Submitted by GustavLandauer on Thu, 12/13/2007 - 12:30am
CreateAustin has prepared a draft for building the creative economy of Austin over the next ten years. It's very interesting, and I recommend anyone interested in the arts and making a living as a creative worker check this out. You can find the full draft at their website, along with a timeline for next steps. They're accepting comments until December 28th.
It's an interesting document and I thought I'd summarize a few of their draft proposals that I personally find the most interesting:
*Create an open membership organization for creative workers in Austin, sponsored by CreateAustin and the city, to serve as an information clearinghouse for members and a universal fundraising and sales vehicle. It would also potentially offer group health insurance, opportunities for cross-genre collaboration, and support networks for artists in mid-late career.
Wheatsville is currently having its elections. If you are a Wheatsville member, you should vote in them. NOW! PUT DOWN THAT LONE STAR AND VOTE! Wheatsville Board Elections
Wheatsville, if you didn't know, is a cooperative store. Meaning members in theory run the thing, and do so by voting on the composition of the Board of Directors and other matters (boycotts, nonprofit donations, etc.). However, the voter turnout in these elections is remarkably small. I'm generally not one to encourage voting, but when it's in co-ops and local issues it's pretty important.
“Libertarian” originally meant a general opposition to authority of all types. In the United States, the Libertarian Party has conditioned the reception of the idea as being exclusively anti-statist. Classical libertarians opposed not only the power of centralized government, but of the centralized businesses and corporations that strove to dominate people and societies through the dollar (and often enough, the gun).
A phrase that often provokes confusion is the political moniker “libertarian socialist.” This is essentially a gussied up euphemism for “anarchist,” though one that illustrates the positive content of the concept. Libertarian socialist means one who promotes the decentralized, social ownership of the means of production of a society. So not only do they oppose centralized government power; they also oppose with equal ferocity corporate power, and promote as an ultimate ideal some means of direct, social ownership of economic factors.
Politics is always ultimately a question of who is allowed to speak to and as power, and who is excluded. Which singular voice or idea, which propositions are allowed to drown out the others, why, and from whom? We can see this in a lecture hall as easily as a federal election, at a concert or in a board meeting. Most of the actually existing rules of power are unwritten, codes of behavior, style and speech that are known implicitly or explicitly by insiders but are unknown to outsiders. Who can speak and how much will their opinion matter, how direct will be its influence on power, these are the core questions of politics. The political process is always analytic in a sense, it always cuts into a population. People are included and excluded to define a hierarchy of legitimate participation. Are you a citizen? Are you an immigrant? Are you rich? Are you an educated professional? Are you white, black, Latino, Asian? What music do you listen to? What language and idiom do you speak?
I'm been thinking a lot recently about the meaning of anarchism, and what it means to work in and through this political tradition. This is a difficult question. The strands of anarchism are divergent and intractable, if only for the simple reason that we don't use political parties to create change, and we don't believe in ultimately relying upon government intervention for social betterment. At the same time, any anarchist is well aware of the ridiculous power of corporate America and rears back from demands to give big business more freedom and more power over human life. The ultimate point is to empower people, not government bureaucracies, and not corporate behemoths oriented only towards accumulating wealth. We can't really distinguish between the two.
I think we have been a little too cautious in our way of speaking about Iraq. We have spoken in terms of success and failure, and of pulling troops out as though their well-being were the most significant thing in this matter.
It is important, but when we make these calls, we remain tethered to the possibility that well, maybe, just maybe, we can win. Removing troops for their own sake means America cannot handle its own mess, and brings up feelings of duty and honor in response.
So while it is important to consider the utter waste of American life that this absurd moment in history offers us, we should be more concerned with the actual problem of the occupation.
The big issue in Austin is the cost of housing, and the fact that as Austin has become a hot spot recognized around the country, folks have been flooding in and driving up rental and purchasing costs of homes, much to the chagrin of natives, low-income groups, civil rights organizations, environmentalists- well basically everyone besides developers.
We talk and talk this issue to death, and I can't count the number of times I've heard people bash the Californians and their McMansions, but apart from some dynamic organizations like PODER or the Texas Affordable Housing Project, people don't seem to fight gentrification. It causes enormous anger, but people don't seem to know what to do about it, what tools they can use to fight it.
Submitted by GustavLandauer on Mon, 09/24/2007 - 6:47pm
This is pretty damn interesting. Seems a German bike factory was shut down by a strike and occupation several months ago, and the workers have reorganized it as an anarcho-syndicalist factory, working with the German syndicalist union FAU. Basically it's now a self-managed coop. It sounds like all this has happened to prevent the closure of the company- the owners were just going to liquidate it, and the workers took over to stop them.
They're taking orders!
If anyone knows any bike partisans willing to order a bike from Germany, point em this way.
Indigenous Rights Outlined by UN
"The United Nations General Assembly has adopted a non-binding declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples after 22 years of debate."
The article mentions that the document was opposed by several nations, including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and good ole' Unkie Sam. Wonder why... I'm not sure what the long-term ramifications of this are, but it looks like it might be an important symbolic victory.
When we hear the word anarchy, we are accustomed to think of the absence of all order, a state of chaos, destruction and general collapse. Hence the idea of "anarchism," of a set of political and social beliefs focused around the concept "anarchy" seems at best absurd and at worst dangerous and violent. This is as good a place as any to begin the discussion of anarchism.