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How many times does a person have to be retried? – Athens,Greece

Tue, 05/08/2018 - 00:46

via act for freedom now!

As many times as it takes the “anti-terrorist” brigade to declare them guilty.

On March 27, 2018, the deputy attorney of the Supreme Court and the former supervising prosecutor of the “anti-terrorist” brigade appealed to the Supreme Court against the acquittal by the five members (of department A) of the Criminal Court of Appeal of Athens, which declared our comrade’s innocence.

May 11, the E department of the Supreme Court will consider this appeal. If it is accepted, Tasos Theofilou will return to prison with the initial charges against him (which could even lead to life imprisonment) pending the completion of a new trial at the Court of Appeals, once again with a different set of judges.

Tasos Theofilou was arrested in August 2012, a few days after a robbery at the Alpha Bank on the island of Paros, during which a driver taxi was mortally wounded while attempting to prevent the thieves from escaping.

“Following rushed procedures” Tasos Theofilou was described by the anti-terrorist brigade as well as by the media as the thief in a cowboy hat who allegedly killed the 53-year-old taxi driver. In July 2017, the decision of the five members of the Court of Appeal seemed not to obey the orders of the “anti-terrorist” brigade and media because they acquitted him of all charges against him.

On Friday May 11, they will consider whether the acquittal of the Court of Appeals will be final or whether the comrade will be once again be dragged into another trial on the basis of the following accusations: participation and belonging to the CCF, participation and involvement in terrorist groups, attempted manslaughter, intentional homicide. May 11 will not be the end of the story. It is rather the beginning of a new undeclared, yet very real, period of hostage-taking of our comrade until the decision of the Supreme Court is finally announced, which could take from a few weeks to several months.

Although the legal proceedings of Tasos Theofilou might appear as the manifestation of  personal revenge, this is not the case. This is a political accusation related to the repressive restriction of the anarchist movement, the wider combative movement and our class in its entirety.

This is directly related to recent developments in the cases of other comrades, who were sentenced to severe prison sentences based on Article 187A of the Penal Code and the article on individual terrorism, as well as the coming trials of comrades, apolitical prisoners and those close to them as in the case of Distomo, which was blithely elevated to the rank of “terrorism” under cover of the case of a revolutionary struggle. That is part of the same repressive plan against any active individual or someone in any way related to the anarchist movement; of the anarchist Marios Seisidis, who was sentenced to 36 years’ imprisonment only because of a DNA report of an expert, to the outrageous convictions of Irianna and Perikilis based on their social relations coupled with samples of questionable genetic material.

The broad solidarity movement that surrounds the comrade’s affair and which greatly contributed to his acquittal, was a bulwark against the laws of terror and the falsification of DNA samples by the police. Of course, this could not remain unanswered by the “anti-terrorist” brigade and their political chiefs, namely the SYRIZA government, who have faithfully defended both Article 187A and the uncontrollable use of DNA samples by the police since they began exercising their functions. In revenge they are now trying to take him away, and we will oppose them once again.

In solidarity with anarchist Tasos Theofilou

It’s time to get rid of their terror laws!

Organization and struggle for the social revolution.

Demonstration: Saturday 5/5, at 13h, Thiseio (subway station)

Gathering: 11/5, at 9 am, Court of Appeal (avenue Alexandras)

Groups and comrades

via: mpalothia.

Translated from French by Act for freedom now!

Tags: Greeceanarchist prisonerstasos theofiloucategory: International
Categories: News

On the struggle against Bässlergut prison

Tue, 05/08/2018 - 00:40

via Freedom News

This text, first published in Avalanche, offers a perspective on the direct action struggle against Bässlergut, a prison and detention facility in Switzerland, from one of the activists involved. The facility, sited near the German border, is currently being expanded and anarchists have been active in trying to sabotage the process. The writer makes a case for an insurrectionist approach in the course of this article, which is reproduced here to give an idea of the thinking around some of these issues.

It’s a Friday night and once more some people gather on a clearance in the forest and start their way to a nearby prison in Basel, a small, rich city in the small, rich territory of Switzerland. It’s September 11th 2015 and the group runs towards Bässlergut, a prison in the suburbs of Basel.

Around 30 people can be in deportation cells, another 43 cells are there for serving sentences in it. Arriving at the walls, fireworks are set off, slogans are shouted and a banner hung at the fence. On the banner it reads “Director Arsehole – Politics fascist”, a slogan shouted by an inmate during a previous visit like this.

The prisoners are shouting back and bang against the barred windows, as always during these rebellious visits, that happen once in a while. Before the group disperses in the forest, a pole with a surveillance camera on top on the parking lot is destroyed. In the aftermath of the prison demo the call to resist the planned construction of another prison next to the old one spreads.

This took place a week before an announced demo against a military training called “Conex15” in the Region of Basel, at which the scenario of a collapsing Europe is supposed to be simulated. “Economic crisis”, “sabotage and looting of oil, gas and grain-depots” or “refugee streams” are just some of the keywords of this.

The demo is heading towards Bässlergut once again, where it clashes with police, trashing everything on its way that should be trashed and can be destroyed quickly – even though just for a short amount of time, few days or weeks after the facade of social peace shines again.

Expansion begins

Since then, two years have passed. In spring 2017 they started to build another prison right next to Bässlergut. There they plan on imprisoning 78 people. The two different types of imprisonment – sentenced prisoners and those awaiting deportation – will then be in separated buildings. In following years the “reception centre”, which is right next to Bässlergut, will be turned into a “federal asylum centre”, combining different parts and forces of the asylum machinery in one administrative authority.

The “federal asylum centres” will be built in numerous parts of the country and in a lot of places there is resistance against them. One example for this is the city of Zürich, where they have been testing this form of camp management since early 2014 – here, a radical and direct struggle against it developed. Actions, sabotage and occupations happened in other places as well, even before they opened the camps. So, in these two years it wasn’t just the authorities working on their repressive project.

Besides the call for resistance against Bässlergut II (after the 2015 demo), a leaflet and poster called “When the enemies of freedom get a move on …” was published in early 2016. This put the developments of Basel into a wider context, in which similar prisons and camps have been and continue to appear in Europe as well as in other parts of the world. In this context, this one specific prison and detention centre is just a small, local picture of the ongoing, world wide war of the ruling order. Here an extract of the text:

…it’s no problem to find more and more examples for the war waged against the migrants that has caused the death of thousands already. Unfortunately, this war waged in the still young 21st century by far isn’t the only one. The different newly imposed surveillance laws in a lot of countries, the improvement of military and police infrastructure, the construction of different jails all over Europe, cities turning into open air prisons and the increasing repression against those who chose to resist, all this is part of the same blow of those in power.

A war that became so normal that it simply doesn’t need explanations any more – webbing the net of the society of control thicker and thicker, stabilizing the power of privilege; everybody in their place, registered, transparent, for being able to reintroduce the order and disarm disturbing elements at the smallest sign of losing control or once things step out of the row.

An attack against a local project of power like Bässlergut must, from an anarchist point of view, be looked at as an attack on these internationally relevant developments and should contain this view, if possible, in its approach. To fight a local project of power is nothing but a tool to make an abstract, globally intertwined, historically grown and at times too confusing system visible by pointing at a concrete manifestation of it.A specific struggle is, in the first place, a beginning.

The nights catch fire

The Bässlergut has been used as a prison only since 2000 and has been confronted with criticism since then, evolving as a reference point for local resistance against the massive practice of deportation, the European border regime, as well as the incarceration and punishment of people through the state in general.

It must be admitted that there is little general public hostility against this prison in Basel or against authority in general – and the prisons of Switzerland have not experienced any uprisings or resistance in recent years. Therefore this struggle can’t be described as an intervention into an existing social tension. Such a tension is simply not there, or at least not visible.

Still, with the history of 2015 in mind it was clear that the expanding of Bässlergut wouldn’t be possible without any trouble. Even if the struggles against this prison, as well as the different logics it stands for are as old as the prison itself and the calls for resisting its expansion spread early, the struggle got much more intense since the start of the construction site and attacks on the responsible grew in number. What started off with smaller interventions, such as punctured car tires, developed into arsons against cars of the companies involved in the construction of the building. Recently on the same weekend a civil police car, a car of locla phone company Swisscom and a drilling crane of the responsible construction company Implenia caught fire in different places.

Such destructive attacks have been a central element in this struggle, but forms of resistance have become far more diverse in the last year. With posters “against the state, its borders and prisons” people were called to “come together with friends and accomplices, to organize, to make plans and to put sand into the gears of all those, who seek to keep us as passive spectators of their expansion of power and attack them” and “despite the propaganda of power, which intents to make us believe that they are almighty and untouchable” the poster states, “that revolt is possible, that the fire of freedom is alive, as long as there are individuals who confront their own oppression with joy and dedication”.

Summer 2017

A list of responsibles is published, more online than on the streets. Across Basel, slogans and stickers against Bässlergut appear. There are discussions and encounters around Bässlergut discussing the possibilities for resistance.

As an intervention against Swiss National Day on August 1st, the prisoners were visited by a wild demo and the walls of the construction site were painted with slogans. In May, a demo of 200 moved towards the site, but was stopped by police. A few days before, an Implenia excavator was set alight, media talked about the attacks, the mood is recognizably incited.

The attacks, as well as the media campaign of defamation are ongoing. Authorities are under pressure, but are incapable of showing results. A special unit has been introduced by the police. The question is not if they will hit, but when. On October 15th 2017 six houses in the regions of Basel-Land, Basel-Stadt, as well as Zürich are raided. In some cases police confiscate computers, mobile phones and clothes, some people are taken to the police station, interviewed and forced to give their DNA, but then allowed to leave.

Taking DNA is omnipresent in Switzerland – even in case of smaller crimes such as shoplifting it is possible for the police to take it from you. When it comes to subversive acts, the taking of DNA is standard. In case of resisting the extraction, the authorities are allowed to use “appropriate” force. The repression apparatus is always trying to expand their database, especially when it comes to potential rebels and their acts. A match of your DNA and the DNA taken from a crime scene is often enough evidence for a conviction.

People affected by the raids are accused because of the demo in May – for “violation of the public peace”. It’s clear that this is not actually about the demo, at which basically nothing happened
besides a few property damages through spray-paint. So the authorities reach out to connect the people attending this demonstration with different arsons and attacks. In the best case (for them), they would have found something incriminating at one of the places searched or the DNA taken from the accused leads to some sort of clue or evidence. Otherwise, this is to be understood as a warning and another menace to those who give life to this struggle or seek ways of contributing to it.

On November 30th, cops search the anarchist library “Fermento” in Zürich. “In the shop window of the library one could see calls for crimes and offences against companies and private persons, which supposedly can be seen in connection with recent arsons against the building of the PJZ (police and justice centre) and Bässlergut. The PJZ is being built in Zürich and has been met with resistance, verbally as well as physically, since its announcement — Implenia is also involved building it. Zürich has seen arsons against excavators and company cars this year as well.

Insurrectionary practices

Such a struggle, intending to go beyond attacking and stopping this singular manifestation of power, inviting people to fight in a self-organized way with the means of direct, active critique rather than representation and delegation, can’t depend just on the voice or force of one single organization or similar structures.

Such a struggle, which calls for the destruction of the entire edifice by pointing out a specific aspect, lives from the creativity and initiative of different informal groups and individuals, following their own paths and ideas while still directing decentralized attacks towards a common goal, by which they can complement and coordinate.

The visibility of these struggles certainly is a strength and weakness at the same time. In Basel this was clearly the case. In 2016, different cars and containers were set on fire alongside other methods of direct attack. In some cases there were communiqués, in a lot of other cases the unknown persons rather chose to let the flames and shards speak for themselves.

None could really know who exactly attacked what and their precise reasons, but still these acts brought a certain tension into this usually conservative city. So one can only speculate about the reasoning for the attacks, but what became pretty clear was that even if local media had to report about the series of arsons, they never connected these incidents. The investigative authorities had no lead.

In 2017, again burning cars and other attacks occurred. A lot of these incidents were connected to the struggle against Bässlergut, as those who still remained unknown stated on the internet – in other cases the connection was clear because of the chosen target or the chosen means of attack (though concerning the forms of attack, creativity doesn’t seem to be the strongest attribute of the anarchist world). The connection is there. Even if the police were still without a clue, they could connect one public demonstration with attacks against the same prison.

To catch those who carry out attacks at night is, if certain security measures are considered, pretty complicated. To film a public demo and identify those attending it in the aftermath is relatively easy. This is neither supposed to be understood as a point for maximum clandestinity in our struggles, nor against communiqués in general. These times might come at some point. But as long as we have the possibility to spread anarchist ideas, to agitate and to openly call for direct, destructive attack or to exchange thoughts and reflections on this type of struggle, we should continue to do so – be it via the communication about actions carried out or through the international correspondence, as it is done in this publication (Avalanche).

The bigger question is how to bring visibility and dispersion, clarity and diffuseness together. Visibility and clarity, so that everyone around can understand what is being fought for what reasons. Dispersion and diffuseness, because resistance shall not have a centre, neither in terms of organization nor in terms of the targets of attack, but should (and has to) spread – for that the attacks come from all sides, with all means, from everywhere and nowhere at the same time.

Making circles

In other contexts, where one might find a more widespread hostility towards the structures of power, the question of the danger of specific struggles might be a little less relevant. And it should be clear that it is a bad idea to align our struggles alongside their potential dangers. If we decide to be a potential (or even actual) threat, then we actively take the risk of receiving strikes ourselves.

This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to understand the dynamics of repression, to foresee its strikes, to confuse or, if possible, avoid it. The following considerations might still be taken as a point to reflect and improve insurrectionary theory and practice.

Let’s stay with the example of Bässlergut. Last year the arsons targeted a very small number of companies involved in its construction – and in most cases, the attacks were put into the context of the struggle via communiques in the internet. Attacks against the police, politicians, political institutions or companies and structures, that might not be directly involved with Bässlergut but still are part of maintaining the apparatus of control, punishment and deportation as a part of the whole complex of oppression remain rare.

Capacities are limited and for that reason it is hard to be present with ideas and acts at every corner in which we recognize the mechanisms of oppression and power. This could again lead into the black hole of disorientated confusion. Specific struggles on the contrary avoid this trap. In Basel we struggle against Bässlergut and not against the wall between USA and Mexico. The construction of this prison is in the focus of this struggle and for that, those who are responsible for its building should be in the focus of attack.

But around this centre one can see a number of different, but still intertwined circles. Bässlergut is a building with cells, with inmates, with guards and fences, that has been put there by politicians, built by companies and after that maintained, supplied, organized and guarded by other companies. It is part of a wider context, it is part of a social relation of domination and submissiveness, of participation and acceptance, which itself is being nourished, produced and reproduced by sometimes clearly identifiable actors. It is this social relation that keeps the system running and which needs to be subverted and destroyed in the end.

