Archive for the ‘Solutions’ Category


Jake Conroy @ The Base in NYC


This event was sponsored by the NYC Anarchist Black Cross and the National Lawyer’s Guild. Click here for more info on the SHAC 7 case.

Part 1

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Synopsis from the facebook event page:

Jake Conroy is a long-time activist, designer, and writer based in San Francisco, California. As a co-founder of Ocean Defense International, he helped lead the first ever disruption of a whale hunt in US coastal waters, putting himself between the hunter and the hunted. He also helped build the foundation of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty USA (SHAC USA), one of the most successful grassroots animal rights campaigns in history. Due to his involvement with SHAC USA, he was a co-defendant in the SHAC7 case and was sentenced to 48 months in federal prison. Jake is currently working at an international environmental non-profit campaigning against corporate polluters. He can also be found speaking around the US, and working on the projects he helped co-found— Bite Back magazine, the Animal Defense League – San Francisco, and the blog Plant Based on a Budget.

Jake will speak about his involvement in SHAC USA and the repression they experienced from the US government and corporate investigators, as well by the Bureau of Prisons while incarcerated. He will discuss being the target of a multi-agency terrorism investigation, learning he was on a high-profile prisoners list, and navigating living a life branded as a terrorist in post-9/11 society.


Let’s Disappear


The following is an excerpt from Chapter 5 of The Invisible Committee‘s upcoming book,’To Our Friends’, scheduled for release later this month. To read the full chapter, click here

Since the catastrophic defeat of the 1970’s, the moral question of radicality has gradually replaced the strategic question of revolution. That is, revolution has suffered the same fate as everything else in those decades: it has been privatized. It has become an opportunity for personal validation, with radicality as the standard of evaluation. “Revolutionary” acts are no longer appraised in terms of the situation in which they are embedded, the possibilities they open up or close. What happens instead is that a form is extracted from each one of them. A particular sabotage, occurring at a particular moment, for a particular reason, becomes simply a sabotage. And the sabotage quietly takes its place among certified revolutionary practices on a scale where throwing a Molotov cocktail ranks higher than throwing rocks, but lower than kneecapping, which itself is not worth as much as a bomb. The problem is that no form of action is revolutionary in itself: sabotage has also been practiced by reformists and by Nazis. A movement’s degree of “violence” is not indicative of its revolutionary determination. The “radicality” of a demonstration isn’t measured by the number of shop windows broken. Or if it is, then the “radicality” criterion should be left to those in the habit of measuring political phenomena and ranking them on their skeletal moral scale. Anyone who begins to frequent radical milieus is immediately struck by the gap between their discourse and their practice, between their ambitions and their isolation. It seems as if they were dedicated to a kind of constant self-incapacitation. One soon understands that they’re not engaged in constructing a real revolutionary force, but in a quest for radicality that is sufficient in itself— and is played out equally well on the terrain of direct action, feminism or ecology. The petty terror that reigns there and makes everyone so stiff is not that of the Bolshevik Party. It’s more like that of fashion, that terror which no one exerts in person, but which affects everyone alike. In these milieus, one is afraid of not being radical anymore, just as elsewhere one fears not being fashionable, cool or hip. It doesn’t take much to spoil a reputation. One avoids going to the root of things in favor of a superficial consumption of theories, demos, and relations. The fierce competition between groups and inside them causes them to periodically implode. But there’s always fresh, young, and abused flesh to make up for the departure of the exhausted, the damaged, the disgusted, and the emptied-out. An a posteriori bewilderment overtakes the person who’s deserted these circles: how can anyone submit to such a mutilating pressure for such enigmatic stakes? It’s approximately the same kind of bewilderment that must take hold of any overworked ex-manager turned baker when he looks back on his previous life. The isolation of these milieus is structural: between them and the world they’ve interposed radicality as a standard. They don’t perceive phenomena anymore, just their measure. At a certain point in the autophagy, some will compete for most radical by critiquing the milieu itself, which won’t make the slightest dent in its structure. “It seems to us that what really reduces our freedom,” wrote Malatesta, “and makes intiative impossible, is disempowering isolation.” This being the case, that a fraction of the anarchists declare themselves “nihilists” is only logical: nihilism is the incapacity to believe in what one does believe in—in our context, revolution. Besides, there are no nihilists, there are only powerless individuals.

