Filed under: war-machine | Tags: against work, anti-work, general strike, history, may day, the future
From Anarchist News:
Teresa Panza is a small Brooklyn-based collective, taking its first awkward steps, before leaping from contemplative reflection into a protracted theoretical struggle with the State. Our definition of the State – not to mention our aesthetic – was shamelessly appropriated from a recently disbanded group; who nevertheless distinguished themselves as an unsurpassed vanguard during their all too brief existence. Taking their lead, we understand the State as a structural and strategic relation, with varying effects, each aimed at inhibiting and impeding the development of revolutionary re-composition and organization by conforming the latter’s independence and autonomy back into the uniform state of things. While this interpretation makes sovereignty, law, and repression obvious targets for our analytic weapons, the waking nightmare of social harmony prompts us to direct our ruthless critique more towards consensus, identity politics, embodied liberalism, and all other gentle forms of governance that promote a reconcilable synthesis. For us, White Terror is not a shocking and momentary deployment of reactionary violence that begins a period of restoration, but is instead the relentless stability, tranquility and unending calm of the present epoch-less time. Hell is not so much a brutal inferno, but rather it is the guarantee that nothing will ever happen, except endless ridicule and unavailing toil. The Kronstadt myth is, today, the myth of Sisyphus.
From the French Revolution to Hikmet’s prison poetry to Zapatismo’s Durito, Don Quixote has always been heralded as a heroic symbol of defiance in the face of an unforgiving reality. Yet, in the Hidalgo, we see nothing but defeatism; foreshadowing generations of rebels, who will, again and again, blindly run up against the same granite walls. We instead take our inspiration from Sancho Panza’s shrewd wife, Teresa. Never once lapsing into her husband’s malapropism, her proverbs display the sturdy, peasant wisdom necessary in order to make real decisions in an increasingly mystified and groundless age. In what has been considered the first modern novel, Teresa Panza is indeed the only character both able to avoid the knight and his squire’s delusions, while also, grasping the exceptional, just at the precise moment, when it propitiously appears. Today, we identify the same lucid peasant wisdom whenever the facade of serenity, the reign of placid subordination, the prevailing silence and neutrality is exposed for what it truly is: a primitive and permanent war. It is the recognition that an uninterrupted battle shapes peace, and that civil order – its basis, its essence, its essential mechanisms – is, at once, a bellicose order. As our motto, we revive the age-old proverb, which before Clausewitz famously inverted it, was once well known and widely understood:
“Politics [for us] is the continuation of war by other means.”
Filed under: war-machine | Tags: black bloc, capitalism, civil war, crime, identity, insurrection, non-identity, opacity, science, tactics, the streets, violence
Inquiry figure 1: The Black Bloc
Thesis: The black bloc is limited by obsolete aesthetic forms and reduced strategic imagination.
Hypothesis 1: The black bloc will spread antagonism more effectively if it can overcome these limits
Hypothesis 2: The black bloc should:
- Abandon identity
- Abandon predicates
- Develop collective intelligence
- Develop tactics
The black bloc is a method to prepare and hasten the clash. It is an anonymous way of being together, outmaneuvering police, and making attacks that radically alter the way we think about ourselves, power and our environments. Contrary to the critiques by those who fail to understand our contemporary situation, the black bloc is a long-term project engaged in a monastic work to develop undocile contagious practices.
The black bloc is a tension between insurgent identity and event. On the one hand, because the black bloc is a dynamic set of practices, it produces an unstable subject position: the black blocer. On the other hand, because the black bloc is also an event, rather than a fixed identity, it radically interrupts our functional roles as workers, citizens, students, etc. In this way the black bloc is always negotiating a tension between naming—and thus stabilizing—its subject position and becoming indistinguishable from the riot as a few antagonistic yet predictable gestures. While the latter claims an ethics of openness, it also limits how the black bloc can continue to stay unstable and tactically unpredictable.
At the heart of our self-analysis and critique is the question of the black bloc’s meaning. What does is it connote, describe, and do? For us the black bloc means: strategic antagonism.
