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The first excursion out of Occupy Oakland – An Anticapitalist March

From Bay of Rage:

This Friday, Oct 14th, the 5th day of Occupy Oakland, an anti-capitalist bloc led the first march out of Oscar Grant Plaza (Frank Ogawa Plaza). A diverse crowd of at least 200 chanted “Fuck the police, we don’t need ‘em. All we want is total freedom”, “Burn the Banks”, and “ 1, 2, 3, 4 – organize for social war” throughout the demonstration. The march started from 14thand Broadway where we circled around the plaza, stopping at the State Building briefly, and then proceeded to the Oakland city jail by going down Telegraph and then snaking our way through Old Oakland. At the jail, bullhorns, air horns, more chants and announcements of support echoed through the cages inside the stark narrow building. Prisoners inside responded with noise and wild gestures barely visible through the slit windows of the north facing cells. Someone made an announcement about the ongoing hunger strike of over 12,000 prisoners taking place in California prisons and that some of their demands consist of better living conditions, medical care, and an end to solitary confinement.

Joining the march was a significant contingent of members of the local Muslim community who held their Friday prayers shortly before the march set off. An Imam who participated in the march later offered his full support of the Occupation and stressed the importance of solidarity and self-organization. Confrontational rhetoric is too often feared as being alienating to hypothetical communities but, in moments of crisis and revolt, many people are immediately interested in identifying with the radical spirit of the moment. People recognize themselves in the struggles of others and often go beyond what they might deem to be politically acceptable in the normal sense. The once “alienating” slogans of past years, “Occupy Everything” et al, have now become standard and the least controversial of chants.

As the march returned to the occupation, so did the police. They lined themselves along the corner of 14th and Broadway. But it was all in vein. Within minutes, the crowd retreated from the steps of city hall, where they were rallying, and forced the police off the sidewalk and into the street through chants such as “Cops get out!” and “Pigs go home!” They eventually got back into their cruisers and left the occupation.

Amidst the recent resignation of Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts, the police appeared as if they were receiving mixed messages through their line of command and to be in disarray as they escorted the march through downtown. In full riot gear, their attempt to appear as peacekeepers and public servants was transparently deceptive. This made it easy for those in the march to maintain a contentious presence – confident and without fear of police intervention, even when the police attempted to block our route to the jail and intimidate people once the march returned to the occupation.

Rather than “mic-checks” (which in our opinion, and apparently in many others’ who are participating in Occupy Oakland, create a space for loud leader-types that falsely alludes to consensus) Occupy Oakland’s general assemblies are facilitated and participated in through an amplified sound system. This is done in defiance of the city’s request that we do not use amplified sound (unlike other occupiers in other cities who have conceded to the demands of local government and police). We mention this to demonstrate the success of having a non-compliance position with those who seek to control and co-opt our efforts. We hope others participating in occupations around North America do the same. Several days earlier, Lupe Fiasco was asked if he would like to say anything after delivering much needed supplies to Occupy Oakland. While he did end up getting coaxed into speaking to the crowd, he initially responded, “Nah. Actions speak louder than words.” This phrase, however vague and over-used, narrates well the overall tone of Occupy Oakland. The ferocity of this first action and the rejection of the use of “mic-checks” demonstrates this perfectly.

A combination of the radical, collective history of Oakland and a consistent agitational force is greatly responsible for the high spirits and confrontational nature of this occupation. Today’s march is inspired by this history as well as young people with fresh ideas informed by their absent future. While the police are forced to adapt to their current circumstance, we have staged an environment that requires its participants to constantly recreate themselves. If not to keep the police on their toes, then to ensure that we are always interacting with one another in reverence to the Town’s history while engaging with the ever-decaying present.

Expect a full analysis and report back of the first week of Occupy Oakland this coming Monday.

With love,

An affinity group within Occupy Oakland



The Chicago Conspiracy

The Burnt Bookmobile now carries copies of this documentary on DVD for $10 each.

Description from Subversive Action Films website:

“The Chicago Conspiracy is a documentary three years in the making. The project was filmed in Chile, and the story extends into the Mapuche indigenous lands of Wallmapu. The concept for the film was born with the death of a former military dictator. We celebrated in the streets of Santiago with thousands of people after hearing the news: General Augusto Pinochet was dead. His regime murdered thousands and tortured tens of thousands after the military coup on September 11, 1973. We celebrated both his death and the implication that the political and economic system which put him in power might itself be mortal. We began this documentary with the death of a dictator, but we continue with the legacy of a dictatorship.

