Tag Archives: Politics

La Última Barricada: : New painting for Oaxaca rebels

14 Jun

la barricada final

La Última Barricada: Lxs compañerxs en la barricada de Cinco Señores

To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Oaxaca Rebellion of June 14, 2006, I’d like to share a new painting, “La Última Barricada: Lxs compañerxs en la barricada de Cinco Señores.” The painting – made with oil and sand on canvas – depicts the opening moments of the November 2, 2006 battle for the Cinco Señores intersection in Oaxaca city. After five months of rebellion, the Federal Preventative Police (PFP) had invaded Oaxaca City to put down the uprising block by block. The morning of November 2nd, the PFP approached the barricade guarding the important rebel-held Radio Universidad. But the defenders at the barricades stood strong, and thousands more came to fight and defeat the police in an hours-long running battle. You can read more about the historic context below, in passages from my book, “Nine Years of Anarchist Agitation: The History of the Boston Anti-Authoritarian Movement and other Essays.”

Today, Oaxaca’s teachers and rebels have risen once more. Teachers launched a major strike again this year in Oaxaca and elsewhere in Mexico. In May, Oaxaca City teachers established an encampment. Reminiscent of 2006, police struck the encampment on June 12, and teachers set up barricades (https://vimeo.com/170358399) in the streets. As I write this, Oaxaca teachers and students are marching with thousands of other compañerxs on a “mega marcha.” More on today’s struggle:

(https://itsgoingdown.org/police-attack-barricades-reappear-oaxaca/)

This painting is dedicated to the fearless and tireless Oaxacan teachers, who have fought for decades for freedom and dignity: for themselves and for all of us. Forward to revolution!

Love and solidarity from Boston, MA.

-Jake Carman    www.JakeCarman.com

Funding by the Freeman Society for the Revolutionary Arts.

 

 

The Oaxaca Rebellion, 2006

By Jake Carman

Oaxaca, a state in Mexico’s south, has a long tradition of resistance going back to the arrival of the Spanish. Strong anti-authoritarian currents exist, and it was Oaxaca that produced the first prominent anarchist protagonist of the 1910 Mexican Revolution, Ricardo Flores Magón. On June 14, 2006, three thousand police attacked the teachers’ yearly strike and encampment in the main city plaza (Zócalo) of Oaxaca City, the state capital. This encampment was different from those of the past twenty five years, because it called for a raise in the minimum wage for everyone in Oaxaca, Mexico’s poorest state. When the police attacked, the people of Oaxaca came to the teachers’ defense. Poor workers and Indigenous people flooded the streets of Oaxaca City, driving the police out and building barricades to keep them out. Then they went further. They ran out the politicians, occupied government buildings, radio and television stations, and created the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca (APPO), demanding the ouster of Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz (URO) of the conservative Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

APPO assemblies sprang up all across the state. URO responded by raising paramilitaries from those he could convince to take up arms against the rebellion. Cops, city councilmen, workers, and even judges formed URO’s right-wing paramilitaries and attacked the barricades by night with machine guns from pickup trucks. They sabotaged radio stations and abducted revolutionaries. Yet in the face of this violent repression, the people came out in mega-marches of up to 800,000. When paramilitaries evicted a women’s group from the state television station, people responded that night by taking over every commercial radio station. When vigilantes killed a rebel in an attack on occupied “Radio La Ley,” the people expanded their barricades into the hundreds. They held the city for five months, fending off helicopters with the sun’s glare off of mirrors and fireworks shot from PVC pipes.

For the most part, the confrontational actions of the Oaxacan rank-and-file revolutionaries stood in contrast to the developing central leadership of APPO, which included more than just anarchist and Indigenous Magónista groups. Leftists of all brands, the PRD (the Party of the Democratic Revolution, Mexico’s mainstream liberal party), and even Stalinists used the revolt to push their agendas and to build political careers. APPO leadership insisted on only non-violent resistance and on October 29, two days after paramilitaries killed four Oaxacans and an anarchist journalist from New York, Oaxacans painted their hands white and filled the streets to attempt to peacefully halt the procession of thousands of Federal Preventative Police (PFP). Police carried automatic weapons, wore riot gear, and came with tanks that tore through barricades. By the end of the night, the PFP had dislodged the APPO encampment from the Zócalo. There was little violent resistance, or at least not enough to keep the PFP out of Oaxaca City….

