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What We Know about Summits AKA Why We’re Going to Pittsburgh AKA You Should Feel What I Feel Getting Wild
07/02/2009, 11:27 AM
Filed under: war-machine

This is a call, put forth by some people, for participation and engagement with strategic proposals regarding the G20 in Pittsburgh, for people hoping to learn from the mistakes of this last summers DNC and RNC and experimenting with the tactical possibilities of a summit, while stearing clear of the “summit model.”  The dialog happening around this is interesting, if only in that it is happening.

“This is how we learn, this is how we fight.”

 “What do we know?

1. The G20 will meet in Pittsburgh, PA Sept. 24 – 25th. There will be a lot of police, a lot of people, and a few opportunities to take part in the production of images.

2. The image of revolt survives its 15 minutes of anonymity, but only for some. It is audible to those who are trying to listen. The image of revolt also communicates a pure gesture—the gesture’s capture by the media is never enough to recuperate it totally. A certain intelligence can evade this maneuver and can stretch out the gesture of revolt—its resonance and its duration.

3. The image we want is an absent one. Noise. Static.

4. There is a certain delight the Left takes in the image of mass marches, repressed pacifists, and young people making a bit of trouble. There is a certain delight the police take in the image of ordered crowds, or an ass whooping cheerfully dispensed.

5. Nonviolence begets nonviolence.

6. May 1st 09, US, San Francisco, CA: a medium-sized crowd attacked a high-fashion center of the city. Asheville, NC: after an occupied warehouse party a larger crowd attacked developers, and condos. Milwaukee, WI: a tiny crowd attacked shops.

7. Worldwide: T-shirts become masks; anything that can be uprooted becomes a barricade; bottles, rocks—slightly heavy objects gain flight; everything that can be destroyed is destroyed—especially what we like. Name a city—it’s going down. (Anywhere ya meet me guarantee to going down)

8. Just because we are not that important doesn’t mean we cannot be assistants (see: Kafka).

Two Recent Experiments:

Experiment One “Unconventional Action against the presidential elections will reinvigorate the anarchist movement”

Hypotheses: “There can be revolt without a social movement” or “Revolt can spawn a social movement (See: Seattle Myth) or “Social movements are made up of revolt without unity”

With a year of “organizing,” the anarchist-activist subculture was able to build up hype, and locate complicity with the Left (see: St. Paul Principles). Whereas the anarchist movement was reinvigorated; whereas ties were strengthened and new bonds were found, the outcome was not as any organizers had expected. The specter of a more terrible insurrectional constellation now haunts radical politics.

DNC, Denver: Policing and the Left effectively neutralize any potential conflict. Liberal politics dominate (see: What do We Know? Thesis 4). Lack of shared intimacy and preparation. However, as predicted new and old bonds are tied.

RNC, St. Paul: Social conflict, a bit of cruelty, a bit of care. Improvisation and technical intelligence allow some to interrupt aspects of the flow of the metropolis. Repression of RNC-Welcoming Committee was directed and precise, but techniques at crowd control failed slightly. Whatever defeat was suffered in the street early on by SPD, was avenged by the National Guard.

Experiment Two “The secret is to really begin (wrecking shit)”

Hypothesis: “In an era of permanent counterinsurgency, to be located is to be neutralized. If the fixed and durable location of anarchism is compatible with capitalism, it will survive; if not, it will be raided with gunships and robot soldiers. Either way, there is no threat to the system. And counterinsurgency is not merely a military fact. Socially, fixed identity allows and even encourages the development of contiguous identities and competing identities. The former, amenable to their niche roles within capitalism, become indistinguishable from the identity they border on (not in a chronological process of recuperation, but as a characteristic of the social terrain); this is “anarcho-liberalism,” the necessary complement of “pure” anarchist identity. The latter (competing identities) force anarchism into perpetual self-advertisement, which, by making anarchy a choice from a list of political options, prevents even the strictest anarchists from developing practices that reveal the possibility of a life not structured by commodity consumption. Finally, the ethical location, by equating antagonism with exclusion, facilitates techniques of self-management and self-policing that reduce to a minimum the elements of unpredictability.”

