By

Source

There are about 3.000 antifascists  in Moscow

 

According to world’s human right organizations, Russia today is not a good place to live. Recently enacted anti-gay law that bans “the distribution of propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations to minors,” increased the number of attacks against gay people. Russian society is very conservative. According to results of survey by All-Russian Centre for the Study of Public Opinion, about 90 percent of citizens support that discriminatory law. There are also many hate crimes against illegal immigrants, especially Caucasians.

“Unfortunately, today, Russians are mostly right wingers and under the enormous influence of the Orthodox Church,” members of Moscow antifascist hardcore band “What we feel” explained. „Our society looks like the Roman empire. There are patricians – rich people who sell oil, free-born citizens and slaves – illegal immigrants who live in very bad conditions and have the lowest-paying jobs. Among 20 million people in Moscow, about 5 million are illegal immigrants. Officially, they do not exist. They could be killed and no one would be charged for murder, because our laws don’t recognize them. At the same time, every year Mercedes-Benz sells more luxury models in Moscow than in whole Germany. So, there is no middle class in Russia. But, unfortunately, people are satisfied. In western countries President Putin is denounced as a dictator, but the fact is that people really vote for him, Russians consider him a good leader. There are extreme right wingers and ex-neo-Nazis in Russian government, secret service and police, but people consider it normal.”

A lot of human rights and other non-governmental organizations are banned in Russia, after adoption of anti-extremism law 2009, which does not permit organizations financed from abroad. Ironically, the law that was one of the government’s measures against fascist groups, targets also antifascist groups and other organizations that fight against far-right wing. According to members of “What we feel,” who are antifascist activists as well as musicians, in the last few years about 60 leaders of neo-Nazi gangs have been arrested in Russia, after anti-extremism law has been enacted. But government’s reaction to neo-Nazi violence was a little bit late. Until 2009, neo-Nazi gangs have already killed about 200 people – illegal immigrants, antifascist activists, gays, but also some ordinary people who happened to be collateral damage.

“Since 1999, neo-Nazis regularly attacked Caucasian immigrants, gays, Roma people and visitors at punk concerts in Moscow, but government didn’t take that problem seriously and long time ignored the fact that there are neo-Nazis in Russia. Our country defeated fascists in Second World War, so no one could accept the fact that there were fascists in Russia in our time. The only ones who confronted them were antifascists, mostly young people from Moscow hardcore and punk scene. Ten years ago, situation was horrible. Neo-Nazis brutally attacked people in the street, music clubs, at punk concerts. We were also included in that street war, because there were always some fights in our gigs, too. It was impossible to be neutral, because they attacked people at concerts, students who were not antifascist activists, just music fans. In April 2006, they stubbed to death 19-year-old Alexander Ryuhin, a student who was coming to our gig. He was not an activist, just a thin guy with glasses.”

In Saint Petersburg, just few months before Ryuhin’s murder, 20-year-old antifascist Timur Kacharava was killed. In 2009, Stanislav Markelov, lawyer and antifascist, was shot to death. In the same year, 26-year-old Ivan Khutorskoy, one of the best street-fighters who organized security at antifascist concerts and other events, was also shot to death in Moscow. Some time after, two men, icon-painters in the church, were arrested and charged for 52 murders. Their victims were mostly immigrants, but also some Russians. There were a lot of other crimes, but the state didn’t react for almost a decade. In the meantime, antifascist activists did everything to bring the government’s attention to hate crimes. Thankfully to their persistence, the state finally accepted the fact that there is a serious problem with neo-Nazis in Russia.

“When government finally decided to fight against fascists, they did a good job. They arrested about 60 leaders of neo-Nazi gangs and sentenced them to 20, 30 years in prison. They destroyed the structure of fascist groups. But they still exist. Officially there are 10,000-15,000 neo-Nazis in Moscow, but unofficially, 30,000-40,000. We managed to banish them from our gigs, so Russian punk and HC scene is now clean from neo-Nazis.”

According to “What we feel” band, there are about 3,000 antifascist activists in Moscow and they are mostly related to punk and HC music scene and mostly in their twenties. Men make up about 70 percent of that population. Women are not numerous, because Russian antifascists are often faced with brutal street fights. These groups are also targeted by the law against extremism and by taking part in fights against neo-Nazis they risk to be considered as terrorists and sentenced to prison. But the fight against fascism in Russia is not nearly over.

1204121025a

December 5, 2012

Dear Occupied Cooper Union,

We were inspired to hear of your occupation and see the red fabric unfurled from your windows, so near our own.  We have visited, hung around, and we will continue to do so and offer whatever we have that you might need. The past 48 hours have energized us, have challenged us to seek the places we could revivify our struggle on our campus, have helped us to remember fully and to refocus our attentions. But even as we are prompted to look back and recognize the many student struggles that feed your occupation, we equally recognize the absolute urgency of today. We hope this occupation will be infectious. We need it to be so. December 2012 is a tipping point for Cooper Union, but Cooper Union today must be a watershed for our student movement. We are grateful and excited.

