This week the Qatari royal family is taking a pensioner who walks with a stick to court to stop him protesting outside the Shard. The Shard is owned by this family via funds held in Jersey. They also own Harrods, the Olympic village and half of One Hyde Park. They reportedly own more property in London than our own royal family.
At the top of the Shard are 10 flats with the price tag of £50m each, and they are currently empty. This is partly what has upset the protester, who lives on his pension of £154.56 a week. The Qatar royals are taking him and “persons unknown” to the high court on Thursday and also asking him to pay costs. He was served with an injunction because of his intention to protest. He had encouraged supporters to “ask at the door to see the £50m flats”, or “make a reservation at one of the Shard restaurants and ask if you can bring your own food”. If any made it inside he suggested shouting about the injustices and the empty flats. And Grenfell.
“We also want musicians to come down and play, sing, dance, rant,” he said. “Need yer own amps.”
He, however, needs no amps. For the pensioner is Ian Bone of Class War who has been protesting about gentrification and social cleansing since the 80s. I adore the man. To me he is the best tabloid journalist this country has ever produced. Provocative, hilarious, scathing.
His Class War slogans are full of bile and bite and angrily brilliant. Described by actual tabloids at times as a dangerous insurrectionary, Bone is full of life and fun, someone who monsters the pieties of the left and simply refuses to play any game that involves subservience to the right.
The injunction that was served against him contains a statement about him from the Shard’s head of security who had contacted the Metropolitan police. They are worried about the inherent security flaws of the Shard but they are clearly more worried about Bone and his anarchy. He is described in the statement as “belligerent and uncooperative when interacting with persons of authority, such as police officers and security officers”. Amazing investigative work there! Who would have thought that the founder of Class War was a little awkward? Bone has since pointed out that he has never hit anyone with his stick and has Parkinson’s.
Bone’s real stick is his words. His attitude. His joy at pointing to obvious wrongs and asking us which side we are on. “I hate dull lefties,” he tells me. “All the miserabilism.” He likes action and shock. And swearing. I loved all those posters that appalled all those who like to be appalled. “Eat the rich.” The one of Diana and Charles with baby William and “Another Fucking Royal Parasite”. He doesn’t do deference or respect. The banners on marches that referred to the Socialist Workers as Social Wankers. Bone’s stance has always been about having a laugh along the way to smashing it all up.
His father was a butler. His family grew up “in service”. “So I grew up bitter and resentful with a chip on my shoulder,” he tells me gleefully. When he was 15 he wrote off to an address that he found in Punch to find out more about anarchism. “I believed in chaos,” he said. “I then panicked for weeks. I though they might send round a bearded person.” Since then, of course, he has realised that anarchists are just not that efficient.
Underneath all the sloganeering though, Bone has been protesting about social cleansing all his life. He lived in Grenfell for two years. He knew people who were in the fire. He led “poor doors” protests in the East End in 2014. “If you grow up like I did, that gets you. The tradesman’s entrance.” He saw the developing ghost towers but he sees the working class being squeezed out everywhere. “Who wants another coffee shop or prep school?” he asks of Ladbroke Grove.
Statue of suffragist Millicent Fawcett to be unveiled in April
Now that social housing is very much on the agenda, Bone as usual doesn’t want anything to do with Labour. He doesn’t see Corbyn as different to any other Labour leader. Everything for him is about people taking over and running things for themselves.
Whether this means inciting people to march on Boris Johnson’s house or setting up the South Norwood Tourist Board, Bone is a provocateur, incredibly funny and mostly right. If all this pardoning of suffragettes’ civil disobedience by the political class made you feel as nauseous as it did me, Bone is the antidote. If you value politeness and respectability then Class War may not be for you.
But on Thursday, I want this anarchist grandad to shake his stick at those Qatari billionaires. He wants, as always, to “push things further”. We should help him. All power to the inimitable Mr Bone.
• Suzanne Moore is a Guardian columnistTags: class warold anarchistsprotestEnglandgentrificationMSMcategory: Actions
Greece: Free Transportation For All: A paradigmatic anarchist campaign in the difficult years of Syriza
In early 2016 a far-reaching campaign in Athens began with a fairly modest announcement: “Free Transportation for All”. With a few initial actions that grabbed headlines, like an intervention at the OASA office near Alexandras and the destruction of ticket machines at several stations, began the appearance of a campaign that continues today, and has since seen its massification with several large central marches, topical demonstrations and leafletting, persistent and costly sabotage that the police are unable to stop despite their best efforts, and even reaching to igniting resistance among the transport workers themselves. As in the celebrated phrase of Clausewitz, this struggle is not a great burst of pyrotechnics, but the slow flame and long-lasting embers of irregular conflict, always waiting for the opportune moment to flare up once again.
This campaign is notable for several reasons, the first of which can justly be described as tactical reproducibility meeting strategic coherence. The sabotage of ticket machines, whether in the metro, on buses or trams, is an act that a group of just a few determined comrades can undertake with a little preparation. No one has to wait for a demonstration or a discussion in an assembly. It is also an act that is hard for the police to catch and prove, as the only group of people so far who have been charged for such crimes, have been found innocent. Moreover, several groups have gone to the trouble to publish very clearly their different methods of sabotage. These range from removing the front of the bus ticket machine with a small drill, smashing them with hammers, putting polyurethane foam or gum in the vending slots for the metro and tram, or even simply covering them with stickers, etc. &c.
This has importance for several reasons: according to various establishment sources, these machines are valued at several thousand euros each, not including the time and labour having to replace them and the lost income from potential tickets, etc. When we begin to think of machines removed from a few buses or destroyed at a metro station, we already have economic damages in the range of tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of euros. This says nothing of the hefty contract for the security company, and now police, that are required to guard this infrastructure. And this for an already bankrupt transport company, in a technically bankrupt country. The point is that by causing this damage, commuters are allowed to go on for free, and the entire goal behind the new ticket machines (the inevitable future privatization) is lost, as no investors will be interested in a system threatened with such a constant drain of resources. Moreover one of the primary functions of the postmodern globalized state, is to ensure the smooth capitalistic transport of commodities and individuals, and such a campaign directly menaces this role.
Overall, the campaign has met with some interest and support -although it needs more sustained collective effort from the wider movement still to become as dangerous as it could be. Mainly the issue though, is the campaign has not met with the full comprehension it deserves, and this is primarily what this piece aims to rectify. Incidentally this is one of the few places where detached, older observers can help the rest of the movement, provided their tone is generally positive and aims at clarification. At any rate, this confusion over the struggle is due largely to needed changes in collective thinking, as we enter the period where the old leftist methods of struggle no longer have much relevance for postmodern realities. Organizing in the party or trade union, marches around parliament, elections and referendums, posing demands to the state- all these have less and less meaning in our world. This campaign serves as a practical example of the new objectively anarchistic trends and tendencies in postmodern struggle, coming as it does in the period of attempted pacification and assimilation of the movement under the government of Syriza, which hastily modernized Greek capitalism (for instance, in its promotion of lifestyle consumption) and effectively dissolved the previous anti-austerity struggles, making very quickly for conditions of small minority resistances similar to other pacified West European societies.
This needed change in orientation makes sense if we want to study reality, not blinding ourselves with (most frequently Marxist) ideological preconceptions, but in searching for real political tendencies of our time; if our mentality becomes one where we see political conflict in general, and mass sabotage in particular, is in our era now oriented around causing economic damages, not around frontal confrontations with the riot police, nor around purely symbolic, pacifist and legalistic actions, nor even around a mythologized working class collectively striking in its factories. Indeed if conditions are those of a supposed ‘social factory’ then this is sabotage of just such an expanded model of domination. It is also worth noting that this is a type of radical campaign that has also been seen elsewhere in different countries recently, for instance in the past few years in Brasil, in Spain, in France and in Italy further back in the past. Therefore this is the Greek anarchist expression of a global trend of struggle in postmodern conditions, which focus on uniting metropolitan masses, outside of political parties and trade unions, in a decentralized and anarchist fashion, through protests and direct actions over themes of transportation. It also links the recent past of the Greek movement with the present, these different moments that need to be connected: for instance in the years after 2008, there was widespread sabotage of ticket machines and tram lines, and it became something of a widely-accepted social norm to share metro or bus tickets or just to ride for free in Athens. The new ticket system is a direct response to this. Therefore it is not enough simply to have made such a beginning, this new world also has to protect itself, and in many instances this means it has to go on the offensive when it reaches a certain inevitable maturity, in order to protect itself and to spread its goals further. Defense and offense, openness and firmness, are not seen as contradictory in this correct appreciation of events, but as flowing into each other at certain points of development.
If we begin with a serious study of these facts, we see that the groups and individuals participating in the campaign are running circles around the police, who now rush to protect the metro stations, now the busses, and again back to the metro. The targets are well chosen, as it is nearly impossible to protect them all. There have been also attacks on other parts of the broader supply chain of servicing the transport network (as for instance the arson of a building with computing equipment recently)-and this is related to the same postmodern social developments, of new anarchist methods of struggle. This also provides for all yet another vivid demonstration of class justice and the function of the state, as anyone on the street can see such huge governmental effort spent to enforce and protect an almost unbelievably malfunctioning, intrusive new system with waiting in long lines while all other things are left to crumble on their own (as e.g. in Moria and Mandra). This also provides an interesting lesson in postmodern communication, and relation to the media: because in picking a good target with clear actions, free publicity is provided as the metropolitan masses circulate through metro stations- broken machines are seen by thousands of commuters every day, the situation itself speaks volumes. In brief, a leaflet or an assembly speech is not the only way to communicate with the larger society. Plus, with these well-targeted actions is shown a lesson in gaining control of the establishment media, as these are forced every now and again to report on the damages, or new changes in the police or security guards at the stations or on buses. This comes purely from a well-run campaign, and the media attention has nothing to do with being presentable, leftist rhetoric, or playing by the rules. It all flows from a correct strategic appreciation of the present situation, and creating a favorable relation of forces.
There could also be asked the question, whether quizzically or critically, is “free transport” actually a realistic demand? However, it is, and this is what makes for a part of the coherence of the campaign. The reality of such a proposal is already shown in the farcical reality of “tree transport”, that actually exists already for politicians, generals, and now cops. If anyone wanted to discuss hypothetical scenarios, it is all too clear and has been pointed out in some of the texts from the campaign that somehow money could be easily found by switching roles around (or by not investing in American fighter jets!). Therefore there is no question of hard realities, it is a question of priorities, of which values are being promoted. In many countries and several larger cities in Europe, transport in the center is provided for free: for instance, in the quite innovative city of Tallinn, capital of Estonia. This is also a small country suffering from austerity, but while keeping to such an outlook, also finds free transportation more cost-effective in the long run. This is also the case in several cities in Holland, Belgium and France as well. Therefore there is no reason, even in capitalistic terms, why such a development should be declared a prioriimpossible in Athens.
However, hypothetical alternatives and proposals aside, the campaign does not petition the state or reformist politicians. Rather its great strength, and what shows the correctness of its anarchistic position, is that it already creates these zones of free transport. Its ends and means directly connect; there is no grand gulf between before and after, it is simply a progressive increase in spreading these liberated spaces. The terms shift from the idea of a sudden and total victory, with a grand distinction of before and after the revolution in the leftist sense (or the messianic sense of the apocalypse) to a long term struggle over slowly negating different portions of various networks of control. From the historic formal declarations of victory like in October 1917, we today move to slowly expanding zones of autonomy in different fields. This is because in the postmodern world of atomized consumers and digitized networks, the goal is not one of absolute prohibition or permission, but of increasing a partial access or promoting an ever larger denial of access or functioning. With determination and directed efforts, these small functions grow into knock-on effects that go through networks, rendering them more and more functionally inoperative. That is to say a certain threshold is reached beyond which they are no longer justifying basic expectations of performance, and thus are neutralized. In this specific case, there is the almost certain knowledge that such a metropolitan transport system will always be having its machines destroyed (whether on the bus, tram or metro), it will always be leaking money, it will always be a problem for the police to protect- the goal, of increased control and profitability for the transport system and then asking a higher price for privatization, will have been lost, after the expenditure of an immense amount of political capital, time, money and effort. These are some of the postmodern terms of analysis we are proposing for evaluating victory and defeat in specific struggles, and it is this struggle specifically that allows us to begin concretely grounding such a new way of thinking and acting. Since there have been no lasting revolutions yet made in postmodern conditions, there is no cause for any typical assurances or Marxist certitudes borrowed from the past or abstract theories. On the contrary, the value of this struggle is also that it demonstrates the importance of letting the actual developments speak for themselves, to the extent possible.
