rooieravotr's blog

'Europe' in Ukraine: many things to lots of people

piano man

Again, on the protests in Ukraine; this time mostly on the attitude towards 'Europe' among the several forces within the protests.

Again, there is mass protest in Ukraine. On Sunday, 8 December, hundreds of thousands have been gathering in Kiev, the capital. Demonstrators torn down a statue of Lenin, still seen as symbol of Russian domination.

Ukraine: what's going on, and what does it mean?

Riots in Ukraine

Some thoughts on the protests happening in Ukraine. Things are not completely what they may seem.

The mass protests unfolding in Ukraine are raising a few eyebrows here and there, as well as the usual hyped-up talk of people's revolt and even revolution. The eyebrows are justified.

Romania: resistance against corporate environmental destruction and politics-as-usual

This article, on insistent protests against an environmentallt destructive mining project in Romania, was written for, where a slightly differently edited version can already be found, together with a very useful comment on the article.

For 8 consecutive days, people in Romania have been protesting a planned mining project in Rosia Montana, a mountain village. The protest is directed against threatened environmental destruction. But protests also express distrust of the government, of parties and the political establishment in general. There is already talk of a “Romanian Autumn”.

Thinking about Egypt: between cynicism and wishful thinking

On the developments in Egypt, on the framework in which people talk about the developments, and a bit on that attitude to take.

What follows is a long piece, but splitting it up and presenting it in two or three posts would not make the argument clearer to follow and would split ip the reactions as well. Se bear with me, poor reader...

On the edges of Trotskyism - some of the ones who left the SWP

Some notes on the IS Network, formed by ex-members of the SWP, and on the ideas of Richard Seymour, one of them.

The SWP crisis is one symptom of Trotskyism on the edge. The crisis produces lots of disenchanted and disillusioned members. It would be tragic if most of these people would simply succumb to demoralization and cynicism. But there is not just Trotskyism on the edge of collapse.

Trotskyism on the edge - on the SWP crisis

A few more notes on the crisis in the UK Socialist Workers Party (SWP) that seems to have entered new territory.

Months after the crisis in the SWP burst into the open, this Trotskyist formation hasn't succeeding in leaving their problems truly behind. On the contrary, there have been new signs of division in the organisation that has already experienced a big loss of membership, prestige in the wider movement and political self-confidence.

Battlefield Indonesia

In Indonesia, workers are resisting low wages and demanding health care coverage, and indigenous communities are resisting corporate-enforced destruction.

Price rises are provoking revolt in yet another country. The country is Indonesia, the price concerns fuel, and the revolt takes the form of rallies and strike action.

Double struggle in Brazil

Blog about the demonstrations and riots which have swept Brazil in the wake of an increase in the price of public transport.

While the world has been watching Turkey, another country is experiencing revolt. That country is Brazil. Just like Turkey, it is relatively succesful, economically speaking. Just like Turkey, the results of economic growth are divided very unequally. Just like in Turkey, a relatively small provocation is setting off a much biggen chain reaction.

Refugees resisting state oppression, and solidarity activism in the Netherlands: hunger strikes and more

Protest and resistance by refugees and solidarity activists in the Netherlands is meeting serious repression. This is now getting media attention, and provoking new protest as well.

Asylum seekers in a detention centre in Rotterdam have revolted in recent days. The revolt was connected to a hunger strike of detained refugees (1) that has been going on since 1 May, first in detention centres in both Schiphol and Rotterdam, currently only in Rotterdam. The resisting refugees are intimidated, some of them put in isolation cells.

SWP crisis: some analysis, some thoughts

The UK Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party (SWP) is in deep crisis after rape accusations and faction fights have ended in the leadership reimposing some 'order' , and oppositionists leaving the party in droves. Some analysis, and some ideas on what attitude anti-authoritarians might fruitfully take.

The SWP crisis and ongoing implosion is a horrible, yet fascinating, development. It is horrible, for – again – hundreds of serious people will drift out of the party, and many of them will be too demoralized and exhausted to pick up class struggle activity. Those among them that will remain active will not necessarily turn to anti-authoritarian revolutionary theory and practice.

Joke Kaviaar sentenced - solidarity needed

Joke Kaviaar, activist and publicist against the oppression, detention and depiortation of refugeesin the Netherlands , has been sentenced to a four months jail sentence for "incitement". Solidarity with refugees should know no borders; solidarity against efforts to censor Joke Kaviaar, and all the ones speaking out against this repression should know no borders either. Joke Kaviaar will not shut up. Neither should we.

Lots of attention is being spent on repression in, uh, repressive countries, or, to be more precise, countries officially recognized as being repressive. Purely accidentally, these often are countries that “our” coutries- which obviously are frreedom living, non-repressive to the core – consider as rivals or enemies. Russia is a case in point.

