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Updated: 8 min 39 sec ago

Words from anarchist comrade Juan in hiding

Mon, 08/20/2018 - 14:20

via act for freedom now!

I see that a poster has come out edited and discussed by various anarchists in solidarity with those accused in the“Scripta Manent” trial. I think it is important to reaffirm a collective stance of solidarity with the comrades under investigation and of complicity with the various practices that have always been a legacy of hostility against authority. As the poster mentions.

Individual differences are not limits to be unified, but they are the wealth of anarchists.

To support revolutionary practices, not delegate them, contrast the repression with which the State wants to isolate us and bury comrades in the country’s prisons.

I subscribe to the proposal of the poster “Furor Manent” and express my solidarity with the comrades under investigation and my complicity with the many practices of direct action.

A hug with crest held high!!

In struggle for anarchy


Translated by act for freedom now!

Tags: italyoperation scripta manetcategory: International
Categories: News

TOTW: An Anarchist Survey

Sun, 08/19/2018 - 18:20

Over the years there have been more than a handful of attempts at an anarchist survey. Way back in 1926 some anarchists from Stuebenville, Ohio called "Los Iconoclastas" conducted an international survey of anarchists. In 1928, Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman created a similar survey that was an influence on the Encyclopédie Anarchiste of the time. Since then, surveys in the digital world have become a bit more common with some from recent memory being conducted by Anarkismo, Libcom, a survey from some South African anarchists, over Reddit, and even some Google Forms here and there. Listed below are 13 questions taken from the new anarchist survey that was recently created and mentioned in passing as an article on ANEWS by Shawn P Wilbur.

We've taken all 13 questions from the new website and project, Encounters with Anarchism, exploring our beautiful ideal, which also has an entry form here; but is unrelated to the project of ANEWS; we're simply sharing questions because it's an intriguing idea.

There is a bit here and we tend to have less questions generally in the TOTW, while also moderating the really lengthy walls of text that just makes it difficult to participate and read a thread, so if you find yourself going down that path, perhaps share a link to your blog or a forum someplace instead (or not).

1. — How would you most succinctly define anarchism? Is there a shared “anarchist project” — and, if so, how would you characterize it?

2. — What is the relationship between anarchism and the concept of anarchy?

3. — What is the value of tradition within the anarchist milieus and what might be its uses?

4. — What, specifically, is the role to be played in the present by the anarchist literature — whether theoretical or artistic — of the past?

5. — What are the most significant challenges facing anarchists — and anarchism, as you understand it — in the present?

6. — How would you characterize the present state of anarchist activity (outside the realm of theory and propaganda)?

7. — How would you characterize the present state of anarchist theory and propaganda?

8. — What are the most urgent changes to be made in anarchist practice moving forward?

9. — What is the role of some kind of “anarchist unity” moving forward? What form could or should that unity take?

10. — What are the greatest needs with regard to new anarchist theory, propaganda, literature and art?

11. — Do you currently identify with any particular anarchist current or tendency — and, if so, how do you characterize your position?

12. — What additional questions would it be useful to pose to a broad anarchist audience?

13. — Would you be interested in participating in future surveys, perhaps addressing more specific elements of anarchist theory, practice and culture?

Tags: totwsurveypollbeautiful ideaspop quiz hot shotwriting promptscategory: International
Categories: News

Black and Green Podcast: Episode 11

Sun, 08/19/2018 - 09:04

From Black and Green Review

Click here to listen or download.

Black and Green Review 6 timeline. Anniversaries of Charlottesville and execution of Mike Brown in the unending tension of social media and civilization. Poem break: Joan Kovatch's 'Timing'. Of Gods and Country, update, overview and reading. Murder of native women and the legacies and institutions of colonization. Intergenerational trauma and domestication. Why hunter-gatherers matter.

Tags: kevin tuckerpodcastBlack and Green Reviewcategory: Projects
Categories: News

Indonesia: Update on the Anarchist Prisoners from Yogyakarta

Sun, 08/19/2018 - 03:23

*Documentation of images from the O and M comrades' trials

6 detainees will soon have finished their trial process, they are waiting to find out the results of the trial and how long their sentences will be. However there are 4 prisoners who still remain in Cebongan Prison (including Ucil) and 1 other prisoner who is still being held in Sleman Police Station, it is still unclear what is happening with their trial process.

On Tuesday, August 14th ,2018, the trial for comrades O and M began, while on Thursday, August 16th, 2018, the trials began for comrades MI, MEA, AMA, and ZW.

As for Brian Valentina (Ucil) , his trial will be held on Tuesday, August 21st, 2018.

Let’s express our solidarity by attending the trial every Tuesday and Thursday at 10AM in the Sleman District Court or by visiting the comrades in Cebongan Prisonand Sleman Police Station who do not have clear information yet about their trial process.

More information,

Instagram account: @palang__hitam



Tags: ucilanarchist black crossanarchist prisonersanarchists in troubleIndonesiacategory: Prisoners
Categories: News

For anarchy, not anarchism

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 19:51

via ediciones ineditos

Why for anarchy and not for anarchism? This may seem like a small point to split hairs over but it is a point which is important to us. It is important because we are interested in a vital anarchist (anti-state communist) milieu. For us anarchism points to the notion that there could be a special set of practices (forms) which can be found out to be complentary for a free life for all. We feel this is foolish and assumes human life could ever take on a singular form. Life should take on the form necessary for its free reproduction, unlike its current state which only serves those who rule/control us.

Classical anarchism (i.e. European anarchism) was in many ways a pursuit of the best practices for/of anarchy: whether the mutualism of Proudhon, the collectivism of Bakunin, the individualism of the Bonnot gang or the communism of Kropotkin. As we want to distance ourselves from Eurocentric anarchy, we feel that there should be some leeway when it comes to all this; though it should be a tempered leeway. For us the emphasis should be on content over form. Let us explain.

The communization current often writes about this. For them it is not a question of radical democracy, equitable distribution, popular power, council-decision making, local self-management…but whether the set of relations are communist or not. Communism becomes the basis for judgment. Why? Because communism constitutes set of relations which are free, without measure, (and consequently) without exchange and without needless hierarchy. And this is something which most anarchists also aspire to. We want to wander away from anarchism because we feel it is more about defining how we should live than allowing us to live as we see fit, from time to time.

For instance, if some of us were to enter into a life or death battle then a consensus-based decision makes sense. We are all entering a situation where I lives may likely end. We should be able to decide our participation over own life or death. Now, if we are deciding whose house will hold the seasonal party do we really need a consensus? Do we even really need to come to a vote? Do we need democracy among friends? Do we put to a vote who will make the enchiladas or who will serve their homebrew? Probably not because this is not how daily life is generally decided. We rely on other factors to decide and other links of kinship/comradeship/friendship. This demonstrates the limitation of the fetishization of democracy (or consensus).

Also many speak of anarchism as though there is only one.i Recently one of us attended a free school gathering where a Classical Left-Anarchist presented their anarchism as the anarchism. Fortunately the attendees generally revolted against this conception, this insidious authority. We despise authority as much as we despise work and having to pay the rent. Instead of propping up our anarchism we prefer to gauge our forms against what is communist and what is not. We are anarchists that agree with the communization current when they say that the revolution is communization: or rather

“communisation will be the moment when [revolutionary] struggle will make possible, as a means for its continuation, the immediate production of communism. By communism we mean a collective organisation that has got rid of all the mediations which, at present, serve society by linking individuals among them : money, the state, value, classes, etc….Communism will thus be the moment when individuals will link together directly, without their inter-individual relations being superimposed by categories to which everyone owes obedience.”ii

This is briefly to state that the institution of communism and anarchy is not a pre-revolutionary possibility but a possibility that arises out of revolutionary struggle. This is why we prefer to speak of communism instead of anarchism. Communism becomes a revolutionary verb, whereas anarchism becomes a pre-revolutionary dead weight (noun) that some try to impose on the present (or future). This is why we say we are for anarchy (a condition) and for communism (a verb).

iThough truly, anarchism has never been pro-capitalist. Anarcho-capitalism is but an online abberration.

iide Mattis, Léon. “What Is Communisation.” Libcom, 16 Nov. 2011,

Tags: definitionsanarchy and anarchismcommunismcategory: Essays
Categories: News

The Hotwire #32: August 15, 2018

Wed, 08/15/2018 - 23:09

From CrimethInc.

Summer in Review—Antifascists in Charlottesville & DC—2018 Prison Strike Listen to the Episode


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Full Episode Transcript


Our first episode of the new season! This week, we look back at the long, hot summer and give an update on antifascist clashes, pipeline resistance, and ICE occupations. Hundreds gathered in Charlottesville on the anniversary of the defeat of Unite the Right, drawing attention to the increasing cozy relationship between white supremacists and the police.

We interview someone from Washington, DC about opposition to the Unite the Right 2 Rally held there this past weekend. Accused ELF and ALF member, Josephy Dibee was extradited to the US from Cuba and is being held in jail in Oregon. There are updates on the nationwide prison strike set to start on August 21 and list a whole slew of solidarity events you could attend. Finally, we wrap up the show with political prisoner birthdays and next weeks news. We’re glad to be back! Send us news, events, or ideas on how our show can better serve anarchist activity in your town by emailing us at

Notes and Links Tags: Crimethinc.podcastthe hotwirecategory: Projects
Categories: News

HELL YES I think We Should Dox Nazis! Is That A Serious Question?

Wed, 08/15/2018 - 23:04

From The Conjure House by Dr. Bones

“Maybe one day all the old guys will die off and things will change, ‘cuz it’s officially getting scary over here in America.”

—Hank Williams III

From the moment I started writing I decided that, as long as I had a voice, I would say exactly what I wanted to.

I’ve written about magic, which has pissed off secular radicals. I’ve written about Egoism, which pissed off the Leftists. The largest publisher of Egoist material in turn hates my guts because I don’t think Egoists should waste their time hanging out by themselves and, weirdly enough, should be involved with others in the struggle for liberation.

I’ve also written about violence, my most recent piece going into tactical detail about some of the methods the Taliban has used to confront and defeat the United States military. I‘ve made the case that violent, or at least armed upheaval, is the only thing that puts enough fear into the Powers That Be to effectively get them to back down. I’ve advocated forming bases, getting involved with the community, and above all destroying those that would seek to harm us.

Doxxing Nazis, and other fascists, is absolutely one of the methods available to harm those that harm us. I support this tactic not only because I support whatever avenues for self-defense the people can muster, but also from a purely tactical standpoint it works.

Just How Many Tears Are Shed

By Some Little Word of Anger?

Doxxing has been in vogue on the Right for a long time, and nobody was quite as good as 4chan. 4chan, filled with lonely masturbating men calling each other cucks, had nothing but time on its hands.

Well, that and their dicks.

Channers would often spend all day online, and in doing so we’re able to pull of some astounding feats of intelligence gathering.

Consider Shia Lebouf’s “He Will Not Divide Us” Campaign, where 4channers wanted to remove a flag at an unknown location:

“…viewers used triangulation techniques based on planes seen in the stream to determine the general area. A local then began honking their horn repeatedly while driving in the area, which were picked up by the webcam’s microphone to further narrow the location. Finally, using star maps, 4chan users were able to identify the exact location of the flag on Google Maps…

On August 13th, 2017, the stream was relaunched, featuring the flag placed against a white wall at an unknown location. That day, several threads about the livestream were created on 4chan’s /pol/ board, where many users began speculating that the flag was at the Serpentine Gallery in London, England based on an unverified direct message screenshot with Luke Turner.

That day, YouTuber H Drone uploaded a video titled ‘HWNDU Flag: London,’ chronicling how the flag was purportedly discovered at a different location in England by shining a blue light through a window and tracking reflections based on the movement of the sun throughout the day. The video has since been removed. Meanwhile, an image began circulating claiming that a blue light directed through the window of the house was visible on the wall during the livestream…”

This network is just one among many. One nazi in particular, going by the alias Jack “Pale Horse” Corbin, has been especially prolific in doxxing Anti-Racists and Anti-Fascists.

The leaking of this information is usually twofold in purpose: on one hand the hope is that some lone wolf will attack the person, or at least vandalize their property; to force the person’s political alignment into the public spotlight and, in result, create economic and safety issues for said person.

It’s not enough to be painted as Antifa. Most Far Right doxxers will aid false details, claiming the antifascists abuse children or are addicted to drugs. They may print out posters and put it around the person’s workplace in the hopes they get fired. They may call the police and hope the person gets investigated, or possibly even shot.

I know people, personally, who have had the last two happen. And there are plenty of others who have felt the anxiety and fear of having every digital footprint put out in the hopes it results in violence

Some alt-right fucker has been calling me and harassing me for the last few days,
they know some brief details about me, referred to me as a "gimp ass welfare succubus". It's someone affiliated with local Proud Boys or Identity Evropa. Here's the number: 509-389-9762

— Crizzle's Buttons Ⓐ☭ (@CrizzlesButtons) August 14, 2018

Also, fuck it, since this thing’s over: on a recent Stormfront show, a host appeared to threaten to kill me at UTR2, for reporting on them. I don’t really care, but if you’re worried about Incivility To Journalists, that seems more significant than antifa calling you a snitch.

— Kelly Weill (@KELLYWEILL) August 13, 2018

This sums up my entire experience covering the far right. I've had white nationalists put pictures of my home online with murder instructions. Not the same thing as antifascists asking to not have a camera shoved in their face.

— Shane Burley (@shane_burley1) August 14, 2018

For now I’ve been lucky, though that’s not to say folks haven’t tried.

The admin of the meme page Everything Is Pretty Bad has gone as far as to try to come up with a fake name to pressure me into revealing my own. He’s also attempted to hound and blackmail people sharing my articles to give up my personal facebook profile.

Hell they’ve even made attempts to derail any bit of organizing or reporting I got into, simply because they don’t like me, regardless of how it might affect people. Here’s his former co-admin from “Misanthropic Egoism:”

Ah yes, who could forget the "dialogue and debate" fostered by the legendary Dr. Bones Haters Club.

Terrible that I've blocked them. Dr. Bones (@Ole_Bonsey) August 13, 2018

So I want to be clear: I know people who have been doxxed, there have been attempts to doxx me. This is a tactic that has harmed people I know and care for.

