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Electoral Politics Recalled: An Evening of Wildness Snakes Through Downtown Milwaukee

From AnarchistNews:

Four arrests Wednesday evening. A “keep it in the streets” protest in downtown Milwaukee followed the re-election of Governor Scott Walker, and was scheduled to respond to the victory of either politician. At this time, four have been released and cited with disorderly conduct and one more recently released back into our arms a day later than the rest. The five that were arrested were almost arbitrarily chosen for their close proximity to the blind and fevered panic of the police. The police, despite their smirks, had far less control over the situation than they want to say. At moments they had to put their hands on their guns just to convince themselves of who was in control. Shit was out of control.

After a year and a half being wasted on a recall election, after all of the energy put into the Capitol occupation and state-wide strikes was funneled into useless electoral politics, there is now room to breathe and begin again. This newfound freedom to act was seen in the streets of Milwaukee with surprising clarity. What started as a gathering of talking heads quickly escalated into a push and shove match with police, whose aim was to corner and stop any unpermitted march from taking place. Within seconds of the march, protesters took to the streets as dozens of cops in riot gear attempted to contain them. The crowd was unwilling to be pushed aside, and worked together to shove back and wind around the horses, motorcycles, and beefy baton-wielding helmets.

The black bloc, though dormant in Milwaukee for years, seemingly reappeared (some in all black, some with red bandannas, and some other groups and individuals who wore some form of the mask) and it both engaged in confrontation and helped to defend individuals in the crowd, while others that weren’t bloc’d up joined in and initiated their own actions. Its very presence declared non-violence an impossibility.

Police tried to stop the crowds, but failed again and again to contain its excesses. People pushed against police lines and horses and pulled their friends to safety as cops attempted to arrest them. One startled cop had some unknown liquid thrown at his face during the first attempted kettle. At another moment of police provocation a member of the crowd wrested a baton from the grip of a cavalry officer, hit him, and threw the baton at another, then jumped into the cloak of the crowd. It was unruly, disobedient, and willing to shove, at least 150 deep.

After twelve or so blocks of low-intensity conflict, protestors made it to Zeidler Park, the planned to be space of occupation. At this point the PA once again became an instrument of boredom as the crowd was talked at by people that wanted to give speeches instead of dance, or eat, or fight. Attention was then shifted to supporting those arrested, and a small crowd moved to the local police station to await their release. No occupation happened, but for now that is ok. All in all, the event was a short but inspiring leap away from the silly matter of a recall election.

When asked about the protest, police chief Flynn was quoted saying that it was MPD’s job to “babysit” the crowd while they “pretend to be relevant protestors”. We couldn’t disagree more. It is only now that the police have been identified as a thing to be fought, and the recognition that democracy will always fail to appease its audience that Wisconsin joins relevant contemporary struggle. Last year at the Capitol there was some confusion as to whether or not the police could be considered a part of the working class and it is very nice to see this question can put to rest. There is nothing more salient to present-day politics than an antagonism towards police.

Meanwhile, the media acted with calculation, minimizing and simplifying events, as they are expected to, creating a safe distance from any possible intensity. To them, it was simply a protest, it was “40”, it was “several”. It marched roughly half the actual distance down the forgettable avenue of Plankinton, when the wildness really cut through Water Street, the center of downtown. We blocked traffic “briefly” (ahem, forty god minutes at least). Their tendencies are to be non-descriptive, to imply that those that got arrested deserved it, and to minimize the actual event as much as possible, acknowledging it only so as to explain it away.

Similarly, the Left attempts to erase the excitement and power we experienced at the march. They talk about a peaceful, nonviolent protest where police officers unjustly arrested individuals to stifle free speech. From their press releases to the photos they post, the shining activists of the 99% were all but crushed, helpless victims.

The truth is that the march wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t been as unruly and forceful as it had been, and there would have been many more arrests and injuries at the hands of the police. There was anger, and there was power.

To the rest of the world that is fighting and making 2012 the year that the world ends: Don’t wait for us, we’ll catch up!

We were not the 99%. We were 150, and we were angry.



Occupy Oakland is Dead. Long Live the Oakland Commune.

From Bayofrage:

May 1, decomposition and the coming antagonisms

THE COMMUNE

For those of us in Oakland, “Occupy Wall Street” was always a strange fit. While much of the country sat eerily quiet in the years before the Hot Fall of 2011, a unique rebelliousness that regularly erupted in militant antagonisms with the police was already taking root in the streets of the Bay. From numerous anti-police riots triggered by the execution of Oscar Grant on New Year’s Day 2009, to the wave of anti-austerity student occupations in late 2009 and early 2010, to the native protest encampment at Glen Cove in 2011, to the the sequence of Anonymous BART disruptions in the month before Occupy Wall Street kicked off, our greater metropolitan area re-emerged in recent years as a primary hub of struggle in this country. The intersection at 14th and Broadway in downtown Oakland was, more often than not, “ground zero” for these conflicts.

