News of opposition

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“Reading the morning newspaper is the realist’s morning prayer. One orients one’s attitude toward the world either by God or by what the world is. The former gives as much security as the latter, in that one knows how one stands. ”    Hegel

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if you want the latest news of opposition use the dropdown menu for the months from the current one backwards

This introduction was originally written in February 2013 (modified April 2017)

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This section will be mostly full of links to various (often mainstream) articles giving information about certain aspects of independent opposition to this society throughout the world that might have escaped the notice of other sites claiming to oppose capitalism. What I automatically exclude here, given the attempt to focus on  ”independent opposition”, are clashes in which either ethnic or religious  or sport team or political faction fights seem to dominate. Admittedly, some of these bits of information here are more spontaneous symptoms of opposition than developing struggles.There will be no pretension that this information is at all definitive – doubtless loads of things will be missed out.  For one thing, I  rarely put up reports from places that have had constant clashes with the state for several years now – and often on a daily basis – places such as Palestine/Israel, Kashmir and Bahrain. Which is in no way to diminish those aspects of the struggles there that have some independent aspect to them. It’s merely that there are other sites that focus on them better than mine and, besides, detailing constant conflicts  like these would unnecessarily inundate the site. Equally, there might be things put here which on further investigation do not prove to have anything independent about them. Nor does this part of the site pretend to  constitute an analysis of these struggles: the intention is simply to inform people of things that they might otherwise have missed. And neither does putting them here all together mean that these very different events in very different situations are simplistically equivalent.

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And this should be made very clear: the fact that throughout the world people, in a variety of different ways, are increasingly fighting back against the powers-that-be, does not mean in any way that we should be simplistically optimistic.  We have been here before  – e.g. in the post-1968 world, or before that in the world of 1917 and after. It may seem superfluous and obvious to say this, but the outcome of these struggles is not in any way determined, and the counter-revolution is also strong (for example, Bangladesh, which has had some on-and-off forms of significant contestation, especially in the garment industry eruptions since 2006, often has some very nasty sectarian riots in which loads of people get  killed). An optimistic determinism, which virtually sees history from some external God-like point of view, is a total waste of time and thought. But equally, pessimism is useless and self-fulfilling: it’s always a question of what risks people are prepared to take so as to contribute to furthering and clarifying these very different struggles, and helping the world advance towards a genuinely liberatory future.

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Sysyphus: both an individual and collective project – inseparably

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I hope people reading this will also add more insights into these events, and also provide interesting information that is not included here.

PLEASE NOTE:

8 compilation videos, about events in November & December 2013, and January, February, March, April, May and June 2014 –  loosely based on some of the information on this site, are available here:

https://www.youtube.com/user/m0bi/videos

They were put together by a friend totally independently of me and are taken from mainly mainstream media sources. He shows them at a get-together with a meal as a catalyst for discussion, called “Food for thought”. They are also included on this page at the beginning of each relevant month.

Also note:

The updates on these events can sometimes include things that have happened a week or even several weeks ago that I missed, so it might be worthwhile for those interested, to scroll down to check out if there’s anything new.

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3 Responses to News of opposition
  1. […] of opposition”, each month. You can read their own description/intro to this series here. Below is the “News of Opposition” for April. For an ongoing one for May click here.  […]

  2. A fairly short dialogue about trends in struggles over the years:

    X from the US said:

    I was reading your site recently and it got me to thinking about the possibility to observe trends over time. How many years have you been looking at the news in this way? 2, 3, 5 or more? Do you think it would be possible (or worthwhile) to distill any general thoughts about the nature of contemporary social-antagonist collective struggles from what you’ve gathered? Would looking at the news this way tell us something about the world or just something about the news?

    Sometimes I conceptualize periods of relative calm and conflict as waves with different frequencies, lengths, crests and troughs. I’m not sure that that way of thinking is particularly accurate, a good way of describing a vastly complex reality, but I like it nonetheless. I can remember thinking and feeling (because at the time it was mostly just a feeling or a hope) that the Oaxaca occupation/rebellion/insurrection of 2006 was perhaps the prelude to a new “wave.” And to a certain extent that feeling has been confirmed, or at least I like to to think about the last decade in those terms. Have you seen any trends (volume, locations, intensity…) that might confirm or refute such a hypothesis or even suggest a different way of thinking? Is the subject simply too complex to stuff into a model or framework?

    I suppose you could rightly say that this line of thinking is a gross oversimplification or (academic / mystical) mystification in the manner of George Katsiaficas’s “eros effect”: an incompletely explained concept attempting to explain the un-explainable. But I do think it is true that the more people act (together) against the misery of the world, the more people see that it is possible to do so and that it might be possible to create and inhabit a world that’s fundamentally different. I’ve also experienced first hand what I think is sometimes called the “circulation” of struggles through inspiration, reference, and supercession.