And I still think it’s an important tool for us to use.

Your Evil Heart Will Be Your Ruin

“‘I’m unplugged from politics,’ Parrott said. ‘I’m done. I’m out. I don’t want to be in The Washington Post anymore. I don’t care to have this humiliating and terrifying ordeal be more public than it already is. . . . There is no more Trad Worker.”

Former member of the Traditionalist Worker’s Party

There is absolutely no question that doxxing nazis, racists, and other foul human slime gets results that other organizing simply doesn’t. There is a reason the Klan wears hoods: vile deeds need darkness to be done. To be well-known is to destroy the ability to work in secret.

The Traditionalist Worker’s Party was one such far-right group absolutely devastated by the release of personal information and addresses. Since the first Unite The Right the entire Alt-Right has been hounded wherever they’re faces could be identified, effectively destroying their ability to organize.

A writer at the alt-right website Right Realist admitted as much in a piece called Why I was Wrong about the Alt-Right:

“Our enemies have seen the opportunity they needed to crush us without looking like the authoritarian monsters they are to the public at large. Nobody in the public is going to step up to defend ‘KKK, Nazi, white supremacists.'”

The Alt-Right depends on a public face and a private face. When those true feelings were exposed they lost all credibility and quickly found themselves the local pariah. Jack “Pale Horse” Corbin has been identified, down to his physical address. Prominent Neo-Nazis on twitter have dropped out of the movement when they merely been threatened with exposure.

Neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin agrees things aren’t looking good. The same asshole who gleefully directed Daily Stormer readers to hang nooses and intimidate a female black student is running scared. He has gone into hiding, and just recently made it clear doxxing by antifascists will “ruin the lives” of anyone treading in the same loathsome, piss-filled ideological pool he himself inhabits:

That’s called results. That’s called victory. A year ago the Charlottesville rally drew hundreds of open neo-nazis, one who felt so emboldened he fucking killed someone. This year it drew twenty. They admit it’s because they don’t feel safe.

They aren’t afraid of being assaulted or thrown in jail. They are afraid of being exposed. By doxxing.

And isn’t that what we want?

Take These Chains From My Heart


Set Me Free

Gods and Radicals is a collective, and writers are free to write whatever they wish. We have many diverse opinions and lord knows I’ve given plenty of headaches to the more…pacifistic of my fellow authors. Some have called for me to be fired. Just recently I had a fellow writer call me on the phone, telling me my most recent piece published there made them so uncomfortable they were worried about me.

So it goes.

Folks have written plenty I don’t agree with on Gods and Radicals. We are far, far from some monolithic force.

So let me be crystal clear: anyone who thinks doxxing isn’t working, who thinks this is a tactic the Left should surrender, is living in some alternate world I don’t understand.

The Far-Right isn’t going to stop doxxing us because we put on the kid gloves. You don’t win battles by backing away when your enemy beings to falter and weaken. The cops don’t care who these people are. They hire them!

“In the 2006 bulletin, the FBI detailed the threat of white nationalists and skinheads infiltrating police in order to disrupt investigations against fellow members and recruit other supremacists. The bulletin was released during a period of scandal for many law enforcement agencies throughout the country, including a neo-Nazi gang formed by members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department who harassed black and Latino communities. Similar investigations revealed officers and entire agencies with hate group ties in IllinoisOhio and Texas.”

So who exactly is going to bring fascists and their ilk to task if the police, and the courts that are ALWAYS friendly to them, refuse to act?

The goddamn Democrats?

“In a surprise appearance on SNL’s ‘Weekend Update: Summer Edition’ Thursday night, Fey urged Americans not to get into screaming matches with neo-Nazis. Instead, she said, ‘order a cake with the American flag on it … and just eat it.’”

It is often ONLY the tireless work of unnamed antifascists who expose and bring consequences to the monsters among us that brings tangible results.

Remember: the leaked conversations, the interviews, fascists are admitting that doxxing is destroying them. And it isn’t because we’re lying about them. The minute their actual beliefs are exposed, who they really are, the people usually find them repulsive.

Seriously, it’d be one thing if we’re having a conversation about Leftists attacking one another, or even people being misidentified. Fash-jacketing is a real thing, and the mob-mentality so often prevalent in the digital world can ruin people’s lives. We can even talk about the very problematic cheering of tech giants as they remove alt-righters—and then move on to leftist platforms like Telesur. Or how Facebook now requires leftists to register with extremely personal information to run ads in an effort to combat “fake news.”

Hell, I’ll even say we could talk about how some of the working people who voted for Trump are simply ignorant, and need to be reached out to.


But as for the out-and-out people talking about wiping out every face darker than a jar of mayonnaise?

Who gives a fuck?

Andrew Anglin could have his head removed with a chainsaw, moving from his groin towards his neck, finally culminating in total separation…and I wouldn’t care.

David Duke could be attacked by a pack of rabid dogs and spend the next four hours being slowly torn to pieces…and I wouldn’t shed a tear.

Jason Kessler could be on fire and I wouldn’t PISS on him to put him out. My laughter would mix with his shrill cries for water as his once solid frame melted into a pool of charred bone and liquid fat.

I’d sleep like a goddamn baby.

Let them suffer. Let them be afraid. These people want to kill us. If they had the chance, they would. They admit this and harass us at every opportunity with networks far outstripping our own. Why should we feel bad or even consider their feelings? Why is a tactic so clearly effective something we can’t use?

This isn’t some grand web of karma where the most advanced, peaceful people win by default. This is a rough, ruthless planet where baby animals get ripped open everyday, where innocent children get blown up and turned into smoldering goo.

Doxxing stops actual, real world violence before it starts because the enemy is afraid. Keep him afraid and he becomes paralyzed. Unable to act. Isn’t that what we want?

Are we combating fascism or are we in a conversation with it? If you find a moral issue with doxxing I’d love to hear what forms of combat you’d prefer instead.

And if you say voting I swear to god I will take off my pants and shit in your shoes.

Nobody else is going to stop these people. It is up to us. Doxxing works, doxxing will continue to work, and in an open war regarding personal information…we’d only be hurting ourselves by giving up our strongest weapon.

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About Dr. Bones

Dr. Bones is a conjurer, card-reader and egoist-communist who believes “true individuality can only flourish when the means of existence are shared by all.” A Florida native and Hoodoo practitioner, he summons pure vitriol, straight narrative, and sorcerous wisdom into a potent blend of poltergasmic politics and gonzo journalism. He lives with his loving wife, a herd of cats, and a house full of spirits.
He can be reached at and

Tags: doxxingcategory: Essays
Categories: News

Perspectives on the August 12 Anti-Fascist Mobilization

Wed, 08/15/2018 - 22:52

From CrimethInc.

Two Interviews with Organizers

On August 12, Charlottesville fascist Jason Kessler attempted to hold the sequel to last year’s “Unite the Right” rally in Washington, DC. It did not go well for him. In the end, 2000 police struggled to protect two dozen fascists from thousands of anti-fascists and other foes of tyranny. To get some perspective on these events, we spoke with David Thurston—arts director for No Justice No Pride, a member of the steering committee of the DMV’s Movement for Black Lives, and a core organizer with Resist This—and also with an anonymous anarchist involved in organizing the anti-fascist bloc, among other aspects of the mobilization. The interview follows our comments below.

The US government spent $2.6 million to force the fascist rally upon the people of Washington, DC. Let’s do the math: that’s over $100,000 per fascist for a rally that lasted at hour at most. Would the US spend anything like that to protect a rally organized by any other sector of the population? On the contrary, when anarchists and other advocates of liberation organize public events, the government usually invests millions of dollars in repressing us, even illegally. This shows what a farce the “free speech” defense of fascist recruiting drives is—this is not an abstract question of rights, but a concrete matter of the US government asymmetrically investing resources in promoting the spread of fascism.

To put a number on it, then, the kind of “free speech” that enabled Kessler and his like to recruit someone to murder Heather Heyer is worth $100,000 per hour per fascist to the US government. That’s your tax dollars at work.

We were especially inspired by the fierceness with which the black population of DC turned out to face down the police and fascists on August 12. We have some questions about whether it makes sense for anarchists to act separately in a distinct anti-fascist contingent when other sectors of the population are mobilizing so courageously and assertively. It might be more effective for some anarchists to seek to connect with other rebels on the street, in order to bring about an interchange of tactics and ideas. Hopefully, this is already taking place.

We’ve seen some alarmist commentary on the clashes—for example, from the person who posted the following video. Permit us to repeat that the US government is forcibly extorting money from its population to fund the violent imposition of fascist rallies on communities that only stand to suffer from the expansion of white supremacist activity. In this context, it should be no surprise that people defend themselves from police violence.

One more topic bears mention: a few reactionary media outlets have taken this opportunity to accuse anti-fascists of being “violent” towards journalists for discouraging them from filming. This is the same thing they did last year two weeks after the violence in Charlottesville, when the editors of various corporate media publications attempted to create a false equivalency between fascists recruiting to carry out murder and genocide and anti-fascists mobilizing in self-defense.

In a time when fascists go through video footage identifying anti-fascists in order to intimidate and terrorize them and far-right Republican Congressmen are attempting to aid and abet them via new legislation, it should not come as a surprise to anyone that anti-fascists discourage people from filming them without permission. If these journalists are really concerned about this issue, they should prioritize helping to create a world in which no one needs to fear being documented, identified, and attacked by fascists or police just for attempting to defend their communities. Instead, several journalists have prioritized assisting fascists like Kessler in getting his message out.

For one perspective on the history of anti-fascism in DC, read this. Read on for the interviews.

Two Organizers on the August 12 Mobilization

What were your goals going into August 12? What did you think a best case scenario would be for the day?

David Thurston: For the past month, I’ve been working as the arts organizer for the mobilization. My first job was to make sure the rally in Freedom Plaza and the three direct action contingents got the brilliant, vibrant, colorful, and radical banners that the 411 Collective crafted. I also co-emceed the rally with Aiyi’anah Ford of the Future Foundation—we met through the organizing around the National Equality March in 2009. I wanted to see the Nazis vastly outnumbered and I wanted to see DC and DMV activists organize around a synergy and diversity of tactics—allowing us to welcome people into the movement who may never have heard of anarchist theory, but who over time could be introduced to our praxis of non-hierarchical, anti-sectarian, and revolutionary politics.

Another anarchist organizer: I wanted to make Nazis too afraid to come to DC. I also wanted to block their march. The former did not happen due to some last minute infighting, but the latter did happen.

Overall, I would say the action was an overwhelming success. Anarchists provided a great deal of labor in every aspect of the mobilization.

What did the anti-fascist demonstrators do well? What could have gone better?

David Thurston: We succeeded in overwhelmingly outnumbering our opposition, marginalizing their toxic politics, and putting forward an organizing model that can be advanced upon in the future. There were a number of internal challenges and conflicts that took shape in the lead-up to A12, but for the most part, the various components of our effort worked from a space of deep-rooted solidarity.

Another anarchist organizer: We overwhelmed neo-Nazis numerically, but because of some tactical and intelligence failures, we did not get the chance to actually confront them. But when you have thousands of people mobilizing and holding space, do you really need to escalate when the fascists are already too afraid to come out? The fact that the black bloc did not escalate when there was no reason to do so enabled us to hold space, stay disciplined until the end, and demonstrate an ability to show restraint when necessary in order to accomplish our goals of the movement.

On January 20, hundreds of people were mass-arrested during Trump’s inauguration and indiscriminately charged with eight or more felonies apiece. How did the legacy of the J20 case influence planning ahead of August 12? How do you think it influenced those who did not participate in the planning, but came to participate?

David Thurston: The fact that there were absolutely no convictions for J20 defendants was probably a big factor explaining why our city’s multitude of police forces were relatively restrained. My inkling is that someone above or in the orbit of Chief Newsham realized that it was not in the city’s interests for local police to play the role of being the extreme right’s de-facto storm troopers. That said, the massive deployment of state power was obscene. My guess is that a few million dollars of city money probably went into massive police overtime.

There may have been some folks who were afraid to come out, but my opinion is that that was probably because of what the neo-Nazis represent, and not because of anything that went down with J20.

Another anarchist organizer: We thought long and hard about how to avoid isolating ourselves from other social movements and argued against others trying to marginalize radicals. Considering that our movement had set up the tech support, website, security, trainings, and other essential aspects of the mobilization, it was impossible to isolate us on the sidelines where we would be easy targets for police violence.

Did it make sense to call for a distinct anti-fascist bloc, when so many people turned out to oppose the fascist rally with their own ways of being militant? Why or why not?

David Thurston: I think it was great to have an anti-fascist bloc that could plan direct action based on the worst-case scenario of a sizable far right turn-out. It was also good to have a space where the lessons of prior direct actions, especially J20, could be debated in depth.

In practice, there was a lot of synergy between the direct action contingents and the two permitted rallies, even though the permitted rallies gave voice to ideas more in line with traditional left liberal thinking.

Another anarchist organizer: I think the strategy of the bloc that day was to be able to

  1. defend our communities
  2. show a specifically radical presence that day.

A year after the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally, what do the events in DC tell us about the current political situation in the US?

David Thurston: I think last weekend’s events make it clear that the far right is in political, ideological, organizational, and interpersonal disarray. After the debacle of Jason Kessler’s pitiful mobilization, he went on a twitter rant attacking the rest of the self-proclaimed alt-right, calling them cowards for not mobilizing, and describing them as would-be Nazis living in their parents’ basements. While trying to get a permit in Charlottesville, Kessler managed to dox his own followers by turning over encrypted Signal threads, emails, and more to the state.

But we can’t rest on our success last weekend. While joining a proto-fascist organization remains a marginal idea for the millions of white people who voted for Trump in 2016, specific neo-Nazi proposals and talking points—especially around immigration, border security, and global imperialist hubris—remain appealing to wide swaths of low-income, working-class, and lower-middle-class white folk in our nation.

The radical left has immense potential to grow if we can shed the baggage of years of being fairly marginal to political debate. Anarchists need to organize creatively, finding space to work in alliance with left-leaning liberals, but also with socialist groupings with whom we have significant differences.

