France Protests War

No “freedom” fries here, Maurice

Here in Paris the response to the war was loud but tame in comparison to the response in the Bay Area and in other countries with more obvious military involvement in the war. Unfortunately, framing America as the “bad guy” has been very successful here and distracts people from a more fundamental understanding of the role of international capital in general in the pursuit of profits at the cost of human misery. The ignorance and short-sightedness of the U.S. public is most often seen as only a national phenomenon, and the trends toward media monopolization and spectacular consumption here are blamed on “cultural” domination of the United Snakes and not on the real culprit: the increasingly desperate needs of global capitalism.

Meanwhile, aside from the slogans of the ultra-left, the interests of the French state and the economic interests it seeks to protect in the Middle East are generally ignored. (Not to mention the overt support of the racist dictatorship in the Ivory Coast.) The national security state, under the leadership of interior minister Sarkozy, who is well-placed to make a run for the presidency in the next election, has grown tremendously since 9/11 and Giuliani-style repression has been on the rise in every aspect of daily life — from the targeting of fare-evaders on the Metro to the huge number of arrests of Roma people, the increasing eviction of squatters, the increase in the hours that people can be legally detained without charges (and a lowering of the age for which this is allowed), and the explosion of prison construction throughout the country.

But of course there is resistance, and I have noticed a passion for justice here among younger people (I’m talking high-schoolers) that is inspiring. At a 40,000 strong demonstration at the Place Concorde the first night of the war (the site of the U.S. embassy) the place was seriously rocking, and a radical, internationalist spirit prevailed over the small groups of national flag wavers and other assorted creeps. But beyond a few scuffles and a few broken windows during the spontaneous march, things stayed relatively tame. A few days into the war over 100,000 people hit the streets again, and one of the better shouts I heard was: “Ni Saddam, Ni Oncle Sam! Guerre mondiale, contre le Capital!,” (no to Saddam, no to Uncle Sam World War against capital). One especially appropriate sign read “One sole non-revolutionary week-end is infinitely more bloody than a month of permanent revolution,” a reprise of graffiti from May 1968.

Keep up the pressure in the Bay Area brothers and sisters!

From Protest to Disruption

Living in the Homeland of Empire USA was depressing during the war against Iraq, but at least in the San Francisco Bay Area we could take a little heart in all the dedicated, powerful, militant and exciting anti-war protests. The day after the bombs started dropping, we lived up to our pledge to shut down San Francisco’s financial district. The action started at 6 a.m. and lasted until late at night as thousands of people ran circles around confused, impotent police. Vigorous protest continued for days after, with 2,500 people arrested over 3 days.

We need to remember the lessons we learned that first day and during the rest of the war — both in terms of actions that slowed down business as usual, and tactics that were ineffective.

The struggle has moved beyond the time for polite protests and “petitioning our elected leaders”. The men ruling the US empire are less and less interested in public opinion. For them, might makes right. Increasingly, the only way to stop their drive to empire, their wars, their domination of the earth, and their suppression of freedom is to make their rule physically impossible in the streets.

Direct action or withdrawal from cooperation aimed at stopping the economy, the military and the government from functioning are increasingly crucial in the face of Bush’s New World Order. In this struggle, our friend is disruption, not orderly cooperation with the police. Our actions need to be measured by our disruptiveness, spontaneity, decentralization, individual initiative and creativity.

Pre-planning and organization are good if they impair the system’s functioning, but organization for its own sake — especially when it produces scripted, compliant protest and merely symbolic “actions” — is not going to get the job done. Excessive emphasis on pre-organization will make our opposition bureaucratic — with leader figures who can be coopted, negotiated with or bought into irrelevance.

Conversely, now isn’t the time to succumb to fantasies that we can engage in armed struggle within the US against the US empire. In the war on Iraq, the regular Iraqi military units didn’t stand a chance against the better armed imperial troops. Those Iraqi units were better armed than any opposition group in the US could hope to be.

Organized and spontaneous civil disruption at home is far more threatening to an empire than either polite, predictable protest or armed resistance. The cops have a hard time crushing non-compliance and disruption, which gradually rots the capacity of an empire to project its military and ecological domination abroad.

Our movement is quickly being pushed into a resistance movement against an imperial power. The forces building the American empire have made it clear that domestic opponents of the regime may be labeled terrorists or “enemy combatants” and thus stripped of any formal legal “rights” accorded to obedient citizens. Even though we’re in our own homes, living in the United States means we’re operating in occupied enemy territory.

