forty years after the punk movement (which on the other hand was, in spite of the stereotypes, passionately productive), these are not movements declaring the end, recorded and internalized, of every future; they rather want to build the future. They know that the crisis affecting them is not due to the fact that the proletariat does not produce – either under a boss or in the general condition of social cooperation by now underpinning processes of capture of value – or does not produce enough, but is happening because they are robbed of the fruit of their productivity; which is to say, they are forced to pay for a crisis that is not their own; they have already paid for healthcare, retirement and public order systems while the bourgeoisie was accumulating for war and expropriating for its own profit. But mostly they know that there’s no way out of this crisis until they, the rebels, don’t handle the power mechanisms and the social relations that regulate those mechanisms. But, one may object, these are not political movements. Even if – the critics add – they expressed politically correct positions (as it has often happened for the North-African insurgents or the Spanish “indignados”) these movements are prejudicially outside or critical towards the democratic order.
Of course, we would like to add: it is difficult if not impossible to find, in the current political order, passages and paths through which a project attacking the current policies for overcoming the crisis can take place. Right and left are, almost always, alike. For the former the wealth tax should hit incomes of 40-50,000 Euros, for the latter of 60-70,000 Euros: is this the difference? The defense of private property, the extension of privatization and liberalization are in the agendas of both sides. Electoral systems are by now reduced to the pure and simple selection of delegates from the privileged strata, and so on and so forth. These movements are attacking all this: are they political or not when they do so? These movements are political because they position themselves on a constituent, not a claim-making, terrain. They attack private property because they know it as the form of their oppression and rather insist on the constitution and self-management of solidarity, welfare, education – in short of the common, because this is by now the horizon for old and new powers.
Of course no one is so stupid to think that these revolts immediately produce new forms of government. What, nonetheless, these revolts teach is that “the one is now split into two”, that the seemingly flawless solidity of capitalism is by now only an old phantasmagoria, which in no way can be brought back together, that capital is immediately schizophrenic and the politics of the movements can only locate itself within this fracture.
We hope that those comrades who believed insurrections to be an outdated tool of autonomist politics will be able to reflect on what’s going on. It is not by wearing ourselves off waiting for parliamentary deadlines but by inventing new constituent institutions for the common in revolt that we can understand together what is to come.

Translation courtesy of: Franco Barchiesi, A Tribe of Moles

1= Hardt, Michael and Antonio Negri. 2009. Commonwealth. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press
2=PIGS: acronym for Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain, the crisis-ridden economies of Southern Europe.


What no one notices is that the US military doesn't just kill people one at a time, doesn't just kill them in groups, doesn't even just kill them city by city.  Nope, the US military is doing its part to destroy the whole lot of us...and a whole lot more in one fell swoop.  I know, you are thinking, nuclear war, what is he talking about.  Forget about nuclear war, think global climate change.  Do you have any idea just how damaging to the earth and to the climate the US military is?  Probably not, since they aren't requited by anyone to tell.  Huh?  Well, someone has sort of figured it all out.  Check the article below from Science for Peace.