In the president’s meeting today, some in the crowd shouted that to expect free tuition is incomprehensible. This position – that education without tuition is ludicrous – is often bolstered by comparing no- or low-fee institutions like yours to those like our own, whose undergraduate fees amounts to a sum more or less equal to the median yearly income of NYC households. Somehow, our situation, in which the entire yearly earnings of a family would be spent on one students’ tuition, in a city in which income and work are so thoroughly striated by gender, race, and legal status – this is somehow more plausible.

What logic makes something that was possible in June seem unthinkable in December? Cooper Union was free, just as CUNY was in 1970 (following an occupation by Black and Puerto Rican students demanding open admissions). Why not now? Administrators claim spikes in tuition are a natural offshoot of the crisis, as if it wasn’t the administrations’ plans that made the university vulnerable to the vicissitudes of capitalist crisis in the first place. Jamshed Bharucha rehearses an argument typical of adminstrators’ euphemistic austerity boosting: Cooper Union’s funding structure was “shortsighted.” Cooper Union is a relic in an age of student debt, that mechanism that perpetually defers the crisis by deflecting it onto working class futures. We do not let pass without notice the deep irony of calling free education shortsighted while the average trade of financial equity brokers lasts a matter of microseconds.

As we roam through the rubble of financialization’s impact on higher education, it is clear that pressuring administrations to find new investors for endowments is not a solution. Should, then, we press for a reclamation of the welfare state, and recenter public education in the production and stabilization of a fully-employed working class? Let us be clear: there is no going back. Industrialists like Peter Cooper founded free schools in capitalist societies, and we live this contradiction coming to a head. So, we turn away from administrators, from capitalist benefactors, from the talking heads and the haters. We turn to your occupation, recognizing it as the only kind of place in which we can think through and construct the education, and society, we want.

Yours,

Some feminist faculty and students at NYU

Image

We, students of the New School, stand in solidarity with Cooper Union students who are currently occupying the 4th and 8th floors of the Foundation Building to protest threatened tuition implementation. At the New School, we are by now very familiar with tuition increases to fund enormous new development, a lack of financial transparency, and the barring of student participation in decision making. As the 60 5th Avenue building continues to rise we are sinking into more private and federal debt.

We support Cooper Union’s Save our School’s demands:

1. Cooper Union maintains its commitment to free education

2. Cooper Union immediately implements increased financial transparency

3. That President Bharucha step down.

Standing in front of the CU occupation, we are reminded that nothing will change unless we continue to fight together and show solidarity across schools and universities. We see this struggle in the context of the privatization of education and the crisis of capitalism.

President Bharucha told CU students today that CU has reached a limit for free education. How is it that an institution like Cooper Union, which survived for 159 years (through other crisis) suddenly faces an insurmountable crisis that challenges its core principles of education ‘as free as water and air’? In our struggles as student and workers, we resist the idea that shouldering their debt is the solution.

The way the administration chooses to deal with this crisis has been to push this burden onto students, workers, and faculty. How is it that while the students around the world (Canada, Mexico, Chile, Puerto Rico, Italy, Greece and many others) continue to fight for free, accessible education, we in the United States are expected to accept a fate of limited exclusive education and ever increasing debt?

We support Cooper Union students who have taken necessary measures to make their voices heard. When the administrators prevent access to information, when the board members decide the future of students behind closed doors, it becomes clear that we as students have no choice but to occupy behind barricaded doors..  Students and workers should not depend on leaked documents about the financial future of their schools.  It is absolutely necessary, in all schools, that we directly participate in the discussion of budgets and projects through action.

SOLIDARITY WITH COOPER UNION//  WE WILL NOT PAY FOR YOUR CRISIS//

ALL POWER TO THE OCCUPATIONS!

via bayofrage.com  

[written to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the LA riots, one of the most significant events in recent US history – r&d]

ϕ

LOS ANGELES, March 3, 1991 – On the shoulder of the freeway, police are beating a man. Because we are in the US, and because the man is black, we will know that this is a routine event, an ordinary brutality, part of the very fabric of everyday life for non-whites. But something is exceptional this time. There is an observer, as there often is, but the observer holds in his hands an inhuman witness, a little device for producing images which are accepted as identical with the real. The images – grainy, shaking with the traces of the body behind them – enframe this event, defamiliarize it, make it appear in all its awfulness as both unimaginable singularity and example of a broader category of everyday violence.  The recorded beating of Rodney King marks, as many have noted, the beginning of one of the most significant episodes of US history. But few have examined this event in terms of the transformative effects it exerted upon contemporary spectacle and its would-be enemies. By spectacle, we mean here those social relations and activities which are mediated directly by the representations, whether visual or verbal, which capital has subsumed (that is, remade according to its own imperatives).

