Looking Good, Doing Good, Looking Better – a response to ‘Running Wild’

Contributed by David K.

The article by the collective known as Running Wild (about whom I know nothing, other than what can be gleaned from their website) was an interesting read. It points out a lot of shortcomings in the anarchist movement, the broad left and even the centre left of Australia, and problems endemic to Australian politics.

Looking Good…

Much of this short essay should be considered a review and reflection of some issues raised by their article rather than a direct response to the article itself.


Where the G20 in Brisbane, 2014, came from.

Was the G20 protest in Brisbane a failure at anything except Looking Good? Was it disappointing? If anyone had expectations for something other than talking to strangers, catching up with old friends and a heinously unseasonable heatwave, it probably was.

But our response (if we can be called an our) to G20 was the way it was because of a set of circumstances and events in relatively recent history and those are not due to simple complacency or a misguided approach.

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Looking Good…

When I was 12 I went along to a protest with my parents, against the war in Iraq (specifically Australia’s involvement). I wore the “Make Chocolate Not War” hat I’d bought at a music festival and I felt so excited and so validated by the event, as a good person, as someone on the right side of history.

I grew up in a regional city, so we didn’t really have big protests and I can’t remember any others growing up. People talked politics… but not much more than that, not much more than hating on or applauding whichever political party was in at the time. But at this anti-war protest, it felt like the whole town was there, doing more than just talking. It was huge. I felt so empowered, I felt like we were actually being heard. Of course the big cities had massive turnouts, but us? We did this in our small city? I felt so fucking righteous.

And then the bomb shell hit. It didn’t change anything. The war continued.

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Loitering in the Park

On May Day we attended an anticapitalist event in a regional NSW city. It didn’t approach a Montreal riot or a militant picket line, but for a city with occasionally present, but always polite politics, it was an event that brought joy, discussion and inspiration to us. We shared some lunch in the park, got to know one another, commemorated the struggle of 1868, and talked not only about “the problem” facing communities around the globe, but also solutions. We talked about what we could do in this small city, what we could do with just a few people.

It may not have slowed traffic or created photo ops of people taking to the streets, but we sat in a park as anticapitalists, and we commemorated May Day without being granted a public holiday to do so, without politicians and union officials leading our march or speaking for us.

To change everything, we have to start somewhere! On our own terms.

Support Parkdale Tenants’ Rent Strike

from https://www.gofundme.com/support-parkdale-tenants

On May 1, 150 tenants in Parkdale began a coordinated rent strike to pressure their landlord, MetCap Living, to withdraw its “Above Guideline Rent Increase” applications (AGIs) and to complete the hundreds of outstanding repair requests.

Today, these tenants need your help to ensure the success of this critical campaign.

Very soon, MetCap can file applications to the Landlord and Tenant Board to evict each of the striking tenants. The Board can charge each tenant with the landlord’s $190 filing fee associated with each application.

In order to avoid eviction and ensure the success of the rent strike campaign, each of the striking tenants will need to pay this $190 fee.

This is why your support, today, is so vital to this campaign.


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(Belated) May Day Feature: A Memo from the Office

(Contributed by another comrade in So-Called Australia)

Jobs Destroy Our Dreams

When I’m not at work I study the world. I read news articles and books, I listen to podcasts and I write my own articles and reflections. I practice music and I share music. I exercise and I go outside. I volunteer and try to help build a different world with other people. I dream of new possibilities for everybody and for myself.

When I go to work, I stop dreaming. I think about what I’m wearing and whether it’s appropriate, I worry about my hair and the paint stains on my shoes, I hide who I am and make small-talk. I become somebody else and find energy in this adopted personality so I can comfortably call strangers and convince them to buy expensive tickets. I spend hours doing something that doesn’t interest me and that I don’t care about.

I do this because I need to pay for rent, food and transport and other bills like electricity, internet and phone credit. I also do it so I can save money to travel and so I can have drinks with friends now and then. It’s not like I’m in financial hardship, I am far from it. But I do need to work for my “daily bread”.

Jobs Define Us

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June 11th – Call-out for International Day of Solidarity

From The June 11th Crew:

As you may know, every year, individuals and groups around the world organize events and carry out actions in solidarity with imprisoned anarchists. As June 11th approaches, we are trying to get in touch with comrades worldwide about doing June 11th events in their cities and towns. These events provide vital material support via fundraising, spreading word of our comrades’ cases, and continuing the struggles our comrades are locked up for participating in.

If you would like to do an event for June 11th, please send us any information and we’ll post it on our site. If you do an event or action and don’t want it on the site beforehand, consider sending us a reportback to include in our post-June 11th round-up.

