Freedom and self-determination, not elections – massive protests planned for RNC & DNC this summer

2008 is an election year and the media (and everyday conversations around the USA) are turning to the ‘excitement’ of the presidential election race. But in the radical community, a different kind of excitement is building — very serious and extensive efforts are underway to disrupt the Democratic National Convention (DNC) from August 25-28 in Denver, Colorado and the Republican National Convention (RNC) from Sept. 1-4 in St. Paul, Minnesota. National meetings have laid out detailed strategies, outreach is underway nationally including an impressive call to action newspaper, and this spring, road shows will criss-cross the continent all in an effort to bring tens of thousands of people to St. Paul and Denver.

Why should anyone put time, energy, and ultimately their body on the line to shut down the national party conventions? The see-saw discourse of Democrats and Republics is all a huge distraction from the systematic corporate attack on the earth and its human inhabitants, after all.

And that is precisely the point. These two parties — really a few thousand politicians and activists plus a few thousand more individuals who run the political party’s corporate funders — dominate politics in the world’s richest country, and thus these people dominate the whole world. Most people in the US see the election campaign as their chief opportunity to participate in and change society.

Ultimately, if radicals want to make any progress, we can’t ignore the Democrats and Republicans stranglehold on power and legitimacy — we have to expose them and confront their domination of our lives and our future.

As the flyer being distributed by convention disrupters explains:

“Bewitched by the spectacle of politics, we confuse elections with freedom, representation with self-determination. We look to politicians to solve our problems, and when they fail, we replace them with other politicians. These politicians have been unanimous in their support for a disastrous war based on false pretexts. They are unanimous in defending borders that tear up families and countrysides while enabling corporations to export jobs, exploit workers, and pillage resources. They are unanimous in pushing cutthroat competition as the only possible economic model, even as the gulf widens between rich and poor and profit-driven environmental destruction causes global warming to accelerate at a catastrophic pace.

“They’ve created these problems, and now some of the same politicians offer to solve them for us. They try to maintain our attention by debating whether to change this or that detail. But it is foolish to expect different result from appealing to the same class of people: we can only extricate ourselves from the mess they’ve made by acting for ourselves, without so-called representation.

“Our protests against war, global warming and exploitation must be directed against the electoral system itself, so they are not reabsorbed and neutralized when new politicians offer to “represent” us. Our protests must interrupt the practical activity of the politicians — otherwise, [the protests] can be brushed off, to remain in the sphere of personal opinion. Even if we do not throw off their power entirely, the most efficient way to exert leverage upon politicians is by bypassing them to make the changes we desire ourselves, so they can offer us nothing and must struggle to catch up.

“We are proposing a strategy for each convention — a general framework to coordinate our individual efforts so they add up to something powerful. This must be public, so thousands of people can take part: a good strategy is effective regardless of whether the authorities are forewarned. This framework must offer space for a wide range of tactics and plans, so a diverse array of people can participate. Inside this framework, participants can craft their own roles, retaining as much privacy as they need to play the parts they choose. If we succeed in disrupting the political spectacle of the conventions, politics in this country will never be the same.”

Crash the Convention

As we learned at the political conventions in 2000 and 2004, the system will call out thousands of police to prevent any disruption to the conventions. Thus, mounting any serious challenge to the conventions is a numbers game — the more of us on the streets, the better chance we have of interrupting business as usual at the conventions. The cops may be able to arrest us in our thousands, but even if they do, it will take time. As we’ve learned in the past, massive police action in and of itself disrupts conventions. If we’re well–organized, we can use the police response and (over)reaction to our advantage.

Police in Denver and St. Paul have been “practicing” their convention tactics on local activists. The August critical mass ride in the Twin Cities saw a police riot and vicious arrests. Denver’s Columbus Day protests was met with chemical weapons and police carrying machine guns. The cops are trying to scare people off the street but it won’t work.

The political system has harnessed fear very effectively since September 11 to control the population. In 2004, New York city police used the excuse of “domestic terrorism” to infiltrate and spy on people preparing for the convention. But in 2008, the fear-mongers will be met with their own biggest fear: people mobilized, organized, and taking the future back into their own hands!

Unconventional Action, which is coordinating the protests against the RNC, has described how the convention protests fit in with the broader struggle for liberation by setting forth their goals: “A new reality will not emerge by simply stopping the 4 day spectacle of the RNC. We need folks with an alternative vision to come to the Twin Cities and turn their dreams into reality. Start something new, be creative, and come ready to build sustainable alternatives worth fighting for and defending. The new skills that we teach, learn, and put into practice here will allow us to return to our communities stronger, smarter, and more empowered.” They have called for the following strategies:

“1. Start Strong – Throw all of our energy into the first day. We’ll kick this off right and stretch the militarized police state out so far that it can no longer contain and suppress our voices and desires.

2. Transportation Troubles – This includes blockades downtown (at key intersections), on bridges (10 bridges over the Mississippi River in the metro area), and other sporadic and strategic targets (busses, hotel and airport shuttles etc.).

3. Respect, defend, and be prepared for autonomous self-sustaining alternatives – Lasting projects and spaces will be born out of our actions and will need to be protected. We also won’t knowingly bring the hammer down on existing long-term community projects. It doesn’t matter if we win the RNC battle, if the war for our lives is lost.

4. Be inclusive of local communities and respect alliances – We are all on the same side of the barricades and are trying to build lasting bonds for future mutual aid. We may not agree with each other on all of our tactics, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t venues for us to work together and build on the trust and community that already exists.”

And one tactical observation, the Democratic convention is scheduled just 3 days before the Republican convention. No doubt police in the 2 cities are in communication. We have to avoid a situation in which most of us get arrested in Denver so we are either in jail and can’t make it to St. Paul or are too exhausted to do so. Pace yourself.

Get connected

This spring, you can help the effort by bringing the road show to your town, distributing convention protest materials, and forming affinity groups to go to the conventions. It wouldn’t hurt practicing at anti-war protests in March (or even on leap day!) Check out, or www.recreate68.o
rg for lots more details and information.

