Feb 27, 2006

Review: Revolution Here And Around The World

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(Toledo, OH) The anarchist group type A Collective is producing an eponymous quarterly magazine; this month's theme is Revolution Here And Around The World and it is available in local coffee shops and clubs. I picked up a copy at Beaner's in Cricket West, but I have seen the magazine in other locations.

Rather than dwell on the politics of the group (they are avowed anarchists), I would rather examine the effectiveness of the periodical as a form of communication and literature. Of course, by doing so, I open myself to criticism as the sort of bohemian nihilo-aesthete so despised by anarchists, but I digress.

Eschewing color, the editors instead chose a stark black-and-white format; some might cynically suggest that this reflects a small budget, but I think it is worth noting that this design is also in keeping with the anti-commercial stance of the members of type A.

The magazine includes local, regional, and international news, focusing on stories that involve state repression and the responses by activists against racism, fascism, and globalization.

An interview with author, editor, and activist John Zerzan takes up a portion of the magazine. This interview discusses theories of anarchism as well as more philosophical discussions regarding the environment, language, and human existence. Irrespective of one's political views, Zerzan's work is thought-provoking, sometimes maddening, but guaranteed to force the reader into looking at the world in a different way.

type A features eye-catching "public service announcements" with slogans such as: "For a worthwhile education learn the three Rs: RESIST, REBEL, REVOLT!"

Though heavy on propaganda, the writing is clear and forceful. In an article entitled "Toledo's State Of Disunion: 2005 In Review," the anonymous author showed a particular flair for dynamic rhetoric. Regarding the October 15 riot in North Toledo:
The violent eruption in October was, however, merely the culmination of a long, pervasive restlessness...seeing Toledo Police working as an armed security force for a group of neo-Nazis was a stonger catalyst than was probably necessary for violence to finally occur.
Certainly the above passage has a political perspective, yet the author adroitly captures an important detail about the causes of the riot: community grievances - irrespective of their validity - contributed to the direct action against Toledo Police.

One leaves type A with a clearer sense of the views of the local and regional anarchist communities, and the magazine provides a perspective that cannot be found in any other local periodical.

And it is free.

8 comments:

Stefan Schmidt said...

The left-wing (commie/ anarchist/ anti-racist-skinhead) happens to be the easiest group to push into the WN camp. I have conversed with many such types and found a level of understanding (which is the bridge I use) on most issues (except one: race). Their knee-jerk reaction to supposed ‘racism’ happens to be their ‘Achilles heal’ (at least in the younger ones, mind you- basically my age). I simply direct them to a WN website (such as Stormfront) knowing full well that they will not resist a good debate on racism (also knowing that their youth, inexperience, lack of intellectual fortitude, and naivety will make them easy ‘meat’ for the Stormfront regulars-after all most recruits to Stormfront are former leftists).

Out of the 4 that I have known – 2 have given up their leftist stance and one has actually become a WN more extreme than even I (seems to be the norm for new recruits—they feel like they need to demonstrate that they are ‘ideologically’ on our side by being ‘bomb throwers’).

Whereas, a person who simply acknowledges ‘racism’ but does not make it into an issue of importance will be a lot harder to motivate to debate the ‘Stormfronters’ and if a debate ensues this issue is of such little consequence in their ideological beliefs to be able to ‘convince’ them to adopt a whole new set of ideologies.

See, ‘racism’ is a natural disposition (just like sex, hunger, and whatever emotions that people indulge in). It is hard to look at a black person and not make rash judgments on certain aspects of this black person’s character (people do this all the time- in ecological/biological terms this thinking mechanism is known as a FAP- Fixed Action Pattern; mind you, if you ever read a marketing book you will learn how to use these ‘FAPs’ to your advantage).

Lisa Renee said...

I picked one up the last time I was at Beaner's and Miguel freaked out when I left it on the kitchen table. (hehehe). I liked the urban feel to the way they create the publication. It has the "undergroundish" feel that I think they are going for. I try to read all of the area publications I can get my hands on including Sojourner's Truth which I've found to have some very good articles.

:-)

historymike said...

Yes, Sojourner's Tuth is a good read. Fletcher Word does a great job, and is one of the most honest people in this business.

White Mormon Patriot said...

The anarchists' three Rs are cute; Resist, Rebel, Revolt. Unfortunately, when they are done, there is the fourth R - Rebuild, and they're not quite so enthusiastic about that task.

liberal_dem said...

Anarchy has some appeal, especially after living through 5 years of near-fascism.

historymike said...

I have always been intrigued by anarchist thought.

A few things come to mind:

1. Is the fact that many anarchists are young a reflection of that sort of fearless idealism they have? Is it that as we age we come to our senses about anarchism, or that the "system" largely beats idealism out of us as we mature?

2. One argument that anarchists make is that we cannot envision a world without hierarchical structures because we have been conditioned to believe that they are necessary. Of course, to find out if anarchists are right requires us to abolish those structures.

3. One aspect of human existence that neither anarchists or communists have been able to solve is the question of individual greed. Regardless of whether greed is genetic or conditioned, it would still be there if capitalism were abolished.

Anonymous said...

There is always greed to some extent. But it would probably be on a much smaller, easier to deal with scale when not being perpetuated as a cultural ideal.

Stefan Schmidt said...

Is the fact that many anarchists are young a reflection of that sort of fearless idealism they have? Is it that as we age we come to our senses about anarchism, or that the "system" largely beats idealism out of us as we mature?
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Most of them are attracted to anarchism because the movement itself is part of a larger counter-culture. For teens seeking an identity, these ‘fringe’ movements are quite appealing. A small cohesive group pitting itself against a larger society reinforces a sense of ‘individualism’.

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One argument that anarchists make is that we cannot envision a world without hierarchical structures because we have been conditioned to believe that they are necessary. Of course, to find out if anarchists are right requires us to abolish those structures.
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We don’t have to go that far….

One need only turn to "Nash Equilibrium" for strategic non-cooperative games.

People acting individually without any cohesive force (government) will ultimately (through greed and a desire for instant gratification) degrade the very situation that they are trying to improve.

Small world examples can be seen in present economies around the world where unfettered capitalism happens to make the public worse off or one can turn to sub-Saharan Africa which is ultimately an anarchy (for all the ridicule White colonialism has received in Africa it has helped these inhabitants- ‘people’ who lived like animals before and are so doing now with abolishment of White governments).

One more example: trillions of cells working in unison (organism) can accomplish much more than the same amount of cells operating ‘randomly’.

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One aspect of human existence that neither anarchists or communists have been able to solve is the question of individual greed. Regardless of whether greed is genetic or conditioned, it would still be there if capitalism were abolished.
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Greed is innate. When eating we often have to deliberately stop ourselves from stuffing ourselves even though gorging is both not healthy and not necessary (BTW, America is not the ‘fattest’ nation if one wants to use this trend as another ill of capitalism—I believe Italy is).