- ROAR Magazine
- February 4, 2018
Our first print issue — ‘Revive la Commune!’ — is about to hit the presses: make sure to subscribe before March 9 to receive a copy of this limited edition!
N.B. Please note that Issue #1 has now been sent to the printer. It will soon be available as a back issue. Subscriptions now start at Issue #2 (scheduled for June).
Under the name ‘Commune of Paris’ a new idea was born, to become the starting point for future revolutions.”
— Peter Kropotkin
The first print issue of ROAR Magazine will reflect on those “future revolutions”, from the autonomous cantons of Rojava to the communal councils of Venezula, and from the pirate and peasant communes of the pre-capitalist world to the municipalist project in Barcelona today.
Since the issue is about to be sent to the printer and we don’t want anyone to miss out, we’re making a final call for subscriptions. The print run will be limited and back issues more costly, so make sure you subscribe before March 9 to receive your own copy!
Print subscriptions start at just €35 per year ($38/£23).
The issue is fully illustrated by the Croatian artist Mirko Rastić, who also designed the issue’s spectacular cover. Below is a small taste of the content:
George Katsiaficas — The Commune: Phenomenological Form of Freedom
From revolutionary armies and parliaments at the end of the 18th century, to workers and soldiers’ councils at the beginning of the 20th, grassroots insurgencies create new forms of power. In contrast to occupational or sectoral forms of self-government, Communes—liberated spaces within which universal popular will is formulated through direct democracy and implemented by direct action—have been continually generated from below, the most famous example being the 1871 Paris Commune. Among today’s European and American activists, there is widespread knowledge of Paris while only sparse and superficial recognition of the 1980 Gwangju Commune. One might have thought that a more contemporaneous event would be better known than its 19th century antecedent, yet, for a variety of reasons, including deeply rooted Eurocentric bias, the opposite is the case.
Like the Paris Commune, Gwangju’s historical significance is international. Its lessons apply equally well to East and West, North and South. The 1980 people’s uprising, like earlier revolutionary moments, continues to have worldwide repercussions. An example of ordinary people taking power into their own hands, it was a precursor of the Asian Wave that overthrew eight dictatorships in the six years from 1986 to 1992. As the world-historical global movement of 1968 etched the contours of subsequent insurgencies—the disarmament movement in the early 1980s, vast mobilizations in Russia and Eastern Europe after 1989, the alterglobalization wave most visible in 1999 Seattle, and the 2011 global uprising (the Arab Spring, Greek anarchists, Spanish indignados, Wisconsin workers and Occupy Wall Street)—so the Paris Commune paved the way to the Gwangju Uprising, and Gwangju for subsequent waves—and not only in Asia.
Barucha Peller — Self-Reproduction and the Oaxaca Commune
In 2006 a popular mass uprising swept the southern state of Oaxaca, Mexico, galvanizing hundreds of thousands of participants around the region and removing state power from the capital city and dozens of other municipalities. For nearly six months, there were no police in Oaxaca City, and at one point the cityscape was transformed by up to 3,000 barricades.
After years of repressive, authoritarian rule, the uprising was triggered by a violent eviction of a teachers’ encampment in a central plaza during an annual strike of the Section 22 union on June 14. Thousands of Oaxacans poured into the streets to take back the square from police, and a spontaneous insurrection grew in which state authorities were physically removed and squares, government buildings, media outlets and city buses were taken over by protesters.
The movement formed a horizontal, central organizing body, the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca. For seven months one of the poorest states in Mexico attempted to reorganize society without state governance or capitalist social institutions. When broadcasts from occupied radio stations began to sign off with the slogan “Transmitting from the Oaxaca Commune,” comparisons made to the historic Paris Commune were met with the response: “The Paris Commune lasted 70 days. We have lasted more than 100!”
George Ciccariello-Maher — ¡Comuna o Nada!
Have you heard about Venezuela’s communes? Have you heard that there are hundreds of thousands of people in nearly 1,500 communes struggling to take control of their territories, their labor, and their lives? If you haven’t heard, you’re not the only one. As the mainstream media howls about economic crisis and authoritarianism, there is little mention of the grassroots revolutionaries who have always been the backbone of the Bolivarian process.
This blindspot is reproduced by an international left whose dogmas and pieties creak and groan when confronted with a political process that doesn’t fit, in which the state, oil, and a uniformed soldier have all played key roles. It’s a sad testament to the state of the left that when we think of communes we are more likely to think of nine arrests in rural France than the ongoing efforts of these hundreds of thousands. But nowhere is communism pure, and the challenges Venezuela’s comuneros confront today are ones that we neglect at our own peril.
Source URL — https://roarmag.org/2016/03/02/subscribe-issue-1-revive-la-commune/