Four Star Anarchist Organization isn’t a faceless political group — we’re a collection of unique Chicagoans with a variety of experiences, perspectives, and ways of expressing ourselves. Our diverse strengths have never been more apparent than when NATO came to town last May. We had members marching with their union, providing crucial medical care, distributing protest survival kits, rejecting their military service medals, and taking arrests in defense of their comrades. Some of us stayed home with our phone ringers turned up, frantically refreshing our newsfeeds and hoping for nothing but good news. Several of us worked with a photographer who wanted to document a Chicago radical group planning for NATO — you can view a slideshow of the photos here.
July 31st is the international day of action against racism and fascism. To add to the festivities, Four Star Anarchist Organization put on a film screening of the movie Antifa: Chasseurs de Skins. Short for “anti-fascism,” Antifa is an international movement of radicals organizing direct action against fascism of all forms. The film is about early Antifa groups in Paris and what they did to fight a re-surging fascism in their hometown.
The party started around 7:15pm with the excellent film. We packed quite a few people into the Mess Hall, including people from the Chicago Commune and South Side Chicago Anti-Racist Action. The popcorn and goodies went quickly during our discussion on historic and modern Antifa work. It was really great to be able to talk with others pretty intimately about a form of work so many Chicago anarchists and radicals can get behind. This kind of coming together of tendencies doesn’t happen often in Chicago; we hope this event inspires more of its kind.
For every attendee, Four Star Anarchist Organization donated $5 to the Hoosier Anti-Racist Movement, the group the Tinely Park 5 allegedly are from.
For a fascism free future!
On Wednesday July 26th, the FBI conducted a series of coordinated raids against activists in Portland, Olympia, and Seattle. They subpoenaed several people to a special federal grand jury, and seized computers, black clothing and anarchist literature. This comes after similar raids in Seattle in July and earlier raids of squats in Portland.
Though the FBI has said that the raids are part of a violent crime investigation, the truth is that the federal authorities are conducting a political witch-hunt against anarchists and others working toward a more just, free, and equal society. The warrants served specifically listed anarchist literature as evidence to be seized pointing to the fact that the FBI and police are targeting this group of people because of their political ideas. Pure and simple, these raids and the grand jury hearings are being used to intimidate people whose politics oppose the state’s agenda. During a time of growing economic and ecological crises that are broadly affecting people across the world, it is an attempt to push back any movement towards creating a world that is humane, one that meets every person’s needs rather than serving only the interests of the rich.
This attack does not occur in a vacuum. Around the country and around the world, people have been rising up and resisting an economic system that puts the endless pursuit of profit ahead of the basic needs of humanity and the Earth. From the Arab Spring to the Occupy movement to now Anaheim, people are taking to the streets. In each of these cases, the state has responded with brutal political repression. This is not a coincidence. It is a long-term strategy by state agencies to stop legitimate political challenges to a status quo that exploits most of the world’s people.
We, the undersigned, condemn this and all other political repression. While we may have differences in ideology or chose to use different tactics, we understand that we are in a shared struggle to create a just, free, and liberated world, and that we can only do this if we stand together. We will not let scare tactics or smear campaigns divide us, intimidate us, or stop us from organizing and working for a better world.
No more witch-hunts! An injury to one is an injury to all.
For more information, click here.
(Notes from the Four Star News Desk)
Bounty Hunters and Child Predators: Inside the FBI Entrapment Strategy
The FBI’s latest targets of infiltration and legal repression seem to indicate a new approach to disrupting radical movements — instead of targeting high profile individuals or leaders, a new narrative is being built to conflate those who defend themselves in the face of police repression with terrorists. In this article, Crimethinc gives some possible reasons why.
How FBI Entrapment Is Inventing ‘Terrorists’ – and Letting Bad Guys Off the Hook
Typical Rolling Stone rambling, but brings up some interesting points about the State’s priorities. The far right’s prolific tendency towards murder warrants almost no strategy of disruption like the anarchists face, according to the FBI.