Another anarchist organizer: I think the rally on August 12 shows that militant anti-fascism works. A year ago, there were 500 fascists marching in the streets of Charlottesville. This year, less than 25 showed up because they were afraid. At least on the East Coast, anti-fascism has made sure the far right is demobilized.

So we’ve pushed back on-the-ground white nationalists… but as a movement, how do we use that strategy to disrupt other forms of organized white supremacy? How do we scale that strategy up to take on local right-wing lobbyists, local Republicans, police union officials, the Chamber of Commerce, DHS, and ICE officials?

The fascistic turn of the United States has been a 30-year process, and there are local people with local power who are marching us there. We need to figure out how to demobilize them.

Trump did not come to power because of the “alt right”—the alt right was able to use Trump to enter mainstream politics. Now our social movements need to identify the social leaders who pushed our local communities to the right and destabilize their political power.

The chief takeaway from this weekend is that even if we did not push the limits of the struggle, we did push a mobilization that was specifically anti-fascist. Anarchists and anti-fascists wrote the original call to action for the mobilization, provided experience, and pushed a strategy that allowed for numerous communities to come out and confront fascism.

The most challenging dynamic we had to navigate was engaging with liberals who wanted the day to look like “Boston” [the massive anti-fascist mobilization that took place there in response to a fascist rally a week after “Unite the Right” in Charlottesville] but did not emotionally prepare for the real possibility that the fascists could have mobilized hundreds.

Do you have any particularly instructive anecdotes to share from August 12?

David Thurston: My favorite moment was when the permitted march from Freedom Plaza entered the periphery of the “Rise Up Fight Back” contingent anchored by Black Lives Matter DC. They organized a block party near Lafayette to celebrate black joy and resistance, making the point that no neo-Nazi mobilization was going to intimidate them or cast a pall on the vision of black liberation that this movement was articulating.

On a personal note, I encountered a brother named Amir who introduced himself to me at the rally. I didn’t recognize him, but Amir told me that he was one of three young black men who tried to mug me near my neighborhood in DC. Amir apologized for his actions. I was so moved and thanked him, letting him know that I wish him the best, and never wanted anyone to go to jail for something as petty as trying to take $10 from me. To see him in the struggle for a radically different future on A12 made an impact on my psyche that I have a hard time adequately explaining.

We are living through perilous times. If we organize creatively and synergistically, radicals can lay the foundation for movements that could, within a decade or so, lead to revolutionary transformation in our country and around the world. But if we fail, the threat of global political, economic, and ecological cataclysm is immense. I have friends working hard to elect left-liberal to social democratic candidates for public office, and friends whose focus is on direct action and community based organizing. We need to build a radical tent broad enough for all of the above if the revolutionary potential of this moment is to be realized.

Tags: Crimethinc.charlottesvilleWashington DCorganizationInterviewantifareport backcategory: Actions
Categories: News

Curing the Disease of Control with Taoism and Crypto-Anarchy

Wed, 08/15/2018 - 22:45


Many people lust for control. They need to control objects, animals, and people. This need for domination leads some to use violence to sate their urges. Their blind obedience to control unlocks a pathology that destroys their thinking faculties. It turns them into animals, driven by a fetish for control. In some ways, this need to manage their surroundings can be seen as a disease.

Wisdom of Taoism and Failings of Confucianism

Curing the Disease of Control with Taoism and Crypto-Anarchy

This sickness has led to the rise of laws, monarchs, government, and the bloodied reign of the nation-state. These institutions leverage control as mass coercion and violence, and even enshrine control as a social necessity. Luckily, there is a counterbalance. There is a cure for the disease of control. It is the anarchist sentiment. Anarchists can heal humanity and transform society.

Anarchists disavow control. They yearn for an absence of domination via absence of government. They acknowledge control is an illusion. There is no way a person or group of people can control another human being. Attempting to control anything leads to suffering, strife, and chaos. Whenever people thirst for control, they become tyrants. The anarchist, however, realizes things are best left in peace. Anarchists adopted this philosophy from the ancient Taoists.

The Taoists believed attempting to control their surroundings only causes backlash. They believed in the principle of Wu Wei,  or “non-action.” This principle suggests trying to undermine the natural order does not achieve happiness. Taoists, then, focused on practicing peace of mind and compassion. They reveled in the purity and ecstasy of nature. The Taoists believed in staying in tune with nature.

Control, in their view, was not the way. It is antithetical to the ebb and flow of the universe. The sage creator of Taoism, Lao Tzu, hinted at this when he said: “Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”

The Authority of Confucianism

However, Taoists believed resisting nature implies control. Taoism thus arose as a reaction to Confucianism. The Confucianists believed in control. They believed in the idea of authority. They adhered to the notion that the family’s father was the ruler. Therefore, the Confucianists ingrained familial piety into the heart of society. There was no room for equality in the family. The father was the divine leader. An online article clarified this position:

“The central focus by which Confucian standards of ethics are measured: family. Family was the foundation of moral society in Confucianism. Every member of a family had a proper relationship with the others, defined by age, sex and birth order. A minor owed the elders respect, but could also expect protection, and so, everyone was part of this system.”

Of course, this “respect for elders” often got translated as domination by elders. This hierarchical organization in the family was also mirrored in society. The Confucianists ported their authoritarianism over to the metaphysical realm and into the social ecosystem. In matters of religion, God was the father. In matters of government, king was father. Thus all power flowed from these hierarchies. And until now, the Confucianist effort triumphed over Taoism.

Curing the Disease of Control with Taoism and Crypto-Anarchy

Crypto-Taoism as the Cure for Control

For the most of history, iterations of Confucianism have dominated society-at-large. Sometimes it was called divine right of kings. Sometimes it was called democracy. Other times it was called fascism. Each of these systems have been brewed inside the cauldron of violence-backed hierarchy, where piety to a controlling ruler takes precedence. Only recently has the anarchic spirit of Taoism reemerged to overturn this age old hogwash.

Today, computer developers, techno-alchemists, and anarcho-entrepreneurs have been building tools that undermine control structures. These techno-Taoists are crypto-anarchists. They wield information technology to loosen control, and provide individuals with freedom from coercion. The Crypto-Taoists and anarchists have created three tools that have began to unfetter humanity and disrupt the Confucian control-class.


First is the internet. Ironically, the internet was partially crafted by coercive influences within the American government. This demonstrates the tendency for Taoist spontaneity to erupt within the context of control. The internet still represents a counterbalance. It is a techno-dialogical hymn to freedom. The internet is a packet-sharing protocol that gave birth to the digital realm, freeing the flow and transmission of information. Before the internet emerged, governments controlled social narratives and beamed media indoctrination down on the unwitting masses.

With the rise of packet sharing information, people were also freed to provide dissenting information from the comfort of their own home. This was a essentially a Taoist technology. It possessed all the hallmarks of naturalistic and spontaneous order. Now counter-cultural revolutionaries, Arab Spring demonstrators, and voluntaryist hippies have counteracted the machinations of government with their own voice, shot down the rabbit hole of society with the laser-guided precision of the internet.


The second is Cryptocurrency. The first one was bitcoin, which was created by an anonymous figure named Satoshi Nakamoto. It is a peer-2-peer decentralized money technology, which uses proof-of-work mining to lessen the influence of central planners. It works by leveraging a network of nodes that make it resilient against sabotage. The network of currency does not possess a central point of failure.

Overall,  cryptocurrency is Taoist in nature. It seeks to be impervious to control measures. It operates on the wavelength of nature, defying most efforts to control it. That said, cryptocurrency may be imperfect on a technical level, but it still destabilizes controlling influences across the world. In this sense, cryptocurrency is the first manifestation of the Crypto-Taoist will. It is money without control or censorship if used wisely. It is money anyone can use, and it provides the impetus for a new kind of Taoist revolution that subverts control of value and decentralizes it once and for all.

Printable Guns

Finally, there are printable guns. This is one of the newest iterations of Taoist anti-control measures. It is Wu-Wei and Kung fu combined into one powerful invention. As a result of the information revolution and decentralized technology era, 3D printable guns have come bursting out of the anarchists closet, largely thanks to Cody Wilson. He is the CEO of the company Defense Distributed, and he has printed the first widely available, single-shot printable handgun without a serial number. He calls it “the Liberator.”

Anyone can find plans for The Liberator online and print it if they have all the materials and equipment. This greatly unnerves the Confucian control class, because it means anyone can print a gun regardless of regulations and controls. This idea is anathema to everything sacred to their coercive regimes. Furthermore, there are a myriad of plans for all kinds of guns, including assault rifles and military grade weaponry. The advent of printable guns may forever alter the balance of power, threatening to dethrone the Confucian elite from power.

Curing the Disease of Control with Taoism and Crypto-Anarchy

The Taoist Renaissance

All of these crypto-anarchist technologies represent a return to Taoism. They represent a paradigm shift away from the methods of Confucius to the ways of Lao Tzu. This means society will be humbled through loss of control. It implies becoming one with nature and recognizing the urge to control is a disease that requires a counterbalance.

Furthermore, attempting to control anything inevitably creates violent people and leads to the formation of totalitarian governments. This is why the flow of nature leads toward balance and harmony. This is why artificial barriers erode with time, and the principle of control gets overturned and turned to ash.

Let go of the lust for control. Embrace change; be enraptured by the ebb and flow of technological Taoism. It has returned, and the control mentality is being heavily disrupted. This trend will continue as more anarchic tools emerge to guarantee a freer future for humanity. Be here now! The Taoist renaissance is at hand.

Do you think the spirit of Taoism is returning? What does the future of freedom look like? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock

OP-ed disclaimer: This is an Op-ed article. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. does not endorse nor support views, opinions or conclusions drawn in this post. is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the Op-ed article. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the content. is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any information in this Op-ed article.

Sterlin Lujan Sterlin Lujan is a journalist, editor, speaker, anarchist, and essayist.
He has been involved with cryptocurrency and Bitcoin since 2012. Sterlin is especially interested in the intersection of psychology and cryptography. He has written on behavioral economics in regards to innovative technology, and was one of the first to write about the emerging field of cryptopsychology on Tags: Bitcoincrypto-anarchismcryptocurrenciescody wilsongunstaocategory: Essays
Categories: News

Towards an International Meeting in Kurdistan

Wed, 08/15/2018 - 14:59


In front of the expansion of the Middle-East War and the new Iran-Iraq revolutionary waves:


In the last decades, the capitalist society as a whole is splitting up more and more into two great hostile armies directly facing each other: Bourgeoisie and Proletariat. Our epoch, the epoch of the deepening of the global industrial and commercial crisis and thereby increasing class struggle around the world has already passed various stages of development, through which the proletariat has exceeded its first stage of the isolated and sporadic phenomena. The growth of the class war will more and more take on an increasingly international form. And despite of the capitalist war in the Middle East, and new attempts by global capitalism to widen the circle of the war under the pretext of striking Iran's nuclear weapons, proletariat in Iran has joined-up the current international wave of class struggle. The strikes and demonstrations in Iran have spread to over 249 cities in all of Iran’s 31 provinces. These revolutionary waves did not set an end in Iran, before the proletariat in Iraq entered this historical wrestling ring.

​In July 2018, a new wave of the class struggle in Iraq, with 30 victims killed and 700 injured during the past 10 days, more than 50 police and security men were wounded - proletariat in Iraq too started moving towards the universal scene of the class struggle. During the same week, demonstrations erupted in all towns and cities in central and south Iraq, where dozens of demonstrators were wounded, and hundreds arrested. Demonstrators had attacked a courthouse, governorate headquarters, headquarter of Iraqi Hezbollah in Najaf, setting their office on fire and causing air traffic to be suspended. Demonstrators in Najaf occupied the international airport and set fire to the municipality buildings. The government cut off the Internet and blocked social media and has issued a nationwide order security forces on high alert aiming to stem the revolutionary movement. On the contrary, the city of Baghdad joined-up the movement. Finally, the movement showed its development in repeatedly attempts for establishment of the committees in Bagdad which is an attempt to coordinate the demonstrations all over the country.

All these events are evidence of the increasing of the proletariat, not only in number, but in concentration in greater masses. This is an evidence that the movement has an inner ability to self-organizing and self-arming of the proletariat. And while demonstrators everywhere in Iraq shouted: “Hunger Revolution”, and confirmed what a UN agency has confirmed in April 2017 when he said that more than half of Iraqi families are at risk of going hungry because of the ISIS war, although in the eyes of different schools of bourgeois socialism and communism, these events are nothing more than conflicts between Islam and Democracy, Shia and Sunni, Arabs and Kurds. They therefore search after a new political doctrine, a philosophy or a science to create conditions for the movement and thereby for the society they imagine. They, hand in hand with the different categories of bourgeois, endeavor consistently, to push the proletarian movement back and to reconcile between social classes by transforming the religious form of the state into a truly secular state, along with the protection of freedom and establishment of a secular state in Iraq and Iran and an independent democratic state for Kurdish people in which political power is authorized and controlled by the people through their elected political parties, and by this way turn the class antagonism into national conflicts and conflicts between democracy and fascism or between secularism and religion, since the task of the socialists and communists is to dismiss anything in their literature that alleviates the conflict between the social classes. These different schools of leftism see nothing more than contradiction between the political state and the civil society, between the state and human rights of its citizenship, even though such a society that is free of class antagonism only exists in imagination. Social antagonism reflects the existence of two social antagonistic classes: Bourgeoisie and Proletariat. In this antagonism, the bourgeois represents the conservative side everywhere and the proletariat represents the destructive side in society. Thus, the spontaneous movement and the gradual organization of the proletariat anywhere in the world is nothing more than identification of the similar class structure of different countries that creates an international base for proletarian’s common actions.

