Attorney asks for Reading court intervention
Attorney asks for Reading court intervention
READING--Attorney Raymond Schlather is requesting an intervention by the Office of Court Administration to investigate the decisions and actions of the Reading town court. This action follows a Wednesday, Jan. 7 court session, where some 60 people were denied access to the Reading town court due to occupancy limits and kept outside the building in cold temperatures at night. Schlather, an Ithaca attorney representing Christopher Tate, contends the courtroom was filled to capacity during the arraignment of 24 defendants, the people who could not fit in the courtroom were locked out of the building entirely.
"It should not be necessary to remind the Reading 'Town Fathers' and the Reading town court that the Sixth Amendment guarantees every defendant at public trial," said Schlather in a letter to the Office of Court Administration dated Thursday, Jan. 8. "Section Four of the Judiciary law provides that 'the sittings of every court within this state shall be public, and every citizen may freely attend the same.' Under the circumstances, I respectfully ask the Office of Court Administration to investigate this matter and ensure this problem is not repeated."
Schlather said the courtroom occupancy limit could only hold 49 people, but he also added there was space within the building that could have held additional people, instead of keeping them barred outside the building in four degree weather.
"Understandably, every facility has its limitations," Schlather said in his letter. "But, in these circumstances, it would have been sufficient for the court simply to have opened the double doors [to the courtroom] and to have allowed the overflow public to access the court by standing in the large vestibule and adjacent corridor areas. As a practicing attorney of 37 years, an officer of the court and a citizen, I was embarrassed and ashamed."
In support of its plans to expand gas storage in the salt caverns adjacent to Seneca Lake, the deepest lake in New York state and the longest of the Finger Lakes, Texas-based oil and gas company Crestwood-Midstream is circulating the claim that the increase in storage capacity will benefit Finger Lakers by helping control propane costs. More storage of butane, propane, and methane is supposed to protect us from shortages and price hikes. It's time to debunk this myth because the bottom line is that Crestwood's plan to expand storage is about their drive to find markets for fracked gases, not keeping prices low for Finger Lakers. The propane is not for us. We are just supposed to hold it -- and bear all the environmental consequences -- until Crestwood finds buyers willing to pay a high enough price. A Texas company makes the money, and New York's efforts to develop renewable energy is shoved onto back burners, propane burners.
The spike in propane prices last winter is offered as evidence of the urgent need for more storage -- even though the Crestwood plan goes back nearly five years (having been brought forward by Inergy, a company with which Crestwood merged). For example, the chair of the NY State Senate committee on energy sent Cuomo a letter in July 2014 urging that the DEC approve the planned expansion:
A severe propane shortage in the Northeast caused prices to spike more than 50 percent and cost more than $100 million. The Finger Lakes storage facility would create a major new hub for propane storage in the Northeast. Maziarz said those most affected by the dramatic spikes were largely rural residents and businesses who could least afford it.
But what really caused prices to spike? Was the problem lack of storage? In other words, is the "major new hub" actually because people in the Finger Lakes need it? Or is Seneca lake being used as a dumping ground such that we bear the costs that accompany expansion of the fossil fuel industry at a time when more and more voices are telling us to keep fossil fuels in the ground?
If the price hike last year was related to a lack of storage, then one explanation for the current drop in propane prices this year could be because storage has increased. But it hasn't. Crestwood's development plans have been on hold pending more thorough inquiry into hazards associated with storing LPGs next to the drinking water of 100,000 people. The price drop in propane has nothing to do with storage. It's about markets. There is a glut of propane and butane, and the oil and gas companies are looking for customers to buy it.
The drive for more storage is based on supply -- not demand. In the shale fracking boom, companies over-expanded:
“Things look pretty ugly overall,” said Francisco Blanch, commodities and derivatives strategist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “It really is an amazing amount of supply, and it’s very difficult to place fast. That’s created consistent selling pressure.”
According to a 2013 industry analysis,"the propane market has been grappling with an over supply situation since Spring 2012." Propane inventories were pushed into "the stratosphere" and increased even further the following year.
That the push for storage comes from over-supply and not demand is clear even in industry reports that emphasize storage. LPGs are being produced for export. According to the National Propane Gas Association, 5% of US propane was exported in 2008. By 2013, it was 20%. The excessive expansion in production, and need for storage, is happening because oil and gas companies want to sell their product overseas. According to "the propane industry's premier information source," LPGAS,
This should be a golden era for propane considering the amount of gas available domestically from various shale plays, but inadequate storage in key U.S. regions – plus the economics that have propane leaving U.S. borders at record rates – has the industry on edge as preparations are being made for the winter of 2014-15.
