Saturday, January 24, 2009

Another gem from

Roger Peet — Why Do We

Another pithy inspirational motivator. As you climb down into the pit, the pit climbs also down into you. Originally appeared in a Bread & Roses exhibit in NYC a couple of years ago, Josh has been bugging me since to print it for Justseeds. And lo!

Two-color silkscreen print
Heavyweight cover paper
Signed/numbered edition of 46

See more at

Type rest of the post here

Friday, January 23, 2009

Happy New Year from Katipo Books!

Katipo Books is part of a developing workers co-operative. We are in the process of setting up a not for profit radical bookshop and publishing group based in Christchurch / Otautahi. The majority of our stock is sourced from small independent publishers — not from the corporate giants! Visit

Katipo Books is hoping to find its own space soon (so we won't just be operating out of Jo's garage)...we are looking for somewhere with room to have workshops in screenprinting, linux and publishing as well as the info and book shop. Please contact us if you can help us with our search. Ideally it would be best for us to be inner-city, but it also needs to be affordable and accessible to the public so we can't be too picky.

There is also an idea being floated around at the moment for a radical book library in Otautahi so hopefully we'll see lots of new stuff happening in Christchurch this coming year.

Would you or anyone you know like to get involved in the co-op? If so we would like to extend an invitation to come along to a meeting... we normally meet once a fortnight, and it's a fairly relaxed sort of thing. We always need more people to run stalls, upload books onto the website, posting and packaging orders and we are going to need more folks when we get the info and book shop happening, so please get in touch with us if you are at all interested!

Thanks to everyone for your support so far and for buying books from us. It enables us to pay our bills and to keep developing as a co-operative workers organisation.

Peace and love for the new year!
from Katipo Books
Jo, Amanda, Dan, Jared and Kerry.

Image above by

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

“Sometimes we shoot the same way” – the attack on Gaza, internationalism and the Left

A great anarchist communist perspective on the situation in Gaza has just been written by a member of the Anarchist Federation (UK). To view the article with its links and sources intact, please visit here at

Here is a snipet from the main text:

"It is ultimately futile to debate the responsibility for starting the conflict. According to Haaretz, the Israeli attack has been in the planning stages since the signing of the original ceasefire. Like any military force, the IDF had military options prepared from the beginning, which have been implemented in order to break Hamas, stop its embarrassing rocket attacks, and to deliver an electoral boon to the ruling party. Hamas’ rockets were clearly already lined up and ready to strike Israel’s civilian population. Both sides required a spark in order to launch the conflict and advance their internal aims – Hamas to consolidate their position by forcing the collaboration or elimination of rival factions, Israel in order to provide a spectacular PR win prior to the elections and to slow down the confrontation between the state and the settlers. This was provided by the Israeli cross-border raid on the 4th of November."

"Against this background, internationalists always have an important role to play. At every instance, we must plainly and clearly state that solidarity with the victims of war as real concrete human beings does not mean solidarity with capitalist factions in a war from which they seek to benefit, does not mean supporting a cross-class, abstract national collective and its ethnic “rights” to lands, and does not mean abandoning coherence to support a victory for a facile “anti-imperialism”. The defense of clear internationalist positions against leftist hysteria is of vital importance. It is for the benefit of those drawn into the demonstrations out of disgust at the attack on Israel, but repulsed by the hypocrisy of claiming to be anti-war whilst supporting one of the sides in it."

Or click 'Read More' to view the full text.

A libcom user and Anarchist Federation member analyses the 2008-2009 Israel-Gaza conflict, and the response of the left to events.

Israel’s brutal attack on the Gaza strip has elicited widespread revulsion, and has led to protests across Britain and the world. It is clear that the Israeli state has committed atrocities which anyone with an ounce of humanity would seek an end to. Its savage bombing of one of the most densely populated places on earth has resulted in over a thousand deaths. Nowhere is safe – Mosques, schools and UN sites have been attacked by the IDF. Even by the “civilised” standards of warfare between nation-states, which allow for a reasonable degree of “collateral damage”, several incidents stand out for their brutality. There is mounting evidence that the IDF is following its senior partner, the US, in using white phosphorous as an offensive weapon in civilian areas. Banned under international law, white phosphorous munitions are chemical weapons with a pattern of splash damage similar to cluster bombs, but which spread blazing chunks of phosphorous and smoke laced with burning particles. The result is either death from suffocation or from severe burns, sometimes down to the bone. The IDF is responsible for herding civilians into a building before shelling it, killing scores of civilians in attacks on UN schools, shelling aid convoys, and destroying aid stockpiles during an attack on the UN headquarters in Gaza. The attack has displaced over 90,000 people, and combined with the crippling blockade of Gaza which preceded it, utterly destroyed Gaza’s economy and infrastructure.

It is ultimately futile to debate the responsibility for starting the conflict. According to Haaretz, the Israeli attack has been in the planning stages since the signing of the original ceasefire. Like any military force, the IDF had military options prepared from the beginning, which have been implemented in order to break Hamas, stop its embarrassing rocket attacks, and to deliver an electoral boon to the ruling party. Hamas’ rockets were clearly already lined up and ready to strike Israel’s civilian population. Both sides required a spark in order to launch the conflict and advance their internal aims – Hamas to consolidate their position by forcing the collaboration or elimination of rival factions, Israel in order to provide a spectacular PR win prior to the elections and to slow down the confrontation between the state and the settlers. This was provided by the Israeli cross-border raid on the 4th of November.

