Organizing where we are:

Environmentalism in an era of green capitalism

By Kate Zaidan

This December, fifteen years after the signing of the Kyoto Protocol, world leaders will converge in Copenhagen to renegotiate a global solution to the most pressing environmental issue of our time. Barack Obama will undoubtedly tout his efforts to bring the United States on board after decades of climate change denial and congressional cowardice, and most of the world, including mainstream environmental organizations, will likely fawn over his rhetorical and ideological prowess.

Out Of The Frying Pan Into The Fire

Why Public-Private Partnerships are Not the answer to Philadelphia's Budget Crisis

Check it out. It's a special insert for issue 46 all about how we get screwed in the city of Brotherly Love.

Beyond Attica: The Untold Story of Women's Resistance Behind Bars

By Hans Bennett

"When I was 15, my friends started going to jail," says Victoria Law, a native New Yorker. "Chinatown's gangs were recruiting in the high schools in Queens and, faced with the choice of stultifying days learning nothing in overcrowded classrooms or easy money, many of my friends had dropped out to join a gang."

"One by one," Law recalls, "they landed in Rikers Island, an entire island in New York City devoted to pretrial detainment for those who can not afford bail."

Law shares this and other recollections in her new book, Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women (PM Press). At 16, she herself decided to join a gang, but was arrested for the armed robbery that she committed for her initiation into the gang. "Because it was my first arrest -- and probably because 16-year-old Chinese girls who get straight As in school did not seem particularly menacing -- I was eventually let off with probation," she writes.

Forty Years in the Struggle: The Memoirs of a Jewish Anarchist

By Hans Bennett

--A Review of Forty Years in the Struggle; The Memoirs of a Jewish Anarchist, by Chaim Leib Weinberg; English Translation by Naomi Cohen; Edited by Robert Helms; Litwin Books, 2008.

The “Old City” neighborhood of Philadelphia is renowned for its many historic sites related to the “founding fathers” and the US colonial era. Yet, very few know about this same neighborhood’s significant anarchist history. Since 1997, local historian Robert Helms has led an “Anarchist Historical Walking Tour” that presents this history of resistance from the poor and working classes, who viewed the rhetoric about “American Democracy” as a fraud, and organized themselves to challenge the power of the ruling class. Helms is the editor of the just-released English translation of Chaim Leib Weinberg’s (1869-1939) autobiography: Forty Years in the Struggle; The Memoirs of a Jewish Anarchist.

In Defense of the Land:

The Mill Creek Farm and Brown Street Community Garden

By Jade Walker, co-director The Mill Creek Farm, with Suzy Subways


The [Brown Street Community Garden] has been around for 30 years (I remember when the houses caved in on that site and it was just an eyesore for many years) and it now brings much enjoyment to the community. My mother (now deceased), a country girl, had a space in the garden and planted much of the vegetables that eventually found their way to our dinner table. It brought such contentment to many of our senior citizens and lightened their food budgets. Now I am a senior citizen trying to raise my grandson who just turned 13 (my daughter is deceased) and trying to find everything imaginable to keep him occupied and out of trouble.... He spends as much time as possible with the [Mill Creek Farm] staff and he is learning about farming/gardening and he also helps set up the stand to sell the fruits of their labor.”

Engrid R. Bullock, neighbor

The Budget We Got: Selling Philadelphia, selling us out

By Milena Velis and Bryan Mercer

Philadelphia is in crisis. People across the city are feeling the effects of the global economic downturn and wondering what the future will bring for them and their families. The city has finally resolved a long, drawn out, and deeply unsettling budgeting process, and it feels like the dust has finally settled. But even though massive service cuts and layoffs are off the table for now, this economic crisis is far from over, and we in Philadelphia now have a clear idea of the kinds of solutions our city government is willing to present.

The lesson we can learn from a year of repeated deficit announcements, “civic engagement” budget workshops, and political negotiations, is that the poor and working people of the city are paying for this crisis. In a city rife with both wealth and poverty, it's clear that our government’s primary agenda is to attract and protect business, and not to make sure that the wealth generated here meets the basic needs of Philadelphia’s residents. If the city government continues down the path it has chosen, it can only lead us to a broken state that exists to serve business need before public need, abandoning the interests of the majority of Philadelphians. The only solution to the crisis we are currently facing is an independent politics that addresses the real roots of our situation.

Bomb It

by Arielle Burgdorf

You’re walking down the street when suddenly you see it: a stencil of a bandana-clad man  about to throw something. Except where there should be a molotov cocktail in his hand, there’s a bouquet of flowers. Is it clever? Will it make people think? And, most importantly, is it art?

Anarchism, Marxism, and Zapatismo

By Hans Bennett

 

On January 1, 1994, the now-infamous North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect. That same day, the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), rose up and launched a military offensive that occupied towns throughout the state of Chiapas, in Mexico. The EZLN, or “Zapatistas” had been covertly organizing for many years, but they specifically chose the day of NAFTA’s implementation for their public rebellion.

Many components of NAFTA favored US corporate interests at the expense of Mexico’s general population, but the Zapatistas were particularly opposed to NAFTA’s rewriting of the Mexican Constitution, in order to eliminate the population’s biggest victory won during the Mexican Revolution fought 90 years before, at the time of World War One. “The Mexican Revolution wrote into the national constitution the opportunity for a village to hold its land communally, in an ejido, so that no individual could alienate any portion of it,” writes Staughton Lynd, co-author of the new book Wobblies and Zapatistas: Conversations on Anarchism, Marxism and Radical History.

What I Learned At The WTO Protests In Seattle...

by Pete Tridish

A Ruckus I Couldn’t Miss


I first heard about the Seattle Protests at a Ruckus Society training camp about 6 months before the WTO was scheduled to come to town. Ruckus is a group famous for the dramatic and daring banners they hang from cranes and buildings and towers; they focus on human rights and environmental issues. The speaker there representing the anti-WTO organizers, after making an eloquent case for the connections between all the globalization issues and for a coalition of activists of all stripes, said “We will lie down on the airstrips and stop the delegates planes from landing.  If they get past that, we will block the highways leading from the airport to the city. If they get past that, we will block the hotels they are staying in, we will block the streets, and we will block the doors of the convention center and we will not let them make another another free trade deal that week in Seattle.” How could I not help with such a plan? In that moment I committed to go.

AIDS is not in Recesion

AIDS Policy in the Obama Era

by Kaytee Riek

When President Obama took office in 2009, AIDS activists celebrated the historic occasion. The first black president, the first president to have been a community organizer, is also the first president to come to office with an AIDS plan. It was activist pressure that spurred the president to release his ambitious plan on the campaign trail, and it will be activist pressure that helps him live up to it. Nearly a year into Obama’s presidency, it is time to look back on the development of the plan and take stock of where we are in implementing it.

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