The US Military Assault on Global Climate

By every measure, the Pentagon is the largest institutional user of petroleum products and energy…Yet the Pentagon has a blanket exemption in all international climate agreements…Any talk of climate change which does not include the military is nothing but hot air. It’s a hole [in the Kyoto Convention on Climate Change] big enough to drive a tank through.
In 1940 the US military consumed one percent of the country’s total energy usage; by the end of World War II the military’s share rose to 29 percent.1 Oil is indispensable for war. Correspondingly, militarism is the most oil-exhaustive activity on the planet, growing more so with faster, bigger, more fuel-guzzling planes, tanks and naval vessels employed in more intensive air and ground wars. At the outset of the Iraq War in March 2003, the Army estimated it would need more than 40 million gallons of gasoline for three weeks of combat, exceeding the total quantity used by all Allied forces in the four years of World War I. Among the Army’s armamentarium were 2,000 staunch M-1 Abrams tanks fired up for the war and burning 250 gallons of fuel per hour.2
The US Air Force (USAF) is the single largest consumer of jet fuel in the world. Fathom, if you can, the astronomical fuel usage of USAF fighter planes: the F-4 Phantom Fighter burns more than 1600 gallons of jet fuel per hour and peaks at 14,400 gallons per hour at supersonic speeds. The B-52 Stratocruiser, with 8 jet engines, guzzles 500 gallons per minute; 10 minutes of flight uses as much fuel as the average driver does in one year of driving! A quarter of the world’s jet fuel feeds the USAF fleet of flying killing machines; in 2006, they consumed as much fuel as US planes did during the Second World War (1941-1945) — an astounding 2.6 billion gallons.3
Barry Sanders observes with a lode of tragic irony that, while many of us assiduously reduce our carbon footprint through simpler living, eating locally, recycling and reusing, energy conservation, taking public transportation, installing solar panels, and so on, the single largest institutional polluter and contributor to global warming — the US military — is immune to climate change concerns. The military reports no climate change emissions to any national or international body, thanks to US arm-twisting during the 1997 negotiations of the first international accord to limit global warming emissions, the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change. To protect the military from any curbs on their activities, the United States demanded and won exemption from emission limits on “bunker” fuels (dense, heavy fuel oil for naval vessels) and all greenhouse gas emissions from military operations worldwide, including wars. Adding insult to injury, George W. Bush pulled the United States out of the Kyoto Protocol as one of the first acts of his presidency, alleging it would straitjacket the US economy with too costly greenhouse emissions controls. Next, the White House began a neo-Luddite campaign against the science of climate change. In researching The Green Zone: The Environmental Costs of Militarism, Sanders found that getting war casualty statistics out of the Department of Defense is easier than getting fuel usage data.
Only recently has the momentous issue of military fuel use and its massive, yet concealed role in global climate change come to the foreground, thanks to a handful of perspicacious researchers. Liska and Perrin contend that, in addition to tailpipe emissions, immense “hidden” greenhouse gas pollution stems from our use of gasoline. This impact on climate change should be calculated into the full life cycle analysis of gasoline. When the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) compares gasoline and biofuels for their respective atmospheric pollution, the greenhouse gas emissions calculated for gasoline should include the military activities related to securing foreign crude oil, from which gasoline is derived. (But they do not, thanks to the Kyoto Accords military exemption). Oil security comprises both military protection against sabotage to pipelines and tankers and also US-led wars in oil-rich regions to assure long-term access. Nearly 1,000 US military bases trace an arc from the Andes to North Africa across the Middle East to Indonesia, the Philippines and South Korea, sweeping over all major oil resources — all related, in part, to projecting force for the sake of energy security. Further, the “upstream emissions” of greenhouse gases from the manufacture of military equipment, infrastructure, vehicles and munitions used in oil supply protection and oil-driven wars should also be included in the overall environmental impact of using gasoline. Adding these factors into their calculations, the authors conclude that about “20 percent of the conventional DoD [Department of Defense] budget…is attributable to the objective of oil security.”
A corresponding analysis by researchers at Oil Change International quantifies the greenhouse gas emissions of the Iraq war and the opportunity costs involved in fighting the war rather than investing in clean technology, during the years 2003-2007. Their key findings are unambiguous about the vast climate pollution of war and the lockstep bipartisan policy of forfeiting future global health for present day militarism.
  1. The projected full costs of the Iraq War (estimated $3 trillion) would cover “all of the global investments in renewable power generation” needed between now and 2030 to reverse global warming trends.
  2. Between 2003-2007, the war generated at least 141 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e)4more each year of the war than 139 of the world’s countries release annually.5 Re-building Iraqi schools, homes, businesses, bridges, roads, and hospitals pulverized by the war, and new security walls and barriers will require millions of tons of cement, one of the largest industrial sources of greenhouse gas emissions.
  3. In 2006, the U.S. spent more on the war in Iraq than the entire world spent on renewable energy investment.
  4. By 2008, the Bush administration had spent 97 times more on military than on climate change. As a presidential candidate, President Obama pledged to spend $150 billion over 10 years on green energy technology and infrastructure — less than the United States was spending in one year of the Iraq War.
Just how much petroleum the Pentagon consumes is one of the best-kept secrets in government. More likely, observes Barry Sanders, no one in DoD knows precisely. His unremitting effort to ferret out the numbers is one of the most thorough to date. Sanders begins with figures given by the Defense Energy Support Center for annual oil procurement for all branches of the military. He then combines three other non-reported military oil consumption factors: an estimate of “free oil” supplied overseas (of which Kuwait was the largest supplier for the 2003 Iraq War); an estimate of oil used by private military contractors and military-leased vehicles; and an estimate of the amount of bunker fuel used by naval vessels. By his calculation, the US military consumes as much as one million barrels of oil per day and contributes 5 percent of current global warming emissions. Keep in mind that the military has 1.4 million active duty people, or .0002 percent of the world’s population, generating 5 percent of climate pollution.
Yet, even this comparison understates the extreme military impact on climate change. Military fuel is more polluting because of the fuel type used for aviation. CO2 emissions from jet fuel are larger — possibly triple — per gallon than those from diesel and oil. Further, aircraft exhaust has unique polluting effects that result in greater warming effect by per unit of fuel used. Radiative effects from jet exhaust, including nitrous oxide, sulphur dioxide, soot, and water vapor exacerbate the warming effect of the CO2 exhaust emissions.6 Perversely, then, the US military consumes fossil fuel beyond compare to any other institutional and per capita consumption in order to preserve strategic access to oil — a lunacy instigated by a series of executive decisions.