Not everyone sees themselves or their friends as being under the direct threat of being imprisoned or deported, but absolutely none can withdraw from the grip of power entirely, which has integrated and absorbed everything and everyone.

Prisons play an important role in this, but even if prisons were abolished it would be only because the judicial authorities would have found more effective and socially more appropriate ways of threatening and punishment. It would change nothing about the fact that all of us are forced to live in this monotonous, well structured society, that keeps us trapped under the same laws, the same values, the same lies, the same disturbing reality, the same emptiness and the same uniformity. Society would condemn us to continue this one path and to apply our dreams and desires to this reality.

Maybe it is exactly this what makes society the way it is. So, if we don’t fight for the end of this civilization, the destruction of power in all forms and the possibility of self-determined experimenting, for the complete reappropriation of our lives in all their pride as well as the dark sides, for what then? For a little bit less racism, for more “humanity”, the destruction of one single prison, for a better survival, against the plundering of a plundered planet, against the greed of the greediest, the self-organization of the existent?

Well, have fun with that. But we were at our struggles. To stay focussed on the objective without neglecting the attack on the circles, the social dynamics around, perceiving them as integral parts and requirements of the chosen objective is the crucial tightrope walk we have to handle. As well as to broaden our critique as to inspire the most different individuals to act.

A simple example: If there would have been more attacks against surveillance cameras in the city or companies that profit from the ongoing armament of surveillance and repression, in addition to the ongoing attacks against profiteers of the prison building and if these attacks would have been put into context of a struggle against the prison society
in general, the field of struggle would have been expanded.

The struggle would have been more likely to be able to point out the social dynamic of oppression and, at the same time, call and incite for the onslaught onto a concrete, not yet existing building that is a symbol for this dynamic. Maybe people, who are really upset with all the surveillance cameras around would understand, why other people fight so vigorously against a prison. Maybe these persons would not make a difference between these two forms of control and oppression any more… Maybe, maybe… we for sure can go on like this forever. In the end, the attack onto the Bässlergut actually is an attack onto this stupid wall between USA and Mexico, because it is an attack onto the world of domination.

It will never be over!

The anarchist critique has been pointing at Bässlergut for years already and will continue doing so. However these struggles develop we can say already that this prison is not only telling a story of total, even if sometimes subtle oppression, but one of the radical resistance against it as well.

Realistic voices might state that this prison will be built anyway and for sure it will be be hard to impossible to convince them of the opposite. But this can’t be the starting point and by far not the motivation for rebellious, anarchist hearts. The resistive seed has been and will still be sowed, the longing for a different, completely different world as well as the possibility of direct attack most people should have recognized. What others do with it can neither be in mine nor in others hands.

The question that should concern us is where and how we sow these seeds of rebellion, how to cultivate and grow them. It’s never impossible that ideas actually spread, that people actively decide against continuing to obey, to stop waiting and to start here and now to define and to influence the circumstances of their own lives and their surrounding.

If anarchy cannot be a simple opinion, no philosophy about some possible, better future and much less a programme, a clearly defined goal, it can be a journey of constant discovering and shaping your diverse and chaotic self in confrontation with a hegemonic truth or authoritarian dynamics.

Under circumstances without any authority it would be much more possible for all of us to shape ourselves and the world around us with our ideas and imaginations. Living under the severity of the existing circumstances, formed by state and capitalism, is not the end of our freedom-loving existence or anarchy. They will search their path, even under these nauseating circumstances. And they will find it. This way or another.

A strong embrace to all those who are on the run.

This article appeared in Avalanche 13, which has been announced as the last issue of the project.

Pic: A 2016 demo against Bässlergut, from Aus dem Herzen der Festung.

Tags: switzerlandBässlergutBässlergutImmigrationAvalanchecategory: Essays
Categories: News

Yogyakarta, Indonesia: Anti-anarchist Repression after March Against Feodalism (May Day)

Tue, 05/08/2018 - 00:31

via contra info

– Yesterday, 44 of our comrades were arrested accused of property destruction, provocation, and fighting with the police. Night legal team tried to reached them but still cant make it, as they have been isolated (02.05.18)
– One of the Legal Aid was arrested and beaten.
– Until now our 12 comrades are still imprisoned and the police continuing the witch hunt.

International solidarity for arrested comrades whatever means necessary!

More information

Updates (received on 03.05.18)


Although this is an exclusive communique towards Yogyakarta or Indonesians in general, we call for international pressure and solidarity against this rotten feudal system that still exist in this century!

Greetings to the beloved people of Yogyakarta, those who vilify our
demonstration which was intentionally intended to censure the
institution of Kraton in Yogyakarta.

Believe us when we say that we already knew, even since before we
carried out our demonstration, that there would be an antipathy from the public towards our demonstration. It is very understandable. Feudalism creates this belief that kings and the royals are like half-divinebeings; their authority is sacred and self-justified. Somene becomes a ruler in a feudal system because they happened to be born in the right family: the royal family. The whole feudal territory is the property of the king and his royal family, and the people are just occupants who can be evicted any time at the king’s will.

The sytem is perpetuated by, among other things, this irrational belief towards the feudal rule. In Yogyakarta, feudalism is what makes Yogyakarta “special”. Politically, this special status means Yogyakarta is not governed by an elected governer like other provinces in Indonesia. Instead, the region is governed by a governer who is also a Sultan. Socio-culturally, this special status has another meaning; it gives a false sense of pride to the people of Yogyakarta. Yogyakarta is special because it is ruled by a Sultan, and the people are proud about it.

How is being ruled by someone with an unchecked power something that you can take pride of? What is so proudful from being a subordinate of another human being, solely because they were born in the royal family?
Our demonstration was not meant to draw sympathy. If drawing sy mpathy was what we were aiming, we wouldn’t have done a demonstration that disturbed the reproduction of social values like what we did. No, our demonstration was not intended for that. We are not a political party, a“leftist” organization, an NGO, or the proponents of the incumbent rulers or their opposistions, who need people’s endorsement and sympathy.


Our demonstration was meant to disturb the circulation of capital in
Yogyakarta. We intentionally want to create a non-condusive situation for capital investment, be it national or foreign, that will intensify the development and gentrification that disenfranchise the middle and lower class people in Yogyakarta.

We had guessed that the public would be infuriated by our vandalism and provocative calls.

The destruction of one police post and the call to “murder the Sult an!” have massively angered the people of Yogyakarta. The anger is absent when the police repeatedly, with violence, is at the front line of conflicts between people’s interests and the rulers’, on the side of the rulers’ of course, like the one in Temon, Kulonprogo, where there is an on-going process of land-grabbing by the Sultan through the legitimation of Sultan Ground/Pakualaman Ground, a feudal land ownership system, on behalf of the expantion of tourism industry capital. The anger is also absent when the inhabitants of the urban kampungs (informal settlements,slums) have to deal with water shortage, caused by the usage of ground water by hotels and apartments, which construction is being intensified, under the blessing of the Sultan of course.

That call to “murder the Sultan!” that have angered some people of
Yogyakarta, whether we wrote down the call or not, wheter the call was literal or symbolic, has its own importance in ratteling the authority of the Sultan in Yogyakarta, which is seemingly sacred and
unquestionable; a power with no control mechanism because it is
protected by “faith” towards the Sultan’s self-justified authority. This
“faith” is responsisble for the disenfranchisement of the people. Soon er or later, you who are reading this will probably be disenfranchised by the “development” in Yogyakarta too. A “development” for the interests of the Sultan and his cronies; local and national corporations; domestic and foreign invetors.

Yes, the Sultan is one of the main orchestrators of many problems in
Yogyakarta; eviction, land-grabbing, gentrification, and the develo pment that disenfranchise middle and lower class people. The Sultan and his royal family, and also his cronies, are the ones who dominate every economic aspect in Yogyakarta.

Yogyakarta is one of the most economically unequal provinces in
Indonesia. The development in Yogyakarta is not carried out for the
interests of the people, but for the interests of the ruling class: the
capitalists and the feudals. In Yogyakarta, the two vile sytems are
having an affair, while crushing the people under; those who aren’t the royals and are the middle and lower class.

Mothers, aren’t you tired of having to visit your children at prisons,
twice a week, who probably had to steal or rob people just to survive?
And the reason why they are in these overpopulated prisons in Yogyarta is the deeply rooted poverty that is prevalent in Yogyakarta. Does your Sultan care?

And then, are we gonna keep fooling ourselves, thinking to oursevels
that everything is fine? Or even, “special”?
We have no interest in being admired. We are not a political party who need people’s votes on elections.

We are just people who are sick. Sick of everything that is going on
around us and how the people are lulled by this false consciousness,
telling them that everything is fine.

We’re calling to the middle and lower class people, intellectuals,
artists, academics, those who claim to be liberals and moderates, and
others who choose to be “neutral”. Do you remember the historical event that gave birth to the concept of modern nation-state? The period that you call the Enlightment Period, where the kings, queens, and the royals were guillotined at the Place de la Révolution. Didn’t it create what you call as democracy?
We don’t mean to repeat or glorify history. The democracy that you
uphold and sell out is not bringing us anywhere other than to poverty, ecological degradation, and dienfranchisment.

We are the libertarians. We are what you call as anarchists. We dream of a world where people cooperate with each other, work together, rule over themselves, in a horizontal way, without rulers, the royals, political contract, social contract, or the capitalists. We want a life in its truest form, where human’s natural desires are in tune with nature; a life without class, racial, ethtnic, religious, and other false divides.

We are what you call utopists.

We want a free society without oppressors. We want a society where
people can have any beliefs, sexual orientations, or anything without
fearing being persecuted.
Total freedom!

The Anarchists

Tags: Indonesiamay dayanarchists in troublecategory: International
Categories: News

TOTW: What are you listening to?

Mon, 05/07/2018 - 21:33

We find inspiration in many places. For many people creating, listening, and talking about music is an inspiration that keeps the tumultuous happenings of everyday life somewhat at bay and is how we creatively express ourselves. Previously, an older TOTW focused on anarchist media of all sorts – whereas with this new topic, we would like to specifically focus on audio projects and music.

What’s your favorite piece of anarchist audio currently or in the past? What are the qualities that make you think of it this way? What about non-anarchist audio or music projects that are or could be considered anarchist friendly? What else are you listening to that you find inspiring and engaging that you think anarchists should be listening to? Why?

Did you come to anarchism via a subculture of music or group of friends that were interested in similar sounds? What was that like? If not, do you think that music had any impact on you becoming an anarchist? Is music your life project? What might that look like for anarchist thinkers?

In the hopes of avoiding, your giant playlist of YouTube classics - let's try and keep these posts down to a few of your favorites and and your thoughts on what qualities you find most appealing within. Or thoughtfully answering some of the other questions in this TOTW.

Tags: totwmusicaudiocategory: Projects
Categories: News

FRR Books Podcast ep 4: The Silence of the Animals by John Gray

Mon, 05/07/2018 - 17:27

Listen Here:
Or Here:

The sands are frantic

In the hourglass. But there is time

To change, to utterly destroy

That too-familiar image

Lurking in the glass,

Each morning at the edge of the mirror

The writing and thinking of John Gray is a gift to those of us who have endured a life full of others’ ideals, moralities, and rules driven into us. John Gray relentlessly questions and troubles the narratives of progress and social betterment that run through society largely unquestioned, even in radical circles. The idea of transforming or evolving the world and the individuals within it into “something better” is a plague that has stricken the best of us. Once I am able to shed myself of this sickness of narcissism and self loathing (for there is always a flaw in the human to be fixed) then something resembling an authentic life could begin to be imagined. This life looks like raw possibility, what has been written before as the creative nothing. From this voidal abyss grows my life free of all the baggage that I have been born with, for I had no say in the size and shape of my body, the place of my origin or the monsters who parented me, whether they be at our homes or in our schools. While I may never be able to shed these skins completely, what is my life if not an attempt to metamorphose myself in each moment. Ursula Le Guinn once wrote that “what is most changeable is fullest of eternity” and what is a human life if not the search for eternity. Eternity is gained from ecstasy, from the moments that defy time, society, and reality. John Gray has gifted you and I with a chance for more of these moments, and we would be fools not to listen.

“What would you say to a man who, nodding his head sadly, remarked that ‘Fish are born to fly - but everywhere they swim!’?”

Humanism and progress sheath perception in the filth of a static world. Banal myths that are collectively abstracted as divine truth by sermons recited. Humanists shackle subjectivity and preach that in spite of all history, humanity by nature is objectively free. John Gray describes them as being “devoted to their species as they believe it ought to be, not as it actually is or as it truly wants to be”. Other varieties of leftists call for revolution, envisioning a utopia reached through progress. Each myth necessarily concludes as a heavenly stasis using morality to contain an ideal, fixed humanity.

In The Silence of Animals John Gray writes that myths are fictions whose human authorship is not acknowledged. Yet, most regrettable lived fictions are inescapable when the writer is made lost in their story. Not acknowledging one’s own authorship is succumbing to a fallacy of truth. The problem with obscuring one’s own fiction to be true is that truth is unchangeable and therefore an impasse to growth and change. It is a phantasm that is cheap with knowledge, rationalizing all that is heeded to a restrictive plot. When I perceive a belief to be true, I construct a schism between understanding and imagination. However, when I recognize that each time I awaken my eyes fall upon my fiction, I realize that I am capable of a new narrative. One that is defined by the limitations of my will, but not of belief. What is conscious will other than conflicting unconscious wills brought to one’s attention? Therein, why would I inflict more limitations upon myself, when I’m already faced with the greatest obstruction that is will? Beliefs are nothing other than a futile attempt to fill an intrinsic psychological void for meaning. In the words of John Gray, “Accepting that the world is without meaning, we are liberated from confinement in the meaning we have made.”

“Upon the real one must crack at times and new patterns from new disorders open like a rose”.

My junctures of change beckon a negative epiphany that can pry open grasping hands like blasphemous laughter or new found desire. This nihilistic turning point is a break in meaning. A childlike moment of allness bestowing an “experience of meaning that can not be put into words” which deserts the conviction that only the material world is real. The material world is constructed by personal fictions lived beneath myths, resembling one’s propensity to turn silence into noise. In instances of abundant nothingness/negative capability, creativity is seized by conquering the provenance of an echo.

“Seeking to escape yourself by chasing your own shadow is a vain pursuit. But if you look with eyes that are not covered with a film of thought, you may come on a scene that can only be seen once.”