The Chicago Conspiracy takes its name from the approximately 25 Chilean economists who attended the University of Chicago and other prestigious universities beginning in the 1960s to study under the neoliberal economists Milton Friedman and Arnold Harberger. After embracing Friedman’s neoliberal ideas, these economists returned to assist Pinochet’s military regime in imposing free market policies. They privatized nearly every aspect of society, and Chile soon became a classic example of free market capitalism under the barrel of a gun.

The military coup was a conspiracy initiated by the upper classes in Chile and assisted by their international counterparts. The military’s action and its support from the CIA was executed on the pretext that the president at the time, Salvador Allende, a reformist and supporter of the democratic state, was actually a militant Marxist revolutionary. They claimed his government included a secret Plan Z that would establish a system similar to communist Cuba. The military has never successfully proven the existence of this plan.

he Chicago Conspiracyis a new vision of the military coup that does not focus on the story of the Allende government. Even before Allende’s election, there were armed revolutionary organizations throughout Chile, such as the Revolutionary Left Movement (MIR). During the course of Allende’s rule, some factions believed that a reformist government would never bring an end to the capitalist system. This was the main group to lead an armed defense against the military once the coup was initiated. As the dictatorship took hold, the number of nationwide armed organizations grew to include MAPU-Lautaro and the communist Patriotic Front of Manuel Rodriguez (FPMR) in addition to the MIR.

The Chicago Conspiracy begins on March 29, 1985. On this day, two young brothers and militants of the MIR, Rafael and Eduardo Vergara, were gunned down by police as they walked through the politically active community Villa Francia. Recent investigations by the Chilean government have proven that the brothers were targeted by police; like so many young people before them, they were murdered by politically motivated assassins. Their community responded by creating a day of memory and protest, the Day of the Youth Combatant. Their older brother Pablo Vergara was later blown up in the southern Chilean city of Temuco in 1988.

The Chicago Conspiracy is about today. Following a national plebiscite in 1988, Pinochet ended his rule in 1990. The political classes in Chile only allowed the country to vote an end to the dictatorship out of growing fear of armed insurrection. 1990 brought a democratic government to Chile that continues to further the same neoliberal economic policies that were put into place by the dictatorship. Throughout the film, we follow the social discontent that exists to this day. We explore the legacy of a dictatorship.

The Chicago Conspiracyis about the students who fight a dictatorship-era educational law put into place on the last day of military rule. Over 700,000 students went on strike in 2006 to protest the privatized educational system. Police brutally repressed student marches and occupations.

The Chicago Conspiracy is about the Day of the Youth Combatant. March 29 is not only about the Vergara brothers–it is a day to remember all youth combatants who have died under the dictatorship and current democratic regime.

The Chicago Conspiracy is about the neighborhoods lining the outskirts of Santiago. They were originally land occupations, and later became centers of armed resistance against the military dictatorship. A number of them, such as la Victoria and Villa Francia, continue as areas of confrontational discontent to this day.

The Chicago Conspiracy is about the Mapuche conflict. The Mapuche people valiantly resisted Spanish occupation, and continue to resist the Chilean state and the multinational corporations who strip Mapuche territory for forestry plantations, mines, dams, and farming plantations. The government has utilized the dictatorship-era anti-terrorism law to jail Mapuche community members in struggle. Two young weichafes (Mapuche warriors), Alex Lemún and Matías Catrileo, were recently killed by Chilean police-one in 2002, the other in 2008.

The Chicago Conspiracy is a response to a global conspiracy of neoliberalism, militarism, and authoritarianism.”



Notes On The Trial Of Simos Seisidis

From Anarchist News:

In the courtroom, a picture of a haloed Jesus hung above the five judges sitting behind the elevated bench. Two cameras hung above the judges, staring down at the spot where each witness would testify in front of a Bible. Simos Seisidis sat atop a little podium, surrounded by sub-machine gun wielding anti-terrorist police, one wearing a balaclava. He tapped his fingers against the desk he sat behind, played with a little a bottle, and knocked his microphone back and forth, generally looking bored, staring off into space. Rain was falling outside the courthouse as people began to testify on his behalf. This was to be the last day of the trial.

