The Criminal Legal System for Radicals

Setting and Balancing Personal, Political, and Legal Goals

by the Tilted Scales Collective

This text is a chapter-length excerpt from the upcoming A Tilted Guide to Being a Defendant, to be released ideally near the end of 2016 by Combustion Books.

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As a political defendant, you will be dealing with the criminal legal system on its own turf. The political level of your situation includes largely unfathomable technicalities and procedures that are designed to disempower you and make it necessary to hire an expert (i.e., a lawyer). You can also approach your predicament on a political level, which may be more familiar ground to you and your supporters. A political defense may be less limited by the court’s rules, ranging from complete disregard of those rules to calculated rebellions against the court’s authority while attempting not to jeopardize your case entirely. Regardless of the balance you strike between political and legal defenses, you will also need to think about the personal level: what you want to achieve and what you are willing to endure.

This chapter is meant to help you think about your charges in broad, strategic terms. We explore three goal areas in this chapter: personal, political, and legal. These goal areas overlap a lot, but we have broken them down to facilitate their exploration. We also offer thoughts on ways to effectively balance these goal areas, although we do not presume to be able to tell anyone how they should handle their case. Rather, we encourage all defendants to consider the different ways in which their decisions affect them and others before committing to a course of action. Our social movements do not need more prisoners, yet when people are thrust into these situations, our movements do need dedicated, smart, and informed defendants who hold strong in the face of terrible consequences.
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Baba Yaga Burns Paris to the Ground

by Wren Awry

To Begin . . .

“I’m interested in myths,” Angela Carter wrote, “Just because they are extraordinary lies designed to make people unfree.”

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Carter was among the first to imitate fairy tales in her fiction (a little tome called The Bloody Chamber, anyone?), and her work highlighted the patriarchy and violence of the classic stories. While the myths Carter re-tooled came from story books, history is also rife with myths that made the world — myths that are ripe for turning inside out. It is these historical myths, and their connections to fairy tales, that fascinate me. I’m especially intrigued by one of them: that of the pétroleuses, fire-wielding women who supposedly set Paris ablaze during the Commune of 1871.

Furies glide through the rich quarters […] and fling their little vials of petrol, their devil’s matches, their burning rags.

The myth of the pétroleuses was certainly invented to make people unfree (in this case, by the Communardes’ conservative opponents and yellow journalists). [note] But I like pétroleuses because their fire and ferocity hint at interesting predecessors. Born of the collective fear of a power-hungry elite, pétroleuses follow in a long line of mythologized fire-wielding devil-women — women like Baba Yaga, the youngest sister in the Grimms’ “Fitcher’s Bird,” and the women burned during the great witch hunts of early Modern Europe.
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A Mountain River Has Many Bends

The History and Context of the Rojava Revolution

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This text is the introduction to our book A Small Key Can Open A Large Door.
This text is the introduction to our book A Small Key Can Open A Large Door.
In Northern Syria, 2.5 million people are living in a stateless, feminist, religiously tolerant, anti-capitalist society of their own creation. They call their territory Rojava, and they defend it fiercely. They’re at war with the extremist group ISIS, and they’re doing better than anyone in the world expected — least of all the Western powers who seek to treat them as pawns.

It’s a complicated situation, but we in the rest of the world have much to learn from the Rojava revolution. To that end, we offer this long-form introduction to the history and the present struggle of the Kurdish people.

Long live the Rojava revolution!

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A personal zine. From the first page:

this zine is about hope.

it’s about how i hope i have made something better.

it’s entirely about true stories of sexual and domestic violence.

We first found this zine in 2013, and now, two years later, are excited to bring out a second edition. 23 is a personal story about accountability within social movements and survivors’ experiences in society at large, written by an anarchist social worker with an incredible talent for storytelling.

Books to Rojava

In our work on the book A Small Key Can Open A Large Door: The Rojava Revolution, we found ourselves collaborating with the remarkable group Rojava Solidarity New York City. They do a lot of great work.

Maybe most importantly, they’re working directly with two different places in Rojava in need of books, including English language books and ebook readers (particularly Kindles). This, then, is a call for solidarity. Rojava Solidarity NYC needs books and it could use more money for the postage to send the books.

The Mesopotamian Social Sciences Academy
The Mesopotamian Social Sciences Academy is the first autonomous university in Rojava. They are looking for non-fiction books on radical history, political science, theory, philosophy and culture. Also, they’re looking for ebook readers (Kindle would be ideal–if you or anyone you know has an old Kindle you’re not using anymore, send it to student in Rojava). They are also looking for server space and web hosting.

The People’s Library of Kobane
The PLK is a library effort started by volunteers after the existing library in Kobane substained damage and was set on fire by ISIS thugs. It will be a place for the young in Kobane to access books and ideas. They are looking for graphic novels, comics, and children’s books, all of which that are somewhat political or at least not reactionary.

To contact Rojava Solidarity NYC with questions, email them at Books and ebook reader donations can be mailed to:

Rojava Solidarity
c/o The Base
1302 Myrtle Avenue
Bushwick, NY 11221

Lawful Ain’t Good

lawfulaintgood-coverLawful Ain’t Good
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In most editions of the roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons, there are nine “alignments” a character may choose between, roughly aligning to that character’s moral compass. For better or worse, this system has influenced untold thousands of players, at the table and beyond.

Herein we reproduce two essays to further our understanding of this system: “The Nine Alignments” and “Lawful Ain’t Good.”

The first, an anonymous essay from a long-extinct corner of the internet, is arguably the most complete understanding of the nine alignment system. The second, first published by Anarcho-Geek Review, makes the bold claim that there are only eight alignments. Lawful Good, as it argues, is an oxymoron.

In the wider scheme of things, this doesn’t matter at all. But for those of us who grew up imagining ourselves as warriors and witches, slaying dragons and evil kings, the alignment system is one of the cornerstones of our ethical understandings. For us, the incongruity between Law and Good is vital to our understanding of the world.

Grin and Bare It All

Against Liberal Conceptions of Sex Work

grin and bear it all
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Hi, I’m Luna Celeste! I’ve been stripping for about five years, and into all this anarchy stuff for about fifteen. In this zine I’ll be speaking with some authority on my own experiences, and to some degree, on those of my co-workers and friends who perform other kinds of sex work. However, subjective experiences of sex work, and even just stripping, vary depending on one’s location, gender (identity/presentation), particular line of work, working conditions, socialization, class, race, etc. I am no authority on every aspect of the sex industry, but have spent a lot of my free time thinking, reading, and writing about the industry from an anarchist and feminist perspective.

Special thanks to C.B. Daring, Heather, Margaret Killjoy, and Nikita for the edits, and so many more friends who gave me feedback and support in writing this.

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A Country of Ghosts

A Country of Ghosts - zine - part 1

A Country of Ghosts - zine - part 2

Part 1 (60 pages)
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Part 2 (44 pages)
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A Country of Ghosts

Margaret Killjoy

Less than a year after the release of Margaret Killjoy’s utopian novel A Country of Ghosts, we’re proud to bring you the zine version! It didn’t fit in a single volume, so it’s two thick zines.
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