Dysophia – the many worlds of green anarchism

Dysophia 4 now out and new website

Posted by dysophia on December 16, 2013

Dysophia 4 – Anarchist Debates on Privilege now out. For more details see our new website at Dysophia.org.uk or click here to go directly to the pdf. While we will keep this site alive for the time being, please update any bookmarks to dysophia.org.uk

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Islamophobia and Anarchism – call for articles

Posted by dysophia on January 17, 2013

(French version below)

Dysophia, an independent anarchist zine, is planning a follow on from its successful look at antisemitism by exploring issues around Islam and anti-Muslim racism from an anarchist perspective. We are aware that, as UK-based activists, much is missing from the wider discussion and more nuanced analysis is needed.

In particular, we would like to explore how anarchists in the ‘West’ (that is, Christian-dominated societies) can:
* show solidarity with those experiencing anti-Muslim racism;
* show solidarity with comrades who live in places where Islam is a dominant ideology; and
* approach the challenges thrown up by Islamic fundamentalism without playing into current imperialist / racist tendencies that demonize Muslim communities in the West and underscore current imperialist warmongering.

We hope that this publication will open up critical discussion that can take the anarchist movement forward. Thus, we are soliciting articles from anarchists living in societies where Islam is a dominant force, which discuss all or some of the following issues:

i) how they relate to Islam itself and how the culture of their society affects and shapes their approaches to anarchism;

ii) how they perceive Islamophobia and related racisms in the ‘West’;

iii) how anarchists in the ‘West’ can show solidarity with comrades in Muslim-majority countries (including, for example, during Western states’ interventions in and portrayals of the ‘Arab spring’);

iv) how anarchists living in the West can demonstrate solidarity with Muslim communities here, while sustaining anti-discrimination politics such as that around gender, sexuality, etc. (for example, how could we respond to protests against sharia law, right wing focusing on fundamentalist elements of religion as an attack on all, demonisation of Muslim populations, cartoon images of the Prophet Mohammed).

v) how the ‘War on Terror’ has affected their political activity;

vi) anarchist perspectives on class, gender and sexuality in the context of Islam.

Secondly, we would like to hear from anarchists who identify as having a Muslim background who live in the West and would like to communicate their experiences and politics around islamophobia. We are also interested in hearing from anarchists who cultural identification is Western, but feel they have a perspective they would like to contribute.

Finally, we are interested in hearing accounts from anarchist groups in Muslim-majority countries so that others can learn about their activities, as often those in the West do not get to hear about them. If there are enough of these, we will turn them into a separate publication.

Article size can be up three thousand words, and we are looking for pieces that are accessible to everyone rather than not jargon-heavy academic tracts. Images gratefully received. We will be publishing in English, though if you have writings in another language, or will struggle with English please get in contact first as we may be able to sort out translations. We will protect anonymity whenever requested and have secure forms of communication if desired, including pgp / gpg. We would like to get submissions in by 31st March if possible.

If you have any questions then do not hesitate to ask. Please feel free to forward on.

The Dysophia Editors

dysophia~at~riseup.net
http://dysophia.wordpress.com

————————————————————————–

L’APPEL (version française):

Suite au succès de son numéro sur l’antisémitisme, Dysophia, un zine anarchiste indépendant en anglais, a désormais décidé d’explorer la question de l’Islam et du racisme antimusulman d’un point de vue anarchiste. Nous sommes en effet conscients des limites du débat sur cette question au sein des cercles militants au Royaume-Uni, ainsi que de la nécessité d’une analyse plus nuancée.

Tout d’abord, nous tenons à poser la question de la possibilité pour les anarchistes des pays occidentaux (c’est-à-dire de sociétés influencés par le christianisme) de :

* Faire preuve de solidarité envers ceux qui sont victimes de racisme antimusulman ;
* Faire preuve de solidarité envers nos camarades qui vivent dans des lieux où l’islam est l’idéologie dominante ;
* Répondre aux défis posés par le fondamentalisme islamique tout en s’opposant aux tendances impérialistes et racistes qui diabolisent les communautés musulmanes en occident et qui apportent leur soutien au bellicisme et aux guerres impérialistes.