His mother told the court that her son was innocent and that, from a very young age, he had always been picked on by those with more power than him. A journalist told the court that Simos had been punished enough by having his foot stolen from him and that a concert organized on his behalf had drawn a wide variety of people from all classes in his support. While these testimonies went on, Simos smiled and joked with his friends in the court room who had not seen him in a long time.

Another friend of his testified that after the bank robbery Simos was alleged to have participated in she was followed by the police and eventually kidnapped by them. She was taken to the police headquarters, asked to identify Simos in pictures, and when she said she didn’t recognize him, the police said they would jail her boyfriend if she did not say the man in the pictures was Simos. She told the court that what happened to her happened to many other people. After she spoke, an old communist began to testify. He told the court that he had suffered repression during the dictatorship and that the same type of repression was still happening now in the new democracy.

During this testimony, Simos humorously asked to go the bathroom. He grabbed his two crutches and was escorted upstairs by the anti-terrorist police. When he returned, his sister’s husband was testifying, telling the judges that the police have a vendetta against his friend, that they rely on pressuring witnesses, and that when Simos was having his foot stolen from him, the police would not let anyone of his loved ones in to see him. People in the audience begin to yell when this is brought up, still enraged at what the State did to their friend.

And then it was Simos’ turn to speak. As he spoke, many people began to cry. I cannot translate all of what he said, but I am positive that he said this to the court that was judging him: “I expect nothing from the State. You are the State. I have nothing else to say.” With these words, Simos departed for the day.

After a short break, one of the judges began to read off the evidence against Simos. As she launched into her inquisitorial tirade, the sky grew extremely gray. All of a sudden, there was a flash of lightning, followed by thunder. Everyone in the court began to smile and laugh. When she was done, the defense told the court the reasons Simos was innocent. As he did so, the sky slowly began to lighten. After this, the judges retired to their chambers and everyone waited. When they returned, the verdict was announced: Innocent. Everyone jumped, cheered, and smiled. Even though Simos would still be in jail, the most serious danger was now past. Everyone left the courtroom. By this time the storm had passed and the friends of Simos were able to return home without being drenched in rain.



UWM Theatre Building Occupation



Even feminism? Yes even feminism desires the text of power

(sorry two post two IEF pieces in a row, I have been and continue to be feeling pretty sick, and not a whole lot else seems to be happening or it’s not being shoved into my face while I lay in bed.)

from the IEF blog:

Theory is another word for nothing left to lose. The Institute for Experimental Freedom is beyond masochistic with its bodies, murmurs and texts. We publish, print and distribute works foolishly against their future renditions. The typo or technical error pale in comparison to the shame we experience the moment our desire codified in digital mappings of vectors and typography brushes against the docile or eager appetite of whoever reads PDFs, blogs or printed zines. This shame, a sort of abjection, reverses onto us as it returns ten-fold in so many little confusions: a misinterpretation of a key term, a refusal to love our refusal to be governed by value in its textual form, an anxiety regarding one’s own capacity to be acted on by the text, or feeling outside of the ironic horror we cannot help but know as a world we are attached to. Years ago, we might have simply turned deaf ears to these confusions which come in the way of half-critiques. We may have been mobilized as yet another faculty of the impoverished subversive text apparatus. We could—and have, in other incarnations—modify our words, and our practices of the text as a text of pleasure, in order to suffice as rational discourse. We could be resubjectivized by the grammar of ideology and its pathetic cry for attention; the “ideas matter” of the infant in an IWW shirt who just won’t shut up about Noam Chomsky, or that of the internet forum poster who believes that he might not be such a lonely loser if everyone would just read The Coming Insurrection and talk to him about it. But, we’d prefer not to.

The Institute for Experimental Freedom practices a text of pleasure and text of power, both on paper and on the body. The CrimethInc jabs in Rolling Thunder are no misnomer. We are experimental material, and we’re in it for us, our friends and the friends we have yet to meet. However, this is not to say we are not a part of a stupid milieu like everyone else, nor is it to say we are not trying to find the exit; we are, carefully.

