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Anarchists know that a long period of

education must precede any great


fundamental change in society, hence
they do not believe in vote begging, nor
political campaigns, but rather in the
development of self-thinking individuals.

Lucy Parsons
ISSUE 3 December 2016 / Prince Edward County

Reframing Self-Care
Burnout, compassion fatigue, exhaustion, whatever we choose to call it, most of us in activist and anarchist circles have experienced it in one form or another. For some, it
has forced a retreat, whether permanent or temporary. Compassion fatigue is often seen in caregivers, whether employees working in hospice, social services or in the
medical field, those caring for sick family members, and/or activists on the frontline of struggle for social change, for revolution.

In anarchist circles, it can be exacerbated by the fact that much of what we struggle against is all around us, not just in a career choice, but in media,
our neighbours, even in the term self care, which in neoliberalism is often portrayed as taking me time to shop or have a spa day.
So, what can be done to attenuate burnout? Self care. The idea of self care, as mentioned above, has been claimed by neoliberalism, so we need to reframe it.
We need to look beyond paying spa workers for manicures, beyond shopping, buying tickets for a sporting event. We should be looking towards collective self care.
Towards organizing and treating ourselves in ways that acknowledge that what we do, as important as it is, is a literal struggle, and therefore by definition, its hard. It isnt
a weakness to acknowledge that its not easy and we all need a break sometimes. I dont claim to know whats best for everyone (or even by times, what is best for me) but I
do think that discussions of self care are both important and necessary; how can we organize ourselves to ensure that we are looking after ourselves and one another? The
answers can be found in our own communities and within ourselves. Within our personal lives, we can try to ensure adequate sleep, proper nutrition and physical activity, maybe adopt a cat (seriously, cats are the best). Within our communities, we can hold collective meals and socials to ward off withdrawal and isolation as sometimes
we all need to be reminded that we arent alone in our struggles, that there is a community of people working toward the same ends.
Once we acknowledge that burnout is avoidable, that it can be avoided with self care, that its not a weakness, we can discuss ways to look after ourselves and each other.
I believe this is an essential part of being able to keep up the struggle. r
Bethany MacInnes

Dismantling Capitalism - 101


Active resistance as an effective antidote to despair
I mentioned on facebook after Trumps election that more than ever we need to trust
in each other in order to build community and alternatives. We need that so that we
can liberate ourselves from looking to leaders to help or save us. The systems we have
in place are the ones that allow Trumps of the world to rule. And its not only him, but
also the idea that we should simply not give over control of our lives to others. This
is not to ignore the very reality of the here and now, and the danger that a fascist like
Trump presents, but that is a different topic for another time.

Here Id like to focus on the fact that while this is going happening, we also have to keep our attention
on the ongoing work of organizing society differently if we are serious about building a better world.
Key is finding an alternative to our economic system because the two - government
leaders and capitalism - are responsible for the mess in which we find ourselves.
In capitalism we see a competitive structure of exploitation that has people needing to
sell their labour for other peoples profits just so they can house and feed themselves.
In a world of plenty, capitalism is a system that functions by keeping a guaranteed
portion of the population hungry, homeless, and suffering in myriad ways. The system
and these conditions are upheld and even encouraged by governments.
But I think its crucial that we understand that it is only that a system. It is not a law
of nature. Its a societal construct, which means it can be changed.
Understanding as well that both structures thrive on hierarchy and power that seek to
wield authority over others, and recognizing how these are used around us and in our
own lives, is a first step towards challenging that dynamic and finding ways to counter
it. So lets look at how we might do that.
First, lets dispel the myth that we can make a gentler, nicer capitalism. As Erik Olin
Wright, analytical sociologist at the University of Wisconsin writes, The idea that
capitalism can be rendered a benign social order in which ordinary people can live
flourishing, meaningful lives is ultimately an illusion because, at its core, capitalism is
unreformable. The only hope is to destroy it, sweep away the rubble, and then build
an alternative.
But destroying it is no simple feat. As Wright points out, however, we can look at
anti-capitalist through four strands of resistance that can help us identify strategies:
smashing capitalism, taming it, escaping it, and eroding it.
Smashing capitalism, as tempting as that sounds, isnt really doable and by itself it
doesnt contribute to social emancipation.
Escaping capitalism by living off grid in the forest by yourself is fine if youre into an
individualistic lifestyle. Again, I think Wright may be on to something when he talks
about the fact that escaping is often done not by poor people, but by privileged people
who decide to give up the rat race and move to embrace a life of voluntary simplicity while living off of a trust fund amassed from capitalist investments.
So that leaves us with the options of taming capitalism and eroding it.
Taming it means reducing the damage it causes. For example, by forcing the capitalist class to be taxed at higher rates, we could have those taxes used to improve things
like social supports, education and health care. Creating strong worker movements
through solidarity unionism that brings higher wages and more workplace control
could also fall under taming capitalism, as would mitigating the consequences of
capitalism including the environmental harms, workplace dangers, and so forth.
Eroding capitalism involves first looking at what makes capitalism what it is:
1) producing for market to make profit 2) private ownership of capital and