The black bloc has the potential to connote “we who rebel intelligently.” However, it more often connotes “anarchism” because it is employed instrumentally to essentially advertise for that particular political identity. In most cases the narrative might go like this: there is a struggle, it has a dominant reformist discourse, anarchists feel marginalized and call for a black bloc in order to bring more radical ideas to the surface. In this way, the anarchists vote as bloc—the same way as other political groups—in order to be better represented in the struggle. However, the tactics deployed and the images produced create a heroic specter, whose glorious figure of revolutionary purity doesn’t correspond to the need for anonymity as a practical necessity of contemporary revolt. The use of the black bloc as such locates the figure of the anarchist, the criminal, and the militant all in one place. The black bloc’s objectives: contagiously reversing the operation of power on our bodies, taking back force, and elaborating practices of offensive opacity–are accomplished by diffusing these practices throughout the space and time of a struggle, not by consolidating them in single revolutionary subject. In this way, the very aesthetic that our anonymity rests upon currently works against us. The employment of all black everything separates us and functions to produce us as anarchist subjects with predictable motions and roles we fulfill. Even if a black bloc is composed solely of self-described anarchists, it must resist the ideological temptation to claim it as a terrain exclusive to anarchists. The black bloc should spread anarchy as a practice—not an idea or identity.
The challenge of resonance and contagion is exacerbated by the black bloc’s ahistorical ethical and aesthetic positions. The anarchist figure appears as a body detached from history, clinging instead to antiquated forms. Whereas each struggle to which we are bearing witness appears to itself as something new, the anarchist black bloc remains trapped by the image of Seattle ’99. This is not a problem of the techniques we use to destroy property—we’ve seen a lot of beneficial advancements in that—nor is this a problem in the techniques employed to confront the police. Here we have seen useful developments as well. The use of barricades, rocks and bottles, burning cars; the use of laser pointers to disorient the police; the use of Information Technologies to gather and disperse with greater speed and agility all amplify our tactical senses. The challenge we must overcome is the same challenge at the core of every struggle. How do we lose our predicates? How do we dissolve ourselves into a common?
Imagine the event of an insurrection as either a complex experimental symphony or a drawn out improvisational drama, with a touch of comedic elements and heroism. In either situation, all the participants will first begin with almost no plan or shared sense outside of their environment or their knowledge of their instruments—most times no one will have any intent on playing together. Something happens, someone begins to play, and when the rhythm touches others they join in. Or in the latter case someone speaks, asks a question, and others respond and build on the narrative. In each case the primary operation must be endowed with a force of seduction. This is not to say erotic or pleasurable even, but decisive in how it approaches its environment. The operation must pose a question that is irresistible to answer. An experimental composer once said “the hidden secret that makes this thing function is that the audience wants to be a part of the [...] plot” This originary operation, the gesture that repeats itself even as it grows in complexity, must solicit the response “Yes, and.” This is how we can measure the success of the black bloc. In the experimental symphony, this is how each musician adds their own layers of emotion and aesthetics to the structure, even by altering the initial rhythm. In the improvisation drama, this is how the narrative grows essentially from nothing, then departs and returns to different plot elements. “Yes, and” must be the answer to rhythmic question “We need this, do you?” How this question is posed defines the particular meaning of the black bloc.
As the crisis deepens, revolt spreads. 1+1. simple math. However, instability is a familiar sensation for an economy based on the assumption of scarcity and constant expansion. Capital is well calibrated to crisis, and the arguments that “it will get better, when it gets worse” don’t fare well historically. As the economy is thrown into crisis, control and repression also deepen. In order to integrate antagonisms into a manageable framework, the fields of social sciences, anthropology, and psychology are enlisted to research the finest details of life. Meanwhile others specializing in police science dutifully work to calculate and predict the movements of antagonism in general. Once these antagonisms can be reduced to qualities and data, governments can begin to regulate, distribute and circulate these antagonisms in a way that produces value or guards against any further disruptions. One thinks of both the subtle integration and circulation of identities, the brute force of imprisonment, elimination through police bullets, and reduction through war. This governmental technique, sometimes called “risk reduction”, in practice functions as preemptive counter-insurgency. Here we see that counter-terrorism—as a set of policing measures and juridical transformations—was a maneuver that foreshadowed this epoch of crisis, developing its science over the course of several decades to be perfected just in time to stop the next revolutionary surge. We can’t count on the simple math.
