The Challenge of Autonomy: Prospects for Freedom Going Into 2021

The Challenge of Autonomy: Prospects for Freedom Going Into 2021

  1. Intro: Do For Self Politics vs. Hypothetical Radicalism

“And i prayed to God to make me strong and able to fight…”

– Harriet Tubman

“Freedom is something that you have to do for yourself.

– Malcolm X

[see pdf for full text]

Young people getting active in the streets today are entering a desert of political options and conversations. A degenerate political left represents the only well-known alternative to openly fascist Democrats and neo-nazi-courting Republicans, a left that has grown so petty bourgeois (middle class) in its class character that it has very little relationship to the physically existing world, as outlined in section 1. For those of us who actually want to make this thing materially viable, we need to focus on building the actual material infrastructure for self-determination, independent of police and State assistance…

[see pdf for full text]

We put this together in three parts: 1. an introduction 2. an analysis of the events of 2020 and how they show us the limits and “prospects for freedom” available in the foreseeable future, and then 3. a list of concrete, tried and tested baby steps that serious comrades can start from scratch with. We speak from generations of experience and successful communal structure – not from our own personal opinions, left-wing jargon, dreams, theories or books alone…

[see pdf for full text]

No one is going to get us ready for what’s coming except ourselves. No one is going to get us free except each other…

Let’s each and every one of us, wherever we are right now, whatever we’re working with no matter how few or how poor, analyze our situation, form a plan, and start right now. And let’s see it through!

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For Iraqi Minorities, ‘Immigration No Longer A Choice, It’s Inevitable’

Saad Salloum (Niqash)
In an interview, Raad Jabar al-Khamis, a representative of the Sabean-Mandaean minority, talks about why all minorities in Iraq will leave the country over the next decade.
14.01.2016  |  Baghdad
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Raad Jabar al-Khamis has held many senior political positions on behalf of Iraq’s Sabean-Mandaean minority. The Sabean-Mandaeans are a tiny minority in Iraq, characterised by ancient rituals that cross between Christianity and Islam. Despite the fact that this minority has been able to secure one of the quota seats, dedicated specially to the country’s minorities, in Iraq’s Parliament, al-Khamis says that this is largely symbolic and that Mandaeans have no real political power thanks to power sharing deals between the country’s larger ethnic and sectarian groups. As it is, it probably doesn’t matter anyway, he says. The way things are going all members of Iraq’s minorities, and especially the ones like his, will have left the country during the next decade.

NIQASH: The Mandaeans are well known for running the minority’s affairs in a particularly democratic way. Can you tell us more about this?

Raad Jabar al-Khamis: This is true. In fact, we have three different leadership organisations. These are the Mandaean Spiritual Council , the Mandaean General Assembly and the Community Affairs Council. All of these were originally formed in the 1980s and each one represents the different social groups within the minority. For example, the Spiritual Council is composed of clergy and headed by the Mandaeans’ spiritual leader, Satar Jabar Helo. Meanwhile the General Assembly represents members of all the different family groups or tribes and these representatives have been elected by their own families. This council is like the Mandaeans’ own Parliament, of sorts. And finally the Community Affairs Council is another kind of authority, with members coming from the General Assembly. This body manages the more general, custodial affairs of all Mandaeans

Many religious and social leaders have already left Iraq. That makes every other Mandaean want to leave too.

NIQASH: In terms of these democratic processes, how did you end up being elected the Mandaean representative on Baghdad’s provincial council?

Al-Khamis: We hold other internal elections inside our community to select the candidates who will take up the special minority quota seats. I competed and won, which is how I got the job as Mandaean representative on Baghdad’s provincial council.

NIQASH: It doesn’t seem like the interests of the Mandaean minority are particularly well represented by any of Iraq’s political parties. Have you thought about starting your own party?

Al-Khamis: We haven’t done this as yet. Some Mandaeans have joined left wing parties, as have members of other Iraqi minorities. But we did start a committee composed of between nine and 15 members, whose job was to try and build bridges and to encourage cooperation with decision makers in other parties, as well as to represent the Mandaean people in any political forums. We believe this fills the political gap.

NIQASH: Do these different groups work together at all?

Al-Khamis: There’s a lot of coordination between the religious leaders and the political committee. The clergy try not to get involved in the details of daily political affairs. Still the religious leaders have an important role to play when it comes to any candidacies. While the final decisions should be made democratically by the Mandaean General Assembly, there’s no doubt that if the clergy accept a candidate this is seen as an endorsement.

NIQASH: The Mandaeans have had a quota seat – one that is automatically given to a Mandaean politician – in the Iraqi Parliament for several elections now. How do you feel about the minority’s participation in Iraqi politics?

Al-Khamis: In reality our participation is symbolic. It has no significant political weight and there is no real or active participation in the political process. The Mandaeans are not represented in any of Iraq’s federal ministries, we don’t even have one general manager. The only high-ranking position we can get is as the general manager of the endowment for Christians, Yazidis and Mandaeans [the body taking financial care of the minorities’ religious buildings]. This is really disturbing because the Mandaeans are one of the oldest religious groups in Iraq.

NIQASH: So what would the Mandaeans like to see happening?

Al-Khamis: We would like to participate in the political process without marginalization or exclusion. However the power sharing deals between the major political groups in this country – the Sunni Muslim parties, Shiite Muslim parties and the Iraqi Kurdish – don’t allow minorities to make any real progress or to participate.

Personally I believe that giving Mandaeans responsibility for a service- provision ministry would give us an opportunity to serve our country. But I also think this is impossible at this stage.

NIQASH: What do you think the future holds for Mandaeans in Iraq?

Al-Khamis: In the past we were just worried that all Mandaeans would leave Iraq. But now we think that Iraq will actually lose all of its minority groups within the space of ten years – and ten years is optimistic. Many Mandaeans have already left the country and this includes religious and social leaders. That makes every other Mandaean want to leave too. Immigration is no longer a matter of choice. It is an inevitable reality.

From Reagan to Obama: Forced Disappearances in Honduras

Source: teleSUR English

The 1980s saw widespread political violence and countless forced disappearances in many countries in Latin America, and Honduras was no exception.

Hundreds of political opponents of the 1980s U.S.-backed regime were kidnapped, tortured, and assassinated by the CIA-trained secret army unit Battalion 316, while at the same time Honduras served as a military base and training ground for U.S. counterinsurgency strategy in the region, especially in neighboring El Salvador and Nicaragua.

With the Reagan Administration turning a blind eye to the brutality of Battalion 316, intentionally downplaying or denying its violence in order to continue backing Honduras financially and using the country as a key U.S. military outpost, the details of this death squad’s operations did not become clear until years later. A historic expose published in the Baltimore Sun in 1995, which included interviews with ex-Battalion 316 torturers and details from declassified U.S. government documents, revealed the full extent of the secret unit’s atrocities and its close links to Washington.

However, torture and disappearances aren’t just a tragic reality of the past in Honduras. Human rights defenders have drawn disturbing parallels between Battalion 316 and the present day situation in Honduras, saying the current level of human rights abuses and political repression is just as bad, if not worse than the era of forced disappearances in the 1980s.

In the wake of the 2009 U.S.-backed coup ousting democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya, forced disappearance, torture, and targeted assassinations re-emerged as state terror tactics to intimidate and repress a broad-based resistance. Conspicuous and even conscious links to 1980s tactics since the 2009 coup, as well as ongoing U.S. complicity, show a continuity of state sponsored terror, with new elements for the post-coup context.

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