If we had chosen to follow the specific trajectory prescribed by Adbusters and the Zucotti-based organizers of Occupy Wall Street, we would have staked out our local Occupy camp somewhere in the heart of the capitol of West Coast capital, as a beachhead in the enemy territory of San Francisco’s financial district. Some did this early on, following in the footsteps of the growing list of other encampments scattered across the country like a colorful but confused archipelago of anti-financial indignation. According to this logic, it would make no sense for the epicenter of the movement to emerge in a medium sized, proletarian city on the other side of the bay.

We intentionally chose a different path based on a longer trajectory and rooted in a set of shared experiences that emerged directly from recent struggles. Vague populist slogans about the 99%, savvy use of social networking, shady figures running around in Guy Fawkes masks, none of this played any kind of significant role in bringing us to the forefront of the Occupy movement. In the rebel town of Oakland, we built a camp that was not so much the emergence of a new social movement, but the unprecedented convergence of preexisting local movements and antagonistic tendencies all looking for a fight with capital and the state while learning to take care of each other and our city in the most radical ways possible.

This is what we began to call The Oakland Commune; that dense network of new found affinity and rebelliousness that sliced through seemingly impenetrable social barriers like never before. Our “war machine and our care machine” as one comrade put it. No cops, no politicians, plenty of “autonomous actions”; the Commune materialized for one month in liberated Oscar Grant Plaza at the corner of 14th & Broadway. Here we fed each other, lived together and began to learn how to actually care for one another while launching unmediated assaults on our enemies: local government, the downtown business elite and transnational capital. These attacks culminated with the General Strike of November 2 and subsequent West Coast Port Blockade.

In their repeated attacks on Occupy Oakland, the local decolonize tendency is in some ways correct.[1] Occupy Wall Street and the movement of the 99% become very problematic when applied to a city such as Oakland and reek of white liberal politics imposed from afar on a diverse population already living under brutal police occupation. What our decolonizing comrades fail to grasp (intentionally or not) is that the rebellion which unfolded in front of City Hall in Oscar Grant Plaza does not trace its roots back to September 17, 2011 when thousands of 99%ers marched through Wall Street and set up camp in Lower Manhattan. The Oakland Commune was born much earlier on January 7, 2009 when those youngsters climbed on top of an OPD cruiser and started kicking in the windshield to the cheers of the crowd. Thus the name of the Commune’s temporarily reclaimed space where anti-capitalist processes of decolonization were unleashed: Oscar Grant Plaza.

Why then did it take nearly three years for the Commune to finally come out into the open and begin to unveil its true potential? Maybe it needed time to grow quietly, celebrating the small victories and nursing itself back to health after bitter defeats such as the depressing end of the student movement on March 4, 2010. Or maybe it needed to see its own reflection in Tahrir, Plaza del Sol and Syntagma before having the confidence to brazenly declare war on the entire capitalist order. One thing is for sure. Regardless of Occupy Wall Street’s shortcomings and the reformist tendencies that latched on to the movement of the 99%, the fact that some kind of open revolt was rapidly spreading like a virus across the rest of the country is what gave us the political space in Oakland to realize our rebel dreams. This point cannot be overemphasized. We are strongest when we are not alone. We will be isolated and crushed if Oakland is contained as some militant outlier while the rest of the country sits quiet and our comrades in other cities are content consuming riot porn emerging from our streets while cheering us on and occasionally coming to visit, hoping to get their small piece of the action.

THE MOVEMENT

For a whole generation of young people in this country, these past six months have been the first taste of what it means to struggle as part of a multiplying and complex social movement that continually expands the realm of possibilities and pushes participants through radicalization processes that normally take years. The closest recent equivalent is probably the first (and most vibrant) wave of North American anti-globalization mobilizations from late 1999 through the first half of 2001. This movement also brought a wide range of tendencies together under a reformist banner of “Fair Trade” & “Global Justice” while simultaneously pointing towards a systemic critique of global capitalism and a militant street politics of disruption.