As the environment of struggle shifts, so should our strategy. The contemporary sites of struggle are no longer demarcated spaces of confrontation—summits of the elite where our discourse congeals around a critique of financial capital and around a moral rejection of state violence. Revolt is now found in a delimited environment, more closely aligned with nightmarish war theory, where everything and everywhere is a potential terrain of conflict. There is an increasing need to develop common techniques that are easily appropriated. No one would have predicted that by 2010 a specter of university occupations would hang over the US, much less that a movement of occupations would erupt across the globe by 2011. But given the circumstances we believe this will spread, mutate and deepen. For our own safety locally and to contribute to the historical struggles emerging at a global level, black blocs must be able to pose the question: “We need anonymity, do you?” And as the lulzy hacker group Anonymous proves, the response “Yes, and” may not take the form we expect.
At the moment when struggles were cohering as a convergence of the antagonistic remnants of culture—the cycle of struggles that included environmentalism, third-wave feminism, anti-death penalty, anti-war, and anti-globalization—all black everything attacking the symbols of financial capital was clearly contemporary. The black represented a conscious sense of the way these ethical practices were excluded from capital, and financial capital was the example of shameless entrepreneurship par excellence. However, today our anti-social media darlings no longer conjure a meaning exterior to capital—mostly because these forms (culture) could be, and were, integrated into the general circulation of commodities. The black bloc and corresponding meaning that was linked to a set of subcultural identities is empty. There may remain a caricature in some newspaper making reference to one of our more loud participants–the anarchist punk–but as we all know, there is no longer a world for such a creature. Some may feel a sense of depressing nostalgia for how capitalism has drained our subcultures of what was living, but the emptiness of the black bloc—its abyss of potential chaos—is precisely what makes it more relevant than ever. The black bloc drained of identity has the potential to become open in ways impossible when it was only the practice of a limited set of subcultures. Strategic antagonism in a world increasingly composed solely of hostility now has the potential to shed its veneer and experiment.
* * *
What follows is a set of experiments to be immediately put into practice. The results should be examined, and analyses should be shared through our internal circuits of communication.
This text, although in public forums, is an example of how our communication works. We can say there is something, but there is no need to speak of its content. Thus, a cypher is put into public spheres. The cypher codes that a black bloc is called. The call speaks to those who hear it. It happens. If it happens well, if would appear that there was never a black bloc at all, only the event. However, the real of the event is not pure spontaneity, but the ease with which antagonistic techniques are able to spread and mutate.
* * *
Experiment 1. Street clothes is the new black. Plain colors on the first layer, prints, stripes or plaids for the second layer. Jeans for bottoms.
In some occasions, when the entire struggle is already located as criminal or revolutionary, all black makes sense—that is, it generates a certain meaning, a certain attention to our surroundings. “Black” for us should connote speed and intensity of attack, not ideology. Anonymity can be gained collectively through means other than the color of our clothing. Hats and scarves alone work quite well to make a surveillance camera less effective. An outer layer can be disposed. Shoes can be changed. A large crowd on its own also helps. If a few people in black are throwing rocks, they are easily isolated; if what appears to be “anyone” is throwing rocks, they are concealed by the contagion of the practice. A slow riot, drawn out street fights, the spread of undocile practices. These can be achieved when it is increasingly difficult to distinguish the law abiding citizen from the annotated figures of protest and revolt.
Experiment 2. Slogans and signs are a thin barrier between us and the police—use them accordingly.
Banners, yes; black flags, sometimes.
Black bloc has meant a different way of engaging in struggle. It has meant the advancement of tactical anti-police and property damage sciences. When shedding our facade, we need not lose the tactical intelligence of banners and flags. Banners call attention. Contemporary struggles do not cohere over “ideas,” and we first came to this realization through the black bloc. Like the myth of “free speech” under the reign of democracy, banners provide a thin barrier between us and police. Use them accordingly.
Here the movement of occupations has been very clever and instructive. The first wave of student occupations against austerity measures saw the use of shields painted as books—a tactic appropriated across an ocean and a few continents. In New York instead of the demand “Never work!” or slogans that cohere over ideas such as “against capitalism” banners, we see the intelligent use of an ambiguous narrative “I will never get a job in this economy.” While our creativity remains captive until we are emancipated from the regime of value, our use of slogans and text should be charged with the same meaning as our defensive technologies.