Nous espérons que cette publication ouvrira une discussion critique afin de faire avancer le mouvement anarchiste. Ainsi, nous souhaitons recevoir des articles écrits par des anarchistes qui vivent dans des sociétés où l’Islam est une force dominante et traitant des points suivants :

i) leur relation à l’Islam en soi, et la façon dont la culture de leur société modifie et façonne leurs approches de l’anarchisme ;

ii) la façon dont ils perçoivent l’islamophobie et le racisme lié a l’Islam en « occident » ;

iii) comment, selon eux, les anarchistes en « occident » peuvent faire preuve de solidarité avec leurs camarades dans les pays à majorité musulmane (y compris, par exemple, lors d’interventions militaires
occidentales ou par rapport aux représentations du « Printemps Arabe » par les médias et Etats occidentaux) ;

iv) comment les anarchistes peuvent faire preuve solidarité envers les communautés musulmanes en « occident », tout en conservant une ligne politique d’opposition à toute discrimination sur la base du sexe, de la sexualité, etc. (par exemple, comment réagir aux manifestations contre la loi de la charia, comment s’opposer au discours de la droite qui assimile toute la communauté musulmane à ses éléments les plus fondamentalistes, que faire face à la diabolisation des populations musulmanes ou encore
face aux dessins représentant le prophète Mahomet ?).

v) comment la « guerre contre le terrorisme » a-t-elle affecté leurs activités politiques ;

vi) le point-de-vue des anarchistes sur les problèmes de classe, de sexe et de sexualité dans le contexte de l’Islam.

Deuxièmement, nous recherchons des contributions d’anarchistes se considérant comme d’origine musulmane et vivant en «occident». Nous sommes intéressés par leurs expériences de l’islamophobie et leur action
politique en réponse. Les contributions d’anarchistes se considérant avant tout comme d’affiliation culturelle « occidentale » mais qui désirent proposer leur point-de-vue sur ces questions sont également bienvenues.

Enfin, nous sommes intéressés par des récits d’expériences de groupes anarchistes dans les pays à majorité musulmane afin que d’autres puissent découvrir leur activités, puisqu’il est rare que les anarchistes en «occident » aient l’occasion d’en entendre parler. S’il nous recevons suffisamment de contributions dans ce domaine, nous en ferons une publication séparée.

Les articles peuvent aller jusqu’à trois mille mots et doivent être rédigés de manière accessible à tous et dans la mesure du possible sans jargon académique. Les images et illustrations sont appréciées. *La
publication finale sera en anglais*, mais si vous écrivez dans une autre langue, contactez nous à l’adresse ci-dessous et nous essayerons d’organiser une traduction de votre article.

Provisoirement, la date limite d’envoi des contributions est fixée au 31 mars. Toutefois, contactez nous si vous avez l’intention de contribuer mais ne pouvez pas le faire pour cette date.

Nous protégeons l’anonymat de tous ceux qui le demandent et disposons également de moyens de communication sécurisés, y compris PGP / GPG, si nécessaires.

Si vous avez des questions, n’hésitez pas à nous contacter et n’hésitez pas à faire circuler cet appel.

Merci par avance,

Les Editeurs de Dysophia
dysophia~at~riseup.net
http://dysophia.wordpress.com

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Antisemitism and Anarchy (Dysophia 3)

Posted by dysophia on June 27, 2012

Antisemitism and Anarchy: New publication now out

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict is a key topic for many anarchists. Support for the Palestinians in the face of an occupying army is strong and we have seen many campaigns to lift the causes of their suffering. The charge of antisemitism is regularly made, but the accusation is a potent and politicised one that regularly ignites debates on mailing lists and online forums.

Dysophia has brought together a collection of articles to try and unpick some of these debates, to make sense of arguments around the meaning of Zionism, what constitutes antisemitism or how to make sense of divisive figures such as Gilad Atzmon.