    Another way to look at my questions would be: Why do you compile the news of oppositon? What is your motivation and what thoughts has doing so provoked in you?

    I replied:

    Been doing this for just over 2 years. since March 2013. For me it’s a kind of reference library, and I hope one day to compile chronologies for all the countries mentioned – along the lines of the chronologies in “Mexico: a compilation” and “South Africa: a reader” (ie for some countries it would be more than just a chronology). Maybe such a project is over-ambitious, but I could do it for some countries at least.

    But I think the sense of history is very different from say , 1968 onwards, when one could say that France rose up after a series of riots internationally (Watts ’65 and the ghetto riots of ’67; riots against the Vietnam war) and clearly had a more profound effect internationally afterwards (particularly in Europe). But now the sense of time has changed – what happened a month ago seems like a year or more ago, and as life and possibilities get invaded by a pure sense of immediacy, history, memory is repressed – so in a sense, the information in the news of opposition is aimed to help reveal and preserve such otherwise repressed memories.

    However, analysis of the general social situations of each country where such things happen and of the particular contradictions in the actions described is certainly as vital – though it’s quite a complex task, and certainly one that is way way beyond my abilities alone (even trying to do this for France or the UK is quite a massive task, though it’s one I hope to eventually achieve). I don’t think trying to develop such a critique is helped by thinking of events in terms of ” waves with different frequencies, lengths, crests and troughs” though, as it tends to be too much of an abstract idea of what “theory” is. Also, I don’t think Oaxaca 2006 was a prelude to a new wave, as things seemed to ebb in Mexico for a period of time, though I suspect that what happened then has had a significant effect on current events there. But certainly in France, after the anti-CPE movement of 2006 there was a downtrend until 2010, and a far worse downtrend in the 5 years since. Though the uprising in Tunisia at the end of 2010 had a profound effect, it didn’t last, as the new rulers exploited vast ethnic, political party and religious conflicts amongst North African proletarians after the Arab spring, although nothing is definitive (Algeria and Tunisia seem to have intermittent social conflicts far more hopeful than anything like Syria, Libya, Egypt or elsewhere). I think trying to unravel these ethnic and religious identities and their exploitation and manipulation by the powers-that-be or their would-be replacements is far more illuminating than having some very general conceptualisation process or a “theoretical” model, which floats above everything but avoids understanding how subjectively so many proletarians who take part in socially antagonistic movements end up fighting their fellow proletarians or supporting state repression in the name of some ethnic, national or religious identity. A critique of the totality has to always have as its centre analysis of the contradictions of particulars if it’s to avoid becoming a short-cut which leads to trying to fit things into some fixed framework which never develops. These contradictions (and other contradictions, some of which would involve looking at our own or those amongst our friends, both in the our very different past histories and also in the present) are best looked at first. And most contradictions amongst proletarians firstly function at a national level, even if capital is international. Such divisions almost invariably take different nuances within different nations, though obviously there are similarities that cross boundaries. At the same time so far, at least in this century, there have been few and far between events that point to some clear internationalism on the part of the resistance, and it’s usually limited to solidarity actions amongst those who already define themselves as internationalists of some sort. The Arab spring might seem to contradict this but it’s influence was mostly limited to North Africa and even there has been quickly diverted into horrendous wars or other forms of brutal repression.

    Anyway, hope this answers some of what you say. And maybe you can contribute by looking at some of the contradictions in the current situation in the USA and how these are reflected subjectively in people’s attitudes – their ideas and behaviour.

    X replied:

    What you’re saying makes sense to me. I wouldn’t want to dream up links between struggles and people when in reality there are none just to fit a theoretical idea. But then how does one explain the congruence of occupations as a common tactic/strategy in contemporary struggles/movements: the Zocalo (oaxaca, 2006), various university occupations, Tarir Square, the Madison, WI anti-austerity capital building occupation, The European “squares” movement, #Occupy in the US, Gezi park, to a degree the Ferguson riots in which people gathered at the burnt out QT and referenced a “Black fall/spring,” “Blackupy,” and some have experimented with the assembly form through “action councils” as well as demonstrations, banners and travelling activists connecting Ayotzinapa to Ferguson.