The radical defining himself as a producer of actions and discourses has ended up fabricating a purely quantitative idea of revolution—as a kind of crisis of overproduction of acts of individual revolt. “Let’s not lose sight of the fact,” wrote É- mile Henry back then already, “that revolution will not be the resultant of all these particular revolts.” History is there to contradict that thesis: whether it’s the French, Russian, or Tunisian revolution, in every instance revolution results from the shock encounter between a particular act—the storming of a prison, a military defeat, the suicide of a mobile fruit vendor—and the general situation, and not the arithmetical addition of separate acts of revolt. Meanwhile, that absurd definition of revolution is doing its foreseeable damage: one wears oneself out in an activism that leads nowhere, one devotes oneself to a dreadful cult of performance where it’s a matter of actualizing one’s radical identity at every moment, here and now— in a demo, in love, or in discourse. This lasts for a time—the time of a burnout, depression, or repression. And one hasn’t changed anything.

A gesture is revolutionary not by its own content but by the sequence of effects it engenders. The situation is what determines the meaning of the act, not the intention of its authors. Sun Tzu said that “victory must be demanded of the situation.” Every situation is composite, traversed by lines of force, tensions, explicit or latent conflicts. Engaging with the war that is present, acting strategically, requires that we start from an openness to the situation, that we understand its inner dynamic, the relations of force that configure it, the polarities that give it its dynamism. An action is revolutionary or not depending on the meaning it acquires from contact with the world. Throwing a rock is never just “rock-throwing.” It can freeze a situation or set off an intifada. The idea that a struggle can be “radicalized” by injecting a whole passel of allegedly radical practices and discourses into it is the politics of an extraterrestrial. A movement lives only through a series of shifts that it effects over time. So at every moment there is a certain distance between its present state and its potential. If it stops developing, if it leaves its potential unrealized, it dies. A decisive act is one that is a notch ahead of the movement’s state, and which, breaking with the status quo, gives it access to its own potential. This act can be that of occupying, smashing, attacking, or simply speaking truthfully. The state of the movement is what decides. A thing is revolutionary that actually causes revolutions. While this can only be determined after the event, a certain sensitivity to the situation plus a dose of historical knowledge helps one intuit the matter.

Let’s leave the radicality worry to the depressives, the Young-Girls, and the losers, then. The real question for revolutionaries is how to make the lively powers in which one participates increase, how to nurture the revolutionizing developments so as to arrive finally at a revolutionary situation. All those who draw satisfaction from dogmatically contrasting “radicals” with “citizens,” “active rebels” with the passive population, place obstacles in the path of such developments. On this point, they anticipate the work of the police. In the current period, tact should be considered the cardinal revolutionary virtue, and not abstract radicality—and by “tact” we mean the art of nurturing revolutionizing developments.


Interview With a Doula


Natural Child-birthing From a Radical Perspective

It would not be an exaggeration to say that in general our culture is an extremely morbid one, overly obsessed with death, violence and the macabre. Even in the radical community we often fail to spend enough time celebrating life; we also fall well short of paying sufficient attention to what is needed to promote and sustain both life itself and a good quality of life.

As our twitter, instagram and facebook newsfeeds fill up with images of ethnic cleansing, brutalized children and widespread devastation, we can find ourselves slipping into either apathy or despair. This is why I am very happy to present this podcast with our guest Iresha Picot. We talk about her life-affirming work as a doula, what it means and how very important such work is in countering the dehumanizing influence of the medical-industrial establishment.

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If you would like more information, or if you would like to inquire about retaining Iresha as a doula you can contact her at

Visit Maternity Care Coalition for more info on general maternity care and related resources.


Palestine Solidarity Rally & March

On the third Friday of every month radicals and activists protest in front of the Israeli consulate in an attempt to bring visibility to the plight of occupied Palestine. Due to Israel’s recent genocidal rampage (which has left at least 342 people dead over the past 12 days), there was an increased sense of urgency and relevance to the planned protest.