It draws on the anarchist tradition to bring an anti-racist perspective to these difficult questions. While not providing definite answers, these articles have been selected to give anarchists a better overview of all perspectives so that as a movement we can produce more nuanced views that avoid the twin pitfalls of racism and liberalism.

In the words of one of the contributors, Uri Gordon, anarchist academic and activist with Anarchists Against the Wall:

“As Anarchists supporting the Palestinian popular struggle for freedom and justice, our most powerful asset is informed, compassionate and nuanced language. The alternative – rehearsed phrases, dehumanization, and black-and-white imagery – not only contradicts our uncompromising belief in human equality, but also plays directly into the hands of the Israeli government. It is therefore crucial to clarify and dispell the often insidious manifestations of antisemitism in today’s heated debates, and the present collection does so incisively.”

Including work from April Rosenblum, Austrian & Goldman, Lucy Michaels, Uri Gordon, Donal O’Driscoll and Mina Graur, Antisemitism and Anarchism is the latest in a series of pamphlets from Dysophia exploring issues around green anarchism in action. It seeks to present theoretical positions in a way that is accessible to all.

The publication comes as 92 page A4 pamphlet. It is available online in pdf format here.  (Note, because of software issues, the April Rosenblum zine The Past Didn’t Go Anywhere has not come out in final web pdf; we are trying to sort this, but in the meantime, it can be downloaded directly from her site at ThePast.info

Hard copies can be ordered from
Active Distribution – http://www.activedistribution.org
AK Press – http://www.akuk.com
News From Nowhere – http://www.newsfromnowhere.org.uk/

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

Antisemitsm
2. The past did not go anywhere, April Rosenblum
3. Fear and Loathing, Lucy Michaels
4. How to strengthen the Palestinian Solidarity Movement by making friends with Jews, Austrian & Goldman

Anarchism in Israel
5. Anarchy in the Holy Land, Uri Gordon
6. Israeli anarchism: Statist dilemmas and the dynamics of joint struggle, Uri Gordon

Taking it forward
7. Antisemitism and the Challenge of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Donal O’Driscoll

Anarchist Statements
8. For peace and freedom in Palestine, Czech Anarchist Federation
9. No state solution in Gaza, AFED

Historical Perspectives
10. Anarcho Nationalism, Mina Graur
11. On Zionism, Emma Goldman

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Jail! – An insight into prison life in Ireland, namely Castlerea Prison by Niall Harnett

Posted by dysophia on May 12, 2012

We are pleased to have helped in producing the pamplet Jail! – An Insight Into Prison Life In Ireland, Namely Castlerea Prison, written by Shell to Sea campaigner Niall Harnett following his stint in prison. This is an updated and enhanced version of the original article on Indymedia Ireland. Copies are available for distribution and fundraising to help those facing prosecution by the Gardai as they campaign against Shell’s presence in Erris, Co. Mayo. To see a copy of the pamplet in pdf form, click on the above link.

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Radical Migrant Solidarity

Posted by dysophia on January 12, 2012

A great new zine from friends of ours exploring practical and theoretical around organising for radical migrant solidarity with an anarchist perspective, based on the experiences of those actively engaged in the UK, Calais and elsewhere in Europe.

pdf available here.

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Airbrushing in Just Transition

Posted by dysophia on May 19, 2011

Notes From Below has just published an essay of ours discussing the politics of Just Transition.

The idea of a ‘Just Transition’ is an attempt to bridge differences between environmental and labour movements by seeking to address how workers can be protected as society tries to move away from ecologically destructive industries. As a concept it has been around for close to fifteen years. Despite having clear foundations, in that time the phrase ‘Just Transition’ has taken on a life of its own, in particular among those seeking to avoid antagonizing the labour movement. In this essay  Dónal O’Driscoll examines the origins of ‘Just Transition’ and asks whether it can fulfill those aspirations, or whether it is simply a ‘nice sounding’ phrase allowing campaigners to paper over divisive issues.

To read the article, visit Notes From Below.