Following the launch of the brutal airstrikes and ground invasion, the sides behaved precisely as could be expected. Hamas, unsurprisingly, have shown themselves not to be consummate humanitarians. There have been a number of reports of refugees being held at the Rafah border crossing , preventing them accessing medical care in Egypt. Egypt blames Hamas, whilst Hamas claims that the injured refugees restrained themselves out of contempt for Egypt, refusing the care of the medical teams on the other side of the border (despite their not refusing the aid the IDF is obliged to provide, and despite the Gazan hospitals being devastated). Both sides were shown for the hypocrites they are when Gazan refugees breached the border themselves, to be faced by Egyptian border guards firing their rifles into the air. The capitalist factions in Gaza and the West bank have used the desired opportunity provided by the conflict to move against each other – Hamas has been killing, kneecapping, imprisoning and beating its rivals in Gaza, whilst Fatah has been doing the same to Hamas in the West Bank, on top of banning protestors from confronting checkpoints or the IDF. Rather than join the “resistance”, ordinary Palestinians in Gaza have been fleeing en masse. It seems that the factions are moving to a ceasefire now their perceived aims have been met. And the price for this has been a mountain of dead working class Palestinians.

The conflict has spawned international revulsion, and a protest movement in Britain which has undertaken demonstrations in most major towns and cities, receiving a good deal of media coverage, especially after minor rioting in London on the 10th of January. Though there has been a genuine grassroots response to the conflict, many of the demonstrations have been organised by either the Stop the War Coalition, associated in the minds of many with the defeat of the campaign against the Iraq war, and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

The atmosphere of the protests has differed from place to place, from demonstrations of a more humanitarian nature demanding the end of the bombings to virulent nationalism and support for Hamas. Most demonstrations contained a mixture of both. Libertarian Communists, anarchists and other internationalists have been involved from the start, seeking to provide an alternative on the ground to the nationalist ideologies which are pervasive within the anti-war demonstrations. The Sheffield and Manchester Anarchist Federation groups produced a leaflet which they distributed at demonstrations in the cities, and which were circulated in various forms by comrades in the Solidarity Federation, Organise!, No Borders and the libcom group in a display of fraternalism within the movement. Anarchists in London organised a distinct bloc against all nation states and the wars they wage, whilst another internationalist leaflet was produced and circulated at demos by the ICC.

At the same time, there is plenty of opportunist leftist politicking around the issue. The Socialist Workers Party once again aligned itself with various liberal voices, demanding that the UK expel Israel’s ambassador and recall its embassy staff from Israel. The stupidity and opportunist posturing involved in asking Britain, which is responsible for maintaining an occupation in Iraq which has resulted in 1,033,000 deaths in the past 6 years, to bring Israel in line with civilised international behaviour isn’t lost on most people with critical faculties.

But there are more fundamental qualities to the demonstrations which are alarming, and which stand in stark contrast to the attempts to spread an internationalist perspective on the conflict. As important as our efforts in this regard are, they represent a minority view in opposition to leftist “common sense”. To suggest that being anti-war might mean opposing both the capitalist factions engaged in it might not be that controversial to ordinary people, but is met with hysterics from leftists. As a result, there has been much in the anti-war movement that is troubling. Support for overseas nationalist movements has been common currency amongst leftists since the early twentieth century, and the belief that “national liberation” forces can strike a blow against “imperialism” and therefore open a space for an advance in the global struggle against capitalism remains common.1 For many leftists, “imperialism” comes down to US foreign policy and that of its proxies and allies such as Israel, and whatever force stands in opposition to this is “anti-imperialist”. For them, imperialism is not the tendency of the “anarchic” system of nation states to create a situation where states must assert themselves often against an empirical economic advantage (as in Iraq, where exploitation of resources could have taken place through cutting a deal with Saddam, rather than an expensive occupation which comes down to control of strategic resources). So where we might see a smaller imperialist scheme in opposition to a larger one, such as in the conflicts between US and Venezuelan or Iranian foreign policy, many leftists see “imperialism” confronting “anti-imperialism”. By a similar logic, to leftists, Hamas isn’t a bourgeois faction with its own aims and the agency to pursue them, but a “resistance” movement fighting an Israeli attack. As such even the Trotskyists who claim that they provide no political support to Hamas laud its “heroic” resistance – a resistance which has been utterly futile, and has consisted mostly in killing Israeli civilians, including (not that it matters) Arab-Israelis, and giving the IDF an excuse to slaughter the civilian population in Gaza.

Of course, part of this thinking is as a result of basic liberal democratic arguments on international relations – a “nation” which is attacked has a “right” to “resist”. And following on from this, for many leftists, if you dispute this frame of reference, you are a “collaborator” with the “aggressor”. This is added to rhetoric about Hamas being “democratically elected” (as if the Israeli government wasn’t). This view is common, and fundamentally reactionary in that it requires not a class analysis, but a national one.

But the crudest leftist defence of Hamas has come in the form of the argument that, if there was a left/socialist/anarchist (delete as applicable) presence in Gaza, we and Hamas would be “shooting the same way”. Presumably they don’t mean at civilians, but at “Israel”. This overlooks Hamas’ aims and actual activity when faced with rivals, but ultimately leads to the position that we should side with the less powerful bourgeois faction when they are fighting one another, even if in this case this is in a context where “resistance” means being obliterated by one of the most advanced militaries on the planet.