Leaving US borders at record rate means exports. The so-called storage problem isn't simply about domestic need. And it's not about Finger Lakers' need at all. In a way, we are the product, our lake the storage facility that Texans are trying to sell to their multinational customers. Underlying the emphasis on storage is the dynamic of moving propane and butane in the market. Andy Ronald, a Crestwood VP, is quoted in the LPGas article cited above as lamenting the "travesty" of "this tremendous growth and supply" but no storage. Translation: supply is driving Crestwood's storage expansion, not demand in the Finger Lakes.
Ronald is explicit on this point in a presentation that highlights growing supply and limited infrastructure. Propane production is increasing, exceeding existing pipeline and storage capacity. In order to take advantage of "favorable global price differentials," Crestwood needs more storage.
The growth of propane exports is in fact one of the reasons for last year's "shortages" in the northeast and midwest. There was propane, but not for domestic use. Exports continued even after several states declared emergencies.
Even Maine, ostensibly one of the areas of the country that needs more propane, is awash in the stuff. There is a glut and dealers are doing their best to build more export facilities. The surge in supply is driving this expansion.
Finger Lakers have been led to believe that increased storage would impact propane prices for us in the winter months. Crestwood's own materials make it clear that this is not true. Ronald's presentation says that winter propane delivery would go out the Teppco pipeline to the Selkirk gateway to the New England market. The propane isn't for the Finger Lakes. We aren't the customers. We are the dumping ground, our water supply put at risk, the quality of our lake degraded, our communities threatened, so that Crestwood can push its over supply of LPGs and diminish incentives for the development of renewable energy.
Having more storage, like having more LPGs, is not a boon to local consumers. The expansion in storage is not planned to meet need in the Finger Lakes. Instead, it is planned to take advantage of price differentials in markets.
One reason companies proceeded with exports and pipeline changes that left propane consumers vulnerable this winter is that producers of many critical commodities—including oil, natural gas, propane, gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and heating oil—are not obliged to distribute those fuels in a way that benefits U.S. consumers. If it's more profitable for companies to sell those products overseas or reconfigure pipelines, then whenever possible, they will do so.
Oil and gas companies can ship or pipe their products however they want. Their goal is to make money for their investors. When they can get a better price shipping their commodites abroad, they do it. In fact, when domestic prices are low, oil and gas companies have an incentive to ship their products abroad.
Crestwood wants to expand storage in the Finger Lakes for its benefit, not ours. But we and our lake bear the real costs of the environmental harm that comes with LPG storage. Added to the damage is the build up of the infrastructure of the very industry that is destroying the planet. Energy should should be placed on renewables, not wasted on deadly fossil fuels.
The perspective from which you look impacts what you see.
Bill Connolly looks from the dinner table and sees zombies oppressed by a future they are constrained to build.
These days, I look from the blockade line at the gates of Crestwood Midstream on the south of Seneca Lake outside Watkins Glen, New York. Next to me, I see organized activists and committed people from all over the Finger Lakes. They are teaching me a lot about what matters in the current political struggles at the intersection of climate and capitalism and about what doesn't.
Since We Are Seneca Lake began blockading the gates of Crestwood in October, there have been nearly 200 arrests. At least half a dozen people have gone to jail. The arrested range in age from 19 to 90. They include students, retirees, former military, farmers, vintners, health care workers, scientists, musicians, teachers, moms, college professors and others. On the morning of my first arrest, right after we were processed at the local sheriff's office, a former elected county official (in her late seventies), said "okay, now let's get back on the line!" These people are dedicated, steadfast. Each time I hear the organizers describe the blockade in trainings for new recruits I am moved: "and then a large truck tries to pull into the gate and not a muscle twitches, not an eye blinks; nobody moves."
The Defenders of Seneca Lake didn't emerge out of nowhere. I don't think any of them got their start in a dinner table conversation about the term "anthropocene" (although the ideas associated with the concept--as well as the debates over it, which morph into the "capitalocene" and the manthropocene--are interesting). Because their concern is focused on political organizing and not deflected into debates over gatekeeper terms like the "anthropocene," when these activists are around the dinner table, they try to figure out how many signatures they need to get in order to pressure their local townships to ban fracking and how long they should take to get them. For them, people's active impact on the climate includes their capacity to change the political climate as well as the geologic one (which they discuss actively -- explaining the fragility of shale formations, the likelihood of salt caverns to collapse, the relation between the different lakes in the region as they formed during the ice age, etc). The We Are Seneca Lake activists (and other fractivists in New York) don't see the people around them as zombies. Instead, they see them as people willing and able to struggle against a corporation and a system that, in pursuit of profit and shareholder value, creates sacrifice zones and assigns some of us to them.