    It seems like there is a link between all these events, even if it is ephemeral or tenuous. Each movement isn’t necessarily directly caused or sparked by another, though inspiration/collective imagination is present from what I’ve seen, but perhaps they are caused by common or similar conditions: the relative de-legitimization of the official (radical) left, the defeats of mass workplace based organizing and activity and subsequent restructuring of production and the global economy (while still recognizing the need to gather “masses of individuals” together in one place), austerity…(though perhaps this is where the importance of difference in national contexts comes in). On top of that, people are paying attention to what happens in other parts of the world and sometimes learning from past moments of conflict. Some people involved in the “Ferguson Movement” have stated the need to learn from the failures of #Occupy and the action oriented “councils” were an attempt to improve on the process obsessed “general assemblies” of #occupy. Even the rioting itself could be looked at as a lesson learned from the shortcomings of the more pacified occupations through the pacifism of MLK etal.

    I think in order for a real revolutionary challenge to the status quo to come about, these flash in the pan incidents or moments would have to take on more of a continuous, self-conscious, self-reproducing character in the places where they develop (and and from there, everywhere). But for the time being, we see one die down and another take off somewhere else. A question for me, is whether or not this is happening more or less frequently now than say ten years ago. And then, whether or not that is meaningful in any way. More of a simple measurement of the temperature than a grand thesis (is it/has it been hotting up?).

    I replied:

    I agree that Tahrir square followed by Occupy!/the indignados etc in various countries were connected (though I doubt the occupation of the Zocalo in Oaxaca had anything to do with influencing these movements; perhaps it did in the US – but what you said is the first time I’ve heard the connection). Certainly didn’t want to imply that revolts or forms of revolts in one country didn’t influence those in other countries. Though, admittedly, I’d rather stupidly forgotten about Occupy as in France it was mainly manipulated behind the scenes by sections of the Socialist Party whose main aim was just to keep people talking so as not to do anything other than talk.

    Doubtless when movements rise up again, correcting what was limited about previous (though largely recent) movements in those countries will play a part in their development (in fact, would have to play a part in them going further). And I do feel that the wave of struggles on and off since Tunisia – which is definitely happening more frequently than 10 years or even 25 years ago – is going to lead to something big, mainly because austerity and environmental disasters are pushing more and more people into a “fuck it- let’s just go for it – it’s all just getting horribly worse, why not risk ourselves a lot more” – type attitude. But we have to be careful about being optimistic: the state has a vast array of divide and rule tricks up its sleeve and clearly has the capacity to manipulate the statist and ideological barriers in people’s heads and behaviour in such a way as to create horrendous demoralisation of the forces that oppose this society. However, at the same time, I don’t feel in the 2+ years that I’ve been doing the “News of Opposition” page that there have been clear “waves” of struggle that have had an international effect (so far), unlike in 2011. The movements seem to have had a more nationally specific character, which nevertheless have been often more profound than 2011. This has particularly been the case over the last 10 months in the US (though perhaps I’m saying this because it’s one place I’m familiar with – perhaps these developments are happening in other parts of the world as well; almost certainly in Mexico, for example) – and I’d be surprised if something more doesn’t develop there (and in Mexico) over the next year or so. In fact, I’d be surprised if there aren’t more significant revolts in the world than have been over the last 2 years – because there’s a genuine feeling of something building up, despite the anti-historical mentality nurtured by the dominant media and dominant ways of living that makes people forget what happened a week ago.

  3. 16/06/15:

    X replied:

    The Oaxaca connection is admittedly a bit of stretch, given that it occured pre-“crisis,” and therefore also before the intensified austerity which has followed. Though maybe in places like Oaxaca, austerity-like conditions are more of a constant and less of a recently imposed tightening of the belt. It does seem that a very similar narrative unfolded in both the zocalo and in Tarir and even Gezi park (the Maidan and Hong Kong occupations could also be included but they are certainly much more complicated and opaque to me), though maybe the similarities are superficial and the differences greater: a protest of a specific grievance is expressed through the occupation of a central public area; the occupation is met with overwhelming state violence; the repression elicits an extreme reaction from a much broader section of the population leading to both radical actions and a deeper questioning of society as well as more nuanced (or simply more massive and brutal) and ultimately successful forms of repression (ideological division, recuperation).

    Elements of the Ferguson events followed a similar tyrajectory (protest-repression-expansion) though I suppose this might just be something that happens in important moments (May ’68, Bologna ’77…) and not something unique to our time or evidence of a coherent link between ’06 and today. Though Oaxaca in the fall of 2006 is, I would hope, still recent enough to offer valuable lessons for today despite the desperately short attention span of the twitter generation/society.

    I replied:

    Not sure if i have anything to add to this conversation at the moment.

    But I would like to ask you how much identity politics in the US (intersectionality etc.) have been weakened post-Ferguson or whether you feel this mentality persists despite all the things that should point to such separate identities being discarded/superseded. Amongst people you know or more generally, insofar as you’re aware.

    to be continued….

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