Firstly, no-one with any interest in the working class improving its own conditions and ultimately taking political power for itself should have any interest in defending Hamas. Beyond the fact that they peddle a reactionary, mystifying, sexist, homophobic and anti-working class ideology, their track record in repressing workers is open to see. Teachers’ struggles have been caught between the hammer of the Hamas government and the anvil of Fatah aligned unions. Armed Hamas police have escorted teachers back into the classroom, whilst their bosses have sacked them and replaced them with loyal Hamas supporters. Hamas have closed medical facilities when faced with doctors’ strikes. The unions in the Palestinian territories are factional and bureaucratic, as all are, but the fact that the same unionists have been attacked by both factions shows how independent working class struggle would fare against these groups. Hamas offer as little to working class people as their rivals in Fatah, whose allies in Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades attacked Palestine Workers Radio for “stoking internal conflicts”.

The AF’s leaflet arguing that “On both sides of the conflict, the idea that opposing Israel has to mean supporting Hamas and its ‘resistance’ movement” was met with criticism for claiming that support for Hamas is rife. But beyond the Hamas flags, which aren’t uncommon at demos, every call to support the “Palestinian resistance” means support for these factions. There is no vague, amorphous resistance to support, but real groups with real policies carrying out real actions in the real world. For this reason it is necessary to say precisely who and what you are supporting. The internationalists have been clear in stating their support for the victims of war, for self-organised campaigns such as those in the West Bank against the wall, for Israeli refuseniks and those who struggle against the war machine in Israel. Those who laud “the resistance” and chant “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” are either unthinking or disingenuous when they say this doesn’t mean supporting Hamas, however “critically”.

As an example of the easy translation of "soft" support into outright support for Hamas, a group from the Trotskyist Alliance for Workers Liberty2 who turned up at a demonstration in Sheffield recently with a placard reading “No to the IDF, no to Hamas”, were assaulted by Palestine Solidarity Campaign organisers (who also have a record of attacking the liberal gay rights group Outrage!, fronted by the well known media stuntist Peter Tatchell, for raising a dissenting voice at demonstrations). The SWP contingent, including local Respect candidate Maxine Bowler, cheered the assault on, and lectured the AWL for being “scabs”. Similarly, genuine internationalists have met accusations of "elitism", that they offer Palestinians nothing, as if leftists were offering anything other than (ultimately meaningless) political support. Most of them aren't stupid enough to try to get arms and funds to the "resistance" they celebrate. But its not uncommon to see leftist impotence translate into overinflated self-importance.

But on top of the dubious nationalism which is commonplace, there has been a resurgence in classical anti-Semitism. Following earlier attacks on Starbucks, in the same night a Tesco store was attacked in East London the area was daubed with graffiti reading “kill jews.” Graffiti reading “free Palestine, kill the jews” has gone up in South Manchester. Such statements simply mirror Hamas’ own anti-Semitism and conspiratorialism, which can be seen in its propaganda and charter. But there is also the more structural anti-Semitism which is common in leftist discourse, especially concerning the (demonstrably false) view that US foreign policy is a product of a pro-Israel lobby in the west, which has already been argued against well. The common comparisons between the Israeli attack and the systematic and industrialised extermination of Jews during the holocaust, beyond its appalling inaccuracy (was the invasion of Iraq a "holocaust"?), feeds into this.

Against this background, internationalists always have an important role to play. At every instance, we must plainly and clearly state that solidarity with the victims of war as real concrete human beings does not mean solidarity with capitalist factions in a war from which they seek to benefit, does not mean supporting a cross-class, abstract national collective and its ethnic “rights” to lands, and does not mean abandoning coherence to support a victory for a facile “anti-imperialism”. The defense of clear internationalist positions against leftist hysteria is of vital importance. It is for the benefit of those drawn into the demonstrations out of disgust at the attack on Israel, but repulsed by the hypocrisy of claiming to be anti-war whilst supporting one of the sides in it.

Django, 18/01/2009

No state solution in Gaza

Statement produced by the Manchester and Sheffield Anarchist Federation (UK) branches on the conflict in Gaza, in solidarity with the victims of the conflict, and for internationalism.

One thing is absolutely clear about the current situation in Gaza: the Israeli state is committing atrocities which must end immediately. With hundreds dead and thousands wounded, it has become increasingly clear that the aim of the military operation, which has been in the planning stages since the signing of the original ceasefire in June, is to break Hamas completely. The attack follows the crippling blockade throughout the supposed ‘ceasefire’, which has destroyed the livelihoods of Gazans, ruined the civilian infrastructure and created a humanitarian disaster which anyone with an ounce of humanity would seek an end to.

But that's not all there is to say about the situation. On both sides of the conflict, the idea that opposing Israel has to mean supporting Hamas and its ‘resistance’ movement is worryingly common. We totally reject this argument. Just like any other set of rulers, Hamas, like all the other major Palestinian factions, are happy and willing to sacrifice ordinary Palestinians to increase their power. This isn’t some vague theoretical point – for a period recently most deaths in Gaza were a result of fighting between Hamas and Fatah. The ‘choices’ offered to ordinary Palestinian people are between Islamist gangsters (Hamas, Islamic Jihad) or nationalist gangsters (Fatah, Al-Aqsa Martyrs brigades). These groups have shown their willingness to attack working class attempts to improve their living conditions, seizing union offices, kidnapping prominent trade unionists, and breaking strikes. One spectacular example is the attack on Palestine Workers Radio by Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, for “stoking internal conflicts”. Clearly, a “free Palestine” under the control of any of these groups would be nothing of the sort.

As anarchists, we are internationalists, opposing the idea that the rulers and ruled within a nation have any interests in common. Therefore, anarchists reject Palestinian nationalism just as we reject Israeli nationalism (Zionism). Ethnicity does not grant “rights” to lands, which require the state to enforce them. People, on the other hand, have a right to having their human needs met, and should be able to live where they choose, freely.

