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!


Carceral Feminism: A Critique by Nour Naas

Carceral Feminism: A Critique by Nour Naas

On the early morning of April 20, 1989, Trisha Meili’s injured body was discovered in Central Park. Meili, who is white, had survived a violent rape and beating. In a matter of days, five Black and Latino teens — Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, Yusef Salaam, and Korey Wise  — confessed to being present at the rape. Their confessions were extracted only after more than 30 hours of coercive interrogations by police officers and by prosecutor Linda Fairsten who, at the time, was the head of the sex crimes unit at the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.

Fairstein, long celebrated as a champion for women’s rights, was a strong proponent of what we know today as carceral feminism, which relies heavily on policing, prosecution, and punishment as a means of tackling violence against women such as domestic abuse, rape, and sexual assault. As the prosecutor in the Central Park 5 case, Fairstein helped facilitate the wrongful conviction of these five boys of color. Indeed, as Anne Gray Fischer conveyed, Fairstein “perpetuated a long 20th-century American legal tradition of violently punishing black and Latino men in the name of the protection of white womanhood.” 

Years later, while serving a 33 year sentence on unrelated charges, Matias Reyes confessed to Meili’s rape. The Central Park 5 subsequently had their convictions vacated in 2002.

The case of the exonerated five captures so much of what is wrong with carceral feminism. In her groundbreaking book, Decriminalizing Domestic Violence, lawyer Leigh Goodmark argues that criminalization primarily “benefits those who feel safer as a result of interventions but are immune from most of its costs: people who don’t share children with their partner, people who are no longer in relationships with those partners, people who don’t rely on their partners in any way, higher-income people.” To be sure, it is uniquely upper class white women, such as Meili, who are able to reap the benefits of carceral feminism — and these benefits necessarily come at the expense of poor people and communities of color. 

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) epitomizes this increased reliance on carceral punishment as a means of acheiving justice for victims of gender-based crimes. In fact, VAWA was an extension of the notorious Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, a $30 billion piece of legislation, and the largest crime bill in US history. The bill expanded police and prison budgets, employing one hundred thousand new police officers and providing nearly $10 billion to prisons.

At its core, VAWA promotes an ever-increasing carceral approach to violent gender-based crimes. In her book, Goodmark highlights how VAWA’s carceral tone became more pronounced since its inception. Indeed, when the legislation was first passed in 1994, the bulk of its funding was funneled into prisons and police departments; as of 2013, only 15 percent of VAWA’s grant funds go toward social services even though, as Goodmark has cited, “repeated studies [show] that housing is the single greatest need identified by people subjected to abuse.” VAWA woefully neglects the economic and social safety nets which are paramount in enabling victims to leave their abusers, and to actually survive. 

In 1978, Shelley Fernandez, an administrator at San Francisco’s La Casa de Las Madres women’s shelter, testified to the US Commission on Civil Rights on this very issue. She stated: “We need money for teaching sheltered children, bilingual and biculturally. We need money for the day-to-day operation of shelters, ongoing rent, food, furniture, clothing, remodeling, upkeep, and paid staff. We need money for supplemental housing because we are already full.” 

Ignoring these demands which called for state financial support of community organizations geared toward helping victim-survivors of gender-based crimes, carceral feminists have, instead, pushed for mandatory arrest policies which require law enforcement to make an arrest when responding to a domestic violence call. Mandatory arrests have been shown to lead to greater fatalities, with research showing that victims are 64 percent more likely to be killed if their partners are arrested instead of being warned and permitted to remain in the home. In many cases, domestic violence homicides occur in homes which police have frequented multiple times. A study in California also revealed that mandatory arrest policies increased arrests of men by 60 percent and arrests of women by 400 percent. In spite of this, today, at least half of all states enforce this policy.

Carceral feminists conveniently turn a blind eye to the fact that women are currently the fastest growing segment of the incarcerated population, and that low-income women of color are disproportionately represented in US prisons. An overwhelming majority of incarcerated women had suffered interpersonal violence prior to their arrest. In fact, as many as 90 percent of women who are incarcerated for killing a man were battered by that same individual. 