What Worked

As the day dawned in San Francisco on Thursday, March 21, small groups of unusual looking commuters began emerging from downtown subway stations, along with the usual crowd wearing their ties and skirts, briefcases in hand. The night before in Iraq, US cruise missiles had started raining down, opening an unjustified, preemptive war of aggression. The People had come to a financial nerve center of the empire to stop business as usual.

The action to shut down San Francisco had been planned for months, with hundreds of affinity groups assembling detailed, specific action plans. But many more people came downtown without precise plans — just the notion that something had to happen.

The organized affinity groups quickly threw up blockades at numerous pre-determined points. Because the location of these blockades had been announced in advance, the police were well prepared. Almost as soon as a blockade was established, it was surrounded by swarms of police.

This created an amazing opportunity for the thousands of folks who weren’t involved in pre-organized actions to seize control of the rest of the city. There weren’t enough police to simultaneously surround numerous pre-organized blockades and protect the rest of the city. At intersection after intersection throughout the downtown, there were no police in sight.

It only took 20 people holding hands to block a street and attract another 100 folks who were on the sidewalk out into the street. If the police came around in sufficient numbers to threaten one of these un-planned actions, the participants could simply melt back onto the sidewalk, only to reappear somewhere else where there were no police a few minutes later.

These blockades were short-term cat and mouse operations where the intent was to avoid arrest rather than to seek it. While it’s hard to know, it felt like the un-planned and roving blockades were able to stop business as usual at least as effectively as the larger pre-planned actions. The difference was that those who did pre-planned actions got arrested fairly quickly and now face court dates. Few people involved in roving blockades got arrested, so they were free to disrupt the city long after their pre-organized comrades had been removed, even once more police got freed up from the large pre-planned blockades.

What does this mean for the future? A lot of activists like sitting in meetings polishing plans for pre-organized actions. That’s fine — as long as the movement doesn’t conclude that those pre-organized actions alone will be enough to disrupt a target. Pre-organized actions often don’t create much real disruption — the police love it when they know precisely where all the activists are and have them surrounded with a double line of riot cops. We shouldn’t delude ourselves into believing that we’ve disrupted business as usual merely because we’ve blocked an intersection — if the police know which intersection we’ve blocked, we haven’t seriously threatened social stability or order.

The pre-organized actions can act as decoys — diverting police attention and opening space for other activists to achieve a higher level of disruption elsewhere. Just like police love knowing where all the activists are, they fear a scenario in which they have no idea where all of the participants are, or are heading next. Its even worse for the police when there are 50 autonomous groups moving in all directions all at the same time.

On March 21, the police and media struggled all morning as intersection after intersection was blockaded at random. The police didn’t know what might happen next or where. The cops would get a report of a disturbance, dispatch officers, and by the time they reached the intersection, the problem would have moved elsewhere. Such unpredictable, spontaneous disruption is far more threatening to the system than a stationary, pre-organized, controlled or largely symbolic action.

As the day and the war continued, the police cracked down harder and harder. Opportunities that were available early on became impossible later. Moreover, in the days after March 21, the media viciously criticized the financial district shutdown. “Blocking ordinary people on their way to work just hurts the anti-war cause.” These reactions from the police and the media just proved how effective the effort to disrupt business as usual had been. This proved that our actions threatened social stability and couldn’t just be ignored. The massive marches leading up to the war were beautiful, diverse, and heartening, but they didn’t threaten social order, and could thus easily be ignored.

Bike cavalry to the Rescue!

Another totally inspiring and amazing tactical innovation during the March 21 San Francisco shutdown was the application of critical mass bicycle tactics to militant disruptive
street protest. It is fitting that bicyclists finally realized their full potential as militant street fighters in San Francisco, where critical mass was born.

Critical mass bike rides, which have spread to hundreds of cities around the world, are usually good natured, fun, non-confrontational celebrations of bicycling. Since there is no organized “leadership” of critical mass, there is no organized political message or demands.

It is precisely these cultural traditions that helped cyclists on March 21 be so effective and disruptive. The bicyclists were used to making quick decisions on the fly without any formal organization or leadership.

