Extinction Rebellion launches campaign of financial disobedience Reply

It’s always good to see leftists, who are usually pro-taxes and have a negative view of secession, actually practicing forms of pan-secessionism with tax strikes, sanctuary cities, and local nullification of federal drug laws. Just like it is good to see conservatives, who typically champion law and order, defying the gun control laws or lockdown orders of blue state governments.

By Matthew Taylor, The Guardian

Extinction Rebellion is launching a campaign of financial civil disobedience aimed at exposing the “political economy’s complicity” in the unfolding ecological crisis.

The group – which has staged some of the UK’s biggest civil disobedience protests over the past two years – is turning its attention to what it says will be a sustained campaign of debt and tax strikes. It is also asking people to “redirect” loans from banks that finance fossil fuel projects to frontline organisations fighting for climate justice.

Gail Bradbrook, a co-founder of XR, which was set up two years ago, said: “It’s time to tell the politicians who prop up this way of living: no more. We want an economy that grows health and wellbeing, not debt and carbon emissions. An economy that prepares and protects us from shocks to come, rather than making them worse. An economy that shares resources to meet all our needs, regardless of background. An economy that lets us live.”

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R.I.P. Infoshop, 1995-2020 Reply

Infoshop was the longest-running left-anarchist site on the web. It had been around almost as long as the Internet has been available for public use.  However, its archives remain available. The following article by the recently deceased left-anarchist David Graeber on “The Twilight of Vanguardism” is interesting.

“The Twilight of Vanguardism”

By David Graeber, Infoshop

This essay was delivered as a keynote address during the “History Matters: Social Movements Past, Present, and Future” conference at the New School for Social Research (www.newschool.edu/gf/historymatters for more information).

Revolutionary thinkers have been saying that the age of vanguardism is over for most of a century now. Outside of a handful of tiny sectarian groups, it’s almost impossible to find a radical intellectuals seriously believe that their role should be to determine the correct historical analysis of the world situation, so as to lead the masses along in the one true revolutionary direction. But (rather like the idea of progress itself, to which it’s obviously connected), it seems much easier to renounce the principle than to shake the accompanying habits of thought. Vanguardist, even, sectarian attitudes have become deeply ingrained in academic radicalism it’s hard to say what it would mean to think outside them.

The depth of the problem first really struck me when I first became acquainted with the consensus modes of decision-making employed in North American anarchist and anarchist-inspired political movements, which, in turn, bore a lot of similarities to the style of political decision-making current where I had done my anthropological fieldwork in rural Madagascar.

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What Are So-Called “Second Amendment Sanctuaries?” Reply

Based on everything that has happened in 2020, I’d say the ATS position has largely been vindicated. On an international level, unipolarity seems to be moving toward retreat. Domestically, the lumpenproletariat has clearly demonstrated itself to be the vanguard class of the anarchist revolution. Pan-secessionism seems to be developing and coming from all points on the political spectrum as evidenced by sanctuary cities (from the left), 2nd amendment sanctuaries (from the right), and drug war resistance initiatives (from libertarians). The only major point I seem to have gotten wrong was overestimating the commitment of conventional radicals to overthrowing the system and underestimating the intensity of culture war psychology. That precludes the development of a left/right alliance against the state, but something just a valuable is happening in the form of the fractiousness that is taking place. The center is being delegitimized and the Left and Right have come to view each other as existential enemies with different factions, ranging from anti-lockdown protestors and to anti-police protestors, simply disregarding the state as they see fit.

Brady United

In a backlash to newly passed gun safety laws, gun rights extremists in some localities across the country are declaring that state gun safety laws don’t apply in their communities. Calling themselves “Second Amendment sanctuaries,” some localities are going so far as to pass resolutions declaring that they will refuse to enforce and dedicate tax-funded resources to the implementation of state gun safety measures.

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Sanctuary Cities, Counties, and States 3

Center for Immigration Studies

The sanctuary jurisdictions are listed below. These cities, counties, and states have laws, ordinances, regulations, resolutions, policies, or other practices that obstruct immigration enforcement and shield criminals from ICE — either by refusing to or prohibiting agencies from complying with ICE detainers, imposing unreasonable conditions on detainer acceptance, denying ICE access to interview incarcerated aliens, or otherwise impeding communication or information exchanges between their personnel and federal immigration officers.

