ON THE CONNECTION BETWEEN ANARCHISM AND ANTISPECIESISM.

A large, perhaps central tenant of anarchism is a rejection of hierarchy, an opposition to the idea that we need kings, bosses, the police or an authority of some kind to keep us in line and aware of our place, the suggestion being that that place is bellow a superior person or class. A ruling class that thrives off our labour, off our flesh, with no regard for us as individuals or anything beyond what we can provide to those ‘in charge’. Sound familiar? The stripping away of autonomy and the deprivation of an environment that should be abundant is something that not only happens to the masses (humans) but to so many exploited non humans too. Unwillingly we are all stuck in the machine of industrialisation, just bodies making a few much richer.

A system that has turned capable and curious generations into obedient workers who sit in cubicles or stand in factories or stuck behind counters serving all day and all night. Most of us unable to access clean water or food outside of what we can exchange for money earned through endless labour. Our lives are transformed to something so far from nature that life cut off from the system becomes almost impossible. Meanwhile our non human comrades are also deprived of their natural habitat and their bodies, like our minds, are systematically transformed to produce what we want from them as fast and as much as possible. Their bodies are commodified at every turn and they have become such frankensteins that there is no returning to the wild for them. Not that there’s much wild left to return to anyway.

The state is unnecessary and harmful to both human and non-human animals and that is something that both veganism and anarchism reflect on.
“More than just a refusal to take part in violence against non human animals for food, clothing, etc, veganism is a refusal to take part in the violence that affects society as a whole. Veganism works to expose and end the subtle indoctrination of industry in capitalist society that wishes to desensitize humanity to the violence against the many for the gain of the few.” —Joseph M. Smith “The Threat of Veganism”.

The Animal Liberation Front operates as a decentralised and leaderless group and is an example of how the philosophy for animal liberation and human liberation share a desire for no masters. Oppressive dynamics in social relationships are always based on an “us vs them”. Oppressors being seen and seeing themselves in clear distinction from the oppressed. The comfortable middle class person who is horrified by someone stealing food or other necessities and sees criminals instead of people, is easily comparable to those who see themselves as separate and above the pig whose flesh they eat for breakfast. The wealthy ‘understand’ their big houses and multiple holidays are acquired by ‘fair’ methods and not by the unequal distribution of resources just like the eggs they eat came from ‘free range’ chickens and the lamb they eat for dinner was ‘humanely’ killed. Both oppressor and oppressed are led to believe it is the poor’s incompetence which holds them down, just like the animals who we farm couldn’t possibly exist without the farmer and butcher.

WHAT IS MUTUAL AID

Mutual aid has been in the spotlight recently in light of the current crisis, but what exactly does it mean? And what makes it a powerful form of anarchist praxis unique from charity and volunteering?

Well, ‘mutual aid’ is essentially the very radical notion that co-operation, rather than competition, is what drives communities forward. It is the most practical expression of solidarity, aiming for everyone to be taken care of, incentivising but never expecting reciprocity. It is decentralised and grassroots, relying on the collective skills, resources and efforts of the community rather than state intervention or making demands.

In the animal kingdom, it is second nature – Kropotkin’s evolutionary observations in “Mutual Aid” displayed how mutual support networks, rather than mutual struggle, play the greatest role in species prosperity. But like most forms of commonality that pose a threat to capitalism in all its neoliberal individualism, our instinct for mutual aid has been ironed out and repressed. Organising in this way is therefore a display of solidarity which threatens to crush the destructive fallacy of “Every one for himself, and the State for all”. It breeds a form of collective abundance that endless economic growth will never succeed in creating, and that the state will never understand.

Reclaiming it is taking the fuck back our humanity, our animality, from the capitalist machine. Practicing it, is an act of resistance and an embodiment of an alternative system that we can carry out here and now; anarchism does not sit around and wait for capitalism to collapse. It lives and breathes in the present. Now more than ever, it is not something you pray for… it is something you do.

Further reading –

WHAT IS FOOD JUSTICE?