Therefore, against the divisions and false choices set up by nationalism, we fully support the ordinary inhabitants of Gaza and Israel against state warfare – not because of their nationality, ethnicity, or religion, but simply because they're real living, feeling, thinking, suffering, struggling human beings. And this support has to mean total hostility to all those who would oppress and exploit them –the Israeli state and the Western governments and corporations that supply it with weapons, but also any other capitalist factions who seek to use ordinary working-class Palestinians as pawns in their power struggles. The only real solution is one which is collective, based on the fact that as a class, globally, we ultimately have nothing but our ability to work for others, and everything to gain in ending this system – capitalism – and the states and wars it needs .

That this seems like a “difficult” solution does not stop it from being the right one. Any “solution” that means endless cycles of conflict, which is what nationalism represents, is no solution at all. And if that is the case, the fact that it is “easier” is irrelevant. There are sectors of Palestinian society which are not dominated by the would-be rulers – protests organised by village committees in the West Bank for instance. These deserve our support. As do those in Israel who refuse to fight, and who resist the war. But not the groups who call on Palestinians to be slaughtered on their behalf by one of the most advanced armies in the world, and who wilfully attack civilians on the other side of the border.

Neither one stare nor two states, but no states.

No matter which state wins, the working class loses.

Type rest of the post here

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Shepard Fairley is straight up sad!

From by Favianna Rodriguez

I have recently been asked about why it is that I dislike Shepard Fairey. Its actually not that I dislike Shepard as a person, its more that I have a big problem with his practices. I find them to be unethical and I believe that the political spectrum of people trying to make social change in the world will ultimately not benefit from his art. I believe that as artists and activists, we should be open about critiquing each other and open to changing how it is that we do things. That is what movements did before us .The Black Panthers consistently criticized each other in order to make assessments, and grow, as people, as an organization, and as a movement. We should never be closed to critique because in doing so we are doing ourselves a disservice. I would love to have the opportunity to talk to Shepard about my critiques, but the word on the street is that he does not like to debate about this stuff. Again, I have to say that this is not a personal attack, Shepard is actually in a book I co-edited with Josh MacPhee (also part of Just Seeds), Reproduce and Revolt, and it's not my intention to smear him nor censor him. Rather, my intention is to provide a look at his practices from the perspective a woman of color, an artist activist, and a person who thinks our capitalist system is very flawed.

Today a friend shared an article which you can read by clicking here. The title of the article is "Consumers of the World Unite," based on the phrase, "Workers of the World, Unite!" The title itself says alot of Fairey's practices, which is, that he commodifies political movements with the intention of making HUGE profits from them. Read the article and judge for yourself. It's sad to me that me that in our ultra consumer world, EVERYTHING is up for grabs when it's about profit. Very similar to how Hip Hop started in our communities, was even illegal in some forms, then repurposed, and is now sold back to us, by the very forces that also put our people in jail, deport our families, and push for bail outs in which the people ultimately pay the price. The article starts like this:

"SHOPPING, these days, is a political act. If you are brave enough to buy a $2,000 Prada handbag, you might rationalize that you are helping to stimulate the economy. Solidarity, people!"

Read more about Shepard Fairey's practices:

This article here was researched by a few of us in Just Seeds (Jesus Barraza, Josh MacPhee, and myself) as well as other notable voices in the world of political posters:

This article here was written by my fellow co-editor and JustSeeder, Josh MacPhee:

This article was written originally for release in Mother Jones, but Mother Jones then refused to run it, and then instead ran a very pro-Fairey piece:

Here is an open letter to Shepard from a powerful sister who works at KPFK, Aura Bogado.

Type rest of the post here

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Celebrate People's History!

My text for the upcoming Labour History Project newsletter.

I never wanted to be a graphic designer — at least not in the traditional sense. An important part of my artistic practice has been to explicitly avoid the design industry and all that it encompasses — advertising, profitability, marketing, consumption, and ultimately, the advancement of our current exploitative and illogical system — capitalism. By setting myself up independent of this mainstream conception of design, I have been lucky enough to participate in projects, which, in my mind, have been far more worthwhile and productive than encouraging profit margins, consumer culture, and an elitist design minority. Work for the Labour History Project, in the form of Blackball and May 68 posters, as well more recent work for the ‘Celebrate People’s History’ project initiated by Justseeds (a collective of US based printmakers and illustrators) reflects the sort of artistic endeavors I see particular value in.

As my interest in the role graphic and cultural work can play in political agitation and education has grown, I’ve come into contact with other like-minded practitioners home and abroad. Justseeds Visual Resistance Artists’ Co-Operative, like myself, realize that cultural production plays an integral role in the continuation of values and systems that prevail today — including our sense of identity, and equally important, our understanding of history. Hence the ‘Celebrate People’s History’ project — an ongoing collection of educational and agitational posters designed to illustrate aspects of our past often marginalized, overlooked and outright ignored.

When I was asked to contribute to the project I immediately knew I wanted to concentrate on an aspect of Aotearoa’s past, or more specifically, our vibrant labour history. A poster on the ‘Red Feds’ and the influence of the I.W.W (Industrial Workers of the World) in Aotearoa seemed a natural choice.

It’s fitting that my growing understanding of labour history in Aotearoa (especially militant ones such as the forming of I.W.W locals and the advocating of direct action tactics) was stoked by the Blackball celebrations of 2008, hosted by none other than the Labour History Project. Before that I had tended to look elsewhere for evidence of agitation and class struggle, for traces of politics similar to my own — understandable, considering the relative obscurity of radical labour history in my own (and the majority of people’s) upbringing and education. To find concrete evidence of syndicalism, revolutionary unionism and class struggle outside of the parliamentary arena right here in Aotearoa was a truly empowering experience — one I felt I had to share.