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Collective statement from some individuals affected by the infiltration of the UK environmental movement

Posted by dysophia on March 2, 2011

We are issuing this statement in solidarity with all those, in the UK and beyond, who are facing charges or have been affected in any way by the work of the undercover agents recently discovered.

We are a diverse group of individuals who have been involved in radical action, including actions based around the environment, for close to 20 years. This has included organising the Stirling Eco-village, the Camp for Climate Action, Earth First! Gatherings, anti-GM decontaminations, as well as many other forms of social struggle. We have been up trees, down tunnels and on the front line. We have taken beatings from the police and received convictions for the pleasure, and we make no apologies for our belief in direct political action.

The media frenzy that followed the collapse of the second Ratcliffe trial was met with an equally frenetic flood of articles and comments in the alternative media. Many of these were infuriating and/or very depressing, particularly as all the anti-media comments posted on Indymedia seemed to conveniently forget the fact that the site was one of the main sources of information used by the journalists covering the story.

It is difficult to convey what we feel without falling into the same contradiction. Many of us who were very close to the situation wished to remain anonymous and refused to join in the flood of opinions and speculations. This was an attempt to avoid or at least not to feed into the media (and Indymedia) craze. This refusal to take a public position seems to have been interpreted as acceptance or even active participation in the media strategy.

Historically we have always tried to rise above the ‘society of the spectacle’ and it is has proven to be an important strength. We hope that comrades in other countries can comprehend the complexity of networks and political positions within the UK, and understand that the very public position taken by a few individuals in no way represents us all.

The environmental movement is not the only network affected by the recent exposures. We are all involved in different struggles beyond environmental concerns. Many movements, from animal rights, to migrant solidarity struggles have been targeted. Marco Jacobs was connected to the No Borders network, Lynn Watson to the peace movement. Mark Kennedy began to make connections to the animal rights movement, and had a ongoing interest in anti-capitalist struggles within the UK and across Europe. These are just some examples.

Despite this diversity, there is a tendency to refer to ‘the Movement’ without distinguishing that there is a broad range of social struggles taking place in the UK and elsewhere. These struggles often overlap, as is the case with our own activism. It is a mistake to suppose that the environmental movement is capable of representing all of the other social movements that have been targeted by the police in this case, and there has been little recognition of this by the people dealing with the media. This has shown not only a lack of solidarity with these struggles, but has explicitly played into the rhetoric of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ protesters.

Now that the sensation seems to have died down, we are making this statement in the hope that it will undo some of the damage that has been done.

How the ecological movement is being portrayed in the mainstream media

We feel that self-selecting individuals and groups have gone to the media with a strategy that presents a movement of gormless idiots, that is totally ineffective and of no threat to the State, in order to argue that the placement of undercover officers is ‘unjustifiable’ and ‘over-policing’. This is a very dangerous position to take as it facilitates the repression of those who are being identified as a genuine threat. Regardless of the intention behind them, the statements that have been made in the mainstream press appeal to a narrow sector of middle-class, left-wing liberals. Downplaying our radical tendencies is not a way of broadening the appeal of radical environmental demands. If anything, the very opposite is true, as anyone who has done stalls in the street is able to tell you.

We are angry at the way the movement we have been so involved in has been portrayed, with such a profound lack of basic political understanding. We want to be clear we that are not trying to make things ‘a little bit nicer’ or tweak the system, we are challenging capitalism and the dominant ideology as being responsible for the ecological destruction of the planet. The very nature of what we aim for is in direct opposition to the system, and it is therefore no great surprise that the State and corporations target us. The more economic damage that is done, or the more successfully the dominant paradigm is challenged, the more inevitable infiltration becomes.

As anarchists, we believe in solidarity, and autonomy. When we take action, we do so because it is an appropriate response, a valid tactic. We reject, therefore, the way in which several individuals have presented their ‘story’, in connection with infiltrators, as having been persuaded to act by them.

State informers have been used for hundreds, or even thousands of years. We have been dealing with and exposing police and informers as long as our movements have existed. Our aims are radical, and repression from the powers-that-be has always been expected and dealt with. We object to the way history is being re-written.