First of all, let’s define what Food Justice is. Food Justice has three main aspects:
Access to healthy, locally grown, fresh food
Living wages for all of those involved in the food system
Community control of the food supply

The Food Justice movement is in opposition to the racial and class influence on people’s ability to acquire healthy, fresh foods. It also brings light to issues facing farmers, food workers (we’ve all heard about the media talking about how fresh food will be left rotting in the fields due to having no migrant workers to pick them, but have you ever thought about why it is that large agricultural groups target migrants and others of lower socio-economic status to pick their food?).

Some of you may have heard the term “food desert”, usually in conversations where people who are not living in one use their existence to justify why they can’t go vegan. A “food desert” is defined as “an urban area in which it is difficult to buy affordable or good-quality fresh food.”, this usually means that for the population within the area there are no places in which to buy sufficient fresh, healthy food, or that such places are inaccessible for the population there. The term food desert tends to ignore other factors other than proximity, such as racism, cost of living, people being time and cash poor, and due to this has largely been replaced by the terms “food apartheid” or “food oppression”.

Places living under food apartheid often have an overabundance of cheap, processed foods (think fast food chains and petrol station food), which while they may be cheaper in the short term, usually end up being much more expensive in the long term due to ill health caused by poor diet. Communities of colour, as well as low-income areas, are most at risk of food apartheid due to the system we live under. 

One method of challenging this system of food apartheid is community food gardens, which enables the community to reclaim control over the production of food. This enables communities to grow healthy, vegan food without having to rely on big businesses and the agricultural industries to decide whether or not their communities are deserving of healthy foods. This ties into the Anarchist idea of mutual aid, relying on building strong communities instead of the State. This also allows the community itself to decide where certain resources can be best allocated, and allows stronger communal bonds to be formed as everyone has a share of the work, and a share of the produce at the end.

For more information regarding food justice, and how food apartheid can be combatted, check out:

The Food Empowerment Project
https://foodispower.org/

And if you can afford to buy it (or find a pdf online), definitely check out “Food Justice: A Primer”  https://sanctuarypublishers.com/food-justice%3A-a-primer

STILL NOT LOVING THE POLICE

As some of you who have followed this page for a while now, you’ll know our views on cops, and the institution of the police, we hate them. In this A is for Anarchy, we’re going to explain why that is, and why the cops are not your friends.

The main reason for our hatred of cops is that they exist solely to maintain the status quo, which in today’s capitalist society means upholding the systems of oppression that affect anyone not of the ruling classes. The Police willingly choose to uphold unjust laws, evicting people from their homes, stealing people’s possessions simply because they’re sleeping on the streets, criminalising sx-wrkers for simply making a living, locking people up for stealing food to live, and yet the large corporations who exploit humans, animals, and the planet go unchallenged, ask yourself, why do you think this is? Why can a CEO be praised for stealing millions of pounds yet someone stealing an overpriced vegan wrap is criminal filth in the eyes of the law?

Some of you may ask “but aren’t the police just people like us, shouldn’t we try to get them on our side?” or “I’ve never had a bad experience with the police” (I’m looking at you Extinction Rebellion). Whilst I guess cops are technically people, they are not like us. Do you really trust someone who’s morals can be bought for the right price? If you’ve never had a bad experience with the police, you’re very likely to be privileged, submissive, or both. The reality is accepting the police into any movement not only alienates communities that face significantly more police oppression, it also puts every activist in that movement at risk. The people who sign up to be cops choose to base their livelihoods around protecting the status quo, they know exactly what they’re signing up for and what they will be expected to do as an arm of the State. 

Now you may be wondering what we can do to challenge policing in our local area, the easiest way to do so is to start a community “CopWatch” (as long as it is safe for you to do so). What this involves is recording how cops interact with the community, either by writing it down or taking video evidence. Providing those under arrest with information about their rights is also another good way to challenge the abuses by cops, again, only if it is safe for you to do so. 

