Anti-Workfare Street Party, Student Action, and more events in December

Bristol Anarchist Federation

How to survive the cold nights, dark days, and endless parade of twee consumerism of December?  Well, this list of inspiring actions and events might help keep your spirits warm. As always, more events are listed on our calendar.

Bristol Radical History GroupLocal History Bookfair
Annual event hosted at the Bristol record office. This year features the Radical History Group discussing Eastville’s secret unmarked graves, and hidden workhouse history, and a discussion of Treasure Island and the influence Bristol had on it.
Bristol Record Office  Saturday 6th 10am – 4.30pm

nofeesnocutsNo Fees, No Cuts, No Cops, No Debt
The Tory government tripled fees loading our generation with other £44,000 undergrad debt. The coalition has cut more than £1.38billion from higher education. Teaching staff have had their pay cut by 15% whilst some support staff are still not paid a living wage.Students deonstrating against cuts have been pepper sprayed and illegally detained.


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Marvel announces ‘Howard the Duck’ by Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones

Happy now.

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Who We Are link. Could this is what Russell Brand means when he says don’t vote.

I recently watched Bill Maher’s complaint about voter apathy. BM aimed his rant at Russell Brand, who recently wrote a book where he advocated for not voting. 

I am of two minds on this subject. I currently hold two conflicting views, and so I thought I might wrote about it so that I can gain some perspective on this issue.

I agree with both BM and RB. I think that voting in a rich leader to solve our problems and do our thinking for us is all but pointless. And yet I still vote. I vote because of many of the reasons that BM states in his rant against people like me, who say that voting doesn’t make much of a difference.

Here is BM: Bill Maher slams Russell Brand for telling people…:

Here is RB: Russell Brand Democracy Now Interview 11/14/14 pt…:

I am more in line with RB, than BM in most cases. But BM makes a really good case for voting for the lesser of two evils here.

But is he building a Stawman? I have studied anarchism for a number of years, and it looks like RB is on a path that leads toward solidarity and one big union — in modern term, something like this statement of  Who We Are by an online anarchist group.

Now I have not read RB’s book. He may indeed be calling for something merely spiritual. If so, I chalk it up to Brand being young and still somewhat new to this stuff. And I will say that Brand does appear to be too in love with his own style, to follow his own logic all they way past the hard parts — the places in leftest thought that recognizes the limits of current democratic practice and the disasters of authoritarian communism. So, he recognizes that socialism needs to be democratic and the representative democracy has only been able to produce oligarchy — like many leftists. But how does one create a new option for democracy? We might, like Chomsky or Zinn, wish for a direct democracy, where laws are directly in control of the people and the means of production are owned by workers and not an elite minority nor a state. In deed, such a system would not have a state, but rather a true democratic system of equality distributed authority. There would also be markets without capitalism, proper.

But the question is, how do we get from A to B?

I can’t say I have the answer. But I think building new systems that seek to eliminate the oppression of the many by the few and slavery in all its forms is something worth theorizing about. And if we have to vote for the lesser of two evils while we build this thing, then that’s what we ought to do.

But what I hope to avoid is placing too much emphasis on Brand’s call to stop voting. The focus needs to be on building new networks of solidary between workers of all stripes. The focus needs to be on the fact that right-wingers won executive power in this last round of voting, but progressive measures passed. This proves that, at least in some way direct democracy has a real chance of working. The focus needs to be only learning how to get from A to B.

If Brand can only offer spiritual awakening at this point, then at least he can point to what is really wrong right now. Unlike Maher who can make us laugh, but can’t say anything new — just offer the same old lines about about voting for the lesser of two evils. I say we watch Brand evolve on this. I think he is an emerging voice, and he will come up with something new if he keeps getting challenged.

So maybe Brand will issue a response. That would be cool. But, if it’s all the same, I think we would be better to research this discussion on building solidarity in the 21st century and see where it takes us. Or we could send Brand copies of Rodulf Rocker (we know he reads Chomsky, but does he read the source material). Idk.

But I do think Brand is worth sticking with. And I don’t think it’s fair to stop listening when he says something that makes us uncomfortable. That goes double when the only advice we get is cliched lines about voting for the lesser of two evils.

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Meet Captain Marvel: Fighter Pilot, Feminist and Marvel’s Big Gamble

They talk to DeConnick in this and she makes great points.


If you’re not a comic book fan, you probably hadn’t heard of Captain Marvel before last week — and you likely wouldn’t have guessed that she’s a woman.

Last Tuesday, Marvel Studios announced that the Carol Danvers, a.k.a. Captain Marvel, will be the first female superhero to get her own Marvel Studios movie in 2017. She will be in good company: Both Wonder Woman and a unnamed female character from the Spider-Man universe will get their own treatments that year too.

The decision came as a shock even to the Captain Marvel comics writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick, who after neglecting to return a phone call from her editor, found out through her Twitter feed. She responded by tweeting, “Did not see this coming.” And if the movies stay true to the comic books, the fighter pilot with half-alien DNA and a passing resemblance to Gloria Steinem in both looks…

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Black blocs and contemporary “propaganda of the deed”

A very, very good understanding of propaganda of the deed and modern anarchism.

