Earlier this month, we were able to film author Kristian Williams while he answered these questions in detail while reading a chapter from an upcoming book called ‘We Are Many’ about the Occupy movement being put out by AK Press. We hope you enjoy this video, and we hope you help us spread this video around via your favorite social networking site!
Here at Because We Must, we love social justice media, this often includes videos of sorts that inspire us and give us goosebumps. This video is certainly one of those videos. “On Revolution: A Conversation Between Grace Lee Boggs and Angela Davis”, this historical event was the kick off event for the 27th Annual Empowering Women Of Color Conference in Berkeley, Ca. We could write pages about how Grace Lee Boggs and Angela Davis have inspired us to be the activists we are today, but for now we would like you to look into them yourselves. My favorite part of the talk is around the 45 minute mark, where Angela Davis discusses how she thinks the topic of food is going to be one of the next big social justice struggles. She then talks about being vegan, and the connection between human and non-human struggles. Although its a lengthy video, its a very interesting one. We should all be having these sorts of discussion everyday, and I thank those responsible for putting this talk together.
“I am sometimes really disappointed that many of us can assume that we are these radical activists, but we don’t know how to reflect on the food that we put in our own bodies. We don’t realize the extent to which we are implicated in the whole process of capitalism by participating uncritically in the food politics offered to us by great corporations. I usually don’t mention that I’m vegan, but that has evolved, and I think its the right moment to talk about it, because it is, I think, a part of a revolutionary perspective. How can we not only discover more compassionate relations with human beings, but how can we develop compassionate relations with the other creatures with whom we share this planet. And that would mean challenging the whole capitalist industrial form of food production.” – Angela Davis
Although this is a press release for a single action, it is important to note that countless other actions took place all across the U.S today in a coordinated effort to shut down the corporations affiliated with ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council).
Wednesday February 29th
Lindsay, Hart, Neil & Weigler LLP
Wells Fargo Center
1300 SW Fifth Avenue
Courtney Eastman, Portland Animal Defense League- (209) 559-0577, email@example.com
Animal Rights Activists Occupy Office of ALEC Chair
Portland, OR – On Wednesday, February 29th, Animal Defense League and has occupied the offices of Lindsay, Hart, Neil & Weigler and Paul S. Cosgrove, the state corporate co-chair for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ADL has taken this action as part of the international day of action to shut down corporations and ALEC affiliates on February 29th.
As the Oregon state corporate co-chair of ALEC, Paul S. Cosgrove of lobbying firm Lindsay, Hart, Neil & Weigler LLP is responsible for the myriad of legislation that institutionalizes animal exploitation and ecological devastation. ALEC represents the interests of some of the most notorious corporations synonymous with animal abuse and environmental degradation- AstraZeneca, Bayer, BP, Cargill, DuPont, Exxon Mobil, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Johnson & Johnson, Koch Industries, Monsanto, Novartis, Peabody Energy, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, and Sanofi-Aventis.
ALEC has written legislation forcing communities to accept the abusive practices of factory farming industries, including the Ag-Gag bills of Florida and Iowa, which criminalize the filming of cruel practices on factory farms. ALEC has written legislation that would allow the seizure of public lands such as wilderness areas and National Parks for resource extraction. ALEC has passed legislation, specifically the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), that labels and convicts activists that oppose these corporations and their activities as “terrorists,” silencing dissent and enabling corporate control and destruction.
“Paul S. Cosgrove, Oregon state corporate co-chair of ALEC, facilitates the systematic abuse of animals trapped on factory farms, caged in laboratories and surviving in the wild,” says Courtney Eastman of Animal Defense League. “Because the ALEC corporations Mr. Cosgrove represents stand in the way of ecological balance and freedom for all species, we demand he and his law firm, Lindsay, Hart, Neil & Weigler LLP, cut their ties with ALEC immediately.”
Three activists from the Animal Defense League covertly entered the Wells Fargo Center and made their way up to the 34th floor of the building, to the offices and Paul S. Cosgrove and Lindsay, Hart, Neil and Weigler. There, the activists chained themselves to together and physically began occupying the office in an act of nonviolent direct action.