Relationship with the mainstream media

We are concerned that the relationship with the media is coming to define the eco-defence movement and its actions. It is clear that the media has been given preferential treatment on access to materials and this is breeding distrust (as clearly demonstrated in recent clashes on Indymedia). We reject the notion that the likes of The Guardian and The Independent newspapers can ever be part of the solution to the problems we face.

Our story is strong enough that we will get the media attention regardless. We do not have to change who we are to satisfy the wishes of these for-profit companies and their advertising agendas. High profile liberal journalists are not our natural leaders or spokespeople. While the media is (at times) an important tool for activism, pandering to it is a dangerous spiral to ineffectiveness, damaging the integrity of the movement in the long term for shallow, short-term goals.

Relationship with the police and the State

The tone of many of the statements made to the press implied the need for ‘reforms’ or better regulations for undercover policing. We would like to stress that we do not want ‘better’ or ‘more ethical’ police infiltration.

Some groups and individuals have used the mainstream press to call for police reform. However, in reality, the actual result is an ongoing consolidation of power within the Metropolitan Police who have taken control of the ‘domestic extremist’ units, including those which ran various of the infiltrators. The police exist to protect the State, private property and profits. To do this they use infiltrators and sleep with militants to get information. They also beat people in police cells, and frame people for crimes they didn’t commit, etc. etc. Superficial reforms will never change that. Even if a public relations battle has been won against the police and other infiltrators, they will no doubt regroup and continue their activities. Pretending that they can be reformed is not just dangerous but serves to legitimise their on-going existence.

The victories of our movement will not be won through The Guardian nor in the plush offices of civil liberty NGOs. They will be won on the streets, in our communities, in the fields and in the forests. The ecological defense movement and the other struggles we are involved in have grown strong because they have stepped outside the political campaigning/lobbying box and sought change from multiple directions, such as working directly with communities, taking direct action and causing economic sabotage. Today, lobbyists with very different agendas from our own, are using the space we forced open, and we should stop helping people co-opt our work.

“Those most affected”

The press and others have placed a morbid emphasis on sexual relationships in these cases. This totally ignores the complexity of human interpersonal relationships and the range of emotions and

experiences involved here. We have all had different kinds relationships with one or more of the undercovers recently exposed, and feel very uncomfortable by the assumptions made in statements and actions that took place in the wake of the media frenzy. Attempts by third parties to define the abuses of trust experienced by the people who were close to these infiltrators (often in the name of ‘solidarity’) have been extremely disempowering.

Unfortunately, some people (not just from the UK) have put pressure on people to act and to talk to the media without considering their own personal well being, and the impacts this could have on others. We call for practical solidarity through awareness; respecting everyone’s individual boundaries. We want to discourage people from talking publicly (or encouraging others to do so) about relationships (again, of any nature) without considering the wider implications for others who are also dealing with this. We request that people make no assumptions and only talk from their own experiences.

Moving on

This has been a difficult time, but it has also made us aware of how lucky we are to know so many people who continue to act with dignity and integrity, and to be part of networks of resistance which stretch across the globe. The process of the wave of exposures has revealed many false unities in respect to our politics. We call for solidarity and respect across networks, we need to consolidate our allegiances and to support each other. The State will continue to use surveillance and infiltration, and we hope that valuable lessons are learnt from this process, and not forgotten.

Notes

[1] This statement was put together through a collective process that involved approximately 15 people, the majority in the UK but a number across Europe as well. It includes people who were close to the exposing of various police infiltrators. The point of contact is dysophia@riseup.net – comments & feedback can be sent to this address.