It is inevitable that I shed a fiction only to put together a new one, but this transformation yields a temporary uniqueness that can inspirit my ability to grow. With this I may be able to think more freely than before. When my thoughts begin to shackle my existence, I can again cast away the beliefs I carry. I would want for the rest of my life to undergo this gain and loss, so that I can flourish until I die. “The ego is itself a fiction, one that is never fixed or finished. ‘In the realm of fiction,’ Freud wrote, ‘we find the plurality of lives which we need.’”

Words by Big Cat and rydra wrong

Voiced by Sasha, Big Cat & rydra wrong

Editing & Production by rydra wrong & Big Cat

Find More Audio and Writing at free radical radio dot net

Tags: nihilismdaoismjohn grayanarchyfreedom?willcategory: Projects
Categories: News

Anews Podcast – episode 62

Mon, 05/07/2018 - 06:08

Welcome to the anews podcast. This is episode 62 for May 4, 2018. This podcast covers anarchist activity, ideas, and conversations from the previous week.
Editorial: Science and Problem-Solving
TOTW: Maydays and Days and Days

This podcast is the effort of many people. This episode was
* sound edited by linn o'mabel
* written by jackie
* narrated by chisel and a friend
* the music is 1) 8 Bit Universe - She Blinded Me With Science 2) John Zorn - Initiate 3) Devo - What We Do

* Thanks to Aragorn! and Ariel for their help with the topic of the week
* Contact us at

To learn more
Introduction to anarchism:
Books and other anarchist material:
News and up to the minute commentary:

Tags: podcastarielsciencemay daycategory: Projects
Categories: News

The April 19 Uprising in Nicaragua

Sun, 05/06/2018 - 20:43

From CrimethInc.

An Interview, Overview of Events, and Analysis

In April, a countrywide revolt broke out in Nicaragua against neoliberal reforms introduced by the government of Daniel Ortega, a Sandinista revolutionary from the 1980s. We worked with Nicaraguan anarchists who participated at the forefront of the movement to bring you the following interview, offering an overview of the events and an analysis of the difficulties of organizing against leftist authoritarian governments while resisting right-wing cooptation.

The FSLN (Sandinista National Liberation Front) overthrew the US-backed military dictatorship of Somoza in 1979 and held power from 1979 to 1990. After 16 years of neoliberal governments, the FSLN returned to power in 2006, establishing an authoritarian administration that mixes socialism with neoliberalism, creating new economic elites while offering social support programs to the lower classes. The government is controlled by the presidential couple: President Daniel Ortega and his wife and Vice President, Rosario Murillo.

The situation in Nicaragua right now reminds us of what happened in Brazil in 2013, when anarchists catalyzed a popular social movement against the neoliberal policies of the “left” government of the Workers Party. At first, this movement was pluralistic, including the anti-authoritarian horizontalism of the anarchists who started it and a vague popular opposition utilizing nationalistic symbols. Yet over the following years, as the police state cracked down on anarchists, right-wing reactionaries were able to take advantage of popular discontent to topple the Workers Party government and institute an even more reactionary administration. This provoked many people to rally to the same Workers Party that had originally betrayed them, sidelining anarchists and setting the stage for ever bloodier state repression.

Apologists for the authoritarian left will use the events in Brazil as an excuse to delegitimize uprisings like the one in Nicaragua. But these uprisings are catalyzed by real problems. Defending left regimes as “the lesser of two evils” only ensures that people will continue to side with the other evil against them. We have to support popular uprisings in a way that opens a space for grassroots, horizontal movements to develop.

All around the world, similar stories are playing out as authoritarian parties from the left and right attempt to monopolize the field of political possibility between them while implementing different versions of the same neoliberal agenda. Both sides benefit from reducing politics to this dichotomy. Because all the charges that each party levels against the others are absolutely true, each can point to the others’ misdeeds to rally support. So long as we can only imagine choosing between left and right parties, we will never be able to free ourselves of the hierarchies and injustices that both sides are determined to impose on us.

Anarchists can identify several errors that can arise in popular uprisings. The discourse of “fighting corruption,” widespread from Nicaragua to Armenia, appears to offer a point of departure to build popular movements that are critical of the government. Yet in fact, by implying that government could function properly if not for the corruption of specific politicians, this discourse legitimizes government itself, distracting from the systemic problems created by capitalism and setting the stage for new politicians to replace the old ones in an endless cycle. That explains why this rhetoric has been so useful to demagogues like Donald Trump who charge their enemies with corruption in order to take power and do the same things themselves.

Likewise, nationalism can appear to offer a platform for people to come together on a common basis against the authorities; think of the national flags that were widespread during the Arab Spring and Occupy movements, or the popular chant during the Egyptian revolution of 2011, “Muslim—Christian—We are all Egyptian.” Yet these old symbols always set the stage for new authoritarians to take power as the “true” representatives of the nation: remember how political parties like Syriza coopted and destroyed the movements of 2011, and how the Egyptian military took power in 2013 in a coup draped in Egyptian flags.

In the coming years, anarchists and other participants in social movements will have to develop a more nuanced analysis of how to present a third option in the conflict between authoritarian leftists and right-wing nationalists. We will have to find ways to critique the neoliberal policies of left governments like those in Nicaragua and Brazil that do not play into the hands of right-wing neoliberals. This is one of the most pressing questions facing us today.

Here follows the interview from our contacts in Nicaragua.

A barricade with a Nicaraguan flag.

I am a part of an affinity group of six people. We’ve all worked together since 2015. The majority of us identify as queer; we are employed in very different sectors. Arts, culture, feminism, and politics brought us together.

Both of my parents are historians. They both received their master’s degrees in History at the UNAN [Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua, National Autonomous University of Nicaragua]. My mother is a feminist and my father is an ex-military poet.

Timeline of Events

Throughout the events, I posted updates on my SoundCloud, starting here. You can find an archive of material we compiled during the events here.

You can also search for the hashtags #OcupaINSS, #SOSINSS, #SOSIndioMaiz, and #SOSNicaragua on Twitter and Facebook.

April 2018

The first protest was a demonstration demanding immediate action from the authorities to extinguish a large-scale fire in the most important nature reserve in the country, Reserva Indio Maiz.1 The government did not listen to the protestors’ call to action, which was basically a demand to recognize the damage done by illegal cattle farms in indigenous territory. The fire lasted ten days; it was finally extinguished with the assistance of the military, indigenous volunteers, and international solidarity (e.g., a helicopter sent by Mexico).

This environmental disaster ignited environmental and social activism, shedding light on the government’s colonial practices and on its resource-intensive neoliberal interventions in indigenous territories, such as promoting cattle grazing and monocrops like palm for palm oil. This movement was called #SOSIndioMaiz. It successfully organized three protests in the capital city, Managua. I participated in this organizational committee; it has now been dissolved, with several members creating other groups.

April 16

To add to this social discontent, the Ortega Regime announced reforms to social security including an increase in contributions for employees and employers, a decrease in future pensions, and a fee from every retiree’s pension. The controversial reform was intended to save the social security institute from a deficit crisis. The INSS has repeatedly been accused of approving millions of dollars in private loans to government officials. Essentially, workers and retirees were to be forced to pay for the corruption and mismanagement of the social security funds (INSS).

A previous social justice movement had emerged in 2013 under the name of #OcupaINSS. In response to the proposed social security reforms, this group of young organizers joined a group of elderly social security recipients who had started protesting because they were the ones who were going to suffer the most.

April 18

The #OcupaINSS movement joined together with the #SOSIndioMaiz movement. Protests took place in two locations, in front of the Universidad Centroamericana and in Camino de Oriente (a plaza beside one of the busiest roads in Managua) on Wednesday, April 18. The government brutally attacked both of these protests, sending the police and its paramilitary forces (Motorizados2 and Sandinista Youth—see below) to attack the demonstrators. At 5 pm, anti-riot police (Anti-Motines) surrounded and dispersed protesters in Camino de Oriente. The protest in front of UCA escalated inside and around the University perimeters. More than 20 people were severely injured.

April 19

The entire country mobilized in protest in response to the news of the previous night’s repression of #OcupaINSS in UCA and in Camino de Oriente.

The government began censoring independent news channels on national television. They also ordered some hospitals not to aid wounded demonstrators. After the stations were removed from the airwaves, people followed them on social media. Pro-government mobs attacked students inside several university campuses.

The following universities were closed and occupied by students. Nicaraguan police and members from the Sandinista Youth clashed with protestors inside and outside these facilities.

  • Universidad Agraria (UNA) – A public university focused on agroindustry. They started in the morning, taking over the North Highway near the airport.

  • Universidad CentroAmericana (UCA) – A semi-private university serving middle-class and upper middle-class student, recently criticized for restructuring their research and humanities departments.

  • Universidad de Ingenieria (UNI) – A public university for engineering. UCA and UNI saw the most intense clashes at the beginning, after which the confrontations chiefly occurred around UPOLI.

  • Universidad Politecnica de Nicaragua (UPOLI) – A public university.

  • UNAN – The largest public university, with about 50,000 students; controlled by UNEN, the pro-government student “union.” UNAN has been a stronghold for UNEN. I live right in front of this university.

Protests were reported all over the country. It was especially significant that protests took place in Monimbo, Masaya, Leon, Matagalpa, and Estelí, because they have been traditionally pro-government sites. The fact that resistance erupted there was a blow to the state and the power of UNEN. Granada and Leon are the most important tourist destinations in the country.

The government had made several statements advocating for peace and dialogue as the police and Sandinista Youth violently attacked peaceful protestors. They would also set up PA systems to blast revolutionary songs and sing them together, protected by the police.

This was the first time that a nationwide strike had occurred at this magnitude since the “6%” student protests in the late 1990s [described below].

President Daniel Ortega.

April 20

Protests continued throughout the country as anti-riot police intensified their attacks. They raided locations where civilians were organizing medicine and food donations for protesters and stole them.

At approximately 3 pm, the largest demonstration yet gathered in Carretera Masaya, one of the main roads in Managua. Paramilitary forces attacked using tear gas and rubber bullets. Later that night, in Managua, Sandinista Youth and police surrounded students and activists inside the cathedral, UNI (the national engineering university), and UPOLI (the polytechnic university). Police attacked Leon, where several buildings caught fire, including civilian households, a radio station, restaurants, and CUUN (the national university council of UNAN Leon). Masaya and Esteli were also attacked and occupied by paramilitary forces. In Granada, the city hall was burned down. Several people were killed and dozens reported missing.

April 21

Confrontations continued throughout Nicaragua. There were demonstrations at several Nicaraguan embassies abroad. The government agreed to discuss social security reforms with COSEP, the private enterprise council. Many rejected the proposal, demanding that representatives from other organizations and movements be invited to the negotiations as well. At 12:30 pm, in his first address to the nation since protests began, Daniel Ortega called the demonstrators a “Group of criminals and thugs that promote a culture of violence.” He did not mention the murders of activists and students, nor the censorship of television channels.

Confrontations continued after Ortega’s address. Protests turned violent in several cities including Leon, Diriamba, Jinotepe, Matagalpa, and Chinandega. Students at UPOLI, the polytechnic university, continued protesting against police repression. The Nicaraguan army released a statement backing the government’s request for dialogue with COSEP, the private enterprise council, and demanding an end to police repression, the release of the detained students and activists, and the guarantee of free press without censorship. At 4 pm, the self-assembled movement, Movimiento Autoconvocado Nicaragua, released a statement demanding public negotiations including a variety of Nicaraguan sectors, labeling a dialogue between COSEP and the government a “Pact.” As of 5 pm, the death toll was reported to be between 25 and 30, with 64 injured, 43 missing, and over 20 detained.

April 22

As protests continued, looting took place around several cities. President Daniel Ortega addressed the nation for the second time, revoking the social security reforms in a televised announcement. He was accompanied by several top-ranking representatives from free trade zones in Nicaragua. Ortega briefly mourned the deaths of civilians, police, and journalists, without mentioning the violence of the Sandinista Youth and police. The president continued to describe protestors defending themselves as “Thugs and gang members,” comparing them to looters. After his statement, another protest was called for; popular outrage had gone beyond the social security reforms to extend to violent repression and government corruption.

Daniel Ortega’s speech on April 22, complete with a letter from an English-speaker representing the business interests in Nicaragua.

After Ortega’s address, people took the streets again demanding justice and mourning those who had been killed by the national police. COSEP demanded that the government take into consideration their proposed terms and conditions for a dialogue and negotiations to take place, and confirmed the march they had announced for the next day, Monday, April 23. At approximately 9 pm, students at the polytechnic university, UPOLI, reported being brutally attacked by the police while they were paying their respects to the fallen victims. Francisco Diaz, second in command of the national police, claimed that police forces were nowhere near UPOLI, despite accusations from students in the area. According to la Prensa, at least one student was killed and five injured by gunshots.

April 23

Students at UPOLI confirmed the death of two students and about eleven injured from the previous night’s police attack. They also announced they would not be attending the march announced by COSEP, as they would not be leaving the university grounds. The “self-assembled movement,” movimiento autoconvocado Nicaragua, called for another march at the same time but with a different route than COSEP’s, stating that COSEP did not represent them. Vice President Rosario Murillo announced that the decree read by Ortega on Sunday revoking the social security reforms had been published by the government’s gazette, making it official. Approximately 70,000 to 80,000 people marched together to UPOLI, carrying Nicaraguan flags, chanting for the end of repression, and calling for justice for the deceased, detained, and missing. Students at UPOLI welcomed the demonstrators and demanded the resignation of several government officials including Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo. They announced a march from UPOLI to the police station in District 6 on Tuesday, April 24, to demand the liberation of the illegally detained students and civilians. Since Friday, families of the detained had been protesting outside El Chipote, the judicial assistance department.

April 24

The massive march culminated with the removal of another “Chayopalo” [one of the big pieces of public art introduced by the Ortega family] in Managua. Students at UPOLI reported attacks by policemen dressed as civilians around 3 am. In the morning, detainees were released from “La modelo,” Managua’s penitentiary in Tipitapa, in groups of 15 or less along a remote road with shaved heads, barefoot, with 20 c$ (0.64 usd) in their hands. They described being tortured by policemen but aided by prisoners, who were consequently tortured as well. A journalist was also released in Leon.

After trying to reach Managua for two days, participants in the peasant movement in Nueva Guinea, Rio San Juan, and Ometepe resorted to road blockades to support the protests. This movement joined calls for a national strike. The bodies of two missing youths suddenly appeared at the Institute of Medical Forensics (IML) in Managua after their families had searched for them at different hospitals. Ortega’s government began removing state-sponsored wifi from public parks. Sectors of the formal labor market resumed operations and city halls began cleaning up damaged roads. Around 6 pm, the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua announced that they would mediate the dialogue between Ortega, the private sector, and other civic groups. At 7 pm, Ortega interrupted national television to accept the Episcopal Conference’s announcement.