However, there were instances when the people matched the violence of the state, and came away with victories. At one point, rebels popped all four tires and smashed the windows of a bus carrying the PFP, forcing a retreat, but APPO leadership denounced this and other confrontational actions. On November 2, thousands of rebels successfully defended APPO’s main radio station, Radio Universidad. They won an hours-long running battle at the barricades, and again forced the PFP to retreat. But one by one, barricades and radio stations fell….

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Happy May Day! A new song to celebrate

30 Apr

Hey friends and comrades!

In celebration of May Day (tomorrow!), Jake and the Infernal Machine are releasing a new song song, “Haymarket,” from our upcoming album. We hope to have the rest of the album ready at the end of the summer! Enjoy –

Click here to hear the song!

Lyrics
Four men swingin’ in the wind

Four men swingin’ in the wind

Hey Mama, did they do down to Haymarket?

Was that their only sin

They fought to bring us 8 hours

a general strike for 8 hours

but the state devours when it can win

bullets and batons are their power

“The Day will come when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you throttle today.”

(August Spies)

They killed some workers at McCormick’s

so in their papers the anarchists

swore they’d tear the rich down from their high tower

they called at meeting at Haymarket

The mayor said all was quiet

police go home, there’ll be no riot

but Bonfield sent his men in to crack some skulls

dead bodies gathered there in piles

The called the rebels instigators

make raids now, look up laws later

hang one man for every hour

and make examples of the leaders

five men waiting on the gallows

five men waiting on the gallows

grave digger, dig them graves shallow

cause they’ll be rising up tomorrow

now there’s 4 men swingin in the wind

4 men swingin in the wind

only 2 were even down at Haymarket

its not the end, its the beginning

its not the end its the beginning.

its not the end its the beginning.

Remember we are the beginning.

(Extra verses)

Lucy went down to see her husband

one last time before they hung him

but they stripped her naked along with her child

and threw them both into the dungeon

Louis Lingg wouldn’t go quiet

hang man kill me if you’d try it

slipped a capsule between his teeth

and blew his skull into fragments

Introduction to the History of the Boston Anti-Authoritarian Movement

15 Dec

*The History of BAAM (2001-2010)*

Autumn, 2011

 

 

Introduction

 

 

In every period of its existence, BAAM served as a vessel through which anarchists from a variety of sub-groupings and currents found common ground, and together presented ideas, critiques, and practices to the public. Over the course of the decade, BAAM exposed hundreds of people to anarchist ideas, helping dozens find the confidence and learn the skills to fight for social change. We always thought of BAAM as an opening. Countless people moved through it like a gateway to the radical movement. The vast majority of BAAM members and supporters moved on to other projects or other cities. In this way, BAAM’s biggest service was to educate and empower organizers and activists, who in turn are giving birth and lending help to continuing generations of subversive groups and struggles.

In August 2010, BAAM members decided to close the general union of Boston anarchists then called the Boston Anti-Authoritarian Movement. Many former members now work in organizations and struggles across the United States, while others back in Boston continue to meet on the first Tuesday of the month at the Lucy Parsons Center bookstore—as is BAAM tradition—regrouping, and bringing new faces into the discussion of the future of Boston anarchism.

The following is a history of BAAM through the first decade of the new century, from its inception as an anti-war coalition in September 2001, to its disintegration into a monthly anarchist assembly and potluck in August of 2010.

 

Order your Copy Tonight!