For us, the advent of the Rodney King video marks the first major shift in the political economy of spectacle, which we choose to describe as a passage from passive to active spectacle, from spectacle as pacifying object of passive consumption to spectacle as the active product of the consumer (whose leisures or recreations have long since become forms of work). In its classical form, spectacle creates a situation in which “spectators are linked solely by their one-way relationship to the very center that keeps them isolated from each other” (Debord.) But at a certain point in its development, spectacle dispenses with the need for centralization, finding that passive consumers can quite easily be recruited to the production of spectacle. The shift from unilateral toward multilateral relations does not promise an end to isolation, but rather its perfection. We might think of the distinction here as the difference between the television screen and the computer screen, but since we are talking about a set of social relations as much as technological apparatuses, we should be careful to avoid identifying such relations with any particular technologies. The video camera is merely one of many devices which assist in the transformation of administered life into self-administered life.

Read the rest of this entry »

Enter the Vandalists

February 5, 2012

(repost from magicmuscle blog)
Picture of the occupied condo building in Williamsburg by Stephanie Keith

On Saturday night a group apparently semi-related to Occupy Williamsburg threw a party in a vacant condo building. The party and its riotous aftermath have been covered by the New York TimesVillage Voice, and the Daily News to name a few, but so far only one statement has been released from the occupationist side: a tract posted on anarchistnews.org titled “Enter the Vandalists” and signed by the “Geiseric Tendency,” possibly a reference to the historicVandal King.

Resorting to an automatism characteristic of their class, the gentry of Williamsburg summoned their militia
to dissolve the siege being laid to a conspicuously empty palace of banality, newly erected in the heart of their 
spectacular playground. The vandalists had recognized the inhospitablility to life of this sarcophagus for the young
professional class, and did not shy from the conclusion that it lent itself only to defilement. The object of
their critique was not limited to the class for whose consumption the condominiums that cover Williamsburg are
 produced, but included the extreme boredom that the proliferation of these kinds of spaces induce. The prevalence of
the condominium is a symptom of the spreading homotopia that is the Metropolis—the endless repetition of the same 
forever.

The vandalists will not reconcile themselves to merely appropriating these habitats—designed for gradual atrophy, optimized for the most comfortable postponement of death. Rather, they want to see them recycled in the urban
biosphere; turned into manure from which unforeseen species might emerge.

It will not only be the police, the rich, and the reactionary press that will slam the vandalists—activists 
will likely join in as well, decrying the occupation as not being social enough, not populist enough. Why did it have to 
be a party, with booze, hip hop music, and NO RULES? Why not an attempted squat? Why was the media not called?
 Why was the action not ‘consensed’ upon in some public group? No one will understand the vandalists because they are
not of either world; they seek neither professionalist capitalism nor professionalist activism. Perhaps if squatting a social
center were still sometimes tolerated this desperate mayhem would not have occured, just as if there were anything to be 
gained from joining Organized Labor or Revolutionary Parties perhaps we would not see the global masses chaotically
rising against singular abstractions of all authority (Wall Street, Mubarak, the IMF, Money, etc).

Activists call protests, the vandalists instead call potlucks. Potlucks of destruction.

We can expect more Occu-parties and general bad citizenry from these vandalists leading up to an ultimate act of 
descecration, an intelligibility strike, on May First.
-Geiseric Tendency

Read the rest of this entry »


The Great Recession and the Failure of Capitalism, Paul Mattick,Professor of Philosophy, Adelphi University, New York, Part of the 2011 Ethics Awareness Week from the Center For the Study of Ethics.

- via n +1: This piece first appeared in the third issue of the OWS-inspired Gazette: OCCUPY!

RACHEL SIGNER, Dec 26, 2011
I arrived at the New School in the fall of 2008 to do a master’s degree in anthropology. Tuition was $23,000 per year—this did not include room or board—but the opportunity to be in a great intellectual community eased my anxiety about the cost. A little bit.

Tuition was high for a reason: the school, I soon learned, was on shaky financial footing. Founded in 1919 in part by Columbia professors disgusted by their university’s support of World War I, then expanded in 1933 as a refuge for scholars fleeing Fascism and Nazism in Europe, it wasn’t the sort of place that produced the sort of people who turned around and gave their alma mater millions of dollars. The endowment was meager, and the school relied on tuition for revenue.

The New School needed to improve its financial situation and its status, and it was going to do it, like any New York institution, through real estate. It owned an old two-story building at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 14th Street—a former department store whose slogan had been “Fifth Avenue Values at 14th Street Prices”—that it was going to tear down and replace it with a state-of-the-art gleaming sixteen-story tower, home to studios for designers and artists studying at the New School’s profitable design institute, Parsons, and laboratories (for whom, no one could tell you; the New School offers no courses in hard sciences), retail food vendors, apartments, and—most insulting of all, I think, to the symbolic heirs, as we liked to consider ourselves, of refugees from fascism—a fitness center. At the time, the building, at 65 Fifth Avenue, was a multi-purpose meeting place where graduate students could read quietly, have lunch in the café, or find books in the basement library. There had been classrooms upstairs, but at that point they had already been relocated to the Minimalist-style building a few blocks away where my department, Anthropology, was crammed together with Sociology.

Read the rest of this entry »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 37 other followers