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EAGAINST.com

Manifesto 2014 (English version)

Read the Greek version here

The collective of Eagainst.com started its operation in December 2010, as an initiative not only for dialogue and counter-information but also to promote philosophical, political and cultural self-education of human beings based on universal values ​​and ideals (such as freedom of speech, the right to education, gender, racial and sexual equality, the right of excluded social groups – like immigrants and unemployed – the opposition to any exploitation of man by man, the review of work and labour and its alienating consequences …). Eagainst.com brings together people from diverse political spaces, mostly ardent supporters of the project of autonomy – as expressed by Cornelius Castoriadis – thinkers of council democracy (inspired by Hannah Arendt) and anarchist supporters (with particular emphasis on Murray Bookchin and Errico Malatesta), or situationists commentators and analysts who do not wish to compromise ideologically with the dominant values ​​that underlie the modern capitalist imaginary but instead seek for political alternatives rejecting at the same time the notion of representation, or even theories acknowledged as a solid truths and doctrinal beliefs. Eagainst.com is consisted by activists, journalists and political writers/researchers who refuse to reproduce social taboos, nationalism or outdated ideological currents. Always posing as a key project the social transformation, according to political, economic and cultural justice and equality, direct deliberative democracy and rejection of any kind of bureaucracy and hierarchy, this collectivity continues to promote in the public dialogue political ideas that remain largely undiscovered, ideas that promote a different understanding not only on the ways and means of social change but also regarding the objectives of that change. Far from trivial and sterile entrenched perceptions, breaking from ideological taboos and all kinds of conservatism, Eagainst.com continues its difficult work, welcoming all who respond to this call for political dialogue.

Coming from different backgrounds (workers, students, unemployed, artists, academics, writers) we are people with similar problems and concerns, people from different parts of the world who unite our voices under a common purpose: to contribute in the radical change of things. We know that this requires a clear rupture with any kind of transcendental or metaphysical rigid determinism (such as religious beliefs, laws of ancestors, laws of markets, laws of history) – that is called heteronomy – aiming to a world fairer and freer, to a world of political, economic and cultural equality, where processes through direct participation in decision-making will take place, enhancing the feasibility for us to redefine our needs and prioritize the values ​​that govern human communities. We know, of course, that the achievement of these objectives is not an easy task given that a) under the current situation with the rise of extreme right-wing populist, fascist movements and the hardening of state repression (which threatens and violates basic civil, democratic, social and economic rights earned with hard struggles), our efforts may face several risks (although that does not intimidate us), and b) in the era of mass apathy, of de-politicization and generalized poverism/conformity, where public communication is swamped by silence and isolation, the responses may not be broadly accepted in comparison with the initiatives that had significant resonance in the period of great social struggles during the past two centuries. We believe, however, that it is up to us to offer a political impetus for the further expansion of the antagonistic network that aims to the beginning of new struggles, while stressing that human beings are not solely destined for labour and consumption, obeying blindly and unquestioningly commands as slaves. The human (political) being can also create and excel using positive imagination and providing meaning to his/her existence.

In principle, we reject the contemporary global political infrastructure, the concentration of power in the hands of the few which reproduces and perpetuates poverty, inequality and injustice in all areas, leading inevitably to violence and dissolving any bond of social solidarity. The existing political system of liberal oligarchies deprives humanity as it measures every human value in profit (the only dominant value) destroying every spirit of friendship. Values ​​such as political participation, concepts such as consultation and communication are gradually fading away in a world that manufactures human machines, isolated individuals who attempt to disguise the lack of any meaning regarding their existence through consumerism (which is regarded as personal «success» and fulfilment), with lonely individuals who are accept pauperization as a natural condition in this jungle of social Darwinism that characterizes the capitalist imaginary, a dreadful machinery that generates and reproduces indifference, hatred and derision for the less powerful. Thus, we demand equality, ie actual (direct and deliberative) democracy, which according to us is inseparable from justice, equality and isonomy, that is equal participation in political power for all citizens. This requires explicit rupture with parliamentary institutions and any mechanism that perpetuates hierarchy and thus exploitation, heteronomy and alienation into the abyss of insignificance. Having acknowledged that the eutopic (and not utopic) political system we want isn’t going to be achieved through press releases, or ballot boxes, we call into question of the current state of power relations, we challenge all social institutions (such as the state – which gradually throws away its mask revealing its true face, that of a punisher -, or party offices), surpassing the demand for improving, rationalizing, or replacing them with others that will move into the same direction. Thus, we propose to replace all of these institutions that constitute and reproduce the modern capitalist (and ostensibly free) social reality, by political bodies that will allow all citizens to participate in the making (and taking) of decisions concerning public life, popular assemblies in squares, municipalities, workplaces (schools, factories, universities). Equality, friendship, solidarity and human creation for us should be a key objective of these new institutions.

