Jun 28, 2005

imperial reckoning by Mike Morgan: Mau Mau, Insurrection and the tactics of counter-insurgency.

“Like all European colonies in the Third World, Kenya had everything to offer white settlers and nothing but grief for the local indigenous population. From the beginning of the last century and by the early years post World War II, whites flocked to Kenya to cash in on the privilege afforded them by virtue of their skin color… If ever a community of people deserved to be considered the detritus of humanity, it was the parasites that made up white Kenyan society.

“The immediate goal of the British was to break the back of the Mau Mau insurgency, fostering the belief amongst Africans that the pursuit of revolution was a doomed enterprise. Thus the brutality of the incarceration and screening processes, which were designed to spread fear and doubt amongst would-be Mau Mau adherents and to coerce those captured and already on the Mau Mau side to renege on their allegiances. However, another benefit of such tactics, critical to winning the overall campaign, was the collection of intelligence. The surreptitious nature of guerrilla warfare and urban rebellion requires that those combating it remain steps ahead of the rebels. Better intelligence gave the British the ability to pull off pre-emptive strikes.

“Pseudo-gang atrocities could also be manipulated conveniently to blame such violence on the liberation groups themselves… pseudo-gang activities have the potential to exploit already existing rivalries and exacerbate divisions within an united front liberation movement in order to further foment in-fighting, sectarianism and to exploit internal group instability… [these] interventions have set many a struggle back and harmed some irreparably.”

-Mike Morgan, imperial reckoning

Brooklyn resident by way of South Africa, Mike Morgan uses his review of two recent works on the Kenyan Mau Mau insurrection to take a broader look at what is going on with war and revolt today. Although he lays out an array of names and scenarios, he readily admits, “It would take many more pages to explain each example, and I apologize for merely making reference. A fuller description of these particular organizations and events referred to in passing is for another time and place.”

Nonetheless, he touches on several themes that seem to dovetail nicely with where Three Way Fight is coming from and hopefully going to. Topics ranging from Settlerism and it’s privileges based on class and race, to high-lighting counter-insurgency tactics employed by the State agencies in it’s campaigns against oppositional forces are all of utmost importance for radicals to wrap their heads around. The Kenyan experience also raises the realities of what brutal depth’s a privileged stratum of society will go to in resisting those who are taking action to reform or alter their societies. Morgan’s piece makes me think what realities could/can we expect, here in the U.S., if a mass social crisis emerges and leads to a struggle over land and resources amongst the populace? White supremacists and neo-fascists have been organizing a base for years in anticipation of some major social breakdown. And even though the fascists here are a small minority, they are an active one whose numbers, or at least influence, exceeds the influence held by any notable Left tendency. Even more innocuous projects like the Minuteman highlight what may be in the cards.

Jun 21, 2005

Above and Below: Them, Them, and Us

The following document was submitted to the general body of the FRAC (Federation of Revolutionary Anarchist Collectives - Great Lakes Region) for it's 2003 Spring Conference.

The document, because it was presented at a specific moment, contains segments that now appear dated. The war and occupation in Iraq has come and delivered new realities that the document was incapable of fully estimating at the time of it's drafting. Also, some basic assertions have shown to have been limited or wrong. Two examples come to immediate mind.

The first, is related to the US protest movements. The document claims, "The chill that fell on the US protest movement after 9/11 has thawed". At the time of it's publishing this seemed correct and there were glimers of hope that US opposition politics would break out of it's stagnation, recapturing some of the dynamic qualities that had emerged post-Seattle. The mass walkouts, work slowdowns/stoppages, street protests and creative resistance that flared up in response to a looming war gave many heart. But the percieved failure of these movemnts to stop the war and the subsequent encapsulation of the "oppositions" energy into the Democrat's crippling Anybody But Bush strategy only brought another frost that has sent the impulses for mass action against the State back into hibernation.