We take the practice of thought, the practice or writing, the practice of power, the questions of “what is an artist?” “what is a writer?” “what is history?” “what are our conditions?” very seriously. And we think through a ruthless experimentation with our lives—by subjecting ourselves and our friends to high frequencies of cruelty, banality, joy, and sadness—we might stumble upon something which we would carefully put close to our hearts and share—with the milieu and with what survives it. Which is perhaps another way of saying, although ideas don’t matter, the practices of a discourse require critique and provocation with which we will lovingly shock the face of any of our comrades or opponents. We have been hoping this would be reciprocated. Alas, still we sit on our knees, while our “insurrectionist” and anti-state communist peers merely stumble on their dirty-talk in front of the mirror.

Nonetheless, The Institute is a warm calculating assemblage. The comments between stories on anarchist websites which have nothing to do with it, the subtle jokes of our friends and hostiles, and the horror of our lovers’ Fathers do a rudimentary violence to our corporeal topographies. From the tidy paper cuts, we excrete just a little red—enough to paint our lips or a small American flag. However, perhaps we underestimate the force of nagging slits on the skin—whether it be political or otherwise. Nothing itches more than a thousand paper cuts.

So we scratch; we’ll give in a little bit. But, rest assured we have no illusions that scratching will make the itch go away. On the contrary, we’re hoping to pull the wounds open just a bit more.

From these rips in our texture we’ll offer these humble gifts: a series of elaborated descriptions of the terms we hold close to our hearts, which demand to be shared.

Still very much wanting the text inscribed against our unsurprisingly thick skin,

-Liam Sionnach | IEF | ’10

A few clarifications on key concepts within many of the texts we publish and distribute in the way of a series of complex glosses to be irregularly posted online.

Without further adieu:

World Civil War | Gloss 1.

Civil war presupposes the modern state. In some ways, civil war can be read as both what was outside of history and then, with the development of the modern state, what became included in history. A comment like “The history of societies thus far is the history of class struggle” has a secret intelligence contained within it when we read it through our magic decoder matrix: civil war.

History and society were only really unified with the development of the modern state. The modern state in Hegel became the subject of history for his philosophy. Marx, among other Young Hegelians made this their object of critique. However, lurking bellow the surface of such idealism in Hegel was Hobbes and the concept of sovereignty. The state of nature in Hobbes was a sort of permanent potential of war of all against all. Law, enforced by the state, would create a clear divide between what was inside the law and what was outside of it; generating “civil society” (or “the civil state) on the inside, and civil war on the outside. This meant that living beings would only be included in human society (and thus, history) once they became subject to the rule of law; all manner of imperial practices come with ease. However, even in Hobbes’s hypothesis, there remained a permanent problem. Law, which gives human society its so-called order, can only be enforced through means which appear indistinguishable from civil war. What Marx discreetly references is not that class struggle is the history of living beings on the planet, but that class struggle is civil war inside the gates; and is the general conditions of capitalism.

The concept of a “world” may be important in some of the ways “world civil war” is used. “The evident is not merely a matter of logic or reasoning. It attaches itself to the sensible, to worlds” (p4, Call). A world is a zone of meaning, sense—“before time, absolutely, there is sense.”(Ok, War it is Tiqqun 1) History is the reification of time as Man’s time, and perhaps even the concealment of civil war. It locates a living being as subject to the sensuous praxis of generating and reproducing human society. Civil war is the free play of bios, of forms of life; life which acts in a world. “Civil,” because worlds are not limited by the boundaries or laws of nation-states and because conflict can take place in myriad of spheres, with a multiplying array of techniques. “War,” because the potential for doing violence to the most just must not be discounted, ever. On a terrain with a multiplicity of worlds, only forms of life who feel their power can act decisively.

Even in Hobbes, if there were not civil war, there would be no need for Leviathan. Leviathan wasn’t a god on earth, as much as the political equivalent of someone who’s afraid of the dark. The modern state therefor had as its object the warding off of an ever present civil war. It coded civil war as “evil”, and put religious apparatuses to work. We could say the modern state’s practices of government had the character of a war against civil war. The development of techniques of governing which corresponded (liberalism) excluded and disciplined dangerous elements. At certain times these elements were juridically coded as “the hostis” (hostile, unknown, outside), and came in the way of invading parties, but also in the way of crime, and later, sickness.