Harassing the military at the source – ongoing protests at Berkeley recruiting station

The Marine Corps opened a recruiting station in downtown Berkeley in January 2007. In September, when they discovered it, CODE PINK and Women In Black responded with protests. Since then, protesters outside the office have hardly given the marines a moment’s respite. By the time recruiters go for a brisk morning jog with ROTC students from UCB, the activists are settled in to start the day for peace by reading and meditating. Throughout the week, the curb in front of the recruiting offices becomes a venue for a variety of efforts to disrupt the recruiting and, ultimately, to drive the marines out of Berkeley. Protest singing, dancing, Tai Chi, yoga, breastfeeding mothers, kiss-ins, and photographic portraits for peace are some of the motley tactics Code Pink uses to keep the action lively. Guerrilla theater actions included a symbolic street cleansing (to wash the marines right out of Berkeley and the blood off residents’ hands), and a New Year’s Day dumping of manure outside the recruiting center.

After being recruited to sing one January afternoon with the women of Code Pink, I sat down in a plastic pink lawn chair in the street and lazily waved a sign saying “You can’t go to school in a body bag.” Behind me a bold pink banner was unfurled and a woman dressed in a marine core uniform played possum on the pavement. Potted orchids, gory photos of war victims, and cardboard sculptures littered the sidewalk in front of the station. A conversation about the horrible suicide rates among vets led to a brainstorm about giving out scholarships and jobs in front of recruiting centers. I put out my cigarette when Linda Maio and Max Anderson walked up to the picket. These two Berkeley City Council members gave stump speeches urging the protesters to keep the banner high.

Recruiters think they’ve got trouble reaching quotas already – imagine protests like this one spreading across the country. The open ended protest invites everyone who walks by to participate and add new layers of creativity and resistance. The palpable reality on the street leaves no room for the recruiter to paint his lurid picture of hope and glory in boldfaced lies. Hats off to recruiting protesters keeping the opposition to the war in our faces.

You can join them every weekday 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Marine Recruiting Station, 48 Shattuck Square, Berkeley, CA. Call CODE PINK 510-524-2776 for information.

The Longest Walk 2

This spring, Native activists will walk across the United States together. The Longest Walk 2 will mark the 30th anniversary of the historic Longest Walk — the last major event of the Alcatraz-Red Power Movement in which several hundred Native Americans marched from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. to symbolize their forced removal from their homelands and to draw attention to continuing problems plaguing the Indian community. Longest Walk 2 will take two routes from the Bay Area to Washington, DC to raise awareness about issues impacting the environment, to protect sacred sites and to clean up Mother Earth. The five month journey will conclude July 11.

The original Longest Walk in 1978 was conducted in part to protest proposed legislation that would have dissolved Native Treaties which protected Native American sovereignty. As a result of The 1978 Longest Walk those 11 bills were defeated and the American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA) of 1978 was passed.

“In 1978, our communities faced many hardships such as non-existing religious rights and criminalization of our people who fought for cultural survival, this is why the Longest Walk was necessary. As Indigenous Peoples in the United States, our environment and our cultural survival are directly correlated and are still imperiled today; this is why we must walk once again” states Jimbo Simmons of the International Indian Treaty Council.

The Longest Walk 2 is an extraordinary grassroots effort on a national level to bring attention to environmental disharmony; it is part of many communities’ ongoing commitment to protect sacred sites, preserve cultures, and create awareness about the environment. The message from the Longest Walk of 1978 will be carried and continued: “The Longest Walk is an Indian spiritual walk, a historical walk; and it is a walk for educational awareness to the American and the world communities about the concerns of American Indian people,” according to American Indian Movement Co-founder Dennis J. Banks.

The Longest Walk 2 will take two routes. The Northern route will travel the original route of 1978 across 11 states and 3,600 miles. The Southern route will follow the 2006 Sacred Run route across 13 states and 4,400 miles. Both routes will visit sacred sites across the Nation and promote educational awareness for sacred sites protection and preservation. The Southern route will be launching The Clean Up Mother Earth Campaign where Longest Walk participants will work together to clean up our country’s highways and roads by collecting debris found along the Longest Walk route.

For more information please visit:

Día de los Inocentes de los Combustibles Fósiles (Fossil Fools Day): Un día global de acción directa contra el imperio de combustibles fósiles. 1ro de Abril

El 1ro de Abril, muchas personas alrededor del mundo tomarán acción directa contra el imperio de combustibles fósiles, declarando este día tradicional de bromas, como el «Día de Inocentes de los combustibles Fósiles». Rising Tide (Marea Creciente), Rainforest Action Network (Red de Acción de los Bosques Pluviales) , Global Exchange (Intercambio Global) y Earth First! (¡Primero La Tierra!), como también amigos y aliados, están convocando a que ustedes hagan una broma que pega fuerte contra las industrias que son las más responsables por el cambio climático . Ahora es el momento para aumentar el nivel de resistencia.

Nuestro mensaje es simple: para tener alguna esperanza de evitar un cambio climático catastrófico, tenemos que dejar de quemar combustibles fósiles. Todos los cálculos de «neutralización de emisiones de carbono»y palabrería de reducir un X porcentaje de emisiones para 2010, 2020, o 2050 no significarán nada si los combustibles fósiles todavía se utilizan. Pero esto es exactamente lo que promueven los políticos «progresistas», empresas, e incluso algunas de las grandes organizaciones verdes . Mientras engañan al público con su discurso hábil de «carbón lavado», con autos híbridos, y compensaciones de carbono con lo que harán que las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero desaparezcan mágicamente las empresas de energía están ocupadas construyendo nuevos oleoductos y gasoductos, explotando nuevos pozosy desarrollando una nueva flota de centrales eléctricas de carbón tradicionales.

Incluso si hubieran maneras de capturar y guardar permanentemente los gases invernaderos producidos por el consumo de combustibles fósiles (que no existen, a pesar de mucha exageración acerca del secuestro de carbono), todavía rechazaríamos su uso continuo. Desde las montañas antiguas de los Apalaches que están siendo sopladas a pedazos para el carbón barato hasta los tributarios de la Amazonía que están siendo envenenados por la extracción del petróleo. La industria petrolera ha traído solamente terror, muerte, y destrucción a la tierra y los pueblos que los ocupan.

Está bien claro que los gobiernos y empresas del mundo no resolverán la crisis del clima. No queda mucho tiempo. Tenemos que tomar acción inmediata y directa para parar la pesadilla de combustibles fósiles en que vivimos, haciendo frente de tamaño y escala del problema con una respuesta apropiada a la misma. Puesto que lo único que las corporaciones que gobiernan el mundo no quieren es parar la producción de combustibles fósiles. Necesitamos obstruir el imperio de combustibles fósiles hasta que la extracción y consumo de petróleo, carbón, y gasolina no serán mas empresas provechosas.

