Weekly Update: June 26
Coming This Week
This week begins with a new piece from Rhyd Wildermuth, the first part of a series on the end of Liberal Democracy, beginning with an overview of the State’s relationship to Capital. Next will be an article on the situation in Oaxaca from Sean Donahue, who was there during the 2006 uprisings and has a deep connection with that place. Then, Ginger Drage makes her Gods & Radicals debut with “Paganism is Personal.” On Thursday we will have a story from Lorna Smithers called “The Day I Raised the Dead.” The week ends with “Goetia,” a poem from C.S. Thompson and a piece on Petrochemicals And The Gods by Gersande La Fleche. Another strong week is in store!
The Digital Edition of A Beautiful Resistance 2: The Fire Is Here is now available! Order your copy here. Those of you waiting for the print edition do not have much longer to wait…. it should begin shipping soon. Watch this space for updates.
It was a busy week all over the world. While Brexit has dominated the news (more on that below), our thoughts and solidarity are with the people — particularly the teachers — of Oaxaca, enduring violent repression from the Mexican state. Among the articles that caught our eye this week were:
- Forging the body of the Witch
“We should acknowledge, and celebrate, the power that is found in youth, and acts of youthful witchcraft – whether chanced alone, or with others – that attempt to provide meaning in a profoundly alienating world. I see a lot of chiding every time there is a new pulse of energy in witchcraft, this is simply the old trying to protect their positions. Witchcraft is also about getting things wrong, whether that is mistaking traditional craft for an instagram photoshoot or making fundamental mistakes about historical facts or ritual procedures. I support actions; which is exactly how the supposed elders themselves began based on an absolute mess of misunderstandings. We need to make mistakes, and this can be difficult to do in a surveillance culture that remembers and records our every misdemeanour. We need to stop being down on youth and in doing so, neuter its potential for growth.”
- Orlando shooting: It’s different now, but Muslims have a long history of accepting homosexuality
“What caused Muslim societies to go from coolly reading homoerotic poetry to outlawing and stigmatising same-sex love? It’s tough to nail down an exact reason but here’s an interesting coincidence: there are five Muslims countries where being gay isn’t a crime. All that the five – Mali, Jordan, Indonesia, Turkey and Albania – share in common is that they were never colonised by the British.
- Mexican police brutally attack Oaxaca’s striking teachers
“On Sunday morning, the federal and state police attack on the people and teachers of Oaxaca began in earnest. Nochixtlán defended its blockade against a four-hour police assault, resulting in the previously mentioned nine deaths. Police took over the local hospital and forbid entry to anyone not wearing a uniform. The wounded demonstrators were treated in churches and schools, likely resulting in more deaths due to lack of necessary treatment.The next police attack on Sunday occurred at the blockade in Hacienda Blanca, 11 kilometers north of the city of Oaxaca. There police fired tear gas from helicopters, including into the school being used as a makeshift medical center, and there were reports of live ammunition being fired.”
Brexit: G&R Writers Sound Off
“The historical defeat of the English working class is Great Britain’s main export product.”
The news this week was dominated by “Brexit,” in which UK voters opted (by a pretty narrow margin) to withdraw from the European Union. But more than this simple issue, the dialogue/debate around it has been dominated by some troubling rhetoric all-too-familiar to folks paying attention to the presidential campaigns in the US. As G&R writer (and UK citizen) Jonathan Woolley described a few days before the vote:
Brexit is a question of the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union – should we stay or should we go? But the campaign has has become a fight between competing visions of Britain’s place in the world. The Remain camp represents outward-looking, progressive, cosmopolitan values, but also the establishment. University graduates, and the majority of Under-35s are in favour of EU membership – as are most of Britain’s political and business elites. The Leave campaign represents a populist insurgency by an older or poorer Britain – driven by nationalism, imperialist nostalgia and concerns over immigration. For the working class supporters of Brexit, this is an opportunity to voice their anger, after decades of being failed by successive neoliberal governments. But the Leave campaign is led by right-wing patricians, who see Brexit as an opportunity to remove Britain from the progressive influence of Brussels. The right-wing press and politicians like Nigel Farage of the UK Independence Party are whipping up xenophobia, masking the true culprits behind the suffering of the working poor. Farage’s discourse has become so toxic, that Jo Cox MP — a left-wing politician who spoke out in defence of migrants — was murdered by a far-right white terrorist last week.