April 25

A week after the protests erupted, a sense of eerie calm arose in response to the promise of dialogue. Confrontations ceased; however, the death toll continued to rise as the bodies of students reported missing were identified. Bishop Baez, a key figure of support for protestors who was included in the mediation commission, stated that optimal conditions for dialogue should include prosecuting those responsible for the murders and other acts of violent repression. In a statement from students at UPOLI, the self-proclaimed “Movimiento estudiantil 19 de abril,” they accepted the invitation to participate in the dialogue as long as their safety was guaranteed during and after the meeting. Several retired and active political figures jockeyed to participate in the dialogue, including former military chief Humberto Ortega Saavedra, the liberal party (PLC), and Telemaco Talavera, president of both the National University Council (CNU) and UNA (National Agrarian University). A statement denying support for the participation of Talavera in the dialogue was signed by 160 faculty members at UNA, arguing that he represented conflicting entities. In the afternoon, demonstrators held a march to accompany the families of those still detained at “El chipote.” Several vigils to honor the victims of police repression took place nationwide.

An entrance to the Polytechnic University in Managua during the occupation.

April 26

Anonymous, the world-famous hacktivist group, announced that they hacked several government websites in response to the repression against the Nicaraguan people. The website for congress was one of the hacked pages and stayed offline for a couple of hours. These interventions were widely celebrated on social media. Nevertheless, several of us were wary of the fact that Anonymous further legitimized the Orteguistas’ claim that foreign powers—i.e., the USA—are intervening in Nicaraguan affairs.

The public prosecutor’s office announced that they will be investigating all thefts, injuries, and deaths that resulted from the demonstrations. Earlier that day, the Nicaraguan human rights association, ANPDH, publicly denounced President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo before the prosecutors office for the crimes and perpetuation of violence against demonstrators. Later in the night, the Movimiento 19 de Abril announced that they had left UPOLI’s premises as they found several government infiltrators within their organization. In addition, they stated that they did not trust the investigation carried out by the public prosecutors office.

How was the uprising organized?

Affinity actions were spontaneously created through social media platforms like Signal, Telegram, and Whatsapp. All of these originally started on Facebook, with groups of up to 100 people, which decentralized to several hundred smaller groups. These “groups” formed as a way to care for and protect the student protestors who were on the streets. Some of the roles they filled include:

  • Establishing safe houses

  • Distributing medical supplies

  • Social media advocacy

  • Writing communiqués

  • Creating maps of safe routes and tracking police presence

  • Offering medical support

  • Creating shields to protect protesters from rocks and rubber bullets

  • Sending credits to cell phone numbers

  • Creating emotional support groups

  • Creating lists of participants on the ground in case some went missing

  • Buying food supplies

    Clashes in Managua.


What were the causes of the uprising?

There was no indication that this was going to happen, just growing silent discontent. The fire was ignited when the Sandinista Youth and motorcycle gangs attacked protestors and this confrontation was broadcast publicly.

The conditions that were boiling before the Abril 19th Student Uprising include:

  • The INSS Protests in 2013. Activists established an occupation in front of the Institute for Social Security; police violently evicted them in the middle of the night.

  • Corruption at all levels of government. Corruption through pacts between government officials and the upper-class investors. Corruption to support the Ortega-Murillo family’s concentration of power and wealth.

  • The concentration of power and wealth, what we call authoritarianism, by controlling the General Assembly and the Electoral Supreme Council. Opening up little possibility for any parties (including left-wing parties) to run for elections.

  • Undemocratic elections: no foreign supervision of local elections at the national and municipal levels. The elections are basically supervised by the Sandinista Party. There is evidence of people voting twice and dead people also voting.

  • Lack of transparency on government investments and foreign aid (for example, Venezuelan oil money). There is little transparency or accountability in how government funds are used. Much goes to social programs, but other parts are assumed to go directly to the party.

  • Increasing gas prices compared to Central America, despite our relationship with Venezuela.

  • Poor investment in education. Only 5% of applicants passed the math admission test to apply to UNAN, the largest Public University in the country.

  • A political model based on dependency between poor communities and the state) instead of critical participation and dialogue. This is called clientelism.

  • Cooptation of Media. The government owns eight different television and radio stations and, as they recently showed, are known to censor and attack other independent media outlets, including 100% Noticias, Confidencial.

  • Overall hatred towards the police on account of corruption, bribery, and police murders such as the Las Jaguitas case. Bribing traffic police is a local custom.

  • The Grand Canal project, which gave a lot of power to a Chinese company; it was potentially going to displace indigenous communities in the Caribbean/Atlantic side of the country. This $50 billion project started with the legal infrastructure but was never actually built.

  • No private sector accountability over the environment. Environmental laws have been relaxed in order to incentivize private investment.

  • Harassment from Juventud Sandinista and motorcycle gangs (which were first implemented by Venezuela) towards protesters.

  • The aesthetic hijacking of Nicaragua—for example, the “Trees of Life” and the new Party aesthetic color pallet.

  • The Church and the State are not separate. The slogan of the government is “Socialism, Christianity, and Solidarity.”

  • Institutions that should be neutral—such as the military, the ministry of education, the ministry of health, and the police—are pro-government.

  • Femicide rates are high for rural women.

  • The closing of women’s centers (comisarias de la mujer).

  • Abortion has been illegal since 2006.

  • Ortega has been accused of sexual abuse against his step-daughter, Zoilamerica.

Despite all this, things were not so bad for the middle and upper class. Those sectors were pacified. The situation could be a lot worse. People could work in the private sector and benefit from the public sector. We have free education and free healthcare. They are not the best quality, but they are free and accessible to most.

But the government completely underestimated the level of national discontent towards the FLSN. This insurrection united all these sectors around one feeling: we don’t like the government and things could be better.

The trigger for all of this was not a right-wing conspiracy or right-wing funding. The student protests erupted simultaneously at UNA, UCA, UNI, and UPOLI on Thursday and by Friday these protests had grown to cities all over Nicaragua. The right wing only started to organize after they saw an opening in the dialogue that was going to occur between the students, the private sector, and the government.

There is plenty of evidence of United States involvement in Nicaragua, through the “Nica Act” and the National Endowment for Democracy funding organizations in Nicaragua. But there is no evidence connecting that to the emergence of this protest movement.

Who Are the Sandinista Youth?

The Sandinista Youth is the youth wing of the FSLN/Government. They are known for wearing the very colorful white shirts with colorful slogans. They are the first responders to natural disasters, they are the ones who go to government events, and they are the ones who respond to any public protest.

My father (a Sandinista Guerillero and then a major in the military) tells me that in the 1970s and 1980’s, the student movement were the ones debating theory and action: Trostky vs. Lenin vs. Mao vs. Castro vs. Gramsci vs. Carlos Fonseca vs. Sandino. If you were a student organizer at that time, you would be well-versed in theory and practice; you would also aspire to be a good student and an example of the hombre nuevo (“new man”), modeled after Che Guevara.

During the revolutionary process between 1979 and 1990, the Sandinista Youth played a key role in the intellectual and organizational aspect of the Revolution. They were the youth wing of the government; they gave the Sandinistas a relationship with young people; they organized the Literacy Crusade. They were also in the military, since there was a draft.

Today, it is a different story.

Since Daniel Ortega’s democratic victory in 2006, the Sandinista Youth have been the most visible sector that supports the Ortegas. They are the youth face of the government; they are organized very hierarchically; they no longer have the intellectual weight that the historical Sandinista Youth had. The government recognized that 60-70% of Nicaragua is between the ages of 18-35—this is an important demographic.

The Sandinista Youth are convinced that anyone that opposed Daniel Ortega must be a right-wing neo-liberal who wants to overthrow the government. It was right to react against the neoliberal parties in the 1990s and early 2000s—but today, those parties have lost leadership and power, mainly as a consequence of divisions in the right wing and co-optation by the Orteguista party.

After the events of April 19, the image of the Sandinista Youth is completely tainted. There are clear pictures of them attacking peaceful protestors, mostly students (not to mention 10 years of evidence of this occurring before). There are plenty of videos, photographs, and testimonies describing how Sandinista Youth attacked journalists, students, and peaceful demonstrators. I personally witnessed this myself in several protests on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

I believe that the Sandinista Youth are facing an existential crisis. They thought they were the largest youth movement in the country, but this is no longer true. They are meeting students and other young people who think very differently and are empowered in a completely unique way that is not related to party politics.

The Sandinista Youth is hierarchical, and far from autonomous, by contrast with the student and autoconvocados (“self-assembled”) movements. The Sandinista Youth already failed to form an alliance with powerful anti-canal Campesino Movement, which was formed against building the Canal around 2013. Under the leadership of Francisca Ramirez, the Campesino movement entered Managua on April 28 in support of peace and dialogue and in solidarity with the student uprising.

I have never been involved with the Sandinista Youth. They have tried several times to recruit me, but I rejected their cult following of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo and their strictly vertical approach to power. They do have a very militant organization and language. Several friends of mine are a part of the Sandinista Youth, however, through their families’ historical involvement in the Sandinistas or through their government jobs.

What is the relationship of the UNEN and the Sandinista Youth to the Student Movement?

UNEN is the pro-government student union, which has chapters in each major university, mostly concentrated in UNAN Managua, the largest public university in the country.

UNEN get their “street cred” from the student protests in the late 1990s, when they were protesting the neoliberal government of Arnoldo Aleman and Bolaños, who wanted to cut education funding. The demonstrators demanded that 6% of the National Budget go to education.

The 6% protests.

But the participants in the 6% protests are no longer young. The current UNEN students have no experience in protests; they only have experience following orders and supporting the Sandinista Government. If you are a part of UNEN, you will receive benefits and scholarships—but those should be accessible to all, not just UNEN.

It is well documented that whenever there is a pro-government event or demonstration, all the public institutions of the government must attend these events, including workers’ unions. They have lists; you are required to go, or you will lose you job or your scholarship. This is how they get hundreds of people to attend pro-government rallies. It is the same with voting: If you are a state employee or part of UNEN or of the Sandinista Youth, you must prove that you voted.

The psychology of the Sandinista Youth and UNEN is “us vs. them.” If you are a young organizer but you are not UNEN or Sandinista Youth, you are automatically assumed to be a right-wing, CIA-funded traitor who wants to destabilize all the wonderful things that the government has created.

This is one of the main flaws of the Sandinista model: their relationship with the people has been economical and political, instead of social and sustainable. They have created dependency instead of autonomy: clientelism.

What made the Ortega government popular?

The government keeps contrasting the current situation to the 1990s, which were a complete disaster for the poor and working-class. Neoliberal governments created new political and economic elites, ruling from the 1990s to 2006. In the 1990s, we had power outages, water outages, extreme poverty, and crime and drugs. The World Bank and the IMF created free trade zones, with maquilas (sweatshops), that were designed to modernize Nicaragua. After the revolutionary process of the 1980s, we also saw the introduction of casinos, fast food chains, call centers, malls, private resorts, cell phones… basically violent globalization.

Since 2006, the government has created a stable economy via authoritarianism and political and economic pacts. Costa Rica is too boring and expensive, so nowadays most tourists are coming to Nicaragua. Now the government is afraid that tourism will decline, affecting thousands of jobs.

Nicaragua experiences relative peace compared to the most dangerous zones in Central America (El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala). We enjoy this safety not simply because of our large police force, but because Nicaraguans migrate to Costa Rica rather than the United States, so we don’t fully participate in the dynamics around migration to the US involving the cartels. There are also very harsh border laws between Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Right now, a camp of Afro-Caribbean and Cuban immigrants want to enter Nicaragua so that they can make their way to the USA, but they are not allowed in the country, not even just for transit.

The most celebrated act of the government has been constructing parks with wifi and rejuvenating the old downtown. These parks are painted with the multicolor government aesthetic, but they are spaces that can be enjoyed by all. Every weekend, you see thousands of people enjoying public spaces, which was unconceivable in the 1990s.

How does this relate to the historical legacy of the Sandinistas?

The error of the Sandinista Party is that they have created a dependency between the poor class and the government. You can only buy loyalty for so long; they needed to build social infrastructure but never did. The Sandinista Youth was supposed to do that, but they failed. The government supported poor communities by giving away free food and building materials.

Their approach has always been hierarchical, vertical, and authoritarian. This is a big problem for new youths who don’t like being told what to do. There is no debate inside of the Sandinista Party.

Sandino is a national hero from the 1920s and 1930s. His original platform was anti-imperialism, cooperativism, citizenship, and nationalism. Sandino was radicalized in Mexico, where he experienced the labor movement after the Mexican Revolution. He brought the Sandinista red and black flag to Nicaragua from Mexico after he met with Spanish Anarchists.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Carlos Fonseca introduced Sandinismo as an ideology and movement based around a revolutionary strategy that did not include an industrial class—as Nicaragua had few industrial workers. In the 1980s, the FSLN held power; they introduced agrarian reform, the National Literacy Crusade, and a socialist model with a strong central government and a small private sector. Cuba and the Soviet Union were their chief supporters.

At the time, the Contra War impacted the revolution. The Contras were supported by the USA, but they also included farmers who didn’t want to work in cooperatives and thought that the FSLN was hierarchical.

In any case, the 2006 Sandinista Government is nothing like the Nicaraguan government of the 1980s. In 2006, the Sandinistas originally spoke of continuing the revolution where they left off in the 1980s. But the current Orteguismo sold out to corruption in order to hold on to power. They’ve been in power since 2006 because:

  • They own the electoral assembly;

  • There is no political opposition (the second biggest party received 12% of the votes in 2016);

  • They make deals with the private sector and upper class;

  • They control the police;

  • People hate voting because the elections are not transparent—the abstention rate in voting is around 50%, and young people don’t vote because we all know who is going to win and there is no coherent opposition that is even mildly left-wing;

  • Youth are tired of party politics;

  • The FLSN have changed the constitution; they have spent the last 10 years building their own infrastructure in order to hold on to control.

These insurrections are a wake-up call to the government and to the Sandinista Youth. They no longer have control of the discourse and of the image of Nicaragua.

The UNEN and the government have pointed at the right wing and at the MRS (Movimiento Renovador Sandinista, “Movement to renovate Sandinismo”), claiming that the MRS has infiltrated student groups and funded the protests. The MRS is a dissident Sandinista group formed in the 1990s. They have been running in elections without winning; their support is around 10%. Honestly the MRS wished they had that kind of money. I have several friends in the MRS; they are good people, and smart, but they still play party politics.

The more existential question is: What does Sandinismo mean today? Who speaks for Sandinismo? What still works about Sandinismo? Who owns Sandinismo? The FSLN? The war veterans?