Sarah R

3) hiring people who dont own the means of production - and then chopping
away at those conditions by finding cracks where we could build something
different.
So, for example, looking at non-profit type organizations as ways of taking
care of each other, by creating cooperatives owned, managed, and run by the
members equally (as opposed to board governed co-ops not directly run by
the workers), and peer-to-peer networks working in collaborative production
processes that dont involve money but look instead to forms of mutual aid.
Some of these are, and might be for a while, hybrids of capitalism. But some
are not. The hope is that eventually both the hybrids and non-capitalist
ventures grow strong and numerous enough to displace the existing economic
structure.
The psychology is important, too. We should be challenging that dominant
capitalist drive everywhere. Its massively destructive because it determines
peoples economic conditions and their access to free and fulfilling lives. In that
way, its a lot like Trump. r
Christine Renaud

This newsletter is available online at: https://theanarchistwriterscollectivepec.wordpress.com

We stand in solidarity with Standing Rock and the


NDAPL movement. Despite the denial of a permit by the
Army Corps of Engineers, the resistance continues.
Do not take anything for granted, said Elouise Brown, a
member of the Navajo Nation and an army veteran. Do
not trust anything they say. I think what happened
yesterday was their move to get us to back up and leave.
Were not that stupid. quoted in The Guardian

ISSUE 3 December 2016 / Prince Edward County

The Sting of Stigma

Being low on cash isnt a character flaw,


its a measure of wealth

What is a Carbon Budget?


Hint: selling off the planet figures in the
equation

We have an ultimate need as we navigate life to sort things; whether it be cutlery,


laundry or people. Its our human nature to simplify in order to make sense of life.
But it has to stop being done with people! People are so quickly sorted by gender,
wealth and status. Immediately that's when stigma and labeling come into play. We
all have different stories which is what makes the world such an awesome place.
But the label of poor needs to be re-examined. Its become a bad word. People are
more than their religious beliefs, philosophies, sexuality, and bank account
balance.
What does being poor mean? We need to stop throwing the word around without
understanding the full definition, it being a complex one. Poor can mean struggling to pay bills, not taking vacations, being homeless, not having enough money
for groceries or music lessons for your children. It is, and only is, a measurement
of wealth. It is not a description of morals, child rearing philosophies, work ethic,
or lifestyle. It has been described as Economic deprivation lack of income - the
standard feature of most definitions of poverty. But this in itself does not take account of the myriad of social, cultural, and political aspects of the phenomenon.
Poverty is not only a deprivation of economic or material resources but a violation
of human dignity. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Poverty makes people uncomfortable and when faced with uncomfortable
situations society tends to affix stigmas. When we stigmatize poverty, we establish
preconceived notions such as what poor people are. Poor people dont deserve a
new guitar or to eat at a proper restaurant. When society becomes a judge and jury
to what other humans deserve and dont deserve, then we dehumanize different
people - something the ugly side of human history has done with other races, First
Nations People and religions all over the world.