Results: From the Northwest across the Midwest, and up and down the East and West coasts, there have been different frequencies of revolt. We can trace a line of desire through these places and locate territories of social war—not in the places, but in the events (see: What Do We Know, Thesis 6).

U Sh00d T0tAAaaally Cummm PppAaaarrrTTTyyy!!!!!!!!1

 The G20 is not the end of history. It will most likely not even be an historical event. It has the potential to be, but that is not our concern. We are not positioned to shut down the meeting and we are not interested in having our voices heard. To demands for a democratic consensus, we contribute silence. To demands for political harmony, we contribute atonality.

G20 is an opportunity. It is a myth that we can use to our advantage. The simple formula both anarchists and the remnants of the Left are counting on is this: capitalism is in crisis; the G20 is a face of capitalism; to protest the G20 is to protest capitalism. Affective confrontations at the G20 will present a social cost of economic crisis. In the past it would present a social cost for “undemocratic and unaccountable policies.” Currently, we are better situated to protest capitalism as an idea than we were in ‘01, but as the G20 in London showed, a trade summit can merely function as a collective thesis against capitalism—to be purchased by indignant activists, and then placed next to a new copy of The Coming Insurrection. Capitalism is not at idea, it is an assemblage of practices. The point is to make it stop functioning.

Capitalism does not faces us, it hold us. In its extreme phase, capitalism is the system that structures all relationships into flows of capital. We use the myth of the “G20 = capitalism” to our advantage, by refusing to produce an image that protests an idea, but rather materially interrupts everything it can—especially the technologies which produce the image. If we are abandoning the vapid discourse of protest in search of a concrete offensive of social war, then the G20 summit can be put to use only as a convergence of antagonistic subjectivities and as an experiment at interrupting their function in capitalism—how to become non-functional in the metropolis; how to become a contagious error.

A trade summit happens at a node of the metropolitan network, and as such opens up a space of subversion and a space of militarization of policing. It is a place for activists to do activism wrong, but it is also a place for the anti-social behavior of others—the good-for-nothing urban and suburban youth—to form a complicity against the function of capitalism. On the one hand more confrontation is possible with police; on the other, more intense forms of repression are deployed. It is a game of position, and one which is played with speed, territory, and initiative. And the decisive actions of groups of friends are what defines our position.

A trade summit in friendly territory lets our nomadic practices work in our favor. The G20 is happening in Pittsburgh, a city with a sizable anarchist presence, and with an active insurrectional territory. In enemy territories, it is necessary to deterritorialize, in order to leave in place new myths—a defeated police action, an affective confrontation, a rupture with the commodity relation. Wilding out has lasting affects when its force of seduction and its force of resonance cannot be discounted by others who wish to feast on the ruin of capital.

The security forces believe they need 4000 law enforcers to prevent out-of-control situations. Pittsburgh has around 900 police officers, and so far has received support from 400 highway patrol, leaving an additional 2700 law enforcement unaccounted. Likely, they will come from national guard.

If we go to where the police are, there will undoubtedly be a fight. If we can’t win a fight with the police on the terms of physical conflict, we need to locate vulnerabilities and exploit them—even a just few blocks away. We need to act decisively with speed and initialize the conflicts we want.

If 400 highway patrol are in the city, then 400 highway patrol are not on the PA highway. If police are forced to be everywhere, they can’t effectively be anywhere. If there is a police state in Pittsburgh, then there is not one where these forces have come from. We know how to travel. Make plans, be ready.

The wildness in St. Paul lasted about an hour, with a couple hundred participating. It was not publicly announced, or posted online.

I find myself in you.

With a thousand friends, we can achieve just about anything we want in a city. With a few hundred, we can achieve other things. Isolated we can achieve nothing.

We go to Pittsburgh to become a thousand others; if not, we will become a few hundred. We will not be isolated.

For a rupture with capital, and the annihilation of the state-form,”

-a Node in a terrible Community


(This post was note italicized to note quotation to preserve the italics in the text)


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