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Northeast Anarchist Consulta in Preparation for May Actions

category north america / mexico | anarchist movement | other libertarian press author Monday January 01, 2007 05:32author by BAAM Boston - Northeast Anarchist Consultaauthor email neanarchistconsulta at riseup dot net Report this post to the editors

Calling All Anarchists and Anti-Authoritarians, Converge at the Northeast Anarchist Consulta this February 24th and 25th to strategize and organize for a massive Week of Resistance this May, from our participation in May Day (May 1st) and the movement for migrant workers' rights to the Biotech Convention (coming to Boston May 6-9) and the movement in defense of the earth.

Northeast Anarchist Consulta in Preparation for May Actions:

Calling All Anarchists and Anti-Authoritarians, Converge at the Northeast Anarchist Consulta this February 24th and 25th to strategize and organize for a massive Week of Resistance this May, from our participation in May Day (May 1st) and the movement for migrant workers' rights to the Biotech Convention (coming to Boston May 6-9) and the movement in defense of the earth.

This new year presents us with the opportunity to come together - "red," "green," and anarchists of all stripes - and fight back against the political and corporate machine that is strangling human society and all life on this planet. We must realize that these struggles are in fact one struggle: for our lives, our rights, our future, and for liberation.

This spring, the frost will crack and melt, fresh colors will bud on the trees, and bright green stems will push their way up through the soil to blossom underneath the warm sun. We, too, anarchists of the Northeast, will awaken to a spring of opportunity, a spring of solidarity, a spring of fresh energy and direction, and a spring of escalating resistance.

1. Last May Day (May 1st, 2006) the migrant workers' rights movement celebrated International Workers' Day with the Great American Boycott of 2006, striking and taking the streets all across the country to remind the politicians in the Capitol and the bosses in their offices who it is that makes this society run. This fall, migrant worker activists proclaimed another General Strike for this May Day, 2007, in protest of the unjust treatment of immigrants, the exploitation of migrant workers, the deportations and disappearances, and the racist laws being pushed by Republicans and Democrats alike. Just as the anarchist workers of Chicago did 121 ago, on the first May Day, the anarchists of the Northeast will take action in solidarity with the migrant workers of our communities and with working people everywhere. Our solidarity knows no borders.

2. This year, May 6th through 9th, the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) is bringing their annual convention to Boston. Our city is already overrun with the biotech corporations and their genetically modified organisms (GMO's) in our food, their bioweapons in our neighborhoods, their apartheid healthcare system, and their capitalist greed. Our kids have asthma, our night sky glows rust red, our rivers flow with their chemical waste, yet the onslaught doesn't stop. Boston's wealthy universities want to experiment with ebola and anthrax in Roxbury, and evict low-income families to make way for cloning and vivisection in Lower Allston. The corporations have made it clear whom their research will benefit, and who will suffer. Local community, environmental and animal defense activists are calling for resistance to this invasion.

The first weeks of May will be full of popular mobilizations, proclaiming "No one is illegal: For a world without borders" and "No compromise in defense of our earth." As anarchists, we will not only participate in each of these movements, but we will build bridges between them, make the connections, and make our resistance relevant to our neighborhoods, workplaces, and communities. We will come together for a Black, Red, and Green Convergence in Boston this May. We will coordinate our efforts across the Northeast, and we will make this spring one to remember!

Come to Boston, February 24th and 25th, 2007, to build a united strategy, a network of cooperation, and a plan of action for our Spring of Resistance, 2007. Location and details will be announced in a couple weeks in a second call that will also include an updated list of endorsers. If your organization wants to endorse the call, send an email to:
NeAnarchistconsulta (at) riseup.net

What to do before coming to the Northeast Anarchist Consulta?
- Meet with your collective/union/organization/affinity group etc, or start one up.
- Meet with other groups in your area.
- Identify places and organizations in your town/city/region/community where these issues are relevant.
- Identify corporations and other targets that are repressing immigrants and working people, and/or those that are destroying our communities, animals, and the environment. Brainstorm ways to bring these issues together.
- Discuss ideas, goals, strategies, and action plans.
- Then, send a delegate, representative, or your whole group to the consulta. Fellow anarchists, it's time to get organized!