The second, is the documents citing the U.S. based National Alliance (NA) as a leading force in the development of a small, but signifigant, radical fascist alternative to the State and bourgeois capitalism. At the time of the documents publication the NA seemed best situated to take advantage of the increasing polarization occuring in society post-9/11. The NA was carrying out mass outreach and demonstrations that brought hundreds of their cadre out into the streets. But in recent months the NA has fallen into shambles with inter-leadership factioning and splits. Key organizers have been sacked and whole Units have left the organization. The NA may be going through a period of regroupment or it may be in the throes of death. Regardless of the NA's future, there still remains an active movement of U.S. fascists that is "large by Left standards".

To be fair, what we have just raised could only be known with hindsight. Many situations have changed (some dramatically) since the documents release. What remains important for us are several key themes raised. In particular, the documents insistence on the 3 Way struggle: Them, Them and Us.

The documents emphasis that 1) we have seen the growth and development of autonomous and libertarian forces, globally. And 2) in defining the struggle against bourgeois rule as multi-dimensional the document lays out two distinct and competing approaches: authoritarian and anti-authoritarian.

The document is more cursory than not and should be taken as one more contribution to the dialogue about the terrain were on. Highlighting several important issues facing "our side", we place it here as a key text of the politics of this website project.


Above and Below: Them, Them, and Us - By BRICK anarchist collective

George Bush and his war hawks swarm down on the world from the heights of power and authority. The massive US war and occupation of Iraq has several aims: to aggressively establish US military and political dominance in the Middle East; to prove total US power to capitalist rivals around the globe; to insure direct control over the Middle Easts resources; and to favorably position itself for the ongoing struggle against a startling insurgency from below: Islamic fundamentalism/fascism.

This is a bold and radical course for the capitalists, full of risks and challenges. It already has caused injury, possibly fatal, to major ruling-class institutions like NATO, the European Union, and the United Nations. It has provoked a massive outpouring of antiwar sentiment, protest, and direct action, all across the globe. The chill that fell on the US protest movement after 9/11 has thawed.

Less spectacular but equally a part of this drive is the offensive directed at the working classes internationally, including within the US. Trade pacts, like Plan Puebla Panama, open up countries labor and resources; IMF austerity and privatization measures drive down wages and living standards and put education, healthcare, water, land, and infrastructure directly in the hands of the corporations. Antiterrorism is used to justify extensive new police powers, the erosion of civil liberties, carrying out advanced population mapping, and opening up public discussion of internment, assassinations, and torture.

The Bush government, in alliance with the Christian Right, is working to roll back the victories women have won at home, on the job, and in wider society. There is no doubt that his will also be true for GLBT communities. War has always increased racism here in the Homeland. Arabs and Muslims continue to face both official and vigilante attacks. Mexicans and other Latinos have had to deal with increased repression at the border, deportations, and sweatshop conditions. In the Black community, systemic police brutality and incarceration, economic marginalization, and an imposed drug epidemic have not let up. The white sections of the working classes are now too feeling the effects of downsizing and cutbacks. This presents opportunities for class unity, but also for white supremacist and fascist backlash and balkanization.

The official opposition (Democratic Party, AFL-CIO bureaucracy, major civil rights groups, the Greens) are either totally complicit in this offensive, or serve as a means to co-opt and dilute any autonomous struggle against these attacks.


The world system of capitalism, patriarchy, white supremacy, and the state is going thru a monumental reorganization which involves a great deal of inner-ruling class competition. This has temporarily weakened it at points, providing openings for resistance from below. Roughly speaking we would divide the resistance into two camps: 1) authoritarian, and 2) autonomous and anarchist. The differences between the two general approaches and visions are significant, and cannot be bridged by a shared militancy. In fact, as anarchist revolutionaries, antifascists and radical feminists we understand our situation as a three-way fight. Them, Them, and Us.

Authoritarian movements

9/11 and the war in Afghanistan have brought home the fact that there is a serious force committed to fighting and overturning the US government, other western governments and radically remaking society. But they are our enemies also. Al-Qaeda and movements like it include tens of thousands of fighters with sophisticated weapons and communications, a major bankroll, and the ability and the audacity to pull off spectacular acts of sabotage and terror. The Taliban regime in Afghanistan gave us a glimpse of what this kind of force looks like in power. Women were removed from public life, stripped of all rights. A large paramilitary force physically policed public morality. War, conquest and criminal enterprise were central to the economy. No activity outside of the ruling structures was allowed.