A detainer is the primary tool used by ICE to gain custody of criminal aliens for deportation. It is a notice to another law enforcement agency that ICE intends to assume custody of an alien and includes information on the alien’s previous criminal history, immigration violations, and potential threat to public safety or security.

Sanctuary Cities

OpenTheBooks Oversight Report - Federal Funding of America's Sanctuary  Cities | Open The Books

Second Amendment Counties

Second Amendment sanctuary - Wikipedia

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On Election Night, the Real Winner Was Drugs Reply

This is probably the most important victory in the fight against the state in 50 years, since the draft was ended and the US withdrew from Vietnam in the early 1970s. This is the most important news to come out of the election, and not which asshole gets to be the oligarchy’s front man.

By Elizabeth Nolan Brown, Reason

Drugs are winning the war on drugs. It’s the morning after the 2020 election, and the result everyone is waiting for—will Donald Trump best Joe Biden, or vice versa?—is still a mystery wrapped in a clusterfuck. But there was one absolutely certain loser last night: the war on drugs. If Americans across the country provided a clear mandate for anything this year, it’s ending the hold that drug prohibition has on our country.

Of nine drug decriminalization or legalization measures on state ballots last night—including two addressing hallucinogens and one covering all illegal drugs—not a single one failed. These were decisive victories, too, not close calls. And unlike some previous waves of pro-marijuana votes, which were concentrated in predictable areas, successful anti–drug war measures in 2020 spanned a diverse array of states.

Ballot measures making marijuana legal for recreational purposes passed in three: Arizona, Montana, and New Jersey. South Dakota approved both recreational and medicinal marijuana. In addition, Mississippi voters approved a medical marijuana measure.

Measures to OK consumption of hallucinogenic mushrooms got a green light from voters in the District of Columbia and in Oregon.

And Oregonians also approved Measure 110, partially decriminalizing all illegal drugs.

These drug measures didn’t just eke out wins.

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Election Day was a major rejection of the war on drugs Reply

The collapse of the war on drugs will probably continue to rapidly escalate in the years ahead. Drug policy reform seems to be picking up momentum the same way the gay rights movement started out on the margins and rapidly gained victories once a certain tipping point was reached. The way this is happening is also interesting. It started out at the local level, working through referendums rather than conventional legislation, with the states and the private sector eventually getting behind reform efforts, winning the support of a supermajority of liberals and then a critical mass of conservatives, with the feds predictably being the biggest foot draggers.

By German Lopez, Vox

We still don’t know with certainty who will be the next president of the United States. But this year’s election results have given us a lot more clarity on one thing: American voters, even conservative ones, are ready to reel back the US’s war on drugs.

In every state where a ballot measure asked Americans to reconsider the drug war, voters sided with reformers. In Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota, voters legalized marijuana for recreational purposes. In Mississippi and South Dakota (separate from the full legalization measure), voters legalized medical marijuana.

In Oregon, voters decriminalized — but not legalized — all drugs, including cocaine and heroin. Also in Oregon, voters legalized the use of psilocybin, a psychedelic drug found in magic mushrooms, for supervised therapeutic uses.

In Washington, DC, voters in effect decriminalized psychedelic plants, following the lead of several other cities.

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Nonviolent revolution Reply

The Wikipedia entry on nonviolent revolution. This is how it’s done. I wouldn’t necessarily endorse every revolution described in this, and I’m not opposed to violence as a matter of principle, but successful revolutions are those which are simply about withdrawing consent from the existing ruling class and dispersing power. Violence needs to be restricted to the defense of territories that have broken away from a wider system of authority, or in resistance to those who attempt to seize power as a new ruling class. Revolutions that are driven by ideological fanaticism always produce new tyrannies or civil wars.