Domestic Terrorism — Anarchist Extremism: A Primer
The FBI has given primers on four domestic terrorist threats – eco-terrorists/animal rights extremists, lone offenders, the sovereign citizens movement, and… anarchists! Considering that the “eco-terrorist/animal rights extremist” movement in North America shares a great deal of ground with the anarchist movement, this article indicates that the State finds our radical social movements to be more of a threat than people who are crazed murderers.
Terrorist Plots, Hatched by the F.B.I.
In this article, the New York Times questions the legitimacy of post 9/11 entrapment tactics. They show how easily someone can be transformed into a rabid, American-hating terrorist by the profit motive. How many lives have to be ruined by the FBI’s eagerness to get a conviction?
Members of Four Star were invited to speak at the Fourth Annual International Convention of the Platypus Affiliated Society. John Slavin accepted the opportunity to speak in personal capacity. Please enjoy the audio track!
“We want a society based upon mutual aid and empowerment rather than coercion and social economic political power,” Slavin told me Wednesday during a 90-minute chat in an Evanston café.
Slavin hasn’t made up his mind yet whether he will be among the anarchists in the streets over the next few days for the simple reason that he’s a father now and doesn’t want to do anything to interfere with his parental responsibilities — presumably such as getting arrested. Even anarchists have lives. With NATO in town this weekend and the protests already in full swing, I figured I’m not the only person more than a bit curious about who these anarchists are, what they believe and what they want.
Apparently, that’s a little like asking what Democrats or Republicans believe — it depends on which ones you’re asking, only with anarchists, there’s an even wider range of philosophical orientations.
Plus, not everyone we see causing trouble during protests is a real anarchist.
Slavin wouldn’t presume to speak for all anarchists, although he believes he understands what motivates them to be out there, just as it has motivated him.
“Been there. Done that,” said Slavin, whose bona fides include getting arrested at the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minnesota.
“A lot of people are really frustrated and haven’t found a way to channel their angst. I understand the mentality. I think people need to put the angst into positive, constructive forms of action,” he said.
By the way, Slavin said he voted for Barack Obama in that 2008 election, but not out of any conviction the Illinois senator would make a better president. Slavin said he calculated that when Obama’s liberal Democratic policies failed, it would hasten the day the American left wakes up to the idea that mainstream politics — Democrat or Republican — is never going to provide the solutions they seek.
Slavin is treasurer of the Four Star Anarchist Organization, Chicago’s only aboveground anarchist group. The group draws its name from the four stars in the Chicago flag, its website explaining: “While we feel no love for the city’s elite, this is our home and someday we hope to set it free.”
Four Star was formed in 2008. Slavin didn’t get here until the next year after completing his PH.D. from Purdue University.
The lean Virginia native said he can remember debating anarchistic philosophy in high school, but it wasn’t until the onset of the Iraq War during his time at Purdue that his politics were radicalized.
Slavin, whose brother is an Army major, said it was the “unquestioning allegiance” of the American public to the war effort that set him on his current course.
Slavin favors a tradition of anarchism known as “platformist” or “anarcho-communist,” which draws some of its inspiration from the Spanish Revolution.
Four Star normally has 14 or 15 members at a time, although people come and go and as many as 40 have been involved at one point or another, Slavin said.
These have included law students, authors, artists and physical therapists ranging in age from their 20s to their 40s.
The mother of his child is among them. Instead of getting married, they held a commitment ceremony at the same west suburban cemetery where one can find the monument to the Haymarket Martyrs and the burial plot of anarchist icon Emma Goldman.
To the extent Four Star members are involved in NATO protests, it will be as “street medics” to care for injured demonstrators and to distribute information on how to stay safe — from police, Slavin said. He argues the chief risk is from police over-response and “agent provocateurs” who start trouble to make anarchists look bad.
If you’re looking for me to be judgmental, come back another day. This is for informational purposes. Supply your own angst.
Join the Chicago Anarchist Film Festival and Four Star Anarchist Organization as we take on the G8 and NATO. Although the G8 will no longer be taking place in Chicago, the free market agenda that generated our most recent economic collapse remains the same. We will screen films, discuss capitalism in crisis, and explore global resistance to the agendas of G8 and NATO.