In North America and Europe, but also in parts of the global South, right-wing nationalism, white supremacy, and fascism have reemerged. In Europe populist-fascist parties have made serious runs at state power. In India, Hindu fascists in political power have sanctioned mass pogroms and rape of Muslims. In the US a relatively small (but large by left standards) fascist cadre organization, the National Alliance, is carrying out professional mass outreach, carving out a music and cultural underground and has started to test the streets. The fascists in the US have actually felt more repression from Ashcrofts Feds than any section of the left outside of the Arab communities.

Beyond fundamentalism and fascism there remain other authoritarian currents of opposition from below. Authoritarian communist and nationalists continue as guerilla groups in several Third World countries and as opposition parties in the West. Their goals, which once may have seemed radical, are now clearly about control by a party elite (usually middle-class intellectuals) of a revolutionary state, that in turn controls all of society. While instituting certain reforms from above, their obsession with centralization, production, and total ideological control have devastating effects on the land, working people and any autonomous movements or impulses.

Autonomous movements

So who is the Us? Who do we stand with on this planet? The Zapatistas uprising, the Battle in Seattle, and Argentinas revolt. The anarchist and alternative unions in Europe, the land seizures in Brazil, and the heroism of RAWA. The anti-privatization movement in South Africa, the Belfast-based free-speech forum The Blanket, and the bonfires in Quebec City. Peoples Global Action, the IndyMedia Centers, and the International Libertarian Solidarity network.

This sample of movements, organizations, actions, and projects may seem unwieldy, but it has a logic. As a movement, its main characteristics include: conscious anti-capitalism, a rejection of vanguardism and statecraft, a broad repertoire of militant direct action, a directly democratic process, an egalitarian vision, a commitment to autonomy, political and physical hostility to the fascists and fundamentalists, an ecological understanding, and deep reservations about the effects and effectiveness of an armed-struggle strategy- among others.

Anarchism is a significant minority within these movements, better known and with more momentum than any time in the last sixty years. Marxists and ex-Marxists also exert significant influence, and Indigenism and different religious beliefs are also important guides or references for many. Anarchists cannot be passive participants in these movements. We have a responsibility to argue for explicitly anarchist methods and goals. There is nothing guaranteed about these struggles, many first launch themselves with a strong autonomous character, only to come under domination of an authoritarian group, or be co-opted back into the system. The Solidarity movement in Poland and the first Palestinian Intifadeh are examples. The anarchist role is not seizing leadership, but encouraging and defending the most far reaching self-organization against all authority.

Culture has played an increasingly important role in our movement. It gives life to the resistance. We also know that any culture becomes a target for capitalism to be sold back to us as a commercialized empty shell. Within hip-hop, punk, queer and other subcultures battles are being waged between a committed underground and corporate colonization.

The autonomous movements are not without significant weaknesses and flaws. In general there is not a clear orientation towards insurrection- an immediate abolition of the state and collective appropriation of wealth and resources. The wariness towards armed struggle, often learned from direct experience, sometimes verges on pacifism. This gives the movement a distinct reformist side, though not as visible partly because of a general disinterest in electoralism. The enthusiasm this current has inspired among radical youth, indigenous communities, and campesinos has not yet found a strong base in the urban working-classes around the world, and this has to change.

In the North American Great Lakes region two small but important groups are examples of the autonomous movement. The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) has come the closest to merging the anti-globalization movement with the poorest sections of the working-classes thru direct-action case work and mass mobilization; and the Anti-Racist Action Network (ARA) which has doggedly struggled both physically and ideologically against the fascists, forming a core of young militant organizers.