The Seneca Lake Defenders came out of the convergence of different groups and efforts in the battle against the gas and oil industry. In New York state, this convergence ultimately resulted in a state-wide ban on fracking. The struggle is ongoing, now targetting the infrastructure of storage and pipelines that supports fracking elsewhere (like in Pennsylvania) and thereby enables the oil and gas industry to continue pouring greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
The story of the victory over fracking in New York state is an exciting one. Some of the parts of it that I've learned as I've been looking from the blockade line include remarkable convergences: of long-term local activists who had set up a film and lecture series that, over the course of a few years, built up a list of concerned and engaged people; a couple of lawyers working pro-bono to scour state law to come up with the municipal banning strategy; a few people going door-to-door for several months to get signatures on petitions that would pressure local officials to ban fracking within their townships; these same activists doing presentations in town after town to folks who wanted to get their communities to pass similar bans; scientists doing research on the effects of fracking; other activists working within the system to compile reports on liquid petroleum gas storage; and, journalists keeping the issue in the local papers.
The struggle against fracking in New York state has been going on for about six years. It's duration has been vital, enlivening, letting it grow and spread, not like a swarm but as an organized collectivity. The length of time has brought more people into the movement, often in unexpected ways. From marches, to meetings, to rallies, to support for civil disobedients, to arrests, to jail, to more organizing -- people come into the struggle and find themselves ever more engaged. The work, the struggle, feels more real than anything else.
In the battle for Seneca Lake, one begins to see the different fronts of the struggle--policy, media, courtoom, Crestwood gates--and appreciate how they fit together--local political knowledge plus scientific knowledge plus legal knowledge plus creativity. One becomes heartened by the skills and energies of others.
In multiple sites of organized political struggle, the liveliness that Connolly doesn't see and thinks needs to be fomented is already a vibrant matter. And it's vibrant because people collectively are figuring out what to do and this collective engagement is inciting more action, more involvement. Down near Watkins Glen, people drive by the blockade at the Crestwood gates. Next time they bring hot chocolate. Next time they join the line. Then they organize another group, perhaps to get standing at an issues conference, perhaps to pressure state and federal officials, perhaps to begin another strategy.
It sometimes feels like the whole area is united against this Texas company: when people come up to us in the grocery store and shake our hands, when they send us email asking how to give money for legal support, when they say thank you. It's interesting when people begin conversations by saying "I'm not ready to get arrested yet" -- what an amazing jump! They aren't grappling with some abstraction of zombified complacency versus making a pronouncement here or there. They are already figuring out what they want to do next, how they want to be involved. They feel themselves already in the life of the collective engagement of the people around them. This becomes the crowd to be in--not a swarm or a shuffling zombie mass of individuals worried making a difference in themselves but a collective changing the world.
Those trying to fend off zombiness in the Baltimore area don't have to look very far for the kind of collective engagement that enlivens the Finger Lakes (as well as the multiple sites of organized struggle against pipelines, storage, and other parts of the fossil fuel infrastructure). An ally of We Are Seneca Lake is We Are Cove Point. They are organizing to stop the building of the first fracked gas export terminal on the east coast. It's important work: stopping the fracking infrastructure is crucial to make sure that this destructive form of extraction can itself be eliminated. A dozen Chesapeake Bay groups have converged to constitute We Are Cove Point and blockade the entrance to the Dominion Resources Cove Point construction site. At least twenty people have been arrested so far.
Instead of zombified repetition constraining them to future oppression, the protectors of We Are Cove Point are collectively creating a future conducive to a habitable and even more just and equitable planet. From where they look, they see a world they are and can actively change.
From the Washington Post:
An American University professor accused of breaking into a strip of stores below his apartment near campus and setting several small fires was put on leave Friday and ordered by a judge to remain in jail until a preliminary hearing next week.
David W. Pitts, 37, who chairs the school’s Department of Public Administration and Policy and holds a doctoral degree, was arrested Thursday and charged with burglary and destruction of property. His attorney, Justin Okezie, did not return calls seeking comment. Pitts’s next court hearing is Monday.
A spokeswoman for AU said Pitts has been at the university since 2005. She said other professors have been assigned to take over his classes and duties as department chair. He also is on the editorial boards of several university journals and publications.