Between 250 and 300 passionate people gathered on the corners in front of and adjacent to the Israeli consulate for a rally and subsequent march; the atmosphere was electric with many waving Palestinian flags, holding anti-zionist signs and chanting slogans in Arabic. Supporters of the Israeli state and military actions gathered across from the consulate with one being bold enough to wear a shirt proclaiming “Proud To Be IDF”; however, these supporters of Israeli terrorism were far outnumbered by those standing in solidarity with the besieged residents of Gaza and Palestine.

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WRFF 2014 Report Back

In order for us to become productive members of society, i.e, well oiled and functioning cogs in the wheels of the capitalist empire, we must undergo a compulsory process of alienation and domestication to make us docile and compliant to the demands of our future supervisors and bosses. This process begins in early childhood and continues more or less throughout our entire civilized lives. It is in part a process of forgetting, of learning to disregard our dreams and intuition and genetic memories of a time before mankind ascended the throne to lord over the rest of creation.

The myth of human centrism, that all of the world is here for our pleasure and our benefit, can only be called into question outside of the sprawling metropolises and suburbs where such ideas are constantly reinforced, often by the very landscape itself. The sanitized and domesticated landscapes created by modern industry stand in stark contrast to the wilderness, to the glorious chaos of life. The wilderness is where we find the idea of the all powerful human master called into question; it is a place we must periodically embed ourselves in to reconnect with authentic, non-synthetic reality outside of the scope of human constructs. It is a place we must visit once in a while for the perspective denied to us by human-centric, industrial society.

As someone who lives in a big city, Wild Roots Feral Futures (WRFF) has become a necessary yearly tradition, a way to retain a connection to (relatively) unspoiled wilderness and the deep human bonds such an environment fosters. WRFF is a loosely organized and decentralized gathering that takes place in the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado (Ute territory). Working on less than a shoe string budget and with much of the supplies and food donated, a wonderful intentional community springs up for an all too brief period of time. Most people bring their own camping supplies and gear, but there are always extra sleeping bags and such things in case anyone needs them. Camp responsibilities are handled on a volunteer basis; everyone who wants to contribute can, and if you’re not in the mood to wash dishes, gather firewood or cook meals, there’s no pressure to.

One of the main reasons I keep coming back to WRFF is the people, the amazingly good-hearted and beautiful people. Sure, in past years there’s been some drama but it’s never really distracted me from the overall experience. The warmth, wisdom and sincerity I experience there nourishes me on a spiritual level; this gives me the strength and clarity I need to avoid falling into despair and nihilism concerning the nature of the human race. WRFF attracts a variety of people: college students, older hippies, drifters, radical faeries, liberals, anarchists, socialists, families with small children, musicians, train hoppers, activists, conservationists, farmers, and those who refuse to be categorized. The ethnic diversity is not quite what it could be, but the reasons for this are complex. I find it unfortunate that many POC have been seemingly irrevocably yoked to the city, pigeonholed into the category of permanent urban dwellers. Again, the reasons for this are complex and largely beyond our control, though hopefully this will begin to change in the near future. In any case, no matter what our backgrounds, we gather together at WRFF with our differences eclipsed by one common theme: a love for the land and a love of life.

This year was by far my favorite WRFF for several reasons. The hike in and out was so much easier than previous years; the vibe was incredibly relaxed and friendly with absolutely zero drama (at least none that I was aware of) and the location itself was just beyond magical. Mountain tops covered in pine, aspen stands and fields of dandelions, wild iris and a myriad of other wild flowers made each day like a waking dream. As always, the group discussions were thought provoking to the max, especially one we had on mental health in the context of living within a society that systematically destroys mental health. There were also primitive skills workshops, plant walks, an interesting discussion on natural child birthing, a solstice celebration, and clear guidelines for community practices and sober spaces for those who desired them. Outside of the planned activities there were plenty of opportunities to go hiking, splash around in the stream, or just lay on the soft grass underneath the sun listening to the birdsong.