At the same time we reject the imaginary of unlimited economic growth based on the hierarchical structure of the productive capitalist model which serves the interests of a small oligarchy in the arena of global competition that has transformed the entire planet into financial casino, damaging at the same time our natural environment and turning populations into profit machines that blindly execute orders in exchange for survival. Always under the scope of democratic transformation we promote the project of self-organization of production, moving away from the capitalist standards, away from the accumulation of profit in the hands of few, objecting to equal sharing of the wealth (and of course to income equality) while at the same time we incorporate environmental initiatives within the framework of our political program. But as aforementioned, human beings are not born and die having as an intended goal labour/production and consumption. Humans action can also result to worldliness – and this is the raison d’être of genuine politics (of direct democracy and autonomy), which undeniably cannot take place within our, utterly alienated by the imaginary of poverism, societies, deeply eroded by the insignificance of pseudo-individualism. Given that lack of freedom is not something that only concerns the work relationships (the oppression and exploitation of the worker from the employer and the boss) but has also to do with the nature of the production process, we aim not only to provide a more substantial meaning to work and workmanship (by asking ourselves why and for whom we labour?), but also to reduce the work-time, which is undoubtedly necessary for public happiness (namely for the re-emergence of a public realm). Such a system can not exist within the capitalist economic model that leaves no space for real communication between people and instead imprisons everyone to the impotence of private sphere. Extreme adherence to the work ethic, to productivism and profit-making signifies lack of time for reading, for analysis and discussion. Political representation serves exactly this pathology; to let others – some skilled technocrats – undertake the task of political implementation, a task that in fact should be exclusively our concern instead of acknowledging as our ultimate goal only private happiness.

Therefore, we reject any notion of bureaucratisation and we do not believe in change through the means that the system itself has created, means that keep us trapped in the world of impotence, conformity, entertainment and spectacle. Hence, we are not only looking for a public space as a key component of the participatory democracy we aim, but also for public time as an important tool to achieve our goals. Of course, for us the meaning of bureaucracy is not only confined to the hierarchical structures of the state apparatus, it does not solely refer to dialectic between rulers and the ruled (or in the workplace between masters and labourers, as mentioned above). The entire bureaucratization for our lives is characterized by the sheer totality of capitalist (and every heteronomous) imaginary that embraces every aspect of human activity and condition. It is located in the education system which produces «technocrats» who perpetuate the existing structures by prioritizing specific needs, it is incarnated in the psychological and anthropological approaches of the contemporary world, in short, it is an objective of (self)manipulation. We can see it on the Media (TV, magazines, radio, books), in all the institutions of mass culture. It is also located even in science which no longer serves the people but the large economic interests. We intent thus to challenge all the sociological narratives which proclaim that human beings are incapable of freedom and that the need for guidance by a skilled artisan, a polar economist is always required. The phrase of Sophocles «there is no more fearful or admirable being than a human» denotes explicitly the capabilities of human beings for self-creation and freedom.