From this point of view, militants in Kurdistan, suggest an international meeting in our region. We, in honors of the constant progress of the proletariat movement, invite all international socialists, communists, anarchists that are willing to develop a relationship between revolutionary individuals and groups. This progression is a real base for common international activates and such meetings may be a base for a great international conference in the nearest future. The aim of this meeting is to firstly set up an international committee for the exchange of information upon matters of interest to the proletarians of all countries and discuss practical tasks related to class struggle, organize periodic meetings, set up a common website, collect financial aid to achieve specific tasks, etc. The meeting may at least break the isolation between the internationalists and will be an expression of the common interests of the world’s proletariat. It may find a center for these common tasks and do a common program for all internationalist groups. It will at least be an international common answer to the capitalist alliance which exorcises the specter of the social revolution. The only answer to this capitalist alliance, especially for expanding the war is the proletarian’s revolutionary war. The continued capitalist militarization, which is the biggest fundamental fact of our epoch, results undoubtedly with the arming of the proletariat. This phenomena, the phenomena of the proletarian arming, which has been a reality in Iraq/Kurdistan, even though it is so far at the beginning, is based on the whole development of the capitalist militarism in our epoch. That is the fulfillment of the historical materialist condition of the proletarian revolution.

Militants in Kurdistan, Iraq
24, July 2018

Tags: iraqKurdistaniranmeetingsproletariatcategory: International
Categories: News

Anarchy Radio 08-14-2018

Wed, 08/15/2018 - 03:40


Kathan co-hosts. AR listeners swamp free Fifth Estate offer! Neo-Nazi rally in DC: miniscule. Fires and civilization, mass shootings spread. From the Pleistocene to the Plasticene but social media corporations slide. Anarchy in Portland OR. Accelerationism? Resistance briefs, five calls.

Tags: KZjzKarlcategory: Projects
Categories: News

[invitation] Anarchist Book Fair of Lisbon on October 26, 27 and 28

Tue, 08/14/2018 - 22:29

From Contra Info

Given that climate change is brought us the colder summer of the last thirty years, given our constant and organic demand to ignite with passion and of warming ourselves with the rebelliousness of our daily struggles, we will light our flame this fall! And so returns the Anarchist Book Fair of Lisbon, on 26, 27 and 28 October, and again in the beautiful woods of Penha de França.

If you want participate with your publisher / distributor / information space or simply to come spread some words of subversion printed on paper, write us to

See you later!

in Portuguese

Tags: Anarchist book fairportugaleventscategory: International
Categories: News

Running Down the Walls, 2018 Report Back

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 20:44

via Philadelphia anarchist black cross - see more photos from the event after the link

Photos: Courtesy of Joe Piette and others.

On August 5, 2018, around 90 people ran, jogged or walked 5K to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the incarceration of the Move 9. The route chosen for this event started in Fairmount Park and went past the zoo that members of the Move organization protested in 1973 and 1974 in support of animal rights. The route continued down 33rd street to the intersection of 33rd and Pearl, where the former Move headquarters was before it was bulldozed by the city within 24 hours of the arrest of the Move 9.

Photographs of the Move 9, flowers, and candles as well as a board to write messages was available for supporters to stop and pay their respects at the halfway point. People passing by who knew members of the Move 9 also stopped to pay their respects.

While the national Running Down the Walls event was held in June this year, the Philadelphia event was set in August in order to coincide with the Move 40th anniversary. For this reason, all of the incarcerated people who ran on August 5th are in Pennsylvania or surrounding regions. Many runners on the outside ran with signs displaying the names of either recipients of the Warchest or other US held political prisoners. Including both runners on the inside and outside, the event totaled around 90 participants.

Yoga began promptly at 9:30 am “to warm up our breath, mind and bodies” as yoga instructor Sheena Sood put it. The group then took off in three sections: walkers followed by joggers and finally by runners. This enabled a lot of interaction along the route as people encountered each other frequently. The route was shady to set of the warmth of the day, and refreshments were provided by Solidarity Food Not Bombs.

Together we raised almost $2000 that will be split between Move 9 legal defense and the ABCF Warchest. To close, we squeezed together for a group photo chanting “Free the Move 9, Free All Political Prisoners!”

Tags: philadelphiaanarchist black crosscategory: Actions
Categories: News

Review: The Anarchists in Paris, May-June 1968

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 20:21

via Freedom News

This handy little pamphlet appears in the 50th anniversary year of the events of May-June 1968 that shook France and the world. Importantly, it’s written by an eye-witness and participant in the events, the anonymous Le Flûtiste (Flute Player).

by Flûtiste Le
PP: 24
Kate Sharpley Library
Review by ACG

First of all, on the outbreak of the fighting in Paris, between 300-400 anarchists were attending the gala of the Federation Anarchiste that evening in central Paris on May 10th. Members of other groups were present on that evening, including the Union of Anarchist Communist Groups, the Anarcho-Syndicalist Union and the anarcho-syndicalist union the CNT.These were on hand to reinforce the barricades that were set up that evening in the Latin Quarter, a culmination of weeks of unrest in the universities. To his credit Dany Cohn-Bendit of the March 22nd student movement used his megaphone to call for the taking over of the area. The writer describes this then anarchist as “hard to stick” as a person(more on that later).

“Get this: what few leftwing or “leftist” students there were on hand tried to talk them of digging up the streets or building barricades and berated the barricade builders as “provocateurs”. They were promptly seen off…”

The writer describes the lightning spread of barricades through the neighbourhood.”The clashes were violent in the extreme; many young people refused to give ground (to the police) and like out-and-out kamikazes, threw themselves into the hand-to-hand fighting”. He also notes that “local residents, outraged by the sight of the police brutality, sided with the students, tossing down buckets of water to dampen the effects of tear gas grenades and taking demonstrators into their homes”.As a result of the fighting and the vicious brutality the trade unions and left wing organisations were forced into calling a demonstration for May 13th. Over the coming days strikes broke out spontaneously around France.

The leftists now attempted to hijack the movement, setting up literature stalls in the courtyard of Sorbonne university and token committees that they controlled.

The demonstration on May 13th brought out between 500,000 to one million people. The writer notes the “forest of red-and-black flags with a sprinkling of black flags”.

Tags: book reviewParis '68category: Essays
Categories: News

The anarchy of beauty: Annie Le Brun

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 20:09

via autonomies

There is no very evident use in beauty; the necessity of it for cultural purposes is not apparent, and yet civilization could not do without it. The science of aesthetics investigates the conditions in which things are regarded as beautiful; it can give no explanation of the nature or origin of beauty: as usual, its lack of results is concealed under a flood of resounding and meaningless words.

Sigmund Freud, Civilisation and its Discontents


Le silence des choses est celui d’une poudrière qui n’attend que sa mise à feu.

Annie Le Brun, De l’Éperdu


Seule la révolte est garante de la cohérence passionnelle que chacun est aujourd’hui sommé d’abandonner pour faire allégeance à ce monde de la servitude volontaire.

Annie Le Brun, Interview: Philosophie magazine (29/01/2009)


Annie Le Brun, poet and essayist, remains forever dissonant and dissident; an author and a person who refuses to accept and adapt to the violent reign of commodity fetishism, against which she hurls the rage and passion of gestures of poetry, dreams, desires, love and beauty.

We share below, almost as a long overdue tribute to her work, a recent text which serves as an introduction to her last essay, Ce qui n’a pas de prix. Beauté, laideur et politique.

What follows is a translation from the french language edition of Le monde diplomatique.

Beauty always on trial

(Le monde diplomatique august 2018 )

Contrary to rumor, the Trojan War, whose origin lies in an aesthetic choice, does not cease to take place. Because beauty, whose very idea would be more and more contestable, both intellectually and politically, remains at the center of all issues. But what is beauty? How is it apprehended?

Sigmund Freud admits to not being of great help when, in 1929, he states at the beginning of Civilisation and its Discontents: “Unfortunately, psycho-analysis … has less to say about beauty than about most things”, while specifying: “Its derivation from the realms of sexual sensation is all that seems certain; the love of beauty is a perfect example of a feeling with an inhibited aim.” This is something does not contradict the point of view of Salvador Dalí, four years later: “Beauty is only the sum of the consciousnesses of our perversions.”* (1) Thus, for Freud and Dalí, if beauty relates to our impulses, it is above all inseparable from the irreducible singularity of each person, by its power to reveal suddenly certain over shadowed parts of our existence.

Today, science confirms this when, questioning the “beauty in the brain”, the neuro-biologist Jean-Pierre Changeux speaks of “cerebral short circuit”, more exactly of a “kind of singular and powerful ignition”, which would refer to a ” particular global synthesis within the conscious neuronal space “. (2) Reality as well as metaphor, that is all that we knew without understanding it. Power of illumination, power of turmoil, power of burning, it is that, apart from all transcendence, that beauty would open onto the elsewhere, the other, in the heart of ourselves; it would show us what we do not know about ourselves, it would reveal the ever-changing form of the fire that inhabits us.

Henceforth, we can better understand the consistency with which the different powers have always striven to appropriate it, even to limit its effects, and even more to counterfeit it. At the same time, one wonders why almost everyone who wanted to change the world were so clearly frightened by the singularity manifest that they were not even able to see, without taking it into account, that they were losing their dream. It is equally remarkable that certain utopians or anarchists, such as Charles Fourier, William Morris, Élisée Reclus …, made the opposite wager, which allowed them to escape the pitfalls of instrumental reason. Without a doubt, for the reason put forward by Walter Benjamin: “Each epoch not only dreams the next but also, while dreaming, impels it towards the moment of its waking”. (3) Beauty, as dream, has this power of waking.

It is not that I confuse everything, utopia, beauty, dream; but I tie them together by the same force of breaking in and trespassing within the continuum of what is. And it is not by chance that Reclus finds himself thinking as early as 1866: “The question of knowing what in the work of man serves or contributes to degrading exterior nature may seem futile to so called positive spirits; it does not cease thereby to have a first order importance.” (4) And for Morris: “There is nothing in our environment that is not beautiful or ugly, that does not ennoble us or debase us.” (5) Both one and the other share the certainty that “a secret harmony establishes itself between the land and the peoples it sustains”, but that, “there where the ground has become ugly, there where all poetry has disappeared from the landscape, imaginations go out, spirits become impoverished, routine and servility take hold of souls and dispose them to torpor and death.” (6) Thus what binds ugliness, predation and servitude is established for the first time. Twenty years later, Morris will confirm it in turn. “Ugliness is not neutral; it acts upon man and deteriorates his sensitivity, to the point where he does not even feel the degradation, which prepares him to descend a step.” (7)

The problem however is that there is ugliness and ugliness, as there is beauty and beauty. And the issue is so important that there can be no question of stalling before their imbrication, something that haunts the 19th century and determines the gaze of the 20th century. Above all because, between the innumerable instances where beauty is put into question, there is Arthur Rimbaud declaring at the beginning of A Season in Hell (1873): “One night, I sat Beauty down on my lap.—And I found her bitter.—And I insulted her.” But also because at the end of this journey to the end of himself, he finds no less the following: “All that is over. Today, I know how to celebrate beauty.”

For a long time, I asked myself what was the meaning of this reversal, until I understood that, after having risked his equilibrium to go to the antipodes of this Beauty, Rimbaud suddenly saw that he is always another beauty, always astonishing. And this he discovered at the greatest distance away from what was established, in “idiot paintings”, “paintings of acrobats”, “popular illuminations”, “erotic books with incorrect orthography”, but also in the “felicity of animals” as in his own “follies”. And how can one not but remark that this de-centring is contemporaneous with what Rimbaud has just closely lived in the Paris Commune?

This beauty, which he now writes without a capital letter, he recognises as plural as well as singular, from the “deserts of love” to “the sky blue, that is of black”. “Je est un autre/I is another”, he then writes, opening to each the sovereignty of all of the kingdoms of singularity.

Again these horizons would have likely remained invisible to him if, at the same time, the savage accuracy of his clairvoyance had not allowed him to announce, a century and a half in advance, the “economic horrors”, the “vision of numbers” and the intolerable universe that results, exclusively occupied by itself. Never again did beauty appear so inseparable from the revolt that gave birth to it.

To such an extent that in the light of this polarity emerges a major aspect of the artistic adventure of the 20th century. It is this which strongly induces the passage from Dada to Surrealism, and it may even be the case that, in attacking the canons of beauty that domination had made its own, modernity will draw itself across a multiplicity of paths so as to reach back to the living sources of beauty, from savage peoples to the mad. Not to forget the different practices of automatism, where beauty sometimes rises up blindly, as it gives unexpected form to freedom.

It is again moreover in the light of the same polarity that the struggles of Reclus and Morris gain all of their significance, since for the latter, “the process that stripped us of all popular art, in killing the instinct of beauty, also deprived us of the only compensation possible, clearly erasing …, but by no means slowly, all beauty on the surface of the earth.” (8)

The misery is that we have arrived at a point where everything competes to eradicate even the souvenir of this “instinct of beauty”, of which there is no traditional culture that does not give striking testimony. It is for this reason, from Morris’ call of alarm, that I speak of war. Still, this war has taken a new turn. For to deny, without evidently interrupting anything, the catastrophic over-production of rubbish that characterises our societies, it was necessary to convince ourselves that there was no other possibility. Such that it is the colonisation of our sensory life that this war now targets, carried out against everything from which it is impossible to extract value, against that which has no price.

In this regard, the collusion of high finance, contemporary art and the fashion industries will have corresponded to the decisive stage of a commodification of everything, grounding itself on the supposed substitution of all sensitive life by aestheticisation. Of course, it is not an aesthetic matter, but one where we are made to participate in our own expropriation, so that we become accustomed to the present without presence, to a genetically modified reality, where nothing exists except that which has been polluted, manipulated or trafficked, and in an irreversible manner. Such is furthermore the common program that endeavours to sell to us the most obvious brands and the most tortured philosophers, by means of the concept “style of life”, recently become a value added to servitude. As an antidote, it is worth invoking, again, Morris or Reclus, with their equal reference to “free nature” and its infinite metamorphoses, to see the ugliness in what denies its very possibility, while beauty always appeared to them as a space of clearing, such as the “unrealised, but not impossible, dream”, of which the anarchist Joseph Déjacque spoke. (9)

If beauty cannot be defined, its power to suddenly broaden the horizon is recognised; proof that the end does not justify the means, but that these latter determine what follows. It is a similar change of perspective, in search of other ways of being, that for almost a decade sustain the occupation movements of the whole world. The violence of the repression that they arouse suggests the dream which they bear, reminding us that “there is assuredly another world, but it is in this one” (10), like the beauty that is and always remains.


