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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Back from Europe!

I'm back from Europe and intend to return to regular updating of this blog. I apologize for the gap in publishing. Thanks for everyone's patience while I was away, and thanks for the emails.

My trip to Europe was amazing, I met dozens of wonderful and interesting anarchists and radicals and got a look at some of their projects and ideas. Barcelona in particular was spectacular and I was privileged to participate in a large anti-eviction demonstration for a squat called Kan Mireia which was very exciting and probably the most militant event I have been to in some time, not to mention starting off with some amazing and explosive street theater. Props to the Barcelona anarchists and squatters.

Here's a couple photos I took of the demonstration blocking the freeway with barricades and of the black bloc graf crew hitting up an overpass en masse. Banks were hit with spray paint and wheatpaste teams attacked billboards and buildings with amazing efficiency. Inevitably, the police ruined it with their batons, rubber bullets and grenades, but not before much havoc was caused. I couldn't help thinking, however, that the reaction of the police here in the US would have been swifter and much harsher. Certainly, as soon as fireworks were set off the cops would have attacked.

I found that many radicals, despite having a good critique of American foreign policy, still found it hard to believe just how bad things are in the US. US media has a powerful effect on everyone, it seems. However, there was a lot of interest in the real situation here.

I visited a few squats in Barcelona and one in Amsterdam, although quite a few were locked down because of recent evictions there, it seemed. Here's a few pictures from outside the squats, the first two in Barcelona and the third in Amsterdam. The ones I did go in were impressive, sporting libraries, internet, bars and meeting spaces. It's hard to imagine something like this happening in the US, but it certainly would be a welcome development.

While I was in Barcelona, I also visited the tomb of Buenaventura Durruti, which was an intense experience. He lies next to Francisco Ferrer, anarchist educator, in a simple black marble tomb.

Europe has many great anarchist bookstores, and I visited a few, including the one below and the CNT bookstore in Barcelona. Likewise, I visited, amongst others, the Museum of the Liberation of Paris, Jewish museums in Amsterdam and Paris, as well as monuments to the International Brigades, to deported Jews and to Jewish fighters in the resistance to Franco.

Finally, I had the good fortune of meeting so many great people, especially anarchists. Everyone was very helpful, from the Spanish anarquista on the train from Marseille to the amazing Finnish anarchas we hung with in Barcelona to the French anarchistes in Paris.

To the Finnish anarchas, I apologize for not meeting up on Sunday afternoon - our train left four hours earlier than we expected! We tried to leave a note but the bar was closed.

All in all, it was an spectacular time that left me content and excited - and broke!


Blogger sphinx said...

I am envious! Looks like a great trip man.

I've had the same experience here in Japan incidentally participating in anti-eviction direct actions where the police were not permitted to carry guns or beat anyone. The entire eviction would be carried out by brute human strength.

Obviously in LA the situation is different, I believe the cops that evicted the sc farm for instance were armed, and it's obvious that any real militant resistance to the state and capital would be met with significant force. Something that everyone should keep in mind.

Finally, I've recently posted a couple of entries on my blog after a long absence. Would be interested in your comments.

Sun Jan 28, 02:59:00 AM 2007  

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