We Were All Indigenous, And Can Again Become…
by Homer Bust
I did not fall from space… However alien I may appear to this planet, this land, these people, I come from this earth. From its water, its soil, its people, its blood. It has provided me with a life, which I willingly and humbly direct. Despite all attempts by the civilized logic to separate me, to dislocate me, to destroy my connection, I am still part of this fusion of life, this deeply integrated accumulation of living beings.
I, like all of us, have direct lineage to a different way of being, to a direct experience with the world. We once lived unmediated from the earth, ate directly from the forest, drank straight from its waters, slept touching the ground, healed ourselves with its plants, made all of our decisions concerning our lives with people we loved. We are still these people, only scarred, with cold and clunky armor created for us by a culture of death that we have reluctantly accepted when and where we have grown too tired and weak. We have been tamed. We have been domesticated. But, we are still connected under this baggage, this defensiveness, this disposition.
I have been severely damaged from generation after generation of upheaval, defeat, and domestication at the hands of colonizers, and at times I did the colonizing. But this was only after I had been sufficiently separated from the earth, others, and myself. But mostly, I have been just a pawn and a tool in the ongoing war against life. I have suffered greatly: in the direct brutality inflicted upon me in my own life, through more subtle institutionalized methods, as an accumulation of my ancestors’ pain, and from missing out on a penetrating and more integrated connection to the world.
I have been moved so far from where my relations once dwelled, yet I can still feel connected to place. Maybe not in the same way that my relations did to the land they were indigenous to, or the people who were/are connected to where my feet currently rest, where I inhabit. But I can still go deep into the ground, take the air into my lungs, learn from the whispers of this place, offer my respectful and modest influence to this land, and unite the world around and within me.
I have always felt dislocated within civilization. Whether the suburbs, the cities, or small towns, I have always felt suffocated, empty, and lost. Traveling from one location to the next, always over-idealizing the succeeding context. The grass always seemed greener. In this postmodern reality, dislocation is not the exception but the norm, and even the sought-after condition. We can never be whole as long as we live outside and above our surroundings, or for that matter, even view them as surroundings, and not as part of us. At some point I think it is important to find a place, a bioregion, a home (though not necessarily a sedentary location).
I have much to learn from those deeply connected to the place I call home, those who have an intimate relationship with the land, animals, plants, people, and patterns of this specific environment. I have most to learn from those who have evolved with this place; whose bodies, minds, spirits, and culture have developed alongside these mountains, birds, trees, and rivers. I do not wish to “play native” or co-opt traditions, but to tap into and learn from a physical and spiritual knowledge, so that I can live respectfully and sustainably with this particular part of earth (which is comprised of infinitely diverse forms of life).
I have much to learn from the survivors. Those who were forcibly converted to patriarchal gods. Those who were burned at the stake. Those who were given blankets with smallpox. Those who were stolen from their homes and families and chained in the bellies of ships. Those who were pushed out of their lands and herded into camps. Those who were marched and dragged down trails of tears. Those who were stripped down, re-educated, and assimilated. Those who became beasts of burden. Those who were pitted against one another. Those who were put on trains, and again, herded into camps. Those who were gassed and burned. Those who were lynched. Those who were bombed. Those who were raped. Those who were beaten. Those who have been virtually destroyed, yet continue to endure. Those who have been whipped, yet amazingly continue to thrive. Those who attempt to regain their ancestral knowledge. Those who raise healthy children. Those who burn down the suburbs. Those who reconnect with the earth. Those who remember. Those who survive. And, I have much to learn from myself. I have much to remember.
I did not create this monstrosity, this leviathan, this death culture. I am both a by-product and survivor of it. I was not the first to step out of the forest. I did not create the first separations, plant the first corn, irrigate the first field, domesticate the first animal, subjugate the first woman, support the first stratification, fabricate the first weapon, construct the first city, build the first ship, enslave the first foreigner, kill the first indian, assemble the first railroad, erect the first factory, split the first atom, plant the first flag on the moon, genetically produce the first clone, and like Al Gore, I didn’t invent the internet. But I am also profoundly tied to their legacy and their innovation and expansion. And I am also the victim of their legacy of death, domination, and destruction. “Pleased to meet you, hope you guessed my name [civilization]. But what’s puzzling you is the nature of my game.”
I know in my heart and in my bones that we can live differently, that we have lived differently, and that those possibilities can come together in beautiful ways. I have no expectations within this nightmare; my/our only hope is to wake up from the confusion. There is no future in this failed experiment; all I can do is reject it. There is no possibility of readjustment; it can only be destroyed. I must find a place, people, and a way to live differently; to reconnect and to dream.