The balance of forces in Mexico is also extremely important to us here. The EZLN in Chiapas are in many ways the prototype of what we mean by autonomous movement, because of their rebellion, their refusal to seek state power or to disarm, their liberated municipalities, and the sharp exchanges with authoritarian groups like the Basque ETA. Also in Mexico, we are starting to learn more about the struggles of the Consejo Indegena Popular Oaxaca- Ricardo Flores Magon (CIPO-RFM), a similar group with more explicit anarchist sympathies. We are committed to building a relationship with this group and other autonomous movements south of the border.


In trying to sum up this paper, we feel it is important for our Federation to: be able to analyze the moves of the ruling class and what problems and possibilities this presents, in particular this war against Iraq; to understand and be able to differentiate between authoritarian and autonomous resistance; to build and participate in the autonomous movements, especially among the working classes; to fight for revolutionary anarchist methods and goals within these movements, and struggle against repression, reformism and rising elites; to contest the authoritarian movements both physically and politically; and to link up with other struggles and movements around the world for discussion and mutual aid. We are a new grouping on a new world stage, most of what we try to do will necessarily be experimental. We must be bold as we advance while encouraging a thorough dialogue around all our activities.

Some Specifics Tasks

1. We need to develop our politics and vision. We need both a historical understanding of revolutionary anarchism, including the debates around the Platform, and a clear analysis of our current situation, the moves of the ruling class and the resulting problems and possibilities. We need to understand and be able to differentiate between authoritarian and autonomous methods and goals. We need to write short position papers on a whole range of questions facing us, for debate and discussion. We should hold at least one educational Day School annually, maybe jointly with NEFAC and others, that concentrates on internal education, debate, and discussion. Not just by and for experts and intellectuals, but recognizing we all have things to teach and learn. This also involves paying attention to, learning from, and building ties with the international anarchist movement.

2. We need to strengthen the organization. FRAC needs more of a public face with publications, position papers, a web page. The antiwar poster was an excellent start. We need to better collectively sum up our experiences, in local organizing, demos and actions, etc. with regular reports and discussion from the members, collectives and secretaries. We also need to stimulate and help bring out more collectives in our region. We need a strong sense of security culture, an understanding of different methods of repression including sophisticated counterinsurgency. We need to be able to organize a fighting movement that can successfully organize direct action, on both mass and small group levels. We should also systematically build ties with the new wave of anarchist organizing in North America- NEFAC and the other regional federations and networks.

3. We need to experiment more with trying to build organization and action in the workplaces and communities outside of the left and anarchist scenes. In Chicago, the small Uprise! initiative at UPS has proven that we can get a favorable hearing and engage in some struggle in these areas. Our effort to organize in the Pilsen/Little Village neighborhoods holds even more promise. We need to experiment, and try and draw lessons from the experience. This will take collectives and individuals committing to get these type of projects off the ground.

4. Developing revolutionary culture is equally important. A number of comrades are artists, musicians, and DJs, and almost all of us have connections to the subcultures. We need to analyze whats going on in popular and rebel culture, and figure out how to participate and impact cultural consciousness and movements. We need to make sure all of our activity has flava. We are not the rigid, boring left and we dont want to look like it.

BRICK anarchist collective
Chicago, ILApril 2003

They live, we die

The article was wrote for publication in the Arab American News. However, for some reason it was refused. It was forwarded on to Three Way Fight.

They live, we dieBy L.B.G. Here’s a good way to sum up last week’s disturbance at the Haram As-Sharif (according to Judaism, the Temple Mount) – “Do as I say, not as I do.”

That is precisely the message Ariel Sharon sent to the far rightists who attempted to assault the Temple Mount in order to protect it. Sharon himself ignited the current intifada by making a provocative visit there while reportedly protected by 1,400 Israeli cops.

Last week, he needed 3,000 cops to seal off the area to prevent the creatures he helped create from doing the same thing. And though Israeli settlers and their allies would deny it now, he is there inspiration: he once told far rightists 1998 to “enlarge the settlements because everything we take now will stay ours... Everything we don’t grab will go to them.”

After getting elected and acclimatizing to certain realities, Sharon decided – like his Labor party predecessors – that to save the body of his precious Jewish state, he will have to cut off a limb; in this case, the Gaza Strip. This has enraged his followers, who act like rebellious teenagers angry that their parents smoke, but won’t let them light up; Hence, the traveling settler circus.

