Open Threads is an open blogging platform, for debate and exploration of ideas among communists and radicals. Content presented here is contributed by Kasama site users.
The article below is reposted from Indybay, though I originally read it on Bay of Rage. These attacks on squats in Oakland are happening concurrently with a massive assault on squatted buildings in Greece, including what sounds like an attempt at a full assault by the police on Exarchia. More info on the situation in Greece is available here. In Seattle, a network of squats arose around Occupy last year as weather got bad, all eventually being evicted by force. More on the Seattle story here.
I thought this article would give us a good opportunity to discuss squatting as a political tactic -- the situation is Oakland is very different from what it was in Seattle and both are worlds away from a Greek Exarchia, but all seem to share similar presumptions. In the US, however, squats are much harder to sustain than in most parts of Europe. Does this mean we ought to encourage squatting as only a tacit of creating a counter-power "spectacle," similar to the spectacular image of the black bloc? Or is it possible to sustain above-ground squats as they do in parts of Europe (and Asia, for that matter) in order to create some freedom of movement and semi-autonomy within an urban space?
Communique on Immanent Squat Evictions in Oakland
In our time squatting we’ve learned unconventional methods of survival. A blurring of means and ends. Not least of these is the ability to adapt, to disappear from one circumstance and hold our ground in others. To understand the difference between defensive and offensive actions.
Class struggle is frequently spoken of in terms of race, of colonialism, gender, environmental collapse and even animal liberation. But, despite one of the biggest gaps in income, opportunity and resources, it is much rarer to hear people talk about the generational or age-group aspects of class.
Today, though, this generational dimension in Europe and the US is undeniable. We are living in an era when one large generation--the baby boomers--controls the vast majority of wealth and has basically reoriented all material and cultural production around itself as the largest and richest demographic. They grew up with the benefits of the post-war boom, receiving high-quality college educations cheaply (or even for free), having access to affordable healthcare for most of their lives, being able to buy cheap housing at low rates of interest, and all while smugly (and inaccurately) claiming the social struggles of the 1960s-70s for themselves, with a sense of "we ended the vietnam war," "we ended segregation," etc.
Still experimenting with some of this new stuff on social. Wanted to see if I could host .pdfs on the new site.
So here are a couple .pdfs (readable and printable) of some of the material Red Spark has put out in physical format (these are the pieces we had at E4E--though I'm not putting up the Winter Has its End piece, since I don't have that in readable format right now).
Both of these pieces are meant to be printed on LEGAL (8.5x14) sized paper, folded in half.
The first is our report on the Davis Wire Strike in Kent, WA:
This is a slightly older piece that I originally posted up on the Red Spark website (it was later reblogged at Advance the Struggle and elsewhere). I'm reposting it here in case people have not seen it, and also just to get it up on the new site.
Since everyone’s been talking about revolutionary organizations lately, I’d like to lay out a few thoughts of my own on the subject. I think it’s important that other members of Red Spark do the same, as we ourselves have key disagreements that need to be openly aired and productively debated.
We should approach the role of revolutionary organizations as we might the role of single species within an ecosystem.
It is important to have a great diversity of species in that ecosystem, a few large and complex megafauna, as well as a vast majority of other organisms that are more dispersed, liquid and dense, like the abundant networks of bacteria or fungi undergirding a forest. No matter what, that revolutionary ecosystem relies on this horizontal network of basic community more than anything. The disciplined revolutionary organization is, like the vertebrate animal or the flowering plant, a minority when it comes to biomass or number of species—but it has an undeniable ability to expand the bounds of its ecosystem and to cause sea-changes in the basic forms of life possible within it.