14 Dec

We are set to release the book on December 21st at a release party at the Lucy Parsons Center in Jamaica Plain. You are all invited, but if you are interested in getting an early copy, perhaps as a Xmas present for your comrades, you can do so at this web address:

https://www.createspace.com/4055947

“Nine Years of Anarchist Agitation: The History of BAAM and other Essays”

What We Want, and How we are Going to get it.

12 Dec

 What We Want, and How we are Going to get it.

The Boston Anti-Authoritarian Movement Newsletter, Issue # 25 – September 2009

 

 

The most common and valid criticism of anarchism is that it appears to lack a concrete and cohesive vision for the future. This criticism is valid, not because such a vision doesn’t exist, but because the modern anarchist movement has thus far failed to present it in a comprehensive way, simple enough to be widely understood and accepted, and penetrating enough to be endorsed by the majority of anarchists and like-minded people. Most of our writings that best achieve this are a hundred years old, and the language, though easily understood in that time, reads like Shakespeare to us today. Below is one attempt at such an introductory description of anarchism in today’s language.

 

What We Want

Anarchists strive for a society of freedom and equality for all. Of course, we must define these terms, as they are twisted and misused every day by politicians and other opportunists.

By freedom, we mean both political and social freedom. Communities and individuals must have the freedom to participate in all of the decisions, laws, and agreements that affect them. Anything short of this is at best a false democracy. Decisions should be made in public meetings and popular assemblies, using Direct Democracy, so that everyone has an equal voice. This way, communities free themselves from the oppression and illegitimate authority of government, who today make all of the decisions for us. The antithesis of political freedom is government, which has and always will be a tool of domination of a privileged minority over the rest of us. We aim to replace this ancient foundation of inequality with a grassroots network of autonomous, self-governing communities, unions, federations, and other associations.

The foundation of true freedom is mutual respect. We must have freedom of thought and desire, the freedom to love, to think, and to act. So long as our actions do not impede the freedom or well-being of others, our freedom will be anarchy. No individual is truly free without a supportive and open-minded community, and no community is ever free if it is not made of truly liberated individuals. Moreover, no one is truly free until everyone is free. We believe in freedom of women, queers, transgender people, people of color, immigrants, workers, and all others traditionally oppressed by the current order. Most importantly, we support their freedom to resist this oppression and to fight for their own freedom and equality.

Freedom founded on respect and solidarity, is what we define as anarchy. Freedom is an easy concept to grasp. We feel it burning in our guts. We know it is stifled and repressed by our current society, regardless of how free our politicians and bosses say we are.

By equality, we mean economic equality. By this we do not mean that everyone must be exactly alike or posses exactly the same things. We mean no human should be dominated by or have authority over another. To achieve economic equality is to eliminate class distinctions. Today, because there are two classes (and sometimes a middle class buffer) one massive class suffers the terrible struggle of poverty so that the other tiny class can live in leisure and luxury. This is how capitalism works.

Our economic motto is “Production by each according to their ability, and distribution to each according to their need.” Humanity produces far more than enough to provide for everyone. If our societies were to share (as an economic model) instead of hoarding greedily, if we were to hold all that we produced as common property within our communities, then we would completely eradicate poverty, homelessness, and hunger. Human society organized on such a model would naturally produce to meet the needs of the people within the society. People would work harder when there’s a shortage, trade and give to other communities when there is abundance, and share the leisure and creativity, bi-products of efficient productivity. Communities built on freedom and equality take care of their own.

We who work make everything, so we know the obstacle to economic equality isn’t our inability to produce enough for everyone. To realize this, we only have to look at the massive factories, the bountiful fields of crops, and our ever-advancing technologies, and then at the heaping mounds of food and clothes rotting in dumpsters, and at abandoned buildings and factories crumbling to the ground. The problem is our system of distribution and ownership, that is, capitalism, which is the antithesis of economic equality.