The similarities end there and this break with the past is what Occupy got right. Looking back over those heady days at the turn of the millennia (or the waves of summit hopping that followed), the moments of actually living in struggle and experiencing rupture in front of one’s eyes were few and far between. They usually unfolded during a mass mobilization in the middle of one “National Security Event” or another in some city on the other side of the country (or world!). The affinities developed during that time were invaluable, but cannot compare to the seeds of resistance that were sown simultaneously in hundreds of urban areas this past Fall.

It makes no sense to overly fetishize the tactic of occupations, no more than it does to limiting resistance exclusively to blockades or clandestine attacks. Yet the widespread emergence of public occupations qualitatively changed what it means to resist. For contemporary American social movements, it is something new to liberate space that is normally policed to keep the city functioning smoothly as a wealth generating machine and transform it into a node of struggle and rebellion. To do this day after day, rooted in the the city where you live and strengthening connections with neighbors and comrades, is a first taste of what it truly means to have a life worth living. For those few months in the fall, American cities took on new geographies of the movement’s making and rebels began to sketch out maps of coming insurrections and revolts.

This was the climate that the Oakland Commune blossomed within. In those places and moments where Occupy Wall Street embodied these characteristics as opposed to the reformist tendencies of the 99%’s nonviolent campaign to fix capitalism, the movement itself was a beautiful thing. Little communes came to life in cities and towns near and far. Those days have now passed but the consequences of millions having felt that solidarity, power and freedom will have long lasting and extreme consequences.

We shouldn’t be surprised that the movement is now decomposing and that we are now, more or less, alone, passing that empty park or plaza on the way to work (or looking for work) which seemed only yesterday so loud and colorful and full of possibilities.

All of the large social movements in this country following the anti-globalization period have heated up quickly, bringing in millions before being crushed or co-opted equally as quickly. The anti-war movement brought millions out in mass marches in the months before bombs began falling over Baghdad but was quickly co-opted into an “Anybody but Bush” campaign just in time for the 2004 election cycle. The immigrant rights movement exploded during the spring of 2006, successfully stopping the repressive and racist HR4437 legislation by organizing the largest protest in US history (and arguably the closest thing we have ever seen to a nation-wide general strike) on May 1 of that year [2]. The movement was quickly scared off the streets by a brutal wave of ICE raids and deportations that continue to this day. Closer to home, the anti-austerity movement that swept through California campuses in late 2009 escalated rapidly during the fall through combative building occupations across the state. But by March 4, 2010, the movement had been successfully split apart by repressing the militant tendencies and trapping the more moderate ones in an impotent campaign to lobby elected officials in Sacramento. Such is the rapid cycle of mobilization and decomposition for social movements in late capitalist America.

THE DECOMPOSITION

So what then killed Occupy? The 99%ers and reactionary liberals will quickly point to those of us in Oakland and our counterparts in other cites who wave the black flag as having alienated the masses with our “Black Bloc Tactics” and extremist views on the police and the economy. Many militants will just as quickly blame the sinister forces of co-optation, whether they be the trade union bureaucrats, the 99% Spring nonviolence training seminars or the array of pacifying social justice non-profits. Both of these positions fundamentally miss the underlying dynamic that has been the determining factor in the outcome thus far: all of the camps were evicted by the cops. Every single one.

All of those liberated spaces where rebellious relationships, ideas and actions could proliferate were bulldozed like so many shanty towns across the world that stand in the way of airports, highways and Olympic arenas. The sad reality is that we are not getting those camps back. Not after power saw the contagious militancy spreading from Oakland and other points of conflict on the Occupy map and realized what a threat all those tents and card board signs and discussions late into the night could potentially become.

No matter how different Occupy Oakland was from the rest of Occupy Wall Street, its life and death were intimately connected with the health of the broader movement. Once the camps were evicted, the other major defining feature of Occupy, the general assemblies, were left without an anchor and have since floated into irrelevance as hollow decision making bodies that represent no one and are more concerned with their own reproduction than anything else. There have been a wide range of attempts here in Oakland at illuminating a path forward into the next phase of the movement. These include foreclosure defense, the port blockades, linking up with rank and file labor to fight bosses in a variety of sectors, clandestine squatting and even neighborhood BBQs. All of these are interesting directions and have potential. Yet without being connected to the vortex of a communal occupation, they become isolated activist campaigns. None of them can replace the essential role of weaving together a rebel social fabric of affinity and camaraderie that only the camps have been able to play thus far.

