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‘To Change Everything’ Outreach Project Introduces Anarchist Ideas to General Public with Free Primer in 20 Languages

‘To Change Everything’ Outreach Project Introduces Anarchist Ideas to General Public with Free Primer in 20 Languages

WASHINGTON, DC — This week underground publisher CrimethInc. launched To Change Everything, a multimedia outreach project intended to introduce anarchist ideas to the general public. The project consists of a free, full-color 48-page print publication, a video by Submedia.tv, an interactive website in a many different languages, and a sticker and poster campaign. Participating collectives in 19 countries across three continents have prepared two dozen different versions of the project, each tailored to their local context.

“Anarchism is the idea that everyone is entitled to complete self-determination,” To Change Everything asserts. In place of state and corporate power, anarchists seek to create horizontal, voluntary networks as the basis of all social organization. The 21st century has seen a resurgence of this philosophy, ranging from peer-to-peer networks to globally linked protest movements. Anarchists erupted onto the world stage at the turn of the century, famously participating in the demonstrations against the 1999 summit of the World Trade Organization in Seattle. Over the past seven years, anarchists have played a leading role in revolts from Greece to the Arab spring, gaining further prominence in the US through Occupy and #blacklivesmatter. “As successive waves of dispossession and disillusionment sweep new demographics into social movements, interest in anarchist ideas and practices is growing,” explains CrimethInc. spokesperson Cesar Dmitri. “To Change Everything is a harbinger of things to come.”

Promotional events for the project have already taken place in Brazil, Argentina, Canada, Germany, Croatia, and Slovenia.

Drawing on a Kickstarter campaign that raised tens of thousands of dollars, CrimethInc. has printed 185,000 copies to distribute in North America, including 25,000 in Spanish. Three thousand copies are earmarked for prisoner support groups to send to some of the 2.5 million people behind bars in the US.

CrimethInc. is a publishing group that functions as the hub of an international network of anarchists and aspiring revolutionaries. For 20 years, CrimethInc. has produced books, magazines, posters, and other resources by and for participants in social movements: all copyright free, composed collectively and anonymously. In 2002, CrimethInc. published an anarchist primer entitled Fighting for Our Lives, ultimately distributing 650,000 copies. “Many activists I’ve encountered credit Fighting for Our Lives with introducing them to anarchist ideas and changing the course of their lives,” says Rae Valentine of Agency, an anarchist PR project. “With faith in government and capitalism at an all-time low, the time is ripe for a meaningful vision of social change. To Change Everything steps into the breach.”

A Plea for Progress

As Election Day is upon us, I vacillate between continuing to play my assigned role in the sham of American “democracy” (i.e. voting for someone who will, in the end, cater not to the needs of the people, but to whichever corporation has financed her/his campaign) and casting a non-vote of protest. This year, however, I’m firmly in the camp of voting; with a caveat and a plea. Too often, I’ve encountered the argument and fallen prey to it, myself, that voting for a progressive or radical third party is simply enabling the cause of the right wing. This is why, contrary to my instincts, I, an avowed and proud Socialist, voted for Barack Obama, who has proved himself to be an avowed and proud Wall Streetist. The logic is convincing: If we cast our ballot for the Green Party, one of the Socialist Parties, et al, we will simply take votes from the Democratic candidate, thereby ensuring the victory of the Republican. The first problem I see with this argument is that it presupposes that the Democrat is any better than the Republican. The only discernible difference between the two parties is that the Republicans make no pretense of caring for anyone but the banking class. Both parties perpetuate war; corporate subsidies; taxation favorable to the wealthy; a practiced anti-labor stance and a disregard for civil liberties.

I recall watching Jay Leno, during the 2004 presidential campaign season, as he derided, admonished and belittled Ralph Nader for siphoning votes from John Kerry. I also recall the revulsion and anger I felt at Leno’s condescension and audacity. Then, it occurred to me: the establishment has a fine-tuned apparatus in place to keep a third-party candidate from making a real showing in the polls, let alone actually winning a seat (an interesting exception being Vermont, whose citizenry is wise enough to have elected and reelected the Democratic Socialist, Bernie Sanders). It’s the age-old weapon of assuring conformity: terror. Forward-thinking people are browbeaten into submission for fear of the Republican winning. This is why union members continue to vote for a Democratic Party that has betrayed them, laughing as it cashes the checks culled from the hard-earned wages of working people. In my state, New York, the Democratic candidate, Andrew Cuomo, last week declared in a New York Times interview (read here: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/25/nyregion/25cuomo.html?_r=2&hp) , that he would take on the unions; that business has been victimized in my state. Really? The preponderance of Starbucks and not-really-the-mayor Mike Bloomberg’s support of Wal Mart establishing a foothold in my city (in spite of the people’s successful actions to prevent this malignant entity from poisoning our community) suggest otherwise. Still, co-opted parties, such as the ironically named Working People’s Party, which has bowed its head and endorsed Cuomo, and rank-and-file union members have averred their support for this establishment marionette of the ruling class. When I ask them why, the answer is the same: We fear the victory of the Republican candidate. Well, I counter with this: What if every one of us—and make no mistake, we constitute an overwhelming majority, which is the source of capital’s fear. Let’s really frighten them and be unified—voted for a candidate who actually is one of ours; who is a union member; who is not for sale? The answer is that the Democratic Party would cease to be relevant. This is good. This party acts as a means of confusing the working class and poor. Let a party of the people take on the Republicans.

 

This Tuesday, I petition all forward-thinking people to cast an honest vote; not a lesser-of-two-evils vote. Personally, I’m voting screw-both-of-the-evils, and abjuring both wings of the single capitalist party. If we all did this, we just might find that our so-called “representative government” actually represents us. People, as the great lover of humanity and justice, imprisoned for exercising his right to free speech (read, speaking an uncomfortable truth), Eugene Debs exhorted us, 105 years ago, GET OUT OF THE CAPITALIST PARTIES! Vote in the interests of people, not profit and capital. Peace, love and a knowledge that we will win!

 

I leave you with the words of that phenomenon, Helen Keller, on the fallacy of American two-party politics: “Our democracy is but a name. We vote? What does that mean? It means that we choose between two bodies of real, though not avowed, autocrats. We choose between Tweedledum and Tweedledee.” Let’s reject capital’s parties, this Tuesday, and cast a vote for life.

 

– Arthur Smilios is an unapologetic anti-capitalist, musician rabble rouser.   Arthur was the co-founder of the seminal New York punk band the Gorilla Biscuits. Since his days of performing “Cats & Dogs” (a song that encouraged thousands to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle)  Arthur has strived to braid his art with his passion for social justice.  The Sparrow Project has invited Arthur to continue to sound off on the issues he holds most dear through their blog on https://sparrowmedia.net .  Arthur’s articles are written exclusively in his own voice, and may not reflect the views of The Sparrow Project.