Proponents of carceral feminism ignore the ways in which racialized disparities leave certain communities particularly vulnerable to violence at both the individual and institutional level. Gender-based violence does not occur in a vacuum; systemic factors involving racism, sexism, and poverty all work together in ways which exacerbate the likelihood of abuse occurring in marginalized communities. In Frantz Fanon’s masterful work, The Wretched of the Earth, he illustrates how the afflictions of colonialism on a people will inevitably lead them to seek relief from the muscular tension that is a result of colonial domination. Often, as Fanon cites, the first phase of this relief manifests as interpersonal violence — i.e., “fratricidal struggles” — between the colonized. This concept can certainly be extended to situations involving domestic and sexual violence. 

Still, in recent years, feminist activists have proliferated the “everywoman” myth which asserts that domestic violence and other gender-based crimes impact all women equally, regardless of race, class, or immigration status. Though perhaps well-intentioned, this claim is simply not true and, as University of Illinois professor Beth Richie notes, “the assumption of ‘everywoman’ fell into the vacuum created by a white feminist analysis that did not very successfully incorporate an analysis of race and class.” 

Take, for example, the fact that Black and Indigenous women face the highest risk of domestic violence homicide. Or the fact that increased collaboration between the criminal system and immigration enforcement has left undocumented victims of sexual and domestic violence with little to no options on how to proceed for support. Studies have shown that domestic violence reports to the police have substantially declined among undocumented women out of fear of themselves or their partners being deported. Further, it is imperative to acknowledge how poverty and domestic violence share a corresponding relationship. Multiple studies have revealed that the lower a couple’s income bracket is, the higher the chances are that a partner will engage in intimate violence. Carceral feminism necessarily reduces systemic violence to individual problems and does not acknowledge the fact that police and prisons are themselves sources and sites of violence. 

For example, Derek Chauvin, the police officer who murdered George Floyd, responded to a domestic violence call in 2008. Upon arriving on scene, he knocked down the bathroom door where an unarmed Ira Toles was hiding, and subsequently shot him twice in his stomach. Chauvin’s response to the domestic violence call ultimately left the victim in extreme distress and left Toles severely wounded. Rather than facing accountability for his actions, Chauvin was awarded a medal of valor.

These examples illustrate how deeply flawed our thinking is whenever we conflate punishment with accountability. Carceral feminism criminalizes individuals for their actions, rather than investing in solutions to the epidemic of violent gender-based crimes. Because carceral feminism frames gender-based violence as transgressions against the state, rather than against victims themselves, the needs of victim-survivors are routinely neglected. Feminist activist Lola Olufemi critiques this approach for its “individualistic response to harm —  it locates the problem in the body of the ‘bad’ person rather than connecting patterns of harm to the conditions in which we live.” Though it is not a solution, criminalization has proved to be the default response to these issues. This unyielding commitment to a carceral state is entrenched in the belief that violent crimes against women happen in isolation.

If we truly care about ending patriarchal violence, it is crucial that we confront our own attitudes about justice, and to imagine what it can look like outside of a punitive context. Employing policing, prosecution, and punishment in an effort to attain accountability obstructs our own responsibility to achieve the economic, racial, and social justice which are fundamental to the eradication of patriarchal violence, and which would facilitate the safety and self-determination of all survivors.

Bay Area Intifada: Under New Management

       In the name of God the Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

After ten years of serving as an educational resource and news springboard Bay Area Intifada has now been passed on to an unaffiliated group of young radicals in the Bay Area. Over the years, the majority of the original admins fell back from the day-to-day running of the page and publishing original content, causing it to become mostly inactive for the past year. For this reason the OG admins were looking for new blood to pass Bay Area Intifada on to and they found that in us; a small group of homies who were looking to start a political education publication by and for black, brown and muslim youth in light of the current political climate. The apathy we’ve previously seen in our peers has been replaced by righteous anger. We cannot allow young people to be funneled into the same scene politics and petty beefs that were the failings of the generations before us. 

With the changing of hands we would like to state a few things.

  1. We have no affiliation with the prior admin; we were looking to start a platform to build with and educate our peers. It was only through word of mouth that the Bay Area Intifada admin heard of us and passed the page on.
  2. We have no interest in scene politics or the beefs of older organizers. We’re here to educate our homies and our peers so they can better resist white supremacy and that’s it. 
  3. We’d love and appreciate any admissions from old supporters and/or contributors seeing that they’re able to respect the autonomy of the new admins. 

