Filed under: war-machine | Tags: anarchists, anarchy, december 2008, film, Greece, insurrection, revolt
Filed under: war-machine | Tags: abandoned building, anarchists, anti-capitalist, autonomous, chapel hill, north carolina, occupation
Last night, at about 8pm, a group of about 50 – 75 people occupied the 10,000 square foot Chrysler Building on the main street of downtown Chapel Hill. Notorious for having an owner who hates the city and has bad relations with the City Council, the giant building has sat empty for ten years. It is empty no longer.
Following the Carrboro Anarchist Bookfair, a group “in solidarity with occupations everywhere” marched to the building, amassing outside while banners reading “Occupy Everything” and “Capitalism left this building for DEAD, we brought it back to LIFE” were raised in the windows and lowered down the steep roof. Much of the crowd soon filed in through one of the garage door entrances to find a short film playing on the wall and dance music blasting.
People explored the gigantic building, and danced in the front room to images of comrades shattering the glass of bank windows 3,000 miles away in Oakland. Others continued to stay outside, shouting chants, giving speeches, and passing out hundreds of “Welcome” packets (complete with one among many possible future blueprints for the building – see below for text) to passersby. The text declared the initial occupation to be the work of “ autonomous anti-capitalist occupiers,” rather than Occupy Chapel Hill, but last evening’s events have already drawn the involvement of many Occupy Chapel Hill participants, who are camped just several blocks down the street.
Soon several police showed up, perhaps confused and waiting for orders. Three briefly entered the building, and were met with chants of “ACAB!” Strangely, the cops seem to have been called off, because they left as quick as they came. For the rest of the night they were conspicuously absent, leaving us free to conduct a short assembly as to what to do with the space and how to hold it for the near future. The group also decided to move a nearby noise and experimental art show into the building. As some folks began to arrange the show, others began filtering across town seeking things we needed for the night.
Within 30 minutes of the assembly ending, trucks began returning with everything from wooden pallets, doors, water jugs, and a desk, to a massive display case for an already growing distro and pots and trays of food donated by a nearby Indian restaurant. Others began spreading the word to the nearby Occupy Chapel Hill campsite, and bringing their camping gear into the building.
Over the next few hours more and more community members heard about the occupation and stopped by, some to bring food or other items, others just to soak it all in. All the while dozens of conversations were happening outside with people on the street. The show began eventually, and abrasive noise shook the walls of the building, interspersed with dance music and conversations, and ending with a beautiful a capella performance, and of course more dancing.
More events are to follow tomorrow in our new space, with two assemblies from the anarchist bookfair being moved to the new location, and a yoga teacher offering to teach a free class later in the afternoon.
As of the early hours this Sunday morning, the building remains in our hands, with a small black flag hanging over the front door. The first 48 hours will be extremely touch and go, but with a little luck, and a lot of public support, we aim to hold it in perpetuity. Regardless, we hope that this occupation can inspire others around the country. Strikes like the one in Oakland present one way forward; long term building occupations may present another.
-some anti-capitalist occupiers
TEXT FROM THE “WELCOME” HANDOUT:
We would like to welcome you to an experiment.
For the past month and a half, thousands of people all over the US have been occupying public space in protest of economic inequality and hopelessness. This itself began as an experiment in a small park in New York City, though it did not emerge out of a vacuum: Occupy Wall St. “made sense” because of the rebels of Cairo, because of the indignados of Madrid and Barcelona and Athens. All of these rebellions were experiments in self-organization which emerged out of their own specific contexts, their own histories of struggle and revolution. Each were unique, but also united by the shared reality of the failure and decline of late global capitalism, and the futility of electoral politics.
Recently, this “Occupy” phenomenon has expanded beyond merely “providing a space for dialogue” to become a diverse movement actively seeking to shift the social terrain. From strikes and building occupations to marches and port blockades, this looks different in different places, as it should, but one thing is clear: Many are no longer content with “speaking truth to power,” for they understand that power does not listen.
Toward that end, we offer this building occupation as an experiment, as a possible way forward. For decades, occupied buildings have been a foundation for social movements around the world. In places as diverse as Brazil, South Africa, Spain, Mexico, and Germany, just to mention a few, they offer free spaces for everything from health clinics and daycare to urban gardening, theaters, and radical libraries. They are reclaimed spaces, taken back from wealthy landowners or slumlords, offered to the community as liberated space.
