Direct Action and Direct Actors

Right this moment there are 1,500 Palestinian prisoners participating in a hunger strike to petition Israel’s apartheid government for fair trials; meanwhile in a wide network of suburban homes, corporate coffee shops, and lunch-break cubicles, a swarm of slightly-overweight opinioneers is debating, defeating, and prefiguring the validity of whatever we could call the democratic, anti-capitalist awakening which is taking hold of this country.… [Read more]

Producing the City, Producing Dissent

Radicals, said David Graeber, while holding a plastic Roman legion helmet (he just returned from an action protesting student debt), radicals have had a long unspoken pact with liberals: we incite, provoke, ask controversial questions, and liberals, now regarded as holding a more reasonable alternative to us, gain political power and enforce change. This, he went on to explain, is how political progress occurs: the Haymarket Affair was what pushed legislators to enact 8-hour workdays, it was factory occupations in the early 20th century which led to the rise of unions, and it is radical direct action which will turn the wheel of change now, in 2012.… [Read more]

Slacktivism, Transparency, and the Measure of Success

Now I for one thought the connections between Invisible Children and Fundamentalist Christianity became quite apparent when co-founder Jason Russell went on a naked rampage. This, if nothing else, served to underscore the trite and, frankly masturbatory nature of slacktivism: the decentralized, interconnected, 21st century’s stand-in for real brick-and-mortar (or rather megaphone-and-placard) activism. Strikes, demonstrations, and happenings, however, have not so much been replaced by web-friendly alternatives as supplemented by them.… [Read more]