* With the impossibility of consulting the original english language sources of Annie Le Brun’s references, we have let them unchanged from the original. We have also left out the first reference that appears in the original french text.

  1. Salvador Dali, “De la beauté terrifiante et comestible de l’architecture modern style”, Minotaure, nº 3-4, Paris, 1933.
  2. Jean-Pierre Changeux, La Beauté dans le cerveau, Odile Jacob, Paris, 2016.
  3. Walter Benjamin, Paris, capitale du XIX siècle, L’Herne, coll. “Carnets”, Paris, 2007 (1re éd.: 1989).
  4. Élisée Reclus, Du sentiment de la nature dans les sociétés modernes et autres textes, Premières Pierres, Saint-Maurice, 2002.
  5. William Morris, L’Art en ploutocratie, FB Éditions, 2015 (1re éd.: 1883)
  6. Élisée Reclus, op. cit.
  7. William Morris, L’Âge de l’ersatz et autres textes contre la civilisation moderne, Éditions de l’Encyclopédie des nuisances, Paris, 1996.
  8. William Morris, L’Art en ploutocratie, op. cit.
  9. Joseph Déjacque, À bas les chefs! Écrits libertaires (1847-1863), La Fabrique, Paris, 2016.
  10. Ignaz Paul Vital Troxler, quoted by Albert Béguin, L’Âme romantique et le Rêve, Éditions des Cahiers du Sud, Marseille, 1937.

Two video recorded interviews with Annie Le Brun (in french) …

Tags: Annie Le Brunaestheticsbeautyartcategory: Essays
Categories: News

Anews Episode 76 - August 10th, 2018

Sun, 08/12/2018 - 17:12

Welcome to the Anews podcast. This is episode 76 for August 10, 2018. This podcast covers anarchist activity, ideas, and conversations from the previous week.
Editorial: Topicality, by Smile
TOTW: The Medium and the Message

This podcast is the effort of many people. This episode was
* sound edited by Dim
* “What’s New” was written by jackie, read by chisel and dim
* Thanks to Aragorn! and a friend for topic of the week discussion
* audio clips from Be a Clown by Circus Clown Calliope; Hero by Enrique Iglesias

* Contact us at

To learn more

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

Tags: podcastarieldimtopicalitymessagingsmilecategory: Projects
Categories: News

Tearing racism up from its capitalist roots

Sun, 08/12/2018 - 15:35

From Zabalaza

An African anarchist-communist approach

Racism and capitalismRacism has been a curse in South Africa, and remains embedded in the society. But how scientific are racist ideas? Where do they come from? And how can we fight racism and create a truly equal and fair society? What do we as revolutionary anarchists think?

Racial conflict, inequality, and hatred are not natural, but fed and reared by capitalism and the state. To really change the system, we need a massive programme of upgrading education, health, housing and services; an end to the racist heap labour system; a challenge to the ideological control that splits the working class; and a radical redistribution of wealth and power to the working class and poor –which in South Africa, means primarily the black working class and poor –as part of a social revolution.

Tearing racism up from its capitalist roots: An African anarchist-communist approach

by Bongani Maponyane (ZACF)

Racism has been a curse in South Africa, and remains embedded in the society. But how scientific are racist ideas? Where do they come from? And how can we fight racism and create a truly equal and fair society? What do we as revolutionary anarchists think?

Different races?
The heart of the idea of “race” is that there are different basic types of people, with different appearances — and different, built-in abilities, cultures and behaviours. This then gets tied to the ideas like: races have unequal abilities, every member of race acts in one way all the time, races cannot co-exist peacefully with special rules, and some races are born to rule, others born as “hewers of wood and drawers of water.”

Even if these ideas are not openly said so much these days (leaving aside people like Penny Sparrow), they still exist, in common ideas like: some races are better at sports, some races are crueller, some are greedier, or that “races” are always conflict, or that you can’t trust people in different “races,” or that inventions are made by different “races.”

But these ideas are false. It is true people look different. The fact is there is only one humankind. All humans have a common descent from Africa. Nature doesn’t strike twice, it never creates the same thing twice. Different races were not born in different areas. Evolutionary evidence shows common ancestry (a “monogenesis”). That means humans are one species, with one common origin and one set of common abilities and one common human nature.

As people migrated around the world and around Africa, there was some variation in appearance and body. Nobody survive in that hot sub-equatorial regions without dark skin pigmentation: where temperature is extremely hot, at 35 degrees Celsius and up, very dark skin with a lot of melanin is a people had to be more light-skinned in colder and less sunny climates. People become whiter in such climates. Limited transportation created more isolation between areas, so there was sharper variation in some cases.

Science and society
So there is really one specific species that moved out of Africa to Europe, Asia and the Americas, but this did not lead to new species. Instead we can think of a common family of African descent, with many children, but a lot of mixing due to migration, wars and trade.

Science shows clearly that all races have the same abilities. Evolutionary and biological evidence shows no variation between what people think of as races, in terms of the brain or other abilities, but it shows lots of variation inside “races.”

So even to talk about “races” is actually a problem. What is the meaning of the word? In fact people don’t even agree on what defines a “race.” For example, some people considered white in South Africa, like Jews, were not considered to be “real” Europeans in a large parts of Europe. Adolf Hitler’s racism saw Eastern European whites (Slavs) as sub-human people. People with any black African ancestry are today defined as “black” or “African” in the USA, but those exact same people would be defined as “Coloured” but not black African in South Africa. The race category “Caucasian” includes white Europeans, but also Arabs, Berbers, Lebanese, Turks and Indians, but in apartheid South Africa, Christian or Jewish Arabs and Lebanese were defined as white, but Muslim Arabs and Turks as Coloureds, and all Indians (no matter the religion) were defined as a specific Indian group.

The racial inequalities we see in many countries – with black African people often victims of extreme racism – does not come from nature. It comes from how society is set up. I will show below how racism is built by capitalism, colonialism and states.

Sadly, racist ideas have abused the theory of evolution. This theory explained why people are all basically the same, and also why some groups look a bit different to other groups. People today are all part of one species: homo-sapiens or modern humans. This is very different from earlier types like homo-erectus. It is completely wrong to think that some people are somehow less evolved than others, or closer to apes.

This horrible abuse of evolution by racists has led some people to reject the idea of evolution, thinking it claims means blacks are less than whites. In fact the theory shows people are the same! Charles Darwin, who pioneered the theory, insisted all humans had common African descent and were one group.

This evolution is a very powerful challenge to racist ideas. The theory of evolution proves that we as humankind come from one source, and are all basically equal in all spheres of ability.

It is nonsense to say one “race” invented something, or to try claim credit for an invention in the past, just because you look similar to an inventor. Inventions are made by individuals, existing in a specifics society, and are made possible by certain types of social structure, and always draw on earlier ideas and innovations – including from different societies. All the achievements of people in the past are a common human heritage, not owned by any group.

The roots
When we see racism in modern day society, we need to understand it does not exist because what we call “races” are unequal in the flesh or mind, but because we live in a society based on domination, exploitation, hierarchies and oppression.

In South Africa we can clearly see how modern-day racism emerged from how society developed. During the apartheid period, black (meaning black African, Coloured and Indian) people suffered systematic racism, affected wage levels, services, neighbourhoods, racism, and rights. The white population (around 15% of the population) earned 65% of the total income, while black Africans, at 75% of the population, got 28%. Poverty was linked closely to race and persisted over time: for example, while 8 out of 10 white children completed high school, around 2 out of 10 black Africans reached and passed matric.

Racist labour system
This was because capitalism in South Africa developed in the context of European colonial context and dispossession, and a system of white supremacy. The loss of land and a battery of repressive racist laws and practices enabled an economy based on cheap black labour. Black African peasants who succeeded in farming for markets were pushed out of business and into wage labour.

The British Empire was central to many of these processes, and foreign investors, mainly British, were for decades central to the creation of a massive commercial mining industry from the 1870s, based on cheap and unfree black labour. Commercial farms emerged around the mines, and also rested on cheap black labour. Massive exploitation, in a racist system, was the bedrock of South African capitalism, and helped fund the state through taxation and through state enterprises. The state built railways, roads and big industries, all of which increased state and capitalist power.

As manufacturing developed on a massive scale from the 1920s, the racist cheap labour system continued. The state enforced racist measures – low wages, rights abuses, hostels and migrant labour, the township system – which generated the cheap black labour capitalism devoured. Racial and ethnic division between blacks, and between blacks and whites, helped fracture the working class. Unions usually followed racial lines, and black Africans were not given full union rights until 1995.

The future
The legacy of this system is everywhere in South Africa. The racist crimes of capitalism and the state were not erased in 1994, Racism was institutionalised, and today the township system, the migrant labour system and the cheap black labour system continue, and shape the class system. Poverty, unemployment, low wages and poor conditions are still linked closely to race. Today, the old white capitalist sector works with the new black state elite to oppress the largely black working class. Continuing inequality perpetuates racial conflicts, and also generates new forms of racism, such as the massive xenophobia that exists in South Africa since 1994.

In closing, racial conflict, inequality, and hatred are not natural. All people are equal, and racial conflict is not caused by people by people looking different. Racism, over the last few hundred years, was fed and reared by capitalism and the state. To really change the system, we need a massive programme of upgrading education, health, housing and services; an end to the cheap labour system; a challenge to the ideological control that splits the working class; and a radical redistribution of wealth and power to the working class and poor –which in South Africa, means primarily the black working class and poor –as part of a social revolution.

Tags: south africazabalazaracecategory: Essays
Categories: News

Anti-fascist teenager reveals how Russian security services brutally beat and tortured him

Sun, 08/12/2018 - 15:27

From Open Democracy

Since October 2017, the FSB have been running a terrorism investigation into Russian anarchists and anti-fascists. But as Alexey Poltavets' experience shows, this case has a violent backstory. 

Investigative prison, Penza. Source: OVD-Info. Since October 2017, nine people have arrested as part of “The Network” case, which has seen Russian anti-fascists and anarchists in St Petersburg and Penza detained on terrorism charges. According to Federal Security Service (FSB) investigators, all the arrested men were members of an organisation that planned to provoke the “popular masses for further destabilisation of the political climate in the country” during the Russian presidential elections and FIFA World Cup. Cells of the organisation were allegedly operating in Moscow, St Petersburg, Penza and Belarus.

But as has become clear, this case has a history that goes back to spring 2017. Sofiko Aridzhanova, a Moscow-based journalist and anarchist, recently revealed that FSB officers informally interrogated her in February last year. And on 23 May 2018, Viktoria Frolova, a friend of the suspects in Penza, was detained at the Russian-Ukrainian border. Frolova was forced to give a testimony against her acquaintances from Penza. Prior to that, Frolova’s boyfriend Alexey Poltavets told OVD-Info how he was arrested, beaten up and tortured by FSB officers in Penza. According to Poltavets, he is referred to as “Boris” in the FSB’s case files for the “Network” case.

Here, he tells how he was detained and tortured in March 2017.

About me

My name is Alexey Poltavets, I was born in Omsk. In terms of my beliefs, I am an anarchist, anti-fascist and vegetarian; I am against the current government of the Russian Federation.

In Omsk, I took part in animal rights events — film screenings and rallies. In 2014, I was an active supporter of the Maidan protesters in Kyiv, I was speaking out against the annexation of Crimea and the incursions of the Russian army into Ukrainian territory. I attended rallies organised by the local authorities to “celebrate the return of Crimea” with a Ukrainian flag and yellow and blue balloons. This is how I tried to troll the participants of these events. As a result, I was threatened and on time policemen, including agents from Centre “E” [Centre for Countering Extremism], tried to detain me, but I managed to escape.

In 2016, after another quarrel with my parents caused by our political differences, I decided to leave and move to St Petersburg, to join my friend Viktor Filinkov. I met Filinkov through my brother (they were course mates at university) in Omsk in 2014. We became friends because of our shared beliefs. Together with Viktor, we attended many opposition events, including against the annexation of Crimea and the war in Eastern Ukraine, as well as animal rights events. In 2016, Filinkov left for St Petersburg and got a job there, but we stayed in touch.

How it all began

On my way from Omsk to St Petersburg, I decided to stay with some friends in Penza — Filinkov had some temporary troubles with money and accommodation. I arrived in Penza in December 2016. I was 16 years old then. My friends helped me to find a job and a place to live. I was hanging out with local political activists, anti-fascists and anarchists. I knew Egor Zorin, Dmitry Pchelintsev [suspects in the “Network” case], Maxim Ivankin, Mikhail Kulkov and other local activists. We were playing Airsoft together and walking in the forest — collecting rubbish, sitting around the fire.

Around the end of February or the beginning of March 2017, Zorin was detained. An acquaintance invited him over, and then during that meeting he, according to Zorin, constantly left to make some calls. After one of the calls, a group of men stormed into the flat, they introduced themselves as FSB agents, a typical “maski-show” [a raid by masked security agents] followed. They found some weed in the flat and started putting pressure on Zorin, claiming that the drugs belonged to him. They told him that his acquaintances who were in the flat had already started giving evidence against him. Then they offered him a “solution”: to cooperate with the FSB and follow their orders, collect information for them and pass it on to them in a timely fashion. The agents were asking about Islamic terrorists, and were saying that there were recruiters at the university [Penza State University], where Zorin was studying. They explained that if he agreed to cooperate, they would close down their investigation into drugs in the flat, but if he refused — they would lock him up on a maximum sentence. Zorin agreed, signed necessary documents and then was released.

Next day, he met his friends and told them what happened. It was obvious from how he looked that he was scared and didn’t know what to do. A week later Zorin said that the FSB agents had another conversation with him: they met him next to his apartment block and put him in a car. An agent was asking questions about left-wing activism and also asked whether Zorin knew any activists. Three weeks later I was arrested.


At 10pm, 30 March 2017, I and two of my acquaintances — Mikhail Kulkov and Maxim Ivankin — were walking to my place after a gathering at Kulkov’s place. My comrades decided to walk me home, I’m from another city.