Please feel free to pass this on to anyone else who you think might be interested in organizing an event.


2017 Call

So-Called Australia: More Information On A May Day Call-Out

From the 1m Collective:

As part of our call-out for an Anti-Capitalist May Day we would like to provide some information about an event we will be holding, as well as some general information and ideas surrounding the initial call-out.

We are an initiative made up of various individuals who are working towards organising an Anti-Capitalist themed May Day event in Armidale, which is situated on Anaiwan land (an area in so-called Australia). The aim of the event will be to bring people together to hold discussions on our conditions and experiences as workers; to devise strategies for improving our lives; and to build support for all sectors in struggle, whether worker, unemployed, local or refugee.

Our initial call-out was a general call to action, and for those who would wish to, or are interested in, an encouragement to organise their own events wherever they are. Here, in so-called Australia, yearly we see a sombre march made up of political parties, bureaucratic trade-unions walking the same set-out route with no feeling, inspiration, or general opposition to the status-quo. What is worse, is that at the end, it usually culminates in a speech from a labor party leader.

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So-Called Australia: May Day Call-Out, 2017

From the 1m Collective:

Call-Out: May Day 2017 – We are poor because they are rich… and it’s right to revolt!

May 1st is a day of solidarity with other exploited people across the world and within our communities. This is a call to reclaim and rebuild the history and struggle against oppression with anti-capitalist gatherings, celebrations and resistance.

This year we will commemorate those who fought with their lives for an 8 hour workday in Chicago over 100 years ago, and the anarchists who lost their lives at the hand of the law. On May 1st 2017 we will stand against capitalism, colonialism, borders and the state; we will stand for freedom, community and self-determination as we continue the struggles of workers started so many years ago.

Capitalism continues to steal land, life, culture and language in the name of profit. The empire it has built on stolen land keeps workers under the boot of the bosses, the unemployed under the boot of the state. While our work goes to increase their profit margins, we are left to merely survive and dream of the lives we can live in our worn-out bodies come retirement.

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Cameras Everywhere, Safety Nowhere: Why Police Body Cameras Won’t Make Us Safer

From crimethinc:

We know that police violence is a real problem in the US, and it makes sense that people are strategizing ways to protect themselves and their loved ones from being assaulted or murdered by the police. Many who are concerned about this issue have begun advocating for police to wear video cameras on their uniforms. The idea is that cameras will prevent police violence, or at least hold officers accountable after the fact. Groups like Campaign Zero (a reformist Black Lives Matter offshoot) and the American Civil Liberties Union are advocating this measure, and even police departments themselves, after initial resistance, have signed on. But the idea that more cameras translates to better accountability (however we define this) relies on a faulty premise. Police get away with murder not because we don’t see it, but because they’re part of a larger system that tells them it’s reasonable to kill people. From lawmakers, judges, and prosecutors to juries, citizens, and the media, every level of society uncritically supports and transmits the police point of view. In this atmosphere, police can murder with no fear of repercussions.

Advocates of police-worn body cameras, as well as advocates of bystanders filming the police, constantly claim that cameras act as equalizers between police and people, that they are tools for accountability. But there is very little evidence to support this. Many assume visibility will bring accountability—but what does accountability even look like when it comes to police violence? If charges are all that police reformers would demand, where do they go when those charges end in verdicts of innocence or mistrial, as they almost inevitably do? Do they just go home and revel in the process of the justice system? Or are there other options situated outside official channels? The reality is that we don’t have a visibility problem but a political problem. The only “accountability” we see seems to be in occasional monetary settlements (paid by taxpayers). These settlements don’t hold officers accountable, or prevent future assaults and murders.

Though initially hesitant to adopt body cameras, police departments and officers quickly changed their tune as they realized that cameras benefit them far more than they benefit the general public under surveillance. We now have 4000 police departments in the US that employ body cameras, including the two largest, Chicago PD and NYPD, no strangers to inflicting violence on people and getting away with it. The largest marketer of officer-worn body cams, the leader in a $1 billion per year industry, is Taser Inc. After creating their namesake product, which was used to kill at least 500 people between 2001 and 2012, Taser started adding cameras to their stun guns in 2006, and introduced the body-worn camera in 2008. Since this introduction, their stock value has risen ten times higher. This was in no small part helped by grants from Obama’s Justice Department, which spent $19.3 million to purchase 50,000 body cameras for law enforcement agencies. Taser has since introduced a cloud storage service marketed to police forces (yes, a privately owned evidence storage service), proposed manufacturing drones with stun guns (and of course, cameras) attached to them, and recently bought the company Dextro, which has developed software to identify and index faces and specific objects.

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