What we call “world civil war” develops out of the modern state’s failure, and each and every elaboration of civil war. Reading its history religiously, we learn that good does not triumph over evil; moreover we learn that coding the state as the hand of god reaches a threshold because its teqinches of power continuously collapse into the terrain of evil. Law cannot be enforced without the possibility of doing violence to the most just. Civil war is then the omnipresent aporia of the modern state. It cannot prevent transgression and revolt and yet it is logically demanded to develop itself to do just that.

On the other hand, we can read “world” synonymously with “global.” World civil war develops as the excess of liberal techniques of power. Capitalism generates a fracture in the being of Man’s time, elaborating the fracture caused by the state. Two representations develop. On the one hand, the bourgeoisie, who managed, tuned, and attempted to master capital, and on the other hand, the proletariat, who produced all value and whose subjugated existence pulls the two into an intense conflict. Because war between nation states is governed by international law, a war between non-state actors forces both parties to develop techniques of war which are out-side the law. From the moment the first partisan disrupted the separation between solider and civilian, the development of an exceptional and irregular technique of war was set into motion. Whereas capitalism created the conditions where the state was no longer the authorizer of the political, and in fact becomes another technology for the bourgeoisie to deploy in order to neutralize intense political relationships, class struggle within capitalism returns the question of the political to forefront and cuts across national boundaries by deploying the figure of an irregular fighter in the image of the proletariat across the earth. Class struggle was the prior most intense configuration of civil war, because of its international dimensions, its ethical character which transforms any conflict into absolute enmity, and because of the proletariat’s capacity to hold the threat of a self-negation: The proletariat is the class which abolish class society through its own self-abolition. However, if the proletariat who came in the way of the working class general strike, and later the diffuse irrationality of autonomous armed joy were defeated—as it was—then what would survive this condition was the representation of the bourgeoisie (at a planetary level) with a new paradigm of war without the limits of national boundaries and international law; who stood on a new terrain without a stable enemy but rather a globe of hostilities which could be intensified, if need be.

With the development of a War on Terror and permanent counter-insurgency, world civil war now returns to its initial terrifying presence. Capital, liberated from the tyranny and stupidity of bourgeois management acts as its own sovereign force and subsumes all hostile forms of life: The phase of real subsumption. The state as an appendage of capital is deployed to give meaning to the world of images by imposing the category of enemy on any one of its own excessive consequences. The ontological character of this gesture is completed once the enemy has been reintegrated into the symbolic-order, either through rehabilitation (democratization) or exclusion (a fair amount of killing).

However, perhaps the proletariat has not been defeated. Perhaps the proletariat is still the class, or vocation, which abolishes class society—and elaborates civil war. In the conditions of civil war against the bourgeoisie with the development of industrialism, the proletariat’s force of negation was contingent on a strategically positioned portion of workers: the industrial working class. However with the dissolution of the both the factory and its inhabitants, and with the integration of subculture and all manner of past “revolutionary subjectivities” into the rationality of commodity production; perhaps there are different conditions and different contingencies from which a more terrible proletariat is awaiting to be revealed. In these different conditions, civil war is elaborated by an equally diffuse, almost imperceptible irregular fighter. The pure negative potential of a planetary multi-cultural petite bourgeoisie. An impure hostis humani generis. An army of sleeper cells with allegiance to no identity; with no more statist fascinations or illusions of a just society; and with no use in the economy of superfluous labor, already begins to advance civil war to its logical and redemptive conclusion: the dissolution of society, social war.

http://www.politicsisnotabanana.com/2010/01/even-feminism-desires-text-of-power-few.html



gas station burned down in the south of sweden during the first days of COP15
12/12/2009, 10:27 PM
Filed under: war-machine | Tags: , , , , ,

From Anarchist News:

“Andra sidan är ni klara?! (The other side, are you ready?!)

This is an act directed against the political spectacle of COP15 – We are not going to let the charades of the political elite distract us from what we know needs doing. Last night a gas-station was burnt to the ground in the city of Lund in the south of Sweden, just across the bridge from Copenhagen.