In passing, with things becoming unpleasant, unhappy and unproductive in the a/a space generally, it becomes clear that the positive role of praise, admiration and constructive proposals, have been almost completely abandoned. With this text we are trying to move in a more positive direction, in a small but practical sense- but far more important it is to point out the practical fields of radical end eavour, which already have a positive and practical character, and which have survived the assimilation efforts of Syriza, and this campaign is a primary one. Therefore it is worthwhile to spread the example of these polymorphic tactics that have allowed anarchists to make a successful struggle with broad appeal, even in the difficult times of attempted assimilation under a leftist government.
Moreover, this campaign has great and large potential to respond to general movement problematics, through its decentralized and open nature, its unifying and positive potentialities, which can fit into the fragmented nature of the a/a space today, and help to revitalize it. For instance, many of the texts have had a positive or encouraging tone, and many have focused on spreading the technical practice of sabotage, not wanting to keep it for themselves as some sort of specialists. As well, the variety of different groups participating have stuck to anonymity or pseudonymity, thus ensuring there is not a personalized, group-focused, or otherwise self-referential character to the campaign. Because the campaign is open, any group or tendency can participate as they like- all they have to do is accept that no one group or tendency manages the campaign. This form, instead of a hierarchical leftist model with generals and followers, is anarchist, and much more like an open-source software, or a patch of common land: everyone can do what they like, and bring what they want. So, to make such a potential list, e.g. there is the obvious anarchist reality of the struggle, but if some also support communization or communism, they have every reason to support such a campaign, which focuses on spreading these free relations, but in a realistic, non-governmental way, first in sectors of society where such a demand makes immediate sense. Or, if people are more in favor of individualistic themes, then this is a campaign against a clearly dystopian, digitized state control. If people want direct action, they can make it happen. If people like demonstrations, they can arrange these; or if others prefer a focus on workers, they can propose them to form committees of struggle outside the control of unions. There is something in the campaign for everyone, and this pluralistic reality makes for the present importance and great continuing potential of the campaign, especially as “the new normal” of Syriza begins to be destabilized. A window of opportunity is open, and this campaign is a great weapon in the hands of the movement to send Syriza off with a strong kick, and to defend and strengthen itself against tentatives of assimilation.
Such a successful campaign does not simply react or run after events, but shapes them (so it is worth remembering that the campaign began before the new ticket system-even though it has slowed down the implementation of the new system for about a year now). It does not reflexively negate any and every proposed metropolitan infrastructure project as typical in left-oriented groups, rather it has picked the most critical one and also comes forward with its own content, its radical anarchist proposals, and makes them a reality. It is not philanthropy, but solidarity, helping ourselves get free at the same time as the larger society. This campaign in its coherence is also showing the rest of society the correct relation: it is anarchy that is leading resistance to austerity and authority, even in the difficult times of a leftist government. In short, Anarchy is seen, in practice, to have more realistic proposals for resistance than the remnants of a collapsing left, and already points to greater potential changes, transcending the purely defensive struggles of leftist character, to an offensive and anarchistic spreading of freedom and revolt. It is bypassing the limited, isolated and sectoral form of foredoomed leftist struggles, and becoming a real force for spreading anarchy, in particular among the transport network, but in general throughout the metropolis.
Thus, “Free Transportation For All” has both the content and the form of an anarchistic campaign. The content is very clearly of a popular character for free transport, with anti-state, non- parliamentary focus, direct action and sabotage. The form is open to all who wish to participate, and this makes it so different from the other campaigns traditionally run by leftist parties, which are only about gaining new recruits, profoundly unstrategic pseudo-resistance to austerity, or micropolitical parliamentary games. In its very existence, in the connection between pluralistic form and radical anarchist content, the link between means and ends, Free Transportation For All is a living example of anarchist practice, of a different world struggling with all its might and intelligence to get out of the present. . .
So, in closing, this text is dedicated to those groups and individuals who have made Free Transportation a reality- and most especially, to our last great hope, the young generation, and the success they can hope for with such a new type of political campaign, new ways of thinking and acting in the new year and the new times we are entering. . .
-Athens, February 2018
via : sourceTags: Greecesabotagecategory: Essays
On February 4th, 2018, the Philadelphia Eagles stomped out the New England patriots in a classic expression of proletarian violence versus the statist symbol of a modern day “patriot.” Such highlights as known trump supporter and nerd Tom Brady getting dunked on will continue to inspire us. With this event in mind, our affinity group coordinated with other anarchists and anti-authoritarians in the weeks leading up to it to make sure that we all agreed to violently attack institutions and pigs using the sports celebration as cover. Fliers were posted all throughout the city calling for a loose “bird bloc” aka wear eagles gear and fuck shit up. We set the meeting point as city hall, leaving it vague and open to interpretation with the intention of autonomous groups coming together to perform their own actions. We felt this type of action would be more productive for this situation than an organized bloc. From everything we’ve seen so far, this is exactly what happened.
Decked out in Eagles gear, our crew used the cover of this celebration as an opportunity to attack what we view as the structures of domination that continue to keep us in chains. Instead of choosing specific targets, we recognize that with the oppressive structure of civilization, everything in the major business districts of a city, is a valid target. Hidden amongst thousands of eagles fans, we joyfully wandered the streets smashing, painting, and torching whatever we pleased. We also used this opportunity to violently assault police officers with a scattered volley of projectiles. For some of us, this was our first opportunity to physically strike back against the police with the aid of more experienced anti-cop militants. It was wonderful to see the way our friends eyes lit up with joy when they realized that they had all the tools they needed to fight back in ways they felt most comfortable.
We reached out other east coast anarchist crews to assure that we all got the opportunity to experience the fun of this attack, and as an opportunity to reconnect with friends we’ve made while traveling to actions in other cities. It was extremely refreshing both physically and mentally to share these moments of insurrection with people we don’t have the chance to revolt with in our everyday lives. We urge other insurrectionaries and revolutionaries to call upon friends in other places more often. Borders aren’t real and we shouldn’t let imaginary lines define our friendships.
We feel that it’s critical for anti-authoritarians to look for events such as this to plan attacks but also not to wait for them. This sports riot was perfect cover to carry out actions to temporarily liberate ourselves but these events are rare and we strongly believe that we must create our own spaces to act in however ways we see fit. It is worth noting that the NFL is an extremely fucked up hyper-masculine, sexist, racist, oppressive, capitalist institution that profits off the bodily harm of people who, for the most part, grew up in working class neighborhoods. We are also disgusted by the way the state uses the super bowl as an opportunity to further occupy and militarize cities. We stand in full support of the folks in Minnesota holding it down with protest and direct action. Philly loves y’all. Keep up the good work.
We took these actions with the memories of the murders of David Jones, Trayvon Martin, Philando Castile, Scout Shultz, Laquan Mcdonald, Alexis Grigoropoulos, our Russian comrades being tortured, and everyone else who has been murdered, tortured, assaulted, or imprisoned by the state. We one day hope to see the structures of domination that keep us unfree as piles of ashes and distant memories.
Free Meek, The Move 9, Mumia, the remaining J20 defendants, and all political prisoners
Fuck the Patriots, fuck the pigs, fuck 12
To Amazon: Fuck you, theres plenty more where this came from. STAY OUT
To all our friends who couldn’t be with us today: We love y’all
Last of all “GO BIRDS”
With Love, rage, and solidarity
-Philly anarchists and 161s
There are anarchists who run after uprisings on other continents wherever the spotlights of the media fall. There are anarchists who talk about “fortress Europe” and they don’t even know which States are part of the EU. There are anarchists who struggle against the borders and they don’t even know where the Schengen frontier runs. There are anarchists who, like “good white men”, see in the “dark-skinned” non-EU people potential comrades, and they don’t even notice that there are European non-EU people. There are anarchists who talk about internationalism and they don’t even know (or don’t give a fuck) what happens on their own continent. There are anarchists who express solidarity with all prisoners (or all political prisoners), as if the prison is really a correctional facility that automatically turns a human being into a better person (or a comrade/anarchist). There are anarchists who think of antifa as their comrades, as if the left-wing/extreme-left movements/parties are the lesser evil in an illusory revolutionary front. There are anarchists who get into the role of victims, just because they are a woman, gay, trans etc.., as if it is not enough to be “simply” a human being to be oppressed by the Power (as if this notion is too tight and therefore it requires some other label to express that someone is more oppressed than others; is it possible that in these times of alienated sexuality where people, including anarchists, obsessively see sexual harassment on every corner, we suppress our femininity/masculinity turning ourselves in a sterile “gender”, in which the democracy is trying to turn us, in accordance with this mechanistic society of mutilated sexuality?).
There are anarchists who in the 21th century still talk about the “class” struggle (a concept created in 19th century; in fact, marxist), while we live “simply” in a stratified society (like it has always been since civilization). There are anarchists who idolize the “native” people, as if they have already materialized Anarchy (always according to the notion of “the noble savage”), as if the history/time is linear (not circular). There are anarchists who say that they seek to decolonize their territory from the State in their struggle for national liberation (“the nation”, this concept born with the modern State), as if the Earth is private property, as if all of us are not colonised by the State. It appears as though anarchists have fetishized the struggle per se, any struggle, regardless of its purpose, background, actors and ideology. So long as there exists any weak minority clashing with a more powerful enemy, it is sure to find attention (and occasionally, fervent support) on the counterinfo sites. It is as if many have forgotten that national liberation struggles are not struggles against power, but struggles for power. (National liberation is an appropriate term for what it is: it is a liberation of the nation, not of human beings). Likewise, the struggles of native groups do not seek to destroy power, but to take a (greater) share in it. No Kurds, Palestinians, Mapuche, nor any other oppressed ethnic minority or any irredentist/separatist movement seeks to abolish oppression altogether, but merely to abolish oppression against them, so that they may be free to become oppressors themselves and build a national empire of their own, justified by the same myths of ancestry and “the right” to a “fatherland” and to “national self-determination”. These terms are the jargon of the State and have no place on anarchist platforms. All these struggles take place under the cult of the nation-state. How does anyone calling themselves anarchist can find comrades among people reproducing power, authority and submission?
And there are anarchists who see no problem in being every day watched, registered, filmed..., so they make their own videos/photos to share them online. There are anarchists who use the social networks as if they are places of discussion (with “like”, “followers”, “friends” and all). There are anarchists so devoted to animal liberation, as if anarchy could be achieved (as if by magic) by all becoming vegan, as if liberation is plural, and not just one and total (liberation of the Earth and of everything which composes it). “Everything is velocity, moment, instinct. (...) My nature is — opposition; logic — indiscipline; philosophy — subversion” [Janko Polić Kamov, “Sloboda”]
How do you intend to destroy the existent if you support it with your own struggles?
anarhija.info & some comradesTags: struggleclass warRojavaAnti-colonialismveganismanimal liberationsolidaritynihilismprotestcategory: Essays
LISTEN HERE: https://archive.org/details/0206201819
Black and Green Review #5. Worsening media, recycling, mass transportation blues. My BDYHAX weekend in Austin. Childless futures, mercury from melting Arctic, species extinctions in Irish waters. Action news, three calls.Tags: JZ and Karlanarchy radioBlack and Green Reviewcategory: Projects
A blue, mini gas tank with a cooking dock sits on the corner of Taks Barbin’s living room. He turns the knob, put a water-filled kettle on top of the dock, and opens foldable plastic chairs, forming a circle. This living room is a modest extension of his bedroom; a space that makes up a part of the interconnected shanties that snake around one of UP Diliman’s side streets.
“Mostly it’s called infoshop, a place where you can share information” says Barbin while pointing towards the other side of his living room — a corner neatly crammed with worn-out books, original and photocopied zines, and indigenous musical instruments. The wooden sign above this corner reads “Safehouse Infoshop,” with the capital letter ‘A’ enclosed in an illustration of a detonating bomb.
Barbin, a student of UP’s Malikhaing Pagsulat sa Filipino program, pours the hot water to two brown mugs and gives the other one to Bas Umali, a long-haired Uber driver dressed in a T-shirt with the words “In Defense of Autonomy” running across it. Bas, like Taks, also runs his own ‘infoshop,’ called Onsite, headquartered in the slums of Muntinlupa where they publish zines that discuss the solutions to the rampant flood in the area.
“That’s what the infoshops typically do— they make publication ours is about floods, we also attack local politicians. Every election, we conduct anti election campaigns” he says.
