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The Strike Started Early: Protesters vandalize police station in Mission

According to the SFgate:

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Barcelona Engulfed in Flames

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

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

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

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

More video:


Unlimited Wild General Strike (poster)

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unlimited wild general strike

General Strike – \’jen-rəl ‘strɪk\  (noun) A mass strike in all trades, sectors, and industries in all parts of a city, state, or country.

Unlimited Strike – \un-‘li-mə-təd ‘strɪk\ (noun) An indefinite strike, which begins with no pre-established date for an ending, and will continue until the workers’ collectively decide on its conclusion.

Wildcat Strike – \’wɪ(-ə)l(d)-kat  ‘strɪk\ (noun) An unauthorized strike that has not been called or sanctioned by the bureaucracy of a labor union.

In the face of orderly protests and permitted rallies, Scott Walker’s coveted bill has unsurprisingly managed to slink its way through the legislature.  With only sanctioned protests on the horizon, appeals for calm are the only audible words to be heard, while a stifling silence has become the official response to any prospect for continued resistance.  The union bureaucrats, who yesterday thundered demands from the podiums, now quietly ask us to return to work in the very same voice they use to whisper in a politician’s ears.  Despite their various machinations to maintain passive consent and defeat, a specter continues to hover over the enraged state of Wisconsin: unlimited wild general strike.

In a strange mix of anger and excitement, we’ve watched each other change. As our confidence grew, we began to recognize a hidden potential we never thought we had.  If anything was achieved in the past few weeks it was this – and be sure nothing this powerful could ever be conceived in a boardroom with an executive mandate.  The storming of the Capitol building, the occupation of the theater, and the countless acts of sabotage were the undeniable manifestation of popular rage. Until everything around us reflects our newfound temperament, we’ll be forced to proceed with an ever-increasing fury. Each step forward makes turning back a more cowardly act of betrayal.  Every sign leads in one direction: unlimited wild general strike.

Students, abandon your desks.

Employees, desert your cubicles.

The grand finale will be staged on a crowded boulevard.

Anyone who tells you “no” has joined the other side.

Unlimited Wild General Strike.

Wildcat (poster)


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Latest Statement From Occupied UW-Milwaukee

“We encourage the continued occupation of the state capitol building in Madison as well as the theatre building at UWM.

We call for the further occupations of workplace, university and government buildings.

We endorse and call for a general strike and will stand in solidarity with all who participate.”