For more information, please visit: http://pdxanimaldefenseleague.org/
Better late than never. Are you getting involved tomorrow? Check out the shut down the corporations site for details about whats happening in your area.
As many of you know, journalist Chris Hedges recently posted his critique of the Black Bloc and Anarchist involvement in the Occupy Wall Street movement in his article titled “The Cancer In Occupy”. Using the examples of Derrick Jensen and John Zerzan as intellectual leaders, Hedges attempts to degrade Anarchists to common stereotypes of violent, unorganized, hyper-masculine criminals, seeking senseless destruction over social change. Hedges goes on to describe how Black Bloc Anarchists are a ‘cancer’ in the OWS movement and how they should no longer have involvement within it.
First off, fuck you Chris hedges. To proclaim Derrick Jensen or John Zerzan to be at the forefront of contemporary Anarchist thought is extremely foolish; it is necessary to note that not all Anarchists focus on civilization’s destruction of the earth, as Jensen and Zerzan do. Anarchists struggle against many forms of oppression and to categorize all Anarchists into one small cell would be almost as alienating as posting an insulting essay calling other anti-capitalists criminals. Although one Anarchist may not support the actions of the Zapatistas due to ideological differences, not all Anarchists are against them; in fact, most Anarchists openly support the Zapitistas in their struggle against modern day colonialism. We are varied, we are individuals, we are agents acting for collectivist social change in our own ways. We are all fighting one common enemy: oppression. Our goals are to dismantle the injustices of the state, of patriarchy, of fascism, and other oppressions, not to dismantle a movement.
Long before the OWS movement came about, Anarchists had been working hard toward the destruction of capitalism and all of its manifestations, with many forms of resistance including but not limited to property destruction. We work to build community as Food Not Bombs groups, we create squats and collective housing units, we organize in the workplace to protect each other from abuse, we offer first aid when protesters deal with the brunt of police brutality, we work on destroying the old world as well as creating a new one. We were in the streets unmasked as evictions came rolling through our cities, and we were there on day one telling you the cops are class-traitors that preserve the wealth of the 1%.
We have played an integral part of anti-capitalist organizing in Oakland and around the world and we will continue to do so.
We are anti-authoritarian and do not recognize leader’s or journalist’s imposition on our lives or actions, we are not anti-organization. Hedges’ implications that Anarchists are hyper-individualistic in their actions is false. We promote solidarity among each other and protect those participating in the movement whether or not they participate in property destruction. Consensus-based decision making is inherently Anarchistic. For movements to continue effectively we need to get away from the idea that any one form of action is always best. Furthermore Hedges’ sense of entitlement to set up restrictions on how we resist is super fucking alienating to all those that don’t share his experiences as a white, liberal, male. As Hedges attempts to strip the autonomy and anonymity from the Black Bloc, he is destroying individual freedom and recreating power structures that we are all trying to escape and dismantle.
Similar to most progressive movements, hyper-masculinity and patriarchy exist within Anarchism, as our movements reflect culture. However, violence (including property destruction) is not inherently masculine. Due to patriarchy, violence is most often masculine but it is not violence itself that makes this action masculine, rather it is the ideas of domination and aggression that accompany it that determine it’s masculinity. Dominance and resistance are not the same. Responding to violence with violence can be justified. Responding to potential violence with violence can be justified. Windows of those that impede on freedoms will be smashed. Any violent action in which the intention is not to instill your power over another lacks the hyper-masculinity Hedges references. As long as violence is used to empower or destroy the existing power structure it is not an extension of one’s entitlement, or belligerence. Violence is simply a tool; it is used by both oppressors and the oppressed. It can be the outcome of patriarchal attitudes, but it can also be the basis of usurping them.
As I have said before, in a more eloquent manner, fuck the law! The state upholds our oppression. The state not only allows large corporations and private investment groups to take away our freedoms and control our lives, but it also facilitates it. The state is not your friend. To abide by the rules of your oppressors is to surrender your right to exist. As long as the state’s rule is against the will of the people I see no obligation to act in its interest and as long as I can spot oppressive dictating within radical organizing I have no obligation but to break free and destroy the oppressor.