To say, as we do, do nothing... This is not to say do nothing.

By way of fleshing out some of the comments made in the review of Platypus, I'll offer an overview of the current that best responds to the Plat refrain "The Left is Dead!" Most if not all advocates of this position argue for actual attack against and the destruction of the Left -- not its reconstitution by reviving the likes of Trotsky and Lenin. They see the organized Left itself as a barrier to revolution (though certainly not the only one), and they see the conclusions drawn by the authors of "Violence at the RNC" as being applicable to all sections of the activist Left.

I read the essay "Impotence of the Revolutionary Group" by Sam Moss several years ago while digging through assorted ultra-left archives [I prefer "ultra" to "left communist" as a catch-all term to describe that loose collection of ideas, if only because it sounds cooler]. I didn't relate very well to the essay at the time -- I was, perhaps, infused with that revolutionary giddiness that comes with youthful activism and couldn't wholly comprehend what the heck Moss was talking about. But it struck a nerve, though I found it difficult to articulate or relate to my experience at the time. The piece wound up being lost but never really forgotten.

But apparently the essay was discovered by others as well -- a duo called Monsieur Dupont had been conversing with various anarchist and ultra-left zines from a position of "nihilist communism" (to use the title of a book of theirs), or communist pessimism, critical not only of revolutionary organizations but the illusion of our agency in moving towards revolution, and Sam Moss was used as a starting point. More recently, a zine in the US has sprung up around the concept, publishing from Kentucky as Letters.

Their position is occasionally criticized as economism -- it may be somewhat determinist (though in their pessimism I certainly don't think they see revolution a foregone conclusion) but it is hardly orthodox marxism. One of their contributions to contemporary discussion is the slow proliferation of the use of the term "pro-revolutionary," as opposed to "revolutionary" or "activist," though the term has been misinterpreted. "Pro-revolutionary" isn't meant to distinguish one type of activist from another, those who prefer the revolution "here and now" as used in "Assuming Hostilities." Rather, pro-revolutionary is a recognition of one's inability to produce the conditions of revolution in spite of the desire to do so.

The resulting difference is striking, as seen when "Assuming Hostilities" asks:
In recent years we have been forced to ask ourselves repeatedly, when the state hits us, why are we so incapable of hitting back in any substantial way? Or when situations arise in our own areas or in our own lives, why are we also so incapable of acting with any decisiveness, with real force?
and concludes:
Our strength will ultimately come from the strength of our relations, how willing we are to have one another’s backs.
An undefined "we" -- presumably pro-revolutionaries, given the address to the "pro-revolutionary milieu" -- accepts responsibility for the situation in which they find themselves and concludes the way out is a tightening of social bonds among pro-revolutionaries and an escalation of attack, and that this attack could create a revolutionary situation. The Monsieur Dupont crowd might critique this as a moderated form of vanguardism (though there are links between MD and insurrectionalist thought, MD remains critical of the insurrectionalist optimism and fetishization of action) or substitionism.

MD expands the definition of "party" much like in the ultra essay "Call," differentiating political parties from Marx's concept of the historical communist party:
The practice of communism, as we live it, we call “the Party.” When we overcome an obstacle together or when we reach a higher level of sharing, we say that “we are building the Party.” Certainly others, who we do not know yet, are building the Party elsewhere.
In doing so, they can critique activist organizational forms as vanguardist while still advocating "the party" as a revolutionary form. The party isn't a political organ per se but the collection of attacks initiated by proles against the capitalist order:
No experience of communism at the present time can survive without getting organised, tying itself to others, putting itself in crisis, waging war. “For the oases that dispense life vanish when we seek shelter in them.”
.... Looking closer at it, the Party could be nothing but this: the formation of sensibility as a force.
It is a recognition of autonomous working class power and organizing to meet immediate needs. Communism itself exists when those needs clash with the needs of capital and organized power attempt to assert themselves against capital. This is a contradiction of one's material conditions and not ideology; to re-orient this argument towards "Assuming Hostilities," then, those authors appear to advocate the spread of pro-revolutionary ideology and the desire for immediate revolution in the here and now, whereas the authors of "Call" appear somewhat less hopeful in regards to converting revolutionaries [I may be projecting here or confusing their position with MD; I haven't read either in a while] and look instead towards resolving immediate neeeds against the logic of the law (which is not to say "Assuming Hostilities" dismisses this wholly).

The growth of anarchist crime blotter blogs (like Social Rupture) is related to this encouragement of conflictuality. The concept of "social war" is described by Social Rupture thusly:
There is a pleasant thread of consistent, though severely under-reported, targeted attacks being carried out against those responsible for the submissive, depressing nature of our lives. The following acts seem isolated, but when viewed together, present a coherent story of an ongoing fight-back. It's not criminality that we necessarily support (i.e.-rape, murder and child abuse are mostly despicable), but the strikes against the logic of the law (both the State's and the Economy's) and it's domination of our daily lives. Some acts are more intentional than others, some more imaginative that others, some more collective than others, but all are worthy of publication, defense and proliferation.
Notably absent is the usual invocation of revolutionary strategy or exhortation that following this path will lead to successful revolution. Whether this is the product of pessimism and hopelessness or just calm, hopeful humility remains to be seen, although it seems SR desires to see these acts proliferate intentionally, imaginatively and collectively, becoming a social force in a similar way that "Call" imagines the Party.

MD's nihilist communist position rejects the ability of ideological revolutionary groups to change the course of history, echoing Moss:
The small radical groups - "intellectuals" who have "raised themselves to the level of comprehending historical movements as a whole,".... strive continually to turn the struggle for immediate demands into a struggle against the system. But beside the realities of bread and butter which capitalism can still offer a majority of the workers, the radicals can submit only hopes and ideas, and the workers abandon their struggles the moment their demands are met.
Moss heaps on relentless pessimism in his description of the class struggle: "The actual class struggle is not waged through revolutionary organizations. It is waged in the factories and through the unions.... We see that the class struggle is today still conservative." For the activist whose energy relies on the prospect of millenarian revolution, Moss' words are sobering, if not enraging. Moss adds a dimension to consideration of class struggle -- that not all class struggle is radical or revolutionary, leading to the conclusion that participation in class struggle in itself is not necessarily a way of immediately opening revolutionary potentials. Instead, revolution is the product of a certain set of material conditions and crises that are largely the product of capitalism's internal contradictions.

Now, Autonomous Marxists like Harry Cleaver argue that the crises come about in response to working class reaction to capital, as a result of capitals attempts to reorganize itself leading to a tightening of its contradictions (a cyclical relationship inevitably spiraling towards revolution). This lead to autonomists to desire engagement with the political process -- I'm thinking of Negri's idea of bleeding government programs ; wages for housework campaign; etc. -- to speed up the disintegration of the social order. Something like an inverted commie form of Reaganism, bleeding the system from the opposite end.

But in their pessimism and rejection of politics, the nihilists stick to their basic argument, that "Our impotence illustrates what should be obvious to all: that history is made by the broad masses alone." Rather than seeking political games and solutions, the nihlists emphasize actions (when they do emphasize action) that enrich proles in the here-and-now. Political organizations and political strategies will at best be destroyed by revolution, and at worst will attempt to lead and divert it.