All across the US thousands upon thousands of commercial and residential spaces sit empty while more and more people are forced to sleep in the streets, or driven deep into poverty while trying to pay rent that increases without end. Chapel Hill is no different: this building has sat empty for years, gathering dust and equity for a lazy landlord hundreds of miles away, while rents in our town skyrocket beyond any service workers’ ability to pay them, while the homeless spend their nights in the cold, while gentrification makes profits for developers right up the street.
For these reasons, we see this occupation as a logical next step, both specific to the rent crisis in this city as well as generally for occupations nationwide. This is not an action orchestrated by Occupy Chapel Hill, but we invite any and all occupiers, workers, unemployed, or homeless folks to join us in figuring out what this space could be. We offer this “tour guide” merely as one possible blueprint among many, for the purpose of brainstorming the hundreds of uses to which such a building could be put to once freed from the stranglehold of rent.
In Love and Rage,
for liberty and equality,
-some autonomous anti-capitalist occupiers
Filed under: war-machine | Tags: anarchists, anarchy, anti-capitalism, bay area, black bloc, broken windows, capitalism, general strike, oakland, oakland commune, port shut down, solidarity, vandalism
A letter of solidarity.
Filed under: war-machine | Tags: anarchists, anarchy, anti-police, atms, bart, bay area, muni, police cars, war
Yesterday, hundreds of enraged people took to the streets of San Francisco in response to the murder of a 19 year old by SFPD in the Bayview neighborhood. He was killed for running from the police after not paying his MUNI fare. Immediately people in Bayview responded – confronting the police, screaming at the murderers and throwing bottles. At Midnight, another group called for a last minute march against the police. About 100 marchers took the street and attacked ATMs, banks and a cop car.
Whether we like it or not, this city is a fucking war-zone. For the second time in as many weeks, police officers have murdered someone in cold blood. Yesterday, they murdered a 19 year old in the Bayview district. For the crime of not paying his $2 bus fare, he was executed by SFPD; shot ten times in front of a crowd. On July 3rd, BART police responding to a report of a man too drunk to stand, arrived at Civic Center Station and shot Charles Hill within a minute of their arrival, killing him as well. His crime: being broke and homeless in a city that fucking despises us.
And so, within a few hours of hearing word of SFPD’s latest atrocity, we called for a march against the police in the Mission District. About 100 of us gathered, donned masks, and marched down Valencia St. toward the Mission Police Station. We attacked the first pig car that approached. We attacked ATMs and a Wells Fargo as well. We upturned newspaper boxes and trash bins, throwing them into the streets at the encroaching riot cops. We screamed in the pigs faces and confronted them at their front door. By 1AM we had dispersed without arrest.
This march comes on the heels of Monday’s attack on the BART system in response to the murder of Charles Hill. Again, over 100 of us clogged the BART system, blocking trains, vandalizing machines and bringing the rail system to a grinding halt. For over three hours BART suffered system-wide delays and the BART police were forced to close several stations throughout the city. After being forced out of the system, we took the streets in an impromptu march. Causing havoc and avoiding two attempts by the police to kettle us. The march ended in a heated stand-off with SFPD in front of hundreds of tourists at the Powell St. plaza.
In reporting this we hope to make it obvious: we will no longer allow the police (regardless of what badge they wear) to murder us in the streets. When they kill, we will respond with force. These two marches along with the burgeoning revolt in Bayview are only a beginning. We do not care about their attempts at justifying themselves. In each of these killings they claim that their lives were in danger. We say they lie, but honestly don’t care either way. As the State has removed any illusion that it exists to serve or protect people, we can see clearly that it exists only to push us into prisons and to shoot us in cold blood. Two single dollars are worth more to them than our lives. The very existence of the police clearly endangers all of us, and we won’t be safe until they are destroyed.
WAR ON THE POLICE
WAR ON THE BART SYSTEM
WAR ON THE MUNI SYSTEM
some anarchists in the Bay Area
Filed under: Milwaukee area, war-machine | Tags: anarchists, anti-capitalism, austerity, conference, crimethinc, intervention, look to wisconsin, madison, milwaukee, occupation, students, wisconsin
Some notes and reflections made by Crimethinc on the Look To Wisconsin Conference, which took place in Milwaukee last month (these are conclusions made by individuals from Crimethinc, and not some consensus made by the conference attendees):
On May 20-21, anarchists and fellow travelers gathered in Milwaukee for a small conference about the ongoing crisis of capitalism. In the final discussion, people from around the US compared notes on recent anti-austerity protests, focusing chiefly on the student movement in California and the recent protests in Wisconsin. We’ve summarized some of the conclusions here in hopes they can be useful in the next phase of anarchist organizing.