So, a growing consciousness of labour history, Erik Olssen’s ‘The Red Feds’ and the opportunity to empower thanks to Justseeds has meant a slice of Aotearoa’s working class history will be printed and shared with the wider world — in an edition of 4000. And not just as a nostalgic fragment of a past long gone. For me, this type of historical awareness is a reminder that we still live in a society deeply divided by class. The actions of the ‘Red’ Federation of Labor, the various Wobbly locals, and other militant individuals between 1908-13 in Aotearoa stand as an inspiring, but unfinished movement to continue to build upon in our present situation.

I hope to encourage and take part in similar work in the future, including the screen-printing of my Waihi poster ‘Black Tuedsay’, as well as future projects in collaboration with the Labour History Project and the Christchurch branch I, among others, have helped to form. I understand the printing of this poster offshore may be somewhat of a first for Aotearoa labour history, but I sincerely hope it won’t be the last.

Check out more on the the Labour History Project at

Saturday, January 17, 2009

John Pilger on Gaza

Writing in the New Statesman, John Pilger calls on 40 years of reporting the Middle East to describe the 'why' of Israel's bloody onslaught on the besieged people of Gaza - an attack that has little to do with Hamas or Israel's right to exist.

“When the truth is replaced by silence,” the Soviet dissident Yevgeny Yevtushenko said, “the silence is a lie.” It may appear the silence is broken on Gaza. The cocoons of murdered children, wrapped in green, together with boxes containing their dismembered parents and the cries of grief and rage of everyone in that death camp by the sea, can be viewed on al-Jazeera and YouTube, even glimpsed on the BBC. But Russia’s incorrigible poet was not referring to the ephemeral we call news; he was asking why those who knew the why never spoke it and so denied it. Among the Anglo-American intelligentsia, this is especially striking. It is they who hold the keys to the great storehouses of knowledge: the historiographies and archives that lead us to the why.

They know that the horror now raining on Gaza has little to do with Hamas or, absurdly, “Israel’s right to exist”. They know the opposite to be true: that Palestine’s right to exist was cancelled 61 years ago and the expulsion and, if necessary, extinction of the indigenous people was planned and executed by the founders of Israel. They know, for example, that the infamous “Plan D” resulted in the murderous de-population of 369 Palestinian towns and villages by the Haganah (Jewish army) and that massacre upon massacre of Palestinian civilians in such places as Deir Yassin, al-Dawayima, Eilaboun, Jish, Ramle and Lydda are referred to in official records as “ethnic cleansing”. Arriving at a scene of this carnage, David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, was asked by a general, Yigal Allon, “What shall we do with the Arabs?” Ben-Gurion, reported the Israeli historian Benny Morris, “made a dismissive, energetic gesture with his hand and said, ‘Expel them’. The order to expel an entire population “without attention to age” was signed by Yitzhak Rabin, a future prime minister promoted by the world’s most efficient propaganda as a peacemaker. The terrible irony of this was addressed only in passing, such as when the Mapan Party co-leader Meir Ya’ari noted “how easily” Israel’s leaders spoke of how it was “possible and permissible to take women, children and old men and to fill the roads with them because such is the imperative of strategy … who remembers who used this means against our people during the [Second World] war... we are appalled.”

Every subsequent “war” Israel has waged has had the same objective: the expulsion of the native people and the theft of more and more land. The lie of David and Goliath, of perennial victim, reached its apogee in 1967 when the propaganda became a righteous fury that claimed the Arab states had struck first. Since then, mostly Jewish truth-tellers such as Avi Schlaim, Noam Chomsky, the late Tanya Reinhart, Neve Gordon, Tom Segev, Uri Avnery, Ilan Pappe and Norman Finklestein have dispatched this and other myths and revealed a state shorn of the humane traditions of Judaism, whose unrelenting militarism is the sum of an expansionist, lawless and racist ideology called zionism. “It seems,” wrote the Israeli historian Ilan Pappe on 2 January, “that even the most horrendous crimes, such as the genocide in Gaza, are treated as desperate events, unconnected to anything that happened in the past and not associated with any ideology or system... Very much as the apartheid ideology explained the oppressive policies of the South African government , this ideology – in its most consensual and simplistic variety – has allowed all the Israeli governments in the past and the present to dehumanise the Palestinians wherever they are and strive to destroy them. The means altered from period to period, from location to location, as did the narrative covering up these atrocities. But there is a clear pattern [of genocide].”

In Gaza, the enforced starvation and denial of humanitarian aid, the piracy of life-giving resources such as fuel and water, the denial of medicines and treatment, the systematic destruction of infrastructure and the killing and maiming of the civilian population, 50 per cent of whom are children, meet the international standard of the Genocide Convention. “Is it an irresponsible overstatement,” asked Richard Falk, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and international law authority at Princeton University, “to associate the treatment of Palestinians with this criminalized Nazi record of collective atrocity? I think not.”

In describing a “holocaust-in-the making”, Falk was alluding to the Nazis’ establishment of Jewish ghettos in Poland. For one month in 1943, the captive Polish Jews led by Mordechaj Anielewiz fought off the German army and the SS, but their resistance was finally crushed and the Nazis exacted their final revenge. Falk is also a Jew. Today’s holocaust-in-the-making, which began with Ben-Gurion’s Plan D, is in its final stages. The difference today is that it is a joint US-Israeli project. The F-16 jet fighters, the 250-pound “smart” GBU-39 bombs supplied on the eve of the attack on Gaza, having been approved by a Congress dominated by the Democratic Party, plus the annual $2.4 billion in war-making “aid”, give Washington de facto control. It beggars belief that President-elect Obama was not informed. Outspoken on Russia’s war in Georgia and the terrorism in Mumbai, Obama’s silence on Palestine marks his approval, which is to be expected, given his obsequiousness to the Tel Aviv regime and its lobbyists during the presidential campaign and his appointment of Zionists as his secretary of state, chief of staff and principal Middle East advisers. When Aretha Franklin sings “Think”, her wonderful 1960s anthem to freedom, at Obama’s inauguration on 21 January, I trust someone with the brave heart of Muntadar al-Zaidi, the shoe-thrower, will shout: “Gaza!”