A nonviolent revolution is a revolution conducted primarily by unarmed civilians using tactics of civil resistance, including various forms of nonviolent protest, to bring about the departure of governments seen as entrenched and authoritarian without the use or threat of violence.[1] While many campaigns of civil resistance are intended for much more limited goals than revolution, generally a nonviolent revolution is characterized by simultaneous advocacy of democracy, human rights, and national independence in the country concerned.

An effective campaign of civil resistance, and even the achievement of a nonviolent revolution, may be possible in a particular case despite the government in power taking brutal measures against protesters.[2] The commonly held belief that most revolutions that have happened in dictatorial regimes were bloody or violent uprisings is not borne out by historical analysis. Nonviolent revolutions in the 20th century became more successful and more common, especially in the 1980s as Cold War political alliances which supported status quo governance waned.[3]

In the 1970s and 1980s, intellectuals in the Soviet Union and other Communist states, and in some other countries, began to focus on civil resistance as the most promising means of opposing entrenched authoritarian regimes. The use of various forms of unofficial exchange of information, including by samizdat, expanded. Two major revolutions during the 1980s strongly influenced political movements that followed. The first was the 1986 People Power Revolution, in the Philippines from which the term ‘people power’ came to be widely used, especially in Hispanic and Asian nations.[4] Three years later, the Revolutions of 1989 that ousted communist regimes in the Eastern Bloc reinforced the concept (with the notable exception of the notoriously bloody Romanian Revolution), beginning with the victory of Solidarity in that year’s Polish legislative elections. The Revolutions of 1989 provided the template for the so-called color revolutions in mainly post-communist states, which tended to use a color or flower as a symbol, somewhat in the manner of the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia.

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Exercise: What Would an Anarchist Program Look Like? Reply

This is an interesting document.  I would agree with many of the statements made in this, and much of the overall analysis that is provided. The ostensible goals may even be admirable in many ways. But this “program” would ultimately end up the same way as all “world transformative” schemes, i.e. with bloodshed and tyranny. What this program amounts to is basically a standard Marxist revolution with an element of ethnic/tribal/racial warfare blended in. The historical verdict on such efforts has been rendered, and the evidence is overwhelming they produce horrible results.

Crimethinc’s “program” for a civil war is about as “anarchist” as Chairman Mao or Pol Pot. The end result of the proposed scenario would be Yugoslavia 1992 or Lebanon 1982. That may not be the intention but that is the results they would get. A successful anarchist revolution, or a successful revolution of any kind, cannot be about the kinds of retribution and recrimination described in this. It has to be merely about dispersing power with people and groups going their own way. “Year Zero” schemes of the type being proposed by Crimethinc are dangerous and need to be guarded against.

It is impossible to achieve many of these objectives without an authoritarian, centralized, Marxist-Leninist-like regime. Instead, an anarchist revolution needs to be more like Cheran, Mexico where communities simply disregard conventional political authority and manage their own affairs, whether independently or in voluntary federation with other communities.

Crimethinc

Every campaign season, political parties publish platforms detailing their promises plank by plank. These platforms are not binding—politicians rarely fulfill their promises, and it’s often worse when they do—but they do offer an outline of the vision each party claims to represent. Anarchists take a different approach: rather than offering a prefabricated blueprint, we propose to work things out together, dynamically, according to the principles of self-determination, horizontality, mutual aid, and solidarity. Still, whenever people encounter anarchist ideas for the first time, there is a certain kind of person who always demands to see a clear template. In response, one of our contributors has put together an example of an anarchist program—a set of proposals that could be put into effect in the course of a revolution—as an imaginative exercise, to make it easier to picture what sort of practical changes anarchists might aim to implement.

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What Will It Take for Americans to Consider Breaking Up? Reply

I would point out that Jeff Deist, a supposed vocal proponent of secession, was actually opposed to CHAZ/CHOP, which probably indicates that many libertarians would oppose any form of secession that does not conform to bourgeois economic or behavioral norms, just as many left-wing anarchists oppose any kind of secession that does not embrace leftist cultural values, which means they are really not against the system but merely represent rival factions of the system.