In resistance,
Allston/Brighton Collective for Popular Assemblies
BAAM Boston
Boston Anarchist Black Cross
Boston Animal Defense League
Cape Cod Resistance

Info on May Day:
-Immigrant Solidarity Network: http://www.immigrantsolidarity.org/
-Call to Action for May Day 2007: http://www.mayday2007.org

Info on Biotech:
-Biodemocracy Alliance: http://www.organicconsumers.org/ge-free.cfm#mlaws
-Say No to GMO's: http://www.saynotogmos.org/biodemocracy_news.htm

*Look for a call in the next few weeks with a location and times, info for housing and rides, an updated endorsers list, etc. Send us an email to get involved in planning or to endorse: Neanarchistconsulta (at) riseup.net

author by Wobpublication date Tue Jan 02, 2007 11:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Does anyone else find it odd that anarchist groups who allie themselves with animal rights people are posting on a platformist site?

author by Andrewpublication date Tue Jan 02, 2007 18:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'd guess that whoever posts these BAAM posts finds Anarkismo.net useful and wants people who read it to see these announcements. It would be interesting to hear what they have to say.

I find animal rights a foolish concept but it wouldn't mean I'd rule out working with anyone who held such views on other issues. Here it seems to be an attempt to get a local community and AR alliance to oppose evictions to make space for labs. Providing the AR's are not from the anti-human nutjob end of the AR movement this may make sense. Actually the article 'An Anarchist Communist Strategy for Rural, Southern Appalachia ' http://www.anarkismo.net/newswire.php?story_id=4564 has some relevency to such an attempt.

author by greenmakhnopublication date Tue Jan 02, 2007 19:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Andrew, it does no favour to anyone's cause to call "animal rights" a foolish concept. It is a perfectly valid ethcal issue to demand animal cruelty to stop. Animal cruelty IS revolting and to acknowledge this does not turn you into an anti-human nutjob. To take action to prevent cruelty from taking place does not mean that you won't participate in other social struggles neither.

author by Andrewpublication date Tue Jan 02, 2007 20:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I consider Animal rights a foolish concept because the whole basis of it is that humans will grant rights to animals - in other words it accepts the heirechical relationship between humans and other animals that it claims to oppose. This is inevitable, its obvious that the lions are not going to grant such rights to the sheep so they only make sense in terms of a top down human intervention.

IHowever Ive nothing again people being nice to animals (hey I have a couple of cats). Or people feeling that cruelty to animals should be avoided - these are nice things to think. But the ideology of animal rights is foolish.

If you re-read what I wrote above you you'll see I was not in fact suggesting that all who oppose such cruelty are 'anti-human nutjobs' or even that all who do so in the name of 'Animal rights' are anti-human nutjobs. I was pointing out the obvious that the AR umbrella includes those who are 'anti-human nutjobs', the sort who try and argue for a moral equivalence between meat eating and slavery or the holocaust for instance.

I wouldn't see much sense in including that sort in the alliance that the BAAM post suggests as their anti-human rhetoric would simply alienate the local community and drive them away from an alliance with the anarchists. Most people find vegetarians slightly strange but would have no problems working with them, however they would have a problem with someone who tells them they and their kids are Nazis for eating hamburger.

author by padraic - vegetarian & wsm (personal capacity)publication date Tue Jan 02, 2007 20:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Most people find vegetarians slightly strange but would have no problems working with them"

Jaysus, spot the lapsed vegan eh?

author by Andrewpublication date Tue Jan 02, 2007 21:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I was never a vegan - I was a vegetarian for two years back around 1987.

Beyond that what I wrote is true, outside of a few cultures where vegetarianism is widespread it is seen as slightly odd but seldom a problem. I didn't intend that as a point again vegetarianism but to contrast that slightly odd with the sort of reaction 'all meat eaters are Nazis' nutjobs attract.

author by greenmakhnopublication date Tue Jan 02, 2007 21:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The foolish think is not to believe that animal's should have rights, but to believe that they can claim this rights by themselves. Of course it is human that will grant them the right to a healthy enviroment and a treatment free of cruelty (this said, I'm no vegetarian, but I don't want animals to be locked up in cruel conditions or tortured in labs). And I believe that people should not only feel sympathy towards animals, but should actually demand cruelty to stop -in any form- and take action.