As we now are aware, UK voters passed Brexit by about 52% for to 48% against. Alley Valkyrie, who was in Europe as the Brexit debate reached its climax, had the following to say. Her thoughts on Brexit from an American point of view are a good place to wrap up this week’s update:
The EU was created mainly to prevent further war in Europe. I’m pretty sure you all are familiar with the world wars of the 20th century, but the horrors of war in Europe go back for over a thousand years. Wikipedia can explain the Thirty Years’ War and the Hundred Years’ War much better than I can, so I’ll point you there as I really don’t want to type out summaries of those wars on my phone. But I will stress that those are only the biggest two, and that there have been countless other wars that have devastated the European continent.
The seventy years between the end of WWII and now have arguably been the most peaceful time in Europe for hundreds of years, and the EU is the main reason why.
Is the EU perfect? No, far from it. As I’ve elaborated on in the past few weeks, there are many aspects of the EU that are pretty horrible, mainly it’s neoliberal economic policies and the racism inherent in its austerity programs. The power differentials within EU countries causes much suffering for those countries with less power, which is why Spain has been grumbling and Greece have made efforts to exit over the past few years. Those efforts were unsuccessful, but were driven by legitimate grievances against Brussels and the Troika over the treatment they have received.
The U.K. on the other hand, or more specifically England and Wales (as Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain) did not have the legitimate grievances that countries like Greece and Spain do. This was not about economics, this was about racism and xenophobia. This was a vote based on fear-mongering, inaccurate rumors, and outright lies. This is indicative of the rise of fascism and the far right in Europe, a trend that is being mirrored in the United States. Trump is actually in the UK right now, cheering this decision. And fascists across Europe are also toasting this development.
Meanwhile, the refugee crisis is only worsening, with the UNHCR estimating that 24 people per minute are fleeing from their homes due to war and/or persecution, and the UK’s exit will only further empower those in other EU member nations who wish to close their borders to refugees.
History tells us not only of our past, but our future. As the saying goes, if we ignore history it is doomed to repeat itself. WWII was also fueled by racism and xenophobia, most notably but not at all limited to antisemitism. But while hate was the fuel that drove WWII, the war itself was started over food. Hitler invaded Poland for a very specific reason – to secure the food supply for the German people, as there was not (and still is not) nearly enough land in Germany to feed its population.
I’ve been gushing about the food in France all month, in terms of both the quality and the price, which was also the case in Germany. The reason such a food supply exists is due to a combination of EU subsidies and a lack of tariffs across borders as a result of EU policies. Which means that if the EU crumbles, a food crisis will result. And this is where history is crucial, as a combination of widespread xenophobia, the rise of the far right, and a food crisis were the primary conditions that prompted WWII.
And this does not just affect food, nor does it just affect the EU. This also puts the US in great danger as well as the rest of the world, especially given the rise of far-right nationalism in the US. A fascist presidency in the face of a weakened EU spells danger for the entire world.
Right now the UK has no PM as Cameron has just resigned, basically no functional government at the moment, and everyone who isn’t affluent and white is suddenly in danger. This will only further fan the flames of anti-immigrant sentiment in England, as well as severely affect the lives of poor, disabled, and other marginalized folks who rely on the financial and/or policy-based benefits and protections of the EU in order to survive.
From here, Scotland will undoubtedly once again hold a referendum for independence with the goal of joining the EU, and will likely succeed this time around. Meanwhile, Spain and/or Greece very well may be empowered to try to exit once again, and given a weakened EU have a much greater chance of succeeding. And while that may be advantageous to those countries themselves, it will still further weaken the EU as well as further exacerbate tensions within other EU member nations. I should add that a significant portion of Europe’s fresh produce comes from Spain and Greece, and that food is heavily relied upon by EU countries that cannot produce enough food on their own.
This entire situation is absolutely terrifying. And while there’s not much that us Americans can do to stop it, there are three crucial things we absolutely must do. The first is to educate yourselves on the politics of Europe and the EU. The second is to build communities of resistance and an actual Left in this country. And the third is to stop the rise of fascism in the US — or indeed wherever we encounter it.
I love you all, but we really really need to wake up now. It’s literally now or never. This is Tower Time. The storm is now here.