Moss' explanation of revolutionary groups sums up the nihilist position nicely and offers, along with the insights from the sources above, a spring board from which a critique of activism and the Left may develop:
But this question may be raised, why, then, realizing the futility of the act, do you band together into groups? The answer is simply that the act serves a personal need. It is inevitable that men sharing a common feeling of rebellion against a society that lives by exploitation and war should seek out their own kind in society, and in whatever weapons fall to their command. Unable to rebel against the system with the rest of the population, they will oppose it alone. The fact that they engage in such action however futile it may appear establishes the basis for the prediction that when the large masses, reacting to the compulsives of the objectively revolutionary situation, feel similarly affected, they too will band together out of the same urgency and they too will use whatever weapons fall to their disposal. When they do so, they will not rise from ideological factors, but from necessity, and their ideologies will only reflect the necessities then, as do their current bourgeois ideologies reflect the necessity today.
Oh, I know, I know. Lots of flowery language without spelling out a plan for moving ahead. But that should be welcome to those who proclaim that those most impacted by experiences are the ones who should lead the attempt to respond to them -- to the extent that it exists, nihilist hope lies not in a future expropriation but our own ability to determine our needs, find our commonalities with others, and act as we see fit to improve our lives here and now.
"Call" is another text that may be difficult to read online, and print copies are available. "Impotence" is printed in the (also available in print) zine Total Destruction #4, but probably deserves to be made into a pamphlet on its own. Monsieur Dupont's books "Species Being" and "Nihilist Communism" aren't available in Chicago distros yet as far as I know, but maybe they could be. A zine of their collected writings would also be a worthwhile work-time endeavor...


Bank robbers fail to escape

Three people were in custody this afternoon for making off with more than $35,000 during a holdup at a Far South Side bank Tuesday, according to a federal complaint.

The trio, David L. Newton Jr., Sean D. Smith and Charles M. Smith, was arrested in connection with the heist at a Charter One Bank branch in the 1300 block of West 103rd Street in the East Beverly neighborhood.

About 9:10 a.m. Tuesday, Newton and Sean Smith entered the bank and one of them pointed a gun at a teller, according to a federal complaint. Newton allegedly approached a security guard, asked if he was armed, searched him and ordered him to the floor.

Newton then fired a gunshot into the air, the records show. No one was hurt.

Smith then jumped over the teller counter and ordered tellers to open their drawers, according to the records. Smith allegedly made off with about $35,721 along with a red dye pack before he and Newton exited the bank.

Bank employees said the two then entered a white Chevrolet Blazer driven by Charles Smith, a fled the scene, the records show.

A teller at the bank then activated a silent alarm, notifying Chicago police who eventually found the vehicle abandoned several blocks away, according to the records.

Newton and Sean Smith were found a short distance away hiding under a porch with a black book bag that had red dye stains on it, the records show, adding that the money also was stained.

The two were eventually taken back to the bank and identified by employees as the robbers, according to records. Charles Smith was arrested shortly thereafter and admitted to FBI agents he was the getaway driver during the robbery, the records show.
from the Trib

Chicago to be first stop for Olympics panel

Chicago will be the first city visited by the International Olympic Committee's 2016 Summer Games evaluation commission next year, according to a Chicago 2016 spokesperson.

The 10-member commission will be here April 2 to 8.

The panel will visit Tokyo April 14 to 20, Rio April 27 to May 3 and Madrid May 4 to 9.

The stay in each city has been extended from four days to seven.

The cities found out the dates at a meeting of Asian Olympic Committees going on in Bali.

Upon completion of the visits, the commission will prepare a report that will be issued one month before the IOC chooses the 2016 host Oct. 2, 2009. The cities will not be ranked in the report.
from the Trib


The twilight is red. The sunset is bloody.

For lack of anything better to write at the moment, here's an exciting story from a European individualist anarchist. The biography below is taken from an introduction to his text "Toward the Creative Nothing." It's somewhat arty and poetic and whatnot, and I feel like that can make it tiresome to read on a screen. There are print zine versions available at local distros.

My soul is a sacrilegious temple

in which the bells of sin and crime,

voluptuous and perverse,

loudly ring out revolt and despair.

Renzo Novatore is the pen-name of Abele Rizieri Ferrari who was born in Arcola, Italy (a village of La Spezia) on May 12, 1890 to a poor peasant family. Unwilling to adapt to scholastic discipline, he only attended a few months of the first grade of grammar school and then left school forever. Though his father forced him to work on the farm, his strong will and thirst for knowledge led him to become a self-taught poet and philosopher. Exploring these matters outside the limits imposed by the educational system, as a youth lie read Stirner, Nietzsche, Wilde, Ibsen, Baudelaire, Schopenauer and many others with a critical mind.

From 1908 on, he considered himself an anarchist. In 1910, he was charged with the burning of a local church and spent three months in prison. A year later, he went on the lam for several months because the police wanted him for theft and robbery. On September 30, 1911, the police arrested him for vandalism. In 1914, he began to write for anarchist papers. He was drafted during the first World War. He deserted his regiment on April 26, 1918 and was sentenced to death by a military tribunal for desertion and high treason on October 31. He left his village and went on the lam, propagating the armed uprising against the state.

On June 30, 1919, a farmer sold him to the police after an uprising in La Spezia. He was sentenced to ten years in prison, but was released in a general amnesty a few months later. He rejoined the anarchist movement and took part in various insurrectionary endeavors. In 1920, the police arrested him again for an armed assault on an arms depository at the naval barracks in Val di Fornola. Several months later, he was free, and participated in another insurrectionary endeavor that failed because of a snitch.

In the summer of 1922, three trucks full of fascists stopped in front of his home, where he lived with his wife and two sons. The fascists surrounded the house, but Novatore used grenades against them and was able to escape. He went underground one more time.

On November 29, 1922, Novatore and his comrade, Sante Pollastro, went into a tavern in Teglia. Three carabinieri (Italian military police) followed them inside. When the two anarchists tried to leave, the carabinieri began shooting. The warrant officer killed Novatore, but was then killed by Pollastro. One carabiniere ran away, and the last begged Pollastro for mercy. The anarchist escaped without shooting him.

Renzo Novatore wrote for many anarchist papers (Cronaca Libertaria, Il Libertario, Iconoclastal, Gli Scamiciati, Nichilismo, Pagine Libere) where he debated with other anarchists (among them Camillo Berneri). He published a magazine, Vertice, that has unfortunately been lost. In 1924, an individualist anarchist group published two pamphlets of his writings: A1 Disopra dell’ Arco and Verso il Nulla Creatore.