I know that AR is an umbrella term for a number of people, including those anti-human nutjobs. But the same it is true for anarchism, so you should say that anarchism as a concept is foolish as well?

author by MaRK - NEFACpublication date Wed Jan 03, 2007 00:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I have plenty of disagreements with animal rights activists, but this particular group (or at least their Boston chapter) has been pretty good about trying to link in class and social politics with their activity, have come out in solidarity with striking workers, etc. So it is not that out of place for anarchist groups to share a common call with them... although, I would say that these endorsements represent more of a crossover of membership between these groups than any sort of unified strategic political alliance.

author by Jake - BAAM Bostonpublication date Wed Jan 03, 2007 11:24author email trenchesfullofpoets at riseup dot netauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

As a member of BAAM, and one of the people who helped write the call (as well as the person who posted it on this site) i geuss i should say a few things:
One of the main points of this consulta is to get anarchists to stop arguing about whether the enviroment or human social issues are more pressing and to start working together to building a new society. I posted on this site because, as an anarcho-communist (and a vegitarian one, at that) i think that the issues of capitalist destruction of the environment and torture of animals, while terrible alone, tend to come side by side with the destructon of our communities.
Take my neighborhood, for instance. I live in Lower Allston (a neighborhood of Boston), and it is mostly working-families and immigrants. Right up the street is Harvard University, and they are coming south over the river from Cambridge to build a bio-technology complex. They are trying to knock down a 36-year standing low-income housing complex that houses hundreds of working families, many of whom are immigrants. Harvard has also been buying up tons of property, shutting down businesses to drive down the prices, etc. Not to mention, the biotech plants they already own up the street are polluting the charles river and our air, and their new bio-tech complex wont be so great for our health or environment either.
There is local resistance to this plan, mostly on the housing issue especially with the tenants association at the Charlesview (the low-income housing i previously mentioned). My neighbors, however, are also very concerned with the pollution that will be caused by the bio-tech complex; and as theres a lot of dog lovers at the charlesview, are also concerned about vivisection.
The rich are able to work together in oppressing us. It seems to me that we, too, should work together to fight back. For sure the "AR" and environmental defense movements have a lot to gain from connecting their issues to community struggles, as that is the only way they will ever make gains, but also, at least in Boston, most "green" anarchists I know are also communists, or at least very concerned about human and social issues.

One last thing (sorry this is so long), the "green" anarchists have responded overwhelmingly to this call and are very excited about resisting bio-tech, working for migrant rights, and celebrating may day. The response from the "reds" however, has been suprisingly and dissapointingly hostile. As someone with a lot more experience and interest in working alongside the migrant and workers' rights movements and community mobiliztions than in biotech resistance, im worried that this consulta will be boycotted by anarcho-communist organizations.
So heres another appeal: Anarcho-communist of the Northeast of North America, please consider participating in this consulta by endorsing, sending people, organizing for may and coordinating regionally etc. Its time that we stop the anarchist in-fighting and build a movement. Send us an email at neanarchistconsulta@riseup.net.

author by Andrewpublication date Wed Jan 03, 2007 19:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thanks for explaining the background Jake - an idea why class struggle anarchists are wary of this initative? Is there a history of bad relations for instance?

BTW I don't find the Red v Green labelling all that explanatory. The WSM would clearly be put in the red camp but one of our major activities over the last year has been in what some would consider an environmental campaign in Rossport. Likewise in Ireland at least pretty much all the active anarchists who might be put into the 'Green' camp were well capable of taking a class struggle position in relation to the bin tax even when green reformists portrayed it as an environmental tax.

author by MaRK - NEFACpublication date Thu Jan 04, 2007 01:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Jake wrote:
"So heres another appeal: Anarcho-communist of the Northeast of North America, please consider participating in this consulta by endorsing, sending people, organizing for may and coordinating regionally etc. Its time that we stop the anarchist in-fighting and build a movement."

With all due respect Jake (and this is completely in personal capacity, because with the holiday chaos we haven't had a chance to sit down and meet as a group to discuss this), I know I for one was a bit put off when I read this statement... and its not because I have any interest in "in-fighting" between anarchists in the region.

In all honesty I have no interest in organizing around animal rights politics or summit hopping some GMO conference, and I don't see the benefit in being directly associated with actions and politics that our group doesn't share.

If it were just a matter of working together around MayDay activities it would not at all be controversal, and I can't imagine anyone in NEFAC would be against endorsing. But the fact that you have explicitly linked this up with the activity around the BIO conference, animal rights and Earth First! slogans unfortunately makes it controversial and divisive for anarchists who do not share these views or interest in summit hopping activism.

Aside from this, I also don't feel comfortable with the idea of a "consulta" where an agenda for activity and statement of politics is already pre-decided by the organizing group.