So far, anarchists have not been very successful in contributing to anti-austerity protests in the US. Starting in December 2008, anarchist participation in school occupations was instrumental in kick-starting a student movement, but by March 4, 2010 this movement was dominated by liberal and authoritarian organizing; it subsequently ran out of steam. More recently, anarchists participated in the occupation of the capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin in protest against anti-union legislation and occupied a university building in Milwaukee, without substantial impact on the course of events.
It’s troubling that we’ve had such limited success in a context that should be conducive to our efforts. Eleven years ago, during the high point of the anti-globalization movement, anarchist participants were essentially the militant edge of an activist movement addressing issues that were distant from many people’s day-to-day needs. Today, the livelihoods of millions like us are on the line; people should be much more likely to join in revolt now than they were a decade ago. If this isn’t happening, it indicates that we’re failing to organize effectively, or that the models we’re offering aren’t useful.
European anarchists have had more success, but they benefit from a richer and more continuous lineage of social movements. In the US, the birthplace of the generation gap, our task is not just to intensify ongoing struggles, but to generate new fighting formations—a much greater challenge. We seem to go through one generation of anarchists after another without any gains. Although our predecessors rightly caution us against measuring our efforts in purely quantitative terms, we can’t hope to overthrow capitalism by our own isolated heroics, turning the world upside down one newspaper box at a time.
A small fire demands constant tending.
A bonfire can be let alone.
A conflagration spreads.
We have to figure out how to connect with everyone else who is suffering and angry. To that end, here are some observations and proposals derived from the conversations in Milwaukee.
—The anti-austerity protests in Wisconsin are not the last of their kind; on the contrary, they herald the arrival of a new era. It is paramount that we learn from our early failures to develop a more effective strategy for engaging in these conflicts.
—In Madison, anarchists largely focused on establishing infrastructure for the occupation. This is not the first time anarchists have contributed their organizational skills to an essentially liberal protest. At the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City, about 100,000 people participated in demonstrations; this included thousands of anarchists, many of whom limited themselves to logistical roles. Afterwards, this was recognized as a tremendous missed opportunity—hence the efforts to take the lead in planning actions at the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Our task is not just to facilitate protests of whatever kind, but to ensure that they threaten the flows of capital—that they create a situation in which people abandon their roles in maintaining the current order. To this end, we have to seize the initiative to organize actions as well as infrastructure. Clashes with the state will be more controversial than free meals and childcare, but this controversy has to play out if we are ever to get anywhere.
—A wide range of sources concur that the occupation of the capitol building in Madison was undermined one tiny compromise at a time. First the police politely asked people not to be in one room—and they were being so nice about everything that no one could say no. Then they gently asked people to vacate another, and so on until the dumbfounded former occupiers found themselves out on the pavement. This underlines an important lesson: the first compromise might as well be the last one. Whenever we concede anything, we set a precedent that will be repeated again and again; we also embolden our enemies. We have to be absolutely uncompromising from the beginning to the end.
In popular struggles, anarchists can be the force that refuses to yield. We can also pass on our hard-won analyses to less experienced protesters—for example, emphasizing that however friendly individual police officers might be, they cannot be trusted as long as they are police. To do these things, however, we have to be in the thick of things, not looking on from the margins.
—A common complaint from the more combative participants in the Madison occupation was that leftist organizations had already gained the initiative and determined the character of the protest. Anarchists were afraid to act, taking the leftist control of the narrative as an indication that there was nothing they could do. Indeed, after the end of the occupation, liberal organizers channeled the remaining momentum into a recall campaign confined to the electoral sphere.
In fact, in circumstances like the capitol occupation, there’s nothing to lose. The solutions promoted by authoritarian leftists and liberals don’t point beyond the horizon of capitalism; even when they aren’t utterly naïve, they’re no better than the right-wing agenda, in that they serve to distract and neutralize those who desire real change. Where the field is split between left-wing and right-wing, we may as well disrupt this dichotomy by acting outside of it. Even if we fail, at least we show that something else is possible.