El Día de Inocentes de los combustibles Fósiles es una invitación para tomar tal acción. Estamos llamando a los pueblos alrededor del mundo a tirar una llave inglesa en el macanismo de las companías que producen, distribuyen y venden combustibles fósiles. Ideas incluyen, pero son de ninguna manera limitadas a: cerrar gasolineras, bloquear centrales eléctricas, ocupando minas de carbón y pozos de petróleo, Home Depots, paseos en bicicletas de Masa Crítica (Critical Mass), perturbar la construcción de nuevas carreteras y ocupar oficinas, concentrandose en bancos como Bank of America y Citi Bank las cuales invierten en carbón.

Desafortunadamente no podemos solamente resistir los combustibles fósiles y pensar que estamos seguros. Empresas de energía ya están persiguiendo una multitud de nuevas y también viejas tecnologías para alimentar el hambre insaciable de energía para la sociedad industrial. El poder nuclear está viendo un renacimiento en plantas nucleares, estas compañías reclaman ser “cero emisiones” no es así, ya que cada año ellos botan toneladas de desperdicio atómico tóxico. ¡Empresas de petróleo están poniendo sus ojos codiciosos en “combustibles agrícolas”, las consecuencias son desastrosas como el uso de más pesticidas, más contaminación, y lo peor de todo, menos alimento! Y por supuesto hay estafas dudosas llamadas “compensaciones de carbono” en las que uno puede pagar empresas para plantar algunos árboles o instalar molinos de viento, prometiendo “neutralizar” su emisión de carbono.

Estas compensaciones de carbono que uno compra hacen muy poco para reducir las emisiones de carbón. Algunos están basados en el modelo colonial del “desarrollo verde o ecológico” en los países de tercer mundo que no les importa la autonomía de las comunidades, roban la tierra de los indígenas, y destruyen comunidades ya autosuficientes. Por ejemplo, las plantaciones en Brasil, que son los llamados en el esquema como los mayores compensadores de carbono, son referidos por los locales como “desiertos verdes” Ya que esa tierra fue originalmente selva o bosques lluviosos, donde había diversidad biológica fue transformada a monocultivos de árboles exóticos, pagado por gente millonaria del norte supuestamente para compensar las emisiones de carbono han sido transformadas en tierras donde no hay animales para cazar o alimentos para recolectar, por lo tanto estas comunidades han desaparecido. Por lo tanto estos sistemas de compensaciones de carbono, no solamente están destruyendo la diversidad biológica pero también la habilidad de comunidades para vivir autónomamente. Quizás lo peor de todo, los modelos mentirosos de compensación de carbono perpetúan la noción que nosotros podemos luchar el calentamiento de la tierra sin parar el uso de combustibles fósiles.

A lo mejor, estas intrigas aflojan ligeramente el desplome inminente del clima, pero en realidad esto acelera las emisiones, la continuación nuestra de dependencia en combustibles fósiles, amplifican las desigualdades actuales, y crearán nuevos problemas sociales y ambientales. Si luchamos exitosamente en el cambio del clima tenemos también que resistir estos tecno-fijares rápidos que buscan solo cebar las carteras del elite del mundo.

El futuro depende de nosotros. Hasta ahora, el movimiento global para justicia del clima no ha enfrentado la urgencia de la crisis del clima con igual intensidad de la problema. Esto no quiere decir que no han habido ejemplos inspirados de resistencia. Activistas en Australia han cerrado repetidamente la fábrica de exportación de carbón más grande del mundo. Granjeros en Irlanda están usando desobediencia civil para luchar un oleoducto de gas lo cual Shell esta construyendo en su tierra. Tribus indígenas por toda la Amazonía bloquean físicamente el acceso de las empresas de petróleo a la tierra. En los EEUU ha habido fuerte resistencia a nuevos centrales de carbón. En 2006 organizaciones como Tierra Primero! (Earth First!) y Marea Creciente (Rising Tide) bloquearon un central de carbón en Virginia. En el noreste de Nuevo México gente del tribu Dine’ han ocupado el sitio de una central de carbón propuesto por más de un año.

Es este tipo de acción que esperamos ver estallar alrededor del mundo el 1ro de Abril y más adelante. El mundo ya ha visto suficientes activistas vestidos como osos polares con letreros y celebridades posando en glaciares derretidos. Es tiempo para que vayamos más allá de la acción simbólica e interrumpamos negocios inocentes de combustibles fósiles. Varias acciones ya han sido planeadas en los EEUU e Inglaterra. Tenemos una multitud de recursos en la red de internet como revista y carteles que pueden ser encontrados en y Si usted está planeando una acción abierta, por favor déjenos saber y le ayudaremos en divulgarla. ¡Si usted está planeando una sorpresa grata cuéntenos como les fue! Contactenos a:

Oil in the Bay

When a cargo ship ran into the San Francisco Bay Bridge November 7, spilling 58,000 gallons of heavy bunker fuel oil into the bay, millions of Bay Area residents who love the bay ecosystem reacted with immediate horror. If you live in the Bay Area, you feel strangely connected with nature through your proximity to the remaining natural aspects of the bay — the shore, the birds living there, plants on the rocks, some fish — even while you dwell in a densely populated urban area covered in concrete. Hearing about an oil spill or industrial pollution in the bay feels personal.

In the wake of the oil spill, everyone expected some kind of dramatic Response — massive efforts to clean up the oil and save wildlife. In these situations, you figure the government is going to Do Something. But recalling government bungling of the response to hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, it quickly became obvious that the government was the problem, not the solution, in the wake of the oil spill.

The oil spill was on Tuesday. Government officials immediately sealed off access to beaches for miles and miles around the bay and warned citizens not to go there. On Saturday after the spill, I happened to bike down to the Berkeley Marina — figuring I wouldn’t be able to get near the water — but I decided I wanted to get as close as I could to see what an oil spill looked like. I figured I would see officials out cleaning the oil and I might see some dead or dying birds.

When I got there, there were signs posted saying that the beach was “closed” but lots of people on the beach by the bike path that goes along Interstate-80 between the Berkeley marina and Emeryville. I didn’t see any oil on the beach from the bike path and I didn’t see any cops around so I walked down to the water.