We were all indigenous to somewhere, someone, and somehow…and can become so again. The old ways are gone, but I am still going home, not necessarily where I started, but maybe somewhere I began.
Wish us luck!
Welcome to Green Anarchy
“At the approach of Spring the red squirrels got under my house, two at a time, directly under my feet as I sat reading and writing, and kept up the queerest chuckling and chirruping and vocal pirouetting and gurgling sounds that ever were heard; and when I stamped they only chirruped the louder, as if past all fear and respect in their mad pranks, defying humanity to stop them. No, you don’t–chickaree–chickaree. They were wholly deaf to my arguments, or failed to perceive their force, and fell into a strain of invective that was irresistible.
The first sparrow of spring! The year beginning with younger hope than ever! The faint silvery warblings heard over the partially bare and moist fields from the bluebird, the song sparrow, and the red-wing, as if the last flakes of winter tinkled as they fell! What at such a time are histories, chronologies, traditions, and all written revelations? The brooks sing carols and glees to the spring. The marsh hawk, sailing low over the meadow, is already seeking the first slimy life that awakes. The sinking sound of melting snow is heard in all dells, and the ice dissolves apace in the ponds. The grass flames up on the hillsides like a spring fire,–“et primitus oritur herba imbribus primoribus evocata”–as if the earth sent forth an inward heat to greet the returning sun; not yellow but green is the color of its flame;–the symbol of perpetual youth, the grass-blade, like a long green ribbon, streams from the sod into the summer, checked indeed by the frost, but anon pushing on again, lifting its spear of last year’s hay with the fresh life below. It grows as steadily as the rilloozes out of the ground. It is almost identical with that, for in the growing days of June, when the rills are dry, the grass-blades are their channels, and from year to year the herds drink at the perennial green stream, and the mower draws from it betimes their winter supply. So our human life but dies down toits root, and still puts forth its green blade to eternity.”
–Henry David Thoreau, Walden
Spring! Spring! Spring! What more could be said to supplement the eloquent tone of Thoreau as he meditates on the magical and eternal metamorphosing from the solitary dark season of winter to the peculiar germinations and illuminations of spring? On one hand, not much, but on the other hand, here we are with another 76 pages of anti-civilization theory and action for you to digest!
For this edition, we decided on the theme of “Indigenous Resistance to Civilization”, and while the issue doesn’t exclusively focus on this critical theme, it is highly present and deeply informs these pages. We got all sorts of great contributions on this, and other topics, much of which we were simply unable to use due to space (and financial) limitations. We sifted through it all, and the succeeding pages are filled with some of our favorites. It is always more pleasurable (but also difficult) as editors to have too much stuff rather than not enough – the time has long passed for filler! While we are not putting forth a “green anarchist position” or “expert opinion” on the ongoing and inevitable conflict between indigenous people/life-ways and civilization, we do feel there are some potent ideas contained here, ones which can be built upon (and challenged) as anti-civilization critiques become deeper and more intertwined.
We Need Your Help! We hate to bring this up once again, but this issue almost did not come out (at least on time or to its characteristic extent), and you may have noticed we have dropped the color cover (for now). If it were not for the generosity of certain people, the cutting of many corners, and us reaching slightly into the red space of borrowing from tomorrow, you would not be reading this. Frankly, we are broke. Half of the burden of this project is finding the money to pay for printing, mailing, supplies, equipment, and rent. We desperately need your help if you want to see this project continue. We have some ideas up our sleeves, but we can only do so much. We want to thank the many distributors, subscribers, and supporters out there, but we need more of you. It’s time for the hundreds of you who consistently receive this magazine for free or pick it up around town to start to kick something down (if only mailing costs). Please, consider becoming a PAYING distributor, a subscriber, or special donor. This project has continued to strive for depth and consistency, and it has been well received around the world, but we need your help to persevere and to grow. Our survival is up to you.
Finally, in assembling this issue, many interesting ideas, concepts, and feelings incidentally came up which were somewhat of an extension or out growth of this issue’s theme. While we have decided to not be strict with a theme for the next issue, we are especially interested in contributions relating to spirituality, religion, world-views, and ideology for the Summer Issue (#20). Let us know what you think. Deadline for our next is May Day!
For Springtime Creation and Destruction, The Green Anarchy Collective
Anarchy in Our Bones
by Emory Wilder
“If the entire natural universe is vibrantly alive, then no being in it should be chained or fenced in. The realization of this is anarchy.”