Philosophers for Change

by Jeff Shantz 

That anarchists should run afoul of the authorities is hardly surprising.  Indeed, anarchism has a long history of direct conflict with State institutions and their defenders.  Some of the most striking images from this history are the caricatures of black trenchcoat wearing “bomb throwers” who owe their fame to activities at the turn of the Twentieth Century.  Novels such as Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent and Frank Harris’ The Bomb have kept the character of the fanatic alive.  In the popular imagination the spectre of anarchy still conjures notions of terror, chaos, destruction and the collapse of civilization (Marshall, 1993).  Some contemporary anarchists choose as an element of style to play up this image, dressing entirely in black and printing “zines” with such titles as “The Blast”1 and “Agent 2771.”2

There is no surprise, of course, that rulers should so desire to construct anarchists as nihilistic…

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County police chief admits officers broke Ferguson 5-second protest rule

Have to keep an eye on this.

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – It is now up to a federal judge to decide whether the so-called ‘five-second rule,’ which police have been using as justification to force protesters in Ferguson to keep moving or face arrest, is legal.

U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry heard testimony Monday in St. Louis in a case brought by the ACLU, claiming police have no legal right to arrest protesters for “refusal to disperse” just for standing still.

“We have very serious concerns about the lack of due process that is happening in Ferguson,” said ACLU of Missouri Legal Director Tony Rothert.

“It does seem to be an intimidation tactic in many ways and that just makes people feel picked on and agitated and leads to the kinds of feelings that cause the unrest that we have seen,” he said.

On the stand, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said…

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10 Albanian habits that are making me a rude American

I should move to Albania. I like that these moves are not considered rude. I think politeness in America is the reason nothing ever changes. “We must not wag fingers.” You have to sometimes.

That said, I don’t think I could snap at a waiter…

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Very well stated. Many atheists bother me because they don’t push the logic of atheism far enough to include all the ways that humans make Gods out of other people in positions of power or think magically under the guise of science or whatever, then elevate that thinking above all other ways of knowing without justification. How can one be atheist and remain paternalistic? Atheism is better understood as anarchy, a call to banish all Gods from the sky. The blog that I am reblogging here is really good at pointing out where atheism and anarchy meet.

Larval Subjects .

leviathanWhat does atheism mean to me?  It’s certainly not, in my view, a thesis about religion.  Figures like Dawkins and Hitchens are as bad as the theists I joust with.  It’s not even a thesis about the supernatural or the magical or the divine.  No, to me atheism is a thesis about masters.  It’s a rejection of all masters, whether they be divinities, kings, fathers, mothers, intellectual figures we fawn over; anything raised over the rest.  Atheism is the recognition that there is no being, divine or otherwise, that is deserving of the place of master or sovereign.  It’s a war against all fathers, and mothers as well, that would occupy the position of sovereign.  It’s a commitment to fraternity and sorority and other unheard of ways of relating to humans and nonhumans on a flat plane besides.  As a consequence, my Wiccan or Christian brothers, sisters, mammals, and animals…

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What My Bike Has Taught Me About White Privilege

This is very well done and will make a great teaching tool for anyone teaching or privilege and writing. Make sure your students take note of the authors style and how that relates to the intended audience. Also, note how the author builds ethos as he skillfully points out how white privilege is different from liberal white guilt. How successful is the “I’ve been there too strategy?”

Finally, asking the students what they think the author might be asking them to do instead of feel guilty is a question that could lead to an interesting discussion. Metaphorically speaking, what would building bike lanes look like if we applied the metaphor to, say, college admission? Are bike paths “separate but equal?” Is a question that could get a few nervous laughs, but it might also be worth thinking about because it leads to a deeper discussion on the nature of mataphor to knowledge. Such a discussion could lead students to new invition strategies as they try to make their own metaphor for discussing race and privilege.

Oh, one last last-thing: does the author suggest that we try to feel what others feel or does he want us to take action focused on creating a more equal world?

A Little More Sauce

The phrase “white privilege” is one that rubs a lot of white people the wrong way. It can trigger something in them that shuts down conversation or at least makes them very defensive. (Especially those who grew up relatively less privileged than other folks around them). And I’ve seen more than once where this happens and the next move in the conversation is for the person who brought up white privilege to say, “The reason you’re getting defensive is because you’re feeling the discomfort of having your privilege exposed.”

I’m sure that’s true sometimes. And I’m sure there are a lot of people, white and otherwise, who can attest to a kind of a-ha moment or paradigm shift where they “got” what privilege means and they did realize they had been getting defensive because they were uncomfortable at having their privilege exposed. But I would guess that more often than…

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Literacy, ADHD, -isms, and the intersectionality that is Marvel Comics: 1973 – 1980

Urbned's Blog

From the time I was five until twelve years old, I would spend every Thursday night from six o’clock until eight o’clock at the grocery store with my mother as we set forth on our weekly food shopping expedition.  This grocery store was the finest in the area in terms of product quantity and customer service. Of course, to anyone born after 1983, the thought of anything but expansively marketed products and consumer driven technological advancements seems Paleolithic in terms of efficiency and availability.  Nonetheless, this grocery store was not only the kingdom of all things Stauffer’s and Kellogg’s, but  housed a serious comic book section that only a visual learner, like myself, could truly appreciate to a point of adolescent homage. Remember folks, this is several years before Atari released PONG in home version and cable was limited to thirteen channels.  

As we entered the grocery store, my mother…

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