I had never seen an oil spill before. In fact, there was oil all over the beach and rocks but not a constant sheet – it was in globs between 1/2 an inch across and up to 6 inches across. I didn’t see much oil in the water itself. The oil was black and the consistency of tar. Some was on the sand and some was on the rocks.

I realized that about half of the other people on the beach were cleaning up the oil. At first I figured they were government workers or “official” volunteers but I quickly realized that they had just been drawn to the water to clean up without any official approval or organization. They had plastic bags, kitty litter scraper shovels, rubber gloves and buckets. It wasn’t one group — just a collective, un-organized, individual need to do something. I hadn’t intended to do any cleanup but I immediately realized I wanted to pitch in and so I asked someone who was already cleaning what I should do. He explained how it worked. I found some plastic bags and started picking up oil.

It turns out that when the oil globs are on the sand, you can just roll them up in the sand and put them in your bag without getting it on your hands at all. When it had gotten on the rocks, it looked almost impossible to get off — I left that to others with better technology. I picked up maybe 5 lbs. of oil globs from the sand (plus some other trash) in just a few minutes. With the number of people on that particular beach, it looked like we would get pretty much all the oil on the sand, but none of the oil on the rocks. Most of the shore in that area only has rocks — no sand.

It was really a horrible scene — seeing the beach so dirty and realizing how nasty the oil was and that the entire edge of the bay might look like that for miles — but I found the outpouring of un-organized public energy inspiring. When I biked a mile north to the Berkeley Marina, the police had sealed off the area and were telling the many would-be volunteers who had spontaneously showed up to go home and not go near the oil. I only saw one person in an orange vest doing any clean up there — this is over a vast area. There were tons of cars and trucks with supervisors and bureaucrats, plus lots of cops. That was in contrast to dozens of people actually cleaning the other beach (which wasn’t protected by the police.) I later got an email from a friend saying that 1,000 volunteers showed up to an event in Marin county where people were told to go to volunteer but the authorities were so overwhelmed that they told everyone to go home.

So the reality was that tons of regular people wanted to do something and there was clearly a lot of work to be done, but the government was doing everything it could to stand in their way.

Why did the government spend so much time and energy working to prevent people from dealing with the oil spill while the government wasn’t spending any energy actually cleaning up the spill? Because the government’s main interest is in control of the population — enforcing passivity and preventing spontaneous, independent citizen organization to deal with problems. If people are permitted to organize and solve problems themselves, they’ll realize they don’t need the government or the corporations that control the government. The government’s first job is to justify its own existence.

The government’s eventual response, many days after the initial spill and after they had prevented the public from dealing with the spill themselves, was to bring in corporate clean-up crews — Mexican-American workers, probably poorly paid, doing the same type of work I saw people doing on the beach spontaneously and independently.

The government kept emphasizing how dangerous the oil was and how regular people had to stay away from it for health reasons. Sure the oil was nasty — but how many nasty chemicals (like your average gas station which millions of people visit every day) does the government try to convince us are no big deal?

After the spill, the mainstream press was filled with expressions of outrage blaming the ship operators or its crew for the disaster. But all of this missed the real causes of the spill. Global capitalism involves massive ship traffic around the world to sustain consumerism and enrich corporate interests. Inevitably, oil spills happen with all this commerce. The oil spill — from the government/corporate point of view — is really an acceptable, ecological cost of doing business. Oil spills can’t be viewed as isolated disasters, but must be viewed as another symptom of the capitalist assault on earth to bring a few people in developed areas more acres of plastic crap, along with global warming, deforestation, etc.

Seeing people spontaneously out on the beach self-organizing the clean-up shows that people could get together on a larger scale — to address the root problems. When will we get together to build local economies so we don’t need ships crossing the oceans to bring corporate crap? When will we get together to find energy sources that aren’t toxic and oil based? When will we organize structures to replace the control and management of the government with participation, cooperation, and direct, un-mediated engagement with our lives?

Economic disaster: creating anarchy out of recession

A recession or even a depression does not mean the end of the economy as such, anymore than the death of a president means the end of presidency. The boom/bust cycle is integral to capitalism and that cycle will continue regardless of whether or not there are people calling for an end to capitalism. The only question for anarchists is how to best take advantage of this inevitability.

The US economy is slowing down considerably right now and everyone’s talking about it. Whether or not it will officially go into “recession” is a subject of debate, but it certainly seems more likely today than it did a year ago.

We must look for the ways to make the most of the opportunities created by the periodic cycles of capitalism. Concretely, this means that an economic downturn should be scoured for opportunities to create anarchy, build networks of solidarity, and put forth an analysis of the forces that are mutilating peoples’ lives. To put it succinctly: direct action, mutual aid, and communication.

Economic downturns create new material realities as capitalism becomes temporarily incapable of providing for segments of the population that were previously integrated into the system. Finding ways to meet material needs for ourselves and those around us with an eye towards expanding relationships of mutual aid beyond the confines of temporary economic hardship can become a large-scale challenge for anarchists during a recession. I emphasize the word “ourselves” because an economic downturn would not just affect other people in other places but would also create real hardships for many radicals, even those at the extreme margins of the capitalist economy. This challenge can be in a myriad of ways, depending on how far the economy falls.

Take, for example, organized theft, as happens in a bread riot. Theft can serve as a means of meeting material needs, it can target specific corporations for damage, and it can illustrate the absurdity of abundance in the face of unmet needs. That’s just one example; direct action does not have to meet an immediate material need to be effective, nor do tactics for economic survivalism need to take the form of illegal direct action. The point is to respond to changing circumstances by applying our creativity and analysis to a situation created largely outside of our control.

Are the opportunities for action presented by economic downturn themselves different than at other times, or just their effects? I’d say both. There is a point when differences in degree become differences in kind. Certainly organized theft is appropriate in both boom times and bust, but the meaning of the action changes with the context thus changing the action itself. Every action has multiple aspects, which can be reduced to intent, perception, and effect. The effect of organized theft may remain similar (goods are stolen, although the exact effect of this can vary dramatically), but the intent can change entirely (meeting the needs of others rather than ourselves, for example) and so can the perception, depending on how the action is percieved (most of which is beyond the immediate control of the actors). So in a way, yes the impact has changed more than the act itself, but the act itself and the reasons for it can be completely different.