“As a group, authentic nature-based people are not neurotic, repressed, or burdened by psychopathology as we know it; rather, they tend to be integrated in thought, feeling, and spirit. Most pointedly, nature-based people manifest the very qualities that contemporary psychotherapy, the recovery movement, and spiritual practices continually aim for: a visible sense of inner peace, unself conscious humility, an urge to communal cooperation, and heartfelt appreciation for the world around them.”
“No European who has tasted Savage Life can afterwards bear to live in our Societies.
We’ve all had it beaten into our heads that life outside civilization is nasty, brutish, and short, nature red in tooth and claw. We’ve learned that the “savages” had to struggle night and day in a howling chaos just to scratch out survival, and (simultaneously) that they were lazy and indolent, laying around waiting for white men to put them to work. But civilization’s own experts in the field, the anthropologists, tell us about “primitive affluence,” about people who work – if you can even call it work, walking in the woods gathering berries – two hours a day to have all they need. They tell us that the hunter-gatherers were (and are) egalitarian and free of authority, owning nothing but having everything. That they lived embedded in the deep rhythms of the earth, and that this made them radiantly happy. The !Kung San in Africa lived on the same land for two million years before white colonizers enslaved them in the mines. The Arawak Indians welcomed Columbus like a long-lost brother, wading into the ocean with gifts and open arms. He lined their children up front to back to see how many heads he could cut off with a single sword stroke.
What is it about civilized life that breeds predators like Columbus, then makes the rest of us have parades every year in his honor? Humans evolved to live in deep relationship with the land, to live wild, free, and happy. When we stopped trusting that the earth would feed us, we started trying to control her. When we split tame from wild, we split from our own health and happiness in the bargain.
This broken trust, this split, was and is devastating. Pandora’s box opened wide, and out came the buzzing madness of civilization: agriculture, war, hierarchy, cities, rape, slavery, work, domestication, the population explosion, religion (do you imagine that the God which demanded Manifest Destiny, the Middle Passage, the Crusades, and the Inquisition will somehow save you?), science, technology, time (hurryup and finish reading – don’t you have something else to do?), property, the whole interlocking web of institutions keeping us under its heel. Our wild human spirit, like the wild beautiful earth, became the fuel for the engines of destruction chewing us all up today.
This predator loose upon the land goes by many names. The State. Empire. America. Business. Production. Work. Authority. Civilization. It is the perpetrator, the psychopath. It’s impersonal, unfeeling, insatiable, violent, invasive, and absolutely remorseless. It is the Machine. We’ve spent ten thousand years creating a world in its image, and now it’s eating us and everything it can reach. And it’s in our heads. The same split that spawned civilization tore a hole in our psyches that still wounds us today. We’re born into the world wide open with passion. We smile, we laugh, we play, we explore. We’re all Stone Age babies bursting with life, natural anarchy throbbing with joy! But when we primal babies meet the grinding machine of civilization, the fate of the Arawaks and the !Kung San becomes our own. Surging joy meets civilized violence, and the assault turns us against our true deep self. Just to survive, we’re forced to accept insanities – time, money, “owning” things, boxes to live in, signs to tell us what to do, chemicals in our food, desks in rows, the idea that some people or races or sexes or species are better than others, and so on – that are just not natural to us. We learn to hate, fear, destroy, and numb ourselves to the pain, and we learn to lie, most especially to ourselves. As the programming sinks in deeper, we start to believe that this is progress, that we have to conquer everyone else so they can see how good we have it.
Driven further at every step from our ancestral wholeness, we develop a false self – subservient to authority, afraid of passion, at war with the body, smiling while our hearts cry out – to cover our horror about what is happening to us. We try to conquer our deeper selves in order to be good Americans, good citizens, good parents, good workers, good shoppers, good voters, good Germans, and we identify with the Nazi predator as the fires of Auschwitz sear our souls. Desperately terrorized, we crucify our own humanity, learning to use ourselves, others, the land, everything, as objects. We become disembodied, fragmented, incoherent heads racing around in machines looking for something, anything, to save us from ourselves, to deaden this constant unease gnawing away deep at our bellies.
But what we’re looking for has been inside us all along. No matter how we repress our passions to appease the system, they never die. Because our primal fire rages always within us, we can never be civilized and be whole. When we dis-identify with the predator, we find a whole world of burning desire, radiant joy, and profound stillness waiting for us. Long-buried tensions relax as we find what was always with us, and as we sink our feet in the ground, we awaken to strength and power we never knew possible.