Unlike the elite gathering in Copenhagen, we consider the destruction of life a serious matter. While they twist themselves around trying to seem concerned, they are fanning the flames of the fires that have been consuming all life it can for hundreds of years.

The fires we build – and ignite – are those intended to rid ourselves of our shackles and create the space to build the worlds we dream of.

We see no other solution to the situation that industrial capitalism has put us in, than burning down gas-stations and all other monuments holding up this system. We are living in a socio-ecological crisis, and it will remain untill we remove it’s cause.

Social war – not socio-ecological crisis”

http://anarchistnews.org/?q=node/10252



New Text Regarding Social War and Climate Change: Introduction to The Apocalypse

The Institute for Experimental Freedom’s European appendages and friends are pleased to announce the completed layout for a new text in preparation for the Cop15 summit in Copenhagen, Denmark. Introduction to The Apocalypse gives a concise and critical analysis of the current ecological catastrophe, the climate change movement and its limitations, and the real existing potential for an immediate reversal of the future. Copy and distribute freely.

(8.5×11) Letter imposed for print PDF

(A4) Imposed for print PDF

(A4) Readable PDF

From the introduction:

“All of us secretly desire for this world to end. The future lasts forever. Or at least, it used to. The grand illusion of Western civilization has always been the myth of progress, namely that the flow of history would beneficently extend into an infinite future. To our parents, civilization offered houses in the suburbs, computers, and automobiles. And civilization delivered. To the children of these workers, civilization offered life on the moon, artificial intelligence, endless peace. All of which have failed to emerge. While our parents cling to the belief that someday the mortgage will be repaid and they can retire in happiness, their lost children know this is a lie. This world offers nothing to us: no meaningful work, no rest, no future – only fear. Over and over again, we find ourselves conditioned like rats by the images of not just our own death, but of total destruction. From the collapse of the World Trade Center to the alien invasion, from the specter of nuclear war to the hole in the ozone layer – and now the melting glaciers – these images ingrain themselves in our very being. These images are nothing more than modern projections of the deep-set fantasy of all religions: the apocalypse.”

Today, catastrophic climate change is the image of the apocalypse. Nothing has escaped the touch of humanity, from the deepest oceans to the atmosphere itself. There is little doubt that carbon emissions caused by human activity may bring about the end of the world as we know it. It’s just a matter of listening to the ticking of the doomsday clock as it counts down to a climactic apocalypse. Never before in recorded history has the question of the earth’s survival been so starkly posed, and never before has such news been greeted with such indifference.

What is to be done in the face of a crisis so large it dwarfs the imagination? We are left with nothing but a sense of impending doom, a strange depression that keeps us oscillating between hysterical hedonism and sad loneliness, and in the end both responses are merely the two faces of the selfsame despair. Those self-appointed to “save” us from this crisis – the governments, scientists, activists –seem incapable of anything but sloganeering: clean development, carbon markets, sustainable development, climate justice, ecological reparations, green capitalism. We know in our heart of hearts that these fantasies give any sensible person as much cold comfort as a stiff drink. Confronted with the real possibility of the apocalypse, the world becomes inverted: to continue as if everything is normal in the present moment is the most refined act of nihilism.

This generalised delirium, formerly confined to only a handful of activists, has spread over the last few years to the population at large, and even the state seems a sincere believer in catastrophic climate change. Observe the reaction of the nation-states who, while in endless summits to “solve” the climate crisis, such as the COP15, continue to build airport after airport, highway after highway, giving industries the remit to emit ever-more carbon. The nation-states continue to act as if everything is normal, while at the same time lying through their gritted teeth that “we are solving the climate crisis.” No-one today, even the children, believe them. Their summits and pledges are mere fiddling while Rome burns. The absurd plots hatched by scientists to avert this coming apocalypse, from putting mirrors into space to pumping water from the bottom of the ocean, have only the virtue of being at least mildly entertaining. There is a distinct air of madness about our rulers, a madness that reminds us only too much of the monarchs of the ancien regime shortly before their beheading. Yet, what can a single person do? The despair felt when confronted by the reality of climate change is an honest appraisal of a disaster where there is no easy escape. Let us hold this despair close, let it nurture us. Honesty is always the best policy for survival.”

http://anarchistnews.org/?q=node/10194




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