May 1 confirmed the end of the national Occupy Wall Street movement because it was the best opportunity the movement had to reestablish the occupations, and yet it couldn’t. Nowhere was this more clear than in Oakland as the sun set after a day of marches, pickets and clashes. Rumors had been circulating for weeks that tents would start going up and the camp would reemerge in the evening of that long day. The hundreds of riot police backed by armored personnel carriers and SWAT teams carrying assault rifles made no secret of their intention to sweep the plaza clear after all the “good protesters” scurried home, making any reoccupation physically impossible. It was the same on January 28 when plans for a large public building occupation were shattered in a shower of flash bang grenades and 400 arrests, just as it was on March 17 in Zucotti Park when dreams of a new Wall Street camp were clubbed and pepper sprayed to death by the NYPD. Any hopes of a spring offensive leading to a new round of space reclamations and liberated zones has come and gone. And with that, Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Oakland are now dead.

THE FUTURE

If one had already come to terms with Occupy’s passing, May 1 could actually be viewed as an impressive success. No other 24 hour period in recent memory has unleashed such a diverse array of militancy in cities across the country. From the all day street fighting in Oakland, to the shield bloc in LA, to the courageous attempt at a Wildcat March in New York, to the surprise attack on the Mission police station in San Francisco, to the anti-capitalist march in New Orleans, to the spectacular trashing of Seattle banks and corporate chains by black flag wielding comrades, the large crowds which took to the streets on May 1 were no longer afraid of militant confrontations with police and seemed relatively comfortable with property destruction. This is an important turning point which suggests that the tone and tactics of the next sequence will be quite different from those of last fall.

Yet the consistent rhythm and resonance of resistance that the camps made possible has not returned. We are once again wading through a depressing sea of everyday normality waiting for the next spectacular day of action to come and go in much the same way as comrades did a decade ago in the anti-globalization movement or the anti-war movement. In the Bay Area, the call to strike was picked up by nurses and ferry workers who picketed their respective workplaces on May 1 along with the longshoremen who walked off the job for the day. This display of solidarity is impressive considering the overall lack of momentum in the movement right now. Still, it was not enough of an interruption in capital’s daily flows to escalate out of a day of action and into a general strike like we saw on November 2.

And thus we continue on through this quieter period of uncertainty. We still occasionally catch glimpses of the Commune in those special moments when friends and comrades successfully break the rules and start self organizing to take care of one another while simultaneously launching attacks against those who profit from mass immiseration. We saw this off and on during the actions of May 1, or in the two occupations of the building at 888 Turk Street in San Francisco or most recently on the occupied farmland that was temporarily liberated from the University of California before being evicted by UCPD riot police a few days ago. But with the inertia of the Fall camps nearly depleted, the fierce but delicate life of our Commune relies more and more on the vibrancy of the rebel social relationships which have always been its foundation.

The task ahead of us in Oakland and beyond is to search out and nurture new means of finding each other. We are quickly reaching the point where the dead weight of Occupy threatens to drag down the Commune into the dust bin of history. We need to breathe new life into our network of rebellious relationships that does not rely on the Occupy Oakland general assembly or the array of movement protagonists who have emerged to represent the struggle. This is by no means an argument against assemblies or for a retreat back into the small countercultural ghettos that keep us isolated and irrelevant. On the contrary, we need more public assemblies that take different forms and experiment with themes, styles of decision making (or lack there of) and levels of affinity. We need new ways to reclaim space and regularize a contagious rebel spirit rooted in our specific urban contexts while breaking a losing cycle of attempted occupations followed by state repression that the movement has now fallen into. Most of all, we need desperately to stay connected with comrades old and new and not let these relationships completely decompose. This will determine the health of the Commune and ultimately its ability to effectively wage war on our enemies in the struggles to come.

Some Oakland Antagonists
May 2012

NOTES:

[1] The decolonize tendency emerged in Oakland and elsewhere as a people of color and indigenous led initiative within the Occupy movement to confront the deep colonialist roots of contemporary oppression and exploitation. Decolonize Oakland publicly split with Occupy on December 5, 2011 after failing to pass a proposal in the Occupy Oakland general assembly to change the name of the local movement to Decolonize Oakland. For more information on this split see the ‘Escalating Identity’ pamphlet: http://escalatingidentity.wordpress.com/

[2] The demonstrations on May 1, 2006, called El Gran Paro Estadounidense or The Great American Boycott, were the climax of a nationwide series of mobilizations that had begun two months earlier with large marches in Chicago and Los Angeles as well as spontaneous high school walkouts in California and beyond. Millions took to the streets across the country that May 1, with an estimated two million marching in Los Angeles alone. Entire business districts in immigrant neighborhoods or where immigrants made up the majority of workers shut down for the day in what some called “A Day Without an Immigrant”.