This is the turning point. Living what we know in our bones, we become renegades from civilization. Raging freely, grieving deeply, dancing joyfully, we appear mad to those caught in its madness. We no longer believe in its rules and punishments, for we know in our hearts that our dance is infinite. We follow the earth’s rhythms and heal organically in her depths. Just as the tree crumbles the sidewalk, we take root and burst through the chains caging our minds, the armor binding our bodies, the masks hiding our brilliance.
Our basic relationship with life becomes listening. As the primal tide rises in us, we follow the desire burning in our hearts and the instinct flowing deep in our bodies. We listen to those lower on civilization’s ladder of worth – other races, women, children, our bodies, the air, the birds, the rocks, the trees – and their wisdom guides us. We listen to each other and find in relationship and community levels of intimacy we could hardly before imagine. Opening our hearts, our bodies, our senses, our whole being, we fall in love with life again. We welcome the wild into our depths one tree, one river, one moment at a time, and warm, deep joy settles in our bones as we return to the home we never really could have left.
Becoming feral is different for everyone. I don’t know what you should do or how you should live your life. But looking the predator in the eye, telling yourself truth about what you see, going to the root in your questioning, and listening to your deepest passions, you will know. You will find that your resistance runs strong, whatever methods you choose, that your intuition sees well, your imagination flies free, your desire burns bright. In refusing the predator’s poison, you will find your NO anchoring you to stand your ground, and in embracing the blood of the tribes flowing in your veins, you will find your YES enchanting all you touch.
Some Indians say “today is a great day to die.” And it is! Every moment could be your last. But the dead can dance! Dying to the civilized, we’re filled with a firestorm of ecstasy. What we have now we can never lose. Our passions rage unbound even as our souls rest in the deep silence of the universe. Letting go into the mystery of life, we find adventure in not knowing. Celebrating awestruck the wonder of each precious moment, we free our hearts at last from the predator’s grasp. Dancing on the smoldering ruins of the techno-madness, we laugh madly from deep in our bellies. Feeling the rhythm of Eros pulsing in our bodies, we run wild in our play. Trusting the desires raging inside us, we grow whole once more. And becoming at last the wild we love, we melt with delight into the flowing dance of the primal, ancient forest.
The Evershifting Terrain Of Creative-Destruction
Earth. The many-colored and textured – always unique – particulate matter from which all life emerges, is nurtured, and is returned. We give this vital element little notice; polluting it with manufactured toxins, burying it under pavement, and depleting its essence with scientific agricultural practices – rendering it sterile, for now. But when these particles move in just such a way, at just some certain time and place, they are quite suddenly – noticed. Gaining our attention as they respond to their conditions, naturally, in a great wave of creative-destruction.
This winter brought another American presidential inauguration, the spectacle where some gathered to celebrate the victory of their tyrant, others to commiserate on the failure of their own. Outside, thousands of activists and ‘radicals’ – along with some who call themselves anarchist – marched to protest the new regime, that is, if they weren’t corralled or caged. Muddled speechifying focused on some inanity or another, the words rousing but not substantive since the goal is to unite. To do this organizers focus on the holy grail of activism – hope.
Many see hope as a prerequisite for proper action and hopelessness the cause of apathy. This is a false dichotomy of course, with either abstraction used as motivator or preventative. But, abstractions work for organizers – the right using faith, the left hope – as rallying flags, squeezing former (if barely) individuals into a homogenous mass moving towards a single objective – to unite us all towards their better world.
Be done with such quackery! Just as no single force moves the great shelves of earth, no single motivator can harness a collective movement towards a single, homogenous world. If there is such a thing, it has been reserved in the depths of the machine’s security apparatus for its own purposes of a unified forgetting.
There are tangible, perhaps instinctual motivations to connect us to the full force of individual action. Action that cannot be scheduled and massified – thus rendered impotent – as it is inspired by the complexity of our emotion, spirit, sense, intellect, experience, desire, and need. Moving to our own anarchic rhythms, we create the conditions for a massive wave of creative-destruction. We are the subtle but potent cracks and fissures that cause the machine to tremble and quake. When we move from deeply individual passions – joy, rage, desire, revenge – our motivation is not so easily stolen by others in their quest to prop up the concrete sterility of collectivism. And sometimes, we will find ourselves alongside others who will – with or without hope (or belief or faith) – spread the rupture. Let’s live passionately – engaged, spontaneous, and whatever is our own instinctive wildness – feeling the great wave of creative-destruction rising to the surface.