When pre-planned blockades pinned down most of the police during the morning, numerous bands of roving cyclists were able to ride around at will, tying up and slowing traffic for miles. Since bikes can move rapidly, they were an even more confusing and disruptive problem for the cops and the media. They could be everywhere and nowhere simultaneously. Over and over, folks blocking intersections at random on foot would suddenly be reinforced by a roving band of bicyclists. The bikes also brought load after load of food, water and other supplies to people on foot. The bikes could scout ahead, warn of approaching danger, and distribute information about which roads were already blocked and which ones were waiting to be shut down. The one disadvantage of being on a bike is that it can be hard to dismount and change your role, because you have to do something with your bike. Thus, the bikes were most effective when they cooperated with folks on foot, each doing what they did best.

It was especially excellent to see all of the bikes, given that the war on Iraq was fought in part to enable Americans to drive as much as they want using cheap, foreign oil. During the brief war, spontaneous mini-critical masses calling themselves “Bikes Not Bombs” roamed San Francisco every weeknight, maintaining the momentum of protest. In a period of empire and war to maintain a dying motorized mode of transportation, riding a bike became our silent, daily protests against oil wars.

What Didn’t work

Police arrested about 2,500 people in San Francisco during the first 3 days of the war. Some of those arrested had “meant” to risk arrest at pre-organized blockades. But a lot of other folks got arrested — swept up and arrested en mass — the first day by accident because they tried to march in a black bloc.

We need to look critically at the black bloc tactic and figure out if it has outlived its usefulness. The black bloc tactic originated in Europe in the 1980s, and folks have marched in a black bloc in the Bay Area since the late 1980s, if not before. The idea is to have a large number of militant people in a large block so they can protect themselves and be disruptive. People dress alike (in black) so that the police can’t pick out a particular person from a crowd and try to pin a particular crime on them.

While at some points this tactic might make sense, recently marching in black has seemed to have more to do with making a fashion statement than trying to act collectively and effectively. Rather than allowing people to avoid police detection and arrest, the police have gone after the black bloc because they are wearing black, whether they do anything or not. The black bloc was surrounded and all its members arrested the weekend before the war — and then because no one seemed to learn anything, the exact same thing happened again the day after the war started.

Under these conditions, our tactics need to evolve. The point is to be disruptive and not get caught, not ensure that you’re going to get taken into custody. I realize black looks cool, and seeing a bunch of punks in black with face masks looks tough and militant. But if the group is singled out, monitored more closely by the cops, and thus can’t actually do anything, what is the point of looking cool? In Seattle, while the media and the police followed the small black bloc with helicopters, a much larger “plaid” block was able to get a lot of jobs done.

Face masks bring a certain level of militancy to a crowd, but they also can look unnecessarily scary and serve to separate those in the streets from the public at large. We want to inspire ordinary folks to struggle with us against the system, not convince them that we’re spoiled children with criminal tendencies. A lot of times you see face masks when nothing is even going on at all — what the fuck?!?

I thought the white face masks printed with “no war on Iraq” were pretty damn cool and a lot easier to understand. The point is to cover your face if you’re going to do something illegal, or if you might later on, not to just wear one all the time like it’s jewelry!

A lot more thinking, discussion and debate needs to go on within the community about the black bloc (and every other tactic we use). Far too often it seems like folks are just doing what they’ve done before, or seen done before, without actually thinking about what is going to be effective.

Finally, one the worst protest mistakes I saw during the war happened at a large and spirited blockade of the Chevron headquarters in San Ramon. The action, starting at 6 a.m. way out in the suburbs, was a triumph of pre-organization. Somehow, hundreds of us made it out there on crazy hipster shuttle school buses from the subway station in Walnut Creek. There were two roads going into the headquarters campus with large groups blocking both of them.

Although the action couldn’t have happened without a lot of pre-organization, it ended up demonstrating the limitations of pre-organization, and the tendency of pre-organized actions to become bureaucratic, predictable, tame, and ultimately non-disruptive and ineffective.

At the gate where I was, people were stopping cars, but the police were just parking workers a distance away and walking them in. Some people were trying to block the pedestrians, and the “organizers” were doing everything they could to stop participants from being spontaneous, effective and thinking for themselves. The “leader” on hand with the bullhorn told us that we had to “obey” the decisions of the spokescouncil and that he wanted to make sure the picket and the blockade were “orderly.”

I knew it was all over when the police came over a bullhorn and told people to be quiet so our “leader” could make an announcement. The “leader” told us to get out of the road or we would be arrested. People complied immediately, even though it was quite clear that the police had neither the numbers not the inclination to actually remove a large, fluid group from the road. That left the pre-appointed people willing to “risk arrest” sitting in a thin line, defenseless against the police who politely took them into custody. The potential disruption of the hundreds of people on hand was dismantled by one unelected “leader” cooperating with the police. Everyone stood on the sidewalk and watched the police carry out their duty.

