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Anatomy of a Struggle: The Coalition of Immokalee Workers

If there is ever to be any effective pushback against the hegemony of capital, we will need bases of power, organized expressions of sustained popular resistance to exploitation and repression.  The contemporary political landscape of neoliberal media message management, social atomization and political alienation  can seem harsh and desolate for those of us looking for direction, for effective means of participation and expression of solidarity.

Today I’ll take a look at the struggle of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers for some measure of justice and dignity in the fruit and vegetable fields of Florida, their history, the impressive solidarity network they have built, some recent victories, and some ongoing and upcoming efforts and actions that offer us all an opportunity to participate in solidarity.

A statement from a section of the French workers

What I have copied over the fold is a declaration issued recently by a self organized group of French workers, a statement of solidarity and strategy in the face of the global neoliberal push (putsch?) for “austerity”.  They call for global resistance based on the following principles:  

– We can take control of our own struggles and organise collectively.

– We can discuss together openly and fraternally, we can speak freely with each other.

– We can control of our own discussions and our own decisions.

Can the workers of the world unite?

How do i delete an essay?

Oops..  That’s what I get for posting without reading first.  My apologies to gjohnsit.  How do I delete an essay?

It was an idea that started in France when it became clear that simple protest was not going to change government financial policies.  It’s now spreading around Europe like wildfire, and appears to be beginning to jump the puddle to this side of the Atlantique:

Banque Stop!…

You should be aware that there is a French-based European movement that is gaining considerable strength that calls for massive, coordinated bank withdrawals across the continent on December 7.  It’s an attempt at a modern, crowd-sourced bank run.

Here’s the US Facebook page:….

Pass it along.

Alienation and political action

It’s a question that gets posted repeatedly around the blogs:

“Why do people vote against their own self-interests?”

Posted at Orange as part of the Anticapitalist Meetup series.

Internet chatter

A couple of items I found interesting from “comments” and “letters” sections on the web.

It’s not just an American problem, score big blogospheric points by accurately identifying the nation this letter is about!  And no, it’s not the US, but then, it could be a lot of countries, couldn’t it?

The _____ government has got it wrong again, but the clue to why is not in the “dozy government” line. It is hidden in your quote that “the elite directing the _____ economy is more tightly closed than an oyster shell”. _____ operates like a one-party state and the government is just the political wing of that elite comprising developers, bankers and newspaper owners, with a whole network of vested interests descending into almost every corner of the _____ state and economic life.

Your answer here.


And a rant about our general system failure by a commenter at Chris Floyd’s blog who offers the forlorn hope that eventually the plunderers will have nobody to plunder but themselves; use of the term ouroboros always worms its way into my heart.

A fatal cancer has spread in the body politic, metastasized to all parts, no organ remains untouched. The corruption of politics and government, of law and the courts, of education and the schools. Warning was given and separation of secular self-direction from self-righteous belief was instituted, a wall was built and accepted as correct for some generations until one generation came along, in glorious, arrogant ignorance, was set upon and dismantled, manipulated by devious politicians to their own ends. Those ends, the access to power that their ideology would not support otherwise. Masters of marketing and mendacity, they gained the keys to the treasury and converted the nation from being a creditor to a debtor, whilst devouring every asset they could set their hands to, depleting the accumulated wealth built for generations, held in trust for those generations to come. All is gone now, only the insurance to ease the aged remains. That will not be intact for long, the appetite of power must be fed.

Absolute power has corrupted absolutely. However, that power, as great as it is cannot sustain itself, it will consume everything in its path until there is nothing left but itself and it will turn on itself in the end, an ouroboros. Like the monkey trap, this creature’s grasp on the fruits of power will not allow its escape from the trap and it becomes prey to greater forces that will destroy it, if it doesn’t eat itself first.

Until this comes to pass, the corruption of power is complete and collapse of power is inevitable. In politics and in government, in law and in the courts there is no place to place the fulcrum required to operate the leaver of change. Power has become the end in and of itself, it can no longer direct the affairs of state or the welfare of citizens.

The Holder Raids: The Reaction Begins

I’ve been reading around the Left web for the past couple of hours, and it is heartening to see the quick solidarity toward the Freedom Road Socialist Organization comrades being subjected to police raids and the confiscation of vast quantities of their personal papers, records, mementos, and even money.  

Left activists from across the spectrum are organizing a series of emergency protest rallies around the country over the next few days, using Facebook and other social media to spread the word.  A list of those rallies and various related items on the flip.

The Long March of Paul Craig Roberts

He was 30 years ago one of the ideological firebrands of the Reagan Administration.  As its Assistant Treasury Secretary, was the actual author of the Reagan Administration’s centerpiece Kemp-Roth tax bill, and was also the author of the book The Supply-Side Revolution.  

But in a party that often gives them lip service and then the bus, he made the mistake of actually taking seriously his libertarian principles of civil liberties at home and anti-intervention abroad.  Thus in the Bush years he began to move away from the Republican Party leadership, including many of his former colleagues.

Happy Labor Day

It may not be the real Worker’s Day, but it’s what we’ve got, and we just need to learn to make the most of the things we have if we’re ever going to change things for real, change things for ourselves.

Happy Labor Day!

Roots of the 21st Century Social Crisis

Ours is a period of profound social crisis: our social discourse and political “possibilities” rigidly limited by a narrow ideological hegemony, political system failures, continuous economic dislocation even in “boom” or “growth” years, an increasingly precarious worklife for an ever-growing proportion of the population, an increasingly damaged natural world, and an increasingly violent and fragmented social world.  Concepts like class consciousness, social solidarity, and a sense of enduring community have largely disappeared, or, more accurately, been expunged from our social reality.  This interconnected web of problems is what I’ve taken to calling the 21st Century Social Crisis.  This crisis has its origin in the collapse of the 20th century’s once highly successful social compromise between the powers of capital and of the people, what I call the 20th Century Synthesis.

The Tea Party and the 21st Century Social Crisis

I’ve been thinking tonight about the accumulating and apparently accelerating cycle of social crises and conflicts of the past several years.  Specifically I’ve been thinking about this in the context of the rightist “Tea Party” movement, which may have reached its high-water mark with the nomination of Rand Paul as the Republican candidate for Senator from Kentucky.  Most notable to me is the stridently pro-corporate, pro-business nature of Paul’s rhetoric.  This exposes to some degree the contradiction between the rightist nature of the Tea Party, and the string of corporate abuses that have provided much of the social discontent on which the Teabaggers have sought to advance.

This is also the first, tentative and provisional, step in my long contemplated effort to develop a larger social and ideological critique of the current social crisis, both in the US and globally.  I’m sure I’ll backtrack, reassess, recorrect some good portion of this and what will follow, but for the first time I feel at least sufficiently  confident of my understanding to begin putting words on paper, or on electron as the case may be.  

May Day 2010 in Copenhagen

As usual, International Workers Day was a combination of festivity and militance in the Danish capital, as a diversity of left and workers parties and organizations held various events around the city and throughout the day.  Below, a quick photojournal of the day’s proceedings.

How to Change the World: Yell Louder (and DON’T Take Power)

You say you want to change the world?  Or even some small part of it?  Everyone says to do that you must take power.  State power is the appropriate tool for making change we’re told, on all sides, by parties and politicians of left, center and right.

But if the world is run by people chasing after power to remake the world in their own image by taking power, then how does pursuing power to change things and remake them in our image introduce any true change in the system?  That’s the question John Holloway asks in his book Change the World Without Taking Power.

In the beginning, he advises, we must take an action every DDBlogger knows quite well: yell louder.  In fact, scream.

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