Locating an Indigenous Anarchism
It’s easy enough to hedge about politics. It comes naturally and most of the time the straight answer isn’t really going to satisfy the questioner, nor is it appropriate to fix our politics to this world, to what feels immovable. Politics, like experience, is a subjective way to understand the world. At best it provides a deeper vocabulary than mealy-mouthed platitudes about being good to people, at worst (and most commonly) it frames people and ideas into ideology. Ideology, as we are fully aware, is a bad thing. Why? Because it answers questions better left haunting us, because it attempts to answer permanently what is temporary at best.
It is easy to be cagey about politics but for a moment let us imagine a possibility. Not to tell one another what to do, or about an answer to every question that could arise, but to take a break from hesitation. Let us imagine what an indigenous anarchism could look like.
We should start with what we have, which is not a lot. What we have, in this world, is the memory of a past obscured by history books, of a place clear-cut, planted upon, and paved over. We share this memory with our extended family, who we quarrel with, who we care for deeply, and who often believe in those things we do not have. What we do have is not enough to shape this world, but is usually enough to get us by.
If we were to shape this world (an opportunity we would surely reject if we were offered), we would begin with a great burning. We would likely begin in the cities where with all the wooden structures of power and underbrush of institutional assumption the fire would surely burn brightly and for a very long time. It would be hard on those species that lived in these places. It would be very hard to remember what living was like without relying on deadfall and fire departments. But we would remember. That remembering wouldn’t look like a skill-share or an extension class in the methods of survival, but an awareness that no matter how skilled we personally are (or perceive ourselves to be) we need our extended family.
We will need each other to make sure that the flames, if they were to come, clear the area that we will live in together. We will need to clear it of the fuel that would end up repeating the problems we are currently having. We will need to make sure that the seeds, nutrients and soil are scattered beyond our ability to control.
Once we get beyond the flames we will have to craft a life together. We will have to recall what social behavior looks and feels like. We will have to heal.
When we begin to examine what life could be like, now that all the excuses are gone, now that all the bullies are of human size and shape, we will have to keep in mind many things. We will have to always keep in mind the matter of scale. We will have to keep in mind the memory of the first people and the people who kept the memory of matches and where and when to burn through the past confusing age. For what it is worth we will have to establish a way to live that is both indigenous, which is to say of the land that we are actually on, and anarchist, which is to say without authoritarian constraint.
First principles are those perspectives that (adherents to) a tendency would understand as immutable. They are usually left unstated. Within anarchism these principles include direct action, mutual aid, and voluntary cooperation. These are not ideas about how we are going to transform society or about the form of anarchist organization, but an understanding about what would be innovative and qualitatively different about an anarchist social practice vis-à-vis a capitalist republic, or a totalitarian socialism.
It is worth noting a cultural history of our three basic anarchist principles as a way of understanding what an indigenous anarchist set of principles could look like. Direct action as a principle is primarily differentiated from the tradition of labor struggles, where it was used as a tactic, in that it posits that living ‘directly’ (or in an unmediated fashion) is an anarchist imperative. Put another way, the principle of direct action would be an anarchist statement of self-determination in practical aspects of life. Direct action must be understood through the lens of the events of May ’68 where a rejection of alienated life led large sections of French society into the streets and towards a radically self-organized practice.
The principle of mutual aid is a very traditional anarchist concept. Peter Kropotkin laid out a scientific analysis of animal survival and (as a corollary to Darwin’s theory of evolution) described a theory of cooperation that he felt better suited most species. As one of the fathers of anarchism (and particularly Anarcho-Communism) Kropotkin’s concept of mutual aid has been embraced by most anarchists. As a principle it is generally limited to a level of tacit anarchist support for anarchist projects.
Voluntary cooperation is the anarchist principle that informs anarchist understandings of economics, social behavior (and exclusion), and the scale of future society. It could be stated simply as the principle that we, individually, should determine what we do with our time, with whom we work, and how we work. Anarchists have wrestled with these concepts for as long as there has been a discernible anarchist practice. The spectrum of anarchist thought on the nuance of voluntary cooperation ranges from Max Stirner who refuses anything but total autonomy to Kropotkin whose theory of a world without scarcity (which is a fundamental premise of most Marxist positions) would give us greater choices about what we would do with our time. Today this principle is usually stated most clearly as the principle to freely associate (and disassociate) with one another.
This should provide us with enough information to make the simple statement that anarchist principles have been informed by science (both social and physical), a particular understanding of the individual (and their relation to larger bodies) and as a response to the alienation of modern existence and the mechanisms that social institutions use to manipulate people. Naturally we will now move onto how an indigenous perspective differs from these.