We need to keep in mind that when we organize, we should be doing it for our own goals. Helping the police maintain order should never be one of our goals. Organizing to get a large group outside of a corporation is an excellent goal. Then the organizers need to fade away and trust the People to take responsibility for our own actions and our own future.

Tiempo de OpportunidadL Toma-la!!

En el periodo inmediato posterior a la guerra de Estados Unidos contra Irak, algunos de quienes se oponen al imperio militar mundial estadounidense se sienten desalentados y aislados.

Esto es un grave error, en este periodo inestable hay oportunidades tremendas para avanzar en la lucha contra el capitalismo y sus imperios militares.

El periodo anterior a la guerra lanzó a las calles a millones de personas en todo el mundo en contra de la guerra. Esto no pareció importarle a Bush y la guerra pasó de todas formas. ¡Qué novedad! El punto aquí no es que la guerra sucedió a pesar de la oposición masiva. El punto es que hubo manifestaciones masivas y que millones de personas aprendieron una lección crucial: que el sistema político va a ignorar sus manifestaciones pacíficas.

La desilusión de millones de personas que no pudieron parar la guerra mediante manifestaciones pacíficas puede ir en dos direcciones: o bien la gente se orillará hacia la apatía y el silencio, o bien se radicalizarán y comenzarán a darse cuenta de que la única manera de parar la tendencia del sistema hacia el asesinato masivo, consiste en encontrar maneras para irrumpir, resistir y luchar contra el sistema. Si el sistema no escucha a la gente, la gente tendrá que derribar el sistema como acto de autodefensa.

La guerra, la falta de unidad frente a la misma por parte de las potencias captalistas, la crisis de la ONU y la resistencia popular mundial a la guerra, han afectado el equilibrio político anterior.

Como un globo que ha sido continuamente inflado hasta explotar, todas las piezas del juego han sido momentáneamente lanzadas al aire.

Esta ruptura histórica puede abrir camino hacia un cambio social masivo. La dirección de ese cambio es desconocida y todas las partes desean aprovechar el momento y promover sus propios objetivos. Depende del movimiento contra la guerra, y particularmente de los radicales y antiautoritarios dentro del mismo, el asegurarse de que el cambio en este periodo de inestabilidad sea positivo, no negativo.

Ahora estamos en un momento crucial para organizarnos, continuar la lucha, enfatizar las lecciones aprendidas y dirigir a las personas y organizaciones que fueron movilizadas por la guerra de un movimiento reactivo frente a la guerra hacia una lucha por algo nuevo. Es crucial, en este periodo inmediato posterior a la guerra, definir hacia dónde vamos e ir más allá de lo que nos oponemos.

Nuestra visión alternativa es la de un mundo organizado alrededor de la libertad, autodeterminación, cooperación y la satisfacción de las necesidades humanas —no de violencia, dominación, coacción y ganancia. La mayoría de la gente reconoce que la fuerza no da la razón. Es fácil confundir la inevitable victoria militar y la victoria política de Bush, con ganar la paz.

El movimiento contra la guerra puede tener una mejor oportunidad de desacreditar las soluciones militares depués de la guerra, que la que tuvo al prevenirla. La lucha contra la guerra ha radicalizado a segmentos de una generación entera. La gente que ha pasado por la experiencia de marchar y protestar con optimismo y de haber sido separada y atacada, se ha vuelto crítica de muchas instituciones sociales. En particular, han sido desacreditados los medios de comunicación, que normalmente sirven para promover la estabilidad política, social y la hegemonía.

Para millones de personas en Estados Unidos el gobierno estadounidense ya no es “su” gobierno, sino una fuerza hostil y represiva que las pone en peligro. Para la mayor parte de la gente en el mundo, se ha vuelto claro que la mayor amenaza a la paz y la libertad, es el gobierno estadounidense y su actuación como poder único, que no es cuestionado, que no rinde cuentas a nadie y que está nuclearmente armado.

s ciudadanos de la tierra

¿Qué acciones puede tomar la gente para usar este periodo inmediato posterior a la guerra contra la intención de Bush de forjar un imperio americano?