The asymmetry of conquest and terror is clear. Plan D is now “Operation Cast Lead”, which is the unfinished “Operation Justified Vengeance”. The latter was launched by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2001 when, with Bush’s approval, he used F-16s against Palestinian towns and villages for the first time. In the same year, the authoritative Jane’s Foreign Report disclosed that the Blair government had given Israel the “green light” to attack the West Bank after it was shown Israel’s secret designs for a bloodbath. It was typical of New Labour Party’s enduring, cringing complicity in Palestine’s agony. However, the 2001 Israeli plan, reported Jane’s, needed the “trigger” of a suicide bombing which would cause “numerous deaths and injuries [because] the ‘revenge’ factor is crucial”. This would “motivate Israeli soldiers to demolish the Palestinians”. What alarmed Sharon and the author of the plan, General Shaul Mofaz, the Israeli Chief of Staff, was a secret agreement between Yasser Arafat and Hamas to ban suicide attacks. On 23 November, 2001, Israeli agents assassinated the Hamas leader, Mahmud Abu Hunud, and got their “trigger”; the suicide attacks resumed in response to his killing.

Something uncannily similar happened on 5 November last, when Israeli special forces attacked Gaza, killing six people. Once again, they got their propaganda “trigger”. A ceasefire initiated and sustained by the Hamas government – which had imprisoned its violators - was shattered by the Israeli attack and home-made rockets were fired into what used to be Palestine before its Arab occupants were “cleansed”. The On 23 December, Hamas offered to renew the ceasefire, but Israel’s charade was such that its all-out assault on Gaza had been planned six months earlier, according to the Israeli daily Ha’aretz.

Behind this sordid game is the “Dagan Plan”, named after General Meir Dagan, who served with Sharon in his bloody invasion of Lebanon in 1982. Now head of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence organisation, Dagan is the author of a “solution” that has seen the imprisonment of Palestinians behind a ghetto wall snaking across the West Bank and in Gaza, effectively a concentration camp. The establishment of a quisling government in Ramallah under Mohammed Abbas is Dagan’s achievement, together with a hasbara (propaganda) campaign relayed through a mostly supine, if intimidated western media, notably in America, that says Hamas is a terrorist organisation devoted to Israel’s destruction and to “blame” for the massacres and siege of its own people over two generations, long before its creation. “We have never had it so good,” said the Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Gideon Meir in 2006. “The hasbara effort is a well-oiled machine.” In fact, Hamas’s real threat is its example as the Arab world’s only democratically elected government, drawing its popularity from its resistance to the Palestinians’ oppressor and tormentor. This was demonstrated when Hamas foiled a CIA coup in 2007, an event ordained in the western media as “Hamas’s seizure of power”. Likewise, Hamas is never described as a government, let alone democratic. Neither is its proposal of a ten-year truce as a historic recognition of the “reality” of Israel and support for a two-state solution with just one condition: that the Israelis obey international law and end their illegal occupation beyond the 1967 borders. As every annual vote in the UN General Assembly demonstrates, 99 per cent of humanity concurs. On 4 January, the president of the General Assembly, Miguel d’Escoto, described the Israeli attack on Gaza as a “monstrosity”.

When the monstrosity is done and the people of Gaza are even more stricken, the Dagan Plan foresees what Sharon called a “1948-style solution” – the destruction of all Palestinian leadership and authority followed by mass expulsions into smaller and smaller “cantonments” and perhaps finally into Jordan. This demolition of institutional and educational life in Gaza is designed to produce, wrote Karma Nabulsi, a Palestinian exile in Britain, “a Hobbesian vision of an anarchic society: truncated, violent, powerless, destroyed, cowed... Look to the Iraq of today: that is what [Sharon] had in store for us, and he has nearly achieved it.”

Dr. Dahlia Wasfi is an American writer on Palestine. She has a Jewish mother and an Iraqi Muslim father. “Holocaust denial is anti-Semitic,” she wrote on 31 December. “But I’m not talking about World War Two, Mahmoud Ahmedinijad (the president of Iran) or Ashkenazi Jews. What I’m referring to is the holocaust we are all witnessing and responsible for in Gaza today and in Palestine over the past 60 years... Since Arabs are Semites, US-Israeli policy doesn’t get more anti-Semitic than this.” She quoted Rachel Corrie, the young American who went to Palestine to defend Palestinians and was crushed by an Israeli bulldozer. “I am in the midst of a genocide,” wrote Corrie, “which I am also indirectly supporting and for which my government is largely responsible.”

Reading the words of both, I am struck by the use of “responsibility”. Breaking the lie of silence is not an esoteric abstraction but an urgent responsibility that falls to those with the privilege of a platform. With the BBC cowed, so too is much of journalism, merely allowing vigorous debate within unmovable invisible boundaries, ever fearful of the smear of anti-Semitism. The unreported news, meanwhile, is that the death toll in Gaza is the equivalent of 18,000 dead in Britain. Imagine, if you can.