Pitts was arrested after he was put under surveillance by Montgomery County police at his D.C. apartment complex, at the Foxhall Square shopping center in the 3300 block of New Mexico Avenue NW. Authorities said he was being sought on a burglary warrant linked to a break-in Wednesday at a pharmacy. The shopping center is about two blocks from the university, and Pitts lives in an apartment above the stores.
According to an arrest affidavit, about 1 a.m. Thursday, Montgomery officers saw Pitts set a chair on fire near a guard shack at his apartment complex’s parking garage. Then, the documents state, he lit a newspaper on fire in front of a Starbucks and then set a fire in the woods off Embassy Park Drive. Police said they then saw Pitts force his way into the mall, giving him access to a pharmacy, bank and several doctors’ offices. The officers called D.C. police, and Pitts was arrested after a brief chase from the third level of the mall into the parking garage.
The arrest affidavit says Pitts had a white bag containing newspapers and an oily, black substance in a plastic bowl. Police said they found two lighters and matches in his pockets. Inside his apartment, the affidavit says, police found 5,431 prescription pills, including 2,310 Cialis pills, sedatives to treat insomnia and oxycodone.
According to the police affidavit, Pitts at first denied setting fires or breaking into the shopping center but then blamed the acts on his “disoriented state and need to obtain an envelope in his name containing a prescription” from his psychiatrist.
Authorities are aware of Pitts’s Twitter account, which contains postings and photos from the scene of early-morning fires at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park hotel in Northwest on Aug. 30<http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/fire-forces-evacuation-of-marriott-wardman-park-hotel-during-apsa-conference/2014/08/30/3fc4fb1c-305a-11e4-994d-202962a9150c_story.html>, which forced guests from their rooms and into smoky hallways. The hotel fires, which authorities said were set, occurred in the midst of the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association.
A police document, portions of which were read to The Washington Post, references the Twitter account and says the hotel fires were similar to those at the shopping center. Pitts has not been charged in the hotel fires.
One Tweet complains that firefighters were slow: “How long does it take to put out a fire for which there is no smoke?” Another says: “Marriott is on fire. Nothing like seeing all of the political scientists in their nighties at 1 am.”
Mike DeBonis and Dan Morse contributed to this report.
Tech entrepreneurship is not a harmless or benevolent force. The industry is built directly on the exploitation of millions of faceless people in the global south who are driven off their land and forced to do the dangerous and thankless work of extracting (at great ecological cost) the precious metals and other raw materials that enable the tech world to exist. Once the technology has been shoved down our throats through merciless advertising campaigns, mandatory cell phone upgrades, and jobs requiring instant connectivity of smartphones, we find ourselves tied to their world.
Unlike us, this beast has a head that can be targeted. Kevin Rose and other venture capitalists like him literally design and implement this entire exploitive system. They do it because they are drunk on their own power, caught up in a sense of importance bestowed upon them by the type of wealth most of us will never interact with. Kevin Rose will rise and fall with the elites of the dominant order. While we struggle to be included in the trickle-down of wealth through dehumanizing menial labor, these techies, entrepreneurs, and capitalists take over the world. Knowing that at the vanguard of this tech invasion are people like Kevin Rose only increases our desire to completely stop the current insanity.
Taken as a whole, Kevin Rose invests in startups that perpetuate the process of alienation under the guise of social technology. It is, admittedly, genius: create the technological conditions of alienation that drive people to desperately consume technological products that claim to combat the alienation produced by contemporary technological society. Tech is now about creating and selling the new indispensable commodity that everyone must have in order to be less bored, less lost, less ridden with anxiety. We want no part of this disgusting and creepy game being played by a bunch power deranged man-children.
To this end, we now make our first clear demand of Google. We demand that Google give three billion dollars to an anarchist organization of our choosing. This money will then be used to create autonomous, anti-capitalist, and anti-racist communities throughout the Bay Area and Northern California. In these communities, whether in San Francisco or in the woods, no one will ever have to pay rent and housing will be free. With this three billion from Google, we will solve the housing crisis in the Bay Area and prove to the world that an anarchist world is not only possible but in fact irrepressible. If given the chance, most humans will pursue a course towards increased freedom and greater liberty. As it stands, only people like Kevin Rose are given the opportunity to reshape their world, and look at what they do with those opportunities.