By Jeff Deist, Mises Institute

It’s one thing for mass democracy to produce bad results, in the form of elected politicians or enacted policies. It’s another when the democratic process itself breaks down because nobody trusts the vote or the people who count it. But that’s precisely where we are.

As things stand at this writing, last night’s presidential election remains undecided and looking ugly. At least six states are still uncalled, and both the Trump and Biden camps have their legal teams claiming victory. We may be in for days, weeks, or even months of legal skirmishes, all of which can only add to our intense political (or more accurately cultural) breakdown.

Today, perhaps 140 million American voters are in purgatory, fearfully wondering what will happen to them if the other guy wins. This is nothing short of a national psychosis, absurd yet deadly real. And it gets worse every four years, despite the narrowing of any “policy” differences between the two parties over recent decades. If anything, presidential votes are overwhelmingly about tribal affiliations with our kind of person, not substantive ideology.

Yes, this is unhealthy. And yes, the psychosis manifests because the stakes are so high. It manifests because government is far too big and rapacious; lawmaking and jurisprudence too centralized in DC; the unitary executive presidency too powerful; and society too politicized. But these are unhelpful truisms. Plenty of Americans abjectly support more government, more centralized political power, an omnipotent president and Supreme Court, and the sharp politicization of every facet of life.

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Mutual Aid Is Essential to Our Survival Regardless of Who Is in the White House Reply

By Dean Spade, Truthout/Verso Books

When the COVID-19 pandemic emerged as a crisis in the U.S. in early 2020, people all over the country started coordinating to deliver groceries and prescriptions to vulnerable people, making and distributing masks and hand sanitizer, and raising money for people who were losing jobs and ineligible for unemployment benefits. By the time the uprising against anti-Black racism and police violence brought people into the streets in early summer, the concept of “mutual aid” had gained significant traction in the media, and it was visible on the streets as people operated street medic teams at protests, offered each other free food and water, and defended each other from cops and white supremacists. COVID-19 mutual aid projects are ongoing, and as social movement groups prepare for the possibility of a contested election next week along with increasing strikes, street protests and occupations of public space, activists are gearing up to support each other.

“Mutual aid” is one term used to describe collective coordination to meet each other’s needs, usually stemming from an awareness that the systems we have in place are not going to meet them. Those systems, in fact, have often created the crisis, or are making things worse. We see examples of mutual aid in every single social movement, whether it’s people raising money for workers on strike, setting up a car pooling system during the Montgomery Bus Boycott, putting drinking water in the desert for migrants crossing the border, training each other in emergency medicine because ambulance response time in poor neighborhoods is too slow, raising money to pay for abortions for those who can’t afford them, or coordinating letter-writing to prisoners. These are mutual aid projects. They directly meet people’s survival needs, and are based on a shared understanding that the conditions in which we are made to live are unjust.

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Salvaging Secession Reply

By Bill Kauffman, Reason

Break It Up: Secession, Division, and the Secret History of America’s Imperfect Union, by Richard Kreitner, Little, Brown and Co., 496 pages, $30

The late Thomas Naylor, gentle godfather of the modern Vermont independence movement, used to sign off with “God bless the Disunited States of America.”

Naylor attracted a stalwart and colorful band to his project, ranging from the diplomat George Kennan (the author of the Cold War “containment” policy had come to view the United States as overly confining) to a delightful mélange of populist “woodchucks” (native Vermonters), organic-farming greens, Ethan Allen impersonators, and more. Naylor’s Second Vermont Republic had a merry, slap-happy, larkish feel, but Naylor, who died in 2012, was dead serious. And now, barely two decades since secession talk first scented the Green Mountain air, the entire country is getting an invigorating whiff.