We have seen people trying to re-signify the co-opted image of Sandino. There has been a nationwide effort to paint blue and white all the Sandinista monuments that were originally painted in red and black. People are placing a Nicaraguan flag behind Sandino, but they are still respecting his image. This suggests that a lot of people want a National Sandinismo instead of an Orteguista Sandinismo. But this is just aesthetic, nothing political has emerged.

We lack leftist critiques of Orteguismo. What does a left-wing anti-Orteguismo look like?

A vigil for those killed during the uprising. Again, note the flags.

How has the private sector responded to the situation?

We’ve heard rumors about how Roberto Pellas, Nicaragua’s first billionaire and head of Casa Pellas, the company that owns the upper class private Hospital, the car dealerships, the insurance and the banks, is positioning himself strategically in light of future negotiations. This is odd, since the Pellas families have benefited from the Ortega family being in power. But to say the least, the Pellas industry supports capitalism and further economic growth at all costs.

I only see the upper class supporting stronger IMF influence. Nicaragua already survived 15 years of IMF and World Bank control through neoliberal governments. Everybody hated it. That’s the main reason Ortega won in 2006—people wanted change. I don’t see working class people demanding a return to neoliberal politics.

The student movement has said several times that although the private sector is affected by the INSS reform, they do not represent the student movement. Right now, the majority of the people who have been murdered have been student protestors. No upper-class or private sector person has died as a result of confrontations with the Police.

The bravery of the student protestors places them at the center of the dialogue. The government is including several other sectors in the dialogue (workers, private sector, representatives of free trade zones) in order to suppress the students’ demands.

One of the chief things that I celebrate form these last 10 days has been how fast youth have been radicalized into taking a political position and forming political organizations. University students have organized themselves in assemblies and collectives. People have placed pressure not just on politicians but on artists and cultural producers. We are experiencing a new culture war. People are thinking beyond individual action, in terms of institutions and collective solutions. But again, horizontal methods don’t relate to progressive leftist politics—or do they?

There are efforts now to create a radical leftist consciousness and organization. Several organizations and groups are promoting this.

But efforts have not been targeted towards full infrastructure change. Right now, people want justice for the people who were murdered, hence the dialogue with the government. The main rhetoric of the movement has been “We must stay in the streets so that we don’t forget all the ones who have died.” Whatever comes out of this dialogue will not be enough, because the government will never give you the tools to overthrow it.

Have right-wing groups attempted to co-opt the movement?

Right now, the only right-wing group we are keeping our eye on is the PLC political Party, but they keep being booed out of marches and protests. No political party has attempted to take their own party flags to the demonstrations yet. The real right-wingers are the people from the private sector. The right wing in Nicaragua will not come from a nationalist ethno-centric movement but from private interests.

I was shocked when I saw how many upper-class wealthy families were attending the marches. Of course those marches were not disrupted by the police; of course they did not encounter any violence; of course they were safe and offered a cathartic feeling of belonging to a national movement. I saw Piero Cohen, a Nicaraguan millionaire, shouting on live television about how Ortega had to be overthrown.

Here is where we can see how opportunistic everyone has been. “Opposition” is such a plural and changing concept; the only thing all the opposition shares is opposition to the Ortegas. Nicaragua is an extremely Catholic Country, and somewhat conservative when it comes to LGBTQIA and feminist issues. The arguments and positions of the “opposition” have taken on a very nationalistic tone with a Christian inflection. Right now, we are seeing a nationalistic push against the Ortegas, but inside of this nationalism there are many different ideals that contradict each other.

People are extremely suspicious of attempts to support and speak on behalf of the students. Everybody is attempting to co-opt these movements. Everyone wants a piece of the pie. People from every sector are organizing themselves and want to promote a dialogue that includes them. Everybody is sharing their disapproval of the government. The conditions have been created under which new leaders will emerge and try to represent movements. Not necessarily from the right wing, but whoever wants power. It is the task of the students and the self-assembled to not fall into this trap and to do a good job at having delegates and representatives that can speak on behalf of the organized majority. Who has the right to speak on behalf of the murdered students, who mostly came from working class backgrounds?

To be honest, our right wing is not as organized in Nicaragua as in the United States or Venezuela or Brazil. They don’t attract young people. I think people are tired of party politics; we have seen the same talking heads over and over again for the last 10 years. People are excited for a new kind of leadership. But what also needs to be proposed is a new kind of method.

The right wing was in power through the 1990s with Arnoldo Aleman and Enrique Bolaños. They set the ground for vicious neoliberal policies and created a new political and economic elite at the expense of the working class. Right now, Arnoldo Aleman’s wife is trying to take advantage of this situation to get more votes on her party. But nobody wants to talk about political parties at this point. I think populism is over here.

The strongest actor that wants to co-opt the movements is still the state and the Sandinistas. They have already started to dress as civilians (without the colorful Ortega Shirts) and to wave Nicaraguan Flags instead of FLSN flags. The government has said in almost every communiqué and television that the entire uprising is a plan from the right to destabilize the country. This message is being multiplied at all levels of society. Consequently, the movements are doing their best at critiquing any “right wing” conspiracy.

The interest of the United States through the Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act (NICA) has also been a concern. But people are not talking about it very much on the ground.

A door has been opened, but we don’t know what’s going to come out of the other side—it could be a right-wing neoliberal subject or a radical leftist subject. But the Sandinistas and the MRS have co-opted all the leftists’ language. What does it mean to be a Nicaraguan leftist and not support the Ortegas? Or should the strategy be to support the Ortegas as a vehicle to get into more radical politics? There are still debates about this.

A diagram explaining the difference between anarchism and the other ideologies on offer in the marketplace of ideas.

What are the sources of the horizontal values and structures within the movement? Are there tensions within the movement about organizing models, goals, and power dynamics?

The main source has been the realization that we don’t want to replicate the authoritarian and vertical model represented by the government. As young people, we don’t want to be told what to do by people who claim to be smarter than us. Therefore, it was necessary to experiment with other models. Some sectors only spoke briefly of these models, but it was the right time to implement them and they were beautiful to see. These models are now part of our collective vocabulary. For the first time, thousands of people are listening to groups speak, how they talk, learning how the pass around the microphone, how to speak as a “we.”

This all started with UPOLI, because there was no leadership in the protests; this all started when hundreds of people created Signal and Telegram groups to talk and find ways to help the protests without need of authority. And all of this works because this experience of politics is very different. It is more empowering, but it also takes more work. It has led to confusion and disorganization in some sectors. It does involve a lot of communication.

We have no idea where all of these anarchist ideals came from: mutual aid, affinity groups, horizontalism, communes, occupations, consensus. It was as if they had been part of our collective unconscious but we had never had an opportunity to practice them. Practice came first, then theory. It’s not that people are openly reading anarchist literature, as much as I have tried. People just organized this way, and maintained this way of organizing through the whole week of struggles.

No populist leader has emerged, only delegates and spokespersons. We have ideas of movements, and of secret meetings, but no authority or verticality. Still, our parents tell us that there is a cultural need for leadership. So we have conflicting models fighting each other.

We have still been learning; there have been conflicts. For example, a group of activists leaked naked pictures of one of the UNEN organizers. This provoked the feminist movement to call out misogyny and machismo, and also the role of the church and authority inside student movements. The most stressful thing has been infiltration. Movements have been infiltrated by UNEN, the pro-government student union, who have slowly infiltrated universities like UPOLI and fomented disagreements within the students.

But everything that we have learned over the past days is now part of our political imagination, our skillset, our language. These events created the conditions for us to experiment and practice these skills, and every day we are learning new skills.

How do the events in Nicaragua relate to other struggles in Central America?

Central American has been through a lot. Look at the Fuera JOH movement (which I also briefly experienced) in Honduras and the backlash against the “ultra-conservative” movements in Costa Rica right before their elections. But no elements have connected these. We were keeping a close eye on Costa Rica because we were afraid that the “ultra-conservatives” would influence and inspire Evangelicals here in Nicaragua. So far they have not. Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica are three very different countries.

Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala have more in common; Nicaragua is its own bubble. In terms of anarchist presence, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Puerto Rico have by far the largest concentrations of anarchists. But in my experience, we experience very little solidarity and political exchange with these countries. There is more cultural and academic dialogue than political communication.

In 2006, Sandinismo came to power as part of the “Pink Tide,” a wave of electoral victories for leftist parties throughout Latin America. Yet surprisingly, we have very little communication with the rest of Latin America. There is a cultural frontier between Panama and Colombia. We sometimes hear something about the student movements in Argentina and Chile or indigenous resistance in the Amazon. But in terms of organizers getting together and exchanging strategies broadly between Central American or Latin American countries, it is very rare. We might have more affinity to Mexico than to some of the previously mentioned countries, but still, it doesn’t come through as much, and of course the more upper class sectors of the population have their eyes and ears and hearts aimed at the United States.

Many people draw parallels with Venezuela and Nicaragua. A lot of people in Nicaragua have a strange relationship to Venezuela. We do owe our “sustainability” to Venezuelan aid, in return for which we send meat back to Venezuela. Ortega and Maduro have been compared a lot, even Ortega and Chavez. But again, the context is very different.

Unfortunately, we still need to develop an intersectional analysis inside of Nicaragua and outside of Nicaragua. We have been too busy figuring things out on the ground, we have not had a chance to reflect on our situation in an international context.

What can people elsewhere around the world learn from this movement? What do you think the future holds?

This insurrection occurred so fast. It was literally overnight. The images of the police and the Sandinista Youth beating up peaceful protestors resonated across the entire country. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Never underestimate the solidarity that can come through students. Never underestimate the level of spontaneous organization that can emerge between friends, family, and strangers. I am amazed at how quickly people organized themselves into affinity groups and cells. I am amazed at how horizontal all these efforts and movements have been.

Understand the local conditions in which you live; always consider culture as a factor in your organizing. What happens will follow cultural patterns, but it will also redefine them. Take these moments of crisis to learn new skills and make new friends. Take chances. Experiment.

Anarchists and active organizers and environmentalist academics who read about class struggle were definitely more prepared than others that were just started to get involved. But this did not manifest itself in an authoritarian way; they just offered suggestions and questions and ideas and experiments. So start getting prepared, think of your immediate community needs. To quote someone, somewhere: “sometimes there are decades in which nothing occurs, but other times there are weeks worth decades.”

Localize your struggle to your own local conditions. It will help you see into the future and understand the present. In Nicaragua people, have claimed since Ortega that things could be worse, compared to Nicaraguan history, but you must be able to also state that things can be better. In the case on Nicaragua, it seems that the past (the revolution from the 1980s) has hijacked the present. So it’s the task of new movements to analyze the 1980s and 1990s, in part by talking with the generations that experienced them.

The question of “the people” as a singular has also been contested. The people as plural is richer but at the same time more complex. We need to attack the center from different places, at different intensities, and at different levels. There is no one strategy; the decentralization of groups and efforts into smaller factions concentrates energy in very different places. We need to study the countryside and see how it operates—and the universities, the Sandinista youth, the private schools, the popular markets, the neighborhood, the workplaces. You can’t be involved in all of those spaces at the same time, so decentralizing attacks and conversations and critical reflections helps everyone.

We must expose all the shortcomings of the right. Their political platform, their ideology, their organization, their power structures—and connect them to race, class, gender, history, geography.

We are still figuring this out. Right now, we are trying things and responding to the reactions. Things need to happen in order for people to take positions. We are reacting to the government, but we are also providing material for the government to react to. We need to map the right, center, and left players—to critique them, to expose them. The same goes for the supposed neutrality of institutions.

No matter what happens in the future, what the government does, how the private sector reacts, how the students movements unfold—over the last week, all the students and organizers have grown tremendously. We have learned so much, failed so much, but also won incredible battles. All these things we cannot unlearn and we cannot unsee. We will never unsee how hard the government tried to cover up its failure. We cannot unsee.

  1. The situation in Indio Maiz is more complex than just government ineptitude. As an organizer inside of the #SOSIndioMaiz, I met with Rama and Criol indigenous leaders and with Park Rangers that protect Indio Maiz; they tell a story of racism, illegal cattle ranches, government and private interests, concentration of power and territory via the military, and more. The government department that is designated to protect its natural resources has not replied to any of the lawsuits that have been sent for the last five years. Indio Maiz was not just about the fire. It was about the fact that the government benefits from illegal wood extraction, illegal cattle ranches, and private sector monocrops in indigenous territory. Indio Maiz was about the racist dynamic between the state and local indigenous governments. Indio Maiz was about the fact that it is very difficult to study ecology or environmental resources management in Nicaragua. Indio Maiz was about the Grand Canal. Indio Maiz was about the relaxed environmental policy regarding private investments and construction.

  2. Motorizados, motorcycle gangs. Protesters were repeatedly attacked by these older men wearing helmets and utilizing baseball bats, metal bats, rocks, and other weapons.

Tags: Crimethinc.Latin AmericaNicaraguacategory: Essays
Categories: News

Cuba: Anarchists open ABRA (Social Center & Anarchist Library) in Havana

Sun, 05/06/2018 - 15:30

From Anarchist Radio Berlin via machine translation w/ minor edits

In 2016, the Anarchist Radio Berlin (within the framework of the FdA) participated in a fundraising campaign that aimed to raise money for the purchase of a building in Cuba. The federation finally made a significant contribution.

After the comrades in Cuba succeeded in buying a building in the capital of Havana, it is finally over (on Saturday, 5/5/2018): The Center ABRA (Social Center and Libertarian Library) opens its doors solemnly. The local comrades ask for the widest possible dissemination, a wish that we are only too happy to fulfill. And we call you to do the same.

In the following we document the text for the opening ( in the translation of the FdA ):

[this part of txt taken from Black Rose Anarchist Federation link here -ANEWS ed.]

On May 5th 2018 a new stage in the self-emancipatory process for a group of Cubans begins with the opening of ABRA: Centro Social y Biblioteca Libertaria (Social Center and Libertarian Library).

This effort of the Taller Libertario Alfredo López (an anarchist, anti-authoritarian, and anti-capitalist initiative created in 2012 and which forms a part of the Federación Anarquista del Caribe y Centroamérica [Anarchist Federation of the Caribbean and Central America]) along with the effective and crucial involvement of associated collectives such as Observatorio Crítico Cubano, Guardabosques, and other individual initiatives intends to inaugurate an autonomous and sustainable space in Cuba today.

A space to promote experiences and practice independent of any foreign or national government, or the institutions which represent them, and focused on the capabilities of those involved. From ABRA we will insist on a practice which prefigures the kind of sociability that we dream of and in friendly relations with the environment, which results in minimal consumption and a maximum of non-polluting solutions of our own.

This new effort is essentially anti capitalist given that capitalism promotes utilitarian relationships among people, supremacy, competition, profit, all of which is not conducive towards the type of sociability we aspire to achieve. These forms of relationship that capitalism promotes is sustained by states, businesses and corporations that dominate and pillage the world and our country. For this reason, the Social Center stands diametrically opposed to capitalism.