The War on Terror was launched 17 years ago, but for Black and Indigenous people, it began in 1492

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October 7th  marked the 17th year of the U.S. led war on Afghanistan and the launch of the so-called “War on Terror” . It is also Indigenous peoples day — a relationship which was merged on 9/11, but goes as far back as this same date in 1492 when Columbus reached “the America’s”, which also know to natives and their supporters as “Turtle Island”.   

In the days following 9/11, the US government began pushing its narrative weeks ahead of its military operation dubbed “Enduring Freedom”. U.S. officials claimed that international laws did not apply to Muslims detained on the battlefield of the War on Terror since they were “terrorists” or not fighting under any nation-state flag. International laws regarding rights of prisoners of war were ignored as the US introduced the term “enemy combatants” into modern discourse.



Video: Impacts of the War on Terror

Video: Impacts of the War on Terror


Here’s video from todays discussion on the War on Terror; afghanistan and syria, infiltration and surveilence,colonialism, capitalism, rebels and rebel violence, US imperialism and Tankies, white people and subjective solidarities and much more.:

FatimaRamah Isra Hoor Tanzeen, Jocelyn Wabano-Iahtail and @brwnrage


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(OAKLAND Oct 6th) Discussing Imam Jamil Al-Amin’s seminal work: Revolution by the Book

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“Saturday, October 6th, 2018 @ The Oakland Islamic Community Center we will be discussing Imam Jamil Al-Amin’s seminal work: #RevolutionbytheBook
We will have copies of the book available for purchase with all proceeds going to @Imam Jamil Action Network’s continual effort to exonerate & #FreeImamJamilAlAmin the event will be free with dinner served”
This upcoming October 4th will be Imam Jamil’s 75th birthday Insha’Allah. Anyone that would like to write Imam Jamil:

Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin
USP Tucson
U.S. Penitentiary
P.O. Box 24550
Tucson, AZ, 85734

The colour brown: de-colonising anarchism and challenging white hegemony

Random Shelling قصف عشوائي

A French translation of this article here, thanks for Dyhia Tadmut

The appearance of the Egyptian Black Bloc in Cairo’s streets in January 2013 triggered gullible excitement in Western anarchist circles. Little thought was given to the Egyptian Black Bloc’s political vision – or lack thereof – tactics, or social and economic positions. For most Western anarchists, it was enough that they looked and dressed like anarchists to warrant uncritical admiration. Facebook pages of Israeli anarchists were swamped with pictures of Egyptian Black Bloc activists; skimming through the US anarchist blogosphere during that period would have given one the impression that the Black Bloc was Egypt’s first-ever encounter with anarchism and anti-authoritarianism. But as American writer Joshua Stephens notes, the jubilant reaction many Western anarchists have towards the Black Bloc raises unflattering questions concerning their obsession with form and representation, rather than content and actions. And in this regard…

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“Can You Hear Us?”: Letter to Niraz Saied

Random Shelling قصف عشوائي

Niraz picture

The world is a heap of people, a sea of tiny flames.

Each person shines with his or her own light. No two flames are alike. There are big flames and little flames, flames of every color. Some people’s flames are so still they don’t even flicker in the wind, while others have wild flames that fill the air with sparks. Some foolish flames neither burn nor shed light, but others blaze with life so fiercely that you can’t look at them without blinking, and if you approach you shine in fire.

—Eduardo Galeano, The Book of Embraces (Translated by Cedric Belfrage with Mark Schafer)

Have I ever told you, dear Niraz, that you are one of those flames that blazes with life so fiercely that it overpowers anyone who approaches with warmth and spark? I took your presence for granted, perhaps, and forgot to tell you how fortunate, how…

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Afghanistan: A Personal History

Afghanistan: A Personal History

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It’s hard to talk about Afghanistan’s recent history without talking about a much longer history and tradition. Those of us who are the children of the Mujahideen grew up on stories of our ancestors defeating Alexander the Great and the British Colonial Empire. When I talk to my generation, who grew up when Afghanistan’s current fighting began, about 40 years ago, they talk about those days with a fervor – our families suffered immensely and sacrificed dozens of uncles and relatives to the struggle against Soviet imperialism, but this wasn’t something that happened in isolation.

We’re Afghans – we’ve been killing colonizers since our history began. Not only that, we’ve been taking down their empires with them. The oldest photo we have of our family was stumbled upon by my father who one day found himself looking at his ancestors staring back at him when researching the second Anglo-Afghan war. A proud moment for a man who prides himself on being from a long line of anti imperialists

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