Monday, November 21, 2011

PCWC presents a discussion on "Whiteness and the 99%" with Joel Olson

The Phoenix Class War Council presents: "Whiteness and the 99%", a discussion at Occupy Phoenix.

Where: Cesar Chavez Plaza/Occupy Phoenix, on Washington between 2nd and 3rd Ave in downtown Phoenix.

When: 2 PM this Saturday, November 26

Joel Olson, member of Bring the Ruckus and the Flagstaff Repeal Coalition (which demands the repeal of all anti-immigrant laws in Arizona), will be discussing his recent essay "Whiteness and the 99%".

In addition to the general focus of the essay, the talk will place a particular emphasis on the attitudes of white people towards police historically and what that means for the current occupy movement. In addition Joel will be engaging the question of how the other largest social movement of our time, the immigrant movement (which called a general strike in 2006), remains largely unnoticed by -- and unconnected to -- the occupy encampments, and what that means for the trajectory of white and non-white movements fighting against economic dispossession and state repression.

From the essay:

"Occupy Wall Street and the hundreds of occupations it has sparked nationwide are among the most inspiring events in the U.S. in the 21st century. The occupations have brought together people to talk, occupy, and organize in new and exciting ways. The convergence of so many people with so many concerns has naturally created tensions within the occupation movement. One of the most significant tensions has been over race. This is not unusual, given the racial history of the United States. But this tension is particularly dangerous, for unless it is confronted, we cannot build the 99%. The key obstacle to building the 99% is left colorblindness, and the key to overcoming it is to put the struggles of communities of color at the center of this movement. It is the difference between a free world and the continued dominance of the 1%."

Read it here:

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Rundown of local struggles and events for the remainder of November

After an interesting October that saw the emergence of the Occupy encampments across the globe, including one here in Phoenix, and the level of struggle generalize to incredible lengths with the General Strike in Oakland, and inspired by the possibilities of open revolt against the rich, we have been engaged in debate and discussion with other anarchists and comrades over the challenges facing a potential anti-capitalist movement in Phoenix.

Primarily, we have debated whether this is simply a moment of crisis for the many whose jobs and homes seemed safe bets just a few years back, or if this is the beginning of a movement of people challenging the fundamental beliefs of American capitalism. Simultaneously, we have our deep concerns over some very conservative positions held by some in the Occupy encampments who have expressed near total adoration for the police and other authorities who have used extreme force and violence to attack the various encampments.

As anarchists, we are interested in what possibilities exist for a broader critique aimed at the many institutions of power and authority that could materialize from the initial Occupy groups, and the various responses to the crisis we hope to see emerge in the months to come. While we have had a rather infrequent presence, in terms of PCWC's participation, anarchists have been a regular sight at the Phoenix camp, but with no organized voice. To rectify this, a group of Phoenix anarchists called for a "Anarchist & Anti-Authoritarian Caucus", this group held a meeting at the Occupy site on Monday and additionally organized a series of events which begin tonight. The events are to coincide with the two big days of events at Occupy Phoenix, including two discussions tonight and a call for an anarchist section in the march and park re-occupation on Friday afternoon. The Anarchist & Anti-Authoritarian Caucus will be meeting again at 9PM next Monday, November 21, at the Occupy Phoenix encampment at Cesar Chavez park in downtown Phoenix.

In addition to the events this week, we want to remind everyone that the ongoing struggle against the proposed Loop 202 freeway extension is ongoing, and supporters are attending ADOT meetings this week to advocate for a "no build" option. For more information on what's going on with the freeway, or how to take action check out their website (No South Mountain Freeway).

At the end of the month a lot of people will be coming to Phoenix to shut down the ALEC conference being held in north Scottsdale. We support the fight to get these rightwing lawmaker-lobbyist organizing sessions shutdown because we are against all laws and all lawmakers, not just the particularly obnoxious ones. Stay up to date with the many events and actions at their website (AZ resists ALEC).

The Caucus' events, times, and summaries are listed below.

Thursday, November 17:
8:00pm - 9:00pm: Discussion on The Revolutionary Moment and What Anarchism Has to Offer
This is an open discussion, lightly moderated to discuss the current moment and what it means to us.

Are we in a revolutionary situation, locally and/or globally? Occupy movements have organized in anarchistic ways, is this a natural progression from the top down structures that have failed? This is not a reformist movement, so what else is there? Can we push forth the way we organize into other parts of society? Invite your friends and be prepared to discuss!

9:00pm - 10:00pm: What are you gonna do if "_______" happens?
The purpose of this teach-in is to approach direct action tactics from, well, a tactical standpoint and not a moralistic or philosophical one.

The question, What are you gonna do if _______ happens? is asked to elicit a consideration of the best practical outcomes of a given situation that could come up within a political demonstration, direct action, march or protest rally. The point is not to legislate what people should do in advance, but to get people to start thinking tactically about what they are doing within an action.

Some very general questions to consider:
+ What immediate goal needs to be reached?
+ What possible resistance and confrontations might be encountered?
+ Are the people around me also ready to react to various situations?
+ How should we communicate changing goals within an ongoing direct action should the previous agreed upon goal become unattainable?
+ Are we physically prepared for foreseeable events that may occur?

Additionally, how can we keep direct actions imaginative and open to modification? (The world doesn't stand still and even the best plans don't anticipate every possible encounter.)

And last, but definitely not least, how to think differently about the role media representations play in relation to the development of a movement, especially with regard to the concern over controlling media representations of a movement.

Friday, November 18
3:30pm - 11:30pm: Mass Gathering and March to Support the Re Occupation
Gather at 3:30 PM to create the revolutionary section of the march. Stay till nightfall to party in support of the re-occupation.

Bring banners, boom boxes, flags, awesome chants and whatever else to make the march and party enjoyable. Make a float if you'd like.

Gather near the black flags!