To counter the current political challenges, we declare that the time to rise up and act collectively through a joint new network of revolutionary agenda is here. Through open assemblies, councils and open political bodies in every square, where communication and interaction will become possible, we aim to liberate ourselves. Not as lenders and borrowers, not as rich and poor, not as prosecutors and defendants, but as equal and free citizens, if we do not wish concepts such as democracy and freedom to become forgotten entries in encyclopedic dictionaries and history books.

Μανιφέστο

Καλωσορίζουμε όλους όσους ανταποκρίνονται στο κάλεσμά μας, πολίτες κάθε χώρας. Είμαστε απλοί άνθρωποι, σαν κι εσάς. Εργαζόμενοι, φοιτητές, άνεργοι, καλλιτέχνες, άνθρωποι με παρόμοια προβλήματα, ανησυχίες και ευαισθησίες, άνθρωποι από διάφορα μέρη της υφηλίου που ενώσαμε τις φωνές μας κάτω από έναν κοινό σκοπό: να συμβάλλουμε με τον δικό μας τρόπο, με όπλο μας την αντι-πληροφόρηση, στην ριζική αλλαγή των πραγμάτων.

Ήρθε η ώρα να μιλήσουμε

  • Τα Μέσα Μαζικής Ενημέρωσης σπάνια αντιπροσωπεύουν την πραγματικότητα. Τις περισσότερες φορές, με τον τρόπο που λειτουργούν συμβάλλουν στην παραπλάνηση της κοινής γνώμης, δαιμονοποιώντας ανθρώπους που αγωνίζονται για δικαιοσύνη, ελευθερία και δημοκρατία. Η παραπληροφόρηση, καθώς και η κατευθυνόμενη ενημέρωση που παρέχουν τα μεγάλα ειδησεογραφικά δίκτυα, συμβάλλουν στη διαμόρφωση ενός κλίματος κομφορμισμού και απάθειας, που εμείς το καταδικάζουμε. Έτσι, λοιπόν, ήρθε η ώρα να ακουστούν οι φωνές μας, φωνές που σπάνια ακούγονται και διαδίδονται μέσα από τα δελτία ειδήσεων και τις εκπομπές των καναλιών, φωνές που θάβονται και φιμώνονται εσκεμμένα από τα ΜΜΕ.
  • Το παγκόσμιο πολιτικό γίγνεσθαι δεν μας αντιπροσωπεύει. Η συγκέντρωση της εξουσίας στα χέρια των λίγων παράγει φτώχεια, ανισότητα και αδικία, οδηγώντας αναπόφευκτα στη βία. Με τον τρόπο που λειτουργεί και αναπαράγεται το υπάρχον πολιτικό σύστημα, κάθε ανθρώπινη αξία αποτιμάται σε χρήμα – την μοναδική κυρίαρχη αξία που καταρρακώνει κάθε επιθυμία για πραγματική ευτυχία. Αξίες όπως η δημοκρατία και η ισότητα χάνονται και σβήνουν μέρα με την μέρα, όλο και περισσότερο, μέσα σε μια κοινωνία που κατασκευάζει ανθρώπους-μηχανές, ανθρώπους που επιχειρούν να συγκαλύψουν την έλλειψη κάθε νοήματος αναφορικά με την ύπαρξή τους, καταναλώνοντας. Ανθρώπους που ακόμα και σε κατάσταση απόλυτης ένδειας, ταυτίζουν την πιθανότητα της (υπερ)κατανάλωσης, με την «επιτυχία» και την προσωπική τους ολοκλήρωση.
  • Tην τύχη μας ορίζουν οι ολιγαρχίες. Έτσι, εμείς απαιτούμε πραγματική δημοκρατία, που κατ’ εμάς σημαίνει ίση συμμετοχή στην πολιτική εξουσία, για όλους τους πολίτες. Ήρθε η στιγμή να ξεπεράσουμε τους χρεοκοπημένους κοινοβουλευτικούς θεσμούς, ήρθε η στιγμή να ενισχύσουμε τον ρόλο μας μέσα στην κοινωνία, να κατανοήσουμε την δική μας δύναμη, ότι όλοι μαζί μπορούμε να βρίσκουμε λύσεις και απαντήσεις στα προβλήματα που μας απασχολούν, αντί μια ομάδα ανθρώπων (αντιπροσώπων) να παίρνει αποφάσεις για εμάς, για χάρη της (φιλελεύθερης) ολιγαρχίας και των αγορών.
  • Η ανάπτυξη της παραγωγής, με σκοπό την εξυπηρέτηση των συμφερόντων των ολιγαρχιών στον στίβο του παγκόσμιου ανταγωνισμού έχει μετατρέψει ολόκληρο τον πλανήτη σε οικονομικό καζίνο, καταστρέφοντας το φυσικό περιβάλλον και μετατρέποντας πληθυσμούς ολόκληρους σε μηχανές που απλά και μόνο τυφλά εκτελούν εντολές, με αντάλλαγμα την επιβίωσή τους.