We know that your security advisors are taking our analysis seriously, so if you are confident that your system is the best, it would be wise to give us three billion to see if we fail. Our wager is that you are scared of the viable alternative we would create. If you are not scared, contact us at our Wordpress website. Send us a message and we can go from there. Otherwise, get ready for a revolution neither you nor we can control, a revolution that will spread to all of the poor, exploited, and degraded members of this new tech-society and be directed towards you for your bad decisions and irresponsible activities. We advise you to take us seriously.
For a world without bosses, rulers, or cops! Down with the Empire, up with the Spring!
PS: The following devices and programs were used in this action: Microsoft Word (for Mac) MacBook Samsung Nexus (powered by Google) Gmail Youtube Electrical SocketAga
Excerpt from After the Protests
By ZEYNEP TUFEKCIMARCH 19, 2014
Yet often these huge mobilizations of citizens inexplicably wither away without the impact on policy you might expect from their scale.
This muted effect is not because social media isn’t good at what it does, but, in a way, because it’s very good at what it does. Digital tools make it much easier to build up movements quickly, and they greatly lower coordination costs. This seems like a good thing at first, but it often results in an unanticipated weakness: Before the Internet, the tedious work of organizing that was required to circumvent censorship or to organize a protest also helped build infrastructure for decision making and strategies for sustaining momentum. Now movements can rush past that step, often to their own detriment.
In Spain, protesters who called themselves the Indignados (the outraged) took to public squares in large numbers in 2011, yet the austerity policies they opposed are still in effect. Occupy Wall Street filled Lower Manhattan in October 2011, crystallizing the image of the 99 percent versus the 1 percent without forcing a change in the nation’s widening inequality. And in Egypt, Tahrir Square protesters in January 2011 used social media to capture the world’s attention. Later that year, during clashes in the square, four people in their 20s used Google spreadsheets, mobile communication and Twitter to coordinate supplies for 10 field hospitals that cared for the wounded. But three years later, a repressive military regime is back in power.
Thousands of people turned out in Istanbul last June to defy the government’s plan to raze Gezi Park, in spite of the fact that the heavily censored mass media had all but ignored the initial protests, broadcasting documentaries about penguins instead of the news. Four college students organized a citizen journalism network that busted censorship 140 characters at a time. I met parents at the protests who were imploring their children to teach them how to use Twitter as it became a real-time newswire, an organizing tool and a communication device for those in the park and its surroundings. One protester told me, “Internet brings freedom.”
But after all that, in the approaching local elections, the ruling party is expected to retain its dominance.
Compare this with what it took to produce and distribute pamphlets announcing the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955. Jo Ann Robinson, a professor at Alabama State College, and a few students sneaked into the duplicating room and worked all night to secretly mimeograph 52,000 leaflets to be distributed by hand with the help of 68 African-American political, religious, educational and labor organizations throughout the city. Even mundane tasks like coordinating car pools (in an era before there were spreadsheets) required endless hours of collaborative work.
What if we look at all the revolts of the last few years (from 2010 on) as revolts of the knowledge class or cognitariat? So, we think of knowledge workers broadly -- teachers, adjuncts, civil servants, nurses, Verizon workers, the newly layed off, phone-center employees, programmers, the unemployed students and graduate students -- we read, in other words, the precarious in terms of the majority of knowledge workers (those who generate content and data for communicative capitalism) who have been displaced and disposed because of the very technological innovations that make them knowledge workers. My hypothesis is that all the revolts of the last three years are revolts of these e-proles. The current skirmishes around Google buses are thus absolutely key for understanding the current cycle of struggles. Likewise, university struggles aren't epiphenomenol or derivative. They are major sites of struggle, like factories were in previous cycles.
The problem with much emphasis on the cognitariat has been the focus on the entrepreneuers and billionaires. This emphasis tends to rely on rags-to-riches narratives: homegrown computers and hackers in it for the lulz. But these stories are of course capitalist fairy-tales that displace our attention from workers onto their becoming-capitalist. Success is when they are capitalists, huge amounts of venture capital, successful IPOs, etc. What matters, though, are those who remain knowledge workers.
If this inclination is correct, then the stupid media fixation on Facebook and Twitter in the revolutions is useful: it flags the activity of the cognitariat (I really hate this term, though -- is there another one? like cybertarians? digital proletariat is pretty awful, e-proles? what about e-proles? I think that sounds pretty good ...) It also explains the importance of Anonymous, both as actors and as emblems. And, it links people like Snowden and security questions into the class struggle.