Debtocracy (2011, Aris Hatzisteganou & Katerina Kitidi)
Thursday, March 29th @ University of Chicago, Stuart Hall, Room 102
(75 minutes in Greek with English subtitles)
Debtocracy is a feature length documentary that explores the historical and political causes of Greece’s sovereign debt crisis. Hailed by The Guardian as “the best film of Marxian economic analysis yet produced,” Debtocracy critically investigates the policy interventions of the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank.
Special guest speaker Dimitris Soukouris. Dr. Dimitris Kousouris is a historian of Modern Greece and has been involved in radical social movements in Greece since the early nineties. He is currently a post-doctoral fellow at the Franke Institute at the University of Chicago. Co-sponsor or “The Anthropology of Europe Workshop.”
Life and Debt (2001, Stephanie Black)
Friday, April 27th @ Mess Hall (6932 N. Glenwood)
Life and Debt is a feature length documentary that chronicles the deleterious impact of foreign intervention in Jamaica’s economy. From the destruction of local markets and the demise of working conditions to the rise of crime and a security apparatus, Black’s film gives its viewers an in-depth, everyday look at how the organized policies of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and Inter-American Bank have accelerated the indebtedness of a small nation to the benefit of U.S. business interests. Shown at the 2005 Chicago Anarchist Film Festival. Narrated by Jamaica Kincaid.
FRONTLINE: Obama’s War (2009)
Friday, May 4th @ Grace Place (637 S. Dearborn)
Tens of thousands of fresh American troops are now on the move in Afghanistan. FRONTLINE producers Martin Smith and Marcela Gaviria, through interviews with the top U.S. commanders on the ground, embeds with U.S. forces, and fresh reporting from Washington, they examine U.S. counter-insurgency strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan – a fight that promises to be longer and more costly than most Americans understand.
Shock Doctrine (2007, Naomi Klein) — Doors at 7:00pm
Friday, May 11th @ Calles y Suenos (1901 S. Carpenter)
How a short, balding University of Chicago Professor reeked havoc on the economies and socialist tendencies of Latin American countries; with his theory of market knows best.
All doors at 6:30pm, movies start at 7:00pm unless otherwise noted. Programming concludes at 10:00pm. Donations appreciated, no one turned away!
For more information:
firstname.lastname@example.org | email@example.com
http://www.chicagoarnarchistfilmfest.com | fourstaranarchist.org
Four Star participated in an Oct. 11 action protesting the the Mortgage Bankers Association meeting. It was organized by Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation. Footage of the event, inside the Hyatt Regency Hotel, is below.
On Sunday, July 31, members of Four Star joined South Side Chicago Anti-Racist Action and local antifascists to expose Lyons, Ill. Neo-nazi Art Jones to his suburban neighbors as part of the July 31
Day of Action Against Fascism and Racism.
Jones, a long-time white supremacist whose past activities include membership in the National Socialist White People’s Party and the American National Socialist Worker’s Party as well as an appearance on the Jerry Springer Show,
pretends to be a respectable member of the community while he organizes Hitler birthday celebrations at local restaurant P.J. Klem’s and attends speeches by world-renowned Holocaust denier and fascist sympathizer David Irving.
The roving protest started at Jones’s residence, where antifascists
waved banners and yelled anti-nazi slogans to alert his neighbors just
what Art does with his free time. The parade moved down the street a
few blocks to P.J. Klem’s, where patrons were informed of the dining
establishment’s history of booking Hitler birthday celebrations
in 2009 and 2011 (the most recent one was cut short by a smoke
bomb). Although Jones never came out to confront the 25+ protesters
standing in his driveway, we can be sure that he had a lot of explaining to do to his neighbors.
Last year, Four Star Anarchist Organization hosted a protest for the
July 31 Day of Action Against Fascism and Racism targeting a CVS
Pharmacy location in Little Village where Anthony Kyser, an unemployed
African-American barber and father, was strangled to death by a store
manager for stealing toothpaste and crayons. Members of Iowa
City-based anarchist group Wild Rose Collective came all the way to
Chicago to participate in the protest, which was followed by a
barbecue and discussion with members of South Side Chicago Anti-Racist
Action, members of Bring the Ruckus, and local antifascists.