As I reflect on my third year of attending this gathering, I realize how valuable the experience has been to both my personal and political development. Fireside chats under the stars with hardcore primitivists and nuclear power supporters alike have helped me broaden, sharpen and mold my own critiques of industrial society. Though we may not all agree on every single thing, simply being around like minded people with similar viewpoints is a welcome reprieve from constantly having to defend my position or either keep silent about it. Over the past few years at WRFF I have learned of struggles that I may not have come into contact with otherwise. In fact, I credit my first real introduction to indigenous solidarity to my first WRFF in 2012. It would not be an understatement to say that WRFF has been an important part of my life.

Because this year felt extra special, I must give thanks to all the wonderful people who shared time, space and food with me; thanks for all the chats, all the laughs, for all the memories. And a special thanks to those who let me practice my tarot reading skills on you – I hope it was helpful. So much love to the folks in Durango who do the hard work of scouting out locations and cleaning up after the gathering is done; thanks for all you do and for creating a space where so much magic happens. Thank you, thank you, thank you.



National Lawyers Guild Convention: Pipelines & Environmental Destruction Workshop



Part 1.

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Thanks to Jordan Winquist for supplying the audio and description.

At National Lawyers Guild Convention (10/25/13)

The workshop dealt with the struggle against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, and aimed to draw lessons from the successful attempt by Puerto Rican activists to block the $800 million Via Verde Gasoducto in 2012. Pipelines are already being built as we await Obama’s indecisiveness on KXL, and activists with NLG representation have been arrested all over the country. Also, KXL is extremely important, but it is just one of many critical climate and environmental justice issues. Our colleagues from the front lines gave us a report on how the NLG can help fight extractive industries and support a burgeoning global Green Movement.

Emily J. Yozell is a U.S. attorney who has been based in Costa Rica since 1988. She was active in Central American human rights investigations and litigation throughout the 1980s. She served as local counsel for Latin American banana farm workers suing U.S. based multinational fruit and chemical companies in the U.S. for toxic tort injuries from pesticide abuse during the 1990s. She continues to assist communities affected by agrochemical toxic contaminations and has been active in the successful campaign to declare Costa Rica free from oil development and Carbon Neutral by 2021.

Speakers (in order)
Pedro Saadé is founder and head of Environmental Law clinic at University of Puerto Rico. He is a long term activist and environmental lawyer who represented those opposing the Gasoducto Via Verde. He is also involved in the current fight against the incinerator in Arecibo, a still pending matter.

Since 1983, Joe Heath has been the General Counsel for the Onondaga Nation, the Central Fire of the Haudenosaunee [Iroquois] Confederacy. Joe’s work for them is primarily environmental, focusing on the Clean Water Act, Land Rights Action, protection of sacred sites, repatriation of cultural patrimony, and Indigenous
rights in the United Nations. Joe Heath has been a National Lawyers Guild member since 1971, when, in law school, he began to help resist the state’s cover up of the Attica Prison rebellion. Joe has worked extensively in the massive grass roots resistance to fracking in New York.

Dean Hubbard is Labor Director of the Sierra Club and was one of the leads in organizing Power Shift. He is familiar with the labor split on environmental issues from his experience getting unions to oppose KXL and dealing with the costs of solidarity between those unions and the people involved. He addressed job loss/
disruption from the transition away from fossil fuels to clean energy. His focus is on the question of how we build a broader coalition FOR a transition to a sustainable economy for the planet and its people.

Mariel Nanasi is the Executive Director of New Energy Economy and worked on a recent effort in Boulder, CO to create a public power utility. She will talk about how they just got the utility to agree to close half of the coal plant (900 megawatts) by 2017. Her next legal/political fight is about replacement power and stranded costs: this issue will be faced by all communities that are closing coal. She also works on a “SOL not coal” initiative that spreads energy democracy and installs solar with strategic partners (Native communities, government, and underserved Latino communities).


Anti-colonialism Packet

This handout was originally created for the Power Shift 2013 Anti-colonialism and Decolonization workshop. Feel free to download the PDF and share it with others or use it in your own presentations

Anti-colonialism & Decolonization Handout PDF