Short History of Militarizing Energy

Ten of 11 U.S. recessions since World War II have been preceded by oil price spikes…Maintaining low and stable oil prices is a political imperative associated with modern petroleum-based economies.
In 1945 the US military built an air base at Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, the start of securing permanent American access to newly discovered Middle East oil. President Roosevelt had negotiated a quid pro quo with the Saudi family: military protection in exchange for cheap oil for US markets and military. Eisenhower possessed great prescience about the post-World War II rise of a permanent war-based industry dictating national policy and the need for citizen vigilance and engagement to curb the “military-industrial” complex. Yet, he made a fateful decision on energy policy which set our country and the world on a course from which we must find our way back.
The 1952 blue ribbon Paley Commission Report proposed that the U.S. build the economy on solar energy sources. The report also offered a strong negative assessment of nuclear energy and called for “aggressive research in the whole field of solar energy” as well as R&D on wind and biomass. In 1953 the new President Eisenhower ignored the report recommendation and inaugurated “Atoms for Peace,” touting nuclear power as the world’s new energy miracle that would be “too cheap to meter.” This decision not only embarked the country (and world) on a fateful course of nuclear power but it also affixed the centrality of oil, gas and coal within the US economy.
By the late 1970s the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the Iranian Revolution threatened US access to oil in the Middle East, leading to President Carter’s 1980 State of the Union warmongering doctrine. The Carter Doctrine holds that any threat to US access to Middle East oil would be resisted “by any means necessary, including military force”. Carter put teeth into his doctrine by creating the Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force, whose purpose was combat operations in the Persian Gulf area when necessary. Ronald Reagan ramped up the militarization of oil with the formation of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) whose raison d’ être was to ensure access to oil, diminish Soviet Union influence in the region, and control political regimes in the region for our national security interests. With growing reliance on oil from Africa and the Caspian Sea region, the U.S. has since augmented its military capabilities in those regions.
In 2003, Carter’s doctrine of force when necessary was carried out with “shock and awe,” in what was the most intensive and profligate use of fossil fuel the world has ever witnessed. Recall, too, that as Baghdad fell, invading US troops ignored the looting of schools, hospitals, and a nuclear power facility as well as the ransacking of national museums and burning of the National Library and Archives holding peerless, irreplaceable documentation of the “cradle of civilization.” The US military did, however, immediately seize and guard the Iraqi Oil Ministry Headquarters and positioned 2,000 soldier to safeguard oilfields.7 First things first.
Many factors have converged and clarified over time to support the proposition that, at its core, the Iraq war was a war over oil. Eliminating weapons of mass destruction, deposing a tyrannical dictator, rooting out terrorism linked to 9/11, employing gunboat diplomacy to instill democracy and human rights — all were largely foils for oil. Alan Greenspan put it squarely: “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everybody knows: the Iraq War is largely about oil.”8
As we near peak oil production, that is, the point of diminishing returns for oil exploration and production and higher oil prices, OPEC countries’ share of global production “will rise from 46 percent in 2007 to 56 percent in 2030.” Iraq has the third largest reserves of oil; Iraq and Kazakhstan are “two of the top four countries with the largest [petroleum] production increases forecast from 2000 to 2030. The Middle East and Central Asia are, predictably, epicenters of US military operations and wars. A 2006 report on national security and US oil dependency released by the Council on Foreign Relations concluded that the US should maintain “a strong military posture that permits suitably rapid deployment to the [Persian Gulf] region” for at least twenty years. US military professionals concur and are preparing for the prospect of “large-scale armed struggle” over access to energy resources.

Where we stand

Our national security has reduced in large part to energy security, which has led us to militarizing our access to oil through establishing a military presence across the oil-bearing regions of the world and instigating armed conflict in Iraq, sustaining it in Afghanistan, and provoking it in Libya. The air war in Libya has given the new U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) — itself another extension of the Carter Doctrine — some spotlight and muscle. A few commentators have concluded that the NATO war in Libya is a justifiable humanitarian military intervention. The more trenchant judgment, in my view, is that the air war violated the UN Security Council Resolution 1973, the US Constitution, and the War Powers Act; and that it sets a precedent and “model for how the United States wields force in other countries where its interests are threatened,” to quote Administration officials. The air war in Libya is another setback to non-militarized diplomacy; it marginalized the African Union, and it sets a course for more military intervention in Africa when US interests are at stake. Air war a model for future wars? If so, a death knell for the planet. This insatiable militarism is the single greatest institutional contributor to the growing natural disasters intensified by global climate change.