—One Wisconsin anarchist proposed that we should distinguish between two strategic terrains for action. Some events, such as the occupation of the capitol building in Madison, function as tremendous spectacles; the most we can hope to accomplish is to interrupt them, forcing a more challenging narrative into the public discourse. Other spaces that are under less pressure, like the occupation of the theater building in Milwaukee, offer an opportunity to develop new social connections and critiques.
In the latter, we can create new channels for discussion and decision-making that will serve us well in subsequent confrontations. We can measure our effectiveness by how well we accomplish this, not just by the material damage inflicted on targets or the numbers of people who show up to demonstrations.
In upheavals such as the one in Wisconsin, we can unmask authoritarian domination of resistance movements and debunk the idea that the democratic system can solve the problems created by capitalism.
—At no point during the buildup to the protests of March 4, 2010 or the occupations in Wisconsin did anarchists establish an autonomous, public organizing body to play a role such as the RNC Welcoming Committee played at the 2008 RNC or the PGRP played at the 2009 G20. This was a strategic error that enabled liberal and authoritarian organizers to monopolize the public discourse around the protests and determine their character and conditions in advance. In the Bay Area, the word on the street was that anarchists had established some sort of back-room deal with public organizers that the latter reneged on. This betrayal should come as no surprise: without the leverage afforded by public organizing of our own, we can always expect to be hoodwinked and betrayed by those who don’t share our opposition to hierarchical power.
We need public, participatory calls and organizing structures, both to offer points of entry to everyone who might want to fight alongside us and to make it impossible for authoritarians to stifle revolt by arranging the battlefield to be unfavorable for it. Public organizing can complement other less public approaches; often, it’s necessary to render them possible in the first place. Compare the 2008 RNC and 2009 G20 to March 4, 2010.
—As capitalism renders more and more people precarious or redundant, it will be harder and harder to fight from recognized positions of legitimacy within the system such as “workers” or “students.” Last year’s students fighting tuition hikes are this year’s dropouts; last year’s workers fighting job cuts are this year’s unemployed. We have to legitimize fighting from outside, establishing a new narrative of struggle. Who is more entitled to occupy a school than those who cannot afford to attend it? Who is more entitled to occupy a workplace than those who have already lost their jobs?
If we can accomplish this, we will neutralize the allegations of being “outside agitators” that are always raised against those who revolt. Better, we will transform every austerity conflict into an opportunity to connect with everyone else that has been thrown away by capitalism. Our goal should not be to protect the privileges of those who retain their jobs and enrollment, but to channel outrage about everything that capitalism has taken from all of us.
—Anti-austerity protests may offer a new opportunity to resume the practice of convergence so important in the anti-globalization era. Anarchists could respond to upheavals like the one in Wisconsin by converging on these “hotspots” to force things to a head. But this would require local communities to be ready to host visitors—to have the necessary resources prepared in advance. These resources include food and housing, but also a relationship with the general public and leverage on the authorities, such as the Pittsburgh Organizing Group built up in the years leading up to the successful demonstrations against the 2009 G20.
—Between peaks of protest, we can attempt to connect with social circles that could be politicized. Punks entered the anti-globalization movement with a preexisting anticapitalist critique and antagonism towards authority, thanks to two decades of countercultural development. This enabled them to escalate the situation immediately, shifting the discourse from reform to revolution. The more people enter anti-austerity struggles thus equipped, the less time will be wasted relearning old lessons.
—In addition to exacerbating the contradictions inherent in the financial crisis, we should undertake to make life in upheavals more pleasurable and robust than workaday life. Those who participate in wildcat strikes and occupations should experience these as more exciting and fulfilling than their usual routines, to such an extent that it becomes possible to imagine life after capitalism. As many anarchists live in a permanent state of exclusion, making the best of it despite everything, we should be especially well-equipped to assist here.
In this regard, there is a real need for infrastructures that can provide for the practical needs of those who wrest themselves out of the functioning of the economy. But these infrastructures should not be simply ad hoc protest logistics; they must demonstrate the feasibility of radically different systems of production and distribution.
There is probably some new way of engaging, some “new intelligence” appropriate to this era that we haven’t discovered yet; the formats we retain from the past may not serve us now. There is much experimenting to be done. Dear friends, may you succeed where others have failed.