So, looking at the protests and revolts of the last few years as the class struggle of the cognitariat would account for the persistence of personal media, the people protesting, the economic position of the protesters, and the political ambiguity of the protests. E-proles have a strong libertarian bent (I blame 30 years of capital resurgent). They tend to present themselves as post-political, anti-political (for example, in the Spanish movement of the squares). They are so fluid and spongy (whatever beings, imaginary identities -- I talk about this in Blog Theory) that they can be pushed, channeled in different directions (they have a hard time uniting as a class and so tend to concentrate around identity claims). So, the revolt in Ukraine would be part of the same series as Tunisia, Egypt, OWS, and Turkey.
Struggles of e-proles don't look like past struggles of the working class because of the disparate, individualized nature of media under communicative capitalism. But it is a class struggle nonetheless.
Below are excerpts from an essay by Christopher Newfield on the knowledge economy. Much of it is quite useful and interesting. I am posting it because I think it helps provide some good context for the reflections above about the cognitariat. Some folks might recall that this was big a few years ago. The discussion pretty much died down because knowledge workers weren't a revolutionary class. But, I am suggesting that maybe, in fact, we are.
excerpt from smart analysis of situation in Ukraine:
Eastern Europe has returned to the periphery or semi-periphery of global capitalism. This is the return of dependency and of the race to the bottom. Somebody from the region will always hit bottom, and it will not be Ukraine all the time. And outside the former socialist bloc things do not look any better: 25 years after “the fall of totalitarian communism”, as “the final triumph of Western liberal democracy” was proclaimed, the global state of democracy has radically worsened; structural inequalities, land-grabbing and resource-wars have multiplied, and the survival of the planet itself is nowadays an open question.
In the region, the horrible destruction wrought by the anti-communist, pro-capitalist reforms of transition, no matter whether a “right” or a “left” party in power, has produced invariably in every East European state the underdevelopment of health and education; mass poverty and mass immigration; select oligarchs, as well as a small middle class; and political, intellectual and media apparatuses largely alienated from the population and oriented towards the powers, canons and fashions that be. It has also produced very powerful military and security apparatuses, in both the West and East. And now the bubble has burst, not accidentally in the biggest country on the EU’s borders, apparently not big or powerful enough to avoid being sandwiched between major powers.
Ukraine’s own schisms may be collapsing the country internally, but many of Ukraine’s problems are international. It is only logical that the answer will involve a defense of the state, from different directions, although the actual victims cannot be reduced to the state apparatuses, and arguably have not been represented for a while by the state. The rise of far-right nationalists, against the background of the domination of cynical opportunists and local oligarchs, is an integral counterpart of the dream sold aggressively by the West in the same package with the counter-offer from the Russian East. That dream, which has captured in the past decades most local energies of betterment, has slowly expired throughout the region after the explosion of the crisis in the very centers of global capitalism. In the last three years, popular movements have exploded all throughout Eastern Europe, and all expressed an anti-systemic discontent. However, in spite of probable longer-term community-building effects, all movements failed to produce a common constitutional moment – most likely as a consequence of the historic annihilation of the left after 1989. Many such movements, whether from Ukraine or Romania, have come to be dominated or marred by nationalists and the far right. In the aftermath, autonomous groups have continued to work relatively isolated. No popular front has emerged. Reacting to the wave of change, the local Eurocentric liberals have turned towards the left en masse, but going only so far as to deny their previous role, and to support issues of anticorruption, human rights, a purer modernization, and maybe Keynesianism. The response from the political systems has invariably been denial, repression, false choices of “lesser evils”, yet more developmentalism, reinforcement of vertical structures, sometime support of local capitalists, even more secretive and quick privatizations, and the shameless use of movements to gain advantages over adversaries in the formal political sphere.
In the intense moments of global transition, social uprisings could move things very quickly, either for the better or for the worst. In times of conflict, there is a dire need for building communicative powers. Unlike Latin America, in Eastern Europe, the traditional mediators of consensus (for better or for worse), religion and nationalism, have traditionally been claimed by forces of the extreme right, thus standing for the opposite of liberation. These same forces have also used the vocabularies of anticolonial struggle and autonomism to reinforce the obedient political imaginary of a fortress under siege, rather than to build the sovereignty of the people. If the world is indeed transitioning towards another global system, such signs, as seen from the region, are not very encouraging. War, repression and sanctions are solutions only for the current vertical structures, political bodies and for the armed far right, all of which will continue to hurt the people. They all correspond to the common conception of power in modernity: power as domination, as opposed to power in the sense of serving the people. However, the discontents of the population are systemic, and keep on rejecting domination. In the struggle, members of parties and security forces will likely leave these structures if they continue to work against the people.