The Safehouse Infoshop is a space in UP Diliman where anarchists share books and zines about disaster communism, critical thinking as an anarchist weapon, and community-organizing, among many others. Photo by JL JAVIER
A closer look at the piles of literature at the Safehouse reveals some of the written works by social activists and anarchist writers Errico Malatesta and John Zerzan, as well as manifestos on disaster communism, critical thinking as an anarchist weapon, and community-organizing — materials that could deepen the knowledge on a controversial philosophy: anarchism.
The ‘infoshops’ that Barbin and Umali separately started serve as a resource center where people within their communities can come in and share skills and solutions to problems specific to their community. It is also a place where anarchists convene to discuss political philosophies and the ways in which they can come together to further a certain cause — from promoting urban gardening to disrupting pork barrel.
Every year since 2014, during the Philippine president’s State of the Nation Address, their network of anarchists gather at the Quezon City Memorial Circle to hold a ‘peaceful protest.’ They call it Sining, Kalikasan, Aklasan, a day-long guerilla event where they share the many skills and solutions being done in their respective communities; solutions that need not come from any type of political leader.
“I’ve experienced working class life. Nothing happens until you grow old, until you die” – Ron Solis
Here lies the practical solutions that we are facing. They[anarchists] don’t claim ownership to the activities they conduct. They don’t claim that we are the only persons that are allowed to do this, that we are the vanguard or pioneer of this practice… there were things like that in the past. We call them the old school.” says Barbin.
Umali fiddles with his phone while explaining how this “new school” of anarchists works. “There is no recruitment, no organization here… but it does not mean we are unorganized, but it also does not mean we do this individually” he says, almost contradicting himself in one breath.
“We are organized in a way that it is voluntary. The process in which we organize is based on the ourselves—What we contribute, commit in terms of time, resources and many more.” He says. “this is not about being an activist, joining the LSF (Libertarian Socialist Federation)… like Bonifacio, and then you become a nationalist? No it’s not like that” Umali adds, while mimicking historical revolutionaries of the Philippines that slash their wrists in the name of solidarity.
The misconception about anarchism
The anarchist that the general public has come to picture is more than a revolutionary fighting for its country; they’ve been portrayed as groups of people in all-black ensembles with ski masks and baseball bats in tow, ready to smash the nearest glass window. The term is often equated to chaos in the streets, the police stopping ‘rebels’ with riot shields and fire extinguishers.
This picture that circulates within the public’s modern consciousness was purportedly due to the highly mediatized World Trade Organization protest in Seattle in the ‘80s. These men with faces covered in handkerchiefs are called Black Bloc anarchists, a sect of anarchism whose main method of protest is property destruction.
Umali, a then-leftist turned anarchist, explains that within the anarchist network, people do various things to push for what they want. Some anarchists’ mode of protest may be simply giving out things in what they call a ‘free market,’ while others, like the Black Bloc anarchists, do take a more ‘violent’ route.
“Their focus is destroying symbols of oppression, of capitalism, that’s why starbucks, Mcdonalds. The big corporate symbols are the victims. That’s what they target”says Umali.
After the rage of riots in the U.S. in the ‘80s, Umali witnessed that a more politicized punk scene in the Philippines suddenly started to take root. “in the past, 80’s punk, it was mostly cultural… that was sex pistols anarchy. A lot of them, was mostly organized by the left”, he says “but during around 1996, it was made clear by the individuals that they were not Marxists, we are not leftists, we are anarchists.”
The motivations of Filipino anarchists
The sound of multiple footsteps stepping on twigs and dead leaves starts getting louder. Fread de Mesa, a man in dreadlocks and tunnel earrings, knocks on the door of Barbin’s living room. “Tokhang, tokhang,” he teasingly whispers. Behind him is Chuck Baclagon, in a gray button-down wearing a cap that resembles Che Guevara’s military beret, and Ron Solis, wearing a half-grown beard and a necklace with a Baybayin pendant.
Together they complete the chairs Barbin arranged in a circle. One by one, the newly arrived anarchists start sharing what attracted them to the anarchist scene, despite all that it is generally perceived of it.
“Regarding my involvement with anarchists, it started in church… they are called Mennonites and Anabaptists and the traditions of that church leans on justice and peace and its nature is sort of anti-authoritarian.” says de Mesa, still an active member of Peace Church Philippines, instantly breaking the image of the stereotypical churchgoer one may conventionally imagine.
“They don’t believe in the absolute power of the state. Their allegiance is not with the state or with the president, but with Jesus Christ.” he adds.
Baclagon, on the other hand, got involved with the anarchist network through his work with 350.org, an international environmental NGO that fights to eradicate the use of fossil fuels, among others. ‘Any activity or campaign that is related to reduction in emissions, that is 350 most likely … there are a lot of that in the anarchist community.” Baclagon says.
“Just because you cannot fulfill or play the part, does not mean you won’t do anything about it. And because you did nothing about it, nothing changed.” — Chuck Baclagon
While de Mesa and Baclagon are still within civic society organizations, Solis has stopped working altogether. A seaman for five years prior to being a ‘full-time anarchist’, he spends his time volunteering for environmental organizations like Greenpeace and 350.
“if you work you are still within the system. The problem stills stay the same. It’s better to be with yourself. You do your own hustle” solis says. “I’ve experienced the working class life. Nothing will happen until you grow old, until you die, you are still in the bottom [the very bottom].”
The difference between the far Left and anarchism
The group exchanges personal stories of how they found anarchism or how anarchism found them; their insights reek of the anti-establishment, anti-authoritarian ethos that seems to bind them all. Their discussions are heavy on turning their backs to consumerist practice, from exploring ways to start farming in their own backyard instead of buying in the supermarket to employing themselves instead of submitting to a manager.
On the surface, it looks as if their motive to subvert capitalism is no different from the far Left.
“Actually the reason why I declared myself to be anarchist. Because come to think about it there is no need for me to say that I am anarchist… for me, it was a political necessity to declare myself to be anarchist. I call myself an anarchist so as to distinguish my politics from the dominant leftist ideology here, whose followers claim that theirs is the right and true path towards the revolution.” Umali explains.
He goes into detail of where this confusion between anarchism and communism may come from. He says that the many variations of the Left usually extract their ideologies from Marxism, and anarchism may have been a byproduct of this as well.
«[they are] named Marxist-Leninist, Maoist… But if you notice, anarchy is not attached to its proponent’s name, unlike other politics with recognizable leaders (Marx/Marxists, Lenin/Bolsheviks, Mao etc.). There is no proprietory ownership [in Anarchy]. Like Taks said, what we do [in infoshops], is a recognition of our ancestors’ practices before, so we have no right to claim originality of our work.»
The conversation on political philosophies amplifies, as they simultaneously mention the ‘failed’ socialist and communist governments of China, Germany, and Russia. Baclagon further clarifies this assumed misperception between anarchism and the Left. He goes deep into challenging Karl Marx’s First International, the federation of working class men who swore to end the dominant economic system and replace it with cooperative ownership. He explains the failings of the mode of production narrative, and cites the teachings of Russian anarchist Mikhail Bakunin that says that Marxism will just breed another form of dictatorship.
Despite the flaws of the Left, Umali, a former member of Kabataang Makabayan, a leftist group founded by Communist Party of the Philippines leader Jose Maria Sison, acknowledges the organization’s genius in systematically drilling communist ideologies into his then young, impressionable brain. He says that leftists have a knack for articulating the goal of the movement; a trait that he thinks anarchism still lacks. But Umali questions the ways of the Left, particularly the Protracted People’s War, a political revolution strategy developed by Mao Zedong.
“Why did we become nationalists if we are communists? (kabataang makabayan means “nationalist youth) It’s really an oxymoron. That is where I started to have my suspicions. And I questioned people’s protracted war. Our ecological systems are under threat, and yet we keep waging wars.” he recalls.
A capitalist world
It might still be perplexing to some to see these anarchists in a circle, with urban shacks as the backdrop, fiercely discussing the ‘anti-isms’ of society, all the while knowing that Umali drives a tangerine Vios as an Uber driver and de Mesa still participates in one of the biggest organized systems in the world — religion.
“In history, the role of Jesus Christ challenged the state. Challenged the roman empire with a different lifestyle” de mesa explains. “we learned that we see Christ in the anarchists… they are the ones that feed the hungry, visit the poor … and then the self-agency is basic. It’s so powerful to recognize the individual’s capacity to contribute to the betterment of the masses”
But how does an anarchist thrive in a society where every single move is powered by consumerist dogmas? When asked how they settle this tug-of-war of opposing ideologies, Baclagon is quick to come to their defense. “Hindi naman pwedeng hindi ka kikilos dahil hindi mo siyang magagampanan ng tuluyan eh. Kasi kung hindi ka kumilos kasi hindi mo siya nagampanan, walang nabago,” he says.
For these anarchists, while they may come from different interest groups, they all form the same basic principles of ‘true’ anarchism: that anarchism values the capacity of the individual to organize itself; that anarchism sees the role of the individual as a tool that contributes to a larger community; that anarchism is about mutual aid, directly helping any soul in need; and that anarchism is about the belief that humans are wired to pursue the common good, regardless of an authority figure.
“The way I see it I won’t see it in my lifetime [anarchism in the broader society] … the way I see it the most we can contribute is by leaving lots of materials for the future” Umali says, as he briefly sizes up the corner of Barbin’s living room awash with shelves and shelves of anarchist materials, lying in wait for another wave of people to enter the scene, quietly asserting their rightful existence.PhilippinestranslationMSMcategory: International
Tortures, kidnappings, charges of armored rebellion – how Russian secret police is fabricating case of anarcho-terrorists
In October 2017 in Penza (Russia) arrests of local anarchists took place. First was Egor Zorin. After that – Arman Saginbaev, Ilia Shakurskiy, Vasili Kuksov, Dmitri Pchelincev, Alexei Chernov. Investigation believes that all of them were part of terrorist organization “5.11” (group of followers of nationalist Vyacheslav Maltsev who were preparing “revolution” on fifth of November). All except Shakurskiy, who is under home arrest, are in pretrial custody.
All of the detainees made statements about psychological pressure, torture with teaser, being hanged upside down. Some of them had weapons planted by FSB (Russian secret police).
When on 19 October wife of Kuksov (seems like the only one from the case who didn’t give testimonies after all the tortures) Elena came home, she noticed that Vasilii was not at home, although he was supposed to come earlier. She started calling him – nobody was picking up the phone. After several hours somebody tried to open the front door with the key. She looked into peekhole and saw 10 people – one of them was holding her barely standing husband. They told her that they are from FSB.
Jacket and pants of Vasilii were torn and covered with blood and mud, and his forehead and nose were badly injured, as if he had been smashed against the pavement. Elena later told that the search was short and superficial. The FSB officers then asked Vasilii whether he had a car. They took Kuksov and his wife to the car and ordered him to open the door. When he approached the car, Kuksov exclaimed the door lock was broken, to which one of the FSB officers crudely replied, “What do you mean by that?” The men searched the car, allegedly finding a pistol in it. Kuksov, who had been calm until then, screamed that weapon had been planted.
All of this happened around 3 months ago. In news agencies information appeared only in last weeks. One of the reasons seems like lack of plan of anarchist from Penza in case of arrests, bad organization and underestimation of possible repressions. Tortures and fabrication of the case became possible due to the fact that there was no media attention as well as help from human rights activists.
After New Year on 23 January in St.Petersburg antifascist Viktor Filinkov (IT-specialist, citizen of Kazahstan) was arrested on his way to an airport. Charges are “participation in terrorist network” based on decision of Penza court. It becomes obvious that all the arrested are trying to be squeezed into one terrorist group. After hours of torturing Viktor admits the guilt of participation in terrorist network. Now he is in FSB pretrial custody.
On 25 January in Petersburg in the same way one more person is arrested and tortured – Igor Shishkin, who is now as well in custody. Doctors concluded that Shiskin has broken bottom eye pit, multiply bruises and wounds.
Activist Ilia Kapustin was also arrested. He is now a witness in the case:
-They tortured me with electricity in crotch and belly. Used it to force me to say that this or that acquaintance was planning something dangerous.
Later on FSB made a statement that all of the arrested are part of anarchist terrorist organization called “Set’” (“The Network”). Goal of the organization was to overthrow government in Russia. Cops reported that groups exist in Moscow, Petersburg, Penza and even in Belarus.
“The Network” according to FSB existed since 2014. Creator of the organization is believed to be citizen of Penza Dmitri Pchelintsev. First the network was consisting of the people that Pchelintsev met at the concerts. Although right now the case is investigated under article “organization and participation in terrorist network” FSB is stating that there are evidence pointing to “violent overtake of power” and “armed rebellion”. Members of terrorist group were planning to “rock the masses to further destabilize political situation in the country” – as targets of the organization police officers and local heads of administrations were planned.