Filed under: war-machine | Tags: anarchists, anti-terror law, bombings, chile, raids, repression
From 325 quoting mainstream media from Chile:
“Breaking news coming in from Chile about a wave of repression aimed at dismantling the anarchist movement. International solidarity and resistance – Spread this information and take action!
Raids Lead To Arrest Of 14 Alleged Members Of Chilean Anarchist Group.
Police say financing likely came from Italy, Greece, Mexico and Argentina. Police on Saturday led simultaneous raids that resulted in the arrests of 14 people suspected of belonging to a Chilean anarchist group accused of more than 100 bombings. 14 Suspects accused of 23 Bomb Attacks nabbed in Chile.
SANTIAGO – Fourteen people were arrested Saturday on suspicion of taking part in at least 23 bomb attacks on various districts of Santiago, officials said. The capture of the suspects, known to have ties to anarchist groups, took place in three simultaneous raids carried out in the small hours of Saturday in Santiago and Valparaiso. Most of the suspects were arrested in downtown Santiago, while others were nabbed in other districts of Santiago and in the nearby city of Valparaiso. Besides detailing the number of arrests, the prosecutor of the case, Alejandro Peña, also said that another hideout was raided in the Santiago suburb of Pudahuel. According to Gen. Bruno Villalobos of the intelligence agency of the Carabineros militarized police force, “scientific” evidence exists of the connection between those in custody and the succession of attacks that for several years have been perpetrated in Santiago and other cities. Among the evidence pointing to their guilt were traces of TNT on the hands and clothing of three of those under arrest, according to the prosecutor, who added that there is other proof that implicates “six” of the suspects as perpetrators of the attacks.
The raids were carried out by Carabineros agents with helicopter support. Only three of the detainees have been identified up to now: Pablo Morales, Rodolfo Retamales and Andrea Urzua. The first two are former members of the Lautaro Group, a far-left organization that fought against the 1973-1990 dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, while the woman was caught several years ago trying to smuggle explosives into a jail in the Argentine city of Neuquen, where some of her friends were imprisoned. “This culminates a long, wide-ranging work of investigation that allowed us to catch a significant number of those involved in assembling and installing explosive devices,” Gen. Villalobos told reporters.
For several years, Chile has been hit by attacks with low-power homemade bombs using fire extinguishers filled with explosives and claimed in many cases to have been the work of anarchist groups under different names.
The most recent bombs, which were defused by police before exploding, were planted in a restaurant on Aug. 6 in the affluent Santiago neighborhood of Vitacura and, the day before, in a plaza near the summer residence of Chile’s presidents in the city of Viña del Mar. Some time ago a special prosecutor was appointed to investigate the attacks, which up to now have taken the life of a young anarchist, (Maurico Morales) who was blown up and killed last year by a bomb he was carrying in his backpack while bicycling down a street in Santiago.
Those in custody were taken to a police station and are to appear before a court that will define the procedure for their trials. According to Peña, the detainees will be accused “of the crime of illicit terrorist association and of planting explosive devices in order to spread fear among the population.”
Chilean Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter considered the operations “very good news for the government and principally for Chilean men and women.””
Filed under: update | Tags: anarchist, anarchists, anarchy, bad kidz, bedlam, bookfair, books, distro, festival of anarchy, Minneapolis, the middle finger, twin cities
The Burnt Bookmobile and friends will be tabling at this. We are somehow listed as one of the first bunch of participating vendors. Since and because of the NYC Anarchist Bookfair we’ve been accumulating a lot of new books and will surely have more by the time this comes around.
About the Twin Cities Anarchist Bookfair:
“The 11th and 12th of this September, anarchists will be having a Bookfair and Festival in the Twin Cities! Filled with radical distros, publishers, artists, music, crafters, workshops, skillshares, speakers and much more!
We will highlight Midwest anarchy and want to focus on this area, but we welcome radicals from far and wide to share with us.
The Bookfair portion of the festival will be held at the Bedlam Theatre in the West Bank community of Minneapolis on both the 11th & 12th of September. General Admission will be free with donations accepted. The Bedlam Theatre will be able to host the bulk of the activities, but some will be in other venues on the West Bank depending on the confirmed participation.
For more information visit our website
Filed under: war-machine | Tags: anarchists, anti-police, broken windows, portland, riot, vandalism
Although I think a lot of the language can’t escape being Portland in its problematic anti-corporatist and reformist critique, the anti-police riots are surprising and inspiring both in that they happened at all and that they continue.