In capitalism, those who own – the factories, tools, means of transportation, hospitals, schools, and apartments – make an enormous profit off the rest of us. We work the machines, rent the homes, pay for transit to and from work, pay to buy food and feed our families, but then lose more money to terrible insurance companies and taxes paid to our useless government. We are the vast majority of humanity, but those that own do nothing else except accumulate wealth, which they use to buy more.

If everyone had their needs met, there would be no profit for those who owned. We wouldn’t pay them to be useless and lazy if we produced to meet our needs and shared. Thus, those that own also waste. Restaurants throw out food at the end of the day. Landlords keep apartments empty. Bosses keep their businesses understaffed. Developers keep plots vacant. All of this they do to create an artificial need for their ownership. In reality, we do not need bosses to own our time and lords to own the land. We need only to create and share.

We aim to abolish capitalism and all other economic models where people accumulate wealth and property to achieve leisure and power, or where money determines the value of anything important. We believe that there should be no private ownership, in that no individual should be allowed to hoard more than they need for their own private use. Likewise, no individual should be allowed to go hungry or homeless. Nearly every human contributes to society in some way or another, and thus, membership in human society should bring with it the guarantee of access to the necessities of life. The bulk of what we produce, things of necessity and leisure alike, should be brought to markets and storehouses both common and free, or otherwise freely shared between neighbors, coworkers, communities, industries, cities, and regions. In this way food, clothes, housing, and the tools of production should be available to all. In other words, we believe in economic communism or socialism, not the bastardized systems of government created by opportunists speaking wrongfully in those names to reproduce the inequality and repression of capitalism, monarchism, and other forms of governmental dominance. We mean socialism, or communism, in their original meanings, which we have described above.

So to recap: we fight for anarchy, a highly-organized political system of self-governing communities free of hierarchy and all forms of oppression, and for socialism, an economic model based on equality and sharing, as opposed to ownership, exploitation, and profit.

 

How we are going to get it.

 

Surely, some of those reading this are wondering how humans—who appear to be such a selfish breed—would care to work to provide enough for all instead of accumulating only for themselves and their closest loved ones. However, humans behave how they are socialized, and whole societies have, do, and will continue to live in ways drastically different than our hyper-competitive capitalist American nightmare. The best way for human society to survive has always been for everyone to work together, for the good of all. Even in our capitalist world, signs of this alternative are all around us. Societies, both human and animal, that cooperate instead of compete, ensure the highest quality of life for themselves.

People revolt when they learn of their domination by the rich class, sometimes in small ways and sometimes on a society-wide level. People learn better ways to live and they attempt to bring them to life. However, most revolutions humans have made so far have only replaced the old systems of inequality and exploitation with new ones. They didn’t win both freedom and equality, and one without the other creates neither. Most anarchist revolutions have been sabotaged by anarchists’ allies—generally, state-supporting communists—who in practice believed in equality and not freedom, as in the Ukraine and Spain.

Anarchy cannot exist anywhere unless the vast majority of people living there want it, because only they can create and maintain such a decentralized, organized system. This is why the first step to anarchy is educating and agitating for social revolution.

Social Revolution occurs first in the minds and spirits of revolutionary people, and then casts itself upon the physical landscapes of human habitats. To get to this point, anarchists need a massive education campaign. We need schools for raising free children, for teaching adults useful things, and for educating about successful struggle and political ideas. We need a vibrant community of thought, action, arts, music, traditions, and celebration that can become more powerful than the mother culture of capitalism. We need publications, plays, films, public art, and widespread propaganda for freedom and equality.

First, anarchists need to participate positively in the struggles occurring around us daily, not only as anarchists, but as neighbors, fellow workers, peers, lovers, and comrades. We need to participate in existing social change groups and create new ones where needed. These are the future associations of direct democracy, because they are the organized, active populace trying to create a better society today. We need to connect them to each other by pointing out common struggles and by organizing popular assemblies.