Ha sido de gran inspiración ver la creatividad y el valor de la gente de Irak al resistir la ocupación de las fueras estadounidenses. Bush justificó la invasión como un esfuerzo para llevar “libertad” y liberación a Irak. Pero en los primeros cinco días después de que las tropas estadounidenses aplastaron la resistencia militar, miles de iraquíes comenzaron a marchar pacíficamente en las calles, con pancartas escritas en inglés exigiendo “Yanquis, go home”.

El movimiento iraquí contra la ocupación no ha sido, en general, un movimiento pro-Saddam. Los participantes están contentos de no tener dictadura, pero no quieren reemplazada con un estado clientelista pro-estadounidense. Aquí en Estados Unidos los activistas en contra de la guerra debemos hacer lo posible para apoyar la resistencia a la ocupación en Irak. Los soldados estadounidenses han disparado en manifestaciones pacíficas y asesinado a docenas de civiles. El movimiento anti-imperialista estadounidense debe asegurarse de que la sangre derramada en Irak, es la de nuestras hermanas y hermanos, por la cual el regimen militar estadounidense deberá rendir cuentas.

Podemos solidarizarnos con el pueblo iraquí —mientras avanzamos en nuestras metas domésticas— ayudando a mantener las noticias sobre la resistencia iraquí en los encabezados de los medios. Los medios de comunicación estadounidenses, después de una cobertura inicial sobre las manifestaciones anti-estadounidenses en Irak, prácticamente han callado sobre el tema.¿Esto significa que han parado las protestas en Irak? Es muy poco probable. Tal vez sea hora de enviar medios de comunicación independientes y observadores civiles a Irak.

Mientras este artículo está siendo escrito, la ocupación estadounidense está organizando un régimen “nuevo” para controlar Irak. No es una gran sorpresa que estén solamente recilando el sistema anterior. La policía y otros oficiales bajo el regimen Baathista “malévolo” ahora han sido recontratados para ser la policía y oficiales del nuevo régimen “libre”.

La diferencia es que ahora los líderes son generales estadounidenses y los iraquíes son títeres de aquellos. El pueblo iraquí está preocupado por ver a sus anteriores opresores, nuevamente armados. Pero la versión de “libertad” de Bush no tiene mucho que ver con las vidas de la gente común y corriente. Como siempre, la definición de “libertad” según los gobernantes estadounidenses, es la libertad de las corporaciones para hacer sus negocios en Irak. Nada de esto es una sorpresa: el imperialismo occidental siempre ha usado a las élites locales para controlar las poblaciones.

El régimen de Saddam fue brutal, utilizaba ejecuciones sumarias, tortura y una gran variedad de tácticas de la policía estatal. Desafortunadamente Estados Unidos tolera o promueve las violaciones de los derechos humanos en régimenes que instala en países que ha “liberado”. Son comunes las condiciones represivas en los países apoyados por Estados Unidos. Muchos de los países que sirvieron de base militar para la guerra contra Irak, tienen un nefasto historial de dictaduras, tortura y represión. Así, la movilización contra el apoyo estadounidense a las violaciones de los derechos humanos, puede dar al movimiento de oposición en Estados Unidos, oportunidades para criticar el apremio hacia un imperio estadounidense mayor.

Antes de la guerra un eslogan popular fue “no blood for oil” (“no sangre por petróleo”). Ha sido sorprendente la rapidez y obviedad con que la ocupación estadounidense ha puesto en claro que el principal objetivo de la guerra fue el control del petróleo. Al momento en que publicamos este artículo, la ONU está lista para conceder a la ocupación estadounidense el control directo del dinero generado por las ventas de petróleo iraquí. El dinero será, supuestamente, usado para ayuda humanitaria y para la reconstrucción de Irak.

La realidad es que la reconstrucción será llevada a cabo por
corporaciones gigantes estadounidenses con vínculos cercanos a la administración de Bush. A Bechtel se le concedió sin licitación, un contrato de 680 millones de dólares para reconstruir Irak, sólo unos cuantos días después de que terminó la lucha. La compañía Halliburton, que perteneció en el pasado al vicepresidente Cheney, recibió discretamente un contrato para la reconstrucción, que podría llegar a montar hasta 7mil millones de dólares, pero que por el momento “sólo” tiene un monto de 500 millones. La prisa para comenzar la guerra, tiene más sentido cuando nos damos cuenta de que los asesores cercanos a Bush y sus aliados, esperan recibir millones de dólares por el petróleo iraquí después de la guerra. Es crucial que el movimiento radical estadounidense difunda estas conexiones después de la guerra.