But who are the kids? And what are their aims? A PBS Frontline documentary called, “Israel’s Next War?” attempted to answer that question. The answer? To nobody’s surprise, it’s the Kahanists, followers of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane.

Kahane, who founded the Kach party (outlawed in Israel and in the U.S.) and the Jewish Defense League (responsible for numerous terrorist attacks in the U.S., including attempted murder) was also an FBI informant.

The goals he set down in 1968 (he was murdered in 1990) continue on with his followers in the U.S., Israel and the settlements – expulsion of all Arabs from Israel and the establishment of a Khomeinist-style theocracy in Israel.

His followers continue his legacy, through means both legal and extra-legal; on the one hand, candidates like Baruch Marzel are fielded for Knesset elections while others terrorize Palestinians through shootings, bombings and beatings.

More recently, according to the Michigan Peace Team, Kahanists have poisoned Palestinian livestock in an effort to force Palestinian villagers to leave.

Kahanism as an ideology and as a movement is organized in the Kach and a group called Kahane Chai (Kahane Lives); but, in fact, there are many groups under different names, comprising most of the same people. A list of their names appears on PBS’ website as well as the website for the Office of Foreign Assets Control; these include New Kach Movement, Jewish Legion and the Sword Of David.

One group’s missing from both lists, however, and that’s an organization called Revava (Hebrew for 10,000.) Revava presumably distances itself from terrorism and isn’t mentioned on the either the PBS or the OFAC list as a Kahanist group. But it was they that organized the action in Jerusalem and they may have threatened to destroy the Al-Aqsa mosque.

After all, Palestinians flocked to defend the mosque as well as Muslim governments, ranging from American allies Jordan and Yemen to Axis of Evil all-star Iran, even though the American media either downplayed, or ignored why they would be upset. According to University of Michigan professor Juan Cole’s web log, Informed Comment, “no Western press article appears even to have rounded up the reaction in the Muslim world.”

While no concrete evidence exists, it’s quite possible that either Revava or its allies planned to dynamite the site.

On April 7, the Israeli daily Ha’aretz reported that police arrested 2 right-wingers for planting fake bombs in Jerusalem, while that same issue reported the Shin Bet as saying “extremist Jews are planning to carry out an attack” at the mosques. An editorial the following day confirmed the Shin Bet’s suspicions, “that Jews are planning to carry out a terror attack on the Temple Mount.”

But Ha’aretz, professor Cole and American media – both newspapers andFrontline – failed to examine Revava, its goals, ideology and what other groups they’re connected with.

Revava is a Kahanist group in everything but name. The overlaps are so strong, in fact, that it’s sheer incompetence that Frontline and OFAC somehow missed it.

Revava’s leader is David Ha’Ivri, whose article, “Secure Borders,” appeared in Ideas In Action, a publication from the Kahanist Ha’Meir Foundation, the purpose of which is “to encourage the implementation of the Jewish Idea as espoused by Rabbi Meir Kahane.”

In the article, Ha’Ivri wrote that Israel’s existence is an act of God, and that the Jewish return to Palestine is “to sanctify the name of G-D” and to fulfill the prophecies in the Tanach. Israel’s borders will be “safe” and “secure” after “we establish facts on the grounds with our army” and, presumably, with the help of God; in other words, religiously-inspired ethnic cleansing. Another link to Kahanism can also be seen in the web links section. Two such links includes the before mentioned Ha’Meir Foundation as well as Kahanebooks.com, “the official Ha’Meir L’David bookstore.”

Another Kahanist connection is the P.O. Box – the group’s American address is the same as Ha’Meir’s: P.O.B. 960121, 143 Doughty Blvd., Inwood, NY 11096. The Israeli addresses are different, but the phone number is the same for both: 03-906-0875.

Kahanism is dedicated to removing Palestinians from all of Palestine. One section of Ha’Meir’s site offers one way of doing this through a seemingly innocent activity called “Plant A Tree In Yesha.”