A grey VAZ-2115 police car approached us, five men jumped out of it — some in plain clothes, some in uniforms. I didn’t even have time to ask why I was being detained before my hands were behind my back in handcuffs. The men in police uniform were shouting “Give me your fucking hands, give me your hands, bitch” while a man in plain clothes was overseeing the whole process. The men in uniform put me facing the car and shouted “Give us your fucking full name, quickly”. Then one of them hit me on the head and I hit my face against the car. I gave them my name, patronymic and surname. One of the men in uniform started searching me, took my money and passport and put them on the top of the car. When he didn’t find anything else, he put the things back into my pocket. After that, the same man pressed my head against the car and didn’t allow me to turn it. Another man in uniform (a FSB agent named Ilya, as I learned later) was searching Kulkov’s and Ivankin’s backpacks just where we weren’t allowed to look. Whenever I tried to turn my head to see what the men in plain clothes were doing or asked “Why am I being detained”, I was hit with a fist in the kidneys area. A few minutes later Ilya (the FSB agent) shouted: “There are drugs here!”

The FSB agent Ilya figured out what was in the bag without opening it, and said: “That’s it, guys, you’re done.”

At that point, a white Ford minibus with blue plates arrived, four men got out of it, they were dressed in tactical clothes, they were wearing caps and masks, and there was one more agent in plain clothes. The agent who was holding me turned me to face Ilya. The latter was sitting next to a pile of stuff he’d taken out of the backpacks, he was holding a transparent bag with some sort of roll of stuff inside it. The FSB agent Ilya figured out what was in the bag without opening it and said: “That’s it, guys, you’re done.” We instantly replied that the bag had been planted. In response, they started hitting us.

We were taken to the minibus, one of the agents set down next to me. He took me by my neck and pressed my head against the seat in front of us, and then hit me several times on the back of my head. I asked: “What did I do? Why have I been detained?”. But in response I only received more punches on my head and my face, after which the agent said: “I’m the one who asks questions here, do you understand?” Then he hit me on the face with his palm once again. I replied: “Understood.”


We drove to a police or FSB station. I didn’t have time to read what was written on the plaque at the entrance. While they were bringing us there, the agents threatened that we would now be beaten up, and we would say whatever they tell us to say.

I was brought into an office that had a door that led to another office. They put me into the “one and a half” position next to this door. This is when you have to stand with your legs half-bent, as if one is sitting but without a chair. It is very difficult to stand in this position for a long time. Apart from me, there were two agents in plain clothes in the room. They made sure that I could not stand in a normal position. This was around midnight. An agent called Mikhail entered the room. He approached me and, while turning me around, said “Well, hello!” and then punched me in the upper part of the stomach. I bent down, and was trying to restore my breathing, while he said: “Take it easy, I’m just warming up.”

Mikhail took me into the office behind the door. Ilya was already there. Mikhail took the passport and money from my pocket (later they returned my passport, but kept the money). Then he took off my handcuffs and told me to strip naked and do 20 squats. While I was doing the exercises, Mikhail checked my clothes. After that, I put my clothes back on and they again locked the handcuffs tightly behind my back. Agent Ilya said: “So, you do understand why you were arrested, don’t you?” I replied: “No.” The agents started laughing. And Ilya told me: “It is really funny how you always pretend that you have no fucking idea, but after we beat the shit out of you, you immediately begin to understand.” Mikhail punched me a few more times in the stomach and, holding me by the hair, said:

“You understand that it is not by accident that we found drugs on you. Now you sign a testimony against your anarchist mates, then repeat it to an investigator, and we let you go, you will be a witness. If you don’t, you will get a maximum sentence, and I will make sure you have a good time in the detention centre, they love young boys like you there.”

I replied that I was not going to sign anything.

Mikhail was still holding me by the hair. Ilya stood up, approached me and punched me several times in the upper stomach. Mikhail let my hair go and pushed me, I felt on the ground. Ilya said: “Wrong answer, we are asking you nicely. Your friends are going to prison no matter what you say, the only question is whether you are going to join them.” I coughed and tried to stand up, the same agent put a chair next to me and said: “Sit down.” I sat down and replied: “I have already told you that I am not going to sign anything.” Mikhail kicked me in the chest with his leg (the kick was more like a push than a kick) and I fell backwards together with the chair. He said: “Ok, this means you will get a full term together with them, right now your friends are ratting you out next door, while you’re protecting them here. If you don’t want to lose your health in this room —  you will have to answer our questions.” Then the agent picked up the chair and I sat down again.

They threatened and pressured me a lot, they threatened to rape me with a broom. This went on the whole night

Next, they threatened and pressured me a lot, they threatened to rape me with a broom. This went on the whole night. Sometimes an agent named Nikolay entered and also humiliated me. Nikolay would wring my arms behind my back, which was extremely painful, and it seemed as if he was going to break my arms, he was also pulling my hair, screwing my ear up in a ball. Whenever I fell and was lying on my back, he put his foot on my genitals and was pressing stronger and stronger. I felt unbearable pain, which lasted for a long time afterwards. Nikolay threatened to hang me up and to send me in to people who would rape me.

After threatening me, the agents began to ask when I came to Penza, why, what I was doing, how I met others who were arrested, and other things that concerned me. I replied to those questions. Sometimes the agents took breaks and ate and drank — during those intervals I was put back to the wall in the “one and a half” position. When I could not stand like that anymore and tried to stand normally, an agent would come and hit me with his palm in the stomach, and was threatening to hang me up. After that, I stood back in the “one and a half” position.

I held this position until evening. Then they brought me to the office and sat me down on a chair. There were three agents in the room: Mikhail, Ilya and Nikolay. They asked me: “So, have you changed your mind?” I replied: “No.” Ilya sat down in front of me and said: “Your friends have already testified against you. What happened to you earlier was the best thing that could have happened. I have broken many people like you with these very hands.” It was clear that he was proud of himself. Nikolay stood behind me, he placed the backrest of the chair between my back and my hands, so I couldn’t get up or move. Nikolay took an old thick plastic bag out of the cabinet, the sides of it were rolled down, he rolled them once more and placed it on my head, without tying it. They repeated all questions again, I didn’t answer.

At that point, I got really scared, I feared for my life and was afraid that I wouldn’t leave that room alive if I didn’t do what the agents wanted. Nikolay tied the bag from behind, and I began to suffocate and jerk. The chair began to tilt, but Ilya pressed it down, while Nikolay pressed me against the back of the chair. Nikolay took off the bag from my head, I started coughing, some saliva dropped on the floor, which made Ilya angry and he hit me, saying something about me making their floor dirty. Ilya repeated the questions, I repeated that I was not going to say or sign anything. After that, Nikolay put the bag back and tied it, but this time he hold it for longer than the first time.

This time I was suffocating much more seriously: the first time I tried to hold my breath and keep calm before they tied the bag, as if I was diving, but I soon ran out of air and started panicking

I was experiencing an overwhelming sense of fear, I was suffocating and could not do anything. I felt like doing anything they would tell [me to do] to get a gasp of air.  

This time I was suffocating much more seriously: the first time I tried to hold my breath and keep calm before they tied the bag, as if I was diving, but I soon ran out of air and started panicking. When they took the bag off, I started coughing and said: “Stop it, stop torturing me.” In response, they put the bag back on, while I didn’t even have time to cough after the previous time. The third time, Nikolay held the bag on even longer. After he took the bag off, I was asked again whether I was going to sign a evidence statement and an agreement to cooperate. I replied: “Stop torturing me. You are twice as old as I am, I am in handcuffs, how can you do this?” They replied: “There is no other way with you” — and put the bag back on. I experienced an unbearable lack of oxygen, panic and fear.

They repeated these “procedures” five or seven times more, after that they took the bag off for a few seconds and put it on again, and hold it even longer, as a result I almost urinated on myself. Afterwards, Nikolay took off the bag, all agents were very angry, they repeated the question, I didn’t reply. After that, Mikhail who was sitting all the time and observing the torture said: “We’ll get the soldering iron and you will agree to everything” — and Ilya started looking for a soldering iron in the office. Mikhail opened the door to the office nearby and shouted: “Bring me the soldering iron”, and then left the room himself. At that point Nikolay said: “I will now take this broom and shove it in your asshole, and you will agree to everything, you won’t want to live after that. Do you want that?” I said: “No, I don’t.” At this moment, Mikhail returned, asked Nikolay to come with him, and they left the office and were discussing something, but I could not hear what exactly. Afterwards, Mikhail came in and said: “You have been lucky so far that your friends turned out to be more cooperative, but later you will pay for your behaviour here.”

Then they told me that they would let me go if I sign a pledge not to leave the city and that if I discussed what happened there — they would torture me again. The FSB agents promised to pick me up again on Monday. They brought me into the office where I was before and put me back into the “one and a half” position. It was late and the agents told me that they hadn’t slept for three days, and that they were going to bed now, and would continue to deal with us in the morning. The whole night I held the “one and a half” position next to the wall. During this time, two agents watched a film, eating and making sure that I couldn’t stand normally. But this time the agents were not so aggressive when I tried to stand in a normal pose. They allowed me to go to the toilet once, and there they were also with me.

In the morning, Nikolay, Mikhail and Ilya came back. They said that now I was going to answer the questions, some of which I had already answered. These were questions about me: what I was doing, why I came to the city, when, where I was going. But this time it was necessary to sign them with the investigator. They told me that I would be released together with Ivankin, since he testified against Kulkov, and Kulkov had taken the guilt on himself. They said that since I was from Omsk, I would live at Ivankin’s place. To avoid torture, I agreed. The agents wrote down my answers on a piece of paper. I asked: “What is going to happen to Kulkov?”They replied that they would put him under house arrest. Then they led me out of the building and put in a car, where there were three more agents, I didn’t know one of them, his name was Andrey.

 “You have been lucky so far that your friends turned out to be more cooperative, but later you will pay for your behaviour here.”

On our way, we stopped next to a bridge, rail trucks and a forest. I was told that we had to make a photo where I point to a particular spot on the ground. I said that I was not going to get photographed and they started hitting me on the back of my head, back and the whole body, as well as threatening me. They told me that they would bring me back to the department, where I would be raped and tortured. Then I complied since I understood that the FSB agents could indeed do that. We left the car, another car stopped behind ours, and three girls came out of it. One of them, I thought, was a police officer, while two others were there just to stand next to me while they photographed us. They took off the handcuffs and told me to point first to one column of the bridge and then to another and then at an empty piece of land between the columns. I did that. Then they put the handcuffs back and drove me again.

When we arrived at another department, they unlocked the handcuffs and brought me to an office, a woman in police uniform was inside. She told me to sit down on a chair, I did that, and then she asked one agent to stay with me. Mikhail stayed. She offered me water. This was the first sip of water in one and a half days. Before that I was not allowed to sit (apart from the time when they were putting the bag on my head), to drink, not to mention, to eat. She offered me a chocolate bar. The door into the hall was open, and I saw how Kulkov and Ivankin were led by the office. I asked whether I could share the chocolate with my friends, and the officer (as I learned, her name was Ekaterina) said: “Eat.” I ate a half of it, and asked to give the second half to my friends, but nobody bothered to do that.

After that, she gave me a phone and told me to call my parents, which I did. Ekaterina told my mom that I was detained and that she would now allow us to talk. I asked my mom to find a lawyer for me, because I didn’t have  one, and that I was not guilty. Ekaterina immediately demanded that we ended the conversation. Agent Mikhail said: “How is that we are not giving you a lawyer, you refused yourself.” I replied that I asked for a lawyer, but was refused. Mikhail gave Ekaterina the paper with my answers. She started typing what was written on it, sometimes asking questions about details. When she finished with my answers, she printed them out, and said that she was going to compare them with the answers of others. Then she returned and said that almost everything coincided. She gave me the papers with my answers and told me that if I sign them and then another paper (a pledge not to leave the city), I would be released.

Mikhail said: “Well do you want to drive again to us and then go to the SIZO, instead of home?” I said no and signed the papers. After that, they returned my passport and said: “Well done, now sit down and wait while Ivankin is interrogated and his testimony is printed, then we will take you home. You will sit at home, not a step outside, understood?” I said: “Understood.” Around two hours passed and then Nikolay entered the room and said that it was time to bring me and Ivankin home. Nikolay and Andrey led me and Ivankin out of the department and put us in the same car, in which I was driven there. They brought us to Ivankin’s place around 8pm, the agents explained to his parents that I was from Omsk and that I would be living with them for now. They promised to come for me on Monday [3 April 2017].

After detention

Later, Ivankin and I discussed what happened at the FSB. Ivankin told me that at the FSB, he and Kulkov had agreed that Ivankin would testify against Kulkov and Kulkov would confess — to stop the violence of the agents. They were not tortured with the bag, but were beaten up, threatened with a soldering iron, and made stand in the “one and a half” position. We decided that it was not safe to stay and that there was a direct threat to our lives from the FSB agents. We feared that the violence and torture would continue. We got in touch with Kulkov and told him that we were planning to escape, and he replied that he was going to run away too. Since we were not allowed to sit, drink, eat and sleep for almost two days, we went to bed. Next day, 2 April 2017, we left the house. Before leaving, I called my girlfriend Vika and told her what had happened. We decided that she would also leave Penza as soon as possible.

Since then I have not seen either Ivankin or Kulkov. I was afraid of getting in touch with human rights defenders since I thought that I would be placed in a detention centre where they would not be able to help me, and where I would be forced to testify against myself under torture. Later, it turned out that my fears were not groundless: exactly that — torture and detention — happened to my friends from Penza and Petersburg.

Another city

After we left the house where we were obliged to stay according to our pledges not to leave, I decided to go to the city N to my acquaintances. I hitchhiked there, told my friends what happened to me and they offered me to stay with them until the situation became clearer. Now I am incredibly grateful to these people and realise that they literally saved my life. Then I got in touch with my parents. According to my parents, FSB agents visited them and were asking whether they knew where I was and how to get in touch with me.

Understanding that the agents were looking for me, but also that I had to make a living somehow, I started looking for a job that would be possible without any papers. I found such job at a construction site, I just talked to the foreman of one the brigades. Then when they started to work on the external surface of a house, the site needed industrial climbers and people who would be able to work at heights, and since I used to do climbing and understood how everything worked, they took me on board. I lived like this for a few months, I would go home immediately after work, and tried to avoid public areas.