It’s important to remember that a recession, or any other historical event for that matter, has no inherent meaning. A recession could be an opportunity to turn away from the status quo, but it could just as easily (and usually does) lead to a greater reliance on the system that produces it. The ‘problem’ is blamed variously on incompetent politicians, greedy bankers, or clueless bureaucrats, which leads to the assumption that with better people in charge, such problems would not occur. To veer into the theoretical, the contradictions in history do not create themselves; they are made by people and if we want them to become critical we must make them so by our own actions.

Since I want to encourage everyone to take advantage of whatever unique opportunities are presented by recession, I offer the following broad questions to ask one’s self when thinking about organized responses to a recession, or during the planning of an action. What exactly is the outcome you desire? Does the action you’re planning rely on local information i.e. something that is known because of a unique position)? Will the context allow it to achieve its maximum impact? Are you making an effort to shape the perception of the action as much as is reasonably possible? If you answered ‘no’ to any of these question, tweak your plan and start from the top until you answer ‘yes’ to all of them. If you do that, by necessity, you will come up with a unique plan.

Lobsterbeard contributes to the Center for Strategic Anarchy, (, a site of anarchist analysis of contemporary events.

Malaysia Uprising

The Kuala Lumpur Food Not Bombs– serving once a week for only about a year now– was still enough inspiration for visitors from nearby Bangkok to return home and start one themselves. I checked them out as well while visiting Malaysia and was impressed by the activity going on around them. A year of unexpected protests in 2007 hit this Muslim country near the equator. The protests are not welcomed despite the establishment’s claim that the country is a democracy. Yet 2008 promises a dramatic unraveling that will put the ball in people’s hands to create effective change in the streets as the state goes through spasms trying to maintain their legacy of inequalities.

In 1957, the British relinquished control of colonial Malay, but their influence remained. This may be a surface level boon for the traveler limping along with the English language, readily used by the diverse populace of Malay Muslims, Chinese and immigrant Hindus. But other methods of suppression and race separation the great British empire practiced are continued by the government today. Though the country recently celebrated its 50 years of Merdeka (liberty), the government has not rescinded the nefarious Internal Security Act (ISA) which Americans would recognize as similar to the PATRIOT Act.

The ISA rationalizes the police grabbing any person, foreign or domestic, under the pretense of preserving order. Prisoners are held up to two years without charges or trial. But in fact, the ISA usually applies to people who pit themselves against the government’s interests. In 1985, villagers from the Perak region protested the construction of a radioactive dump near their homes. Several people were detained using the ISA, forcing people to fight the project in court for nearly ten years. In 1998, the ISA was used against Anwar Ibrahim, an opposition member in the government, setting off widespread protests with the slogan “Reformasi”.

Many of the people I encountered remarked on the treatment given to protestors. In early January 2008, a permit was denied to hold a candlelight vigil protesting the ISA on a Saturday night at Merdeka Square. The offical reason was that the vigil would create a traffic jam; however, the square is about 3 football fields long and the attendance would only number a few hundred. Organizers pushed ahead anyway and, the police were right, traffic problems resulted. But they were due to sloppy police action–rolling a riot tank on the candle holders, dousing them with water cannons and chasing them with batons onto nearby streets.

The heavy-handed response may be a symptom of spiraling forces that neither human nor government can contain. Both usually exacerbate the crisis as they attempt to control the situation.

This past year, the Hindu Rights Acton Force (HINDRAF) also initiated protests. The primary motivation was to stop the demolition of temples and shrines. The demands would soon include challenging racial discrimination and reforming the electoral system. The government’s response was to put the HINDRAF leaders in prison under the ISA. This fueled 20,000 people to rally on November 25th, making the government release all but five of the detainees. By late January, the government was purposing new laws to limit and deport visiting Hindu workers, a remedy that will only create more street protests. The Hindi population are living in perpetual poverty and as second class citizens. They work the most undesirable jobs, if they can get one at all, that is. They go to schools that are underfunded by the government, thereby ensuring a life of menial labor and destitution.

This past year also saw the shrinking of the country’s primary crop and staple, palm oil. Greedy western European countries have discovered it as a source of fuel for their cars, thereby denying food and livelihood to much of the Malaysian populace. Bloody upheavals in Indonesia have already started in the new year over similar palm oil shortages; how long before they come to Malaysia is uncertain. A regional flour shortage and soaring gasoline prices will only increase the potential for agitation.

In the eastern part of the country, where some of the world’s oldest jungles remain, indigenous tribes fought displacement from their ancestral land to build a dam. The Penan tribe lost and are in another battle against a timber company threatening to deforest their new home in the jungle in the Barram region. The land they inhabit is evidently a coveted source of wealth for corporations. The tribe’s leader, Lony Kerong, suddenly went missing and was found dead days later. This probably shortened the time until indigenous people are forced to give up living on the land and move to the decaying cities.

Much of the Malaysian population has yet to take to the street or to join the growing protests. People barely exist, spending too much time working useless jobs while being inundated by shopping centers and television induced entertainment. Meanwhile, life and death struggles of immigrants, indigenous people and the extremely poor are distant and obscure. Sometimes the issues surface to public consciousness but the government is doing its best to keep them submerged.

The beginning of 2008 will see elections in Malaysia and many peope don’t see the Muslim government budging much from their seat, though they may fall asleep in it on occasions. I accompanied protesters recently as we traveled to the Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi’s base of operations. The small group of 10 protestors demanded he step down, since he keeps dozing at public functions, offering him a pillow as a retirement gift. I wondered as contemplating the 30 soldiers surrounding the protest, if this is a symptom of having dinosaurs in the leadership of government offices.

Malaysia is not alone in trying to hide the crumbling facade of free elections. In 2007, protests in nearby countries like Pakistan included lawyers throwing molotovs and the assasination of opposition leaders. The unrest and shooting of protestors in Myanmar will testify how dictators like General Than Shwe may age, but they do not step down easily and without the spilling of blood. To the south, former Indonesian military dictator Suharto rots in his deathbed having the legacy of one of the most bloody governments of the 20th century. When he stepped down in the late 90’s, rowdy protests demanded changes that still have not come. In nearby Thailand the former Prime Minister Thaskin, who was ousted in a military coup, is making inroads to regaining influence in the government. This is disturbing fortune, since he implemented a heinous war on drugs in which over a thousand people were executed without a trial. His policies sparked an insurgency in the south where Thailand borders Malaysia. Clearly people are not happy with the distribution of power.