Las contradicciones, mentiras y violencia que mencionamos anteriormente, son sólo unos cuantos de los resultados de la guerra contra Irak. Ahora es el momento para que los activistas estadounidenses luchemos para ganar una guerra política y aprovechemos la inestabilidad política inmediata posterior de la guerra, par promover una visión alternativa para el futuro. Necesitamos trabajar a partir de la movilización en contra de la guerra y expandir la base de gente opuesta al imperio munidal militar estadounidense. Parte de lo que se necesita hacer es prevenir guerras contempladas en el futuro contra Siria, Irán, Corea del Norte, Sudán y Libia (así como intervenciones en Las Filipinas, Indonesia, Colombia, Venezuela, etc.), pero esto no es todo. La oposición estadounidense tiene que luchar por algo, no solamente en contra de todo.

Así como Seattle y el movimiento en contra de la globalización unieron a los ambientalistas y activistas laborales y de maquiladoras, la resistencia del movimiento posterior a la guerra, debe reunir las lecciones e ideas de los activistas contra la globalización con una internacionalización nueva, basada en el movimiento contra la guerra. Hay oportunidades alentadoras para unir al movimiento de resistencia estadounidense con movimientos en todo el mundo que están luchando para resistir la dominación de Estados Unidos. Después de la guerra contra Irak no hay tiempo para retirarse en el silencio, la apatía y el derrotismo. Como Joe Hill dijo, “don’t mourn, ORGANIZE! (“No guarden luto ¡Organícense!)

Preso Politico en la Ciudad de Mexico

El joven Anarquist@ Mexicano Carlos Alberto Estrada Arroyo fue recientamente sentenciado a 12 y 1/2 años de carcel por un presunto robo que el no cometio. Ell 14 de Mayo, del 2001, Carlos estava regressando del almuerzo a su trabajo de albañil en la Ciudad de Mexico, cuando fue arrestado por la policia. Despues fue golpeado y torturado. Apesar de haber pasado mas de dos años en prision el sigue desmintiendo los cargos y declarandose inocente.Carlos es un joven libertario quien estaba envolvido en actividades politicas dentro del movimiento anarquista y punk de la ciudad de mexico,incluyendo la combativa huelga estudiantil de la UNAM en 99-2000

Carlos y su familia estan muy agradecidos por el apoyo internacional que el ha recibido incluyendo ayuda de Argentina, Brasil, USA,Francia, Italia, España y Polonia. Su madre Sara Arroyo Granados escribe: “Estoy escribiendo para agradecerles por el apoyo economico y moral que ha sido ofrecido a mi hijo. La ayuda economica que nos han dado a nosotros que somos una familia escasos recursos eonomicos y las cartas que ustedes han enviado a carlos lo han animado bastante, son como las espinacas para popeye. Cuando el se siente desanimado nosotros le llevamos las cartas y esto regreza su animo y fortaleza; Por eso yo les ruego que no dejen de escribirle, de igual manera yo personalmente me siento muy inspirada al saber que tenemos amigos, verdaderos amigos. Gracias muchachos!, gracias de todo corazon!, para todos en general de todos los estados de la republica y de los paises que nos han enviado su apoyo; Yo se que ustedes talves no crean en dios, pero yo espero que la vida les de todo lo que puede ser deseado. adios.”

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Tambien ha sido realizada una recopilacion internacional a beneficio del compañero carlos skin y si deseas obtenerlo y/o ayudar economicamente a su liberacion puedes escribir a :

Triumph of Kleptocracy and Death of Reason

If the first casualty of war is the truth, then reason must be its first prisoner. Leave it to Americans to escalate the battlefield of the mind to an Orwellian level of shock therapy. Glued to our mind screens for the majority of our waking hours, we have become the audience at a global coliseum, cheering for enemy blood and applauding billion-dollar bombs bursting in air. Reason? Logic? Truth? Those were sold to the highest bidder long ago, to pay for the most monstrous killing machines ever created and our raging addiction to chemical energy.

War has never made a great deal of sense, and that’s in large part the point. Since one tribe went out to dominate another at the point of a spear, leaders have attempted to override the logical part of the human brain by aggravating our reptilian and ruthless revenge mechanisms. In the age of industrial warfare, we have witnessed the business of killing vast numbers of opponents become a “necessary evil,” and an honored form of employment. Americans will even argue that dropping atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki simply “got the job done” in a more efficient manner, and therefore was acceptable “collateral damage.” As I said, no reason or logic here, and don’t look for truth in the wastelands of war.