From materials of the case it comes that every members of the organization had a secret nickname. For communication they were using jabber and TOR.
From beginning of 2015 according to FSB each member of “The Network” had special role and tasks: Pchelintsev was a leader and ideologist. His right hand codenamed “Rigiy” (“The Readhead”) was a spy, he was responsible for collecting of information on different targets that were planned for annihilation as well as recruiting new members. Arman Sagynbaev (codename “Andey-Security”) – engineer and bomb technician was responsible for production and planting of explosives. Ilia Schakurskiy (“Spike”) – tactical engineer, he was teaching others combat tactics. Andrey Chernov (“Twin”) – communication engineer responsible for communication between members of organization. Egor Zorin (“Grisha”) – sniper, “under martial law participates in clashes with militarizes and police”. “Boris” – coordinator and ideologist. The youngest of them is 21, oldest – 27.
In summer 2016 from materials of the case we see that several other groups join “The Network” forming up together four Russian units. Penza got codename “5.11” or “Sunrise”. Moscow cell is called “MSK”, Petersburg – “Marsovo Pole” and “Iordan-SPb”. Group from Belarus was participating in trainings.
Exact amount of participants is not clear, testimonies in the case are not fitting one another. But all in all there are names of at least 17 people in Moscow, Petersburg and Penza.
In a materials of a case there are also an info about directed surveillance aimed on Filinkov. It, particularly, disclosed the meeting, occurred at 24 December 2017 in McDonalds: an antifascist was discussing politics, trainings in forest, methods of revealing the surveillance and crypto-currencies with two more activists.
According to evidences of Shishkin, St. Ptersburg group appeared at least at spring 2016. Young men and women were gathering in a forest twice a month, and were training on a territory of a airsoft polygon in Olgino, learning how to use weapons and a first aid basics.
In the summer 2017 representatives of “The Network” came to St. Petersburg from Penza, presenting “The code” – plan of the development of the organization. “During these meeting comrades from Penza were calling us to an active usage of violence against representatives of authority, to a so-called “black terror”. According to their beliefs, in case of coming of a “day X” – an accident, which may call the massive riots, we must wipe out with weapons and explosives the heads of local governments, the leadership of political party “United Russia”(a state authority-forming party in Russia – Pramen), heads of the local police” – that’s what is told in an evidence of Shishkin. His interrogation lasted for a whole day (!) – from 03.00 a.m. January, 26th to 03.00 a.m. January, 27th.
The value and truthfulness of these evidences are highly questioned. Apparently, a person, who is tortured by a electric shock, would tell not only that he was preparing to “kill the heads of local governments”, but anything else. In a bottom line, the accusations are: participation in an airsoft games and learning of first aid. It was enough for a dreadfully scare cops and provoke them on fabricating the criminal case of a terrorist group.
In general, for today 8 people are imprisoned in this case – seven are in a pretrial custody. Also, the searches occurred in minimum 3 more flats in St. Petersburg and Moscow. Moreover, at 1st February we were informed that in Evpatoria (Crimea peninsula, recently occupied by Russia – Pramen) state intelligence arrested anarchist comrade Evgeniy Karakashev. He is accused in public calls to terrorism via Internet. It is not clear yet, if this accusations are connected with “The Netowrk” case.
Meanwhile, the state and its puppets have already started a propagandist attack on the detained ones. In a “Noviye isvestia” newspaper the marasmatic libel was issued about the group of 20 anarchists who planed the overthrow of Putin and armed coup in a country.
(https://newizv.ru/news/politics/30-01-2018/anarhiya-21-veka-kto-koordiniruet-i-napravlyaet-podpolnoe-soobschestvo-set-b3c53d9b-696d-41fb-b37c-b95b1236e1cc ). As a proof the conversations in an old open anarchist forum are used. Apparently, we should expect a devastating reports on propagandist TV-channels when it comes closer to the court trial.
Apparently, the FSB officers are not so stupid to believe in these accusations. Well, if the real proofs of the guilt of the detained were existing, there would be no need in tortures and squeeze-job. Most probably, by starting the work on myth “Network”, the officers establish two aims: career development (it is evident, that for revealing the entire “international terrorist organization” they would get more privileges, career development and higher appointments for imprisonment of a few anarchists, playing airsoft), and second – the termination of the anarchists as a political power on the eve of the elections. Of cause, anarchists in Russia are not the strongest and the most organized opposition force. But their independence, uncontrollability and a potential for a radical actions make them a potential threat. In a previous years, in Russia National-Bolsheviks, nationalists, and antifa were successfully suppressed. The pressure on the most radical liberals is ongoing. Now there is a “turn” for anarchists: regime wants to secure itself as much as possible before the elections.
Watch the video prepared by the US anarchists comrades regarding the Russian case.
Meanwhile, the mobilization in favour of the arrested people is started. Since the information about a repressions was broke silence quite late, no one is going to leave the comrades without the support. Solidarity actions already occurred in Krakow (https://avtonom.org/freenews/solidarnost-s-politzekami-v-krakove ) and Paris (https://paris-luttes.info/nos-camarades-de-saint-petersbourg-9492?lang=fr ).
The crowdfunding for lawyesr is announced. Here are the invoice details for the transfers:
Yandex-wallet of the ABC-St.Petersburg. — 41001160378989
PayPal email@example.com — ABC-Moscow (it is important! – send it with a note “St.Petersburg”)
Your support is needed a lot. Also, regardless the country you live in, regardless you knew or did not knew anyone of the detained, have you or haven’t you ever sit by the fire in a camouflage pants, we advise all the comrades to strengthen the information security, the trust in your groups and discuss the plan of the action in case of detentions and interrogations. The wave of repressions may move in any side but we, the anarchists are used to it. We can and we must meet the attack of the state system in total readiness.Tags: Russiaanarchists in troublecategory: Prisoners
From Anarchist Writers by Anarcho (Tue, 02/06/2018 - 20:50)
This is both an important book which raises a key issue and one which simply states the obvious. It is both a well-researched work and one which ignores a school of thinkers who were pioneers on the subject. It is one which both challenges assumptions and takes them for granted. In short, it is both perceptive and frustrating.
Elizabeth Anderson is a Professor of Philosophy and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan and her book seeks to raise the issue of workplace hierarchy and its negative effects. Her book comprises a preface, two essays (“When the market was ‘Left’” and “Private Government”) and a “Reply to the Commentators” plus an introduction by Stephen Macedo and four comments by various academics.
It states the obvious by chronicling the extensive power employers have over their workers both within and outwith the company. That she feels the need to provide substantial evidence for what should be an obvious fact speaks volumes – it is the elephant in the room of our so-called “free” (i.e., capitalist) economies: “in purchasing command over labour, employers purchase command over people.” (57) She rightly notes that workers in the new industrial economy called it “wage slavery” rather than the “free labour” of the liberals for they were well aware that it was “a relation of profound subordination to their employer” (35) She is also right to note that “[t]o be egalitarian is to commend and promote a society in which members interact as equals” (3) and so to be an egalitarian is to be a libertarian, someone who promotes liberty – there is little liberty when you are subject to hierarchy.
Anarchists have been noting all this since 1840, when Proudhon proclaimed property to be both “theft” and “despotism.” Yet, for all her impressive research, she almost completely fails to mention the libertarian analysis – “anarchism, syndicalism” are mentioned in passing. (6) Given that libertarians have placed the issues she raises at the centre of their ideas for nearly 200 years, it is simply staggering that Anderson ignores us. While she may bemoan how “workers largely abandoned their pro-market, individualistic egalitarian dream and turned to socialist, collectivist alternatives,” (59) she fails to discuss those like Proudhon with pro-market, collectivist egalitarian dreams in spite of his mutualism meeting her (unstated) criteria of being pro-market and being explicitly aware of the issues which arose with the rise of large-scale industry. Socialism appears to be equated with Marxism and this centralised system is, rightly, dismissed but there is no engagement with libertarian visions of socialism. Nor is there any mention of the work by Carole Pateman or David Ellerman, not even Noam Chomsky who regularly raises the same issues and is by far the best known libertarian writer today.
Anarchism is mentioned once more, when Hobbes’ brutish “State of Nature” is equated to anarchist communism, which is an “unregulated commons” were anyone can take anything from whoever they wish. (46) Yet simply consulting any libertarian communist thinker would quickly show that they advocate use rights combined with social overview. This would be a “regulated” communes for, regardless of myths, unregulated communes are rare in human history (and generally reflect a breakdown in society due to actions of State or wealth). So people would not expect their possessions to be arbitrarily taken from them in any anarchist system.
Anderson, then, seems blissfully unaware of the anarchist critique of property, equating property with the right to exclude others and proclaiming the arguments for property “impeccable.” (45-6) Surely an awareness of the ideas being critiqued should be considered as essential research before commenting upon it? Similarly, if she had read Proudhon’s What is Property? she would understand how the “impeccable” theory of property produces the very evils she indicates and denounces as well as the anarchist use-rights theory which ends them without creating a worse problem in State capitalism.
She does mention and discuss “libertarians” (60-2) but these are strange lovers of freedom because, as Macedo notes, these ignore that employment “brings with it subjection to arbitrary power that extends beyond their work lives.” (xi) Anderson herself notes that these self-proclaimed “libertarians” seem to have no problem with private tyranny and that “it is surprising how comfortable some libertarians are with the validity of contracts into slavery” (66) as well as non-compete contracts, yet at no point raises the obvious point that these people have no concept of what liberty actually is.
Again, this points to serious flaws in her scholarship in-so-far as she appears unaware of the American right’s deliberate theft of the word “libertarian” from anarchists in the 1950s. Worse, she makes no attempt to understand this obvious paradox of “libertarians” advocating deeply authoritarian social relationships. After all, it is not “surprising” at all that these “libertarians” advocate voluntary slavery for John Locke, founder of classical liberalism, did so under the term “drudgery” – amongst the many “subordinate relations” he defended, including actual slavery.
Anderson misreads Locke completely, proclaiming him an egalitarian (16) when in fact the equality he postulates at the dawn of his state of nature is simply the opening paragraph of a “just-so” story weaved justify current inequalities in wealth and power in order to secure the “subordinate” relationships of master-servant, husband-wife, governor-governed, these produce. Consent was the means to do this and, needless to say, she does not tarry over Locke’s contractual defences of slavery and serfdom: he did not contradict himself in defending slavery nor drafting The Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina as she claims. (176) For it is to Locke that we must trace the notion of “subjection as freedom” (62) as shown by yet another author who goes unmentioned, Carole Pateman (most obviously in The Sexual Contract).
Locke, then, sought to justify inequality by means of just-so stories and the liberal use of the word “consent.” So she is wrong to suggest that the advocates of laissez-faire “failed to recognise that the older arguments [premised on self-employment] no longer applied” after industrialisation and that it is from this “arose the symbiotic relationship between libertarianism and authoritarianism that blights our political discourse to this day.” (36) Read so-called “libertarian” writers like Nozick and Rothbard and you will see that private tyranny is recognised – and defended with gusto. In this they follow Locke and his defence of the hierarchical social relationships of the agrarian capitalism he was familiar with.
The selective perspective Anderson bemoans is more apparent than real, being more than an “error.” (57) It is not in fact a “bizarre combination” at all for the laissez-faire liberals to have “hostility toward state power and enthusiasm for hyperdisciplinary total institutions.” (58) This is because they were interested in property, not liberty – as seen by Locke and his ideological descendants. Indeed, it is the few classical liberals (most obviously, John Stuart Mill) who are notable exceptions in this who need to be accounted for, although she does not – Mill’s support for co-operatives is relegated to an end-note while his pioneering feminism goes unmentioned (perhaps his later market socialism is the reason for this?).
Still, her sketches of pre-industrial liberals – the Levellers, Adam Smith, Thomas Paine, Abraham Lincoln – are useful examples of her thesis on the changing nature of market freedom. She rightly reclaims Adam Smith from the right, noting his egalitarian tendencies and his obvious preference for self-employment. (17-22) She quotes him on how all have “an equal right to the earth” and how a “tenant at will” is “as dependent upon the proprietor as any servant” and “must obey him with as little reserve.” Similarly, Paine’s writings could be classed as “broadly libertarian” (24) in the paradoxical and self-contradictory American sense precisely because he lived in a pre-capitalist society yet he was well aware of the need for land reform and progressive income tax, anathema for today’s so-called “libertarians” of the right. His writings do “not display a trace of the anti-capitalist class conflict that characterised nineteenth century politics” because there was no industrial capitalism and this is why “it does not make sense to pit workers against capitalists.” (25, 26) In short, social context matters when evaluating ideas – as can be seen, most obviously, with certain aspects of certain (American) individualist anarchists within our tradition.