On the other hand, emancipation is not possible without involvement with the community. That is why ABRA exists within the communities and not alienated from the oppression they suffer or from the victories they achieve through their struggles. ABRA seeks to provide a space for the different forms of sociability, for individuals and affinity groups that aren’t limited by the narrow framework of government vs opposition, and who propose the direct and autonomous approach to issues of everyday life and creation on all aspects of life.

This space actively stands against discrimination by race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, sexual orientation, gender identity, territoriality, educational attainment, economic status and any other kind that threatens a person’s dignity. Likewise, this space recognizes the diversity of thoughts (political, ideological, moral, etc.) without ever renouncing to exercise our own.

ABRA is a place for establishing relationships, in the middle of a commercialized and surveillanced city, that can serve as a place for producing information that is not available at a local, national, and international level. It is a space in favor of self-taught training, commemorations, celebrations, encounters; looking to encourage the precarious counter-cultural scene, which is productive and self-sufficient, that currently exists in La Habana and the region of Cuba.

The Social Center constitutes a space of horizontal social communication to give a voice to those national and international experiences which are not in the interests of the hegemonic agencies, but that offer an anti-authoritarian and emancipatory perspective which is in fact in the interests of us who struggle in Cuba.

Here, means and ends are not contradictory: They are horizontal, of free individuals, and the effective participation out of direct involvement.

#CentroSocialABRA #ABRACuba

Tags: cubasocial centeranarchist libraryspacela habanacategory: Projects
Categories: News


Sun, 05/06/2018 - 14:58

From Nightfall

Summer 2018
– Against The Smart City
– Talking Together
– Make May Day Everyday
and more!

Tags: Minnesotanightfalllocal paperdistrocategory: Projects
Categories: News

Crossword Puzzle #50: Podcasts

Sun, 05/06/2018 - 14:00

Over the last 50 weeks, we have posted one crossword puzzle per week. This weeks crossword puzzle is on Podcasts and it marks the end of our weekly crossword puzzle posts. You can find all the previous puzzles here or by using the navigation side bar and clicking on the crossword link.

This weeks crossword can be downloaded here:


From LBC about the book:

For those anarchistnews fans who miss Worker's acerbic and insightful bon mots on modern-day anarchy and anarchists, here is a fix (however temporary) for you.

Fifty crossword puzzles of occasionally ludicrous difficulty (there are scattered puff questions throughout also, for those of you, like me, who are terrible at these kind of games) are featured for your education and amusement. is the most popular, utilized, and non-sectarian news source pertaining to anarchists in North America. Its open commenting system continues to be one of the few spaces in which anarchists, nationally and internationally, converse about topics of the day, challenge each other, and critically engage with a wide variety of issues and events.

Worker retired from running the site after eleven years... Since then they have reflected on their time in the daily trenches of running the site, and this book is the result. These crossword puzzles speak to the years of comment threads, the ridiculousness and wonderfulness of the anarchist space in North America, and finally the absurdity of working with cantankerous, stubborn, and self-righteous people by way of essay or manifesto.

These puzzles should probably be done by a reading group or a group of friends. They are supposed to make you think, laugh, and perhaps smack your head. A more perfect metaphor for North American anarchism cannot be found.


[ Here are the solutions! Don’t peek!: ]

Tags: beautiful crossmess parzelthis sitepdfpodcastsaudiocategory: Projects
Categories: News

Call-in Campaign to #DROPJ20: May 10th-11th

Sun, 05/06/2018 - 04:07

On December 21st, a jury returned a not-guilty verdict on all charges for the first six defendants in the J20 case. Subsequently, on January 19th, 2018, the prosecution dropped charges against 129 defendants. This is a huge victory! But the fight isn’t over yet: 59 people still face decades in prison. The next round of trials is set to start on May 14th, 2018. The prosecution intentionally delayed the April trials for lack of an “expert witness,” essentially conceding that they can’t win the case as is. We know this is a case of political targeting, and we must demand that the remaining 59 defendants get their charges dropped! We are asking that everyone call the US Attorney’s office from 9am-6pm on 5/10/18 and 5/11/18 and tell them to DROP THE CHARGES against ALL the remaining defendants!

Now is the time to keep up the pressure! The U.S. Attorney’s office can decide to drop these charges any time. Let’s make sure they can’t get any work done, show them they can’t get any work done while we let them know we are watching these cases. We’re asking you to keep the following people busy listening to our demands all day long on May 10th and 11th:

Jennifer Kerkhoff – Lead Prosectuor on the case, Deputy Chief of the Felony Major Crimes Trial Section (202) 252-7380

Lisa Greene – The Deputy Chief of the Superior Court Division, Kerkhoff’s direct supervisor (202) 252-7485

Richard Tischner – The Chief of the Superior Court Division, Kerkhoff’s direct supervisor (202) 252-7274

US Attorney for DC Jessie Liu – The person in charge of the US Attorney’s office, a Trump appointee (202) 252-7566

Rizwan Qureshi - Assistant J20 prosecutor (general line - use directory/operator) (202) 252-7679

John Gidez – The Chief of the Felony Major Crimes Trial Section, Kerkhoff’s colleague (202) 252-6752

John Borchert - Assistant J20 prosecutor (esp. Dreamhost and Facebook warrants) (202) 252-7679

For maximum impact: make it personal. Why are you upset? How do you feel about limits on street protest? Tell them your opinion about police infiltration of anti-capitalist and anti-fascist communities. Perhaps you want to discuss private property destruction as symbolic political action. Whatever topics you select, you should use the opportunity to make sure that for the duration of this phone zap they will hear from us all the two days long. Please be aware your calls are likely recorded and we do not advise answering questions about your identity. Please use your best discretion if referencing anything that occurred on January 20th so as not to negatively impact the ongoing case.

Call-in Script
Here’s a sample script to get you started!

Hello. My name is __________. (first name is fine)

I am calling about the inauguration day protesters still facing trumped up criminal charges. Your office needs to drop these remaining charges. There is no good reason your office should be pursuing these charges when six people have already been found NOT GUILTY on all counts in the first trial. Again, your office should drop the remaining charges.

Over the last year these prosecutions have pushed all limits:

Intimidation to coerce plea deals by making inflated charges.
Shielding law enforcement from public accountability by issuing gag orders.
Disrupting people’s lives by making overblown charges and using those to justify intrusive, extensive investigations meant to build those cases.
This overall strategy to intimidate activists, disrupt social movements and silence dissent by weaponizing the use of trumped up charges is not going unnoticed. Your office has the power to end the repression and intimidation. Drop the charges now.

N.B. Some callers to AUSA Kerkoff in January found her to be argumentitive, and may treat the call similarly to her courtroom presentation. You are welcome to expand this script to include opinions about the limits placed on street protest, the infiltration of anti-capitalist and anti-fascist communities by the police, or private property destruction as symbolic political action. Please be aware that your calls are likely recorded and we do not advise answering any questions about your identity. Please use your best discretion if referencing anything that occured on January 20th so as to not negatively impact the ongoing case.

Tags: anarchists in troublecall indefendj20#disruptJ20category: Actions
Categories: News

Seattle May Day Reverie: One Lone Anarchist’s Account and Analysis

Sat, 05/05/2018 - 17:22


In our thoroughly alienated and anxious time it is not a wonder that some anarchists find themselves alone on May Day in Seattle. Sometimes this is by choice. The call for “everybody” to come out can be heard as shrill and annoying to those who would rather not. I however found myself alone by chance.

In the days leading up to May Day I was anxious and full of self-critique about previous May Days. This state was so strong that I found myself alone without plans the morning of. At first I was saddened, but then a rush of dizzying freedom overcame me. Enemies abound. Axes for attack are everywhere. In this thrown-ness my means could be largely tactical and what little strategy I had could be emergent. Though it’s dangerous to go it alone, it is not impossible, and safety itself is often an illusion including safety in numbers. Sometimes being unsafe in certain ways is required to achieve our goals, we should of course practice harm reduction where possible, but coming into conflict with the ruling order often comes with risks.

Of course our choices are limited without comrades to watch our backs or join us in a fight. However, there are many forms of attack that can be undertaken alone and opportunities for actions where one can then slip away into the crowd of a bar, or dart down an alley.

No really prime fleeting opportunities emerged where I felt I could easily get away, but that’s part of social control isn’t it. The helicopter over the UW probably isn’t watching you, but it could be, and this is enough to deter many. There were also ideas for attacks that could be carried out better under different conditions. So I left the area and headed home to do a deep dive into social media about the days events.

Some would say to go on waiting is madness, but at times patience pays off. We don’t need to do everything on May Day and we need to start taking more advantage and continue thinking critically. Though of course the wanton energy of May Day can be a very useful thing and arriving all together can be very desirable, but it’s not everything.

I spent the day not only investigating opportunities for attack, but critically analyzing our terrain, social conditions, pitfalls, and the tactics of our enemies. This reflection can be just as valuable as most other actions, if I am able to put my thoughts into practice. There are things I have learned that are so dangerous that I cannot wisely utter them near devices with microphones or in public.

What I can say is that the element of surprise cannot be emphasized enough. We can go to spaces where the cops aren’t get shit done and then leave before or when the cops come. We can choose to not do what is expected of us. We can lull the cops into a false sense of security or make them drastically over compensate wasting their money and making them look foolish. We can play act within the known limits when it pleases us and when their whole narrative and repression operation rests on us going out of them and we can also ethically transgress any limits including those the police and macho assholes have to toe to be respected.

The idea of a decentralized May Day for critical autonomous praxis is beautiful, but we have to make sure we are still creating spaces to find each other and inspire others to take action. I say this not as a some appeal to mass-movements or quantitatively-centered social engagement nor as a platformist calling for cohesion and unity, but as someone who has made friends and comrades at May Days and other open street actions past who may not have found their way into the milieu otherwise. There are of course countless other ways of meeting and linking up with new and even old comrades and there are still a few spaces left in Seattle that host events and the like, but since the fall of Occupy—which for all its faults was great way to meet friends and comrades and perhaps the most grand in Seattle in recent memory aside from anti-police marches in the late 00s—May Day and other big marches have been a way for us to make space for others to wild out. In the street we can actually encourage people to take action they wouldn’t normally by having their back, allowing them to see that we aren’t ultra-specialized professionals, and illustrate that our tactics really are reproducible.

But let’s get to the events of the day. First, there was the May Day March put on by El Comité. As always, the immigrants and workers rights march included a variety of groups from those who are very radical to very passive. The leadership has in the past been less then desirable, but like most formal almost conservative leftist organizations there’s often potential for comradeship among people who are supporters of the group yet don’t place their undying faith in its doctrine or leaders. It was clear that socialism is trending. Groups like the DSA were out in force. At times the people genuinely seemed like they wanted a revolution. Anti-capitalist and anti-police chants were coming from all over which could mean there’s a palpable shift away from liberal respectability politics though I may be being tricked by hijacking of anarchist rhetoric. For example, with the reemergence of somewhat popular state-socialism we have heard statists tell people to become “ungovernable” which to me seems to be incompatible with what they really want people to be which is governed by their party or cadre or central committee or whatever.

In this march however the difference between becoming whatever—that is to say becoming that which is desirable—and being alone in a crowd was made extremely clear. I was alone in the crowd even among other black clad anarchists with their banners unfurled. We were stating positions and making ourselves known, but not actualizing desires beyond that.

A whole nuanced piece could be written about the respectability politics of events like this suffice to say it’s not the “family friendly” character or the fact that it’s just a march coupled with speaking events that limits its potential. Rather it’s the ossified leadership that limits peoples engagement and thus limits the energy that drives people to participate. As well as the ineffective representative politics that permeate the march where questions of “What are you actually doing?” are met with tepid proposals for reform and references to worthless meeting that are in stark contrast to socialist and revolutionary messaging.

Having already written all this about El Comité’s march feels like the overstepping of critique. There is much to be celebrated in the march itself in spite of some of its leadership and in spite of the sewer socialists that flock to it. In spite of the bloc that was there feeling demoralizing to me on a level of tactical costuming and engagement it could have felt great to others and done wonders in other regards that I am unaware of.

Another radical thing that happened was the Bloc the Juvie party that announced it’s location last minute and took place on the Ave. I honestly have no real insight into this action that I’d like to share other than anarchists and others have been pushing for years to fight the new juvie, and all prisons/jails, and now not only does the sentiment seem to be becoming widely embraced but so does the spirit of direct action albeit perhaps in a form that is more sizzle than substance.

As for the autonomous action it seems like people were very busy. There were banners dropped, a plethora of stickers put up, bigots bashed, bikes liberated, and much more all just in Seattle. Some things happened that will never make it into the spectacle of communiques. How many orgies, revenge attacks, ethical expropriations, and walks through the woods did comrades partake in on May Day? We will never know and we don’t need to know.

Also, an IWW backed picket that took place as a part of decentralized May Day activity. This picket was in solidarity with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers call to boycott of Wendy’s over Wendy’s being the only major chain that still buys produce from farms where brutal sexual assault are a normal part of the working conditions. This picket got rammed with a car driven by an autonomous reactionary which resulted in the injury of three comrades. It’s sad that a great conflictual yet entry level event can be so brutally repressed. This goes to show that even things billed as family friendly can be attacked with potentially lethal force by reactionaries. It’s quite possible that by certain measurements this event could be considered less safe then full scale riots that have happened that were able to complete drive back the police and reactionaries.
There was another coalition of people making moves in Seattle. The Proud Boys, Patriot Prayer, and Cascade Legion held a rally, and reactionaries put up stickers ahead of the El Comité march.

The Proud Boys are a group of European Chauvinists (read White Supremacists with sexist and PR overtones) who like street fighting and jumping people, especially women of color, yet aren’t yet the kind of scum that assassinate people. Patriot Prayer is a big tent right wing coalition of patriots and defenders of Christian Supremacists who regularly posture as peaceful and all about love yet continue to bash people in the streets and make space for violent bigots. PPs leader Joey Gibson is currently running for office and was advised not to fight in the streets, but he showed up anyway. Cascade Legion is a psuedo-militia of reject militants ranging from NeoNazis to far right patriot movement types who do logistics and security for Patriot Prayer and sometimes work with the UW College Republicans.

If you want a laugh check out this patriot not even be able to rip a sign.