Then there are the academics, the deans and teachers and researchers. Why are they silent as they watch a university bombed and hear the Association of University Teachers in Gaza plea for help? Are British universities now, as Terry Eagleton believes, no more than “intellectual Tescos, churning out a commodity known as graduates rather than greengroceries”?

Then there are the writers. In the dark year of 1939, the Third Writers’ Congress was held at Carnegie Hall in New York and the likes of Thomas Mann and Albert Einstein sent messages and spoke up to ensure the lie of silence was broken. By one account, 3,500 jammed the auditorium and a thousand were turned away. Today, this mighty voice of realism and morality is said to be obsolete; the literary review pages affect an ironic hauteur of irrelevance; false symbolism is all. As for the readers, their moral and political imagination is to be pacified, not primed. The anti-Muslim Martin Amis expressed this well in Visiting Mrs Nabokov: “The dominance of the self is not a flaw, it is an evolutionary characteristic; it is just how things are.”

If that is how things are, we are diminished as a civilised society. For what happens in Gaza is the defining moment of our time, which either grants the impunity of war criminals the immunity of our silence, while we contort our own intellect and morality, or gives us the power to speak out. For the moment I prefer my own memory of Gaza: of the people’s courage and resistance and their “luminous humanity”, as Karma Nabulsi put it. On my last trip there, I was rewarded with a spectacle of Palestinian flags fluttering in unlikely places. It was dusk and children had done this. No one told them to do it. They made flagpoles out of sticks tied together, and a few of them climbed on to a wall and held the flag between them, some silently, others crying out. They do this every day when they know foreigners are leaving, believing the world will not forget them.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Protest the Murder in Gaza this Saturday!

Thursday, 15 January 2009, 11:53 am
Press Release: Justice for Palestine Christchurch
Christchurch Rally And March Against The Killing In Gaza This Saturday

This Saturday at 12 noon a diverse range of political, community and religious groups (as well as individuals) will be holding a demonstration against the brutal Israeli assault on the people of Gaza, starting outside the Canterbury Museum before marching to Cathedral Square.

The newly formed group "Justice for Palestine", which is organising the protest, is calling for an immediate end to the Israeli invasion which has so far claimed the lives of over 1 000 Palestinians - including over 400 women and children - and severely injured more that 5000 - mostly civilians. It is also calling for the lifting of the 2 year-old blockade of Gaza, which prevents the Palestinian population from receiving vital food and medical supplies as well as exercising the basic human right to freedom of movement.

"We are calling on people in Christchurch to turn out on Saturday to show their opposition to what the Israeli government is doing in Gaza," says Justice for Palestine spokesperson Tim Bowron. "We are also encouraging them to join in a complete boycott of all commercial and sporting ties with the state of Israel."

Responding to recent remarks by NZ Foreign Minister Murray McCully about the need for both Hamas and Israel to disengage, Mr. Bowron says that as far as the protest organisers are concerned "talk of a ceasefire is meaningless unless the injustices of the Israeli blockade of Gaza and the theft of Palestinian land are also addressed".

"There can be no lasting peace without justice for the Palestinian people."


Type rest of the post here

Friday, January 9, 2009

Christchurch Protest Saturday 17th!

Protest march against the Israeli bombing and invasion of Gaza, in Christchurch this Saturday.


Meet at the Canterbury Museum on Rolleston Avenue.

This has been organised by Justice for Palestine Christchurch and is a protest march against the Israeli bombing and invasion of Gaza. We will be marching in solidarity with the Palestinian people and their right for self determination. We will march from the museum to Cathedral Square where there will be speakers.

Please come and express your protest at the latest actions of the Israeli Government. SILENCE = CONSENT.

From more information contact:

palestinesolidarity (at), or garage.collective (at), or phone Dan 377 6290

If you would like to help organise this march then you are welcome to come to the next Justice for Palestine meeting which is this coming Tuesday night (the 13th) 6.30pm at the Quaker House ( 72 Creswell Avenue, off New Brighton Road). We will also be making banners for the Saturday march.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

This Is Not About Rockets

by Stuart Littlewood / January 1st, 2009

What if Hamas dumped all their rockets in the sea tomorrow? Would Gazans enjoy the same freedoms as other nations? Would they be able to open their sea port to foreign ships and rebuild and operate their airport? Would they be able to import and export and carry on trade and develop their economy and prosper like other countries?

Would they be allowed to exploit and develop their offshore gas field? Would their fishermen be allowed to fish in unpolluted waters? Would their young people be able to come and go and take up places at foreign universities?

Would Israel clear out of Gazan airspace permanently? Would the Israeli navy cease its piracy and stay out of Palestinian territorial waters? Would you and I be able to visit Gaza direct?

Fat chance. None of this would suit Israel. So Gazans would be no better off. Their tormented half-existence would continue.

There are no rockets coming out of the West Bank. Yet the illegal Israeli occupation there continues and so does the ethnic cleansing, the land theft, the illegal settlements, the colonization, the demolition of Palestinian homes, the throttling of the economy, the abduction and ‘administrative detention’ of civilians and the massive interference with freedom of movement. Nothing has changed for West Bank Palestinians who DO NOT fire rockets. There is no sign of an end to their misery.

The bloody assault on Gaza therefore has much more to do with Israel’s ambition to expand racial dominance in the Holy Land than crude and erratic rocket-fire. Hamas and the Palestinians holed up in Gaza are simply in the way of the Grand Plan and have to be removed or totally subdued.

The international community needs to keep their eye on the ball — the big issue — which is the ending of the occupation and Israel’s withdrawal to recognized pre-67 borders as required by international law. In short, they need to stop wringing their hands and start delivering justice, which is long overdue.

