Sunday, January 01, 2006

New Years Re(v)olutions!

So the internet that ive been able to get for free over the past two years seems to have hit a little bump in the road, thus the lack of posts recently. Thanks to everyone who commented on the recent 'STRIKE' post and to all of who who have been reading but have yet to participate (post comments) perhaps your new years resolutions can be to help make this blog even more interactive.

New Years eve was kind of different this year from last year as three of my close friends who I spent new years with last year were not around. Two of them are currently traveling in Palestine and Southern Mexico respectively, while a third is now living in Lebanon. I spent the night doing the usual new years eve stuff, hanging out with old high school friends and talking very little about politics. Still I have been thinking a lot about the new year both in terms of the larger political landscape, and within that how work that im doing personally is going. So along those lines, and in the spirit of looking foward in hope...

1. On December 24th, the recently elected Bolivian president Evo Morales gave a speech entitled "In defense of humanity" in which he stated: "I want to tell you, companeras and companeros, how we have built the consciousness of the Bolivian people from the bottom up. How quickly the Bolivian people have reacted, have said--as Subcomandate Marcos says--ya basta!, enough policies of hunger and misery." Morales is the latest example of the 'leftward' political shift underway throughout Latin America and could represent another small but important piece in the puzzle to challenging the US (and its major corporations) supremacy in the region. Morales should not be confused with Marcos, or even Oscar Olivera, and he is working under many more restraints then say a Hugo Chavez because of Bolivia's level of poverty and lack of major resources like oil. Still the recent election of Morales is hopeful and if his speech last week was any indication he will veer more towards the path of Chavez in Venezuela rather then Lula and the workers party in Brazil. As the US administrations miscalculations in Iraq become more and more apparent in the new year, it will be interesting to see these social movements all over the Americas continue to grow in strength. As activists in the US we will need to continue to build ties with these movements as well as (more importantly) continue to show the Americas and the world, that here in the heart of the empire we too are building our autonomous social movements outside of the corporate political party structure and independent of reformist liberal NGOs.

2. On the personal front, 2005 was a big year for Left Turn magazine. The 8 of us that took over and collectivized the magazine back in September of 2004 have now put out 5 excellent issues, all of which have been extremely well received throughout the country and internationally. It has been really hard at times producing and distributing a national publication as an all volunteer collective, but the work is really starting to pay off. Over the past 4 months our subscriber base has increased over %40 which shows us not only that people are reading the magazine but also that they feel its important enough to support as a movement publication and institution. Besides the dedication on the part of the editors though, a special shout-out to everyone who has helped out in any way with the magazine this past year either as writers, distributors, event coordinators, or just general supporters. Specifically I would like to thank Josh and the whole 'Leftist Lounge' crew who pulled together an amazing fundraiser party back in September which raised the most money of any single event or donor in Left Turn magazines short history. I would like to thank Clare, Chris, Ingrid and the whole Catalyst Project crew for the support of the magazine over this past year, and specifically for organizing a really nice event for us when we had our national meeting out in the Bay Area this summer. Thanks to Paula, Eric, Ije, Nicole, Morgan, Priscilla and the rest of the Sista ii Sista crew here in New York City both for writing such an amazing articles in issue #18 and for working together with us on the 'Revolution Will Not Be Funded' event back in October which was dope.

A special new years shout-out to the whole Left Turn team including; Rayan, Brooke, Sasha, Uda, James, Mary-Ann & Rachel out on the West Coast... Sheri down in Oklahoma, Jordan in New Orleans who did so much amazing reporting over these past few months while keeping up with our full time schedule... Zein, Rami, Crystal, Dan, Ellen, Kristin and the rest of the DC crew.... Steve up in Seattle, Molly in Philly, Marc up in Umass, Mick and Trip in New York.... Peter, Rafeef, Adam and the Toronto crew up North... Jen, Jason, Josh and the whole Clamor magazine team out in Ohio... it has been a pleasure to work with all of you.

Finally, to my 'new years 2005 comrades' (RJ, Ora & Bilal) who are doing their thing in different parts of the world right now -- Francesca and I held it down in New York this time around but we definitely missed you all very much and look forward to sippin some cheap champagne together sometime soon...


marcos said...

nice post... this is always a good time of the year for reflection and what-not. thanks for the shoutout and the links on the morales/bolivia sitation... i'll be looking into those.

Anonymous said...

What is an "autonomous" movement?

Maybe Bolivia is an example of how autonomous movements get swept up by those political forces who aren't all that radical at all. Morales has made it pretty clear he's going to play by the rules of international capitalism -- just like Lula AND Chavez.

Autonomous just doesn't exist. It seems like it took Marcos and the EZ a few years to really get that, but we're still playing catch up.