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How Could Everyday People Stop a Coup? 1

My take on the present situation is both presidential tickets are (roughly) equally dangerous.
Trump is a narcissist and a megalomaniac but so are most politicians. What is most dangerous about him is his complete fealty to the KSA, UAE, and the state with whom the US has a “special relationship.” And his running mate is another George W. Bush waiting to happen. Biden is clearly experiencing the early stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia which means that his running mate, who appears to be a clinical psychopath, will be the acting president and merely a frontwoman for a ruling class unity regime, which is what a faux “Biden” administration would be.
The Republicans are a combination right-wing plutocratic party (like El Salvador’s ARENA) and an ultra-militarist party (like Likud). The Democrats are a far-right imperialist party and a center-right neoliberal party (and on the right end of neoliberalism). The various far-right/far-left streetfighter groups are de facto gangsters operating in either direct or indirect service of the parties. None of these groups would create a better society than the one that exists now (which is a pretty low standard).
Even worse is the fact that the neocons and their allies have more or less gained direct control of or substantial influence in ALL of the campaigns, parties, and factions, from top to bottom, and are engineering chaos from the top in order to prevent any unified resistance to the state, ruling class, and empire from developing.

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Why unarmed revolutions topple some dictators but not others Reply

Most revolutions result in dictatorships that are more authoritarian and repressive than whatever they replaced. The partial exception is those revolutions that are merely about the dispersal of power. Revolutions that are about the far-reaching transformation of societies almost always produce horrific results. The models of a revolution that are appropriate for the United States would be the American Revolution, in which the 13 colonies simply seceded from Britain, or the overthrow of the Soviet Union/Warsaw Pact, in which the Soviet empire was dissolved into a collection of dozens of independent nations. Cheron, Mexico, which simply expelled political parties and cartels and took up self-management, is another example.

By Daniel P. Ritter, Washington Post

Over the last few decades, the world has witnessed the proliferation of a new type of revolution. Alternatively labeled “negotiated,” “democratic,” “electoral,” “color,” “nonviolent” or “unarmed,” these revolutions largely eschew violent tactics and have become a distinguishing feature of contemporary international politics. Since Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last shah of Iran, was toppled in January 1979 as the result of unrelenting protests and strikes, authoritarian leaders and regimes in the Philippines, Chile, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Indonesia, Serbia, Ukraine, Georgia, Tunisia and Egypt — to mention a few — have met their political ends in similar fashion.

Although the long-term gains achieved in the wake of these and other unarmed revolutions have often disappointed their protagonists, their ability to unseat autocrats through the use of nonviolent tactics — sometimes referred to as “civil resistance” — constitutes a formidable social science puzzle in itself. How can we explain that highly repressive and seemingly all-powerful regimes sometimes collapse at the hands of protesters armed with little more than slogans and resolve? And, in a related issue, why do some attempts at unarmed revolution fail to oust despots, even though such movements may initially appear identical to their successful counterparts?

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The State of What Passes for Radical Politics in America Reply

A reader offers the following observations concerning “alternative” politics in the US at present.

I’ve been thinking recently about the state of what passes for radical politics in America, particularly in the context of third parties and the potential for pan-secessionism.

The handful of relevant third parties in the United States (and would-be third parties like Unity2020 or the Movement for a People’s Party) all speak, I think, to interesting if flawed attempts by more or less well-meaning people to reform a system they clearly grasp is broken. I am reminded of something you wrote earlier this year about how each of the various groups in the country trying to “fix” the system (both within and outside the mainstream) are all stuck in dated paradigms of their own, none of which by themselves has the answers.

Obviously, the mainstream Blue Tribe / Red Tribe conflict virtually monopolizes the conversation, pressuring and frightening people to “pick a side”, either as voters, or as street brawler LARPists on the extreme ends.

To my mind, the third parties currently relevant on a national level basically boil down to 4 (or 3) groups: the Greens, the Movement for a People’s Party, the Unity2020 gang, and the Libertarians. (Though, admittedly, calling any of them “relevant” is probably a stretch. But any other groups than these are even more on the fringe, like the PSL on the left—while those on the right, like the Reform or Constitution Parties, are probably largely Trumpists now.)

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Should the United States Stay United? Reply

The Left always performs much better when a Republican administration is in power.

By Jessica Suriano

The Nation

The United States has never been an equal, peaceful, or functional nation, despite what the history textbooks say. It was built from genocide, slavery, and stolen land. This year, the Black Lives Matter protests and the abolition movement, coupled with a pandemic that preys most on people consistently excluded from the broken health care system, demonstrate the lie of our “more perfect union” even more. Will there ever come a time to abandon this myth and the 50 “united” states altogether? If so, is that moment already here?