In summer 2011, as I was researching this piece, forest fires burned almost 50,000 acres in and around the nuclear weapons production and waste storage facilities at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Among the endangered radioactive materials and waste were as many as 30,000 55-gallon drums of plutonium-contaminated waste stored in fabric tents above ground, awaiting transport to a low-level radiation dumpsite in southern New Mexico. Two months later Vermont suffered its worst ever floods and flood damage, with no part of the state untouched, from Tropical Storm Irene — considered to be one of the 10 costliest disasters in US history.
Coincident with these environmental tragedies intensified by global warming, is the ongoing tradeoff in the U.S. federal budget between militarized defense and genuine human and environmental security. The United States contributes more than 30 percent of global warming gases to the atmosphere, generated by five percent of the world’s population and U.S. militarism. The pieces of the U.S. federal budget pie that fund education, energy, environment, social services, housing, and new job creation, taken together, receive less funding than the military/defense budget. Former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich, has called the military budget a taxpayer-supported jobs program and argues for re-prioritizing federal spending on jobs in green energy, education and infrastructure — the real national security.
The United States has the wealth (currently larding the defense budget) and the technical capacity to revolutionize our energy economy and turn it within a few decades into an economy based on efficiency and renewable energy sources, thus removing a critical demand factor of our Goliath military. How costly would it be to eliminate underlying causes of war and injustice, such as poverty and gender inequality, and to restore the natural environment? In his most recent book Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization, Lester Brown estimates that eradicating poverty, educating women, providing reproductive resources, and restoring forests worldwide would cost one-third of the U.S. 2008 defense budget. Again, the issue is not public monies.
Another ferocious demand factor is the octopus of defense industry companies who have spread their tentacles to nearly all of the states and control the majority of Congressionals. Thus, another vital scarce resource — some mineral in a contested seabed in the South China Sea, for example — could replace petroleum and become the next flashpoint for more military build-up and response, unless that military-industrial complex is neutered.
Perhaps the most elusive driving factor of war is the values that underpin the tradition and habit of militarized solutions. War mirrors the culture of a country. U.S. militarism — from its training, tactics, and logistics to its reasons for going to war and its weapons of war — is distinctly shaped by core elements of American identity. These determining cultural forces are, according to military historian Victor Davis Hanson: manifest destiny; frontier mentality; rugged individualism and what he calls a “muscular independence”; unfettered market capitalism; the ideal of meritocracy (no matter what one’s class, one can rise to the top in the U.S. military); and a fascination with machines, modernity, and mobility. All converge to generate bigger, better and more destructive war technology. He adds that the integration of military into society is smoothed through the Second Amendment right to bear arms.
This cultural competence for high-tech war, with its origins in our past annihilation of Native Americans, may be our society’s nemesis unless we do critical soul-searching about our cultural and personal values and actively engage in transforming them. There are a plentitude of cross currents in our society that have profoundly challenged the dominant cultural profile limned by militarist Hanson: the women’s, civil rights, and immigrant rights movements, the anti-war and peace movements, public intellectuals and progressive media, peace and justice studies, progressive labor and health workers, the co-op and Transition Town movements, and the handful of progressive politicians, among others. The challenge is how to build voice, social cohesion, and public influence for our shared values of a sense of community, connection to nature, concern for the exploited, and thirst for equity and justice against the dominant market messages of wealth and social prestige; image; power through dominance in gender, race and economic relations; and meeting conflict with force.


1 Barry Sanders. (2009) The Green Zone: The Environmental Costs of Militarism. Oakland, CA: AK Press. p. 39. ^
2 Ibid. p. 51. ^
3 Ibid. pps. 50, 61 for data in this section. ^
4 Units of carbon dioxide equivalent to combined greenhouse gas emissions. ^
5 This figure is conservative because there were no reliable numbers on the military consumption of naval bunker fuels for the transport of fuel and troops. Nor was there data on the use or release of intensive greenhouse gas chemicals in war, including the halon, an ozone-depleting fire extinguishing chemical banned in the US since 1992 for civilian production and use, but allowed for DoD “critical mission” use. ^
6 From George Monbiot (2006). Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning. Cited in Sanders, p.72 ^
7 Chalmers Johnson. (2010) Dismantling the Empire: America’s Last Best Hope. New York: Metropolitan Books. pp.40-51. ^