Publishing as a weapon

The news tells nothing but hate for the poor. According to the right-wing media, poor people are sick or bad and should be forced into treatment or jail. The progressive media offers no reprieve. To them, poor people are charity cases with no capacity for political action. Unhoused people are victims who should be policed by social workers, except when they should be controlled by cops. Both left and right wings of mainstream politics agree that subaltern people should sit down and shut up.

We disagree.

We want our newspaper, The Volcano, to be an alternative to the racist, colonial, capitalist, mainstream media, whether right-wing or progressive. We want the stories we publish to be from the streets and to the streets, where the real struggle happens. Publishing and distributing monthly print newspapers is the best way we can broadcast our politics and cover everyday events and actions through a revolutionary lens that locates the problems of hunger and overdose death, shoplifting arrests and gender violence, bylaw harassment and homelessness, in the mesh of power relations that hold us down and out of sight – systems we name as colonialism, capitalism, white supremacy, and patriarchy. 

Our view is that low-income working class and Indigenous people, who are often pressed together by the overwhelming violence of poverty, are the most oppressed people in Canada exactly because they are the most disorganized, fragmented, and spoken for. This is an inherited historical problem. The pressure of poverty means that subaltern working class and Indigenous people rely on one another as street kin. But it can also flatten the differences between decolonial struggles for Indigenous sovereignty, and class struggles for working class control of production. 

Our publishing recognizes the mixed character of street communities and the intimacies that bind the survivals of different, conjoined groups together. But we resist “poverty reductionism” – focusing on the shared experiences of poverty, while ignoring our differences – by supporting independent organizing on multiple fronts. We support Indigenous autonomy from settlers, working class autonomy from middle class and bourgeois forces, women’s autonomy from men, and racialized peoples’ autonomy from white people.

After decades and centuries of disorganization and abuse, meted out mostly through middle class regulators, class and Indigenous consciousness amongst the poor is partial and mixed. While many subaltern Indigenous people have keen anti-colonial intuitions, and many unhoused working class people hate the cops, we need spaces and publications for discussion, theorizing, and reflection in order to hone and transform intuitions and experience into practicable theory and strategy that communities can effectively use against our enemies.

Over the past few years we have struggled to both build Red Braid and regularly publish The Volcano. Almost a year has passed since we published the last issue. This summer, when Red Braid met and reflected on our work overall, and visioned our next steps, one problem we came down on hard was this gap in publishing.

The Volcano is a weapon. It is a weapon we have to have readily on hand, to hold and use. We are determined to get this paper out and into your hands every month. If you have stories, critiques, or ideas that you want to exchange with us, please reach out.

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