Americans entered a terminal realm of doublethink and psychosis when the revolutionary band of corporate cryptocrats seized the White House, our shining center of authority. The Bushista regime has turned every commonly-held value established by previous generations on its head, in a topsy-turvy heap of nonsense and cowboy lingo. Yes, we now argue, war IS peace, slavery and paranoia is freedom, you see, and the truth will never be known because it must remain a state secret.

Our sanity slips away daily as the cluster bombs and fireballs light up our video screens, as any hope of salvaging the American Dream is trampled under the boots of ever more militarized police, under the glare of ever more sinister terror alerts, and behind the firewalls of ever more secretive and corrupted “security” agencies. It’s a sophisticated destabilization of our entire society, plotted out decades ago. The way the Bush family, CIA headquarters bearing their name, always seem to leave a trail of burned-out cities, piles of dead bodies, drug scandals, and secret bank accounts behind them, and somehow never get caught– has worn our suspicions down to a dull stupor.

Influential over our ability to reason and assess the truth are the mighty media corporations, owned by giant conglomerates who also make the weapons and the drugs which the politicians in power are so invested in. Americans are kept in a Twilight Zone limbo of steroid-stoked entertainment and shocking pseudo-reality events, barely able to keep up with the latest terror alert, let alone understand what is happening outside our country. The “fog of war” has become our sociopathic M.O., and the latest approval ratings let us know everything is “going great” because our lemming herd agrees the edge is where we must push.

Without even understanding the cause or the odds, we are prompted to blindly “support our troops,” which actually means allowing the military contractors in power to bomb the hell out of another Third World country. We are prodded to display our allegiance to the flag, and declare our patriotic fervor– again, without reason or logic, simply based on conditioned slogans about freedom and democracy, while those in power are busy ripping the guts out of our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Signs that our society has gone over the edge of sanity into the murderous realm of raging monkeys: obsession with obscure symbols, such as French fries (which we named in the first place), outrageous harassment of artists such as the Dixie Chicks and Michael Moore, who are simply stating their opinion, belying the alleged “freedom of speech” our troops are supposedly fighting for, and crowds of “pro-war” demonstrators wrapped in American flags lashing out at anyone or anything that may stand in the way of “victory.”

The great danger of the lynch-mob terror-bubble we find ourselves trapped in, as the Germans under the Nazi regime were, is losing touch with the rest of the world. At the same time, we are unable to assess that this is no longer our government, but has been stolen from us by country-sized corporations and their henchmen. To the rest of the world, we seem to be reveling in our corruption, celebrating the theft of our constitutional protections, our economic resources, our dignity and reputation, and our security, by a group of second-rate elitists and dictator-wannabees. Meanwhile, innocent people are being slaughtered by high-tech weaponry designed for annihilation, along with mostly defenseless “enemy combatants,” in a land far away, in a culture that most of us don’t even comprehend.

Is there any hope for America’s sanity? Right now, we are lost in a cowering dead-end of lies built on lies and secrecy, dating back to the end of WWII when Nazis were enlisted by Kissinger to start the CIA, financed by George Bush’s granddad. Do you believe our irrationality and ignorance is a result of poor planning and excess? No– the reality is that we’re held hostage in a “fog of war” and terror by design, and the rest of the world has now become the war zone. Is it all like a spectacular video game? Yes, we’ve been conditioned to accept blasting away other humans like insects, from a distance. Now we must question– who designed this game and who is promoting the even more costly future version?

“Americanism” may in the future be described as a pathological syndrome, much as we now attempt to unravel the ideology and cruelty of Nazism. The two are not unconnected. A few hard truths for Americans to work their teeth on: We are a relatively recent colonial expansion of European empire, molded on a Roman model of expansion. We are only 5% of the world’s population, 75% white, controlling over 50% of the resources of the rest of the world. There are 1.2 billion Islamic people in the world, 5 times the number of Americans. The vast majority of those people live in sub-poverty conditions, ruled over by wealthy dictators armed by the United States (as Saddam and the Taliban were).