These are just some of the questions Richard Kreitner invites with his new book, Break It Up: Secession, Division, and the Secret History of America’s Imperfect Union. While secessionism is probably most commonly associated with the Civil War, Kreitner shows that support for disbanding the union has always been present throughout the country’s history and among Americans with contrasting political beliefs, including abolitionists. As Kreitner notes in the book, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison considered the Constitution “a pact with the devil.” While opposition to the idea of a union existed even within the original colonies, Donald Trump has highlighted the fault lines and contradictions in federalism significantly over the past four years, causing many, including Kreitner, to reconsider the value in staying together.

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A Marxist Joins the Libertarian Party Reply

By Nick Reid aka Comrade Hermit

Exile in Happy Valley

“Libertarians regard the state as the supreme, the eternal, the best organized aggressor against the persons and property of the mass of the public”

-Murray Rothbard
“In Reality, however, the state is nothing but a machine for the oppression of one class by another.”
-Friedrich Engels

So a Marxist walks into the DMV and joins the Libertarian Party… No, that’s not the set up to an impossibly wonky dad joke, that’s the the story of my life, or at least it was last summer. It was a simpler time. A time before COVID, when the cops were only brazenly shooting Black children in the back every other week. That sunny day in July, I put on my best crack-whore-red lipstick and my biggest Jackie-O sunglasses and made my way down to the local Department of Motor Vehicles to renew my license with a special side mission motivating me to actually show up before the last possible second this time. After strutting past the usual throngs of sullen teens and sexy foreigners with the riff from “Rebel Rebel” on repeat in my skull, I approached an angry little man in a clip-on tie, took a horrific picture, swallowed a mouth full of stomach acid when the little prick misgendered me, and became the first self-declared Marxist in Pennsylvania history to join the Libertarian Party. I got a bumper sticker and everything, and I have every intention of voting for Jo Jorgensen this November.

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Unity 2020: Why the Lesser Evil? 2

If I had to identify any way in which my views have shifted over the years, it would probably be that I have largely moved away from the idea of a far-left/far-right “third position” type of tactical framework toward more of a revolutionary centrist one. The far-right and far-left are not alternatives to the duopoly as much as mere caricatures or parodies of the duopoly. The far-right and far-left typically either have totalitarian ambitions of their own or merely get absorbed in lesser evilism. I also underestimated the entrenchment of culture war politics and overestimated the commitment of radicals to actually overthrowing the system. Though I think recent events have certainly confirmed my long-held view that the urban lumpenproletariat is the vanguard class of a modern revolution.

Unity2020 – Ballot access: Can you see it? Reply

The main problem I see with Bret’s idea, aside from the technical issues and sectarian conflict, is that the elected officials are merely managers and the electoral system is merely a front for the oligarchy.  Unity 2020 is not entirely dissimilar to the “pan-secessionist meta-party” idea I’ve written about in the past but the PSMP would only be an afterthought once a dual power system has already been developed, which would require not only large scale organization but also much higher levels of political education than what currently exists by a huge margin. Nor would the PSMP be a means of taking state power but merely the political propaganda arm of a movement to abolish the state, which can only be achieved through dislodging the oligarchy.

Ungovernable: An Interview with Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin Reply

Black Rose Anarchist Federation

Author and independent writer William C. Anderson interviews veteran organizer and former Black Panther and political prisoner Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin on the current political crisis, fascism and rising relevance of Black anarchism. We also urge you to generously contribute towards a fundraising campaign organized by William to support Lorenzo and his partner JoNina Ervin. Both are movement elders who’ve inspired generations of rebels and are in need of support with their living and medical expenses.

Introduction and Interview by William C. Anderson

The novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has highlighted the daily disasters of capitalism. A lack of healthcare, a safe environment, housing, and food are an everyday question for a growing segment of vulnerable people. This has brought about a noticeable interest in anarchism for many. The failures of the state were made plain by ineffective solutions, willful neglect, and utter disregard for human life.

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