Homes and Freedom

This anonymous letter was read to the CrimethInc. convergence held this summer in July. The reader said it was written by some friends who couldn't attend the convergence but were launching their own project of liberation:
For the past year, we have inhabited an occupied space in conflict with the prevailing logic of capitalism: everything that can be desired is for sale (nothing escapes the realm of the commodity); in order to survive one must exchange commodities for their representation in the form of currency; one's daily experience, the sum of life itself, is nothing more than a good to be sold on the open market. That space and the lives we have come to know and to love are being directly threatened by those who have chosen to base their livelihoods on exploitation, fear, and the destruction of life. We are anarchists, squatters, and gardeners who by asking no leave, no permission to live, have attempted to take directly some of the means necessary for life: the space and time to breathe and recover from the incessant monotony of school, work, rent, and the supermarket; the thought and energy to mount an attack against all that which is killing us piecemeal.
Unfortunately, nowhere do the authors even hint at where they reside, and so "Midwest" could mean anywhere from Kansas to Ohio. But they acknowledge the fragility of their situation and ask for folks to keep an ear to the ground in the event of future trouble that may be heading their way. They explicitly state their goal is not merely another place to live but a place worth living:
Our project is the destruction of the current social order and the creation of lives truly worth living. Squatting is one means of many we choose to further this endeavor. We have never been interested in finding yet another way to merely survive. Our interest lies in the generation of conflict and combustion capable of skyrocketing us out of this mess.
The creation of a confrontational squat is a relatively new and rare occurrence for the United States, at least outside of New York City. As mentioned earlier, the social situation is opening up space for the reclamation of unused housing. A well-planned and well-defended squat could be not worth the authorities' efforts to evict -- especially when it would mean just one more derelict building on a block of foreclosed homes.

Also interesting is the squatter's ignoring (and by implication, rejection) of using the squat as just another way to leverage city officials for a new homeless shelter or other concessions. Squatting contains the possibility of removing the "housing advocates" or activists that mediate between government and its subjects. The squat contains both the petition and the demand itself, eliminating both the desire for and the possibility of compromise on the part of the rebels.

The Vancouver Woodward Squat will likely be cited numerous times in the discussion on insurrectionary housing; some of the anarchist squatters have provided numerous texts and analysis of the experience. Their piece Squatting or Activist Posturing? looks at attempts to accelerate the Woodward Squat from a 10-day plea for social housing into a permanent, self-managed squat for homeless folks, free of external control, and how "anti-poverty" activists stifled momentum.


Bending the rules til they break

It's no longer hyperbolic or romantic extremism to say that the economy is undergoing massive crisis, and this is leading to changes will upset the status quo in unpredictable ways. Crisis is a demonstration that the authorities do not, in fact, have everything under control. The period of crisis itself is marked both by the underlying problem itself and the attempts of the authorities to re-assert their control over the many cracks that emerge.

Some -- I'll take the opportunity to make a cheap shot at "the Left" -- have already yielded the ground to the state. Argument over the bailout or particular budget cuts are not an assault upon the capitalist system. Rather they point to a desire for a return to normalcy. At the risk of sounding cliche it is insisting to play by the rules of the game even when the rules no longer apply.

Leftists want management and stability; anarchists want autonomy. Left parties continue doing what they normally do in times of crisis because they don't know what else to do, nor do they really want anything else to do. Recruit; "organize"; preach. Anarchists would do well to approach the situation by looking at strategic weaknesses and capitalizing on them while the window is open.

For example, tightening local budgets will mean reductions in police forces:
"I think it's going to mean less police visibility ultimately in the community, and we're going to need a lot of community cooperation to keep the crime rate as low as it's been," he said.
What points towards rupture and unpredictability is that the situation ahead is a coupling of both police under-staffing and an increased need for individuals to participate in property crimes:
"I have been in this business for a long time, and I have experienced cutbacks in the past. Those, however, were done through attrition. I have never experienced the cuts that we are anticipating next year when we anticipate the very real probability of layoffs occurring in our community," he said.
There stand a real possibility that the rules will be changing. In fact the rules have changed, albeit temporarily, such as when the Cook County Sheriff declared a brief hiatus on evictions, throwing absentee landlords and bankers into a fit. The decision was criticized as being selective enforcement of laws, but what it showed was that mass refusal (in this case, of paying rent) can lead to the suspension of reality -- not by convincing the authorities but by making enforcement materially unfeasible ("the deputies were doing the work of notifying tenants that their buildings were in foreclosure, a procedure that Dart said should have fallen on banks, and was costing the taxpayers money"). That the sheriff made the decision and later reneged speaks to the relative class power of those being evicted. It is times like these that offer opportunity to upset that balance of power.

Anarchist intervention can emerge at points where folks understand the need to survive trumps obedience to social norms and laws. The police admit that "When people are hungry, they need to feed their families somehow... Not all those ways are always legal." It's sick and cruel that the officer would take such a callous stance, willing to enforce the law over or against human need. But anarchist practice with petty criminality is a skill that can be offered to others. If criminality is spreading on its own, anarchists can insert themselves to make the push from criminality towards rebellion. Widespread and confrontational squatting, for instance, could be one method of taking advantage of the inability of the authorities to enforce their own laws.

Even Alan Greenspan admits the situation before us is a "once in a century credit tsunami." Particularly interesting is that the authorities haven't entirely figured out what went wrong or how to fix it. While they scramble to reassert order, we should strike.

It is likely that the current financial crisis will yield to the efforts of international governments. But the cracks that emerge offer anarchists space to plant long lasting seeds of revolt capable of moving in the direction of total rebellion.

Woman accused of slashing cop car tires

Bail was set Thursday [October 16] at $10,000 for a Palatine woman accused of knifing tires on a police squad car.

Simone Duncan, 18, of the 400 block of East Spruce Drive was charged with felony criminal damage to government property, said Assistant Cook County State's Atty. Kristin Piper.

Duncan was arrested about 2:40 a.m. Thursday outside the Police Department.

She allegedly was upset at not being allowed to post bail for her jailed boyfriend, Piper said.
from the Trib


Threatening letters mailed to banks

At least a dozen more suspicious letters turned up Wednesday at financial institutions nationwide, but all appear to be harmless, the FBI said.

Authorities said nearly 50 letters in all, some filled with white powder, have been sent to Chase Bank branches and federal regulatory offices in 11 cities: Atlanta, Chicago, Columbus, Ohio, Dallas, Denver, Newark, N.J., New York City, Okalhoma City, Phoenix, San Francisco and Washington.

So far, the letters have tested negative for poisonous or otherwise dangerous toxins, FBI spokesman Richard Kolko said in Washington.

An FBI spokesman in Oklahoma, where eight letters turned up, said local preliminary assessments showed the powder was harmless calcium.

The letters first began surfacing Monday, forcing some bank branches to close. No injuries were reported, but some Chase employees, including a pregnant woman, were examined as a precaution. Chase branches around the country "are on alert," said JPMorgan Chase spokesman Greg Hassell.

Authorities said the letters appear to be from the same source, and were focusing on possible suspects near Amarillo, Texas, where the envelopes were postmarked.

The incident was being investigated as a first, if extreme, public backlash over the nation's financial crisis.
from the Trib


We are currently the we of our conditions; we seek to cultivate a we of our direction.

This essay from an issue of the Earth First Journal explores the idea of social war from an ecological starting point, expanding beyond activism and becoming a material force.
The we of our conditions is the we of a position within a capitalism, but it is also the we of the capitalism itself. If we are not the we of activism and not merely the we of arson, then what use are the communities we associate with? The point is not to denounce our communities, our identities, but to reveal the true power of those communities and identities if they were liberated from the hand of politics. We are alienated, isolated and disempowered when we are no longer at the Summer Rendezvous, the gathering, the potluck. We are weak without a community of support.

However, the weakness, sadness and alienation, are where we spend most of our time and where most of the human population spends its time too.

