Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Cyprus Indymedia: The struggle of memory against forgetting

The author Milán Kundera wrote that the struggle of human beings against power is, in some important sense, the struggle of memory against forgetting.
As long as I can remember -- and here my memory is admittedly frayed at the edges and tattered like old antiwar posters peeling from the bombed out brick walls of another era -- the policies of our radical political movements and organizations have always involved a soupy, steamy stew of "pure" political analysis mixed with under-recognized sexual jealousies and tawdry intrigue.

Nor is this only the "inconvenient truth" of anarchist movements. We can go back to V.I. Lenin's ultimate decisions with regard to the battles between Stalin and Trotsky for control of the Bolshevik Party. The last straw for Lenin in this regard, after the thousand-and-one political analyses, the murderous reports, the debates over "permanent revolution," "new economic policy," and the like, was that Stalin was viciously rude in his dealings with Krupskaya (Lenin's wife). Indeed he was, to put it mildly. And that entered into and became a defining moment in Lenin's calculation near the end of his life of who should lead the revolutionary party in Russia after Lenin's death.

We can go further back to the relationship between Marx and Engels, and their lovers and spouses. Engels was deeply influenced -- in a very good and historically significant way -- by the Irish nationalist and feminist Mary Burns, with whom he lived and loved (but without getting married) for many years, and then by her sister, Lizzie, with whom he became lovers after Mary died (and probably lusting after her all those years). Upon Mary's death, a distraught Frederick Engels wrote to his buddy Karl, who could only sickeningly respond with, "Oh, sorry to hear that .... hey, could you loan me a few bucks, I'm broke again and my family is starving," or something close to that.

And this after Karl acquiesced to his wife Jenny's banning of Engels and Mary from their house because Fred and Mary were "living in sin" or somesuch nonsense -- even though Engels was paying for the destitute Marx family's upkeep. (We won't even get into here Karl's longtime "secret" affair with the Marx family's live-in housekeeper, Helene Demuth (Lenchen) -- where's the honesty, Karl? -- with whom he had a child. Good old Fred "took responsibility" for the scandal for a while to try to save Karl's reputation, but it turned out to be hopeless. The baby, Freddy Demuth, might have even been named after Engels.)

Or we can go even further back -- nearing the edges of Memory (why be bound by the corporeal limits of one's brain?) -- to Menelaus and Agamemnon, and Helen of Troy (the daughter of Leda and the Swan, who was actually Zeus during a state of metamorphosis); Helen's face was said to "have launched a thousand ships", and it is she for whom the Hellenic tradition is named (which will play into part of the story below).

Yes, Memory has long fingers, a strange way of squirming through ancient dust.

And yet there are those who want us to believe -- and who have probably convinced themselves of this delusion -- that sexuality has no bearing on history or on the actions of rational people (as though the non-rational is something to be shunned by leftists or at least transcended).

One of the most important writings from inside our movements exposing how irrationality, sexuality, and repression of one's sexuality have influenced radical political movements is Maurice Brinton's "The Irrationality In Politics", first published in 1970. Often paired with Wilhelm Reich's classic essay "What Is Class Consciousness?" (and I'd also add Sheila Rowbotham's "Woman's Consciousness, Man's World"), Brinton's introduction sums up his small booklet nicely:
"This pamphlet is an attempt to analyze the various mechanisms whereby modern society manipulates its wage (and house) slaves into accepting their slavery and -- at least in the short term -- seems to succeed. It does not deal with "police" and "jails" as ordinarily conceived but with those internalized patterns of repression and coercion, and with those intellectual prisons in which the "mass individual" is today entrapped."
Lest one think the history around this to be yes, racy, but also terribly arcane stuff, I call your attention to a very serious debate occurring RIGHT NOW on the Cyprus IndyMedia website where our radical leftist friends in the little but very important country of Cyprus are attempting to untangle the many sexual and analytical threads involved in certain political positions and attacks that impact on our movements today.

Their overview is enlightening -- and it is also painful (for me) to read, as it calls up so much of our own history in the Left in the United States in the 1970s and '80s. In Cyprus a self-described Left party, AKEL, runs the government. And that government is imposing a "solution" to the bifurcation of Cyprus that relies on outside and regional imperialist forces to keep the ethnic separation between Turkish and Greek Cypriots in place.

