The National Conference on Organized Resistance (NCOR) is back at American University this weekend where I attended three of the workshops. The annual conference brings together a large number of anarchists (along with other left-leaning activists) for education workshops and networking to the small university in upper Northwest Washington, D.C.
I've posted the full essay to Beltway Indymedia. The site is starting to look better all the time, and I want to encourage people to post any news they have there, especially about DC and its metro area, but also any news whatsoever (that's not simply a re-hashing of news somewhere else on the net) from a radical perspective.
Go here to read the full article.
To give you a flavor of one of the workshops I attended (the others being on "Parenting and Social Change" and the other on "Indigenous Struggles and Resistance in Canada), let me share the paragraph I wrote on that. This was related to resistance to the Interstate 69 project in Indiana by some Earth First!ers.
Switching gears from the first workshop and after meeting and networking with people during lunch, I attended a workshop given by Roadblock Earth First! from southwestern Indiana, who are working with farmers in that rural area to stop the continuing work on Interstate 69, which has been dubbed part of the NAFTA Superhighway. I-69 is being built from Port Huron, Michigan, to Texas, connecting with a highway project there, and ultimately to the Plan Puebla Panama (PPP) project. These highways are being built with commerce in mind, in places 12 lanes wide, four of which dedicated only to trucks. In southwestern Indiana in particular, I-69, which has thus far been built to Indianapolis, many farmers risk losing their land to eminent domain. The activists have worked with farmers, many of whom are planning on taking direct action to protect their farms. Much of the workshop was spent drawing the local connection with the global connection of the PPP, which has had a disastrous effect on local and indigenous communities throughout Central America. Since the highway system is the tangible expression of capitalism, it also represents a vulnerability for activists in the United States and in Central America, and an opportunity for direct action. For years, mainstream groups have opposed this project and poll after poll shows over 90% of Indianans oppose the project, and yet it is slated to be built next year with evictions starting this summer. The Earth First! participants do not believe that democracy or lobbying has worked and believe a direct action approach will pay dividends (to speak capitalistically), and they cited the success of activists in the UK who successfully stopped road building in the 1990s. However, they did not talk at all about their own tactics for security reasons. The workshop had about 50 participants, and most in the room had never heard of the PPP. So, there was a lot of new information for people about a project where the local and global connection was very clear, touching also on issues related to privatization (especially of the transportation system) and multinational corporations working in collusion with the World Bank. What wasn't mentioned but was beneath the surface was the issue of immigration, which is directly related to the projects which are displacing so many people.
For more and for some general comments on NCOR, read my full article.