In the spirit of speaking clearly I hesitate in making the usual caveats when principles are in question. These hesitations are not because, in practice, there is any doubt as to what the nature of relationship or practice should look like. But when writing, particularly about politics, you can do yourself a great disservice by planting a flag and calling it righteous. Stating principles as the basis for a politic usually is such a flag. If I believe in a value and then articulate that value as instrumental for an appropriate practice then what is the difference between my completely subjective (or self-serving) perspective and one that I could possibly share usefully? This question should continue to haunt us.
Since we have gone this far let us speak, for a moment, about an indigenous anarchism’s first principles. Insert caveats about this being one perspective among many. Everything is alive. Alive may not be the best word for what is being talked about but we could say imbibed with spirit or filled with the Great Spirit and we would mean the same thing. We will assume that a secular audience understands life as complex, interesting, in motion, and valuable. This same secular person may not see the Great Spirit in things that they are capable of seeing life in.
The counterpoint to everything being filled with life is that there are no dead things. Nothing is an object. Anything worth directly experiencing is worth acknowledging and appreciating for its complexity, its dynamism and its intrinsic worth. When one passes from what we call life, they do not become object, they enrich the lives they touched and the earth they lie in. If everything is alive, then sociology, politics, and statistics all have to be destroyed if for no other reason but because they are anti-life disciplines.
Another first principle would be that of the ascendance of memory. Living in a world where complex artifices are built on foundations of lies leads us to believe that there is nothing but deceit and untruth. Our experience would lead us to believe nothing less. Compounding this problem is the fact that those who could tell us the truth, our teachers, our newscasters and our media devote a scarce amount of their resources to anything like honesty. It is hard to blame them. Their memory comes from the same forgetfulness that ours does.
If we were to remember we would spend a far greater amount of our time remembering. We would share our memories with those we loved, with those we visited, and those who passed by us. We will have to spend a lot of time creating new memories to properly place the recollection of a frustrated forgetful world whose gift was to destroy everything dissimilar to itself.
An indigenous anarchism is an anarchism of place. This would seem impossible in a world that has taken upon itself the task of placing us nowhere. A world that places us nowhere universally. Even where we are born, live, and die is not our home. An anarchism of place could look like living in one area for all of your life. It could look like living only in areas that are heavily wooded, that are near life-sustaining bodies of water, or in dry places. It could look like traveling through these areas. It could look like traveling every year as conditions, or desire, dictated. It could look like many things from the outside, but it would be choice dictated by the subjective experience of those living in place and not the exigency of economic or political priorities. Location is the differentiation that is crushed by the mortar of urbanization and pestle of mass culture into the paste of modern alienation.
Finally an indigenous anarchism places us as an irremovable part of an extended family. This is an extension of the idea that everything is alive and therefore we are related to it in the sense that we too are alive. It is also a statement of a clear priority. The connection between living things, which we would shorthand to calling family, is the way that we understand ourselves in the world. We are part of a family and we know ourselves through family. Leaving aside the secular language for a moment, it is impossible to understand oneself or one another outside of the spirit. It is the mystery that should remain outside of language that is what we all share together and that sharing is living.
Anarchist in spirit vs. Anarchist in word
Indigenous people in general and North American native people specifically have not taken too kindly to the term anarchist up until this point. There have been a few notable exceptions (Rob los Ricos, Zig Zag, and myself among them) but the general take is exemplified by Ward Churchill’s line “I share many anarchist values like opposition to the State but…” Which begs the question why aren’t more native people interested in anarchism?
The most obvious answer to this question is that anarchism is part of a European tradition so far outside of the mainstream that it isn’t generally interesting (or accessible) to non-westerners. This is largely true but is only part of the answer. Another part of an answer can be seen in the surprisingly large percentage of anarchists who hold that race doesn’t matter; that it is, at best, a tool used to divide us (by the Man) and at worst something that will devolve society into tribalism [sic]. Outside of whether there are any merits to these arguments (which I believe stand by themselves) is the violation of two principles that have not been discussed in detail up until this point — self-determination and radical decentralization.
Self-determination should be read as the desire for people who are self-organized (whether by tradition, individual choice, or inclination) to decide how they want to live with each other. This may seem like common sense, and it is, but it is also consistently violated by people who believe that their value system supersedes that of those around them. The question that anarchists of all stripes have to answer for themselves is whether they are capable of dealing with the consequences of other people living in ways they find reprehensible.