Αυτή η κατάσταση μας εξοργίζει. Όμως αν ενώσουμε τις δυνάμεις μας, μπορούμε να την αλλάξουμε. Ο Αιγυπτιακός λαός, ο λαός της Τυνησίας, οι εξεγερμένοι νέοι της Ευρώπης, μας δείχνουν τον δρόμο.

Πολλοί από εμάς, είμαστε ανώνυμοι (ή, έστω, ψευδώνυμοι), άλλοι όχι. Η ανωνυμία, όμως, είναι κάτι ιδιαίτερα συκοφαντημένο στις μέρες μας καθώς εκλαμβάνεται από την κυρίαρχη ιδεολογία ως δειλία. Εμείς, που παρόλ’ αυτά επιλέγουμε την ανωνυμία έχουμε τους εξής λόγους: α) δεν πιστεύουμε ότι ζούμε σε μια δημοκρατική κοινωνία όπου κάθε γνώμη και άποψη γίνεται απόλυτα σεβαστή έτσι ώστε να αποφύγουμε την στοχοποίηση κάθε φορά που προσπαθούμε να θίξουμε τα κακώς κείμενα β) δεν βλέπουμε τις προσπάθειές μας ως μια μορφή προσωπικής μας ανάδειξης και γ) δεν έχει καμία σημασία το ποιοι τελικά είμαστε. Σημασία έχουν οι ιδέες που αν πραγματικά αξίζουν, αποκτούν αξία δίχως την ανάγκη της στήριξης από κάποια αυθεντία.

Αγωνιζόμαστε για:

  • μια κοινωνία όπου η ισότητα, η αλληλεγγύη και η ανθρώπινη δημιουργία θα αποτελεί βασική επιδίωξη της λειτουργίας των θεσμών της.
  • μια κοινωνία όπου οι πολίτες θα μπορούν να συμμετέχουν όχι μόνο στην εκτέλεση των αποφάσεων, αλλά και στην συνδιαμόρφωση και λήψη αυτών. Διεκδικούμε, λοιπόν, ισονομία και ισοπολιτεία για όλους τους ανθρώπους αυτού του πλανήτη, και συμμετοχή στην ενημέρωση και τον πολιτικό διάλογο.
  • μια κοινωνία δίχως βία και εκμετάλλευση, δίχως πολέμους και καταστολή, σε μια κοινωνία ειρηνική, κοινωνία ελευθερίας και δημιουργικότητας.
  • Η κοινωνία αυτή δεν είναι ούτε υπόσχεση, ούτε αναγκαιότητα αλλά ούτε και κάποιο «ιερό καθήκον». Πηγάζει μέσα από την επιθυμία μας για μια διαφορετική κατανόηση των πραγμάτων, καθώς και από την απόρριψη της καθημερινής βαρβαρότητας που όλοι βιώνουμε. Διότι δεν θέλουμε έννοιες όπως αυτή της δημοκρατίας και της ελευθερίας να καταντήσουν ξεχασμένα λήμματα σε τόμους εγκυκλοπαιδικούς και λεξικά.