Joke Kaviaar, activist/ publicist, under attack by Dutch state - solidarity needed

Joke Kaviaar, put on trial by Dutch authorities for speaking out

Joke Kaviaar, writer/ poet/ anarchist/activist, had been put on trial by the Dutch state for íncitement against public order'. The charge is based on four articles she wrote and published on het website, in which she strongly criticized the oppression, detention and deportation of migrants/ refugees/ people without papers, and called for active resistance aganist these policies

Joke Kaviaar, writer/ poet/ anarchist/activist, had been put on trial by the Dutch state for íncitement against public order'. The charge is based on four articles she wrote and published on het website, in which she strongly criticized the oppression, detention and deportation of migrants/ refugees/ people without papers, and called for active resistance against these policies.

"Fighting For Ourselves " - lots to learn, a few things to criticize

"Fighting For Ourselves", a new book by which SolFed explains it s view on anarchosyndicalism, deserves to be widely read. In what follows, I try to review the book, both highlighting its strengths and pointing to a few problems I encountered on the way.

"Fighting For Ourselves" , a new book in which Solidarity Federation (SolFed) explains its views on how to struggle against the bosses and the state, why anarchosyndicalism makes sense in that respect, and what anarchosyndicalist strategy could look like in the twenty first century, is a challenge to read and to think about.

World Cup Qatar: festivities built on slavery

Dohar Foorball stadium - brought to you by forced labour

My latest piece I wrote for Freedom magazine, published in the October issue. On migrant workers' conditions in Qatar, where the World Cup of 2022 is supposed to be held. Basically the original version, but with a few small corrections.

One of the Arab countries apparently almost untouched by the Arab Spring is Qatar. The tide of protest and revolt more or less passed this Emirate by. The main news channel spreading attention to these events, Aljazeera, is Qatari-baed and regime-owned, which does not help to raise attention to what happens there.

European-wide general strike November 14 - how real? How relevant?

In at least four countries, there will be a general strike on November 14. There are calls to turn it into a European general strike. What to make of the idea, how to operate most fruitfully in connection to these and similar initiatives, is the subject of this article.

November 14 will – at the very least – see strike action against austerity in four European countries: Spain, Portugal, Greece and Cyprus. (1) There is the potential of much, much more, and people from very diverse backgrounds are working in the direction of en Europe-wide general strike on that day. Does it make sense?

Massacre at Marikana: the fight continues in South Africa

Mineworkers of the Marikana diamond mine in South Africa are continuing their strike. Their perseverence comes after violent police efforts to suppress the strike, efforts culminating in a horrendous bloodbath on 16 August, when police machinegunned protesting miners, killing 34 and arresting at least 250 of them.

Note: this is the article I wrote for the September issue of Freedom; of course, it's best to buy the issue itself. Here, I publish the version I sent in, with footnotes that did not make it into the printed version. ofcourse, the article is dated because so much has happened since.

Quebec student strike - important victory, however partial it may be

In Quebec, Canada, an impressive student struggle, connected to protests against attacks on civil liberties has ended in a partial, but nevertheless important, victory. There is reason to learn lessons, but also to celebrate and to be inspired. Let's shout it from the rooftops, as a sign of more to come.

For months, students in Quebec fought against a Draconian college fee rise that the Chares government tried to impose. They struck in great numbers, organized themselves through a system of assemblies where they decided about the strike, what forms the actions woud take and so on. And they demonstrated, in actions that led to militant confrontations with the police.

From Greece, coming to a place near you...?

Sometimes one reads a piece of news that should set the alarm bells of working class militants, anarchists, communists ringing loud and clear – should, but somehow doesn't. That strange mismatch between alarming news and an almost total lack of outrage struck me after I read reports that creditor insitutions involved in the Greek bailout/ imposed austerity programme want to impose a hugely longer working hours as a precondition for another bailout.

Here is how the Guardian puts it, in article published on September 4 .

“Greece's Eurozone creditors are demanding that the government in Athens introduce a six-day working week as part of the stiff terms for the country's second bailout.

Talking 'bout a revolution?

The Syrian events are a challenge for both left wing party people and revolutionaries. Part of the confusion, however, is related to matters of definition, choice of words and what they mean. One such word is 'revolution'. Does it apply? And if so, what does that mean?

The Syrian events are a challenge for both left wing party people and revolutionaries. I addressed some of the arguments in my recent blog series. Part of the confusion is related to how the facts are seen: how much Western interference is going on, and how much influence does it have on the battlefield and ont the likely political outcome?

Syria, imperialism and the left (3)

There is a third position on the Syrian events: opposition to Assad and to Western interference. This position also is unsatisfactory in its way to positive account of the revolt. Third and final part of the series.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3