For information on your rights (with a focus on protests but a good starter in general) check out https://greenandblackcross.org/action/know-your-rights/ and https://network23.org/freebeagles/

For what to do during an immigration raid/immigration check (fuck “immigration enforcement” too) check out https://network23.org/antiraids/immigration-checks-know-your-rights/

Both of the above sites provide “bust cards” free to print, as well as other pdf’s and zines about your rights, and what cops can and can’t do

For more information about policing in general, and alternatives to cops (although with a slight USA centred spin) check out the following:
https://crimethinc.com/podcasts/the-ex-worker/episodes/5

https://crimethinc.com/podcasts/the-ex-worker/episodes/6

https://crimethinc.com/2011/10/25/seven-myths-about-the-police

https://crimethinc.com/2017/07/10/dear-citizens-this-is-your-police-in-praise-of-the-police-free-zone-in-hamburg

(if you haven’t already, go read everything you can by Crimethinc. as well as listening to their podcasts)

WHAT IS A BLACK BLOC?

We’ve all seen the headlines
“100s of black clad anarchists riot through downtown”
“black bloc smash Starbucks windows”

But what is the black bloc, and why is it used?
The black bloc is often seen as a gang or group by the media and the right wing, yet this is not the case at all, the black bloc is simply a tactic used to protect the identity of protestors by giving a uniform appearance across all members of the protestors. This allows protestors to sabotage infrastructure, protect communities, prevent police incursions into established autonomous zones, and more, all whilst maintaining their anonymity.

The black bloc is not a new tactic, having originated in West Germany in the 1970’s and 1980’s prior to the fall of the Berlin wall. During the economic recession occurring at this time, as well as massive amounts of people leaving the cities for the suburbs, many areas of the inner city were left abandoned and were squatted, providing people with free housing.

Within these squatter communities, radical political ideas began to emerge, which caused clashes with police and other government agencies to occur. Due to the violence from the police, protestors donned motorcycle helmets, steel-toed boots, and other protective clothing along with ski-masks to enable them to continue protesting through the violence from police and avoid being targeted for arrest.

Is the black bloc tactic always useful and recommended? Not necessarily, as sometimes it has the opposite effect, such as being the only person in black bloc meaning you stand out and are more likely to be the target of police violence and arrest.

For more information on the black bloc (as well as an insight into the 2012 Montreal student demonstrations that heavily used the black bloc tactic) check out https://sub.media/video/a-history-of-the-black-bloc/

For a history around the world of black bloc tactics, check out “Who’s Afraid of the Black Blocs: Anarchy in Action Around the World” by Francis Dupuis-Deri

WHO ARE THE ANARCHISTS

In our first A is for Anarchy, we would like to discuss what Anarchism is, and who are the Anarchists.
 
Anarchism is a school of political thought that rests on one underpinning idea that runs through all forms of anarchism (except “anarcho”capitalists, but they aint anarchists so fuck them). That idea is the opposition to all forms of oppressive power, from capitalism and patriarchy, to the state itself, and some anarchist schools of thought extend this through to civilisation as we know it, and to the idea that each person is free to be them, so long as their freedom does not infringe on the health, wellbeing, or life of another, and the concept of mutual aid (which will be covered in the next article).
 
The Anarchists are those who believe this wild idea that everyone is free to associate with who they want, in whatever way they want, and that oppressive power structures are a bad thing. Strange, I know.
 
Democracy has failed, you cannot simply vote away these oppressive structures, the politicians and corporations grow rich on them, cis-men grow more powerful on them, the cops protect them without question, so what is left? What can we, the anarchists on the street do? The only option left is direct action (keep an eye out for article 3), which if you have been following this page for any amount of time, you may have seen a few examples.
 
If you are ready to take action against this oppression, if you already believe that the state/capitalism/cops/your boss don’t have your best interest at heart, then guess what? You’re already one of us.
 
For Further reading/watching, check out https://crimethinc.com/tce/
 
And please, keep an eye out for the next piece
 
SEE YOU IN THE NEXT RIOT!