Καμία αναδιάρθρωση κανενός χρέους. Αναδιάρθρωση της ζωής μας πάνω απ’ όλα. Να περάσουμε από το εγώ στο εμείς. Να ενωθούμε στις πλατείες όλου του κόσμου και να κερδίσουμε την ελευθερία σε όλα, με όλους και για όλους.

Χωρίς εμάς τίποτα δεν θα μπορούσε να υπάρξει…
Είμαστε εμείς, είμαστε εσύ, είμαστε όλοι…
Όλοι μαζί μπορούμε

Minutes for the People’s Assembly in Gillet Square 22th August 2011

An assembly of 35-45 people took place yesterday, 22 August, 3.30pm – 5.30pm in Gillet square Tottenham consisting of the Spanish 15M group, British, Greek and other activists of diverse nationalities. The issues discussed were as follows:

Overview of the general situation:
-In Spain general elections took place but the results do not mean anything. The politicians don’t listen to the people. They only do what is good for big business. We are trying to find solutions together. Everything started when a group of Spaniards set up assemblies outside the Spanish Embassy in London. Everyday, everyone had the chance to speak about ideas, communities.
-The Olympic games will not create any job at all. Nobody listens to us
-The whole problem is the system. From here to America and all over the world. Money is destructive. We need to believe that we change the system.
-There are deeper reasons that caused the riots. Protests are taking place everywhere. We have to go to different areas and talk to the people. Got involved also in anti-cuts campaign.
– We should start getting focused on the anti-cuts campaign and provide ideas about how to change the whole system.
-There is extreme alienation in this community. The political system is corrupt. Police and media have been involved in massive scandals. If there is one thing that united people, this was the hatred against media and police. They call it violence but Britain has created wars.
-We can stop the cuts. Cuts have strong relationship with these riots. I live in an area where many people have been affected by the cuts. We must be focused on what we can do to change this situation.
-We have to fight capitalism but we have to create situations.
-The problem is not just economic. It is political. Capitalism sets as and its imaginary (accumulation of wealth, the extreme adherence to production and unlimited growth) has created such terrible problems. We need a system that promotes other values, most of all, political participation and egalitarianism.
-What we see nowadays is the criminalisation of poverty and an attempt to scapegoat populations. Violence is not useful and of course doesn’t achieve anything. The problem is not only capitalism but this particular capitalism. I call it existential capitalism but I believe that there is no perfect system. There is no absolute solution, no blue print. That’s why we have to sit down and discuss. Neoliberalism has created this massive alienation, this is a proof of its failure…
-The problem is both political and economical. The austerity package has been imposed by the politicians that promote their neoliberal plan.

Discussions regarding how can we organise assemblies:
– We need to speak with other people, handout leaflets, spread information, use a strategic such like a normal event
There was a debate about the issue whether we should move from place to place or stay in the same area, integrate with the community and later on expand it.
-We should get in contact with local communities, with different ethnic communities. But for the moment it is a good idea to carry out here.
-We have to stay in a place because the problem is not only how to understand capitalism but to understand also the local problems and their relation with capitalism. We need to speak more about how to find ways to act (peacefully). We need to invite more people.
-We should imitate Athens. We spend too much time in theoretical analysis which is good, but we need more action.
-We need to organise a campaign via poetry, art and images. Explain the people what is the benefit of the assemblies. We need to go to council estates areas also.
-We need structure. We must go to different events and talk to people. Musicians can spread the word.

Proposals:
1) Meet here for at least 2 weeks (voted yes)
2) Getting involved in council estates and talk with the residents.
-Possible solutions and not just discussions
-We need a calendar so people would know that every Sunday we will have an assembly.
-Use social networks. Prepare a specific manifesto. The Real Democracy manifesto was simple and easy to understand. That’s why they succeed…

There was some more discussion regarding the manifesto:
-It should be focused on how it could rise awareness and direct peaceful action
-We need some anti-globalisation from a humanistic perspective
-We need to say that we don’t have the absolute solutions to the problems but we need to sit down and discuss about that.
-Everyone should be included in this assemblies
-Corporations and banks have to work for their own. People’s assemblies need to set up their own institutions.
-The problem is not the economy but the institutions of the society.