As far as the evidence and logic of her case go, Anderson has done an excellent job with both even if she ignores the anarchist tradition. In terms of the conclusions she draws from these, there is less to recommend. However, before discussing this, the other contributors to the book should be mentioned. Three of the commentators (Hughes, Bromwich and Kolodny, particularly the latter) bring little to the discussion, the fourth (Tyler Cowen) is of interest simply because as an economist (and quasi-“libertarian”) he shows that her account of the mental-blinkers associated with workplace hierarchy is correct. His reply – “Work Isn’t So Bad After all” – is staggering in its unwillingness to understand the point being made. By definition workers do toil under the supervision of communist dictators, regardless of Cowen’s smug final sentence.
His defence of factory fascism is replete with the invocation of “very often” – “very often” workers are fired for putting racist, sexist comments on the internet to protect other workers (ignoring, for example, the well-documented firings for political opinion Anderson provides) – while “abuses are relatively few in number” and the gains “outweigh those costs.” (112-3) No evidence is provided, unlike with Anderson who provides overwhelming evidence to support her position. Likewise, he asserts that co-operatives and such like are often “less efficient” (115) when the empirical evidence suggests otherwise, which raises the awkward question of why a less efficient mode of production dominates society.
Cowan is dismissive of the notion that workplace tyranny is an issue, for if it says what he wants to hear then the voice of the people is truly the voice of god: “I do not see the evidence that suggests such events are a major concern of the American public.” (113) It would be churlish to note that indifference is one of the issues Anderson raises – why do we not talk about it? – and would not the threat of being fired for raising such issues explain this? Likewise, concerns can and do change, particularly if advanced minorities raise the issue. After all, we can be sure that sexual and racial inequality did not concern “the American public” much before the rise of the civil rights and women’s movements.
It is worth discussing one paper Cowan draws upon to show the flaws of his comment. He suggests that German codetermination “costs about 26 percent of shareholder value” which he puts down to “lower productivity.” (116) Yet German workers are more productive than American ones in terms of GDP per hour worked. Nor does the paper he cites argue this. It does suggest “codetermination reduces MTB [Market-To-Book] by 27% and ROA [Returns On Assets] by 5 basis points” but notes this due to the “transfer of some control rights from equity holders to employees [which] results in a different set of choices for the firm.” (Gary Gorton and Frank Schmid, Class Struggle inside the Firm: A Study of German Codetermination, Working Paper 7945, National Bureau of Economic Research, 25) The MTB ratio suggests that a company’s share value will be greater than its book value because the share price takes into account investors’ estimate of the profitability of the company.
Productivity, as Cowan surely knows, is different than profitability. Profitability is the difference between costs and prices. Productivity is the value workers create – how it is distributed is where it intersects with profitability. Any arrangement which increases the workers’ bargaining power will by definition reduce profitability (because workers keep more of the value they create) but may increase productivity (for precisely the same reason). Thus Cowan completely misunderstands the paper he cites, for Gorton and Schmid are discussing the distribution of surplus rather than its size. They conclude that “codetermination does empower employees, and that they use their power in ways that contradict the desires of shareholder” and “the ability to influence decision-making via supervisory board seats is valuable to employees, allowing them to redistribute firm surplus towards themselves.” (6) Also "unionisation is associated with lower firm profitability” for “unions are successful in redistributing firm surplus towards workers.” (8-9)
In other words, Cowan is attacking codetermination because German workers retain more of the value they produce instead of funnelling it upwards into the hands of shareholders – and Anderson makes the same obvious point. (142) Apparently the German 1% is being exploited by the 99% and “liberty” means that inequality there should rise to US levels. Sadly for Cowan, Gorton and Schmid are not as strong in their conclusions: “None of this is to say whether codetermination is socially optimal or not.” (32)
Overall, Cowan’s comments show that it takes substantial educational effort to become so blinkered. Of course he is fine with wage-labour – at least for other people, he being a tenured economics professor at George Mason University. As Anderson notes (134), being near the top of the wage-labour hierarchy, obviously he would be happy with it and she writes a wonderful response to his platitudes which is well worth reading for its focused anger and destructive power. An example:
“He worries that we can’t have nice things if workers don’t submit to the dictatorial power of their employers. This is the same argument British West Indies sugar growers made in Parliament in defense of slavery, during the debates over abolition.” (142)
Kolodny’s comments are of note purely because he gets Anderson to admit to not endorsing full workplace democracy, a decision based on “pragmatism” and because there “are enough disanalogies between state and workplace governances.” (130)
So in spite of her detailed and well referenced account of workplace tyranny, she fails to advocate its abolition and while talking of “republican freedom” (64) she baulks at (to use Proudhon’s words) “industrial associations, small worker republics” – and for no good reason beyond the rather vague comment that “some of its costs may be difficult to surmount” (66) and a cryptic reference. Few would so easily dismiss a move from (political) dictatorship to democracy by noting it “is challenging” and those involved may “have a hard time agreeing”! (131)
While it is right to say that she cannot propose what the workplace constitution ought to be (133) for that is up to workers to determine how to manage their affairs, we can outline principles for a solution. Yet her suggestions are woefully weak. After chronicling how wage-labour is private tyranny, she dismisses the obvious solution of workers control in favour of co-determination on the German model. This is about as convincing as a critic of slavery or monarchy proclaiming the solution cannot involve ending them but somehow tempering them with forums for discussion. Indeed, those who opposed these purely on the “pragmatic” position that it was not economically efficient or hard to abolish would be considered almost as bad as the aristocrats and slave drivers (who could, at least, call upon god to justify their position).
Another option mooted is something like a company union, dismissing independent unions because they are “adversarial” and so misses her own point. (70) Any union activist will tell you that being “adversarial” is essential otherwise the union becomes another extension of management’s power and, as she proves, there is a lot to be “adversarial” about! Similarly, while suggesting that firms “vigorously resist unionisation to avoid a competitive disadvantage with non-unionised firms” (70) perhaps a more realistic analysis would be that bosses like to be dictators and like to appropriate as much as they can from their employees labour? After all, the decline of unions since 1980 has been marked by productivity and wages separating, with the latter stagnating as the former grows (so disproving the platitudes of free market economists who had suggested in the 1950s and 1960s – and even today! – that unions were not required to secure decent wages).
Needless to say, she does not address the issue of reform or revolution – a topic which provoked some debate amongst the libertarians who long ago noticed the problem she raises. She proclaims that worker ownership “is far out of reach for most firms, given the size of capital investment needed.” (131) This is true but this option is hardly the only available – there is also expropriation (direct action) and nationalisation (political action) – and so a bit like suggesting that the only way to end slavery was for the slaves to buy themselves back from their masters.
Similarly, there is no discussion of socialisation and instead we get “independent contractors acting without external supervision, who rent their capital” postulated – and rightly rejected – as an alternative. (51) Strangely, she proclaims this universal self-employment as “amount[ing] to anarchy as the primary form of workplace order” before dismissing this because organisation is needed for “large-scale production” rather than “market relations within the firm.” (64) Here are lack of research becomes (again) obvious as no anarchist thinker has ever suggested such a solution to the social question. Indeed, Anarchists have been aware than collectivism “decisively” defeated individualism in production (65) since 1840 and advocated workers associations as a result.
A similar blindness can be seen from Anderson’s (correct) comment that many of the earliest radicals and socialists were “artisans who operated their own enterprises” but that does not mean “they were simultaneously capitalists and workers.” (25) Failing to recognise capital is a social relationship, she fails to see that this description of meaningless: it is like saying in 1865 that all American workers were now simultaneously masters and slaves.
Ultimately, it is her apparent unawareness of the authoritarian roots of liberalism which makes her comments against the so-called “libertarians” of the right ultimately toothless. She may bemoan the perspective that “wherever individuals are free to exit a relationship” then “authority cannot exist” (55) but she can only completely reject it by moving beyond liberalism into socialism (as Mill did), something she refuses to do along with refusing to advocate workplace democracy (and the socialisation that requires). In short, while lamenting the abuses of wage-labour she has no principled objection to it.
Yet she unknowingly restates Joseph Déjacque’s reasoning for coining the term libertarian for “employers have always been authoritarian rulers, as an extension of their patriarchal rights to govern their households.” (48) Listing the horrors of the patriarchal marriage contract, (61) she does not suggest that feminists were wrong to call for its abolition rather than be “pragmatic” and ponder “trade-offs” – why is wage-labour considered different? Perhaps because she, like Cowan, is not directly affected by it but is by patriarchy? If Déjacque urged Proudhon to be consistent in extending his opposition to workplace hierarchy to the family, can we not urge Anderson to be consistent in extending her opposition to household hierarchy to the workplace?
Also, it is worth noting that she equates decision making with government, government with hierarchy – much like Engels, so showing the liberal nature of “On Authority”. Yet agreeing does not equate to authoritarian, no matter what Engels asserted, and “governance” (how decisions are made) does not equal “government” (delegation of power into the hands of a few). This uncritical perspective on forms of organisation is a significant limitation, particularly in a work interested in what freedom means and extending it. Still, unlike Engels she recognises that “[n]o production process is inherently so constrained as to eliminate all exercise of authority. Elimination of room for autonomy is the product of social design, not nature.” (128) This is a significant, if undeveloped, step forward from Engels.
Ultimately, for a book which, at bottom, is about class, it is woefully lacking in class consciousness. She seeks to explain our current societal blindness to workplace despotism by suggesting it is a misapplication of pre-capitalist market positions to post-industrial revolution realities. Yet is no “misdeployment” (65) for it is hardly in the interests of capitalists to acknowledge the source of their power and profits – hence a pre-capitalist vision of the market being used to describe a much different, capitalist, reality would be encouraged by those with an interest in obscuring the authoritarian and exploitative social relationships produced by property. So you would expect given class interest that this would not be discussed – and so the peculiar condition she deplores and explores is easily explained. So it is no coincidence that – as she notes – these questions rose with organised labour and declined with it. (40-1)
Likewise, her main thesis – that a pre-capitalist perspective is being grafted upon a capitalist reality – is hardly new. As Marx noted long ago, from “Locke to Ricardo” the defenders of capitalism invoke “a mode of production that presupposes that the immediate producer privately owns his own conditions of production” while “the relations of production they describe belong to the capitalist mode of production.”(Capital [Penguin Books: London, 1976] I: 1083) Her account of pre-industrial America would have benefited from Marx’s writings on “Primitive Accumulation” in Capital (Part 8, Chapter 33) and how, to quote Marx, “the anti-capitalist cancer of the colonies [was] healed,” (938) but then she does not draw upon any socialist writers – libertarian or authoritarian – who discuss these issues. Marx is quoted on the nature of the workplace (4-5) but the earlier, market-based, perspective of Proudhon goes unmentioned – a strange omission given her position.
Another flaw in her argument arises with the State. She rightly notes that the American State determines the power of the employer, given its support for “employment at will” and the power that goes with it. (53-4, 57) Yet she downplays the obvious point that changes in this situation would involve changes in property rights – in the direction of the use-rights and socialisation advocated by Proudhon in 1840. Yet this discussion makes it clear that she thinks the State is some neutral body above classes, representing the people and so could be used to empower the many at work. This ignores that the State is currently a capitalist State and it will not pursue a transformation in the bargaining power of classes just because it would be fairer or because we ask nicely. Yes, the German capitalist State has decided upon a different set of options to secure the exploitation of labour but this was a product of many things, not least a mass Social-Democratic movement. Co-determination and strong unions were forced upon it from outwith. This was the case in America as well, with direct action being the means by which labour issues came to the fore in the 1930s. So if we do take private government seriously (and Anderson shows why we must, assuming you need more than the daily grind of wage slavery to convince you) then we must look to our fellow workers for its solution – then the public government will belatedly catch up (assuming we are unable to get rid of both once and for all). In other words, class struggle – something Anderson does not discuss as much as she should.
Anderson, to conclude, has produced a well-documented account of something libertarians have been arguing since 1840 – proprietor despotism –without mentioning this tradition. Like us, she recognises that social relations matter, that equality and inequality matter, that liberty and equality are mutually supportive rather than mutually exclusive. Yet, by failing to discuss anarchism, she has failed to do the research an academic of her level would be expected to do. Much worse, she fails to embrace the obvious conclusions of her evidence against wage-labour in favour the kind of mealy-mouthed “pragmatism” she would rightly denounce if applied to chattel-slavery or patriarchal marriage. Still, she should be thanked for the evidence and arguments she provides if not for her conclusions.
Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (and Why We Don’t Talk about it)
Princeton University Press
2017Tags: anarchoAn Anarchist FAQthe stateworkreviewcategory: Essays
From It's Going Down
Starting November, 2017, Russian FSB (the successor to the KGB) initiated a violent crackdown on anti-fascist and anarchist activists. Starting in Penza, the repression has spread to St. Petersburg, Moscow, and most recently Crimea. Activists are accused of participation in non-existent “terrorist cells” for activities as innocuous as hiking in the woods and practicing woodland survival skills and playing with airlsoft guns, plastic toys purchasable from any toy store.
Many activists are facing extremely steep prison sentences and have been repeatedly tortured. Those who have been spared arrest now sleep with the specter of increasingly common dawn police raids on their homes. Even journalists are bearing the brunt of this crackdown.
Activists in Russia have called for an international week of solidarity from February 5-12.
There is also a dire need for financial assistance, and anyone capable of helping can do so here: https://insurrectionnewsworldwide.com/2018/02/04/russia-legal-support-fundraiser-for-anarchist-and-antifascist-prisoners-in-st-petersburg-and-penza/Tags: Russiathe stateanarchists in troublevideosubmediacategory: International
“Yellow fever,” says the bus baggage man looking at my passport.
“ Paraguay just restricted entry for people who don’t have the vaccine. You can’t get in.”
I look around helplessly but the bus driver was already coming to my aid, he spoke a few terse sentences in Portuguese to the effect that if the American wants to try to get into Paraguay then the Bus Company has no business trying to stop him. The baggage man listens and hoists my stuff on board. There’s no arguing with the profit motive…
A few good friends, a shattered relationship, and some emotional debts are all that I had left in São Paulo. Time to go. Why not Paraguay? It’s close, cheap; so I hopped a bus…
After finding my seat, in the rear row, and right above the engine, and with negligible air conditioning, I took stock of my bus mates. There were two general categories of passenger on this bus to Asunción 1) Euro-twenty-something tourists (French and German primarily) and 2) Paraguayans/Brazilians returning from some hard-partying in Rio for the New Year. The Europeans were very quiet. The young French couple next to me spoke in whispers, slept a great deal, and were flabbergasted that I could actually speak Spanish. And the South Americans were too tired to even care. So we all settled in for the scheduled twenty-two hour ride.
I slept a bit, but my dreams were haunted by what might happen at the border. Visions of Alfredo Stroessner former dictator of Paraguay and the poor man’s Hitler, kept appearing in my head. Between naps I practiced my excuses the best I could in Spanish—I had the vaccination—I lost the documents—I’m not sick. I also recalled that culture in Latin America is polite, courteous—and my temper has made already disastrous situations positively catastrophic—politically and personally. So…stay calm, explain yourself, eye contact. And with each passing mile, the border loomed.
Morning. The sun roared out of the Eastern sky and the bus skimmed past full horizons of soy, stevia, and corn. At the final stop in Brazil, Foz do Iguaçu, all the Eurokids packed their shit and exited. Evidently there’s some excellent rafting on the cataracts of the Parana River and they had taken this hellish trip in exchange for a few hours of floating. This left me, a handful of Brazilians and Paraguayans on the almost empty bus.
The boundary between Brazil and Paraguay in that area follows the River Parana, and the two countries are joined by a single suspension bridge, which connects Ciudad del Este and Foz do Iguaçu. The name of the structure, incongruously, is The Bridge of Friendship, between two countries that have fought at least three bloody wars in the past 150 years. So, we approached the Brazilian passport control office, the bus stopped and the driver went to go speak to the bureaucrats. Stepping back aboard after what seemed like centuries he said,” Brasilieros, somente,” (Only the Brasilians).
Okay, half way through. The Brasilians marched off, were gone for about twenty minutes and then trooped back on. One guy had forgotten his passport in Rio, and they even let him pass. On the Paraguayan side two very bored uniformed men behind computer screens met us. When my turn came I approached the Border Guard, handed over my passport and prepared for the worst. He looked at it, checked my visa, checked the chip in the reader, and then waved me on. Not. One. Word. On top of that, the guy with the lost passport got passed through, again, when I thought that he’d be hitchhiking back to Rio to see if he could find his document on Ipanema beach. It was insane.
As I sat down a pretty TG woman settled in next to me and started to ask questions, her English was excellent and I think she wanted to practice a bit…
“So where are you from?”
“The US, Colorado—Denver,” I responded.
“Mmm, don’t know it. On vacation?”
“Sort of. You?”
“Yes, in Rio. Had a great time. Still hungover though.”
“ I bet. Look, can I ask you a question.”
“Yes, of course.”
“At the crossing, how did no one get questioned about the Yellow Fever vaccination, and how does a guy without a passport get across a frontier like that?”
“Oh, easy, Ciudad del Este. That’s how.”
And she was right. Behind Miami and Hong Kong, Ciudad del Este (pop. 320,000) is the third busiest free trade zone in the world. Goods, primarily electronics, pour in from Asia, India, and a host of other countries. No commodities are taxed, tolled or tariffed. It’s a free-for-all, and the Asian connection isn’t some loose reference. Taiwan built the city hall for the municipality, and its flag flies in tandem over the city with the Paraguayan flag. But that’s all surface, what really sets the stage for Ciudad del Este is smuggling, boatloads of smuggling. As it turns out the city is perfectly located for the illicit transshipment of cocaine from Bolivia and Peru, goods from the Far East, and just about any other saleable item into the enormous Brazilian markets. It is estimated that a significant proportion of the population of Ciudad del Este are somehow involved in smuggling. And we’re not talking about some tourist walking through customs with three extra wrist watches, one conservative analyst insists that the goods that flow across the Parana River at all times of day and night yearly represent five times the GDP of the Paraguayan economy. So as my traveling companion made clear, a lax passport control system at Ciudad del Este is just part of doing business.
With the tension of the border crossing gone, I sat and stared out the window at my first glimpse of Paraguay and Ciudad del Este. A medium sized town, a bit run down by Latin American standards, nothing surprising. As we drew near the bus terminal, however, things changed. In all of the Americas bus terminals are usually located in the tougher parts of town, and this proved to be no exception. My attention was drawn to the children, thin, dirty faces, torn clothing, shoeless in some cases. I watched a group of five or six play at football and was stunned at how wan they looked. Like a cold or flu could prove fatal. And then a thought occurred to me that I had never had before and never want again,” Some of these little guys may not see adolescence.”
In that it also came to me that a man could do a great deal of good, or harm—towards the same goal, in a place like this.
El ErranteTags: BrasilPaul Z. Simonscategory: Essays
Fifteen years ago today, on February 2nd, 2002, I became an anarchist. I was nineteen, living in NYC, and I attended the World Economic Forum protests. I knew the anarchists by reputation only — they wore all black and they smashed things. They were going to wear masks in defiance of NYC’s anti-mask laws. I wanted to know why, so I approached a man with his face obscured by a black bandanna.
“What’s anarchism?” I asked.
“Well, we hate capitalism and the state.” He was very forthcoming, which I appreciated.
“What do you all do about it?”
“We build up alternative institutions without hierarchy while attacking and interfering with the existing, oppressive ones we despise.”
“Oh,” I said. I pondered this for a moment, but honestly only a moment. “Do you have an extra mask?”
He did, and he gave it to me. Simple as that, I became an anarchist.
A few months later, I dropped out of college to ride freight trains and go to protests — it was the style at the time, you understand. We broke into abandoned houses to sleep in puppy piles and we faced overt surveillance from the feds while we met in public parks to plot zombies-against-war marches. We ate trash and shoplifted and loved one another fiercely and everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.
The anthem of that summer was the album Reinventing Axl Rose by Against Me. After we were mass-arrested in DC, all of us John Does who refused to identify ourselves to police sang “Baby I’m An Anarchist” at the top of our lungs to irritate our captors and keep our spirits high as we resisted being separated, named, and charged by the system.
Some years later, the woman who wrote that album wrote another song, “I Was A Teenage Anarchist.” Well, Laura Jane Grace, so was I. Fifteen years later, I still am.* * *
My politics have changed dramatically in the intervening almost-half-my-life, to be sure. But the core of it remains the same: I desire a world without coercive hierarchy and I believe the way to reach for that world is by individually and collectively acting directly on our desires and enabling others to do the same.
There’s some cliche I heard as a kid: “If you’re not a liberal when you’re young, you’ve got no heart. If you’re not a conservative when you’re old, you’ve got no brain.” If that’s true, I’m the Tin Woodsman and the Scarecrow both because I ain’t either and never have been. But the core idea — that your politics settle away from radicalism as you age — is fascinating. It’s possible that it’s happening to me, but on a different scale than liberal/conservative.
Throughout most of my twenties, I identified more with green anarchism than red: that is to say, my focus was ecology and I’d have been more likely to call myself an individualist anarchist than an anarchist communist though I likely would have told you that was a false dichotomy. Now, I suppose, I’m on the other side of that still-false dichotomy. I swapped out the green-and-black enamel star on my black hoodie for a red-and-black enamel star on my black dress coat.
I have a love for chaos, still, that will never leave me. But I’m also a lot more excited about organization.* * *
I don’t really know what teenage anarchist me would make of mid-thirties anarchist me. I do a lot of things I thought I’d never do: I work for money and shop at box stores and pay my taxes. I prefer owning nice things when I can. I avoid breaking the law unless the law needs breaking. This last November I had to hire people to help me make buttons — though I tied my own wage to theirs and donated any profits above labor costs to avoid exploiting anyone. I write about politics more often than I go into the streets. I hang out with liberals and I don’t, by default, distrust people who don’t circle their A’s. I understand the value of compromise, in personal relationships and political coalitions both.
But I don’t really care what teenage anarchist me would think, if I’m being honest. I’m not an anarchist for the sake of old-me. I’m not an anarchist simply out of habit, but out of deep and ever-deepening conviction.
While on the surface, there are things about me that have calmed down, anti-authoritarianism and a pro-collective spirit have sunk deeper into me over the years. The difference between teenage anarchist me and adult anarchist me is the difference between the goth garb I wore in high school and the one I wear now: as a teenager, I was trying on a persona and a costume. As an adult, it’s that I’ve found the clothes and ideas that suit me.
Rebellion has taken hold of my heart. It is no longer a costume, nor a poise. I’m not trying to impress anyone anymore by how radical I am. It’s just that, at this point, I simply cannot understand the idea that someone else would be in charge of me. I simply cannot understand that one would attempt to wield economic or political power over others.* * *
I assume I’m in it for life at this point, but I’m no longer going to say I’m certain. That is to say, I no longer tell myself I’m certain in order to cement the idea in.
I think a lot of people get tattoos related to political identity in order to keep future-them from betraying that identity — veganism, straight edge, anarchism, what-have-you. It’s a precarious sort of “certainty,” and we all know drunks who laugh about their straight edge tattoos. Maybe one day I’ll laugh about the word “sedition” tattooed across my knuckles. I doubt it, but stranger things have happened.* * *
I can’t always understand or empathize with people for whom anarchism was a phase. I try, but it’s not easy.
It’s possible that I got lucky, in that I wasn’t exposed to anarchism socially but came upon it politically. I was never a punk in high school, just a weirdo, so I was never exposed to anarchism through music or through social pressure. I chose anarchism after flirting noncommittally first with libertarianism (but quickly grew aware that corporations would run everything) and then social democracy and the green party (but the spark just wasn’t there).
I’ve found, however, that fewer people “sell out” or abandon anarchy altogether than I assumed when I was younger. I’ve found that most people don’t embrace a different political framework (state communism or liberalism, let’s say) as much as they step back from political engagement. The only part that was a “phase” for most people was the active involvement in protests and their affiliated social circles. Which makes sense to me: we’ve all got our lives to lead.
When I was nineteen, I was an anarchist and that was all I was and it consumed my entire being. I’m thirty-four now, and I’m also a writer and a geek and a musician and a thousand other things. I’m capable of getting as much emotional fulfillment from learning to craft a short story as I am from organizing a demonstration. I have as many friends who write novels or make weird costumes as I do friends who live and breath political change.
That, more than anything, is to what I attribute my ability to stay in the game to the degree that I’ve been able to. Stepping outside the A-team social scene, outside the echo chamber, is what keeps me grounded. Of course, sci-fi nerd culture is its own echo chamber too, because echo chambers are what humans make when we hang out with other humans — we’re social creatures, and our ideas influence one another’s. It’s just good to get out of one chamber and into another for awhile.* * *
That first summer was magic. I mean that literally. Never before had I experienced such emotion, nor such power. We could do anything. We were going to change the world.