Incomplete round-up of May Day chaos in the Bay Area

From Anarchist News:

Based on media coverage of the past week, here are some highlights:

—Monday April 30th, San Francisco, nighttime—

-Several hundred people march from Dolores Park behind a banner reading ‘Strike Early; Strike Often.

-First police cruiser to respond is covered with paint bombs and has its windows smashed by a garbage can, forcing it to retreat.

-Police who attempt to respond are forced back inside the Mission Police station when the crowd arrives and begins attacking. Windows are broken. the building, several vehicles, and a few cops are rained upon by paint bombs.

-Roughly a dozen yuppie business on 18th street and on Valencia have their windows broke and/or are hit with paint bombs.

-The fence is torn down from around a multi-million dollar condo construction site, which then loses its brand new windows.

-Several cars are have their windows broken and tires slashed. The vast majority of which were luxury cars. One luxury SUV is set on fire.

—Tuesday May 1st, Oakland, daytime—

-Snake marches leave strike stations and attempt to force the closure of several banks, businesses and government agencies (including CPS). Several scuffles break out with police and do-gooders. One such bank is entered and trashed from within.

-Police attack, fire crowd control weaponry, arrests, de-arrests, all out brawling.

-Several banks and ATMs suffer vandalism. As do a handful of businesses, including Mcdonalds.

-Windows smashed out of Police van which is trying to make arrests.

-Windows smashed on one news media van parked at Oscar Grant Plaza, tires slashed on another.

-Plaza is temporarily re-occupied and the surrounding area covered in graffiti.

—Tuesday May 1st, San Francisco, daytime—

-Building at 888 Turk is re-occupied and declared to be the SF Commune once again. Banner dropped from the facade reading ‘ACAB’.

-Individuals on the roof of the SF Commune fight the police who are attempting to evict it. One throws several pipes at SFPD vehicles, breaking their windows and otherwise damaging them. Another masked individual throws bricks at the police, knocking down officers and those standing too near to them.

—Tuesday May 1st, Oakland, nighttime—

-Police attack demonstrators at Oscar Grant Plaza, all hell breaks lose. Running battles between police and demonstrators all throughout downtown. Police use snatch squads and brute force.

-Many dumpsters and trash cans are set on fire along Broadway.

-Banks are attacked by demonstrators evading the swarming riot police.

-Two OPD cruisers are set on fire.

-CalTrain building is attacked

-Four Fremont Police vehicles have their windows and/or tires taken out.

Strength to those arrested in relation to the May Day events in the Bay, and elsewhere.

Freedom for Pax, and all other comrades imprisoned and awaiting trial.

Love to all the rebels who demonstrated their ferocity this week, including those who carried out targeted attacks in Bloomington, Portland, Memphis, Denver and NOLA.

Particular affection for the comrades in Seattle and New York: Seattle which made us cry in the face of pure beauty; and NYC which tried its hardest to do the damn thing, in spite of having to confront the world’s seventh largest standing army in order to do so.

Everything for Everyone! Let’s abolish this absence!
Death to the existent!



The Strike Started Early: Protesters vandalize police station in Mission

According to the SFgate:

04-30) 23:09 PDT SAN FRANCISCO– A large group of protesters marched from Dolores Park shortly after 9 p.m. Monday night and vandalized parts of the Mission District, including the San Francisco Police Department’s Mission station at 630 Valencia Street.

At least a dozen businesses, including Tartine Bakery at 18th and Guerrero streets and Locanda restaurant on Valencia, had their windows broken out and were splattered with paint and food. Vehicles along Valencia and Guerrero streets had windows broken out – an Aston Martin had its windshield shattered and brown paint covered the hood.

After the attack on Mission station, 15 to 20 officers lined up outside to guard the station. The group moved north on Valencia, with the crowd breaking up at 12th and Folsom streets, police said. One officer said of the vandalism, “It was like the station was under siege.”



General Strike Banner Drop In NYC
04/30/2012, 6:08 PM
Filed under: war-machine | Tags: , , , , ,


Between Wildcat Strike and General Strike
04/20/2012, 6:28 PM
Filed under: war-machine | Tags: , , , ,
From Fragments on War Machines:
1)Every general strike claims to originate with a wildcat strike.  Every wildcat strike purports to aspire to the general strike.
2)The general strike derives its legitimacy from the wildcat strike from which it emerges.  The wildcat strike derives its self-justifcation from the general strike to which it aspires.

3) The general strike and wildcat strike are not typologies but tendencies.  A strike’s general tendency is its capacity to expand, transgressing sectoral, national, and jurisdictional boundaries.  Its wild tendency is its capacity to become disorderly and unmanageable, especially from the perspective of organized labor and the state.

