It’s been five months since we at C4SS launched the Entrepreneurial Anti-Capitalism project in a bid to provide some much needed support to people engaged in the construction of a new world. We sought projects that either lay the ground for, or skillfully employ, tools and techniques to uproot, undermine or obviate centralized and authoritarian systems of control, or that demonstrate through incontrovertible success the irrelevance and inefficiency of those systems in providing for human means, and realizing human dreams. And preferably ones whose enthusiasm far outstripped their current resources.
The project began with Unsystem‘s Dark Wallet, a browser application intended to safeguard the Bitcoin economy from the incipient movements toward regulation by providing users with additional layers of anonymity, packaged for easy application by users. Later, in the wake of Taiphoon Haiyan’s landfall in the Philippines, we were fortunate to come into contact with some truly amazing anarchists based out of Onsite Infoshop in Muntinlupa City and elsewhere, who were mobilizing to provide food, shelter, electricity and communications to people effected. Their future plans include the development of the mobile Solar Guerilla Autonomous Response Team to react to any sudden power collapse.
Mutual aid and counter-economics aside, we now have the opportunity to turn our attention to another project, small in size but global in scope; that of workplace resistance in China and Taiwan.
Workers in Taiwan have asked for organizer training from their allies abroad. IWW organizers Jm Wong and Erik Forman are heading there to meet them, to lend skills gleaned from their own workplace organizing experiences, and to collaborate with Taiwan IWW members on a Mandarin translation of the IWW Organizer Manual. They’ll also be traveling to Honk Kong to meet dock workers whose 2013 strike and blockade of port facilities in pursuit of higher wages and safer working conditions kicked off a mass occupation of downtown Hong Kong outside the offices of Li Ka-shing, the billionaire behind Hongkong International Terminals (HIT), which controls more than 70 percent of Hong Kong’s port container traffic.
The neoliberal shift of the 1970’s signaled the end of the “bigger slice” policy of Western nations cutting their work force larger and more satisfying slices of the wealth that post-war corporatist policies had helped centralize. With production facilities having been moved oversees, out of reach the original labor force whose obsolescence served to gut their social movements, the fight against state and capital is more obviously a global one (not that it ever wasn’t). Despite it’s global field, waging it must still be a distributed process; even when the actions taken involve thousands of people. Spotting exploits and leveraging that knowledge is not something that can be done by one group of people on behalf of another, but must necessarily be a bottom up endeavor by people on the ground, ones in possession of distributed knowledge, and who can move quickly.
The effects of success, the returns of solidarity, are also global. Extending support to those resisting economic regimentation isn’t just a moral imperative, it’s also an opportunity for disrupting a key node of the global supply chain, whose top down direction and centralized infrastructure leave it vulnerable to disruption at key points. This holds true for the factory and dock workers of Taiwan no less than anywhere else, and their success can open spaces for further resistance everywhere. With that in mind, we are happy to help the Jm Wong and Erik Forman on their way.