Cyprus is a place where what small parties say and do, matter. Thus, when popular rebellions have been occurring all over Europe (and especially, for the purposes of this essay, in Greece), Cyprus IndyMedia correctly opposed the actions of those whom Lenin would disparagingly call "Left-Wing Communists" and "adventurists" for their calls to "burn down the City." (Strange, I've been called those things myself on numerous occasions so I am usually sympathetic to those labeled as such. But not in this case.)

Now, it turns out, that some of those infantile sloganistas are exposed in Cyprus Indymedia for whose interests they serve, and not only in the abstract or ideological sense. Who is paying them? What positions do they take with regard to Cyprus' suppression of "inferior" nationalities and ethnicities? How do the political positions of Left-wing groups (and I'd add rightwing and ALL groups) have at their base a very personal and often concealed sexual/psychological component?

Here the details are necessary -- but they are also excruciating. Excruciating because they are so familiar (witness similar escapades with regard to the Green Party of Mexico a decade ago, for example) and because they are so seemingy intractable, imbedded in our collective unconscious such that they keep occurring over and over and over again in each round of rebellion.

One would hope that, I suppose, there is something to be learned each time we are forced to "reinvent the wheel". Otherwise, it is all so hopeless.

On that note I am excited to read how Cyprus Indymedia is addressing these matters, and is willing to overturn iconic stones to get to some truth -- which, in Cyprus, will indeed have impact on larger policies. That is a valuable enterprise in itself; and it is also important because their decisions will affect policies, social forces and even wars involving Europe and the United States. The issues they're dealing with within the Cypriot Left will influence and help shape what we in the real Left will be doing here, in the next few years over which the next wars will be fought ... and our ability (or lack thereof) to resist them.

I write in appreciation of the important work of our friends at Cyprus Indymedia against fascists and stalinists (sometimes masquerading, temporarily, as leftists).
Another Collective Response by Cyprus IndyMedia to New Accusations
http://cyprusindymedia.blogspot.com/2011/01/another-collective-response-by-cyprus.html
Mitchel Cohen
Brooklyn Greens / Green Party


About the Author:
Mitchel Cohen is an organizer with the Brooklyn Greens/Green Party, and currently serves as Chair of the WBAI radio station (99.5 FM in NY) Local Station Board (affiliation mentioned for ID purposes only).

He is also the host of the regular radio show titled:
"Steal this Radio"
http://www.nytalkradio.net/moreinfo/moreinfostealthisradio.html

Mitchel Cohen was a member of the Students for a Democratic Society and co-founded the Red Balloon Collective and its "poetry conspiracy" at SUNY Stony Brook in 1969, under whose imprint he continues to publish a variety of political pamphlets and poetry books. He was thrown in jail for antiwar actions during the Vietnam war and throughout the decades has been arrested more than 50 times for his political work.

He is a member of the Brooklyn Greens / Green Party. He is also one of the founding organizers and coordinator of the No Spray Coalition. The No Spray Coalition fights against the indiscriminate spraying of toxic pesticides on communities.

Mitchel Cohen lives in "The People's Republic of Brooklyn," and for many years made his living (such as it is) selling his poems in the subways. He was one of the "Liberty Bell 7", arrested for demanding freedom for political prisoners Mumia Abu-Jamal and Leonard Peltier. He works with the group Recycle This! and NY State Against Genetic Engineering, and co-edits "G", the newspaper of the NY State Greens/Green Party of New York.

His recent book of poetry titled The Permanent Carnival Poems can be had here:
http://www.rawfoodinfo.com/catalog/books_thePermanentcarnival.html

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Related:

The Collective Responses by Cyprus IndyMedia and the various Statements of Support that it has received.

They are here: http://cyprus.indymedia.org/
and here:
http://cyprusindymedia.org/

A. From the Collective:
1.
Cyprus IndyMedia Collective Responds to Accusations from Athens and Patra IndyMedia
http://cyprusindymedia.blogspot.com/2011/01/cyprus-indymedia-collective-responds-to.html

2.
Another Collective Response by Cyprus IndyMedia to New Accusations
http://cyprusindymedia.blogspot.com/2011/01/another-collective-response-by-cyprus.html

B. Statements of Support:
1.
Regarding the attack against Cyprus Indymedia by the para-state apparatus
by the Efylakas Editorial Team
http://cyprusindymedia.blogspot.com/2011/01/regarding-attack-against-cyprus.html

