user preferences

Mortar, no. 3: Editorial - here we go again

category north america / mexico | anarchist movement | link to pdf author Sunday June 07, 2015 17:44author by Linchpin - Common Cause Report this post to the editors

Thanks for picking up the third volume of Mortar, Common Cause’s journal of revolutionary anarchist theory. In our two previous journals, the article topics that we chose to explore and expound upon were, more often than not, grounded in our own direct experiences, such as organizing in our neighbourhoods against gentrification, navigating the dynamics of Left/activist spaces, and confronting sexual violence.

mortar3cover.jpg


Mortar, No. 3

Editorial: Here we go Again


Thanks for picking up the third volume of Mortar, Common Cause’s journal of revolutionary anarchist theory. In our two previous journals, the article topics that we chose to explore and expound upon were, more often than not, grounded in our own direct experiences, such as organizing in our neighbourhoods against gentrification, navigating the dynamics of Left/activist spaces, and confronting sexual violence. This time around, we’re taking a different approach and exploring topics that, although relevant and important, are less familiar to us. In this volume of Mortar we have set out to strengthen our understanding and analysis of subjects such as populism, ecology, reactionary movements, and anti-police organizing, to the end of forming coherent strategies of engagement that are both sober and considered.

This was a purposeful decision, and one that we came to for several reasons. We identified a number of gaps in our own organizing and political theory, and spent our time researching and writing Mortar as an attempt to start closing them. In other words, we selected topics that we wanted to learn more about, in order to help develop our politics. We also hope that we have something useful to contribute to conversations on subjects that we are in no way experts on, but which we nonetheless see as important facets of revolutionary struggle.

Common Cause is an organization with a small membership, spread across three cities in southern Ontario. We try to do our best as organizers, but at the end of the day, we have a limited capacity, and must pick our battles strategically. For many of us, our lack of involvement in particular struggles stems from a disagreement with prevailing strategies and tactics, some of which seem to us to be irreparable. We see structural problems in existing organizations, networks and activist campaigns that preclude them from revolutionary potential, because they have been built on reformist or even conservative foundations. We therefore find it to be a useful contribution to anarchist movements to put forward competing ideas about how such organizations could, and even ought to be structured. We hope that others engage with our analysis and ideas, either by testing them through practice, sharing your critiques and disagreements, or both.

The writing, editing, and designing of this journal remains a collective process. Every member of Common Cause is encouraged to participate in the production of each volume, from inception to completion. Topics that we feel are worth exploring are put forward and voted on by our members. Logistics are handled by a working group formed of elected delegates from each of our three branches. Multi-city writing groups are struck, and chairs are selected to bottom-line meetings for each article. The research and writing process spans over several months, and the arguments contained in each article are vetted by two organization-wide review meetings. We believe that this process, while difficult and stressful at times, is a worthwhile experiment in collective political development, and a practical expression of our anarchist principles.

This edition of Mortar begins with a discussion of the sorry state of the Canadian Left in 2015, which we view as being mired in a cycle of tawdry and ineffectual populism. Whether in whipping up last-minute support for a protest, expressing outrage designed to inflame progressive passions, or attempting to beat the Right at its own game, our over-reliance on populist mobilization strategies is a fatal flaw. Not only is populism a disingenuous and ineffectual means of garnering support – we argue that it is fundamentally authoritarian in nature. The fact that so many prominent leftists unthinkingly refer to the need to create a “base” belies a hierarchical structure in the offing. While some left-wing tendencies clearly have no issue with this sort of thing, it is patently anathema to the core principles of anarchist communism, and to anarchism more broadly. Selecting from a number of recent topical examples, the article demonstrates the capitulation of the Left to populism, and tries to chart a way forward that actually squares with the emancipatory politics we all profess.

The second article of this journal contends with the pitfalls and potentials of organizing around environmental issues in Canada, with particular focus on the Energy East pipeline project. In taking a closer look at demographic data related to extractive industries, we were led to some surprising conclusions which contradict many commonly-held assumptions about just who does this sort of work. Rather than absolving, condemning, or seeking to direct these workers towards a “bright green” economy, we suggest steps towards a new approach to environmental organizing that is rooted in the communities where they live, and relies intimately on their participation. Further, we take a critical look at solidarity activism in support of Indigenous blockades, arguing that by working towards the organization of strong working-class communities, we will be in a much better position to provide meaningful assistance when the time comes. As things stand, anarchists in southern, urbanized Canada have seemingly adopted a siege mentality with regards to blockades such as the Unist’ot’en Camp. We think it’s time to open up multiple fronts, starting where we live.