4) Each of these tendencies is present, to a greater or lesser extent, in every strike, whether or not it receives the designation “general” and/or “wildcat”.  During a routine strike, the general and wild tendencies are supressed, whether through coercion, consent, or habit.  Yet these tendencies remain present, not necessarily at the “moment of origin”, but as an atemporal undercurrent that both precedes and exceeds the strike chronological trajectory.

5) The general strike is impossible.  The myth of the general strike appears as an unattainable goal, a receding horizon, an absolute rupture that can only be approximated, never achieved.  The formal declaration of the general strike necessarily emerges as an afterthought, confering official status on a general-strike-in progress.  The authorization of the general strike by union bureaucrats merely codifies the general strike whose manifestation is already manifestly manifest.

6) The wildcat strike is unintelligible.  It cannot be called into account, for It does not account for itself., nor can it be accounted for.  The wildcat strike is anathema to any trade union for it flouts the contractual logic of collective bargaining, particularly the premise of formal transparency.
Here the wildcat strike tendency is inclusive of the time honored strategies of shopfloor resistance: slow-down, sick-out, the “checkerboard” strike, sabotage, work-to-rule.  The wildcat strike speaks through code, a hidden transcript beneath the plane of discourse.

7) Both the general strike and the wildcat strike defy the incremental logic of Politics.  A strike’s growth is not additive, but viral, infectuous.  A strike’s wilding is not a planned deviation but spontaneous, unpredictable.

8) If the magnitude of a routine strike is measured in units of time (i.e. man hours lost), the general strike measures its success in terms of its scope, while the measure of a wildcat strike is its intensity.

9) While the general and wild aspects of a strike always co-exist, they tend to operate at cross purposes.  That is, the full realization of a strike’s general tendency typically coincides with the diminishing of its wild tendency, and vice versa.  Because the trade union is uniquely capable of conferring official status on a general strike, the GS necessarily entails the mobilization of bureaucratic capacity at the expense of rank-and-file self-activity.  Yet paradoxically, the general strike cannot dispense with the wildcat origin myth.  Therefore, the general strike constantly invokes the wildcat strike, but timidly, with the realization that the reemergence of the wildcat tendency will be own self-destruction.  The Seattle General Strike Committee consisted almost of exclusively of rank-and-filers, not union officials, but in practice they remained subservient to both the Seattle Central Labor Council (which authorized the strike) and the local leadership of their respective unions.  Similarly, the wildcat strike attempts to escape its narrowness by conjuring the myth of general strike myth, but with the understanding that the formal declaration of the general strike will be its own undoing.

8) The chief limitation of the wildcat strike is its particularity, which is resolved through its counter tendency: its becoming-general.  Conversely, the general strike is restrained by its claim to universalism, which is in turn answered by its countervailing tendency: its becoming-wild.

9) The pure Wildcat Strike (devoid of its general tendency) will devolve toward the Particular Strike, or the Domestic-Cat Strike.  The Domestic-Cat strike is the diminished form of the wildcat strike.  If the the wildcat is fierce, predatory, the Domestic-cat is an innocuous creature, occassionally disruptive, but unwilling to escape its familiar confines, and unable to imagine a life without its Master.

10) The General Strike that supresses its wild tendency succumbs to its attenuated form: the Universal Strike.  Because the actually-exsting general strike always pales in comparison to the myth of the general strike, the general strike will overcorrect this discrepency by presenting itself a totalizing force, the end of history, the ultimate triumph of working class.  As the unfortunate English language mistranslation of the Internationale prophecized, we have been naught, we shall be all.  In the process, the strike’s leadership emerges as the Sovereign, a state-in-waiting.

11) The general strike finds its principal antagonist in the state, while the wildcat strike’s immedaite adversary is the trade union.  But the most dangerous possibility results from the blurring of these lines.  Thus, the wildcat threatens to become generalized as it redirects itself against the state.  The general strike embraces its wild tendency as it confronts the very union that called it into being.

12) The general strike and the wildcat strike are irreconcilable.  Therefore, it is not enough to generalize wildcat strikes, as if the general strike were nothing more than the accumulation of local wildcats.  The general strike must still be wrested from the hands of union officials, political parties, self-appointed architects and logicians of struggle, and other recuperators.  But it  is equally insufficient to call for a General Strike with Wild Characteristics.  The project, therefore, is two-fold: Generalize the wildcat strike and rewild the general strike.