Malaysia’s capital city, Kuala Lumpur, holds the Merdeka Square where traffic will likely be interrupted by swelling protests and standoffs with the police. A growing crime rate spurred the city to promise 600 more cops on the streets. Hopefully they will be ineffectual in stopping the political graffiti sprouting up around town or the new Critical Mass that recently started. These may be small changes and only intially affect a fraction of people, as Food Not Bombs does. But small acts are a testimony that in times of disarray and panic it is essential we don’t let the problems created by multinational corporations and Ivy League ideologies bog us down. We just need to do something simple and immediate.

Beyond Two-Dimensions: The Political Perils of Idealized the Struggles of the Oppressed; An Inter-Movement Critique

“Who am I, as a white American man, to decide how an oppressed group should express their resistance? I support anyone fighting against U.S. imperialism, whether they are insurgents in Iraq or American Indians in Colorado, and I am not going to tell them what they should and should not do.”

About 25 of us were packed into the back room of a local Infoshop to attend a talk about the role of violence in movements for social change. When the presenter arrived at this point, I was not surprised; I had heard this argument so many times, in so many different forms, that I had spotted it long before it was spoken.

One person protested, politely suggesting that many Iraqi insurgent groups do horrible things that are not worthy of anyone’s support. The presenter retorted that the mainstream media misrepresents the struggles of groups in resistance. Heads nodded in agreement, and the conversation quickly moved on to other topics. I am ashamed to say that I remained silent and allowed the issue to be buried.

“Those in positions of privilege who are interested in radical social change should support resistance movements led by oppressed people, withholding all judgment.”

This principle has surfaced in countless radical spaces that I have been a part of, from feminist meetings to Indymedia workshops to anti-war events. Whether explicitly spoken or silently assumed as a foundational truth, it has often had the status of an axiom that is nearly impossible to question. Sometimes it leads to awkward clashes and moral dissonance, but I have never seen it thrown out into the open for all to debate.

I think that this principle contains powerful and misguided claims about human subjectivity. It casts oppressed people as essentially simple and good and constructs their subjectivity as radically different from that of privileged people. It homogenizes complex factions into unified wholes, denying diversity and individual agency. It answers nuanced questions about justice with overly simple statements about human character, jumbling up important discussions within social movements.

We live in a society where constant criticism, insult, and dismissal are everyday instruments and manifestations of oppression. People in positions of privilege learn and adopt these oppressive behaviors, not necessarily because they want to, but because their social positions shape who they are. In order to help disrupt this dynamic and contribute to collective liberation, people in positions of privilege must radically transform themselves; they must examine and change their own oppressive thoughts and behaviors and fight against the oppressive social structures — whether cultural or institutional — that they are caught up in.

The principle that “people in positions of privilege should withhold all judgment of oppressed people in resistance” is an attempt to solve this problem. It suggests that, in order to reverse oppressive social dynamics, privileged people should avoid criticizing and judging oppressed people; indeed, privileged people telling oppressed people what to do and who to be is the very problem, according to this line of thought. Instead, privileged people should take leadership from oppressed people in combating social problems, whether those problems are expressed in interpersonal dynamics or social structures. Only then can we turn social hierarchies on their heads within social movements, and thus ensure that the change we create is truly liberating.

I think that this approach begins to break down when you look at how it constructs the subjectivity of the oppressed versus the privileged person. When I use the word subjectivity, I refer to the internal reality of the person: her interpretation of experience, process of thought, repository of memories, and unique consciousness. I use this word because of its strength; I wish to demonstrate the totalizing effects of claims about human subjectivity.

First of all, to claim that oppressed people are beyond reproach implies certain boundaries. It suggests that privileged people exist within a field where outside and internal criticism is welcome and constructive, but that they should make sure that this criticism stays within their field and does not extend into the realm of oppressed people. This framework is cast as important for the political transformation of privileged people; by absorbing and internalizing criticism from the outside, as well as generating criticism of those who share her social advantage, the privileged person can begin to identify and change her own oppressive ways and those of the larger group to which she belongs. Thus, individual and collective transformation are closely related; the privileged person must continuously work on herself in order to challenge structural oppression and affect positive change in her personal life. Within this framework, the subjectivity of the privileged person becomes hugely important for political struggle. The privileged person must navigate a complex mental terrain, fraught with dangerous thoughts, learned behaviors, and possible mistakes. By employing agency and force of will, the privileged person can transform herself into an agent of positive social change.

The subjectivities of oppressed people are decidedly more static, according to this line of thought. Oppressed people exist within a field that is closed off to criticism — this tool for understanding and growth, by which the privileged person is established as a political subject, is denied them. The oppressed person is seen from the outside — as a part of an oppressed whole — but it is impossible to peer in to learn about her inner workings, if they exist at all. She is a political subject because of the group to which she belongs, not because of her unique desires, goals, motivations, or personal choices. Within this framework, the oppressed person is no longer insulted, harassed, and disproportionately criticized. But she is still “other.” The self that she occupies is unknowable; questioning and criticism cannot be used to decipher the cause of her actions. She is still contained within the category that oppression has created for her — a category of difference as defined by the privileged outsider.

It is easy to see how this line of thought leads to the essentialization of oppressed people as inherently good. The reasoning is that those who suffer under oppressive institutions, governments, and cultures know far more about the workings of oppression than those in positions of privilege ever could. Thus, oppressed people are driven towards positive radical change as a direct consequence of their conditions. Unlike the privileged person, who must fight against the oppressive behaviors she has inadvertently learned, the oppressed person must merely be who she is and follow the knowledge that her social position affords her.

It is true that direct exposure to oppression is a powerful source of knowledge. However, as Joan Scott has argued, personal knowledge through experience is not unmediated. Systems of oppression also serve to beat people down, delude them, and shape their responses. No one can avoid being situated in a historical moment that has power to affect her perceptions of reality. To claim that oppressed people do not have to struggle, self-criticize, introspect, and search in order to do the right thing denies them agency, creativity, and force of will, and in fact, reserves these qualities for privileged people alone, who are constantly tempted to do the wrong thing.

There is no doubt that privileged people in resistance movements need to do a great deal of work to overcome learned oppressive behaviors. However, this effort will only be hindered by embracing clichés about the essential goodness of oppressed people. I think that it is absolutely vital to re-think an approach that renders oppressed people infallible and unreproachable and devise new methods for combating oppression that take human variation and complexity
into account.