Next, we examine three reactionary tendencies currently festering within the Canadian working class: Islamophobia, men’s rights activism, and anti-Native sentiment. This piece seeks to better understand where these specific political currents came from, how they sustain themselves, and the role of the Canadian political and capitalist class in fostering and manipulating these divisions among the working class, to our collective detriment. The article makes the case that these three reactionary ideologies are liberal to their core, meaning that anarchists need to rethink our approach to how to confront and ultimately defeat them.

Finally, we wrap things up with an article on anti-police organizing. In the midsts of swelling levels of resistance to the systemic use of racist police terror in the United States, we examine the history and contemporary development of policing in Canada as an institutional outgrowth of a colonial, white supremacist, and capitalist power structure. This article explores the incorporation of modern principles of counterinsurgency into a domestic policing framework that seeks to maintain “law and order” while preserving ruling-class legitimacy amidst an increasingly tenuous social peace. The article concludes with an argument that organizing against the police means building an oppositional culture that permeates every facet of proletarian life.

As with the last two journals, the conclusions of the articles in Mortar should not to be taken as definitive positions of Common Cause or its individual members. Instead, these articles represent an attempt on our part to find sure-footing on topics that we feel deserve attention and honest engagement.

You can contact us and send any feedback you may have to mortar@riseup.net.

In solidarity,

Common Cause

"Mortar" can be downloaded in PDF format from the Common Cause website:

Related Link: http://linchpin.ca/sites/default/files/mortar3.pdf

This page has not been translated into 한국어 yet.

This page can be viewed in
English Italiano Deutsch

North America / Mexico | Anarchist movement | Link to PDF | en

Tue 28 Mar, 14:17

browse text browse image

Mortar Volume 2 imageMortar: Volume 2 07:14 Thu 26 Jun by Common Cause 0 comments

The second volume of Mortar, Common Cause's theoretical journal, is now available online. Inside you will find an editorial introduction, along with articles covering anti-organizationalist sentiment within the North American anarchist movement, anarchism and the Welfare State, a contemporary redux of the Bourgeois Influences on Anarchism, anarchist approaches to contending with sexual assault and a critique of anti-oppression politics. We encourage feedback and responses, which can be sent to mortar@riseup.net.

mortar.jpg imageMortar: Revolutionary Journal of Common Cause Anarchist Organization 11:02 Wed 19 Jun by Common Cause 1 comments

The Ontario-based anarchist communist organization Common Cause has launched a new theoretical journal!

fl6.jpg imageFreedom/Libertad #6 18:02 Wed 25 Jan by Common Struggle 0 comments

We are proud to release issue #6 of Freedom/Libertad, periodical of Common Struggle / Lucha Común.

freedom5.jpg imageAnnouncing Freedom #5 22:52 Wed 31 Aug by Jake 0 comments

We are proud to release issue #5 of Freedom/Libertad, NEFAC New England's English/Spanish periodical. This issue features a brand new design and professional printing from our friends at the worker-run Red Sun Press. [Castellano]

Linchpin Issue 8 imageLinchpin 8 is now online 23:25 Fri 27 Feb by Common Cause 0 comments


Common Cause has published the February-March '09 issue of the Linchpin, with articles on mobilizing for Gaza, Black Anarchism, and the uprisings in Greece, as well as a review of The Unexpected War: Canada in Kandahar. You can download a PDF file from http://linchpin.ca/files/issue8_final_greyscale_0.pdf

web_shot.jpg imageLinchpin 7 online 11:57 Mon 29 Dec by Andrew Loucks 0 comments

Common Cause has published the December '08 / January '09 issue of the Linchpin, with articles on the continuing strike of educational workers at York University, women organizing with IWW Edmonton, and two articles with more of a green focus. Murray Bookchin's social ecology is introduced in our continuing anarchism 101 section, and Ottawa Common Cause member Greg Macdougall synthesizes ideas on environmental justice presented at the November Organizing for Justice conference.

[français]

"Intersections", Volume 1, Issue 2 imageAnnouncing INTERSECTIONS: Volume 1 Issue 2 12:08 Sat 29 Nov by Rogue 0 comments

Announcing INTERSECTIONS, Volume 1, Issue 2

Common Action announces the second issue of our newsletter Intersections.
Whether it is government bailouts, buses, or baseball, our newsletter strives to bring anarchist ideas to community and neighborhood issues.

We hope you enjoy it!