Anyways, like I said, we have yet to discuss this as a group. Just letting you know where I am at.

author by wobblypublication date Fri Jan 05, 2007 06:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I had no intentions of starting a debate about animal rights. My point was that anarchist organizations should not organize around animal rights or join campaigns that have animal rights as a focus.

Why? Because class war anarchism has nothing at all to do with animals. Anarchists are for the liberation of the working class and destruction of capitalism. Anarchist theory does not involve the liberation of animals. The AR movement was never an anarchist movement it just has many members who label themselves as "anarchist." This is a problem that the social anarchist movement must address. We need to start defining ourselves as anarchist organizations in order to defeat this lifestylist tendency in the left.

"It is a perfectly valid ethcal issue to demand animal cruelty to stop. Animal cruelty IS revolting and to acknowledge this does not turn you into an anti-human nutjob. To take action to prevent cruelty from taking place does not mean that you won't participate in other social struggles neither."

This is exactly my point. What does this have to do with anarchism? Animals are not a part of the class war. They can't take sides so they are irrelevant. Your arugement here is that we should support animal rights because of how YOU personally feel about it. As for myself, I could care less about liberating animals. So I suggest you leave that out of meetings and save it until your AR group meets.

author by No War but the Class Warpublication date Fri Jan 05, 2007 11:59author email neanarchistconsulta at riseup dot netauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

As another class war anarchist who is working on this project in Boston, I'm compelled to speak up.

A consulta must have a concrete objective in its sights. The objective of this one is not to further a predetermined agenda or political line. The only thing predetermined is that we want to see escalating resistance and solidarity in the streets and communities of Boston, and we want anarchists to work together towards that end. The objective is to link up and strengthen anarchist organizing projects that are already well underway through a week of action: actions in solidarity with migrant workers on May Day (and in the time leading up to it), campaigns targeting the power of corporations in and beyond Boston which at once exploit workers and manipulate all kinds of life for profit, and longstanding anti-militarism and anti-gentrification struggles in working-class communities like Roxbury and Allston.

Let's not let this tired debate distract from the real struggles on the ground, and the real possibilities for new alliances, both among anarchists in the Northeast and between anarchists and our fellow workers, neighbors, local communities. This week of anti-capitalist resistance would do much to advance these struggles and alliances, if folks would try to come out and work together. Many of us have seen the benefits of anarchist solidarity - red, green, purple, etc. - in our work with local labor, community, immigrant rights, and environmental justice groups. We have also come to see the benefits of getting out of the single-issue trap - which is in the interests of liberal capitalism, not anarchist communism- and working towards multi-issue, anti-capitalist mobilizations. This should be one of them.

Of course we want to build a powerful and vibrant day of action for May Day. Nothing in this will detract from International Workers' Day. Some of the same people working on this project have worked on May Day actions in Boston, alongside NEFAC and others, for the past 3 years. If NEFAC just wants to work with this network on the May Day activities, that's fine. I'm sure the greens would be happy to leave much of that work to reds like us. That shouldn't prevent an organization from endorsing and supporting others that will be engaging in anti-corporate and anti-capitalist actions throughout the week.

As many of us see it, the biotech industry's convention is not another summit to hop, but rather a point of intervention and a moment of opportunity for anarchists in and around Boston to directly confront the very corporations responsible for both the exploitation of workers and the devastation of the environment - specifically, the environment in which working-class people have to live (from Roxbury and Allston to New Orleans and Appalachian coal country). BIO 2007 will be an invasion, but it will also be a unique chance to draw national and global attention to our local struggles in places like Roxbury and Allston.

One more thing: It's also the same corporations that abuse animals that see fit to treat workers like animals, as we've witnessed in the struggles of food workers at the meatpacking plants of Smithfield and others. The enemies are the same. While I personally care a whole lot more about the workers than I ever will about anything else, I'm willing to work with any anarchist who wants to smash these corporate scum with me. If the capitalists can make a united front, so can we. And if I, a red anarchist, happen to share some of a green anarchist's concerns, that doesn't stop me from organizing with my fellow workers either.

Remember the motto of the strike at Lawrence: "Of course it's bread we fight for, but we fight for roses too."

author by greenmakhnopublication date Fri Jan 05, 2007 18:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I feel obliged to reply to wobbly, as I feel in absolute disagreement with his view of class war anarchism. After so many years of being sinking in a swamp of liberalism, anarchism seems to be suffering now from a backlash in the form of an ultra-dogmatic and ultra-orthodox "class war" mania. I'm a class war anarchist for you to know; I'm active in my union and I know that the overthrow of the class pyramid is the start of a truly civilised life.