All that time, I was thinking how to leave Russia, understanding that “staying” was a direct threat to my life and health. I was considering any options of reaching a country where I could ask for an asylum, and Ukraine was my priority.


When I got an opportunity to move to Ukraine illegally, I used it and reached Kyiv. I was afraid to go to the migration service, since I heard that there were some cases when unknown people had abducted asylum seekers from the Russian Federation and bringing them back to Russia. In Kyiv, I found a job as an industrial climber and insulating houses, but there was no work in winter, and I worked as a delivery driver for a vegetarian cafe instead.

In autumn 2017, I learned that my friends had been arrested in Penza. A month earlier Victoria had got her foreign passport and joined me. Since then we have been living in Ukraine. Before her detention in May 2018, Viktoria already returned to Penza once. Then she did not have any problems at the border. This time she was brought for an interrogation to FSB, where an investigator, Tokarev, asked many questions about me and asked her to pass on his “greetings”. He threatened that they have “their own people” in Ukraine and that they would take me illegally to Russia and put in prison.

I also learned that FSB agents mentioned the nicknames of the arrested, including my nickname, “Boris”. In one article somebody made a mistake and wrote that Kulkov is “Boris”. I would like to correct this: “Boris” is me. I was nicknamed “Cat Boris” or simply “Boris” because I love cats very much, and I had a cat, and once while I was playing with it, there was an advertisement of cat food on TV that mentioned a cat called Boris, and a female friend called me “Cat Boris” as a joke, and then everyone started addressing me that way.

I read in the media that FSB agents have threatened to get to Aleksandra, Viktor Filinkov’s wife, who has very recently left Kyiv for Finland and applied for an asylum there. I also read that there were cases when some unknown people abducted asylum seekers from Russia and brought them back to the country. After that, I began to fear for my life and health, and I am afraid that I can be returned to Russia, where I will be tortured again and most probably put in prison. Therefore, I would like to get asylum in another safer counter. During this time, my health has significantly deteriorated, especially my moral and psychological state, I have developed a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which has been confirmed by a psychologist.  

I realised that there was a danger of being extradited secretly here, but still made a decision to apply for an asylum in Ukraine. I am waiting for the authorities’ decision now. Currently, I am living in Ukraine legally.

Tags: Russiaanarchists in troublecategory: International
Categories: News

Darkness Falls: Revisiting anarchist politics in the age of collapse

Sun, 08/12/2018 - 15:13

From Medium by Uri Gordon

Ten years ago I published a short and not very rigorous essay titled “Dark Tidings: Anarchist Politics in the Age of Collapse”, in which I attempted to anticipate forthcoming trends in the terrain of social struggle, and suggest responsive stategies for social transformation in view of ecosystem degradation and climate change. Since the news cycle has again come around to these themes, the topic may be worth revisiting.

My major preoccupation in the essay was the evident prospects for an uneven, protracted and irriversible collapse of industrial civilisation, along with an unknown extent of the earth’s capacity to sustain life, over the coming generations. Any discussion of strategies for liberation, I argued, must now abandon hopes for a global revolutionary transition to sustainable modernity under workers’ control, and plan resistance to hegemonic programmes of transition to austere post-capitalist modes of exploitation and oppression. In line with the consistent anarchist strategy of unity between means and ends, such resistance can only be successful if rooted in mass movements which develop and defend material and social infrastructures for equality, voluntary association and mutual aid.

While the prognosis of collapse has become less and less of a public secret over the past decade, my expectation that a peak in fossil fuel extraction would begin to undermine global flows of capital has proven premature. Fracking, offshore drilling, dirty coal and a resurgent nuclear industry are for now expected to allow for several more decades of continued growth in energy throughput. As a result, and given the practical impossibility of decarbonising capitalism and the state, formerly “nightmare” scenarios of runaway climate change are more likely than to transpire. Indus trial capitalism has reduced entire ecosystems to lower phases of complexity and set the evolutionary path for the coming millions of years.
Another failed prediction was that hegemonic responses to public awareness of collapse would focus on recuperation — referring specifically to the neutralisation of radical practices and discourses through their absorbtion, and distorted recoding, into hegemonic modes of sociality. Generic current examples range from the wide adoption of horizontal and informal structures within tech corporations, disruptive tactics used to support of reformist or far-right agendas, and the zombified intersectionalism of liberal identity politics. However, the hype surounding green capitalist agendas, which prevailed when the essay was written, was soon to capsize with the advent of the global financial crisis. While current trends may still give way to new social-democratic formations, capital has obviously tended to opt for full-blown reaction as a first option — expressed in climate denial as well as national chauvinism.

Finally, the eclipse of elites supporting a green capitalist agenda by ones that seek retrenchment and embrace the far right has also meant that eco-fascism has not come to feature as prominently as I expected in the ultra-nationalist vocabulary. The ongoing refugee crisis, real and imagined confrontations with Islamic militancy, and the precarity of the European Union project have allowed the far right to mobilise around its good-old xenophobic tropes, while continuing to present itself as an enemy of multinationalism — always implicitly identified with the Jew. The reactionary celebration of sexism, violence and competition may, however, productively accentuate the alternatives of equality, freedom and soidarity offered by antagnoistic movements.

The original piece is reproduced below (links may be defunct).

Dark tidings: anarchist politics in the age of collapse

The writing has been on the wall for decades. Only large helpings of ignorance, arrogance, and denial could conspire to portray an entirely rational prognosis as the irrational rantings of a doom-crying fringe. But now, as reality begins to slap us repeatedly in the face, pattern recognition is finally and rapidly sinking in. There is no averting our eyes any longer: industrial civilization is coming down.

Already the whirlwind surrounds us. Energy prices shoot up, reflecting the recent peak in global oil production and its inevitable decline. Hurricanes, droughts, and erratic weather become more frequent and intense, bringing home the consequences of man-made global warming. Meanwhile soil and water quality continue to deteriorate, and biodiversity is crashing, with species extinctions at 10,000 times the normal rate. The trenchant food price crisis now engulfing the world is the strongest indication yet that no return to business as usual can be expected. Rather, what we are encountering is the final confrontation between neoliberal capitalism’s need for infinite growth and the finite resources of a single planet. No amount of financial speculation or hi-tech intervention will buy the system its way out of the inevitable crash. The time of the turning has come, and we are the generation with the dubious fortune to live and die in its throes.

Many contributions have celebrated the flowering of anarchist activities and intellectual concerns, as anti-capitalist opposition resurges all over the planet. Yet when coming to offer an international perspective on the future of anarchist praxis, we face dark tidings. Anarchists and their allies are now required to project themselves into a future of growing instability and deterioration, and to re-imagine their tactics and strategies in view of the converging crises that will define the twenty-first century.

This essay takes stock of the already-unfolding trajectory of global capitalism’s collapse, speculates on some of its social consequences, and situates them as challenges to the future of anarchist praxis. Clearly there is no use approaching this task from a seemingly neutral point of view, one that pretends to simply anticipate trends without going into recommendation, promotion, and encouragement. Inasmuch as an attempt is being made to envision rather than merely predict, there is room for suggesting priorities that anarchists might be encouraged to endorse in the coming years.

Collapse and recuperation

In his recent bestseller Collapse, Jared Diamond (2005) surveys the rise and fall of several societies as diverse and separated by time and geography as the Viking settlements of Greenland, Easter Island in the Pacific, and Mesa Verde in the American Southwest. In each case natural systems were abused and resource-use was pushed far beyond the point of sustainability. Strained to a tipping point, these societies all collapsed — and Diamond obviously believes that the same will happen to our own global civilization.

The peak in global oil production marks a clear tipping point in this context. Without cheap oil there can be no commercial aviation, no monster wheat combines, no communication satellites, and probably no skyscrapers. Apples will not be flown 5,000 miles and sold in strip-lit supermarkets, and cheap appliances and materials will not be imported from China. Modern food systems in particular are almost entirely dependent on oil, from the manufacture of fertilizers and pesticides through the powering of irrigation systems and farm machinery and on to packaging and transport. Without cheap oil, both factory farming and global trade — as well as many other systems we take for granted — will not be possible. There is no real question about the eventuality of collapse, only about its pace and consequences.

To better understand the behavior of complex systems in crisis, we can turn to Kay Summer and Harry Halpin’s recent discussion of dynamic equilibrium and phase transition (Summer and Halpin 2007: 89). Like biological organisms and the Internet, global capitalism is a regenerating complex system, maintained in a state of dynamic rather than static equilibrium. Constant inputs of materials or energy keep the system in flux, oscillating back and forth within certain parameters, like a ball rolling in a valley — also referred to as the system’s “basin of attraction.” However,

[a] massive disturbance, or a tiny disturbance of just the right kind, [can] set off a positive feedback loop, to get the ball to roll right out of that valley and into another basin of attraction . . . these major changes, from one valley to another — known as phase transitions — are often preceded by periods of “critical instability”, during which the system is under great strain. It can lurch widely, exhibiting seemly chaotic behavior, before settling into a new, more stable, state. These periods are known as bifurcation points, because it appears that the system could go one way or another.

The interesting times we are living in represent precisely such a period of critical instability. Factors like energy scarcity and climate change are pushing the system increasingly closer to the margins of its basin of attraction, with the resultant collapse representing a phase transition of the same order of magnitude as the ones that led from hunting and gathering to agriculture and, more recently, from agriculture to industrial capitalism.

To be sure, one can only take this way of thinking so far when coming to discuss the finer details of social and political developments and their significance for anarchist praxis. For one thing, thinking of a system as a whole obscures its own internal contradictions and rivalries, which will influence how the phase transition plays out socially and politically in different countries. Moreover, growing energy scarcity will likely halt and eventually reverse many of the exchanges associated with economic and cultural globalization, leading to fragmentation and a heterogeneity of post-collapse trajectories. To risk straining the metaphor, imagine that the rolling ball itself is made of liquid mercury, and at the point of bifurcation breaks up into several drops that flow into various interconnected basins of attraction.

How can these new political realities be described? Here one’s vision obviously becomes murkier, but it seems natural to speak of three broad options: new social orders based on freedom and equality, modified social orders based on continued oppression and inequality, or a breakdown of social order altogether. In other words: grassroots communism, eco-authoritarianism, or civil war.

Anarchists and their allies are already deeply involved in activities that pull towards the first basin of attraction, and I will return to them later in the discussion. However, for the moment I would like to spend a little more time on the second basin of attraction. The anticipation of establishment responses to collapse is crucial if anarchists and their allies are to remain ahead of the game, rather than merely reactive, considering that hierarchical institutions are already reconditioning themselves to govern collapse.

In this context, recuperation remains a central strategy for preserving the hegemony of hierarchical social institutions. Recuperation is the process whereby capitalist society defuses material or cultural threats to itself by re-coding and absorbing them into its own logic (Situationist International 1966). Today, the environmental agenda itself is being subject to a massive campaign of this sort. On the surface, we are finally seeing environmental issues enjoying a prominent place in the mainstream discourses of Western publics. Yet increased awareness of climate change and peak oil, as well as to the excesses that have created the perpetual crisis, are accompanied by a wholesale erasure of the radical conclusions that environmental movements have attached to their warnings. Since the 1960s, environmental activists and writers have emphasized: (1) the essential contradiction between ecological stability and incessant growth, (2) the ideological connection between anthropocentric dominion over nature and the exploitative relations between genders and classes, and (3) the need for equality and decentralization as part of any genuinely sustainable society. In contrast, political and business elites have so far been rather successful in promoting a strategy that frames the issues as technical and managerial rather than social, and that promotes technological innovation and managed markets in an attempt to manufacture enough stability to keep the system running. Thus we are witnessing:

• The normalization of environmental and resource crises, whereby floods, extinctions, and shortages are packaged as an acceptable facet of contemporary life.

• The commodification of the atmosphere, as marketable debt mechanisms are introduced to regulate the emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases (Bachram 2004).

• The re-branding of nuclear energy as a “clean” alternative to fossil fuels, unbelievably reversing its status as a hallmark of destruction (Nuclear Energy Institute 2007), with similar efforts underway to integrate genetic engineering into “sustainable” agriculture and land management (Dewar 2007).

• The absorption of ecological consciousness into consumer culture via new organic food and clothing markets, “green” shopping malls, and the personal carbon offsetting industry (Monbiot 2007).

• A shift in international policy from the promotion of “sustainable development” to an agenda of mitigation, risk management, and damage control (Welsh and Blüdhorn 2007).

Perhaps the clearest outward indication of the elite strategy of recuperation is the transformed function of the Group of Eight (G8) summits in response to the yearly rituals of demonstration and disruption. As the writers of the Turbulence Collective (2007) observe,

[t]he G8 reinvented itself [and it] became a media-circus that presents itself as the only forum that can deal with global concerns. In other words, as the G8 came under attack, its very purpose became the relegitimation of its global authority. And it learnt its lessons well. At Gleneagles, a big NGO operation sponsored by the UK government saw 300,000 people turn out, not to demonstrate against the G8, but to welcome and “lobby” it in favour of debt relief and aid for Africa [. . .] in Heiligendamm [. . .] the G8 had once again moved on, now seeking to draw legitimacy by seeming to respond to widespread concern about climate change.

All of these processes clearly illustrate an attempt to re-code environmental challenges as opportunities for capitalism, through the creation of new markets and instruments of global governance. Yet such an outward “greening” of capitalist accumulation will only further exacerbate inequalities, create new enclosures, and impose regimes of austerity on the poor even as business elites cash in on the benefits.

Yet capitalism can only go so far in delaying its confrontation with the objective limits to its growth. Thus the ultimate goal of these recuperative strategies is to buy time, prolonging the period of manageable crisis so as to allow hierarchical institutions to adapt away from capitalism. While dwindling energy resources will inevitably require a transition to more local and labor-intensive forms of production, this transition can also be an elite-driven process. Such a process would aim at creating post-capitalist models of alienated production that, while appropriate for a declining resource base, will continue to harness human productive power to arrangements of economic imprisonment. If successful in the long run, such a strategy may usher in new forms of feudalism in which labor is at least partly de-commodified and replaced by serfdom — while armed elites retain privileged access to the fruits of a dwindling resource base (cf. Caffenztis 2008).