Let us return to the previous example to look at what happens when the principle that “oppressed people in resistance are beyond reproach” is applied to real political situations. The presenter essentialized all resistance movements against U.S. imperialism as deserving of indiscriminate support — as pulled by the same force towards good. Yet, who are these “oppressed Iraqi people” bound together by common struggle? Are they Sunnis, Shiites, secularists, socialists, or capitalists? Are they the ones blowing up crowded markets, fleeing Iraq, attending peace rallies, or hoisting the caskets of their children on their shoulders as they march through the streets? Are they the ones carrying out honor killings or fighting for their abolition? The category of the “unified oppressed group” becomes dangerously homogenizing; a complex social situation, with many competing political visions, is reduced to a cliché. Individual subjectivity is lost; all become a part of a whole that does not represent them — that is patently false.

It is easy to see how dangerous this line of thought can become. The false category of the oppressed group makes it impossible to openly discuss oppression within that group — ethnically motivated discrimination and murder, patriarchal oppression, religious tyranny, etc. It also prevents distinction between groups with different political goals.

The principle that oppressed people are beyond reproach contains claims about human subjectivity that are damaging and false. Yet, it is an attempt to answer vital questions about justice within social movements. How do we create fair, equitable movements for radical change? How do we prevent the oppressive power relations that we are fighting against from infecting resistance movements? How do we create coalitions among diverse group of people? How do we handle political disagreement amongst people of differing cultural and privilege backgrounds?

The answers to these questions are beyond the scope of this essay. What I have argued here is that the answers do not lie in clichés about the essential goodness of oppressed people. Political situations are infinitely variable, and so must be correct courses of action. Questions about justice within social movements must be addressed honestly and deeply, with attention to nuance and specificity. While it is important to discuss these issues collectively, it is also vitally important to think for oneself — to approach these questions with open eyes and to take on the full weight of one’s decisions.

BP buys Berkeley – oil company employs university to greenwash their image

The Energy Biosciences Institute (or EBI) was created by the largest deal in US (and possibly world) history between a corporation and a university. In February 2007 The University of California and BP (formerly British Petroleum) announced that BP would commit $500 million to UC Berkeley, the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in order to establish a center for biotechnology research, development and deployment for energy production. The main focus of the research center will be “next-generation biofuels”, which are being touted as the solution to global warming, but will also include research on biological technologies that will increase fossil fuel extraction.

The EBI will introduce onto the Berkeley campus a large, sealed-off, private research facility — a base for fifty BP employees to work closely with university researchers who are looking to develop bio-technologies with the most money-making potential. BP will get first pick of any new technologies and it will also decide what gets researched, as it has an equal say with all of the academic partners combined.

When people got wind of the deal, opposition quickly mounted, and the University went on the defensive. A protest with a fake “oil spill” (really molasses) attracted attention, and students organized teach-ins where professors spoke about the problems with the project. Faculty members denounced the deal in public and EBI opponents quickly won the battle of public perception. Chancellor Birgeneau switched from talking about “this generation’s moon shot” to saying that the EBI wasn’t all that big, or that groundbreaking, really. The deal was reported in the media as “controversial” and as a question of how much influence big corporations should have in public universities, rather than as a chance for idealistic scientists to do good for the environment.

The BP/Berkeley contract was signed in November 2007, but opposition continues, particularly to the construction of ten buildings that Lawrence Berkeley Labs plans to build in the hills above the Berkeley campus over the next decade. Meanwhile, the university has continued entering into similar deals, such as the Joint Biosciences Energy Institute (funded by $125 million from the Department of Energy, best known for managing the nation’s nuclear arsenal), and a $10 million “sustainable research” deal with Dow Chemical, who so far has brought us napalm, Agent Orange, and the Bhopal chemical disaster of 1984.

Next-generation Biofuels?

Most folks these days know about biodiesel and ethanol, two proposed plant-based substitutes for gasoline. The theory is that they are carbon-neutral fuels, since plants are part of the global carbon cycle the carbon released when they burn was taken up by the plant from the atmosphere, so no net carbon is released. But remember: these are plants; they have to grow somewhere. Biodiesel sold in Europe was recently calculated to be responsible for ten times more carbon than gasoline, since Indonesian rainforest is being razed to plant oil palms to meet the increased demand. This illustrates a fundamental problem with any plant-based fuel: planting fuel crops will compete with other uses of the land, reducing the amount of land for native habitat and for food. By any estimate, the amount of land needed to replace fossil fuel consumption with a plant-based fuel would be huge, putting first-world consumption in direct competition with third-world bellies and ecosystems.

Already the increased demand for biofuels is causing increased food prices (mostly due to the use of corn for ethanol) around the world and intense deforestation in Brasil (for sugar cane), Indonesia (for oil palm), and other places.

The proposed solution to all these problems is the promised “next-generation biofuels”, which are still far enough out of reach that all kinds of wonderful things can be said about them. Foremost is the idea of ”cellulosic ethanol”, which will be made by genetically engineered microbes out of the inedible portions of plants, supposedly removing the pressure on the world’s food supply. Even if the technology comes to fruition, only the most starry-eyed claim that we’ll be able to keep consuming as much energy as we currently do without continuing global ecological disaster.

However, this is precisely what UC Berkeley researchers will be working on, under the direction of BP, a technological “solution” that trivializes the social and ecological realities of the situation. The researchers will have high-profile, high-budget lifestyles working to “save the world”, BP will get to greenwash its image, and possibly glean very lucrative patents, and the rest of us get no voice and business as usual, while support for research into real alternatives, like sustainable agriculture and transportation, dries up.

Technological Solutions

The research-industrial complex in general, and UC Berkeley specifically, has a long history of providing technological solutions to major world problems. The best-known example was supposed to end all wars: the nuclear bomb. Pushers of the EBI strove to highlight this connection, drawing parallels between the Manhattan project and future research at the EBI.

Today’s biofuel boom is a reaction to one specific crisis that modern, industrialized society is facing: global warming. Industrialized biofuels are one proposed way to get around that particular crisis, but as they are envisioned, even if they help reduce carbon emissions, they will likely worsen many of the other problems associated with industrialized agriculture: global economic inequality, deforestation, topsoil depletion, soil salinization, loss of biodiversity, and water pollution. Industrialized biofuels will not threaten the profits of agroindustry, the auto industry… or of BP, if they control the technology.