13) The relationship of the general strike to the wildcat strike is both co-dependent and parasitical.  One cannot exist without its other, yet each consumes its other in the process of its own making.  Thus the so-called “general wildcat strike” is oxymoronic for the simulataneous co-articulation of the general and wild tendencies results is an unstable mix that can never achieve equilibirum.   Any effort to overcorrect by policing the boundaries of the wildcat strike or disciplining the general strike will backfire, resulting only in a retreat toward the routine strike, neither general nor wild.  The liminal space between general and wildcat strike is fraught with uncertainty, for in this space both the course of action and its mode of representation remain contested, unresolved.  Yet, this uneasy anequilibrium is a necessary preconditon for the outlier strike.  Indeed, It is precisely from within this tension that a new possibilities might emerge.

http://fragmentsonwarmachines.blogspot.com/2012/04/between-wildcat-strike-and-general.html


MAY DAY BLOCK PARTY at the CCC (in Milwaukee)

“So long as there is money, there will never been enough money for everyone” and in this spirit we share space, food and music with each other on May Day.



Barcelona Engulfed in Flames

“The General Strike of 29 March paralyzed much of Spain. The ports shut down, along with many factories, electricity consumption fell by 24% (even though in Madrid, for example, they kept the street lights running during the day to jack up the usage rates and affect the statistics), transport in many areas was paralyzed, strike participation ran between 80-100% in most industries (and at about a quarter to a third in the service sector and the small shops).

In Barcelona, the general strike began at midnight with pickets closing down bars. In the center, one group of hooded picketers entered a casino, presumably to shut it down, but once inside they carried out a quick robbery and made off with 2,300 euros in cash. Early in the morning, at least 8 blockades, most of them involving burning tires, shut down the major highway and rail entrances to the city. Pickets throughout the morning in most neighborhoods of the city patrolled the streets, blocking transit, barricading the streets with dumpsters, and forcing shops to close. At midday the strike in Barcelona escalated into heavy rioting that lasted most of the day. Hundreds of thousands of people converged in the city center, seizing the streets and slowing down police. Innumerable banks and luxury stores were smashed, innumerable dumpsters set ablaze, and a large number of banks, luxury stores, Starbucks and other chains were set on fire.

In a couple occasions the police were sent running, attacked with fire, fireworks, and stones, and for the first time ever the Catalan police had to use tear gas to regain control, although large parts of the city remained liberated for hours, and columns of smoke rose into the sky from multiple neighborhoods late into the night. Many journalists and undercover cops were attacked and injured by the rioters. Fires spread to unseen proportions, often filling wide avenues and sending flames shooting several meters into the air. Firefighters were so over extended, they often took half an hour to reach even the major blazes, and were often seen bypassing burning dumpsters in order to extinguish burning banks. Dozens of people were injured by less lethal ammunitions fired by the police, and a relatively unprecedented number of people participated in the riots directly or indirectly. The heaviest fighting and smashing was carried out by anarchists, left Catalan independentistes, socialists, and above all neighborhood hooligans and immigrant youth. Nonetheless, thousands more people of all ages and backgrounds supported and applauded the rioters and filled the air with anticapitalist chants. Accounts and memories differ, but many people feel that they have just witnessed the largest and most important riots in Catalunya since the 1980s, if not earlier.

A more detailed report will follow when the smoke clears.
Some interesting videos are linked below, but bear in mind that the most intense moments are never recorded, because the journalists are getting their cameras smashed, and also because generally the government requests that the media not show footage of large groups of people smashing banks or attacking the police.”

More video:

http://www.elperiodico.com/es/videos/sociedad/guerrilla-urbana-barcelona…
http://videos.lavanguardia.com/20120329/54279044815/tiros-y-barricadas-e…



Communisation & Contemporary Struggles

-Wednesday -April 4th -7pm -at the CCC (732 E Clarke St.)

An evening with MEETING / Sic an journal of the communising current

Featuring Léon de Mattis & Julie Maitrejean

In October 2008, the global financial system almost collapsed, putting the word “crisis” on the front page of every newspaper. In 2010 and 2011, the sovereign debt crisis and an atmosphere of unrest all over the world revealed an even more severe economic and social situation.

Commentators everywhere put the blame on the finance sector alone, implying that there is a “real economy” that, if better managed, would be the soil for a sustainable and fair system. But to us, crises are on the contrary indicators and reveal what usually goes undernoticed. The capitalist system constantly undergoes contradictions, and cannot but reinforce, on an ever increasing scale, what it is inherently : a relation of domination and exploitation.