But anarchism is not ONLY for the liberation of the working class and the destruction of capitalism. It is also for the abolition of all forms of oppression and for a society based on a complete different ethics. Class is a framework to understand change in society, but it is not all -you can't explain, for example, gender oppression through class alone.

This is no defense of life-stylism: is merely to say that if class war is not accompanied by an ethical view on the whole of society, not only in personal preferences, it is completely meaningless. Your man of the comment before made an excellent point in linking how companies who practice cruelty to animals are able as well to treat their own workers as beasts. Recently, here in Ireland it was published an article on cruelty to pets by kids linking this to abusive behaviour to vulnerable humans when they reach some age.

That's what it has to do with anarchism: ethics. And ethics is not only about your own ego, but about how you relate to others, whether in an abusive or respectful way. Of course animals can't take sides in the class war. This doesn't make them irrelevant. (By the way, someone with a serious disability won't take side either, so does it mean they are all irrelevant). They are part of a planet we are seriously damaging, to the peril of all classes. We know, however, that the employers class, moved only by profit, won't change this course, so it is up to the working class itself to take action against this system that has proved to be not only anti-workers, but also anti-life.

This is not only about how I personally feel on this issue; no one on his or her right mind (not only me), finds animal cruelty revolting. In fact, everyone on his or her right mind finds cruelty in general revolting. Check out that any person who mistreat animals, would not find a problem in mistreating any other vulnerable creature, including humans. If you reckon that animal cruelty is fine, I would find that very disturbing. If you say you have other priorities, that's ok with me, but don't dismiss other people's endeavours to link this issue with anarchism. And never lose from sight the bigger picture.

If in an anarchist society cruelty keeps being practices in any form, I think we would have seriously failed. So I am allowed to bring this issues wherever I want because it does have a link with our project of society.

(Last but not least, it might be the case that AR was not an openly anarchist movement, but the same could be same of trade unions, the anti-war movement, etc... they all happen to have many members who label themselves as anarchists!!!!. Having said that, many classical anarchists, like Reclus, understood the need of a different relationship with nature. )

author by MaRK - NEFACpublication date Sat Jan 06, 2007 04:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I am not especially interested in getting in a long discussion about ethics and animal rights, but I have always been uncomfortable with this line of thinking for the very same reasons I am uncomfortable with the pro-life position (and really, take the above post and replace "animal rights" with "pro-life" and the sentiment is exactly the same). You are certainly entitled to your views, however there are some of us who do not share your conception of ethics, and quite honestly think that the notion of placing people on the same level as animals is somewhat offensive. When it comes down to it, I have no interest in developing alliances with animal rights activists... just as I have no interest in developing alliances with pro-life activists, anarchist or not.

Responding to the other post... like I said as a group we haven't had a chance to discuss it, but I am sure we will participate in some capacity.

author by greenmakhnopublication date Sat Jan 06, 2007 05:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I never put animals at the same level as humans. Actually, I said in the second comment I posted that I'm no vegetarian. I eat animals and that's part of our nature! I would never dare to eat a human though, so don't get offended please. My point, is that sadistic people (and believe me, a system based in relations of domination develops a lot of sadistic-psychopatic freaks -have a look in the history of torture) practice cruelty on vulnerable creatures without distinction. And cruelty should have no space in our project.

What I'm saying is that vivisection is cruel; that having animals getting chemicals tested in their eyes is outrageous; that the whole industry of locking animals and brutalising them is ethically wrong; that bullfights are a macabre spectacle; that's actually what I am saying. If you do not share this ethic and think that bullfights are wonderful, that vivisections and animals on labs is a great thing... I'd think it is very weird in an anarchist, to tell you the truth. Maybe you are of those who enjoyed hanging cats as a kid. You don't think there should be any regulations against animal cruelty? I actually think some liberals might be more progressive than you on that then...

The difference with pro-lifers is a simple one: abortion of a fetus with no developed nervous system can't be considered properly cruelty, because there is no possible pain involved. That's the basic difference between abortion and infanticide. The exercise of unnecesary pain over another creature is wrong, human or not, and if you don't agree with me, sorry, I can't agree with you either on that. And I actually think most people would not agree with you on that either -I think your position has more to do with a backlash against Green Anarchy or Primitivists or those types.

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