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New Pamphlet about the Struggle in Wisconsin | Early Spring for the Badger
06/01/2011, 7:27 PM
Filed under: Milwaukee area, war-machine

Early Spring for the Badger is a collection of anonymously written notes on the Wisconsin February – March 2011 Struggle against Austerity Measures. Contained is a collection of communiques and actions, reflections on the struggle, critique concerning the themes of democracy, race, policing, madness, and violence, and propositions for a revolutionary strategy within the global anti-austerity struggle.

The first 100 print-run of Early Spring for the Badger was distributed at the Look to Wisconsin Conference in Milwaukee May 20.

The demonstrations against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was only the first spectacle of what will become the US struggle against Austerity, and the consequences of global economic turmoil. This pamphlet hopes to sharpen the anarchist and communist critique and point towards a trajectory from which a meaningful counter attack can be realized.

Screen read
To print

Teaser Excerpts:


In Wisconsin, public sector workers, students, and others more
generally occupied the Capitol building to stop it from functioning.
They prevented the legislative process, the transition from paper, to
voting quorum, to the laws taking effect, and thus manifested a force
against democracy. That this was done in the name of democracy
illuminates a crisis of subjectivity within the democratic citizen.
Acting as a negative force, they could not merely supersede democracy
but also make their own power possible. However, something resembling
a politics, a position for itself, can only come about through
reappropriating violence, acting against an imposed consensus.

from The Meaning of Wisconsin section

Social movements act today as limitations that struggles must
outmaneuver or overcome. In Wisconsin, contesting the management of
the social worked to neutralize a latent ferocity and render the
struggle an accomplice to its own racially coded anxieties. Arguably,
the only political act in Wisconsin was recuperation. The Wisconsin
struggle, in staking a claim in the social, self-regulated the
exclusion and discipline of autonomous content and forms, thereby
cutting the sinews of its greatest strength. This process functioned
simultaneously to administer racial codes and barriers that all took
place in the work of government. A different politico-historical
conception of race and a corresponding strategy will arm us against
these measures and prepare us for the crises ahead.


One could engage wholeheartedly in the semantical battle between
violence and non-violence, using rational and historical facts to
create an argument for “either side”, and never discover that their
efforts are being swept along in a cyclone of empty language. Tempting
as it may be to describe the ways in which the arena of violence is
divided along the lines of power, this observation does nothing to
dissolve the toxic affect of a generalized discourse grounded in such
an ambiguous entity. When a conceptual specter such as violence, or
its supposed antithesis, is given the illusion of life—through both
language and practice—it is then capable of absorbing all hints of
spirit from the lips of those who utter its name upon sight of an
escalating situation.


Politicians, activists and sensational journalists will continually
act to draw all attention to the symbolic center of political
activity. All eyes will be on the capitol. While the space of the
capitol building itself creates an interesting zone of inoperativity—a
space for play and experimentation—the space itself functions as the
primary limit to the elaboration of such play. Certain enthusiastic
radicals will point to the exciting ways in which people act to create
new relationships within the space. Such optimism misses the multifold
way in which the constraint of such activity to the space severs such
activity from any potential. Firstly, the presence of workers and
student in the capitol building marks their absence from buildings and
channels that comprise the material basis and flows of capital. Put
another way, if this “making of new relationships” remains separate
from our daily lives (both in space and time) it ensures the absolute
impossibility of changing the activity and relationships that haunt
the corridors of our lived misery: our classrooms, workplaces, streets
and homes. Secondly, this centralization of inoperativity within a
specific geography allows for the efficient and concentrated efforts
of those who take it as their task to manage and re-orient any energy
within the space. From the tone of one’s message, to the degree of
adhesiveness of one’s tape, each element within the occupied capitol
was subject to an absurd level of micro-management, by the
up-and-coming class of activist-managers. Lastly, and perhaps most
sinister, is the subjective limitation intrinsic to the participants
in the capitol occupation. In viewing the building as “our capitol”
and in expressing “this is what democracy looks like,” those captured
by the political-symbolic cathexis of the geography of Madison
internalized the very structure and limit of the building itself. To
physically damage the building, to act out, or to take any material
communizing measures would be to do immense damage to the fantasy of
democratic legitimacy that animates all activity within the space. The
meaning of the building—its mythology of democracy, progress and
people-power—attaches itself like a parasite to those who act within
it. The Madison line, came to name the most passive and impotent way
of acting.


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