[2] For more background on the story as it appeared in the Guardian see

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/mark-kennedy

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/surveillance

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/activism

[3] There are many threads on Indymedia relating to this, however, some key ‘debates’ are at

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2010/10/466477.html

http://sheffield.indymedia.org.uk/2011/01/472102.html

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2011/01/471865.html

[4] BBC coverage

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12148753

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Dysophia 2: Population & Migration

Posted by dysophia on January 6, 2011

Now out, the second issue of Dysophia: ‘Population & Migration – anarchist analyses of privilege in a time of climate chaos‘. This collection of eight articles, including four new ones of them especially written for this publication, takes the controversial issues of population and migration as their starting point. Using the lens of anarchist theory & practice they examine these topics within those political spheres where capitalism, nationalism, border controls and climate change overlap. As well as arguing that all these issues are interconnected, the aim is to show how anarchism can negotiate the many dangers that these difficult issues throw at the grassroots activist – that is, the traps where in dealing with one issue we may end up supporting calls which lead to other inequalities and oppression, for example that green capitalism is not a solution to climate change, that border controls are not the appropriate answer to climate refugees. Written to be accessible to everyone interested in these topic without requiring much in the way of background knowledge.

Copies available online, or can be purchased from Active Distribution, AKPress UK or Altnerative Bookshop Online.

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Dreaming Illich

Posted by dysophia on November 9, 2010

An open letter asking awkward question on whether a transformation to a bicycle based economy is practical, possible or even sustainable. Download the pdf here.

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Call for Contributions: Anarchist Reflections on Migration, Population and Climate Change

Posted by dysophia on July 23, 2010

Call for Contributions: Anarchist Reflections on Migration, Population and Climate Change

Increasingly links are being drawn between migration, population and climate change. Mainstream responses are tied up around fears of privilege and social position which go unexposed. However, other than acknowledging these intersections they are poorly critiqued from anarchist perspectives.  As “climate justice” becomes an increasingly common rallying cry, it’s time to create a dialogue between social movements. Anarchists need the tools for countering arguments which demonise migration and resist the inherent oppression in population control.

With the next issue of Dysophia we are looking for clear and informative articles which dissect the areas where climate change, migration and population overlap taking as our starting points anarchists critiques of privilege and social divisions and capitialism. We are interested in having a wide variety of perspectives that include as their starting
points social ecology, deep ecology, primitivism and class struggle, queer and gender liberation politics. We hope this will allow us to move to more critical and informed approaches.

Below are just a few of the topics we are interested in receiving articles about (but don’t be limited by them, or feel that you need to stick to one). Key to what we are looking for are articles that are readily accessible to all and do not assume a large background of knowledge. They can be one page or twenty. Artwork also welcome.

All finished articles to reach us by 19th September, 2010. For submissions or any questions please email dysophia.ga@gmail.com

For previous editions see http://dysophia.wordpress.com/

Possible topics (to inspire)

1. Population and Migration
1.1 How the two are being linked
1.2 Economics of migration and population; key facts and figures.
1.3 Factors affecting population (eg. the energy-population
relationship; poverty traps; social inequalities)

2. The role of Capitalism in
2.1 creation migration and climate change through political upheaval and the politics of resource grabs & neo-colonialism;
2.2 creating privilege and fear of other groups based on that privilege; and
2.3 Why capitalism needs migration.
2.4 neo-Malthusianism and Capitalism

3. Critiques of arguments which conflate migration and population in order to scaremonger
3.1 The danger of the lack of analysis from radical groups.

4. How privilege informs approaches to and fears around migrancy and population.
4.1 Privilege as social consumption (education, language advantages, networks, racism)
4.2 Understanding our own privileged positions and how the inform our reactions and politics, including racism.
4.3 How privilege in post-industrial nations affects responses and fears around access to migrants, resource consumption and attitudes to poverty and population.

5. Anarchism and the politics of migrant populations:
5.1 how we interact wtih those less privilged than us;
5.2 working with those who do not share our politics (gender, sexuality & racism; economic migrancy)

6. Climate Refugees – perspectives
6.1 Resource soverignty
6.2 Climate debt, restoration and other approaches to climate change in the developing world – pros and cons.
6.3 The desires, needs and traumas of migration.
6.4 Issues around integrating migrants and refugees into our community.

7. Addressing fears around migration such multiculturism, integration and “fear of the stranger”

8. Politics and migrants: the challenge of helping those who we disagree with politically.
8.1 The crises of the Left on migration
8.2 Countering rightwing propaganda

9. Framing demands and actions

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