Linchpin Issue 6 imageLinchpin issue 6 is online 21:33 Tue 25 Nov by Common Cause 0 comments

This is the October/November 2008 issue of the Linchpin paper, published by Common Cause. We make copies of this paper available in the Ontario communities in which we have a presence, and are always looking to expand.

intersections1.jpg imageAnnouncing INTERSECTIONS, Vol. 1, Issue 1 15:38 Fri 10 Oct by "Intersections" 0 comments

Common Action is proud to announce the publication of our newsletter Intersections. Written with regular people in mind, the newsletter strives to connect community issues to anarchist ideas, serving as a paper that any neighbor might find interesting, informative, and reliable. It can be left in laundromats and bus seats just as easily as a radical bookstore. [Türkçe]

Front cover of Linchpin 5 imageLinchpin 5 - paper of Common Cause - is online 22:12 Wed 13 Aug by Andrew 0 comments

This is the August / Sept 2008 issue of the Linchpin paper, published by Common Cause. We publish articles written by our members as well as by others involved in action / movements. We make copies of this paper available in the Ontario communities in which we have a presence, and are always looking to expand. If you'd like to get involved in helping in our distribution efforts, please contact us.

more >>

imageMortar: Volume 2 Jun 26 by Common Cause 0 comments

The second volume of Mortar, Common Cause's theoretical journal, is now available online. Inside you will find an editorial introduction, along with articles covering anti-organizationalist sentiment within the North American anarchist movement, anarchism and the Welfare State, a contemporary redux of the Bourgeois Influences on Anarchism, anarchist approaches to contending with sexual assault and a critique of anti-oppression politics. We encourage feedback and responses, which can be sent to mortar@riseup.net.

imageMortar: Revolutionary Journal of Common Cause Anarchist Organization Jun 19 by Common Cause 1 comments

The Ontario-based anarchist communist organization Common Cause has launched a new theoretical journal!

imageFreedom/Libertad #6 Jan 25 by Common Struggle 0 comments

We are proud to release issue #6 of Freedom/Libertad, periodical of Common Struggle / Lucha Común.

imageAnnouncing Freedom #5 Aug 31 by Jake 0 comments

We are proud to release issue #5 of Freedom/Libertad, NEFAC New England's English/Spanish periodical. This issue features a brand new design and professional printing from our friends at the worker-run Red Sun Press. [Castellano]

imageLinchpin 8 is now online Feb 27 by Common Cause 0 comments


Common Cause has published the February-March '09 issue of the Linchpin, with articles on mobilizing for Gaza, Black Anarchism, and the uprisings in Greece, as well as a review of The Unexpected War: Canada in Kandahar. You can download a PDF file from http://linchpin.ca/files/issue8_final_greyscale_0.pdf

more >>

textNo One is Coming to Save Us Nov 12 First of May Anarchist Alliance 1 comments

Across the US, from cities to rural areas, it is imperative that anarchists and anti-authoritarians strive to build organizations to battle the emboldened far right, to advocate through militant action the needs of working-class communities, and to combat state repression.

What Needs to Be Done:
1. No to National “healing”, working with, or a grace period for the Trump Regime
2. Take to the streets – build a militant resistance
3. Build working-class defense organizations that resist racist attacks, sexual assault, immigration and homeland security raids and deportations, police brutality and state repression
4. Agitate and organize for workers actions – including a general strike against Trump
5. No to containment of the struggle back into the Democratic Party, electoralism and the Non-Profit Industrial Complex

textPress Advisory- N.Y. City Anarchist Bookfair Apr 16, 2016 Jan 04 NYC Anarchist Bookfair Collective 1 comments

NYC ANARCHIST BOOKFAIR - 10th anniversary
What: 2016 Annual NYC Anarchist BookFair
Where: Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South, in Manhattan
When: Book Fair—Sat., April 16, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Art Festival—Fri., April 15, 7 p.m. - 5 a.m.
Film Festival—Sat., April 16, 7 p.m. - 1 a.m.

imageMurray Bookchin— Anarchism without the Working Class Dec 03 3 comments

Murray Bookchin was an influential and prolific writer and thinker on anarchism. Recently his work has been in the news. While he made significant contributions, he made a major error in rejecting the working class as important for an anarchist revolution. This article reviews why he believed this and why, on the contrary, the working class must be a major force for a successful anarchist revolution.

imageSocial Struggle in the Coming Period Oct 29 First of May Anarchist Alliance 0 comments

The following points represent a brief statement of priorities, an outline of some of the perspectives our organization has decided on to help guide our thinking and actions in the coming period. We do not want to overstate where our organization is at in our analysis and organizing, nor are these points a substitute for the hard discussions our organization still must have. These points developed out of reviews and discussions of the nature of the current period, the continuing wave of social protest domestically and abroad, and how we as a small and specific group of anarchist revolutionaries can participate in and help build those movements for dignity, justice and freedom.
by First of May Anarchist Alliance, Autumn 2015

textResponse to Crimethinc’s “Why We Don’t Make Demands” Jul 23 15 comments

A response to Crimethinc's statement, "Why We Don't Make Demands." Wayne argues that revolutionary anarchists should propose to movements which they are part of to raise militant, radical, demands. Done in dialogue with the people, it moves the struggle forward and challenges the state and the capitalist class.

more >>
© 2005-2017 Anarkismo.net. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by Anarkismo.net. [ Disclaimer | Privacy ]