If we deconstructed our old selves, our old communities, what would we have left? Social relations, customs, rituals? Exploitation at work, structured gender relations, racialized power, reproductive systems of control, so many prisons? Thus, we will not have class struggle as our objective but social war. What if we recognized ourselves as the we of our conditions, and then attempted to meet and communicate with others who share similar conditions? What’s more, what if we attempted to not merely understand ourselves as a community of capital but to direct our struggle in a way that is intended to make us powerful? This would cause us to inhabit social war—with a clear understanding of our experience as a component of a total system of social relations. Social war can then become both the fruit and the path of an anti-capitalist, ecological social force. Once we’ve cast off the shell of our political identity, a real we will be illuminated. Only then can we talk about rewilding and going feral. It is precisely there—when our we is a mirror to the rest of the human population—that such “escapism” becomes a real force.

The only we of our direction is made up of those of us who are searching for an Other we. It is this Other we that makes social war its object, that will appropriate all knowledge from all existing culture and that will also be appropriated by the aesthetics, sciences and social environments produced through culture. The we of our direction—an anti-capitalist and ecological direction—becomes powerful when it is attached to realities. Thus, the we of our direction is biocentric because it understands itself as inseparable from its conditions. Our anti-capitalist, ecological social force is the union of our need to exist on the Earth as participants in an ecosystem and the desire to edit, transform and play with what being human means.

Ontario: Attack on CP Rail

In an attempt to cause a shitload of economic damage to the infrastructure of the CP rail main-line, we cut down two telephone poles across the tracks just to the north of their main intermodal yard outside Toronto. A pile of fallen trees was ignited with gasoline across the tracks, and we molotov’d one of those weird grey box things that look pretty important and are full of electrical shit. We also tied copper wire across the tracks to signal the blockage so no one would get hurt. That was way more exciting than a turkey dinner!

It’s shit cool that all you people been bringing the ruckus all over the country to mess with the Olympics and its Spirit Train business. That exhibition of nationalism and colonization has got all the rich motherfuckers greasin’ the pockets of development tycoons. Sure this shit’s been loomin’ round all our hoods for a while, but you throw in the Olympic Games and crackers like Bob Rennie can’t get enough. This spectacle is quickening the pace of yet another yuppie takeover. It aint gonna stop if we ask it nicely; it didn’t before the Olympics and sure won’t after!

For us the Spirit Train is every train, they’re all spreading “Olympic spirit”, or more like the spirit of capitalism: construction materials, military equipment, useless consumer products, tourists... Fuck it all. Every ride on the rails is a ride for the same invasion that’s been goin on since the railway was built to colonize this whole place. This rail system has been developed and is utilized to serve our exploiters and enemies. As long as the exploiters exist, infrastructure will always be their weapon. So we wanna destroy it all... their railway, highways, cameras, telecommunications, it’s all serving the masters and their police. We’re not interested in expressing our dissatisfaction at a symbolic part of the problem. We want to actually dismantle the whole system and hit these cracker-ass-capitalists where it hurts. It’s not just the Spirit Train; it’s every train, the tracks and the social structure they maintain!

This is solidarity with all the comrades raisin’ hell wherever they live. Keep the struggle burning locally, and your solidarity reaches globally. This chaos was for the warriors everywhere who are still facing charges for their involvement in acts of resistance quite like this one. It don’t matter how hard they come down on us cause there are too many of us waiting to explode. Let’s show ’em what we can do and aim for our actual objective!

Every train- stopped, every track- untied, every jail- destroyed!

from Infoshop


2 Chicago banks robbed today

Robbers struck at two banks in different parts of Chicago within hours today, bringing the total number of bank heists to at least 170 for the year in the area, federal officials said.

The heists appeared to involve different suspects, based on physical descriptions.

The first robbery occurred around 8 a.m. when a masked man walked into Archer Bank Central, 5821 S. Archer Ave., and announced a robbery, according to the FBI. The man, who was armed with a handgun and described as tall and slim, took off with an undisclosed amount of cash.

The second report came in about three hours later at a Chase Bank branch at 5813 N. Milwaukee Ave. A shorter man, roughly 5 feet 5 inches tall and wearing a hooded sweatshirt, came into the bank and implied he had a weapon.

The suspect did not show a weapon, and he left after getting an unknown amount of cash.

FBI spokeswoman Cynthia Yates said bank robberies in the Chicago region in 2008 are on pace to fall below last year's total of 226 bank heists. There were a record-breaking 284 bank robberies in the area in 2006.

from the Trib

Thoughts on Purpose

The Chicago radical milieu offers little space for anarchists; our city is home to the headquarters of a number of ancient Left-wing and socialist organizations determined to survive by devouring the energy and creativity the young and the angry and opportunistically exploiting the struggles of the oppressed towards consolidating their own power.

Anarchists are intelligent, curious, numerous and quite capable of defining our own strategy for moving forward. Instead, we find ourselves wrapped up in vague anti-capitalist projects tolerant of Leftist discourse and caught in a web of activist coalition building, rather than building authentic, autonomous class power independent of the usual sign-holder circus.

Some of us see potential in stoking latent subversive tendencies and encouraging their spread, as well as inventing new methods of revolt and experimenting with their use. This blog hopes to see the spread of discussions of anarchist "trajectory," strategic anarchist intervention into struggles with the potential for rebellion and a conscious moving forward and use of our power in the most desirable way possible.


Platypus: Corpses in their Mouths

To be honest I don't really want to give any extra attention to the folks at Platypus, a Chicago-based Marxist student reading group. But through the publication of their newsletter and their hosting of open discussions they've earned some attention within Chicago activist, Left and anarchist circles, and, no matter one's opinion on their politics or behavior, they deserve a fair amount of respect for attempting to reinvigorate rigorous theoretical analysis and challenge others. Chicago activists -- and certainly this goes for the anarchists too -- by and large seem to play with kid gloves, preferring superficial agreement and a weird united front Leftist politics to engaging critically with themselves and one another. The resentment and anger (rather than attack, intellectual and otherwise) generated by Platypus is indicative of this.

The Platypus Project as a whole deserves an excruciating response, if only to finally bury their project of resurrecting decaying corpses of the Left, but I'll save that for another time. Instead I'll start by hacking at a weak branch, two pieces in their latest October 2008 newsletter that attempt to critique protest violence at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul.

The first essay, A polemic on protest: Reflections on the RNC resistance, displays a total misunderstanding of the goals and motivations of many of those who participated in confrontational and destructive action at the RNC, misconstrues the violence that did happen, and in general is a specious and confusing conflation of ideas and experiences.

In it, the author states she refused participation in illegal protests at the RNC for two reasons: one, because the possibility of arrest wasn't financially feasible. While this is a legitimate reason, it implies for those who did choose to do so arrest was financially feasible. This was definitely not the case for everyone, and those who elected to participate likely weighed a variety of factors -- say, financial feasibility, legal and other consequences on one's life vs. participation in joyful destruction. To give the benefit of the doubt, this is a subjective first-person piece, so it's inclusion probably wasn't to raise doubts about "trust fund" summit hoppers but explain why the author made her reasonable decision.