2.
A Comrade from Turkey Speaks Out
by Barkın Karslı, comrade from Turkey
http://cyprusindymedia.blogspot.com/2011/01/comrade-from-turkey-speaks-out.html

also at:
http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/imc-europe/2011-January/0116-fc.html

3.
Cyprus Indymedia: The struggle of memory against forgetting
by Mitchel Cohen, Green Party/ Brooklyn Greens, Red Balloon Collective, No Spray Coalition
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/greensabroad/message/739

~~~~~~~~~~

16 comments:

  1. Mr Cohen cut the bullship of covering up the actions of your Nazi friends and read here.

    Ιανουαρίου 18, 2011 στις 8:19 μμ
    Παρέμβαση του περιοδικού “Ανατροπή”
    18/01/2011
    Nicosia
    To: The Athens, Patras and Istanbul IMCs
    The state of affairs with Cyprus Indymedia
    Dear Friends,
    This note is written in hope that it will serve as an indictment of those presently administrating Cyprus Indymedia. Put straightforwardly, they are open supporters of Greek ultra-nationalism. They are at ease in the company of far-right and even fascist groupings, whose reactionary “anti-capitalism” and “right to free speech” they fervently defend. They even defend the “right” of Nazis, of anti-Muslims and Holocaust deniers (of ELAM, the sister organisation of Chrysi Avgi in Cyprus) to hold terror marches in the streets of Nicosia and in other cities.
    Not only the economy goes wild in times of crisis. One often finds that those who in conditions of relative “normality” exhibit a pronounced contradictory consciousness – in this instance, a blend of libertarianism and steadfast nationalism – in times of crisis they invariably go berserk.
    A first manifestation of this lopsided condition of the administrators of Cyprus Indymedia came soon after the attack against Turkish Cypriot students at English School by ultra-nationalist EFEN members back in 2006. To this racist assault, Cyprus Indymedia responded by giving platform to EFEN to put its “case” across. Since then, they have progressively elaborated further their own extreme nationalist discourse and simultaneously have become sturdy apologists to ALL ultra-nationalist and Nazi ventures. Only in this sense can they be seen to be critical of mainstream nationalist parties – from their Right. (Examples abound in the Greek section of their site.)
    Amidst phoney protestations and nauseating personal exposés, Petros Evdokas and Solon Antartis – the administrators of Cyprus Indymedia – have irrevocably crossed over to the side of reaction. This sorry spectacle cannot be simply ignored. For Indymedia today is not merely seen as providing sanctuary to a couple of semi-psychotic individuals. Far more importantly, it is providing in practice a strong “democratic” alibi to organisations of the extreme right. Please note further that these organizations have been on the ascendance over the last 2 or 3 years. It is for this reason that the issue has now become most urgent and it is for this reason that confidence in the administrators of Cyprus Indymedia must be now resolutely withdrawn.
    Best regards,
    Daphnos Economou
    Member of “Anatropi” magazine editorial team.

    23 January 2011 22:01

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  2. It true that all the above information is correct. As a woman, however, I cannot stand the electronic rape against a woman committed by Petros Evdokas and Solonas Antartis about a month ago.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Perhaps you are refering to Despo Pasia, who issued a political death warrant on the father of her children because of her sexual jealousies?

    She joined a number of people on the payroll of the US State Department, plus a few prominent political agents of the Governing Party's leadership, AKEL, to declare that Cyprus indymedia are "right wingers" and "nationalists" and calling for the creation of a force to crush them - because the power of "the State is not sufficient", they said.