Radical decentralization is a probable outcome to most anarchist positions. There are very few anarchists (outside of Parecon) that believe that an anarchist society will have singular answers to politics, economy, or culture. More than a consequence, the principle of radical decentralization means it is preferable for there to be no center.
If anarchists are not able to apply the principles of self-determination to the fact that real living and breathing people do identify within racial and cultural categories and that this identification has consequences in terms of dealing with one another can we be shocked that native people (or so-called people of color) lack any interest in cohabitating? Furthermore if anarchists are unable to see that the consequence of their own politic includes the creation of social norms and cultures that they would not feel comfortable in, in a truly decentralized social environment, what hope do they have to deal with the people with whom they don’t feel comfortable today?
The answer is that these anarchists do not expect to deal with anyone outside of their understanding of reality. They expect reality to conform to their subjective understanding of it.
This problem extends to the third reason that native people lack interest in anarchism. Like most political tendencies anarchism has come up with a distinct language, cadence, and set of priorities. The tradition of these distinctions is what continues to bridge the gap between many of the anarchist factions that have very little else in common. This tradition is not a recruiting tradition. There is only a small evangelical tradition within anarchism. It is largely an inscrutable tradition outside of itself.
This isn’t a problem outside of itself. The problem is that it is coupled with the arrogance of the educated along with the worst of radical politics’ excesses. This is best seen in the distinction that continues to be made of a discrete tradition of anarchism from actions that are anarchistic. Anarchists would like to have it both ways. They would like to see their tradition as being both a growing and vital one along with being uncompromising and deeply radical. Since an anarchist society would be such a break from what we experience in this world, it would be truly different. It is impossible to perceive any scenario that leads from here to there. There is no path.
The anarchist analysis of the Zapatistas is a case in point. Anarchists have understood that it was an indigenous struggle, that it was armed and decentralized but habitually temper their enthusiasm with warnings about a) valorizing Subcommandante Marcos, b) the differences between social democracy and anarchism, c) the problems with negotiating with the State for reforms, etc. etc. These points are valid and criticism is not particularly the problem. What is the problem is that anarchist criticism is generally more repetitive than it is inspired or influential. Repetitive criticisms are useful in getting every member of a political tendency on the same page. Criticism helps us understand the difference between illusion and reality. But the form that anarchist criticism has taken about events in the world is more useful in shaping an understanding of what real anarchists believe than what the world is.
As long as the arbiters of anarchism continue to be the wielders of the Most Appropriate Critique, then anarchism will continue to be an isolated sect far removed from any particularly anarchistic events that happen in the world. This will continue to make the tendency irrelevant for those people who are interested in participating in anarchistic events.
Native People are not gone
For many readers these ideas may seem worth pursuit. An indigenous anarchism may state a position felt but not articulated about how to live with one another, how to live in the world and about the decomposition. These readers will recognize themselves in indigeneity and ponder the next step. A radical position must embed an action plan, right?
No, it does not.
This causality, this linear vision of the progress of human events from idea to articulation to strategy to victory is but one way to understand the story of how we got from there to here. Progress is but one mythology. Another is that the will to power, or the spirit of resistance, or the movement of the masses transforms society. They may, and I appreciate those stories, but I will not finish this story with a happy ending that will not come true. This is but a sharing. This is a dream I have had for some time and haven’t shown to any of you before, which is not to say that I do not have a purpose…
Whether stated in the same language or not, the only indigenous anarchists that I have met (with one or three possible exceptions) have been native people. This is not because living with these principles is impossible for non-native people but because there are very few teachers and even fewer students. If learning how to live with these values is worth anything it is worth making the compromises necessary to learn how people have been living with them for thousands of years.
Contrary to popular belief, the last hope for native values or an indigenous world-view is not the good hearted people of civilized society. It is not more casinos or a more liberal Bureau of Indian Affairs. It is not the election of Russell Means to the presidency of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. It is patience. As I was told time and time again as a child “The reason that I sit here and drink is because I am waiting for the white man to finish his business. And when he is done we will return.”
Paleolithic People Survive Tsunami Waves
Carrying bows and arrows, members of the ancient Jarawa tribe emerged from their forest habitat on India’s isolated Anadaman Island. In a rare interaction with outsiders, the Jarawas said that all 250 of their fellow tribespeople had survived the devastating tsunami by fleeing inland and eating coconuts in the aftermath of the sea’s fury, which killed over 900 people and left over 6,000 missing on the Andaman and Nicobar islands (and, of course, devastating death tolls in the six digits in the general region).
“We are all safe after the earthquake. We are in the forest in Balughat,” said Ashu, an arrow-wielding Jarawa tribesman.