From Portland IMC:
“We took to the streets yet again last night (4/26). This was an anarchist police abolition march, which meant no reformist chants and no holding back. We went to the military recruitment center on 14th and Broadway, smashed every available window, and pelted the computers. This target is relevant because soldiers are the cops of the world. Just as the Portland Police commit racist hate crimes and enforce and oppressive social order, so to do soldiers abroad.
We also hit two Wells Fargo bank branches. Wells Fargo is the largest financial backer of G.E.O. group, which owns a majority of the privatized prisons in North America. G.E.O. group owns the northwest immigrant detention center in Tacoma, which every year kills immigrants through deplorable living conditions and denial of medical services.
A Bank of America branch was smashed as well. Their recklessness alongside other banks has caused a crisis of foreclosure and unemployment that is endemic of capitalism.”
From Portland police:
“Last night at approximately 9:45 p.m., Portland Police Officers from North Precinct responded to the Northeast Broadway area on reports of approximately 50 people marching in the street and vandalizing businesses. Witnesses reported that the large group was dressed in black clothing and were throwing rocks. The Starbucks located at 1510 NE Broadway was targeted and sustained damage to two windows that had rocks thrown at them. The US Military Recruiting Center at 1317 NE Broadway was also targeted and their front glass door was shattered. Suspects entered the building and spread garbage around the office. A large bench was also destroyed and numerous large rolling trash bins were rolled out onto the street in an attempt to stop traffic.
Witnesses reported seeing the protesters discarding their clothing once police started arriving.
The Portland Police Bureau has taken other reports over the last several weeks of vandalism to businesses in other Portland neighborhoods. On April 12, 2010, Portland Police Officers from Central Precinct responded to a call of breaking glass and sounds of explosions near the 400 Block of SE 10th Avenue around 1:30 a.m. When officers arrived, they found graffiti and shattered windows on the side of the Multnomah County Department of Corrections Building located at 421 SE 10th Avenue. Officers found evidence that some type of burning or explosive device had also been used in the area. Witnesses reported to police that they saw subjects dressed in all black running from the area just prior to the police response.
Police believe these actions are the responsibility of anarchists in the area that also protested and vandalized businesses several weeks ago in downtown Portland. The Portland Police Bureau is preparing for similar acts throughout the week leading up to May 1.”
Filed under: war-machine | Tags: anarchists, anarchy, breaking things, murder, pigs, police, portland, rioting, vengeance
From Anarchist News:
“We don’t give a fuck, the time is now.”
When word spread that the Portland police had just shot a man to death at the Hoyt Arboretum, we knew we had to make a choice: to allow ourselves to be human, or to participate in our own murders, to hide away in sleep and the unfolding of a routine that ends, for all of us, in death. It’s a choice that has been made for us so many times before: by the media, by community leaders, professional activists, bosses, teachers, parents, friends who do not push us to confront this fear with them. We are killing ourselves with so much swallowed rage.
Tonight, we would not go to sleep with this sour feeling in our stomachs. Tonight, we gave a name to what we feel: rage. This is how it started.
Within hours of word getting out, local anarchists met in a park, and decided we had to march on the police station. Not the central precinct: that neighborhood would be dead at this hour. We wanted to shout at the police, but also to find our neighbors, to talk to the other folks in our community, to let them know what happened and call them down into the streets with us. To not let them find out about this murder in the sanitized commentary of the glowing screen but to meet them and cry out to them, the rage and sadness plain in our faces: we cannot live with what has happened. We cannot allow this to go on.
The march left the park and headed through a residential neighborhood, interrupting the dead Monday night silence of consumer-workers recovering from another day ripped from their grasp. Chanting at the top of our lungs, we encountered our own anger, our own sense of power. “And now one slogan to unite us all: cops, pigs, murderers.”
Many expected this march to be only symbolic. Few were prepared for anything more. But we encountered a collective force that amplifies the individual rather than smothering each one of us in the mass. The two who took the initiative to drag a dumpster into the street changed the history of this city. This small sign of sabotage spread. We all made it our own.
When the first little garbage containers were brought into the road, a couple people put them back on the sidewalk, trying to clean up the march, to make it respectable. They were confronted, shouted at. “This doesn’t send a message,” they said. “You can do that if you want, but go somewhere else,” they said. But we have nowhere to go, except for the spaces we violently reclaim. And our message is unmistakable: we are angry, and we are getting out of hand. People continued to be uncontrollable, and soon those who had appointed themselves the censors of our struggle saw that it was they who were in the wrong place. No one attempted to control their participation. They were not allowed to control ours.