We were wrong, of course, and though we had a hand in stopping the neoliberal consensus of free trade, the world went on largely as it did before we took our queer bodies to the wheel.
But we were right, too. We changed our own worlds, each of us. We were stubborn, pretentious little shits who thought we could do anything we wanted and that the world owed us to change… and we were right on both counts and it worked. For long moments at a time, we became free.
I’ve got no regrets about teenage anarchist me. I did things I wouldn’t do now and I also accumulated all the trauma I’m still reeling from, but I’m not sorry. The only regret I’ll cop to is that one time, in Oakland all those years ago, after our freight-trains-verus-hitchhiking race down the coast from Portland, when everyone was giving one another stick-and-poke tattoos that said “up the punx” in cursive on our necks behind our ears… my only regret is that I should have gotten that tattoo. I didn’t, because I thought I might regret it.* * *
I don’t want to be a rebel anymore. I feel older than I should, already, and I’ve got all the conflict trauma I need. I don’t want to be outside of society and I try not to be when I can. I just want to write novels and make jewelry and love my friends.
But I can’t stand to live in a world of oppression and not do anything about it. I can’t stand to be ruled by capitalism, the state, or patriarchy. I can’t stand my complicity in a white supremacist, colonialist society. I can’t stand to have a boot on my neck or my boot on someone else’s.
Some of my friends of all ages are in it for the fight, and I respect that, and I used to be. Me, I just want to win already. I want to live in comparative peace in a world of horizontalism where it doesn’t make me a rebel to think that I’m the one who is in charge of me.
Until that day, though, I guess I’m a rebel still.Tags: magpiemargaret killjoyemoagingsocietycategory: Essays
Welcome to the anews podcast. This is episode 49 for February 2, 2018. This podcast covers anarchist activity, ideas, and conversations from the previous week.
Editorial: Tech Atomizes!
TOTW: Creating Online Anarchist Spaces
This podcast is the effort of many people. This episode was
* sound edited by Linn O'Mable
* editorial by @muse
* written by jackie
* narrated by chisel and a friend
* Thanks to Aragorn! and @muse for their help with the topic of the week
* Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Zapatistas have a saying, “preguntando caminamos.”
We don’t need to be perfectionists. We don’t need to have all the answers before starting a project or pursuing a course of action—we can get started and work out the details along the way. Rapid prototyping, the process of ‘failing as fast as possible’ in order to gather feedback about what works and what doesn’t is an effective strategy for completing successful projects. But, to take a step back, why are we even motivated to work on projects or pursue any goals at all—why do we even walk in the first place?
The question of motivation is hardly exclusive to anarchists, but is there anything unique about the relationship between anarchism and motivation? There are definitely individual differences in how motivated different people are. Are anarchists more likely to be intrinsically motivated? If that’s the case, why is there not a proliferation of successful anarchist projects?
Above and beyond being motivated about sexy projects there is the question of hard work. Brainstorming about how we’ll live after the revolution is fun, but at the end of the day the success of any project comes down to persistence and dedication. Hard work is hard enough for anyone, but what can anarchists do to get better at this?
For many of us, asking the question of what motivates us is a luxury. For those facing immediate threats of state oppression and violence the answer is obvious. But even in the streets we can hopefully ask ourselves these questions while walking--What motivates us, and how can we turn that into successful and lasting anarchist projects?Tags: sudstotwmotivationprojectscategory: Other
Spain’s Audiencia Nacional tribunal has closed the legal proceedings and State driven persecution of anarchists known as Operación Piñata.
(Wednesday, January 31st, 2018)
Once again, everything has ended in nothing. Almost three years after the arrests of fifteen people under Operación Piñata (March 2015), the courts have stopped the legal process, after a request by defense lawyers to dismiss the investigation for lack of evidence against the accused.
Operación Piñata thus meets the same fate as Operations Pandora I and II, as legal proceedings against so-called “anarchist terrorism”.
After a total of 33 arrests, with house searches from Palecia to Granada; after three years of legal investigation, in which hundreds of documents were analysed, hours of telephone conversations recorded, bank accounts frozen, and worst of all, after some of the accused suffered months of imprisonment and dispersal in different penitentiaries of the national territory, the tribunal’s own public prosecutor considered that there did not exist sufficient evidence to put any of the accused on trial.
Five of the twelve people accused under Operación Piñata were placed under custody for months. The order of detention made reference to acts of sabotage, possession of explosives and illicit activity related to drug trafficking.
Despite this, at no point were they linked to any violent act. The three police operations, Piñata and Pandora I and II, led to 33 persons being arrested for supposedly belonging to a terrorist organisation, but none of them could be tied to any violent, terrorist action, except distributing anarchist literature, or publishing essays and books, such as the essay Contra a Democracia.
To speak of “terrorism” in the absence of any violence is an obvious and unacceptable [at least for those who defend the possibility of a “State of Law”, in opposition to a “State of Exception”, whereas for most anarchists, these are but two sides of the same coin, and thus the “Exception” is a permanent state of affairs] extension of the term, something that empties of any content other types of crimes. Not surprisingly, the Pandora operations would suffer the same fate.
More than three years have passed since the chief of the national police, Ignacio Cosidó, announced that “anarchist terrorism had gained root in Spain”, with this affirmation never finding confirmation in the courts.
Nevertheless, the three operations taken together amounted to the most virulent offensive against iberian anarchism since the “Scala case” of 1978. And independently of their legal success or failure, what is always accomplished is the dismantling of social centres, the generation of fear and suspicion among militants, the breaking up of networks of mutual aid and the criminalisation of an ideology and movement, which when it is necessary for the State to identify an enemy, sooner or later, anarchists will be targeted.
(The above is a free translation of an article that appeared in the spanish newspaper, El Salto)
Tags: Operation Pinataspainanarchists in troublecategory: International
The British state stepped up its campaign against a trans anti-fascist squatter last week, charging her with battery, in connection to an alleged bust-up at a political gathering last year. Following the alleged incident she was tracked down, arrested by snatch-squad and subjected to two rounds of questioning.
A plea hearing will take place on 15th February, 10am, Westminster Magistrates Court.
The entire investigation against this comrade, and another two individuals who have evaded capture despite sustained efforts from pigs and journalists, has been called-for and abetted by TERFs (Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists), against whom the crimes for which she is under investigation were allegedly comitted.
What’s more, TERFs have called another hate-fest on the day of the hearing, reinforcing their campaign of harassment, and demonstrating the carceral and statist basis of their gender-policing ideology.
In early January, a crowd of around 15 despicable types braved the cold outside a pig shop in support of our comrade while she underwent questioning. With slogans, banners and songs, we announced our disgust for TERFs, cops, and all the other custodians of the gendered prison against which we plot our lives of fugitivity and destruction. Just as our comrade gave no comment, we reaffirmed that we have nothing to say to the state either in pursuit of ‘justice’, or of ‘gender recognition’ from their bureaucratic machinery.
A callout was disseminated to the squat/autonomous scene at the time, accompanying a special issue of SLAP (Squatters of London Action Paper). To those anti authoritarians who have so far responded with silence and inaction, we invite you to reconsider in the light of the severity of the charges faced, and the prospect of an emboldened TERF presence at the hearing.
On the 15th February, and at any trial that may follow, as trans anarchists and their friends support each other in the face of state violence and transphobia, it is vital that others step up to lighten the burden and lessen the isolation.
Let us find each other again, or for the first time – on the streets, in the courtrooms, wherever – plotting, learning collective care, finding housing and healthcare outside of the deadly embrace of capitalism, the state and the individual.
From trans-exclusionary feminism, to the gender-neutral prison, let’s fight ‘identity’ and domestication, in all their forms,
See you on the 15th,
Some Angry Tranarchists
1/2/18 Act for free received by email:Tags: Britaintransanarchist prisonercategory: International
via contra info
Between the 16 and 17 of June, the Anarchist bookfair will take place in Malmö, Sweden.
The first aim is presentation of books and publications inside the anarchist spectrum, also holding talks, discussions and workshops.
We see the need of learning from different experiences, sharing ideas and ongoing struggles. Spreading those theories and practices nourishes our movement locally and globally and makes our community stronger. This is why we want to invite people from different areas to come here and participate in this event.
If you are interest in doing a talk, hold a discussion or workshop or having your distro at the bookfair, please contact us as soon as possible so we can organize it together. We are still organizing the bookfair and it is many things that still has to be done, if you have any idea or suggestions you can send us an email.
In the upcoming weeks we are going to release more information about the bookfair and a statement.
in GermanTags: SwedenAnarchist bookfaircategory: International
via IT'S GOING DOWN
The following report and photo was submitted to It’s Going Down anonymously. We reprint it below.
With frozen hands we reappropriated this city’s infrastructure to cast a few words of cold insurrection. A desire to set it all on fire sits just adjacent to the light-rail (which is dressed up as a carriage for the super rich — only Super Bowl ticket holders can ride this weekend!). An ode to the ZAD hangs above 35w from a bridge in South Minneapolis, welcoming tourists to a temporarily sterile downtown (they relocated the homeless for this special event). Helicopters flying over head, tanks on the ground — this is a sneak peak of a militarized police state. Lets not go down without a fight. Against the Super Bowl and its world!
-some anarchistsTags: the superbowlminneapoliscategory: Actions
As events as such write the modern world history, all revolutionary movements need to process the information available, discuss and come to conclusions and eventually choose sides and fight without failing to take the context of this historical reality into account.
The text on hand does not set out to provide an exhaustive historical narrative. Yet, it does set out to open a discussion that will look into all the critical issues raised. Also, our aim is to turn our ideas into action, thus we choose to go against the widespread inertia that surrounds the subject matter.
A historical period as such requires much more than a mere theoretical analysis. As the hotbed of war keeps spreading and is now reaching Europe, it is urgent that we create an anti-war movement which will fight for and demand an end to the international military interventions, put forward ideas on horizontal self-organization, empower the oppressed and ultimately stand up against the rise of totalitarianism.
We know well that we can achieve nothing and nothing will be spared for us unless we fight at all levels and to all directions in order to intensify and expand our horizontal, grass-roots self- organization.
For the war against state and capitalism.
Korydallos Prison, November 2016
The uprising in Syria, following that in Bahrain (which was drowned in blood by Saudi Arabia), was the last link in a chain of uprisings in the area of Maghreb between ’11-’13. The western mainstream media called this series of uprisings ‘’The Arab Spring’’, implying that the demand of the revolting populations was the replacement of their political systems with a regime of representative republic, namely a western-type democracy.
However, there are further decisive contributory factors underlying these uprisings. Firstly, it’s the international neoliberal agenda promoted by state governments which serve the corporate interests of chiefly the western, Russian, Chinese and Arabic economic elites. Actually, the privatizations launched by the states triggered an escalating popular dissatisfaction as large parts of the population were turning poorer and poorer. Secondly, it’s the violence that even the most peaceful demonstrations were treated with. Well before the spark (set by Mohamed Bouazizi’s self-immolation) spread from Tunisia to Syria, demonstrations had come with death tolls on protestors. Moreover, the structural similarities of these regimes, the similar social stratification of their populations as well as the shared characteristics of the human geography in the wider region constitute altogether yet another factor that played a major role in the spread of the uprisings from Tunisia to Libya, Egypt, Syria and Yemen. Finally, it’s worth noting that the fast speed in which these regimes were overthrown solidified the protestors’ conviction that dictators were, in reality, not at all untouchable.
Although all these factors co-existed in Syria, the situation evolved differently. For the moment, the geopolitical situation in Syria is a global puzzle without solution. All the imperialist rulers -global or regional- are caught in a vicious circle of conflicts, opportunistic alliances and unclear strategic goals as part of their presence in the area. The situation seems to have reached a dead end, but meanwhile the blood keeps flowing.
What has been going on for roughly four years now in Syria – meaning since the early spontaneous uprising began to weaken and gave its place to hostilities among various competing parties- indicates that the interference and direct intervention of the global powers and their agents have expanded the battlefield and, with it, the market and economy of war.
The rifts in the society are too deep and nobody can lead the situation out of this chaos. The so-called ‘’negotiations’’ and ‘’peace agreements’’ are nothing but plans on paper as long as they can’t generate binding solutions. It’s now impossible for Syria to go back to its pre-war/uprising state. While the negotiators (government, unsolicited opposition representatives, the USA, Turkey, Russia) insist on drawing transitional plans that let Assad remain in power, a great number of opponents is by no means willing to conform.
A closer look at the course of events will allow us to understand how the situation evolved to this stalemate as we know it. The initial protests in March 2011, which demanded reforms rather than a change of regime, flared up in all big cities and Assad’s security forces responded with excessive violence, killing dozens of protestors, torturing and orchestrating the “disappearance” of hundreds. As a result, lots of people took a more radical stance and demanded the fall of the regime.