How could revolts against this oppression ultimately give birth to a new world? This question has had many various answers in the past. The communisation current tries to provide an appropriate response to the present moment.

“In the course of the revolutionary struggle, the abolition of the division of labour, of the State, of exchange, of any kind of property; the extension of a situation in which everything is freely available as the unification of human activity, that is to say the abolition of classes, of both public and private spheres – these are all ‘measures’ for the abolition of capital, imposed by the very needs of the struggle against the capitalist class.” -’Extrait de l’éditorial de Sic 1′

Léon de Mattis and Julie Maitrejean are French activists involved in the writting of Meeting/Sic, “International Journal for Communisation”. Léon de Mattis has been involved in the communisation project since the 2000s. He is the author of ‘Reflections on the Call’ and ‘What is communisation?’. He has also published two untranslated books : ‘Mort à la démocratie’ (2007) and ‘Crises’ (2012).

It is greatly encouraged by certainly not required that those attending familiarize themselves with a few texts prior to the event in order to facilitate more in depth discussions and understanding of the material being presented. They are: http://riff-raff.se/texts/en/sic1-what-is-communisation and http://libcom.org/library/reflections-call-lé-de-mattis

This event is free, but donations would be greatly appreciated to help pay for the lecturers travel expenses.



A summary of anti-austerity demonstrations of 02/12/2012

From Occupied London:

There are various estimations about the number of the people concentrated on the streets and squares of the country. Athens had anything over 500,000 people on the streets, it is not easy to estimate it, but before the attack of the police every street leading to Syntagma and the square were packed, with thousands more coming from the neighbourhoods on foot or by buses and trains. Half an hour before the demo one could see the metro stations and the bus stops full of people waiting to get on a vehicle that would bring them to the centre. Every city saw rallies and mass marches, with Heraclion of Crete, a city that holds a record in the recent wave of suicides, having a 30,000-strong march. Demonstrations alla round the country turned violent, with people destroying banks or occupying governmental buildings, e.g. in Volos the branch of Eurobank, the Inland Revenue Offices and the town hall were torched or in Corfu people attacked to the offices of their region’s MPs, trashing them, the town hall of Rhodes was occupied during the demo and still is occupied, to mention but a few of such actions.

Police did several preemptive arrests in the morning hours before the start of the demonstration. Several activists were attacked by police officers in plain clothes and were detained as soon as they came out of their houses, while it was obvious since very early that police wanted to keep people away from the parliament. In there the new austerity package (an over 600-page document that was given to the MPs 24 hours in advance with the advice to vote for it before Monday morning when the stock markets will open) was being “discussed”. Early afternoon when the occupiers of Law School tried to march from the School to Syntagma the police attacked to them breaking the block, while they attempted to raid the School several times during the night, using also rubber bullets. Well before the arrival of most demonstrators who were still on their way, the police attacked en masse the crowd in Syntagma Square using physical violence, chemical gases and shock grenades. After the attack a big part of the demonstration was concentrated on Amalias st, Fillelinon st, Ermou st, Mitropoleos st and Karagiorgi Servias st. People battled with police for over 5 hours in their effort to return to Syntagma. Other people erected big barricades across Korai sq. on both Stadiou st and Panepistimiou st. and fought trying to reach Syntagma or defend themselves from police attacks. On Panepistimiou st. police concentrated much of its forces on the barricade in front of Athens University and people clashed head to head defending their barricade. DELTA motorcycle police raided several times the crowd, esp. in Mitropoleos street, MAT riot police did the same several times but also things went the other way around. Besides the barricades and the substantial groupings of people, demonstrators broke in various smaller groups that clashed with small groups of police or walked around searching for a barricade or to join a larger group.

After midnight the majority of the parliamentarians (199) voted for the new austerity memorandum that -among other measures- includes the drop of salaries by 22% and drops the minimum salary at about 400 Euro per month, while unemployment rate has been doubled (over 20% in Nov 2011) within 16 months.

74 demonstrators were arrested and over 50 people injured by the police were hospitalised, the number of detainees remains unknown.

Several banks, governmental buildings and two police departments (Acropolis and Exarchia depts.) were attacked by demonstrators during the night, while Athens city hall was occupied, but police concentrated forces invaded the building and arrested the occupiers. Over 40 buildings were burnt in Athens, while occupations of public buildings still are holding all around Greece. The Law School occupation issued a statement in early morning of 13/02/2012: “It was decided by the assembly of the Law School occupation that the occupation continues. We call everyone on the streets to continue the struggle. Nothing ended, everything now starts, the Law School is a centre of the struggle and as such it will remain”.




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