Once we got on Burnside Avenue, dumpsters were being turned over every hundred feet, blocking both directions. Folks had scavenged rocks and bottles and sticks and drums. One person had had the foresight to bring a can of spraypaint, also changing the history of our moment. We were no longer a protest. We were vengeance.
When the crowd passed the first bank, a few individuals erupted into action, while others watched their backs. The ATM got smashed. A window got smashed. Rocks and bottles were thrown. Sirens began ringing out behind us. A Starbucks appeared one block ahead. A race: could we get there before the pigs arrived? We won. More windows broke.
When the police tried to get us on to the sidewalk, they were shocked by the intensity of rage they faced. “Fuck the police!” “Murderers!” Their lights and sirens had no effect. Someone shoved a dumpster into the lead cop car. They were temporarily speechless.
Only when the cops outnumbered the people did they try again, with some pepper spray and brute force finally succeeding to push us onto the sidewalk. But we were smart. We knew we couldn’t win a fight just then, and every chance we got we took the street again. We didn’t surrender: they had to work for it. And never did we surrender our power over the mood of the night. Louder than their sirens were our ceaseless screams, our chants, focusing our range and wiping the arrogant smiles off the pigs’ faces. They were visibly upset by the level of hatred they encountered.
We got to the police station and yelled at the line of police waiting there for us, yelled at the media parasites standing by with their cameras, calling out their complicity in police violence and racism. Most of us didn’t worry about sending the proper message or appearing respectable. We expressed our rage and the power of our analysis, our ability and willingness to take initiative and change this world.
The first TV news clips, ironically, were the best we could have hoped for, but we do not put our hope in the media. We will communicate our critique of the police to the rest of the city with our protests, our fliers, our bodies, our communiqués. With graffiti and smashed windows.
It should also be noted that the police have not yet released the race of the person killed. We don’t know yet which community is “most affected” by this murder. We respond because police violence affects all of us, because we want to show solidarity every time the State executes someone. We know that racism is a critical feature of control in this society, and we also believe we must find ways to act responsibly as allies to communities that are not our own. But solidarity must be critical, and it can only be practiced by those who are struggling for their own freedom. It is clear from tonight’s actions that we fight against police violence because we feel rage and sadness whenever they kill someone.
We fight in solidarity with everyone else who fights back. And by fighting, we are remembering what it is like to be human.
In these moments when we surprise ourselves, we catch little glimpses of the world we fight for. Running down the streets, stooping to pick up a rock, we realize that in our hand we have nothing less than a building block of the future commune.
Our commune is the rage that spreads across the city, setting little fires of vengeance in the night. Our commune is the determination that comes back to the public eye the next day, meeting in the open, not letting the rest of society forget this murder, not letting our neighbors numb themselves with routine. Our commune rattles the bars of our cages, and this noise is our warcry: “out into the streets.”
Filed under: war-machine | Tags: 1000 arrested, anarchists, anarchy, anti-hooligan, arrest, climate, police, running battles, summit
According to the Telegraph:
“Nearly 1,000 people were arrested in Copenhagen yesterday as anarchists and left-wing activists fought running street battles with police in the Danish capital as negotiations continued at the climate summit.
Cobble stones were thrown through the windows of the former stock exchange building and foreign office buildings in the city, but police made a large number of pre-emptive arrests under a controversial anti-hooligan law.
Suspected troublemakers were herded into a closed-off street, made to sit down and then tied up with plastic cuffs. They were then bused to a detention centre set up for the climate conference.
Police said four cars were set on fire during the evening. One policeman was hurt by a stone and a Swedish man injured by a firework.
“You don’t have to use that kind of violence to be heard,” said Connie Hedegaard, the Danish minister presiding at the United Nations talks. She condemned rioters after welcoming the main march at a candlelit vigil outside the conference center.
One activist group accused the police of abuse complaining people had been forced sit on the road for hours in near-freezing temperatures.
The day’s main demonstration – a march involving 40,000 people – remained good natured but there remain fears that a hard-core of more violent demonstrators may still be waiting until later in the week, when President Barack Obama and other world leaders will arrive, to protest.”