Throwing our weight and resources at this particular capital-intensive solution diverts attention and funding from other solutions that address the root causes of the issue, like decreasing consumption and localizing agriculture. BP is not interested in funding research that will allow people to drive less, nor will technology that allows small farming communities to become energy-independent allow them to continue to profit.

Climate Justice

The BP/Berkeley partnership represents a clear choice of one vision of the planet’s future – a global corporate consumer car-culture for the lucky and a miserable life of toil for the rest – as opposed to an egalitarian, democratically sustainable alternative future. As the changing climate transforms from a fringe issue to a global economic crisis and corporations and governments scramble to seize control of the new energy economy, climate justice movements are sprouting around the world. Landless peasants organizing against slave labor on sugar-cane plantations that produce Brazilian ethanol, South Africans fighting to keep communal land from being taken for biofuel production, and Brits sitting-in to stop a new runway at Heathrow airport are all part of the same movement: it is now clear that while the climate crisis is an environmental issue, what we do about it is a global justice issue. Like the Dineh (Navajo), Brazilians, South Africans and others, the people in Berkeley who have organized against the EBI are fighting to prevent global corporate energy projects from destroying their community. It is our responsibility and a never-to-be-repeated opportunity to create a sustainable and just new world. Corporations that have spent the last century promoting internal combustion, plotting the overthrow of foreign countries, and investing in propaganda to discredit climate change research can only stand in our way.

Defending the forest – tree-sitters battle development at UC Santa Cruz

As I write this, activists are sitting in trees at the University of California, Santa Cruz. UCSC has tried to quell the growing protest by arresting people who would support the tree-sit and filing a lawsuit, a la UC Berkeley. They have even gone so far as to pepper-spray a group of students and community members gathered at the base. But the people in the trees remain. The trees and adjoining parking lot are slated to become the site of UCSC’s new Biomedical Sciences Facility — only the first project in the 2005 Long Range Development Plan (LRDP), which would replace 120 acres of forested land with students housing, recreational facilities, roads and research facilities.

The University of California, Santa Cruz, is not your typical UC campus. Unlike UC Berkeley or UCLA, which are outgrowths of suburban sprawl surrounded by university-themed shopping centers, UCSC occupies a space made of meadows, chaparral, mixed evergreen and redwood forests on a mountain above the city of Santa Cruz. Only about a third of the campus land is built upon. The north part of campus is undeveloped, with an impressive array of forest ecosystems crisscrossed by hiking trails and dirt roads. Over 500 distinct plant species and 500 species of mushrooms have been identified within campus boundaries. Furthermore, UCSC is surrounded by protected State and City park lands: Wilder/Grey Whale Ranch State Park, Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park and the Pogonip city preserve. Upper Campus is an important wildlife corridor between these parks, and contains the headwaters of three important watersheds that each pass through downstream wildlife preserves before draining into the Monterey Bay.

The LRDP maps out a rapid expansion of campus facilities over the next 13 years to accommodate up to 4,500 new full-time students. It plans new buildings and roads on 120 acres of currently forested land and promises to degrade the quality of life in Santa Cruz at large, a community which is already completely “built out” and experiencing traffic congestion, water shortages and unaffordable housing costs.

The ecological and academic consequences of the trajectory set by the LRDP will be far-reaching. One must ask, what is pushing these plans forward, in the midst of a general lack of funding for existing programs? UCSC is under pressure to give up its counter-cultural, liberal arts reputation and become an impersonal research institution with tall, glassy laboratories that can attract private funding and prestigious faculty. The ecosystems that have always been so vital to both the campus and surrounding community are now appreciated only for the “green aesthetic” that they lend to UCSC’s public image.

In the early hours of November 7th, people began hoisting climb lines and wooden platforms into three clusters of redwood trees. By 11 am that morning, one person had been arrested and three people were in redwood trees surrounded by UC police. The tree-sitters had been without food and water all night and one sitter, whose platform had been confiscated before it could be raised, sat in a redwood tree in only his climbing harness. Elsewhere on campus, a planned rally in opposition to the LRDP was underway. Hundreds of students listened to speakers elucidating the numerous problems with UCSC’s expansion plans. In a burst of energy, the rally morphed into a march, led by Santa Cruz’s own Trash Orchestra, to deliver supplies to the tree-sitters.

Hundreds of supporters arrived at the tree-sit on Science Hill armed with food and water. The first group of people to break police lines with bags of food were tackled to the ground by police and arrested, additional waves were met with pepper-spray and batons, but the crowd was not deterred. In a burst of success, they pushed the police line back and surrounded one of the tree clusters. Cheers went out as food and water began going up. The police seemed powerless in the face of the determined mass of people and eventually left, much to the surprise of the crowd.

Opposition to the expansion has been fomenting from all quarters of Santa Cruz society since the University began the planning process three years ago. The comment section of the LRDP’s Environmental Impact Report is flooded with criticisms and concerns, citing the inaccuracy of impact analysis and the inadequacy of proposed mitigations. The city, county and community organizations have filed dozens of lawsuits, after having their concerns ignored by the UC, which holds the authority of a state agency yet behaves in many ways as a private corporation. In August of this year, a judge ruled that the university’s EIR did not adequately account for housing, traffic and water impacts. This lawsuit is currently stalled in attempts at out of court negotiations. The final outcome of these court cases is anyone’s guess, and the University is showing no intention of altering its plans. Before giving their final approval to the LRDP, in spite of the criticisms and exhortations of city officials and local residents, the only comment from the Regents — the board that governs the entire University of California system — was to ask – why only 4,500 new students?

On campus, little had been said about the LRDP since its final approval in 2006. But since November 7th, forums and discussions have being held, educating students and generating ideas that were never touched upon during the original planning process. Professors discuss the issues in their classes, anti-LRDP graffiti abounds and the administration has devoted considerable resources to trying to repair their image after the police violence of November 7th.

At UC Berkeley, tree-sitters are celebrating a year spent in the trees, and in light of UCSC’s reluctance to respond to criticism the UCSC tree-sitters are prepared for a long-term campaign that may take on many different forms before the expansion plans are called off. But the forest of UCSC is worth the effort and energy that will be required. The tree-sitters recognize their struggle in the larger context of defending the little remaining wild areas that exist and opposing the profit-driven agenda that the LRDP represents.

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