Flags on the other hand have a history which links them to identity, to nations, to a People. Being that there is no longer any People outside the global citizen-producing project of Empire, even those flags waved by the citizens of anarchism and communism are but an empty threat. Just as the Red and the Black flew next to the Serbian flag during the strike to oust Milošević, just as the Black Flag flew next to the Mexican Flag during the Immigrant general strike of ’06, these symbols no longer carry meaning.
Flags also have a different history, a technical history in both combat, and festival. Flags can be used to signal just about anything—a charge, a way of moving together, a certain time in which its good to disperse; they need not be black. And of course, flags are sticks with piece a of cloth attached. Here we would do best to not care if the image is a masked youth waving a black flag in front of a cloud of teargas or a surly old man swinging the stars and stripes at some cops, bellowing about taxation.
Experiment 3. Spread the disease.
Conspiracy means strategize together. The sense of a different way of being together, of getting organized, is one of the paramount achievements of the black bloc. We need to find ways to spread this sense across new fields of struggle. With confidence in our experience, we need to humbly experiment with applying our tactical knowledge to different conflicts, with people otherthan just seasoned riot-tourists.
The first wave of occupations in the US, from the Newschool in NYC to the University of California, saw quite a bit of this experimentation. A line of power grew from a house discussion, a classroom, a bar, a rooftop, and multiplied.
In the western territories, one saw the insulation of cliques formed through these struggles grow with experiment, not without the accompanying pangs and mistakes. The intensity leading up to the March 4th UC-wide student strike proved to be a misplaced nostalgia for summit demonstrations of yore. However, events which followed the fizzled climax generated a certain intelligence about how to engage with Marx’s maxim “Men make history but not in conditions of their choosing.”
The summer of ’11 saw an interventionary strategy, composed of “anti-cut” events revolving around a discourse of anti-austerity by a group called Bay of Rage. While the actions—mostly smaller street parties-cum-confrontations with the police—never generated the results that the initial Bay of Rage participants wanted, they did consolidate a shared sense between them, and recreate their environment as a laboratory of subversion. Moreover, the shared space to practice developed a certain endurance, sense memory, and refining of muscular and mental energy, that, when something happened, was tuned to the rhythm of struggle. Here the normal situation of someone murdered by police quickly took on new meaning as Bay of Rage went from a few hyped actions of die-hards to becoming host to riotous demonstrations of a few hundred. The shift against the Bart police also added to this chorus. The anti-policing sense gave birth to new rhythms and these resonated with others beyond those closest to the Bay of Rage. Anonymous, street youth, and an array of many other worlds joined this choir. The situation continued to build on itself, as more people responded with “yes, and.” We might see the impressive developments with Occupy Oakland in this light.
A small song booklet theorized how this taste for strategic thought might spread outside of our milieu. “When a couple of angry bus drivers, or grocery store workers encounter some of us in this or that place, and we say: ‘there are fifty of us, we have these means, and we want to fight.’ The rest is silence.”
Through practice we develop the means, consistent numerical capacity, and qualitative knowledge and techniques. When our practice effectively re-inscribes the meaning of an environment’s signs, architecture and geography, our presence is undeniable. In such a situation, the ease with which practices can cross-germinate and mutate also establishes the necessary condition of communication—translation, and audibility.
Nearing the end of March 2012 a wild fare strike subtly assaults the subway fare apparatus in New York. A proper action, smoothing the line between our well known clandestine figures and that of an everyman mass worker. The attack targets some 20 stations during the morning’s busiest hours and is claimed by the Rank and File Initiative, a collection of #occupiers and Transport Workers Union Local 100 and the Amalgamated Transit Union. Of course the union’s leadership denies involvement in any such thing. In the an anonymous interview posted on the Village Voice website, the Rank and File Initiative says there were around 3-4 people in each station all disguising their identities, and that union members were paramount to the logistical elements. While the action doesn’t immediately give birth to mourning shop owners, it does function to create rupture in the normal flow of metropolis precisely because those who didn’t pay were all complicit. Here we see the practical mutation and intelligent application of complicity, resonance, and opacity.
The anonymity we need isn’t limited to the streets. Zones of opacity must be established. We need intimate meetings where we can discuss, make plans, and sort out the real material solidarities and resources to achieve our objectives, without the threat of the police. We need to elaborate a system of deciding what levels of trust are required, and how to practically implement this. Perhaps we need a different culture than that of security. Perhaps we need a multiplicity of possible forms of trust. We may not need to know each other for a million years to engage in a collective criminal attack against capital—such as the Port of Oakland blockade—but we need to spread a fluency in this illicit dialect.