Palestinians in Gaza will hardly wish to give up armed resistance until they receive copper-bottomed guarantees of a normal life unmolested by Israel… and see concrete evidence of it.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Murder in Gaza...

The following is spliced from, which also has further analysis on Gaza and the current situation. It is interesting to note that since 2002 only 19 people have been killed in Israel from Hamas rockets, yet the death toll in Gaza is past 400. Don't take this is as support for Hamas, as it is not. Nor do I know enough about the situation. But to justify the killing of over 400 people as retaliation is simply wrong — aggression on the scale we are seeing today, by any group or nation, must always be resisted.

From Infoshop: Here is a simple, stone cold fact. You cannot read or hear the truth about what is happening in Gaza from any corporate media. The only thing you will find there are regurgitations of Israeli spin, which are themselves only regurgitations of the kind of spin that American militarists have put on their own depredations -- for centuries now. Up and down the American media and political establishments, you will find nothing but bleatings about Israel being "forced" to launch its vicious blunderbuss attacks against heavily populated Gaza because of the "recent spate of Hamas bombings" since the end of a six-month ceasefire.

This is of course a damnable and deliberate lie. Papers in Israel -- in Israel, but not the United States -- are reporting the truth: the murderous assault on Gaza was planned not only before the six-month ceasefire ended -- it was planned before the cease-fire even took effect. Indeed, the cease-fire was part of the military plan to decimate the civilian areas of Gaza; it was a hoax, a scam, a deliberate feint to buy time for military preparations -- precisely the same strategy followed by the Bush Regime (and its bipartisan Establishment supporters) in "going to the UN" to seek a "peaceful solution" to the "Iraqi crisis" -- when the invasion was already in the works.

As Glenn Greenwald notes, Israel's massive bombing of civilian areas -- even if couched in terms of "retaliation" for scattershot strikes on Israeli territory by a political faction -- constitutes "a clear violation of the Geneva Conventions." Greenwald also adroitly turns Barack Obama's campaign kowtowing to Israeli militarism on its head:

[Obama on the campaign trail]: "The first job of any nation state is to protect its citizens. And so I can assure you that if -- I don't even care if I was a politician -- if somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I'm going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing."

Can't the exact same mentality be deployed to justify everything Hamas has done and is doing, to wit: "if a foreign power were brutally occupying my country for four decades -- or blockading my country and denying my children medical needs and nutrition and the ability even to exit -- I'm going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Palestinians to do the same thing"? But the last thing that our political class ever extends is reciprocal, two-sided analysis to this dispute.

What is the ultimate context of this carnage? The fact that the Arab inhabitants of Palestine had their land taken away from them by force -- not in some ancient, historic era, but within the lifetime of many thousands of Palestinians still living.

I hold no brief for Hamas; like the Angry Arab, whose coverage of the conflict has been relentless and penetrating, I don't care for any party based on religious extremism. But as Greenwald notes, every action taken by Hamas and other Palestinian resistance groups could be characterized as "retaliation" for the theft of their land, not to mention the war crime of collective punishment and genocidal blockades visited upon the Occupied Territories for years.

But there is not a single peep of this perspective from America's ruling class and its media courtiers. Of course, it is a bit much to expect a nation which itself was built on land theft, repression and slaughter to see anything wrong or "disproportionate" in Israel's treatment of the Palestinians. What else are you supposed to do when those dang heathen savages come around with their war parties and tomahawks, trying to get back the land that God Almighty has granted to good white folk?

Article taken from There is a lot more analysis there also.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Constructive Anarchism in Aotearoa

Download the text here.

With a new year comes a new opportunity to discuss and develop further anarchist organising in Aotearoa. I realise people have a lot going on right now, but this is something we can build slowly and collectively...

This pdf text — 'Constructive Anarchism in Aotearoa' — puts forward some ideas on constructive anarchist action, in oder to encourage discussion. Please read, forward widely to anyone interested, and most importantly, respond!

The text is probably too long to place here in full, but it deals with ideas around constructive action we as anarchists can take in our current state of low visibility, especially in the workplace and in our communities. I've tried to write a text I've always wanted to read with regard to concrete anarchist action in NZ.

I hope this may help and encourage further anarchist organising, and towards the eventual federation of Anarchist groups in Aotearoa. The aim is not to dispute or disrupt current attempts at this, but to encourage cohesion and co-operation. Nor am I an expert!


Two main ideas are explored: Workplace struggle and Community development, or more specifically, the idea of Industrial Networks and Community Unions or Assemblies.

The text is broken down into parts:

Anarchist Organisation

— Some basic ideas about labels, class and organising.
— Problems we face in Aotearoa.

Workplace Struggle

— Working within existing unions
— New unions vs existing unions
— Union bureaucracy
— Industrial Networks
— Working outside of the unions

Community Development

— Change from below
— Community unionism
— Community support

Creating A Class Struggle Focus

— AWSM/Platformist approach
— An alternative approach

Also included in a recommended reading list for those who may want to learn a whole heap more than the rantings of one person!


PLEASE DOWNLOAD THIS TEXT! It's not too long and pretty easy to read! Hopefully this will be in printed form soon, and maybe even re-printed in the upcoming Imminent Rebellion.

Download the text here.

DISCUSSION OF THE TEXT is really important to me, and would like to hear what others think. I propose anyone who wants to discuss the ideas to do it here at, under the 'Organise' section, or to organise collectively some face-to-face discussion in the near future.

In solidarity,
Jared (writing in a personal capacity ;))
Garage Collective, Otautahi Mens Hui, Katipo Books, Labour History Project.