    Exposing her sick motives is a service to the community.

    Every one of those fraudulent activists should be unmasked - we need to know who they are and what their real motives are!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Mr Daphnos your writing is as bitter as your name. You have no idea of what these men are made of and what they represent. You are a liar, a realy big one.Plus,the way you are writing shows that you are a Nazi yourself although this is a word nowadays should not be used even for our worst enemy.

    ReplyDelete
  5. evdoka and solon you're writing and answering by yourselves...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Δεν έχει χειρότερο πράμα από τη βεβαιότητα ότι τα ξέρουμε όλα ή τα έχουμε καταλάβει όλα.
    Αυτό για τον κύριο ouff. Δεν είμαι ο Ευδόκας ούτε ο Σόλωνας. Αλλά αν θέλεις μπορούμε να παίξουμε το who is who. Ouff and again ouff!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous 13.46

    Αν είσαι ο Ευδόκας έχεις ξεφύγει τέλλεια. Εντάξυ εν ανήθικος ο λόγος σου αμμά τούτο που φακκά στο μάτι παραπάνω εν ότι εξέφυγες τέλεια. Ενεβρέθετε κανένας φίλος του να τον πείσει να κάμει counselling. Τζαι ο Σόλωνας γιατί τον αφήνει?

    Αν πάλε εν το έγραψες εσύ πέτρο πρέπει να το σβήσεις πριν δκιεβάσεις την τελεία μου.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Η μητέρα που εξέδωσε "φάτβα" (διάταγμα πολιτικού φόνου) ενάντια στον πατέρα των παιδιών της κατηγορώντας τον πως είναι τάχα "εθνικιστής" και "ακροδεξιός", ονομάζεται Δέσπω Πασιά.

    Είναι πρώην μέλος της ομάδας Ενδο~Μήδεια, και τώρα αφοσιωμένη πράκτορας προώθησης του σχεδίου Αννάν, υποστηρικτής του ΝΑΙ, και ενεργός ακτιβίστρια υπέρ του απάρτθαϊντ, υπέρ της ρατσιστικής Διζωνικής. Συνεργάζεται με τον Γρηγόρη Ιωάννου και άλλους που έχουν εισχωρήσει μες την ανατρεπτική-εναλλακτική κοινότητα και την χειραγωγούν ώστε να δρα ως προέκταση της ανθελληνικής πτέρυγας του ΑΚΕΛ.

    Τα αίσχη στα οποία εκείνη και οι άλλοι παληάνθρωποι συνεργάτες έχουν προβεί, στην προσπάθεια τους να εξουδετερώσουν την ομάδα μας - συμπεριλαμβανομένου και του διατάγματος γιά παρακρατικά κτυπήματα εναντίον μας - δεν περιγράφονται. Να το κάλεσμα τους εδώ:
    http://nekatomata.blogspot.com/2010/12/2009-2010.html

    Κάποια 'που τα κοπέλλια τους ανταποκριθήκαν στο κάλεσμα και μας εκτύπησαν. Λεπτομέρειες εδώ:
    http://cyprusindymedia.blogspot.com/2011/02/blog-post_3686.html

    Θα συνεχίσουμε να τους εκθέτουμε όποτε προκύπτει ανάγκη.
    Δεν θα μας αποσιωπήσετε.

    Πέτρος Ευδόκας, petros@cyprus-org.net

    ReplyDelete
  9. Με άλλα λόγια Πέτρο είσαι εσύ που τα γράφεις. Τζαι ο Σόλωνας εν ενοχλείτε

    ReplyDelete
  10. Είμαι μέλος της Ομάδας Σύνταξης. Είναι καθήκον και υποχρέωση μου να δημοσιεύω επωνύμως τις δικές μου τοποθετήσεις, όπως και αποστολή της ομάδας να δημοσιεύει τις δικές της, υπογραμμένες συλλογικά, όπως και πράξαμε γιά όλες τις πτυχές τούτης της πανάθλιας και αισχρής ιστορίας που γεννήθηκε από τις πράξεις των πανάθλιων και αισχρών ατόμων που ονόμασα πιό πάνω.

    Οι εξυπνάδες του τύπου "εσύ τα γράφεις", εις τι αποσκοπούν; Το ύφος γεμάτο υπονοούμενα (χωρίς αντίκρυσμα) είναι αντιγραμμένο από την καθεστωτική εφημερίδα Χαραυγή και τους ιδεολογικούς της τραμπούκους. Δεν θα περάσει το υφάκι σας εδώ.

    Εσύ, κύριε Ανώνυμε, τί έχεις ουσιαστικό να μας πείς; Έχεις και κάτι να πεις που θα τολμούσες να το υπογράψεις με όνομα και διεύθυνση;

    Πέτρος
    _______

    ReplyDelete
  11. "Τζαι ο Σόλωνας εν ενοχλείτε"

    Ρε καλόπαιδο. Προσπαθείς να μιλήσεις του Σόλωνα στον πληθυντικό, ή ήθελες να πεις
    "Τζαι ο Σόλωνας εν ενοχλείται";

    Γράφεις με λάθη επίτηδες γιά να επιδείξεις πως είσαι αδιάβαστος; Ή ότι τάχα μου χεστιντίν ποκλαντίν (χέστηκες) γιά τα ελληνικά ως γλώσσα; Εν τούτη η πόζα σου γιά "ελευθερία";

    Ούφφου πλέον.

    ReplyDelete
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