Governmental authorities abandoned several cities and self- organization emerged as the prime coordinator of everyday-life organization: health-care, water supply infrastructure etc. were created in villages and neighborhoods. Unfortunately, the same thing did not happen in the field of self-defense and this was a detriment to the preservation of the initial character of the uprising. Part of the army, including generals and commanders with their forces, joined the anti-regime side and shortly later formed the FSA (Free Syrian Army). At that moment, the involvement of the international powers became apparent. The western powers (the USA, the EU, NATO etc.) armed the anti-regime nuclei while the Russian state armed Assad’s allies. At the same period, the Kurdish areas of north Syria were the poorest in the whole country and predominately controlled by PYD (a party affiliated with PKK). At the same time, PYD followed a model of communal management in the economy and social life in the areas under its control.
Under social pressure, Assad gave amnesty to many political prisoners and this event complicated the situation even further. Lots of the released political prisoners were Kurdish and Muslim fundamentalists(3). The latter broke away from Iraq-based Al-Qaeda and eventually formed ISIS, which proclaimed a territorial establishment for Salafism. The totalitarian monarchies in the Gulf (especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar) supported the fundamentalists with lots of money and equipment in order to increase their manipulative influence in the region. This support strengthened ISIS as well as Al-Nusra, which is yet another Al-Qaeda offshoot in Syria, that took a dominant role inside the opposition, compared to the (undermined and poorly equipped by the western block) FSA.
The expansion of ISIS to the west throughout 2014 found no obstacles. Neither the western powers nor Russia considered the presence of ISIS a threat to their interests. Only after the heroic and determinate fight of the Kurds and the international fighters against ISIS in Kobani did the American and Russian states understand that the empowerment of the Kurds could possibly serve their interests in that area. This development did not satisfy the Turkish state, which has long had its own reasons to oppose to the Kurdish self- determination mainly because of the attitude of their US allies. Using the war against terrorism as a pretext, the Turkish state first attacked the Kurdish-populated areas of southeast Turkey and later the Kurdish cantons in Syria. By mid-2015, Assad’s regime had lost control of many territories and was chiefly established in the capital and few adjacent areas in the west. Russia’s decisive air-force intervention prevented a further contraction of the regime and enabled it to reoccupy some regions.
Today, –long after the initial uprising and a revolution that turned into a bloodbath – we stand in the middle of a chaotic war. It’s obvious that any geo-strategic guesstimate is risky. On the one hand, sociopolitical stability seems to be of importance to the international economic trades. On the other hand, instability and destruction of infrastructure appears to facilitate the economic interests of certain blocks of power. Such rearrangements intensified the conflicts orchestrated by the transnational alliances and their agents. The “war economy” is integral to global capitalism that these power blocks promote. Initially, the USA armed the FSA amply enough to merely defend but not curb the governmental troops. Similarly, the Russian state overtly intervened on behalf of Assad’s allies. This intervention, though, was not timely enough to help him prevail. Instead, it reached him when he had nearly collapsed. Weapons, telecommunications, food and fuel markets are large markets that can maximize their profit margins during wartime. Trade- legitimate or not- (mainly of petrol) between the opposing sides may seem contradictory at first sight but this is how war works in the era of advanced capitalism. Another major hindrance to the stability is the fact that a large part of the belligerents do not respect the agreements of the dominant powers and continue a war in conditions of full extremity. Evidently, the war could have ended in the absence of all these intricacies.
(via Act For Freedom Now!)Tags: GreeceSyriaprisonpdfcategory: International
From The Anarchist Library / 2018A proposal
The question of how to fight or prevent the Google-Campus can be answered in different ways. The answer depends on the perspective of the fight itself. The following proposal is not only addressed to anarchists, although it is an anarchist proposal. It can be shared by all those who not only want to prevent the Google-Campus, but also seek to completely change the conditions we live in. The Google-Campus in Berlin Kreuzberg is just another project of domination seeking to restructure the power of state and capital (among other things digitalisation of the economy, new technology of control and repression, commercialisation of everyday life ...). In Berlin-Kreuzberg this kind of restructuring is most visible in new building projects. Examples are the planned Zalando building on the evicted squat grounds of Cuvrybrache, the new 'Factory' at Görli (Europe's largest start-up complex), the continuing changes on Oranienstraße with the Oranien-Luxury Hotel adding a new quality, or the planned Google-Campus at Ohlauer Straße. In other words, there is a gradual change in the neighbourhood, which is part of a process of refinement of the relations of power as a whole. It is about recognizing property development in Berlin and elsewhere, not just as isolated projects but as global shift in power relations on an economic, political, and social scale. The list of ventures of state and capital is long and one can get caught up trying to resist every single construction project. The decision to pick one project of power, to focus, to go beyond a defensive struggle, to develop an antagonistic project of one's own, derives above all from an intensification of the quality of the attack on domination - on its profiteers, advocates and servants. This choice marks the fight against all kinds of domination – in Kreuzberg, Berlin, or internationally. The perspective should not be limited to a "neighbourhood struggle", it should be aimed at a generalized revolt against any rule and authority: the transformation of social conditions. Starting from this perspective, as well as the choice of the target of the attack, the following proposed methods of action against the campus are suggested for a world without domination, exploitation and oppression.Self-Organized
The fight against the Google-Campus should be self-organized. This means that the participants have an immediate relationship with confrontation - without a representative group or person speaking or acting on their behalf. On the contrary, the persons involved organize themselves and act according to their own ideas and capacities, without appealing to the state and capital or to their representatives, such as politicians. This is mainly due to the fact that, by appealing to politicians and those in charge, the action is shifted from their own hands to the political table. The discussion about the prevention of the Google-Campus is then left to those who (as was heard in the Senate) have an interest in the Google-Campus in Berlin or pursue other power-political interests. Just as there should be no dialogue with political parties and those in power, there is no dialogue with the press. The press, whether it reports positive or negative, operates within the logic of the capitalist system. Events and information are made marketable through journalistic processing. What counts is the spectacular character, the sales value of the information. The reporting and communication among each other in the neighbourhood and beyond, should take place through our own projects, e. g. through own flyers, newspapers, posters, discussion evenings, spontaneous demonstrations, meetings and direct actions. If we reject politics to speak in our name we must also refuse to allow the press to write for us. A useful example of of something that would stand in the way of self organisation would be to wait for "the big demonstration". To be self-organized means to think of our own initiatives and then to act instead of waiting until someone else does or organizes this for you.Social and Anti-Political
The political actions of parties or (political) groups aim at (among other things) the management of protest and the growth of their own (political) power. Quantity, or rather the mass, plays a central role in political calculation – through the masses, political pressure can be exerted and the interests of the respective group can be enforced. In short: the growth and quantity of a protest, as well as the exertion of control over it, is the focus of such a political approach. In order to become a mass movement, the struggle dies, as do many campaigns - with the acceptance of the lowest possible denominator. The anarchist proposal of an anti-political struggle is more of a search for quality thus abandoning the political field entirely. It is not about building a political power, but rather about intervening on a social basis. This kind of intervention should not, however, be subordinated to such a social basis and neither should the agency of the individual be diminished. This autonomy negates the management of a limited goal, it becomes practice through the attack on power relations, with the perspective of social change. Social tension is the starting point here. The fight against the Google-Campus should be related to a social basis in which Kreuzberg or the whole of Berlin is understood as an intervention base and not as an intervention of isolated small groups. The social basis can be felt, for example, through points of contact, meeting places, individual or regular actions and attacks. Also to create an understanding of the struggle against the campus and the associated criticism of power, to facilitate discussions within a conflict and to spread the attacks on a social level. This "social" understanding also reveals the dividing line to campus supporters and control by technology.Independent and Self-determined
The maintenance of independence should ensure that the struggle cannot
be (so easily) taken over by a group. Not as easily as it destroys power relations caused by representation. Dependence on, for example, political parties and their foundations or media does not extend the scope of action. It concentrates the action framework on an area that is conveniently controllable for (political) power. Independence and self-determination does not only mean to be autonomous from the state, but also in the individual act itself. This means that an autonomous fight cannot allow any permanent specialists among the participants. This means that an autonomous fight cannot allow (fixed) specialists among the participants. Certainly there are fields of action in which one or other people know their way around better, or it seems useful to divide up some actions. However, this must not lead to the creation of dependencies between specialists among each other. A way to avoid this is to share and spread information and knowledge. Be it about the Campus itself or about different fields of action. It's about taking responsibility and acting on your own.Informal organisation
On an organisational level we propose informal organisation. This means
that there is no formal group (no centre of struggle against the Google campus) no group identity, and no membership. Instead those participating associate based on their affinity (even if this is just or one action). Informal organisation enables a broad and diverse range of actions to take place and makes it possible without requiring the permission of any particular group. The informal groups are formed on the basis of affinity, relating to shared ideas and a basis of trust
between individuals. The separate affinity groups can be different in their praxis and must not necessarily stand against each other. Such affinity, shared ideas, desires and trust can only be found through a process of 'encountering' one another. This leads us again to the point of a social basis and the creation of (ongoing) spaces and situations that make such encounters possible. Informal organisation requires coordination in order to avoid the isolation of participating individuals and groups. This coordination does not require a centre, rather functioning through the existence of different projects. This newspaper can contribute towards this just as can the Anti Google cafe face2face, larger discussion evenings, regular actions... The goal of the coordination must not necessarily be a collective action. It is rather about a physically visible struggle against the Google campus both for those who are interested and for those who are participating. In the last few months it has become obvious that the progression and plans of both Google and the State would rather be kept hidden. An exchange between comrades makes it possible to spread information about the Campus.Counter Information
Since resistance against the Google Campus has begun it has become clear that, on the one hand, Google wants to sell itself as a social organisation and as an not having 'bad intentions' and, on the other, that many people don't know much about Google or it's machinations. One of Google's weakpoints is without doubt its image which it defends at all costs through its charm offensive in the neighbourhood. The point here is not to present Google as an evil American multinational but rather to recognise its part in the development and refinement of domination through technology and how this is supported by interested parties linked to politics and economy. This makes it possible to link this struggle against the Google Campus with other conflicts. The counter information, the spreading of information about Google and its research initiatives, is an important point. This must not however remain limited to a small circle of interested people. It should rather take place on various levels in order to avoid attacks on Google being misunderstood and thus leading to a perception of the struggle as a 'small war' taking place between Google and it's enemies. This would both dull the social tension and reduce the likelihood of any kind of social revolt.Direct Attack
Direct attack means attacking the campus and those in charge of it without detours, for example through state institutions. The question of the legality does not arise, since begging for permission (e. g. for a demonstration) accepts the state structures instead of recognizing their responsibility for the status quo. Thus, the choice of means cannot depend on the framework set by the state. The Google-Campus Berlin can only be prevented if there are widespread attacks against the project. It is not a question of creating a hierarchy of means: a conversation with the neighbour is not "less valuable" than a flyer or a direct attack. Crucial factors are initiative, determination, continuity, personal creativity, and a variety of attacks (which not only affect the building in Ohlauer Straße, but all those responsible for the Google-Campus Berlin). The direct attack does not seek reconciliation with power, but aims to intensify the social tensions that are visible in Kreuzberg. Google tries to gain a foothold in a neighbourhood that is rapidly being pushed to change. To the disadvantage of poorer people and "the excluded". In the fight against the Google-Campus, different motives are focused on its prevention: from displacement of the neighbourhood, through data abuse of Google, to criticism of power and technology. A "connection" of these motives can be made possible by a shared intensification of a social conflict: the refusal to solve the conflict politically, the resistance against any attempt to control the resistance and the opposition to a pacification of the conflict.Tags: googlegermanyBerlincategory: Actions
An Afghan man who was arrested in central Athens on Saturday carrying dozens of detonators in a backpack is more likely linked to the domestic anarchist movement than to international terrorism.
A source at the Citizens’ Protection Ministry said that intelligence regarding the suspect’s movements prior to his arrest is being examined by the police, who have already ascertained that he passed through several migrant camps in northern Greece and the eastern Aegean.
He has also been traced to a squat in the Exarchia district of downtown Athens, bolstering the belief that he may have been a “courier” for the anarchist group that runs the squat, delivering drugs and other contraband.
The man, who speaks no Greek and very little English, was arrested after trying to run out of a restaurant without paying his bill. Police found him to be carrying 78 detonators, two small gas canisters and lighters, among other objects favored by anarchists in their campaigns against the police.Tags: Greeceanarchists in troubleMSMcategory: Prisoners