The reasons are two-fold: 1.) Beautify the land “after nearly 2,000 years of desolation,” and 2.) Planting trees “sends a message to our Arab neighbors and the world” that Israel is here to stay.

This way – “when an Arab sees Jews planting trees in Israel, it becomes clear to him that the land is not his and he has no further claim to it.”

Apparently, according to them, the plan is working. “In areas where Jews have planted trees, Arabs have simply stopped coming around.” And where can someone send checks to keep Arabs away? The same American address where you can contact Revava and Ha’Meir.

Jun 17, 2005

Jun 13, 2005

Women Protest in Iran - Call for Rights

Women Protest in Iran - Call for Rights

More than 250 women gathered in front of Tehran University yesterday to protest sex discrimination imposed on them through Sharia law. Hundreds of police showed up and kept another 250 persons from joining them.

The women at yesterday's protest chanted, "We are women, we are the children of this land, but we have no rights." Others shouted, "No to totalitarianism". According to the Persian Journal witnesses said, "…the police clubbed several women, though there were no hospital reports of injuries." Demonstrators said they saw some women being detained and dragged away by officers.

"I have come to defend my rights because these people have always oppressed us," said Farangis Rafati, holding up a Kurdish women's group banner reported Iran Focus. "All the candidates in the election say the same things. They're the same people. It makes no difference if we vote because they will have someone elected among themselves."

Women have voted heavily in recent elections, but reportedly are growing disillusioned by the lack of progress made toward equal rights. "The candidates talk about rights but there's no improvement from what they've said before," said the writer and publisher, Soheila Beski. "I have always voted but this time I won't."

The hard-line Guardian Council, dominated by six unelected clerics and six judges, last month rejected on the basis of their sex 89 women who had registered to run in the upcoming elections.

This was not the first time in recent days public protests have been held. Women have been increasingly pushing for more rights during the time period leading up to elections scheduled in just a few days. Last week another group of women demonstrated against the disqualification of all women candidates from the upcoming presidential election. Organized by members of Iran's Women Activists Movement, they rallied in from of the Presidential Office, Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported. They said the ruling barring the candidates by the Guardian Council ignored the lawful rights of women. "According to the UN Declaration of Human Rights and the International Convention of Civil and Political Rights, which the Islamic Republic of Iran is obliged to observe, no one can be deprived of civil and political rights because of gender," a demonstrator was quoted as saying in China's People's Daily.

And last Wednesday 100 women rushed past guards at Azadi Stadium to protest rules banning their attendance at male sporting events.

"We don't want to recover our rights at the expense of men," said journalism student Shafiq Khanbani at yesterday's protest. "We want the democratic rights of all people to be respected and we're protesting because they're not."

Sources: Iran Focus, Persian Journal, Ms. Magazine, Iran Mania, IRNA, People's Daily (China)

Jun 12, 2005

About Us

This site is directed towards the revolutionary anti-capitalist movements that have emerged over the last several years. The rise of these movements shows the potential for radical struggle that breaks with parliamentary reformism and the remnants of the various state socialisms. However, much of this potential remains untapped. Our side is small, undeveloped and, in the recent past, mainly on the defensive. Our inability to consolidate a substantial political alternative out of the very real potentials points to the difficulty of the tasks.

The contributors to this site consider the fracturing of the global capitalist system to be a real possibility. However, there is no guarantee that political opposition to global capital will coalesce around a radical liberatory alternative. There is another opposition emerging - a reactionary neofascism that aims to overthrow the current capitalist hegemony and institute a radically different oppressive social order. This leads us to conclude that we are in a three way contest where the faultlines don't conform to a simple "Us" and "Them".

We have set up this site to contribute to the development of ideas for action. We need to clarify the actual political processes, not manufacture some new slogans, and work out some political strategies that aren't just chewed over reruns of past debates and failures.

What you will find here is opinions, analysis, debate, and news covering the politics and culture of our current world and the new movement(s) we are attempting to create. Some posts may be long, in depth and part of ongoing discussions, while others may be short and to the point. What we are aiming for is the transmission of engaging and informative commentary.