One final little fact which festers at the root of all of this Strangelovian insanity and psychosis: if only 1% of the nuclear arsenals on our planet are deployed in a “limited” nuclear exchange, we will be living in a mutant nuclear winter and most of the species on Earth will go extinct, including ourselves quite possibly. The Bush regime has made nuclear weapons a very real first-strike option, tossing aside all treaties signed over our lifetimes. But you won’t hear about that on the 6 o’clock news, unless you happen to have a TV system in your fallout shelter. By then ratings won’t matter so much…

Cassandra Camus

Occupied Hawaiian Nation

Planetary Rescue Corps

In “The Savage Wars of Peace,” Max Boot writes: “Between 1800 and 1934, U.S. Marines staged 180 landings abroad. The army and navy added a few small-scale engagements of their own. Some of these excursions resulted in heavy casualties; others involved almost no fighting. Some were concluded in a day or two; others dragged on for decades. Some were successful; others not . . . These are the nonwars that Kipling called ‘the savage wars of peace.’“

Today's Slingshot Alert Level Is: LIME

Slingshot has devised an alternative to the Department of Homeland Security’s security alert system. The current system — with alerts ranging from green, to blue, to yellow, to orange, to red — is intended to frighten the public into embracing the preemptive military strikes, occupation of foreign lands, and dismantling of civil liberties necessary to enlarge the world’s vastest empire. For example, right before a major non-violent anti-war protest in New York, the DHS increased the threat level, and as a result New York City police were able to win a court case permitting them to prohibit marching at protests. Now that’s convenient — because of terrorism, the US government can prevent people from protesting wars that are going to cause more terrorism. It’s a complete logical circle, and it’s all out of our hands.

Slingshot’s proposed alert system (each day’s alert level will be posted on our website and indicated by a colored flag hanging from the window of our office) is intended to provide a more unbiased assessment of the threat and risk. In the Slingshot’s alert system, each threat level indicates the risk to our freedom and bodily integrity arising from the police, the federal government, the US armed forces, and the environmental collapse associated with an capitalist / industrial system.

Fear has been the Bush administration’s main tactic for pushing through its wars and crackdown on freedom at home. We hope to move away from fear and towards empowerment, action and resistance.

Threat Level Specific Risk and Actions Possible
Aqua Low risk of government crackdown and US military empire. Millions in the streets raid and disarm US military bases and prevent all normal functioning of capitalist economy. Local communities smash environmentally hazardous operations. Neighborhoods organize cooperatives, autonomous structures and councils. Central police apparatus has to have a bake sale to buy gas for their single moped.
Lemon Guarded risk of empire. US military functional but hampered as international community revokes all base and over-flight rights. Domestic resistance disrupts arms industry, environmental threats and propaganda machine. Flourishing independent media and popular movement.
Lime Elevated risk of empire. Opposition is marginalized and isolated from ordinary life of the public. Corporations control media which ignores or manipulates incidences of dissent. Profit considered more important than people. Daily life spews greenhouse gases threatening mass extinction of species.
Khaki High risk of empire. Police regularly fire “less than lethal” ammunition at non-violent crowds. All activist communications and meetings monitored. Travel restrictions imposed against anyone critical of regime. All library books reported to central government data base. Military invades multiple “rogue states” around the world.
Vermilion Extreme risk of empire. FBI openly resurrects COINTELPRO tactics to sow divisions within resistance movements. Opposition groups start killing each other instead of focusing on resisting the government and capitalism. Last redwood cut.
Violet Empire with no apologies. United States dissolves United Nations and converts UN building in New York to luxury hotel. Operation “French, German, Russian, British, Japanese Freedom” begins. All domestic dissent is considered terrorism and suspects are shipped to a prison colony which occupies the entire Cuban island.
Royal Monarchy. Bush officially changes name to “big brother.” Chips implanted in all world subjects to relay location and activities to central computerized data base.
Navy We are fucked. US military invades San Francisco Bay Area to prevent terrorism. Population assumes disguises and tries to bike to Canada to seek marriage of convenience with (hopefully) sympathetic ex-lovers.

Cops Arrest Clowns

Clowns were arrested, bicycles and circus gear impounded, and a community house raided in St. Louis during the Biodevastation 7 counter-conference to the Monsanto-sponsored World Agricultural Forum promoting genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Nine Flying Rutabaga Circus members, riding to the conference to announce their Caravan Across the Cornbelt anti-GMO bike tour to Washington, DC, were all arrested. Fifteen others were grabbed in a simultaneous raid on the house hosting the bike circus. On the news, police laid out a table full of “weapons-in-progress” obtained in the raid, such as roofing nails, newspaper juggling pins, a whip, circus gear for fire twirling, and a poorly assembled napkin tucked into a bottle. Homeland Security has their priorities straight, alright. Contact St. Louis Police Chief Joe Mokwa at 314-444-5624 and tell him to give the clowns back their bikes!