Venezuela Hosts Global Grassroots Women’s Conference to Mark 100-year Anniversary of International Women’s Day

Along a noisy highway in Caracas, Venezuela stand a series of tall buildings that once belonged to Exxon-Mobile. Today, those buildings are home to the Bolivarian University, where poor and working class people can get a free higher education and specialize in careers that are focused on community development and political organization. The Bolivarian University is just one of the many innovative government supported projects underway in Venezuela, and for that reason it was selected to host the Global Grassroots Women’s Conference, which took place this past week.

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Acteal, Mexico: Building Autonomy in the Shadow of Repression

Article written with help from Koman Ilel.

Fernando Luna was six years old playing in a mountain side cave with his brother in the beautiful indigenous village of Acteal, Chiapas when they heard the thunderous footsteps and shouts of paramilitaries running by on the land above their heads. Minutes later they heard the gunshots as the paramilitaries opened fire on a church full of people praying for peace in the region at a religious ceremony. The paramilitaries left 45 people dead, the majority of whom were women and children, 5 of whom were pregnant, and 22 of whom were younger than 16. Of these 45 people, 7 were members of Fernando's family including his mother and brother. Fernando said it made his childhood very difficult as he “had no one to care for him, make tortillas, and maintain the household” but also that it inspired him to spend his life fighting for justice.

Open Call to End Apartheid

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Camping, as in the kind with tents

For the past two weeks I've been helping organize a volunteer camp in small town Chile. It's simply called the Trabajo Voluntario (Volunteer Work) or TraVol, and was co-organized by the Free University of Santiago. If you read Spanish, there's more info at:

The camp is taking place in Polpaico, a a small, relatively poor town in the northern part of the Santiago Metropolitan Region (there are 13 regions in Chile, kind of like states but less autonomous from the federal government). It's not really a city, but it's also not isolated, as hundreds of vehicles pass everyday.

Autonomous Spaces, from Philly to Santiago

Earlier this week I went to La Legua, a neighborhood in the Santiago, the capital of Chile. La Legua is a población, which is a term used to refer to working class neighborhoods that were often formed in huge land occupations in the middle of the 20th century. It was explained to me that La Legua was one of the few neighborhoods were there was open, popular resistance to the US-backed coup of General Augosto Pinochet on September 11th, 1973.

Meanwhile .... elsewhere on planet Earth, the Multitudes continue to Strike Back against Empire

Yesterday (November 28, 2010) Ireland’s multitudes took the streets to protest proposed reductions in pensions and the minimum wage as well as massive layoffs, all repercussions of a “bailout” deal with the EU which, as elsewhere in Europe, means cuts to health care, education, social security and infrastructure. Let’s call it the post-Reagan “US Model.” The continuing global Crisis created by out of control, runaway banks and real estate developers in sycophantic relationships with governments who then step in to guarantee the bank debts, while the rest of us are, as the Irish would say, “fecked.” Debts incurred, US economist Paul Krugman points out in a recent column “Eat the Irish,” “not to pay for public programs, but by private wheeler-dealers seeking nothing but their own profit – yet ordinary Irish citizens are now bearing the brunt…”

John Holloway, Crack Capitalism and Latin America

Radical sociologist and anti-capitalist writer John Holloway's latest work Crack Capitalism (Pluto Press 2010) continues to explore the fundamental themes of how best to combat capitalism and change the world anew. Following on from his widely read and contentiously debated book Change the World Without Taking Power: The Meaning of Revolution Today (Pluto Press 2002), Crack Capitalism explores the key question - what now is to be done?

Over Wo(my)n’s Dead Bodies: On Surviving ‘Liberation’

It was a vivid autumn evening. Americans were still grieving from the stun of 9/11, and the only entity that dared punctuate the eerily quiet streets of New York were the lurid faces of the missing, plastered across a thousand white pages on everything that could still stand in lower Manhattan. It was under this tense and mournful atmosphere that first lady, Laura Bush, took to the airwaves. It would be the first solitary address of any president’s wife in U.S. history, and Mrs. Bush would use her airtime to bolster her husband’s military campaign, Operation Enduring Freedom. Just six weeks after the US invasion of Afghanistan, Mrs. Bush spoke with confidence and pride as she described the rejoicing felt across Afghanistan with the fall of the Taliban. ?

Violence is a Small River: To be with Society is an Ocean.

An Interview with Athens Anti-Authoritarian Movement Comrades

This August I interviewed three comrades from the Athens section of the Anti-Authoritarian Movement of Greece (Alpha Kappa/AK in the Greek acronym). The folks I interviewed live in Exarhia, a neighborhood with a massive anarchist population in central Athens where the December 2008 Greek Uprising began, around which 200 police maintain a permanent security perimeter.

France Protests Austerity

Riots in Greece, militant student mobilizations in Great Britain, general strikes in Portugal and Spain, Ireland on the edge of financial collapse: this is the emerging face of Europe under the threat of economic crisis.  And in France over the past few months, millions of workers and students took to the streets to protest the French government’s proposed pension reform bill, disrupting transit and nearly crippling its oil industry.  Battles around pensions in France have erupted at key moments over the last 15 years, often resulting in the withdrawal of proposed reforms.

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