The main message of this coalition was taking back their country from the red menace and particularly fighting against May Day riots which they would achieve through ranting on Facebook live and milling about in Westlake Park somehow. Other key messages that they weren’t NeoNazis or White Supremacists, that they were proud supporters of the “modern world”, and that they had freedom of speech which all in all is pretty laughable messaging if not excellent material for the capitalist media to spin. What is however worrying is that they took space and felt successful in their stated purpose of ‘reclaiming Mayday’. This rally of reactionaries did not go unchallenged. Some confronted them, some who were flying the flag of the Soviet Union even tried debating the Proud Boys, but were yelled at and attacked with a skateboard. While the framing of their claimed victory over communists, anarchist, and antifascists this May Day is mostly bullshit, they definitely feel emboldened by this rally, and were able to build confidence and normalize their presence. This may seem discouraging and lead to an increase in reactionary violence and recruitment, but their confidence can be used to our advantage. Confidence is the food of the wise but the liquor of the fool, and we can certainly count these bootlickers in the fool category.

For all their efforts and pats on the back this patriot response force and the combined efforts of the police in Seattle did not stop windows from being smashed and rocks being hurled on this May Day.

There was another action that didn’t seem to make the major news. A lone one, much like myself, chose to attack the Amazon Spheres and was apparently promptly arrested. This is what I feared my fate would be. I am not saying I was right. I’m not saying this is the clear outcome of such an attack. I wish I had this comrades courage. I wish I had their fire. And in a way now I do. I thirst for vengeance. Each comment I read saying this comrade should be shot is another ingredient in this dark ritual I am performing. I have the means, the wits, and now I may have the will to act. So long as crime is possible we can still speak of freedom.

The authorities are jumping at shadows and they should be. In each shadow could be another black clad anarchist ready to strike. Another autonomous agent of communism or anarchist nihilist or unique actor, all yearning for the attentat.

I am not purposing only fighting as beings of pure negation. I don’t know if that’s even possible let alone desirable. I am purposing that we break down the barrier between living and fighting.

Inspired by the recent communiqués coming out of Seattle and Olympia I shall break with prose and opt for poetry…

these ghosts, insurgent communards, black-clad anarchists
these dizzy libertines writhing to be free
gathering around their small fires
plotting, waiting, some finally not waiting anymore
jack booted thugs quiver, their whole identity unraveling while they cry their swan songs
we may fail, but we are great failures damn near the best failures
to share a bite, to forage for resources, to once again chuck stones and find beaches
to once again enter the gaze of the panopticon and act in spite of it
to shed the armor of the civilized, but still leap into the fray
for fleeting liberty and hard won autonomy

Categories: News

Nighttime March in Olympia Celebrates May Day a Day Late

Sat, 05/05/2018 - 11:49

Submitted Anonymously

On May 2nd a little after 9pm a group of 30 or so gathered in downtown Olympia for a late May Day march holding a banner reading “Fuck Your Yuppie Bullshit.” We started at the west end of 4th avenue and made our way east. A group held the one lane of the street letting cars pass on the left so as to avoid confrontations with motorists. The march was quiet with about as many on the sidewalks as on the street. No one chanted though people did take time to pass out fliers to onlookers to explain what was going on.

Some on the sidewalk took the opportunity to beautify downtown by spray painting anarchist messages including, “Happy May Day,” “Stolen Land” and “Kill Cops”, along with many of the usual “ACAB” and “FTP”. Others used spray foam insulation placed inside the credit card slots to disable parking meters along the march. Olympia’s high tech parking meters are a scheme to lure development and customers to downtown and are a revenue source for the city and the police.

When the march reached 123 4th Avenue, a new and loathsome condo that markets to yuppies it was tagged with messages of “fuck you” and “fuck this.” One of the windows at the condo was broken out and the march continued up 4th writing more graffiti. When the group passed US Bank many more windows were smashed out. Soon after, at 4th and Franklin when people passed the vacant unit that used to house the Downtown Ambassadors’ “welcome center”, the giant window there was broken with exuberance. The covered doorway to the “welcome center” used to be a place where houseless people could sleep at night, but recently the owners of the building put up a floor to ceiling chain link fence so that no one can sleep in the doorway. This is obviously a cruel example of the callous oppressive bullshit that those who own property downtown inflict on those whose existence they deem inconvenient.

After that the march continued about a half block up and dispersed into the night. To quote from the Olympia Police Twitter:

“No arrests as of now. The group disappeared as quickly as they came together. We will prevent additional damage tonight and assess things in the morning.”

45 minutes after the march had ended OPD could be seen suited up in riot gear wandering around hoping to inspire the feeling that they are in control. The Washington State Patrol plane that had flown the day before and at the blockade, started circling around again. Despite all of this repressive force, with a little bit of creativity we were able to celebrate May Day in a way that we hope would make the Chicago martyrs proud.

This march clearly took the police by surprise. They had dumped countless resources the day before into preventing any protest from forming, yet we succeeded in celebrating May Day a day later. It’s important to adapt to changing conditions and the authors of this report back hope that this type of action will be just the beginning of more unpredictable anti-capitalist resistance.

The passion for destruction is also a creative passion. -Mikhail Bakunin

Make May Day Everyday

The flier that was handed out read:

Olympia Needs A Makeover
Rapid gentrification is happening right before our eyes; with a new condo being approved what feels like every month, rent hikes and evictions, raids on houseless encampments, and the general displacement of the houseless community. All of this, paired with increased police patrols which serve no purpose but to harass the houseless, exploitive small businesses who are always eager to call the pigs and “clean teams” who hurry to wash away any voices of dissent. The forces of order in the city are working at breakneck speed to sanitize everything and create the image of a pristine yuppie dystopia. This shiny veneer can’t hide the brutality and subjugation that makes it possible. The killing of Vaneesa Hopson by OPD and paramedics just months ago, and the police shooting of Andre and Bryson in 2015 are just two examples of the world they want. You want a spotless City to be enjoyed by an elite few… we’re going to take a dump on it!

This town is home to a beautiful amalgam of freaks and wonderful people, but it’s also fraught with a whole lot of bullshit. Since the first white settlers waged the Puget Sound war to steal this land from the Squaxin and Nisqually people, this area that we now call our home is a place of intense oppression and exploitation. But with it comes inspiring resistance and vibrant attempts to live contrary to the dictates of the rulers. Another world is possible.

Something has to change, and the secret is to really begin.
Happy May Day.

Categories: News

Sean Swain Calls for Campaign to Get His Communication Turned Back On

Fri, 05/04/2018 - 19:17

by free sean swain

Anarchist prisoner Sean Swain is requesting a call-in campaign to get his communications turned back on. Info and script below.
I’m sending copies of this form-letter “call-out” to everybody I write. I’m hoping to generate 50 phone calls to each of the following numbers, where folks generally say what’s written below. So, feel free to call and to share this with anyone else who might call, in hopes that we can pressure the fascists to restore my communications…
Kevin O’Donnell Stanek, Asst. Chief Counsel to Governor Kasich: (614) 466- 3555;
State Representative Doug Green (614) 644-6034;
State Representative Hearcel F. Craig (614) 466-8010;
State Representative Greta Johnson (614) 466-6037. (Not on House Directory – 81st District is blank – I wonder if that’s she?)
General idea of what to say:

I’m calling to bring to your attention an illegal effort by prison officials to terrorize an Ohio prisoner. The prisoner, Sean Swain, is a model prisoner, a published writer and a radio personality on a globally-syndicated radio show. Because Sean exposed how prison employees who were directed by ODRC Counsel Trevor Clark intercepted and  stole Sean’s mail from courts  to hide their crimes, prison officials have shut down all of Sean’s communication to the outside world…to his family, his friends, and even to the courts. Prison officials are blocking Sean’s phone, email, and even regular mail. Their goal is not just to silence him, but to cut him off from everyone who loves him and drive him to suicide.
I want you to know that I’m signing an online petition that has 50,000 signatures already, demanding that the director of prisons resign, and I’m urging your office to make arrangements to speak with Sean. You can contact him by phone at  the prison by calling his Case Manager K. Baessler at: (513) 932-3388, ext. 84405 or ext. 84410. Please know that if anything happens to Sean while he’s being illegally silenced, I know a lot of registered voters, including me, who will hold your office responsible. The eyes of the world are watching.

He adds:

“I really need a lawyer. It seems that officials intend to silence me, to stop my social existence beyond the prison fence… FOREVER.They intend to stop me from EVER communicating with ANYONE for the rest of my life.I can’t even sue these people because they steal all incoming legal mail making it impossible to proceed.”

Tags: sean swainanarchist prisoners
Categories: News

The Hotwire #30: May 3, 2018

Thu, 05/03/2018 - 23:10

From CrimethInc.

May Day 2018 Roundup

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Our annual roundup of worldwide May Day actions. We have interviews with participants in May Day actions in Puerto Rico, where there was a general strike, and Paris, whose black bloc didn’t only take the cake, they took the whole damn bakery! Indonesia saw black blocs erupt all over the country, and now a wave of politically-motivated arrests there are targeting anarchists. In the USA, opposition to ICE and deportations was one clear theme, and the calls for decentralized actions did yield some spikey vandalism in the Pacific Northwest. We also have a short update about what’s happening at La ZAD.

Notes and Links Tags: Crimethinc.podcastthe hotwiremay daycategory: Actions
Categories: News

Call for International Week of Action against Fossil Fuel Infrastructure: May 12-19

Thu, 05/03/2018 - 04:48

[Short version: Block the flows of fossil fuels and capital. Attack the systems that destroy our lives and our only home. Build connection and new worlds through struggle. Fight where you stand. Connect with other people about it. May 12-19, and also every other moment.]

In our daily lives, in the ecosystems we live in, in the ever stranger and more violent weather patterns we are subject to, and in even the most mainstream of capitalist media, we are bombarded by increasingly dire proof of what we’ve known all along: catastrophic climate change is happening and will only amplify as more fossil fuels are extracted and burned. In the face of this, we are given three official options: denial, despair, or delegation to those who “know better,” those whose “job” it is to fix these problems—through the same means that got us into them.

But all over the world, brave and compassionate souls have shown that we can also choose defiance. From resistance to mountaintop removal in Appalachia, to rebellion against Shell Oil in the Niger Delta, to pipeline blockades all across North America, and to anyone in any corner of the world who has stood their ground against those who threaten their lands with plunder and devastation, we have a thousand examples of people moving beyond and against the state to defend what they love and what nurtures them.

In resistance, we strengthen the human and non-human bonds that keep us alive and thriving. In the US, we saw a generation re-awake through direct opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock. The state will always seek to divide and disempower us through fear and co-option—let’s remember that we can outwit their strategies through action, care, and strength of heart.

This is a call for a multitude of diverse actions against the infrastructure of the fossil fuel economy. The capitalist project of destruction and dispossession oftentimes feels omnipotent, and it pays to remind ourselves how vulnerable and interconnected this complex system really is. So, an invitation to act in the way that feels most relevant to each person or community’s experience and context. At least we can take solace in the fact that there’s no shortage of options!

Some questions/points to consider:
- What fossil fuel infrastructure is active in your area? Pipelines, mines, refineries, wells, machinery, rigs, supply chains, capital…
- Where are the chokepoints and vulnerable areas in these? What can be done to achieve the most disruption relative to risk?
- What’s the social context where you live? What affects people’s lives directly and what resonates? What’s your relationship to the land and the people there?
- Any struggle needs a wide variety of tasks to survive, amplify, and generalize. Organization, publication, cooking, writing, art, networking, clandestine and open direct action of many types, all sorts of logistical support… What are the characters and needs of struggles in your area? What are you capable of and inclined towards?
- What does indigenous life and struggle look like in your area? How has it historically?

In direct opposition to their world, we build and strengthen our own worlds and selves.

Please do what you can to translate and disseminate this through your networks and media. Modify it to fit your context, put it up on posters, talk to your friends. Communiques and action reports vigorously encouraged.

For life and joy, against the machinery of death!

Tags: fossil fuelscall upcategory: Actions
Categories: News

Anarchist Zines & Pamphlets Published in April

Wed, 05/02/2018 - 20:22

via Sprout Distro

The following anarchist zines and pamphlets were published over the last month or so. As always, we favor casting a wide net in these posts which means there are frequently things we don’t agree with included in these round-ups. Outside of actual face-to-face conversations, we favor the idea of different anarchist ideas coming into contact with each other via a robust print-based discussion. Perhaps it is a personal bias, but it seems preferable to the heavily Internet-based state of contemporary anarchist discourse.

If you have suggestions for stuff to include next month, get in touch. You can find previous monthly round-up posts here.

April Zines & Pamphlets Avalanche #13

avalanche #13 coverThis is the final issue of Avalanche, a journal of international anarchist correspondence. The people working on the publication have decided to retire the effort citing a lack of contributions as well as a general lack of anarchist projects. The authors admit that their original goals may have been a bit too ambitious, but its worth recounting them because they are worth aspiring to with similar projects:

“The international correspondence contained in Avalanche was imagined to contribute to several dynamics; between anarchists across borders to have common reference points to facilitate a discussion that sharpens perspectives and deepens affinity, to transmit experiences in a less fragmented way (more coherent than the echoes of actions and repression) so that they become a shared history and a resource to take inspiration from, to motivate other anarchists to explore a project of direct action and self-organizing, to invite those who don’t have an inclination to communicate about their projects and experiences to reflect and share.”

This final issue has a long essay on an insurrectionary struggle against prisons in Basslergut, Switzerland, a critique of so-called “smart cities” from Germany, and an interview on the situation in Tunisia.

Download the PDF

Anathema – April 2018

anathema zine coverThis is the latest issue of Anathema, “an anarchist periodical from the occupied Lenape territory known as Philadelphia.” This issue features the usual round-up of recent actions in Philadelphia, a recounting of what happened on past May Days in Philadelphia, and a call for actions this year. Along with this there is a longer article titled “On Action, Individualism, and other Anarchist Materialisms” that responds to the criticism that anarchists just want to take action for the sake of action. It offers some interesting lines of thought, especially regarding the difference between insurrectionary anarchism and communization theory. The other front page article is titled “Science, the New Mobility” which is a critique of the technological world and a reminder that “civilization is always more work.”

Download the PDF

June 11: International Day of Solidarity with All Long-Term Anarchist Prisoners

june 11 zine coverThis is a zine version of the annual June 11 call for actions and solidarity with long-term anarchist prisoners held each year since 2004 . The call is an annual reflection on the day in which folks working on the project think through the previous year’s efforts and offer some thoughts and renew the call for solidarity. An excerpt from the call raises some important questions:

This year we invite you to explore and ponder with us how maintaining support for long-term prisoners depends directly on sustaining the movements and struggles we all remain part of. How can we expect to continue through decades of support as movements, groups, and people come and go, burn out, and get caught in the exhausting ebbs and flows of struggle? Going deeper, what can we learn from long-term prisoners and their legacies of solidarity? How can we sustain and improve the health of our movements, and in turn strengthen that support?