We need strong, well-organized anarchist groups, dedicated to the social revolution. We need to network, federate, and confederate our existing anarchist groups internationally, regionally, and locally, and through them build public programs, publications, festivals, campaigns, and more. These organizations exist today, but they must grow and become better connected. Improved communication and resource sharing will give anarchist groups needed support when they stand on the threshold of revolution, or when they face repression from the state. We will teach each other the vital skills needed to win revolutions and we will practice them.

Through our organizations, networks, and propaganda, we will agitate for social revolution, and participate in struggles that challenge the divide between oppressor and oppressed, always standing with the oppressed against the oppressor.

Physical Revolution occurs when the people seize the landscape of their communities and implement freedom and equality. This can theoretically occur gradually, but usually it comes from an explosion of social action. Workers seize their workshops and work for their communities instead of their bosses. Neighbors drive the landlords out and govern themselves, ignoring or expelling politicians. In the space created by these actions, the oppressed of all sorts stand up to their oppressors, and through their actions, make freedom and equality.

Anarchist groups may help in creating the conditions and social mindset for revolution, and when the people at large create the revolution, by accident, in reaction to some cataclysmic event, or by planned uprising, anarchist organizations must be prepared to help our neighbors take and operate the mass media to promote our ideas, occupy our jobs, and barricade our streets. We must call for popular assemblies, create moneyless markets, public storerooms, and other means of sharing. We must immediately make sure that the hungry are fed and the sick and wounded are cared for. We must tirelessly promote complete freedom and equality for all, and quickly organize the defense of our social gains.

We need to seize armories and arm the people, because those with power defend their power by force. We need volunteer militias and barricade networks to defend liberated territories from the police and the militaries of the state and their allies. Ideally, we will have infiltrated the military beforehand, or win large portions of the army over in some other way, as soldiers are workers, too, generally from working class communities. Militias and organizations may have to form larger volunteer columns of fighting people to win a war against the government. Because we will be out-gunned, our fighting tactics must rely on highly-mobile volunteer forces with superior knowledge of the territory, using the element of surprise, opportunistic ingenuity, and trickery at every turn. Fighting conventionally, we will lose, so we will have to be creative.

Theoretically, we would plan and launch simultaneous revolutions across the world, but this is unlikely. Regardless, our international organizations must be strong enough to participate forcefully and effectively to support those fighting for freedom and equality. We must flood revolutionary places with international volunteers (for fighting, cooking, healing, and all sorts of other vital support roles), supplies, weapons, money, ideas, and more. Our international allies should attack the mechanisms of the state’s war effort, stopping shipments and production of weapons. Our international organizations will help spread the Empire thin by engaging its forces and its allies with their own campaigns and actions.

If we succeed in creating a revolution in the United States, and in particular on the East Coast, the world will have a fighting chance at global revolution. By decapitating the head of the beast, we will create space for those occupied by the most sophisticated empire in the history of the world to rise up for their freedom, which in turn will help us to win here. Global freedom and equality will only come from a concerted, international effort to re-organize society with revolution, and a willingness to support such revolutions wherever they occur.

The American Dream and the Anarchist Dream

11 Dec

The American Dream and the Anarchist Dream
The Boston Anti-Authoritarian Movement Newsletter, Issue # 20 – April 2009