The practice of conspiracy, of strategic thought, of breathing together, must be a commons of skills and new forms that we all draw from. Here it is important to reflect on the NYC fare strike interview that followed the release of the communique because it highlights how they did it. Instead of just privileging propaganda to explain our actions through the matrix of social critique, we should explain how to participate—as if it were a game with simple rules. This, above all else, must be developed in the coming years.
Experiment 4. Determine our own terrain of struggle; become unpredictable.
Our enemies deeply examine the geography, duration, and intensity of struggles, and develop their techniques of policing from this. Recognizing that we cannot count on pure numerical superiority and spontaneity means we must elaborate a practice of unpredictable movements and gestures. A central contribution of the black bloc to the summit riots was its refusal to have its movements bared by conventional limits—police, fences, architecture, and protest marshals. A certain fluidity gave it decisive agency. We need to reorient ourselves to this intelligence. Our environments can change based on how we act within them. We don’t have to stay together as a unit, linking arms and marching as a bloc. This is true for a demonstration and the entire space and time of a struggle. We can move through a smooth field. The same techniques employed for communicating where to gather to march and where to regather can be used within the entire terrain of a social struggle and a gathering point doesn’t have to lead in a linear path to an objective. A flashmob could converge within a march at a precise moment, and a precise location (for example: behind the Teachers against Budget Cuts banner) and then disperse and reemerge once we reach this building, this line of cops, or some other sign which we endow with meaning through our self-organization. This could be extended based on our capacity and levels of organization. Using a higher level of technology to achieve a circuit of communication is not the only way to accomplish this, but today’s struggles from the Banlieue riots to the Flashmobs across the US to the Arab Spring prove that contemporary revolt has a penchant for collective intelligence. Spreading and refining these techniques may not be as troublesome as some might think. There may be ways that don’t require everyone involved having a trashphone, or smartphone with a secure text app; its up to us to experiment.
Experiment 5: Or if we really want to experiment with being unpredictable:
Imagine a game spread through the same message and image boards that generate the phantom, Anonymous, except it elaborates the “doing it for the lulz” project in real time. Simple rules: you have to be invited to play, and if invited, you have to play.
Through the spread of #occupy, one can’t help but notice those “live feeds.” With UStream, one can watch and hear the events unfold, and even communicate through IRC in real time with others watching and the person who’s broadcasting the live stream. Imagine some players on the ground, in a demonstration or something else, as avatars, while their friends literally direct their movement. The on=ground player might always decide to do different than what she is told, but it might also be more fun to be whatever, and lose one’s self. Such a game would generate complicities capable of producing a far more terrible practice of offensive opacity by bringing the logic of spectacle to its hyperreal threshold. While certain questions of how to establish the necessary trusting environment, or completely anonymous environment, for such a game are yet to be answered, the technological and social conditions are quite ripe. We see now the spread of YouTube videos highlighting both social struggles and absurd criminal acts of youth for pornographic consumption. Such a game might catch on with far more seduction and malleability than our old game of dignified militant struggle.
For almost a decade, for three rounds of struggles, an assemblage of anti-control sciences has been tinkering with techniques, environments, and dispositions of struggle. While its clear that the black bloc is not the single methodology of contemporary struggle, we privilege it as a site of development because of its easy entry-points, relative flexibility and by the way our conditions continue to summon it. Some have theorized a mythical Plan B in order to supersede the limits of the black bloc at demonstrations. Occasionally, this has been practiced as the black bloc’s ferocity and intelligence, deployed outside of the large demonstration arena. Plan B has also been “attacking your enemy where he is not” within demonstrations, and as smaller gatherings that make dramatic public attacks—using speed and anonymity to escape capture, rather than the cover of a large crowd. While these experiments are conjured by the same spirit, we believe the current situation–a growth of strange and impressive struggles–is not the time to focus on how to intensify struggle, but how to alter our environments in ways that expand the territory of struggle. To us, the musical question is more one of duration and frequency than intensity. Intensity will follow, providing that initial question is posed in a way to solicit “Yes, and.”