Download the Screen Reading or Printable PDF

Consent Based Politics

consent based politics coverThis heavily foot-noted zine (35 in 3 pages) presents an argument in favor of what the author calls “consent-based politics”. In the presence of a “power” that does not listen, this zine is a call for a return to the “…interpersonal base from which we might, by way of consent and our own volition, build structures to elevate and express our rich diversity – not oppressing and silencing in service of a fixed, ‘winner takes all’ worldview, but one that engages an expansive fluidity, embedding us all in infinite play.” It draws heavily on the works of Paulo Freire and David Graeber. The essay calls for a broad decentralization of power and for people to have more say over their lives.

Download the PDF

Anarchist Manifesto Ireland

anarchist manifesto ireland coverThis is a manifesto of a group out of Ireland that meets regularly to talk and engage in their politics of “libertarian socialism”. The zine was produced as a response to their frustrations over armchair theorists who are content to just “sit in their gardens and talk” rather than actually doing something. In response, this group offers the vision of a commune as a local expression of their politics with federations as a higher level expression. Alongside this, they present what can best be describe as 12 “policy recommendations” advocating for things like leaving the European Union, regulated multinationals, increasing taxes, and public ownership of major companies. It’s similar to the kind of broad utopian blueprints for society that were often en vogue during the classical anarchist movement (see Rudolf Rocker’s Anarcho-Syndicalism: Theory and Practice) as an example. Of course those tended to be connected to broad class-based movements, it’s hard to know what kind of roots this effort has.

Download the PDF

Nega-Zine #1

nega-zine coverThis is the first issue of “Nega-Zine” a newer journal by anarchists published by Elephant Editions. This issue features a lengthy discussion and examination of contemporary technology, specifically focusing on how technological systems tend to reduce people’s critical and cognitive capacities. There are several contributions that deal with technology and its role in the world. A line from the introduction outlines why this is an important focus:

“It should be clear that these questions are not being taken up for the love of discussion but to give one more weapon to individuals who want to attack. It is a question of acutening one’s vision in order to identify an enemy which often passes off as invisible, in fact which has in its invisibility its main point of strength.”

The publication advocates for affinity and informal organization, with the goal of attempting to understand “where and in what form does the enemy manifest itself today.”

Download the PDF

The Invisible Ground

the invisible ground zine coverSub-titled “honoring each others security needs as an act of solidarity and liberation”, this short zine is a discussion of security culture that argues that respect for the security needs of our comrades is an essential aspect of any movement for liberation. It identifies what the authors call “the invisible ground” to name a problem that is present in many different spaces, namely that there some kind of clear line between “under-” and “above-” ground activities. Instead the authors argue that there is a constantly shifting terrain in which the state is constantly shifting the boundaries, largely in response to what is effective at any given moment. The state will always act to protect its interests and will shift the legality of various actions in an effort to repress movements. Consequently, the zine argues that it is always important to organize with good security culture to protect everyone involved.

Download the PDF

PHL 2017

PHL 2017 zine coverThis is a photo-heavy documentation of actions that happened in Philadelphia during 2017. The intro explains the goals of the project:

It’s been a year since Donald Trump took office, and Philly has been stepping it up. Let’s take a minute to celebrate all the determination, courage, and endurance of all the rebels who’ve poured sand in the gears of the system that makes his presidency possible. This is a timeline of some of the anarchic activity that’s happened over the last year. Let’s look back to learn from our mistakes, and continue to build our strength against everything that brings oppression into the world.

Worth checking out for inspiration!

Download the PDF

Tags: Sprout distrozinespamphletscategory: Projects
Categories: News

Queer Ghosts Haunt Seattle May Day: A Reportback Regarding Some Autonomous Anarchist Actions

Wed, 05/02/2018 - 20:16

via pudget sound anarchists

Submitted anonymously

Dedicated to our dead friends. Your heart has stopped beating, but you pulse through us everyday.

This May Day we decided to heed the call for a decentralized May Day, though important steps surrounding entry nodes need to be taken if we are really not going to end the tradition of big marches, this seems like a very lovely tactical push. Of course it is not enough to decentralize. There are countless other tactical considerations like speed, opacity, and so on, but it is a wonderful effort.

Our particular autonomous decentralized May Day started precisely around 1am. Inspired the by the spirit of Bash Back! we took to Capitol Hill to hunt for bigots and street harrassers cause we are tired of feeling unsafe in the streets and decided to make Capitol Hill unsafe for those toxic to us women, femmes, transfolk, and queers. One such tactic was having one of our “not passing” trans comrades walk around until someone made a bigoted comment then like crows on a dropped bagel we swarmed and lightly beat or humiliated said bigot with fists, glitter, and/or pig’s blood. Another tactic was to have someone who was to have one of our comrades who would be read as a women just walk around and exist in a skirt and once someone made a sexist or objectifying comment those of us who had fallen back disguised as normies would then confront the person and if they started pulling some really vile shit try and send em to the hospital. Fighting isn’t always fun. Struggle is not always glamorous, but for us, tonight, it certainly was.

After it became time for day-shift wage-labourers to go to work we headed down town to sort of wander around and engage in the everyday in a non-specatcular way. We saw some workers cleaning a Starbucks window, which by the way had a camera facing it lol, and cracked the joke, “Why are you wasting your time cleaning that when it’s just going to get smashed later today.” And everyone around had a good chuckle. We also passed construction workers wishing each other a happy May Day and joined in quickly immediately greeted with warm laughter and embrace. There was also hellllla cops everywhere especially around West Lake which was also funny to us and we spotted a person pan-handling that looked like a cop we knew and he seemed very very anxious when we got near him, but we left it at that. Glad to see people feeling joyous and rebellious. Glad to see cops and bosses shaking in their boots.

Now as the big march downtown that’s usually chill, but run by those macho respectability politics losers, gets started we are winding down for bed.

Have a desirable and autonomous May Day.

Yours in spirit,
Union of Lumpen and Night-Shift Workers Cell of the Informal Anarchist Network

Tags: seattlemay dayqueercategory: Actions
Categories: News

The Cops Ain’t Shit, Slaps Everywhere, and Expropriated BikeShare Bikes: More Autonomous Action in Seattle

Wed, 05/02/2018 - 20:11

via pudget sound anarchists

Submitted Anonymously

Insurgent tidings from occupied Duwamish territory!

We would like to announce that our informal crew around the size of a hunting party or fire-squad went on a stroll of sorts that was accompanied by vandalism and harassment of the authorities. We wanted to shake our chains as Red Rosa would have put it and see what we could get away with. We have been putting up stickers, fliers, tags, tearing down developement signs, etc since we were little-uns so tonight we thought we’d put those skills to the use.

We started mobbing around the Ave putting up stickers harassing reactionaries of all stripes. Even flipping off and jeering at cops when they were in small enough groups cause we figured we could out run them and they would be hesitant to make a move on a larger group. Eventually there was a cop helicopter in the sky, but it never seemed to see us in a way we could tell and there was no escalation in police presence so we figured we’d keep on our merry way, but split into twos. Twos a company threes a crowd and the cops were largely in twos and they usually hate a fair fight.

At this point we’d like to say don’t try this at home. We’ve got a good sense of how to push shit and were intentionally crossing that line to see where the real limit to what we could do without extreme repression was. We were also in rando-bloc meaning we were dressed as to conceal our identities while also passing as random everyday people that would normally be mulling around. We also took careful measures to change outfits so we looked different before our actions, during our actions, and after our actions as to further elude the authorities.

After feeling like we blew up the spot a bit in the U-District. Which is to say after we drew some more significant police attention we left and headed around other areas of the city with a new mission. Our new mission was to liberate and sabotage as many bike share bike as possible. Now you may be thinking, ‘hold up isn’t having more bikes everywhere a good thing especially if there cheap?’ To answer this let’s look at a few other examples of Bike sharing.

In Amsterdam’s bike share program the bike are free. This means all classes of people can use them. In Amsterdam these bike were inpart brought into being by anarchists and was apart of reducing harm done by cars and reclaiming the city. If we look at these new capitalist bike shares we can see this is a capitalist co-optation of this model. They pay their workers shit. They overcharge. You have to have a smartphone. In China they waited till they hada monopoly than jacked up the prices. And they really only care about the money. These people aren’t interested in fighting subjugation they want more subjugation. Subjugation under them. And so we fought back, just as the youths in France have and just like are anarchist forerunners have.

We took angle grinders to the contraptions that subjugate these bikes to the market. We painted as many as we could black, honeslty this was the hardest part. In the later hours we resorted to just chucking the bikes into the water or onto train tracks.

With all this we still think big black blocs aren’t dead. Just don’t have them at fucking Westlake.

You couldn’t stop us. Even if you catch us you couldn’t stop us. And high on revolt we think you won’t catch us.


Make May Day everyday. Build nodes. Plant the seeds of insurgent commune against the state and capital. Find each other. Build our infrastructure. Break their infrastructure. Perpetuate ethical social ruptures. Shatter the lie of social peace.

Anarchy lives.

Radical salutations,
some anarchists

Tags: seattlemay daydirect actionsome anarchistsbike sharescategory: Actions
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Travelogue: For a projectualty in times of war (and in times of peace)

Wed, 05/02/2018 - 19:33

via Mpalothia

TRAVELOGUE For a projectualty in times of war (and in times of peace)

The need for compasses

Often we think of our ideas as pillars staved-in stable grounds. However, the grounds are generally stable but in appearance. It’s enough for conditions to change, for the grounds becoming muddy or for the waters rising, to see our stable grounds move and our dear pillars subsiding like castles of cards. Then panic seizes us, we run from one indigestible alliance to the next one which is even more improbable, our concepts which we thought so solid become gelatinous, shift into modelling clay, and in a short laps of time, we become what we always despised: simple pawns on a chessboard we do not understand. This happened to quite some anarchists when the First World War broke out, it happened to Spanish anarchists dragged from a revolutionary situation into a full scale war, it happened to many revolutionaries caught up in the geopolitical games of the Cold Ward, and it will happen again tomorrow.

So, rather than pillars in all but stable grounds, let’s consider our ideas as compasses which allow us to put things in perspective. As anarchists, we fight against all power, being it bloodthirsty or tolerant, democratic or dictatorial, therefore, we can never rally the side of one power against the other. There are but two sides on a barricade, and when it is not our barricade, there’s also no side of us. That’s why it is so important to have these compasses-ideas in our pockets, to deepen and strengthen them, because only in very tense situations we are truly put to the test. It is surely more easy to reject any relation with authoritarians when death or prison are not roaming (although the opportunists do not in the least deprive themselves of such alliances) than to refuse in a situation of war a military alliance with an army when people are dying all around us, bombed by a merciless air force. A situation of war would put our anarchism to a rough test, and just as many comrades (often in minority) didn’t renounce their ethics nor their ideas even in the worst conditions, we have to restart today to deepen what is our anarchism, if not, we risk to be shipwrecked… very fast.

The need for maps

If our compasses-ideas can indicate the directions to take and especially the wanderings to avoid, they do allow for discerning the outlines of the obstacles to confront. That dimension is the one of analysis. And if such a task should anyway be permanent for every enemy of authority, it becomes even more crucial if we want to be able to put up a fight in a scenario of war. This implies for example, starting from today, to carefully map the military industries and the technology companies, but also everything that is sensible for the operational functioning of dominion: communication networks, transport routes, resources and energy grids, strategic reserves of primary resources and food. And not in an approximative way, but detailed and pro-active.

The need for intelligence

Intelligence is a word which logically makes our ears bleed, because it reminds the generalised records which the states managed to put in place, but we think that it is in any case necessary, not only to dispose of as much information as possible concerning the functioning of the repressive organisms (which will show, in a situation of war, their teeth quite more ferociously than in “ordinary” times), but also to know their hierarchy. There’s a big chance that the commanding officer of today’s police will also be the one of tomorrow. On another side, one has to give himself or herself communication capacities that are hard to penetrate by the enemy, but sadly also to prepare oneself for the eventuality of surprise kidnappings, interrogations testifying of sadism, special prisons, as well as for the vast pallet of state means to wage a dirty war against subversives (snitches, infiltrators, pressure on relatives, manipulations…). To prepare oneself for this is surely a very hard task, but in times of war, being even minimally prepared will always be better than nothing at all (knowing that the importance of such state counter-measures gets taken today too little serious, or even totally neglected).

The need for instruments and knowledge

Knowing where the military antenna is located is one thing, knowing how to knock it out is another thing. Many techniques, going from how to build sabotage material to the ways how to move, are indispensable. Good will is a starting, but is not enough. It is therefore needed to develop technical capacities and precise knowledge, ans also to project them in a situation which could be quite different of the one we know today. Some means get rare in times of war, others become suddenly easy to find: to not let everything depend on chance, one has to prepare for this.

The need for coordination

Staying in the dimension of informality, coordination between individuals, affinity groups and other autonomous constellations is indispensable, as well for the gathering of information, the sharing of means, logistics and support, the spreading of news, the elaboration of means of counter-information and agitation as for projects of attack. Therefore, it is needed, starting from today, to reflect on which shapes such coordination could take, how they could be put into practice also in situations where it could be less evident to meet up with many people (or even with more than two). Such coordination should obviously be anti-authoritarian, agile, starting from the autonomy of each individual and of each group which takes part in it.

The need for perspectives

But all this for what, to do what? To what end, in what perspective? If the out-bursting of a revolutionary insurrection is the perspective, the ways that might lead there are many, and also depend of particular situations. A context which shifts to civil war following massive scarcity, a environmental disaster or because of sectarian hatreds is one thing, a state which launches a military intervention in another country is something else. Yet, basically, we think that spread sabotage against everything that makes war and control possible, everything which gives energy to the state, could be the first steps. Such a perspective would allow us not only to act immediately and with full coherence, but also to light, as small as it might be, a flame in the dark, a possible point of gathering for others, opening up paths for coordination and organisational deepening. Taking the initiative is the first step to disorganise the plans of the enemy, far less agile than ours could be.

If war is at the heart itself of any state, this “organisation of force”; if the difference forms war takes therefore follow the same and sole logic of dominion; if the massacres of military operations and repression, capitalist exploitation and dumbing operated by power therefore are but the two sides of the same medal of the order of the world, the paths and suggestions evoked in these lines should not only figure in the travelogue of those who find themselves in the midst of a bloody conflict, but could also help to anyhow develop anarchist projectualities. Even the voluntary blind cannot ignore that the instruments of repression, control and fabrication of consensus are going crescendo, at the same pace as the number of regions in prey of new wars: it is the same an sole ongoing restructuring of dominion, touching all aspects of society as we know it. This is what we have to face, and for this these scarce notes of this travelogue might maybe serve.

Translated from Avis de Tempêtes, anarchist bulletin for social war, n°4, 16th of April 2018

Tags: Franceanarchist projectswarfareinsurrectioncategory: Essays
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