London Message to Syntagma

In this time of great confusion, political apathy and misinformation we are compelled to respond dynamically to issues that affect us all as citizens of the world, as human beings.

We EXPRESS OUR SOLIDARITY to Syntagma Square and, together, we call for the RE-ENFORCEMENT of the network of the Real Democracy Now groups across Europe.

1) We CONDEMN the propaganda of the major mainstream media who do not tell the truth about Greece, claiming that the violence was started by the protesters while there are numerous sources confirming that the Greek police act oppressively against the crowd, use prohibited tear gases, punish and beat protesters without reason, attack stores and arrest even those who do not participate in the protests. The crackdown of June 29th was in fact a chemical warfare against protesters.

We CONDEMN the actions of the Greek government: 1) The introduction of the IMF-EU-ECB Troika’s demands against the wishes of the Greek people. 2) The stance of the vice president of the government Theodoros Pagalos for calling the majority of the Greek people “crooks” while he openly declared that if instability continues the army should be called to protect the banks from the people. We wonder who will protect the people from the cannibalistic power of the banks.

Spain and Greece have been trapped within cultural stereotypes, cultivated by the mainstream mass media and people are led to believe that this economic mess has to do with our cultural habits. Of course we recognise our failure to identify the warnings in time, as before now we chose to ignore the problems and refused to see that we were being led into a destructive financial death-trap for the sake of private banks and global speculators. Hence, we call for the people to RISE UP and despise apathy and consumerism. It is time to take the future in our hands, ending the power of capitalism over our lives, both economically and politically

What we are experiencing, is the vicious application of a disastrous economic model in the EU, in the most undemocratic and provocative way while the political leaders do their best to keep the people misinformed and therefore easily manipulated. The current socio-political system aims to maximize the profit and socialize the cost.

2) We stand by the side of the SPANISH INDIGNADOS who were and always are a great influence and inspiration, by the FRENCH people and all those who go through difficult times, by the people of IRAN who fight against their oppressive regime, by the TUNISIANS and EGYPTIANS who showed the way to freedom, by the people of SYRIA, BAHRAIN, YEMEN, MOROCCO… the struggle is common.

3) We send our solidarity, also, to the people of CHILE who are struggling against the privatisation of schools and universities. During 2011 numerous student protests took place across the country, but the media kept silent about it. The Chilean people have a long history of fights against exploitation, one of the most notable being the fight against the brutal dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. Under neoliberal politics, only a few privileged will enjoy social benefits, the privatization of education will shatter the dreams of the entire youth and condemn future generations to illiteracy.

4) We believe in a global political system of EQUAL PARTICIPATION for all citizens in political life, which should be the dominant value of human society, instead of money, productivism and economism.

5) There is an English saying ‘to take the bull by both horns’. In response to the crisis, we now see both the politics of nationalism and European state-federalism rearing their ugly heads. Nationalism, however intended is divisive, racist, fascist even and therefore ultimately undemocratic. With global capital now dictating each country’s policies, the Treaty of Westphalia has run its course. At the same time, we REJECT any political union foisted on us by the European state as a solution to the crisis, which will only damage each country further by following the same FAILED neo-liberal / global capitalist-led model.

6) Instead, we will replace and transform these bankrupt institutions with democratic People’s Assemblies.

7) Let us now call for People’s Assemblies everywhere! To express our common, local sovereignty, the means to build a new society that supports people and planet, while ALSO forcing each nation to join as one, to take on the global hegemon. For only then, when global capital is superceded by people power will poverty, famine, war and planetary destruction come to an end.

ANOTHER WORLD IS POSSIBLE

I think I can change things.
I think I can help.
I know that together we can.
For peace, equality and freedom

Real Democracy Now – London International Assembly

The articlle is also available in Greek 


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