The second is that she didn't believe she would agree with the whole agenda (presumably of the many others who would also be doing illegal things). This begs the question of whether this is the author's consistent position -- is agreeing with an entire agenda the prerequisite for engaging in illegal action, any political action, or anything at all? This isn't clarified, but for the sake of the argument I'll presume she means illegal action, seeing as she did join the legal anti-war march but presumably holds positions counter to the mish-mash of groups participating (it would, in fact, be impossible to agree with the entire agenda and retain one's sanity). And from here begins the convoluted critique of violence at the RNC.

The author is not a pacifist, and the critique is presented from a strategic standpoint, as she states: "Given tangible goals, sometimes destruction makes sense. ... The violence at the RNC seems to me completely goal-less." Looking at history, she says, "The Autonomen, the original Black Bloc, protected their squats through aggressive confrontation. This is a real, concrete goal. Fighting to end ‘Republican’ ideology is not. Breaking a Department store window will not end American conservativism."

The confrontational protests that were planned were never intended to end republican or conservative ideology. Groups like Unconventional Action and the RNC Welcoming Committee were fairly clear about their goals of disrupting the conventions: "we can expect the 2008 conventions to be a major flashpoint. If we successfully disrupt them, this will inaugurate a new era of oppositional activity." Anarchists aren't delusional enough to think that a protest -- no matter how wild and crazy -- would convince delegates and politicans to change their minds. The goal was to come together as a force; to exert power; to create a wild and free space in a prison, under the watch of the guards and, with luck, expanding it beyond their watch.

A communique from a section of the RNC black bloc stated it thusly: "We make these attacks because we wish to improve our conditions immediately and to do so in way that violates the peace treaty signed by the managers of politics." The goal of the Platypus author is a political one, seeking protest, compromise and negotiation with authority; the goal of the black bloc is open revolt whenever possible:
... to even accept the goal of shutting down the convention requires accepting the discourse of power the RNC itself represents. It is a gathering of figureheads, nothing more. It is not a strike against the heart of the system; at best it is a site where we can manifest social war.
The Platypus author then criticizes property destruction as creating more work for working class folks (as if they'd have the day off otherwise!) and inserts an off-topic tangent about hypothetical illegal action at immigrant rights marches, neither of which deserve a response here.

The author then makes two assertions about social movement that warrant special attention. Critically she says , "When polarization occurs within the 'movement' itself, we become weaker, more divided and further and further away from the revolution," and that to create that unity, "there needs to be an idea big enough for everyone to agree on, an idea that takes precedence over the fun of diverse tactics." Her contention is that "the movement" (anti-war? anti-capitalist? anarchist? the "real movement towards communism"?) is a vessel towards revolution, something that deserves investigation in its own right. It also presumes that all the tendencies present at the RNC were a part of the same movement and should be unified (that Maoists, social democrats, greens and conspiracy theorists have something substantial in common with anarchists). And who is everyone that should agree on this idea? Activists and anti-capitalists? The working class? The whole world? More worrisome, what kind of idea is so big everyone can agree on it? The only answer I can find is the one which the author rejects -- negation.

I don't want to agree with everyone. I want a world where individuals are unique, and our unique needs and desires are taken seriously. I want to disagree openly and be free to act for myself as I see fit. That the author prefers The One Big Idea to many ideas speaks to the archaic and maniacal Leftist notions of revolutionary vanguards, Red Armies and gulags, even if it drapes itself in the language of nonviolence or pacifism.

To demonstrate the power of One Big Idea, the author poses a thought experiment to demonstrate the power of nonviolent resistance, using the tired (sic) and true method of getting arrested on television:
Imagine for a moment that the RNC Welcoming Committee decided to declare a complete commitment to non-violence. More Americans will participate in nonviolent actions that have less potential for getting them arrested than violent action that will, imagine that instead of figuring out how to hide hammers in their pants, the RNC Welcoming Committee went out and organized every single group that attended the mainstream march. Imagine now that those 50,000 people sitting in the intersection, blocking the GOP buses. The cops wouldn’t know what to do with themselves. The world would watch, and the radical left would gain sympathy and support.
I think the cops could easily find something to do with themselves, and with us. The author wants a media spectacle, not revolt. She wants a voice against capitalism, or whatever, to have a place in political dialogue. The goal is not to incite rebellion or empower the oppressed but to garner political points for the managers of resistance (presumably those who grasp the One Big Idea).

Attempting to drive home her point, the author says, "the protesters during the Civil Rights movement did not fight back, the media captured it all, and they gained the vast majority of support from our nation." Not only does this idea totally fail to explore the nuance of the impact of the media on the civil rights movement, it is a lie. Beyond completely ignoring the Black Panthers, AIM and many others dedicated to self-defense (and their relationship to the media), the perspective offered totally ignores the daily social struggle that happened beyond the camera lens as well as black revolt in the inner city, like the Watts riots or the response to MLK's death: spontaneous, personal and violent revolt beyond the control of the movement's directors.

The black bloc communique preemptively responded to the predictable criticism in favor of spectacular resistance:
Stuck somewhere between clips from Iraq, quirky news anchors, and human interest stories, our “message” lingers momentarily as merely another piece of information to form an opinion about. To act as a social force in the street is not to give the media a clear message, rather it is to purposefully disrupt the chain of messaging that is embodied in the protest-media-audience script.
Not to mention that the Welcoming Committee did attempt to organize folks towards civil disobedience, and spent a year traveling the country and sharing its plans. The WC was not about property destruction but inhibiting the delegates, and Leftists by and large chose not to participate in any sort of confrontation whatsoever. Leftists reveal themselves for what most of us knew they are -- totally uninterested in actual revolt. The planning was structured exactly so that folks who wanted less confrontational tactics would have plenty of space to employ them; the entire strategy was largely based around this, not street fighting. If the author wanted "blockading the GOP buses, blocking intersections, radical dance parties in public space" (all three of which did occur, anyhow), the best way to make that come to fruition is not chiding folks for not acting how you want them to behave but opening up space to make your desires possible.

In a tired repetition of pacifist rhetorical criticism, the author says, "A comrade noted that she thought we were supposed to be protesting the violence and hate perpetrated by the Bush/McCain regime, not re-enacting it." As if we were there to protest Bush or McCain. As if state terror is equivilent to the revolt of the oppressed.

Yet, rather than analyze the violence that occurred, the author lumps everything together in a manner more reflective of the news media than a friend-in-struggle. The acts of violence (committed by anarchists, that is) were varied in degree -- news boxes and road signs were thrown into streets, dumpsters were overturned, windows smashed, cop cars smashed up, tires slashed; objects were thrown at police, at least one officer was pushed over while failing to arrest someone; bodies were used to block delegates and some received a liquid shower, and buses were attacked. If this amounts to a re-enactment of the violence committed by the government, I'm Saddam Hussein. Only the most ideological leftwing pacifists could miscalculate the death and destruction wrought by the government as being equal to a few broken windows.