Theres a popular notion called the carbon budget that tells us we can keep adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels and still avoid raising
global average temperature by more than 2 degrees C.
This idea comes from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the same
people who state a rise of 2 degrees is safe. Given that a rise of only around .85
degrees so far has resulted in the drastic ongoing loss of Arctic sea ice, significant
increase in wildfires, the loss of subsistence agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa with
starvation, mass migration and war, multi-year drought across the southwestern
U.S., species extinction at one thousand times its normal rate, and the list goes on;
given that a rise of less than 2 degrees is demonstrably unsafe, we might want to
question the carbon budget.
Its important because the carbon budget assumption forms the basis for what
global leaders decide to do about their countrys emissions. This in turn determines
how much global temperature change we are going to cause. Or is it the other way
around? Does the IPCC modify science on the basis of what global political and
industrial leaders want to do?
The words of Professor John Schellnhuber, chair of the German Advisory Council
on Global Change, are telling. Schellnhuber introduced the concept of the carbon
budget in 2009, with this opening statement: this Report is a compromise
between what is scientifically necessary and what is politically and economically
feasible... i.e. between what we need to do to save our planet, and what
governments in collusion with industry leaders decide is needed to protect the
profitability of big business.
What is scientifically necessary to calculate the temperature increase our carbon
emissions will cause is to take into account all the amplifying feedbacks (the ways
in which global warming gives rise to more global warming) in the Earths systems.
The compromise that the IPCC makes to create the carbon budget is to use a
Poverty is not a choice. People living in poverty arent all lazy, irresponsible,
computer model which leaves out most amplifying feedbacks, including: less
unreliable, or unstable. They are not bad parents. Poor people arent failures as
carbon being sequestered in the oceans due to the loss of phytoplankton
human beings, but quite often, it is the opposite when their circumstances have
associated with ocean acidification brought about by rising CO2 levels; land plants
in fact created strong characters that understand the true values in life.
responding to higher CO2 concentrations by taking in less CO2 and giving off
more; global warming causing the loss of land-based ice sheets and the associated
And poverty isnt an individual problem. Its a cultural epidemic. And nobody
ability of the earth to reflect heat; melting permafrost and warming ocean floors
should feel ashamed for being entangled in it.
While charities work to ease financial burdens, they can also work to keep the poor releasing methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.
So using the inadequate model, the IPCC estimates that todays concentration of
poor by supporting systems that keep people in poverty, and those with wealth
CO2 and other heat-trapping gases will eventually result in an increase of 1.5
feeling good if they choose to contribute. This system maintains a status quo of
degrees, well below the so-called safe threshold of 2 degrees. In its strategic advice,
unbalanced power.
the IPCC is telling world leaders theres still lots of room in the carbon budget to
Food banks, social programs and Christmas charities provide relief only and keep
go on burning fossil fuels, and policies are created which protect the ability of big
the class system firmly in place. An entire societal revolution needs to occur in
order the make change. In the meantime we can begin the process but reducing the oil, big agribusiness, and all the corporate entities they support to carry on with the
status quo.
stigma associated with poverty. r
But taking amplifying feedbacks into account we discover the temperature
Erin Johnston
increase implicit in todays level of CO2 and other heat-trapping gases is about 6.2
degrees, far beyond what is safe, and quite possibly beyond what is survivable.
We are in a crisis that threatens the survival of pretty much every living thing on
earth for thousands of years.
The international political and scientific body we have entrusted to deal with the
Something to think about...
crisis is doing, and always has done, worse than nothing about it. (Since they began
convening more than 20 years ago global carbon emissions have gone up by 60%)
The everyday struggle of anyone who works for a wage - especially low
This is a huge problem, but it is also a great opportunity.
wages - and who works long hours, with messed up schedules or without
If we seize the moment to stop following leaders, and instead start accepting our
security has tremendous importance when we talk about improving our
responsibility for understanding the world around us, thinking critically about it,
lives. After a long working day, were often too tired to do anything but
and taking the initiative to act and not back down, we may find the power to
get physical rest and attend to immediate needs like taking care of kids,
create solutions together that work for everone.
housekeeping and eating. And with little cash, you cant afford to have
For more info, visit: http://www.apollo-gaia.org/harsh-realities-of now.html
other people do any of those things for you! Theres little time left then for
http://www.crimethinc.com/tce/Harsh Realities of Now
reading or other activities that fully develop our human potential. This also
apollo-gaia.org r
robs us of time to deal with social problems, communal issues, or to work
Rosalind Adams
for change so we can all enjoy the beautiful life that we all deserve.

Busting Myths about Anarchism


Myth #1 Its chaos: Anarchism is actually
organization built on full participation of free individuals in society responsible for their actions.
In fact, the Circle A represents Pierre-Joseph
Proudhons maxim that Anarchy is Order. The
word comes from the ancient Greek
(anarchia), which combines (a), not, without
and (arkhi), ruler, leader, authority.

Myth #2 Its violent There is no violence


greater than that of governments and capitalism,
which sends us to kill people around the world,
allows hunger amidst plenty, homelessness when
homes are empty, and restricts access to health
care. It exploits peoples labor for profit. State
sanctioned violence upholds capitalism. . Its then
called violence when we fight back.

Myth #3 Its utopian. Its actually anti-utopian.


It recognizes that to believe in a perfect world
is to move away from people being genuine and
struggling together for a better life for everyone.
As one anarchist posted online, Were certainly
not more utopian than those who think that giving some people god-like levels of hierarchical
power will not lead to disaster. n CR

This newsletter is available online at: https://theanarchistwriterscollectivepec.wordpress.com