Throughout the years, much has been written about the American Dream. We learn from our schools, our families, the churches, and the media that to achieve this dream—namely to own a home, to gain material wealth and the freedom to buy, to have both leisure and convenience —is to achieve happiness. In a word, the American Dream is to prosper, to carve out a life of prosperity for you and yours in a highly competitive society.
For millions of Americans, this dream is slipping away. The American Dream is being replaced by the stark reality of American Life: a constant struggle to survive capitalism, to have food on the table and a roof to sleep under. People are increasingly realizing that the American Dream is unattainable. This realization comes from the recent and obvious failure of the capitalist system, represented by the global economic collapse, and ensuing depression that grips us all by the stomach and the throat.
Except for a small minority of people, the American Dream has never been and could never be more than a dream. Most people will never achieve the American Dream because it’s nothing more than climbing to the top of the capitalist system; and not everyone can climb to the top of a pile of climbers. To maintain the American Dream is to condemn the vast majority of people to a lifetime of thankless toil, to produce for the privileged few their celebrated spoils of leisure and convenience. Without the sweat of the working class, there is no American Dream. Thus, the American Dream is not only a false dream for all but the privileged few, it is also a selfish dream, because its realization for anyone dooms the rest of human society to economic slavery.
The myth of the attainability of the American Dream is perpetuated by those who have achieved it, to keep the rest of us working hard to produce the wealth, leisure, and convenience they enjoy.
So let us, then, explore another dream: the Anarchist Dream. Springing forth from the very nature of humanity, a vision of society as old as society itself, it was given a name (Anarchism) late in the process of departmentalization and segregation of civilization into a system of classes, castes, and nation-states. The assignation of a name marked the birth of a movement against the slavery and bondage to which the majority of us are subjected. Our masters consider the Anarchist Dream a dangerous dream indeed. These masters, those leeches who enjoy the benefits of the American Dream by sustaining our nightmare, call it dangerous, foolish, and unattainable. In a way, these condemnations are true.
The Anarchist Dream is dangerous—to the rich parasites that live lavishly off of our grief! The Anarchist Dream is a vision for a new, free world, a society where all humans live in equality, where the things we build and grow, and the things that Mother Earth provides her children, are not to be hoarded by the selfish and violent few—bosses, governments, corporations—but to be shared by all. In such a free world, nations and governments will be replaced by the free associations of communities, villages, and neighborhoods, to organize and self-govern as they see fit. The bosses that hold our time and our stomachs hostage will be replaced, but only by us, the workers, organized together in non-hierarchal collectives, unions, and associations as we see fit. So that we may share the products of our labor among ourselves and with our communities. So that we may create that which we, as human societies, need, instead of just that which will make our bosses the most profit. So that we may create on the principle of “from each according to ability, to each according to need.” So that we may eliminate the useless jobs, the banks, insurance agencies, and greedy corporations who got us into this mess of poverty in the first place, and re-organize the vital jobs in an egalitarian manner. So that we can carry out our labor without carelessly destroying the earth, without which humanity, like all other living things, is doomed to a dull and lonely existence on the road to extinction.
The Anarchist Dream is dangerous—for the rich—because in this beautiful dream there are no rich. There are no rich, and there are no poor to make the rich the rich. There are no poor, there are no homeless, and there are no hungry. For where there are people with hands, brains, skills, and talents, we can create. And where humans can create, we can produce, gather, and distribute vast quantities of all the necessities, more than enough for us to all live good lives. And when we are free, there’s no reason not to share. Just look at the things we’ve already created! Vast cities of skyscrapers, incredible laborsaving technology, and inspiring environmentally sustainable methods of producing energy, food, and everything else. All of these and more are the accomplishments of an enslaved humanity. Imagine what we can do together once we are free, once we are inventing, not for the profit of corporate bosses, not for the dominance of this government or that military, but to dream up, invent, produce, and create for a life of enjoyment for our communities.
The Anarchist Dream is dangerous for the rich because the rich cannot control workers infected by it. They cannot dominate societies that fill their cups to the brim and boil over with the revolutionary spirit. They cannot divide and conquer a people who recognize each other as siblings, siblings for whom life, liberty, health, and fate are infinitely intertwined and interconnected. Siblings, without each other we are nothing, but together, we are unstoppable.
The Anarchist Dream is foolish and unattainable—according to the leeches and parasites—because it can never happen. Except it has happened: in short breaths of life in Greece in December of 2008; in Oaxaca, Mexico in the summer and fall of 2006; in the neighborhoods, factories, hotels, restaurants, and other recovered workplaces in Argentina, 2001-2002; rising from the Kabylie region and spreading across Algeria throughout 2001; in much of Spain from 1936-1939; in southern Ukraine from 1918-1922; in the countless revolts and revolutions of peasants and workers throughout the middle ages; and for all of human history before the class of parasites was able to establish its dominance over free societies by hoarding food and land with violence and treachery.
The Anarchist Dream, rather, is foolish and unattainable—according to our masters—because if or when we try it, they will throw all of their resources at us—their guns, their armies, their bombs, their tanks, their jets, their missiles—as they have every other time we’ve tried it, and they will destroy us. They will destroy us to kill the ideas in our hearts, to kill the examples of a new world we build by our being, acting, creating, and organizing. They will do everything they can to wipe us clean out of existence so that our bad example—bad for them—cannot spread to others, to be planted like the seeds of hardy weeds, or the particles of an infectious virus, to engulf all of society like a forest fire and make life unbearable for the parasites, to burn them out! But they cannot kill us all. Oh, how they’ve tried! Each time, the Idea, the Dream escapes their slippery, sweaty fingers and resurfaces again. They will never kill the Idea, the Dream, nor the rebellious nature of the hardy weeds, constantly trampled underfoot, but always refusing to stay down. They cannot win forever, and we will never stop trying, stop fighting, stop rising up. Our day, our Idea, our Dream will come in time. It will pour out of the earth like a vibrant forest; but just like a forest this growth will take time, and right now we’re just hardy weeds with powerful dreams germinating the soils.
We, foolish dreamers and romantics who profess the Anarchist Dream, will never give up, for we know another thing they wish we’d forget: while their dream, the American Dream, is obtainable only by they, the privileged few, our dream includes everybody—even them, if they’re willing to abdicate their thrones and toss their paper crowns aside. Anarchism, by name, nature, idea, and practice, promises freedom and equality to everybody. This is a far cry from the misplaced dream of the toiling, slaving millions, dreaming only to stand in the place of their oppressors: to be their own masters.
So give up the American Dream, for it can never be yours. Even if it is yours already, it comes at the expense of the rest of humanity, that strong and rebellious breed who will shun you and fight you for freedom until the last breath and the final ounce of blood. Embrace, instead, the Anarchist Dream, the beautiful vision of an liberated humanity, where we are all free to dream, and where the collective creativity of emancipated thought and labor will turn the brightest of dreams into vivid realities. Defect, siblings, to the revolution, that righteous insurrection of dreamers.