We will more than likely be forced to continue this work for another decade. This monastic work of building a long term project of street confrontation and undocile practices is not in order to prepare for an event in the future. It is monastic precisely because the time in which this project takes place is a time contingent on but external to the time of the work-day. Our victory will come not by messenger, nor by the final orgasm of history. Rather, revolution will be the complex unfolding of billions of relations of domination, accented and accelerated by insurrection. From the time we entered this project to the present, the general geography of everyday struggle has condensed and multiplied, continuously paving the urban and suburban human environment in revolt against this society. There is increasingly less time between capitalist normality and moments of rupture. We expect our victory will be the slow, painful saturation of this world in such ruptures. The task set before us is how we will develop the necessary endurance, means, and vitality to be able to make these ruptures inhabitable.
Filed under: war-machine | Tags: anarchy, canada, monteal, red, riot, students, the color red, tuition, violence
Filed under: war-machine | Tags: anti-cuts, anti-police, barricades, montreal, police, riot, students
Filed under: war-machine | Tags: anti-capitalism, general strike, may day, strike, wildcat strike
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.
Filed under: war-machine | Tags: anarchy, anti-capitalism, austerity, barcelona, communism, crisis, flames, general strike, rioting, riots, spain, strike, the movement of riots, Vaga General
“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.”
Filed under: war-machine | Tags: anti-state, eviction, midwest, occupy, occupy wallstreet, police, st. louis
From Anti-State STL:
“Last night close to 150 people from the occupy movement – ourselves, our friends, and comrades – took over Compton Hill Reservoir Park. Met with overwhelming police force intent on evicting the camp, protesters marched into the streets. Where they were met with batons, pepper spray and fists… at least fifteen were arrested and three hospitalized, with severe facial injuries, concussions, staples and stitches in the head, and broken bones.
Unfortunately the cops’ brutish reaction to last night’s events does not really evoke surprise in us. As the armed thugs of the state and wealthy, they go about their business striving (though often failing) to thwart our attempts to escape our material conditions, even if only for a moment. We feel the state’s presence in our lives on a daily basis, both informing and enforcing our every move.
Nevertheless, we refuse to take a passive position in regards to last night’s events: we will not and cannot sit idly by as they carry on fucking with us. Our antagonism for the police is a bottomless pit, and we cannot easily let the images of our comrades bloodied faces pass from our memories.
If you desire something more than the mundane hellishness of everyday life, if you have any love for those who fight back:
SMASH > ATTACK > OCCUPY > EXPROPRIATE > BLOCKADE
TOTAL SOLIDARITY WITH THE ACCUSED!!!
Links to videos of the evening:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LS9b9U_sXc (bloodied comrades at 9:10 and 10:00)”
Filed under: war-machine | Tags: fuck the police, montreal, police, police brutality, riot, students, violence
From Anarchist News:
“We flipped over a policecar on rue Sainte-Catherine. Prole stroll. Everyone was like WHOO! and happy kids were dancing on the chassis, happy cuz they were right to be happy.
Banks got their windows broken. Fancy stores too. A lot of garbage got pulled into the streets, and pylons, and heavy signs. You know, the usual. But it’s the moments when the pigs backed off cuz they were scared! It’s the moments when you get away with political crimes in totalitarian Canada! It’s the moments when the pig cruiser is flipped over and you’re highfiving strangers becuz you’re happy and they’re happy and this is a moment to cherish. Prole stroll!
LE 15 MARS, LA VENGEANCE
We could’ve done better, but we did what we did, and this was the one day when the pacifists weren’t out in force and the people who get harassed by the police on a daily basis were letting loose and we got to share some knowing looks with some of the kids we haven’t seen since this time last year. This was our day, our night. Prole stroll!
SOME REACTIONARY MEDIA:
Journal de Montréal (en français): http://www.journaldemontreal.com/2012/03/15/le-spvm-demande-la-collabora…
et http://www.journaldemontreal.com/2012/03/15/manifestation-contre-la-brut… (en français aussi)
Some comrades are in jail. Many people, perhaps not yet aware of the fact that we live in a surveillance society, did things that perhaps they should not have done with their faces unconcealed. What happens next is hard to say. Maybe the pacifists who got beaten with police batons when they sat in front of cops will have learned their lesson by now! And maybe anarchists can figure out a way to be half as badass as some of the people who were on the streets tonight.