"Diversity of tactics" isn't about fun; that is, merely about fun. This paragraph from the aforementioned communique is playful, but the following paragraph situates the conflict in the context of participating in and expanding social war. It questions the purpose of all symbolic protest. Without social conflict, a protest is no different from a tent revival, wherein the believers and weirdos gather and reaffirm their faith:
We stress that no one has felt a comparable pleasure in America in the last five years. No amount of bodily fluid, mixed with syzurp, swirled together to the sound of Lil’ Wayne’s “A Milli” could concentrate the joy felt when stones collapsed bank windows. Ecstasy was the vandalized cop car. Music was the hissing tire punctures. Glee was the foot inserted into the gendarme’s paunch. Like we freed our companions from the police’s grip, our collective force will rip words from restrictive reference. From here on, beauty, decadence, and orgy can only connote immediate destruction....
We don’t give a fuck about a summit, but we can use it as a springboard, parasitically sucking life and leaving behind anemic remains. We were there this time because we do not yet have the force to manifest such conflict outside of the context of mass mobilizations. One of our goals is to take all of the force directed against false epicenters of power and redirect it into social conflicts that have the actual potential to disrupt the flows of this system. We are abandoning the vapid discourse of protest towards a concrete offensive in the social war.
The position represented here isn't one which favors small groups over mass action; it isn't about clandestine revolutionary cells or "terrorism", as the Platypus Review has hinted at previously, both disastrous and authoritarian methods of organizing. Leftists, as those who wish to be managers of capital and humanity, are unable to comprehend social war and the rejection of politics.

The second article, simply titled "Violence at the RNC," is somewhat more interesting in that it tries to relate these spasms of protest violence to the helplessness of today's protest:
The helplessness of the anti-war movement has turned the Left’s disappointments and frustrations into pathology. Energy is directed, not towards revolutionary change, but against social integration.
This is a fascinating assertion, but it utterly fails in placing the protests in context -- it situates the RNC within the anti-war movement and not the expression of a tendency that has been stewing since the 90s. That is, the anti-globalization movement saw the same experiences of protest violence, in North America as well as Europe, motivated by joy and victory rather than disappointment and frustration, and led to a surge in sympathy for anarchism and the Left and the exploration of new and exciting forms of revolt. By contrast, the anti-war movement has been a complete failure and never broken out of the constraints of begging our leaders to be compassionate. The RNC experience was a return to forms developed during the anti-globalization period abandoned during the anti-war movement.

Nevertheless, the main idea is that consistent failure has made the goal of protesters the "creating a wall of resistance against one’s own inevitable absorption into society." The authors say:
Naturalizing helplessness, today’s protesters celebrate simple altercations with the police as victories. Violence seems to cleanse the individual of their ‘bourgeois’ conformity. Attending a protest means breaking with the decadence of consumer society, creating a ‘prefigurative’ space, trying to ‘create the new world in the palm of the old.’ Each blow of the truncheon dramatizes the difference between protestor and police. The rougher the conflict, the more the protestor feels free from the burden of society.
The authors come close to valid criticism, though their conclusion stops far too short. After all, the critique shouldn't be merely of the content of a particular protests, in this case the limited and isolated violence at the RNC, but the helplessness of protest and activist martyrdom in general. The psychological effects noted in the paragraph aren't only experienced by simply who are beaten or participate in violence, but activists generally. One can see this in any activist report-back, when no matter what happened on the ground the action is considered a "victory" without consideration for reality and often delusional analysis on the implications for strategy (usually, keep doing the same thing).

But the ideas being pointed towards here have been developed before:
The militant or activist is a specialist in social change or revolution. The specialist recruits others to her own tiny area of specialism in order to increase her own power and thus dispel the realisation of her own powerlessness.
One can't blame the authors for not having read "Give Up Activism," as it wasn't written by Marx or any academic. This is a flaw seen repeatedly throughout the Platypus Project -- they think there is some novelty to their constant refrain "The Left is Dead," when anarchists have been saying it for years, and saying it much better.
Activism is a form partly forced upon us by weakness. Like the joint action taken by Reclaim the Streets and the Liverpool dockers - we find ourselves in times in which radical politics is often the product of mutual weakness and isolation. If this is the case, it may not even be within our power to break out of the role of activists. It may be that in times of a downturn in struggle, those who continue to work for social revolution become marginalised and come to be seen (and to see themselves) as a special separate group of people. It may be that this is only capable of being corrected by a general upsurge in struggle when we won't be weirdos and freaks any more but will seem simply to be stating what is on everybody's minds. However, to work to escalate the struggle it will be necessary to break with the role of activists to whatever extent is possible - to constantly try to push at the boundaries of our limitations and constraints.

Historically, those movements that have come the closest to de-stabilising or removing or going beyond capitalism have not at all taken the form of activism. Activism is essentially a political form and a method of operating suited to liberal reformism that is being pushed beyond its own limits and used for revolutionary purposes. The activist role in itself must be problematic for those who desire social revolution.

The Platypus authors do not push themselves far enough; perhaps their own entanglement with activism prevents them from critiquing themselves or their own participation. Although they make the claim, "Once, protest demonstrated the vitality and relevancy of the demand for social transformation. Thousands in the streets could not be ignored," they do not follow it up with any analysis of why protests were once vital and relevant or why these people could not be ignored, implying that it's the supposed "devolution" of the activist from her ideal state of being (perhaps when she is focused on the One Big Idea?) rather than the class system which has made protest activism irrelevant.
But protest has devolved into an insular subculture of self-hatred, frustration, and anxiety derived from a pathological attitude towards social integration. Activists who equate social domination with their experience with tear gas, tazers and rubber bullets block the development of a more serious and effective Leftist politics.
Were only it so easy to block the development of Leftist politics...

So as to make the piece reek a bit less of Leftist garbage, I would re-write the last line as "Activists attached to their role block the development of more serious and effective forms of revolt." The author's point about social integration is valid, but this also has been explored more interestingly in depth by anarchists in the old lifestyle anarchist vs. social anarchist debate. Anarchists are well aware that social domination and state repression goes well beyond isolated outbursts of violence at demonstrations, and Leftists have all but withdrawn from the realm of confrontational protests, so it is difficult to decipher to whom this piece is written.

These pieces from the Platypus Review help demonstrate the irrelevancy of Platypus to individuals interested in participating in and expanding the social war against the ruling class and destroying the government and capitalism to live in a wild and free world.

Wrecking You Again for the Very First Time

This is re-printed from http://wreckuagain.wordpress.com/ It provoked an interesting conversation at Infoshop.org, but the comment page seems to have a bug. There is also a response to it called Feeble Destruction, though I haven't read through it before sharing it here. A brief scan suggests the thesis summed up in the line "Our emphasis needs to shift, towards building counter institutions that can strengthen our communities."

A haze still hangs over the events surrounding the first day of the RNC. What is certain: broken windows, smashed cop cars, blockades, and cops and right-wing vigilantes beaten to the ground by black-clad thugs. We took part in these events on September 1st, when at least two black blocs flooded into the streets, shutting down roadways and wrecking parts of downtown St. Paul. Such intense conflict hasn’t been observed at demonstrations in the US since at least the start of the anti-war mobilizations or possibly since the mythologized Seattle black bloc. We refuse to let the actions that defined that day be erased or mystified by the media.

A large group leaves the state capitol equipped with PA systems and led by the colorful coeds of “Funk the War.” The crowd walks straight into a line of bike cops; it is still weak. They are hosed in pepper spray and stripped of their dignity. We are separated from our comrades and left to wander the surreal territories of a city where the state has materialized. Every block a squad of riot cops —some tense and shaking, others confused and afraid. We find our friends; we are powerful again. Soon after, a black bloc emerges from the crowd, ready to unleash its hate. With physical barriers present we continue to move –within the confines we find mobility.