Since capitalism’s strategy of recuperation can only go so far (not least so because the accumulated experience in anti-capitalist social movements allows them to see through it), its companion strategy — repression — will also remain at the center of establishment responses to collapse. It is in this context that postmodern forms of authoritarian governance continue to be refined — from electronic surveillance and genetic profiling to the growing power of private security firms and on to the planned consolidation of NATO and the European security architecture (Gipfelsoli 2008).

The continuing development of innovations in social control is taking place not only in anticipation of potential geopolitical threats — from resource wars to mass migrations of environmental refugees — but also as a bulwark against domestic dissent, as self-organized grassroots alternatives based on community and mutual aid continue to proliferate against the elite strategy of containment and managed devolution.

Consequences for praxis

What is the significance of these developments for the future of anarchist praxis? In order to answer this question, we may classify the myriad actions and projects that anarchists undertake under three broad categories: delegitimation, direct action (both destructive and creative), and networking. While these categories are not mutually exclusive — a particular instance of anarchist praxis can fall into more than one of them — they do offer useful rubrics for organizing the discussion. In considering each category of praxis in relation to the discussion above, attention is drawn to a number of relevant priorities in each.

Delegitimation refers to anarchist interventions in public discourse, verbal or symbolic, whose message is to deny the basic legitimacy of dominant social institutions and eat away at the premises of representative politics, class society, patriarchy and so on. Unlike protests, which tend to be directed against particular sets of policies and geared to making demands on government and industry to change their behavior, messages of delegitimation are directed against the very existence of hierarchical institutions and implicitly or explicitly call for their abolition. Thus, anarchist participation in actions against the World Trade Organization or the International Monetary Fund went beyond demanding change in these institutions’ policies, rather using the protests as an opportunity to delegitimate capitalism itself. Similarly, anarchist involvement against the Iraq war tended to go beyond highlighting the Bush administration’s contravention of international law or its dubious justifications for invasion, focusing rather on the war’s contribution to capitalist expansion, to the stifling of dissent, and to the “health of the state” more generally.

In the context of anarchist politics in the age of collapse, delegitimation will continue to be a crucial element — increasingly so as a countermeasure to capital’s efforts to absorb the converging crises of the twenty-first century. This has to do not only with the recasting of environmental challenges as market opportunities for those capable of taking advantage of them, but also — and perhaps more importantly — with their deployment as an instrument of social fear. In line with the decline of the welfare state and its functions over the past decades, governments can no longer base their legitimacy on promises of welfare, education, or health. Rather, their self-justification hinges on their promises to protect their citizens from drummed-up menaces, ranging from terrorism to juvenile delinquency.

Climate, energy, and food crises can easily become a new weapon in this arsenal. As long as the alarmist talk is not backed by any form of action that would jeopardize the existing structure of wealth and power, environmental threats are a convenient way to keep the public scared and dependent on established institutions.

Against the campaign of induced collective amnesia intended to detach environmental and social chaos from the capitalist system that created them, anarchists and their allies would be drawn to put forward the clear message that the same social forces and structures responsible for this mess should not be trusted to get us out of it. Such a task will increase in difficulty the more that Western governments move in an ostensibly environmentalist and socially progressive direction, as is likely to be the case in the United States and a number of European countries in the coming years. Yet the strength of anarchist perspectives is in their ability to put forward basic critiques that unmask such developments for the time-buying strategies that they are.

In this context, the obverse possibility should also be considered — that rather than an outwardly progressive turn, the effects of collapse will in some countries encourage the rise of eco-fascism. This term refers to the already-extant efforts of parties and organizations on the far right to put an ecological veneer on their authoritarian and racist agendas (Zimmerman 1997). This includes, for example, using arguments about ecological carrying capacity to justify curbs on immigration, or the twisted incorporation of the spiritual and counter-enlightenment content of radical environmentalism into an ideology of integral nationalism (recall German National Socialism’s celebration of a mystical connection between the German people and its soil). Eco-fascism is an especially dangerous enemy because it often presents itself as an enemy of multinational capitalism, though in the final analysis it is parasitical upon it (Hammerquist and Sakai 2002).

Anarchists are already at the forefront of resistance to far right forces in Europe and North America, and almost alone when it comes to confronting them in the streets. No doubt this aspect of activity will remain a strong priority, now with increased dedication to pre-empting the far right’s attempts to take advantage of growing instability and dissatisfaction.

This leads us directly to the central area of anarchist praxis — direct action. This term refers to action without intermediaries, whereby an individual or a group uses their own power and resources to change reality, according to their own desires. Anarchists understand direct action as a matter of taking social change into one’s own hands, by intervening directly in a situation rather than appealing to an external agent (typically a government) for its rectification. Most commonly, direct action is viewed under its preventative or destructive guise. If people object, for instance, to the clear-cutting of a forest, then taking direct action means that rather than petitioning or engaging in a legal process, they would intervene literally to prevent the clear cutting — by chaining themselves to the trees, or pouring sugar into the gas-tanks of the bulldozers, or other acts of disruption and sabotage — their goal being to directly hinder or halt the project.

In addition to environmental defense, we can expect direct action in its destructive or preventative context to become increasingly important in the area of resistance to new technologies. On the present reading, resistance to new technologies will become more and more significant as institutional responses to ecological crises center around the irresponsible deployment of nuclear power, biotechnologies, and geoengineering as “fixes” for an increasingly destabilizing ecosystem. What should be emphasized in this context is that one need not adopt a comprehensive anticivilization perspective in order to endorse such actions. In other words, you don’t have to be a primitivist to be a Luddite. In an age of declining fossil fuels and the climate changes perpetrated by their combustion, a new generation of nuclear power stations will almost certainly be pushed forward by government and industry. As mentioned above, the nuclear industry is already massively re-branding itself as a “clean” alternative to oil, coal, and gas, and governments are following suit. Yet nuclear power can only buy time for capitalism and Western over-consumption, at the price of permanent contamination.

While public campaigning and legal measures may have some success in limiting the creation of new nuclear power stations, direct action will no doubt come to the fore as such measures encounter their limitations. Anarchists and their allies will very likely have to intervene to directly hinder construction, and we may well expect a new round of anti-nuclear struggles to emerge very soon as a defining feature of anarchist praxis. This issue is already being given attention at the yearly Climate Camps, first organized in Britain and already being emulated in Germany, Australia, and the United States.

The trenchant world food crisis will also likely result in an institutional push to expand the deployment of genetically modified food, ostensibly as a way of gaining higher yields, but at the price of ecosystem contamination and a further consolidation of corporate power and control over farmers’ livelihoods. Anarchist resistance to genetically modified (GM) crops already flowered in the 1990s, especially in European countries, which unlike the US were not as rapidly swept by commercial growing. In solidarity with militant campaigns against GM crops by peasant movements in Latin America and South Asia, anarchists have played a large part in both campaigning and direct action. “Crop-busting” may well return to the fore of anarchist praxis, even as they promote more sustainable alternatives.

Finally, nanotechnology — the direct manipulation of atoms and molecules — is increasingly entering the consciousness of activists as the latest front of technological assault on society and the biosphere. Taking advantage of property changes that occur when substances are reduced to nano-scale dimensions, a host of novel products incorporating them are already on the market (ETC Group 2003). Nanotechnologies are not only an enabling technology that enhances corporate power in all sectors, but also a platform for the potential convergence of biotechnology, computing, and neuroscience, as the life/non-life barrier is broken on the atomic scale.

More immediately, initiatives enabled by nanotechnology are among those being forwarded as part of the looming menace of geoengineering — the intentional, large-scale manipulation of planetary systems to bring about environmental change, particularly to counteract the undesired side effects of other human activities (ETC Group 2007). Among the many proposals currently being discussed are “fertilizing” the oceans with iron nanoparticles to increase phytoplankton blooms that sequester CO2; utilizing nanoengineered membranes to store compressed CO2 in abandoned mines, active oil wells, and sub-oceanic caverns; and blasting sulfate-based aerosols into the stratosphere to deflect sunlight.

Efforts to counter these measures through international law are already taking place. The signatory governments of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), for example, were successfully lobbied in mid-2008 to unanimously agree on a wide-ranging “de-facto moratorium” on ocean fertilization activities. Yet these measures are limited in scope and enforceability — for example, one ocean fertilization company, Climos Inc. of San Francisco, appears to be moving full steam ahead in defiance of international consensus. Hence, direct action may become the only way to prevent dangerous gambling with the stability of planetary systems, the result of the same logic that has already destabilized them to a great degree.

Besides the destructive and preventative aspects of direct action, the term may also signify a constructive and creative enterprise — the self-organized generation of alternatives to capitalism on the ground. These efforts represent utopian experiments in the making, a prefigurative politics aiming to build a new world within the shell of the old. As the writers of the Emergency Exit Collective (2008: 5–6) point out, numerous efforts of this kind are already in existence around the planet — far wider than the efforts of anarchists themselves:

From new forms of direct democracy of indigenous communities like El Alto in Bolivia or self-managed factories in Paraguay, to township movements in South Africa, farming cooperatives in India, squatters’ movements in Korea, experiments in permaculture in Europe or “Islamic economics” among the urban poor in the Middle East. We have seen the development of thousands of forms of mutual aid association [that] share a common desire to mark a practical break with capitalism, and which, most importantly, hold out the prospect of creating new forms of planetary commons.

Through the retrieval of commons, people become increasingly capable of releasing themselves from dependence on capitalism and hollowing it out from within. In the coming years, the creation of self-managed alternatives based on commons will become ever more urgent, as communities face the consequences of declining energy resources and climate change. Indeed, such practices may be our only hope for passing through collapse in a way that will result in liberatory and life-affirming social realities, rather than in nightmares of authoritarianism or wholesale destruction.

For anarchists and their allies, it will become increasingly important to be involved in building independent, sustainable alternatives and community selfsufficiency. The growing interest among anti-capitalists in permaculture, natural building, and other aspects of practical ecology is an encouraging move in this direction. Constructive direct action in this vein is especially relevant in the advanced capitalist countries, where most anarchists are located, since these are societies where both community ties and basic skills have been thoroughly eroded.

In both urban and rural projects, the combination of self-sufficiency and egalitarian social relations can amount to a powerful form of propaganda by the deed, displaying attractive models that people can implement. Such models offer not only empowerment but also steps towards food and energy security, and towards independence from an increasingly precarious wage labor market with few remaining social safety nets.

This is where the final category of anarchist praxis — networking — comes to the fore. In both their destructive and constructive direct action efforts, anarchists are acting within a much broader social field and their successes will largely depend on solidarity and cooperation with constituencies outside their own core networks. In this context, the cultural logic of networking that has become a central feature of anarchist political praxis will hopefully continue to bear fruit, as anarchists and their allies extend their ties with additional communities in struggle — from migrants and refugees to the crashing middle classes.

All this does not mean that anarchists should position themselves as a vanguard that leads the masses towards revolution, but rather that they could function as a rear guard that seeks only to encourage and protect the autonomy and grassroots orientation of emergent resistances. In the context of building a new society, this would entail subverting attempts to absorb local self-reliance into a capitalist and/or authoritarian framework and — if this is successful — defending selfmanaged communities as they come under various forms of marginalization and attack.

Ultimately, however, there are no guarantees. Anarchist agency will remain necessary under all conditions, even — and perhaps more so — after the collapse of global capitalism. As Noam Chomsky (1986) argues, anarchism constitutes “an unending struggle, since progress in achieving a more just society will lead to new insight and understanding of forms of oppression that may be concealed in traditional practice and consciousness.” Even under the most favorable scenario, anarchists will have to respond to the re-emergence of patterns of domination within and/or among communities, even if at a certain point in time they have been consciously overcome. Eternal vigilance will remain the price of liberty.


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Tags: collapsestrugglestrategiesclimate changereflectionscategory: Essays
Categories: News

Alleged ELF and ALF Fugitive, Joseph Dibee, Arrested After 12 Years

Sun, 08/12/2018 - 14:44

From Earth First!

UPDATE 12:20 PM 8/11/2018: Joseph’s contact info has been added to the bottom of this post.

Joseph Mahmoud Dibee, an alleged member of the Earth Liberation Front group “The Family,” has been arrested in Cuba and is now being held in Oregon. Cuban authorities, with assistance from the FBI and other US government agencies, detained Dibee in Cuba shortly before he was set to board a plane to Russia. He has been held in the Multnomah County Detention Center in Portland since Thursday afternoon.

He appeared in federal court in Oregon yesterday afternoon. He pleaded not guilty to three counts of arson and conspiracy charges. He told the judge he understood his rights and said nothing else.

He will now face federal criminal charges in Oregon, California, and Washington.

He is being charged in Oregon with one count of conspiracy to commit arson, one count of conspiracy to commit arson and destruction of an energy facility, and one count of arson. He also faces one count each of conspiracy to commit arson, possession of an unregistered firearm, and possession of a destructive device in furtherance of a crime of violence in Washington and one count each of conspiracy to commit arson, arson of a government building, and possession of a destructive device in furtherance of a crime of violence in California.

One of the actions Dibee is accused of taking part in is the destruction of the Cavel West horsemeat-packing plant in Redmond, Oregon, in 1997. The joint ELF/ALF action was successful in permanently closing down the facility.

In 2005, FBI agents arrived at Joseph Dibee’s home in Seattle, but did not have enough evidence to arrest him. He “disappeared” a few days later. In 2006, a federal grand jury in Oregon indicted Dibee and 12 others as part of Operation Backfire, an FBI investigation into animal and earth liberation groups which has led to numerous arrests. “The Family” is believed to be responsible for actions ranging from vandalism to arson between 1995 and 2001, causing more than $45 million in damages to earth-destroying and animal-abusing companies. None of the actions Dibee is accused of taking part in harmed any human or nonhuman life.

Dibee is expected to go to trial in October in a federal court in Eugene. He will be held in jail until then.

Please write to Joseph at:
Joseph Dibee #812133
Multnomah County Detention Center
11540 NE Inverness Drive
Portland, Oregon 97220

DO NOT write about his case or reference anything illegal!

Tags: ELFAFLpropaganda of the deedcubaoregonthe familycategory: Prisoners
Categories: News