The city is begging the province for more help with the security crisis: student demos everyday with more to come, and now this, the biggest March 15 in years, prole stroll like we ain’t seen outside of a hockey riot, what is sure to be a big embarassment to North America’s crowd control experts. THERE IS SO MUCH MORE TO DO. Onward to March 22, onward to May Day, onward to the continental general strike and the infinite strike! Until neither the SPVM nor any other police agency nor any other institution of domination exist, our work isn’t done.
And to the kids who looted Future Shop and got some PS3s, MAD RESPECT. We GET what we can TAKE.
Let’s save the lucid updates are for when the sun rises.”
Filed under: war-machine | Tags: italy, no tav, police, railway, rioting, trains
Widespread acts of resistance are taking place across Italy triggered by the near murderous actions of the police in Val Susa.
A summary of the latest events - Baita Clarea is an area in Val Susa where works for the implementation of the TAV were due to start soon. On Monday 27th February the forces of order proceeded to evict and expropriate the land in Baita Clarea in order to clear the way for the devastating high speed railway works. On the same day Luca Abba’, a resident of the Val Susa whose land was also expropriated, climbed a pylon in an attempt to block the ongoing military operation. The cops ordered Luca to come down without taking precautions for his safety, pushing him even higher and failing to cut off the electricity of the pylon. As a result, Luca was electrocuted and fell several metres below. Rescue was delayed by cordons of antiriot cops but finally Luca was taken to hospital by helicopter. He is now out of danger although his conditions remain very serious.
Barricades were set up by NO TAV people in the area, which has been declared a ‘strategic site of national interest’.
Protests and blockages are being organized all over Italy.
The faculty of Political Sciences of the University of Bologna has been occupied in solidarity with the struggle in Val Susa.
Here is the communiqué of the occupiers:
LET’S STOP THEIR PROFITS, LET’S BLOCK THEIR DEVASTATION.
COMMUNIQUE BY OCCUPIED POLITICAL SCIENCES
On 27th February 2012 the military machinery of the State attacked the people of Val Susa, by expropriating and destroying lands with bulldozers and truncheons, in order to carry on the insane project for the construction of the TAV.
Among the NO TAV activists who opposed the invasion Luca, a comrade whose land was expropriated by the CMC Company, climbed a pylon to block the advance of the bulldozers.
As cops tried to pull him down, Luca continued to climb the pylon until he was electrocuted by a 15,000 volts electric shock and fell down to the ground.
In spite of the fact that rescue was hampered for almost an hour by cordons of antiriot cops, Luca is now out of danger, even if his conditions remain very serious.
But this is not enough to placate our anger!!! That pylon should have been insulated, police knew this but didn’t do anything, on the contrary they pushed Luca even higher.
IT WAS ONLY BY PURE CHANCE THAT THE STATE DIDN’T KILL ONE OF OUR COMRADES!
It is therefore clear how chief police Manganelli declared war to the valley and to all the people who are resisting, when a few days ago, plainly speaking, he said there would be a dead in Val Susa.
The area of the yard has been declared ‘strategic site of national interest’, which means military occupation and legitimizes unconditional recourse to the violence of the State.
The people of the valley and others in solidarity have immediately occupied the highway close to the yard in different spots, so as to block the access of both the forces of order and the TAV workers.
Since the first hours a great number of diversified actions of solidarity have been carried out in 26 cities [around 80 by now], thus provoking damages and disruptions to the TAV traffic all over the country.
Moreover the solidarity attack went beyond the sector of transport, like all the workers who went on strike on the same morning.
We are aware of the fact that the high speed railway goes across the entire country and that the NO TAV is not confined to the Val Susa and to a single project.
THEREFORE WE HAVE OCCUPIED THE FACULTY OF POLITICAL SCIENCES OF THE UNIVERSITY OF BOLOGNA IN SOLIDARITY WITH LUCA AND THE NO TAV ARRESTED.
WE WANT TO CREATE AN OPEN SPACE WHERE WE CAN DISCUSS IDEAS AND PROPOSALS AGAINST THE ADVANCE OF THIS NTH WORK OF DEVASTATION AND TO ORGANIZE OURSELVES EVEN IN THIS CITY.
NO TAV solidarity from Bologna, Tuesday 28th February 2012.