It’s been far too long since the black mask has corresponded to rioting in this country. Our tried and true tactic, our insidious uniform, has been co-opted by capital, regurgitated as a mere fashion symbol. Something for today’s disempowered youth to splay across the internet in their false communities as a false declaration of rage. That day when our festive button down shirts disappeared to reveal the classic team color of the anti-everything squad, the kid’s eyes blinked in confusion. The black mask is not something to play dress up in. To take back the mask means to actualize our desires, blood and glass and a street filled with us.

A hammer cracks two windows, and a good citizen dashes from the sidewalk in pursuit. He grabs the young man with his right hand, a “Let Our Soldiers Win!” sign in the other. He wants to be a cop, a hero, but he’s made a mistake. This isn’t a peace march; this is the thrashing body of a wrecking machine. The man is rushed from behind, knocking him off balance just long enough for someone to slide their arms around him. He receives a swift kick to the side, and his do-gooder momentum is redirected into the pavement, dropping him like a dead weight.

There are those who speak of property damage as a tactic, as an implement in the activist’s toolbox. We are not among them. They’d like to coerce us into this utilitarian relationship through the edifice of politics; we’d prefer not to. The rioting on Monday, despite its limitations, materialized our inclinations as exploited and alienated individuals to gouge at the eyes of both capital and politics. We make these attacks because we wish to improve our conditions immediately and to do so in way that violates the peace treaty signed by the managers of politics.

Our joy and malice intertwine as another crowd fuses with us and becomes-rioting. Desire moves our appendages, and objects are released through the imaginary field constructed between law and order. Someone runs on top of a moving police car and exposes that the state too is made of sinew and fiber. In moments a lonely police car is located, and with force a body stomps a perfect “pop” through its windshield. Each of us sheds our polite veneer, and we reveal the social conflict that is the shared experience of our conditions.

We stress that no one has felt a comparable pleasure in America in the last five years. No amount of bodily fluid, mixed with syzurp, swirled together to the sound of Lil’ Wayne’s “A Milli” could concentrate the joy felt when stones collapsed bank windows. Ecstasy was the vandalized cop car. Music was the hissing tire punctures. Glee was the foot inserted into the gendarme’s paunch. Like we freed our companions from the police’s grip, our collective force will rip words from restrictive reference. From here on, beauty, decadence, and orgy can only connote immediate destruction.

The management of Funk the War begins to recognize our intentions of commandeering their decomposing endeavor. Our momentum necessarily severs from any objectives outlined in any spokes council. Aspiring bureaucrats shed tears for their failure to regulate, and the politics of impotency reveals an impotency of politics. With unabashed sincerity and intensity, the dead weight is cast aside, holding only its precarious career and a falsified notion of failure within its palms. The corpse of activism begs for rejuvenation, but to no avail.

The blockades were never enough for us, and judging them solely on their own terms, they were a failure. The delegates weren’t blocked and the convention occurred with little disruption. But to even accept the goal of shutting down the convention requires accepting the discourse of power the RNC itself represents. It is a gathering of figureheads, nothing more. It is not a strike against the heart of the system; at best it is a site where we can manifest social war. The overt objective of the mobilization was always a bit banal, and luckily most saw through this thin veneer and prepared for street conflict instead.

Cameras surround us on all sides, independent, corporate, freelance, whatever. They’re all there, snapping away, reducing beautiful moments to trite representations for use by the police or for sale to newspapers and magazines. The joy of vicarious violence is what they seek, either for their own careers or for the public they sedate. After broken windows, smashed cars, and burning residue, like lapdogs they ask, “But what do you want?” The media finds us interesting, but we find them disgusting.

What those in a protest march want: a clear message, written on signs, to be transmitted to the media, which then represents it to the public vis-à-vis the news. What those in a blockade want: a collective message, performed through an action, captured by the media, which then represents it to the public. In both these cases, whether they are symbolic or concrete actions, whether the medium is the transparent screen or whether it is the message itself, the logic of the media is unquestioned. The media is but one weapon in the democratic arsenal of repression. It promises us the ability to “get the message out,” to communicate. But this is an illusion. Stuck somewhere between clips from Iraq, quirky news anchors, and human interest stories, our “message” lingers momentarily as merely another piece of information to form an opinion about. To act as a social force in the street is not to give the media a clear message, rather it is to purposefully disrupt the chain of messaging that is embodied in the protest-media-audience script. Our message is a code hidden within our form, pressed against the media itself, subverting its smooth capture of our desires. We have neither words nor deeds to be represented, only representations themselves to be corrupted. When the medium destroys the message, our message can only work by destroying its medium.

One lone cop, albeit a large one, has the gall to grab one of us. One of them and fifty of us. After countless experiences of being on the defensive at demonstrations or simply on the streets of our hometowns, we will take advantage of any opening we find. A hooligan sneaks up behind the cop catching him with a well-placed kick between the legs and runs back into the loving arms of the mob. As the cop releases a shower of pepper spray into the crowd, another person surges forth, body checking the cop with a flying leap. The pig hits the ground, and our comrade is freed.

Our milieu has always found ways to provide material and legal support for comrades imprisoned by the state. Support in this manner is always commendable, but by itself fails to capture the true nature of solidarity. This is because solidarity cannot be narrowly defined within the legal sphere. When any comrade in struggle is arrested, their capture must be seen as a strategy of state repression to inhibit the wide scope of social revolution. Thus, the closer we come to complete societal transformation, the more the state will use draconian laws, like anti-terrorism legislation, to imprison us all. The only way to break this violent cycle is to continue our jailed comrade’s struggle to its end. Hence, solidarity means attack, attacking every vestige of the system that collaborated to lock our friends behind bars. These attacks are to continue until everyone is liberated from their cages, whether cubicle or cell. From this perspective, providing the sledgehammers to turn banks into debris is equivalent to filling a commissary with chainsaws for penitentiary revolt. Just like the greatest possible gift to a friend is the destruction of all authority, the best support for a comrade in jail is the destruction of every prison.

On Monday, we catapulted off of expensive cars that propelled us through department store windows. When we finally landed, sneakers-first onto a police officer’s frown, the state’s precautionary plans were overturned like the dumpsters that crowded the streets of St. Paul. We aren’t passive victims, nor are their tactics surprising to us. The forces of order prepared quite well for this engagement, arming themselves with every technique at their disposal. The state of exception came to bear as the National Guard was deployed to work in tandem with the police, guarding the jail and attacking demonstrators. But naked force was also complemented by juridical repression. The “conspiracy to riot in furtherance of terrorism” charges are no haphazard application or abuse of the law; they are its logical extension.

Many would like to use the events of September 1st to gain credibility for or to invigorate their historical reenactivist societies, be it recreating the ‘60s or the anti-globalization protests. It’s time to bury the myths of Chicago and Seattle once and for all. The demonstration form is a suffocating cocoon from which we need to break free. We were not in St. Paul for the illusory goals some had swallowed wholesale. We don’t give a fuck about a summit, but we can use it as a springboard, parasitically sucking life and leaving behind anemic remains. We were there this time because we do not yet have the force to manifest such conflict outside of the context of mass mobilizations. One of our goals is to take all of the force directed against false epicenters of power and redirect it into social conflicts that have the actual potential to disrupt the flows of this system. We are abandoning the vapid discourse of protest towards a concrete offensive in the social war. We refuse to run in circles anymore.