Remembering the Angelica Strike

10 Dec

In remembrance of the victorious strike that began three years ago today.

Angelica Workers Win Strike

The Boston Anti-Authoritarian Movement Newsletter, Issue # 29 – January 2010

After a five day strike beginning on December 10, 2009, the largely immigrant workforce of Angelica Textile Services in Somerville won a new contract with benefits and higher wages. Angelica, a billion dollar company with over five thousand workers nationally, counting on its board the likes of Jeb Bush (George’s brother and former Governor of Florida) had stalled negotiations with the Somerville workers. The workers, members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1445, were asking for a one dollar wage increase, more company contribution to the healthcare plan, and an extra dime an hour for the pension plan. They voted to strike on December 1. As Local 1445 representative Fernando Lemus told the Boston Globe, they were willing to “sacrifice this Christmas” because “the cost of living is so high.”

Five days later, the company offered a new contract. Hundreds of workers and supporters from other unions and Centro Presente (an immigrant workers center across the street from Angelica) had maintained picket lines from 6 A.M. until midnight. The workers voted to sign the contract, ending their strike and declaring victory. Supporting unions, according to the Party for Socialism and Liberation, included: “the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 35; the International Brotherhood of Operating Engineers, Local 877 Area Trades Council; the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 2222; the American Federation of Government Employees; Unite Here, Local 26; and the Teamsters, Local 25.” Along with the outpouring of support, Local 1445’s impressive unity and resistance to the bosses’ attempts to divide them contributed to the overwhelming victory.

 

From “Nine Years of Anarchist Agitation: The History of the Boston Anti-Authoritarian Movement and Other Essays” by Jake Carman