To my left there is a swarm of bodies destroying a police cruiser, and to my right, others completely ruining the exterior of a bank. Magically, bricks are removed from one side of the building and returned through another.


Social struggle, social war

from Insurrectionary Anarchists of the Coast Salish Territories

The struggle that insurrectionary anarchists engage in is social, rather than political or economic. Insurrectionary anarchists attack institutions of the political State and the capitalist economy as part of a project to completely demolish all forms of exploitation and control. We attempt to make a total and up-to-date critique of society, and this means that we reject limited viewpoints that privilege one form of oppression over another or one sector of the excluded class over another.

The ranks of today’s excluded are immigrants, the indigenous, the employed and unemployed, and there is no reason why any one of these sectors should be considered the advanced guard of the struggle.

The capitalist economy depends not only on production, but also distribution and consumption of commodities. So the old Marxist analysis that says only the workers in the manufacturing sector can be revolutionary does not make sense. Agricultural workers, indigenous peasants and the unemployed can attack capitalism at the point of distribution by blocking roads, and at the point of consumption through theft and looting. Sabotage is a flexible tool that can be put to use by any excluded or exploited individual. For those employed in the capitalist marketplace there are various techniques of self-organized direct action possible at the individual, group and mass levels. Absenteeism, destruction of machinery, theft and information tampering occur regularly in all workplaces.

Politics is alien to the exploited. There is mass abstention from the electoral process. Unionization is declining, and extra-union activity on the part of union members is growing through the use of sabotage and flying squad self-organization – with varying degrees of real autonomy.

A purely economic view of the class struggle is useless. Capitalism does not just control the world of work, but also the home and the entire social territory in which the exploited live. The enemy class uses to its advantage systems of oppression such as patriarchy and racism that predate capitalism and industry, and which divide the excluded amongst themselves.

There are many social problems inherent to the class struggle that the action of anarchists can be useful in confronting. The moral value system passed down by the exploiters to the exploited. The democratic ideals of tolerance and dialogue. The religious tendency of the workers and unemployed to look for a guide to bring them vengeance. The bigotry and irrationality that cause the exploited to battle each other, leaving the class enemy unscathed. These are the subjective elements of class society that can’t be ignored by those who really want to destroy this rotten system.

Refusing the role of the vanguard, the elitist group that is supposed to educate and guide the masses, anarchists above all act for themselves, in their own interests, not claiming to represent their entire class. But for the anarchist struggle to become revolutionary it must become social, expanding through solidarity in action. Our relationship with the mass must be informal and direct. We must recognize the mass as individuals, avoiding the danger of falling into generic perspectives and ideology.

To limit ourselves to spreading counter-information and declaring our convictions to the masses would not make sense, and would be just another form of elitism. We must always re-evaluate our analysis and attempt to advance through discussion and the gathering of information, but we must also act.

Our organizational forms should be fluid and adaptable, capable of de-structuring when necessary, based on simple principles that can be used by anyone; self-organization, direct action and permanent struggle. We must reject the political party and activist organizational model of the power center that is supposed to manage and control everything. We should proceed to action immediately, not waiting for orders or signals from anywhere.

We should fight in intermediate struggles alongside the excluded, for housing, food, shelter, wages, against police repression, against social control. But always trying to push these struggle further, helping them expand into the unknown of insurrection.

In the social war for freedom the participation of anarchists can be of great importance.


Anarchist Halloween Parade

Friday, October 31st
4:00pm gather, 5:00pm step-off
Wicker Park

Take to the streets dressed as your (least) favorite capitalist monstrosity this Halloween for our fourth annual "Capitalism Gives Me The Creeps!" Halloween march.

We will gather at 4:00pm in Wicker Park (the park itself - one half block south of the Damen Blue Line stop). Step-off will be NO LATER than 5:00pm.

Bring props, banners, and fun as we take a slightly different route this year!

Who's Treats? Our Treats!


A Chicago Really Really Free Market

BashBack, a queer & feminist anarchist group, is hosting a 'Free Market at the end of the month. Some laud the concept as an example of how an anarchist "gift economy" might work; I have mixed feelings about the degree to which a 'Free Market is a worthwhile long-term project or an anarchist model for the future.

Nevertheless, a 'Free Market can be a good place to score some free stuff and spend a pleasant afternoon. 'Free Markets have seemed to follow a similar path as Food Not Bombs as a place for anarchists to meet up and share with one another and extend that to others.

Having lost Kirsten Brydum Bash Back wants to start a long over-due Really Really Free Market.

We recently lost an amazing activist. Close friends report that the body of San Francisco activist Kirsten Brydum was found Saturday in New Orleans, where Kirsten had traveled as part of a popular education tour. Kirsten was known locally as an organizer of the Really Really Free Market in Dolores Park, a monthly gathering to freely exchange goods and services with no money, trade or barter.

In memoriam Bash Back would like to put on a Chicago Real Really Free market!

October 26 from noon to 5pm
The triangle in between Ashland Milwaukee and Division

What is a really really free market?
It’s a market where everything is in fact free. But it’s more then that. Everything can be traded and bartered for, or just given. It’s also teaching people skills so they can care perform services for themselves in the future.

What can you do?
Sign up for a table! Is there a good or service you and folks in your community can offer for free? Then email bashbackchi (at) riseup.net and tell us what you can provide.

Things we’d like to see:
Bike maintenance and repair workshops
Haircuts and lessons
Silkscreen workshops
Massages and lessons
Theater workshops
Anything! Everything!


Traders! Leap from your windows! Bankers! Hang yourselves!

Listen up, you bourgeois fucks!

We are entering a period only read about in economics and history text books. There will be no return to normalcy, government attempts be damned. Your delusions of endlessly rising value have shattered, along with our faith in your system to provide for our needs, leaving us desperate and angry, bored out of our minds and hopeless enough to act out in ways that until now we’ve only been able to dream.

The pulsing greed that rushed through your veins made you feel alive – you knew everything you were doing was disgusting but found yourselves shielded by bureaucracy and law and violence.

Although you’ve worked for years amassing wealth from those jobs you secretly despise, believing yourselves far above the heard of humanity, you’ve wasted your lives. Everything you’ve worked for is disappearing, and you soon will realize you have only amounted to nothing.

You say, “The market will correct itself,” but when and with what consequences? In a society that rejects and destroys anything it deems worthless, ask yourself:

how will your empty life be ruined to make possible someone else’s profit?

As long as you’re still breathing there’s hope you can escape this mess and redeem yourselves in the eyes of your children. Quit your worthless job and learn something useful. Declare war on this society and vow to destroy it as you have destroyed the livelihoods of so many. Create a future worth living in beyond a world of money and death. The sooner you begin the better the chance you’ll be forgiven.

Or else do us a favor: open your office window and jump. Slit your wrist in the shower. Hang yourself in the garage. Let go the wheel on the freeway. Take a fistful of pills with a cocktail. Botch a desperate bank robbery. Step in front of a train.

It’s the only way you’ll escape the madness that is about to come –

economic collapse, empty wallets, insecurity, fear,
and the realization of your own pathetic existence…

and our terrible vengeance against all of you
who have managed and fucked with us far too long.