The Jarawas rarely interact with strangers and seemed wary of visitors.
“My world is in the forest,” Ashu said in broken Hindi through an interpreter in a restricted area at the north end of South Andaman Island. “Your world is outside. We don’t like people from outside.”
Days after the tsunami thrashed the island where his ancestors have lived for tens of thousands of years, a lone Sentinelese (another indigenous tribe of the region) man stood naked on the beach and looked up at a hovering Indian Coast Guard helicopter surveying for damage. He then took out his bow and shot an arrow toward the chopper. It was a signal the Sentinelese have sent out to the world for millennia: They want to be left alone. Isolated from the rest of the world, the tribespeople must understand nature’s sights, sounds and smells to survive. “They can smell the wind. They can gauge the depth of the sea with the sound of their oars. They have a sixth sense which we [the domesticated] don’t possess,” said Ashish Roy, a local environmentalist and lawyer who has called on the courts to protect the tribes by preventing their contact with the outside world. It appears that many tribespeople fled the shores well before the waves hit the coast, where they would typically be fishing at this time of year.
There are only an estimated 400 to 1,000 members alive today from the tribes of Jarawas, Great Andamanese, Onges, Sentinelese and Shompens who live on the islands, and are said to go back over 70,000 years. They are said to have originated in Africa, migrating to India through Indonesia. It is believed that ancient knowledge of the movement of wind, sea, and birds warned them, and saved the indigenous tribe from the tsunami. It seems that the less domesticated the animal, the more able to predict, prepare for, and survive the tsunami, with tribal people and wild animals enduring, and civilized humans, dogs, cats, and cows not faring too well.
But, in the civilized realm, the tables are turned. The Jarawa men stopped a photographer from taking pictures. “We fall sick if we are photographed,” Ashu said. In the past, tourists who have tried to take their photo had their cameras smashed by upset tribespeople. When asked how his people survived the tsunami, Ashu just shook his head, not wanting to talk about it. When asked what they typically eat, Ashu said pork and fish caught with their bows and arrows. “And we like honey.”
He said tourists sometimes throw packages of cookies at them from buses. “We don’t like when tourists throw things at us. They should give it to our hands,” he said. Plus, the packaged food upsets their stomachs, he added. “We prefer to eat raw and roasted bananas. Ripe bananas make us sick,” he said.
Jirkatang police have had a troubled relationship with the Jarawas. In 1997, a year after the tribe made its first-ever contact with government authorities, they stormed the Jirkatang police outpost and shot a guard dead with their arrows. Both British and Indian settlers have moved onto their islands over the last 150 years, but the Jarawa have chosen to maintain in almost complete isolation. In 1998, more Jarawa started coming out of their forest to visit nearby towns and settlements, as pressure from poachers on the coast had driven them inland. They live a hunter-gatherer lifestyle; hunting, fishing, and gathering seeds, berries and honey. They are nomadic, living in bands of 40-50 people.
The main threats to the Jarawa are encroachment on their land – sparked by the building of a road through their forest in 1970 – and the risk of being settled forcibly – as planned by the authorities. The road has increasingly brought more settlers, poachers, and loggers, stealing the tribe’s game and exposing them to disease. Forced resettlement was fatal for other tribes in the Andaman Islands, and has always been so for newly contacted native peoples worldwide: it introduces diseases, destroys the sense of identity, and robs tribes of their self-sufficiency. The government of India had initially set aside an area for the Jarawa but the size of this reserve gradually lessened as more of their land came under construction for roads and settling migrants from the mainland – forcing the Jarawa into smaller areas.
The indigenous people of the islands have survived waves of migrants and colonists, but have fallen prey to government policies that look upon them as ‘primitive’ and in dire need of ‘development’. The development policy of the government meant encroaching on their traditional hunting grounds, clearing the forests to settle thousands of migrants, relocating the indigenous people to ‘settlements’, splitting communities that had always lived together, and introducing them to an alien way of life, language, and religion. Such changes have impacted their physical and mental health. An epidemic of measles, to which they had no resistance, wiped away ten percent of the Jarawa population in 1999. Alcoholism, obesity, diabetes, and depression are other ailments which are now appearing among those who have been ‘relocated’ to civilization. This happens all over the world – but tribal peoples are fighting back. Resisting colonization, maintaining traditional life-ways, and the recent survival through the deadly tsunami, are all indications that the uncivilized cannot only survive these factors, but, in fact, are more likely to endure in the long run than the weakened, desensitized, and lost ones of civilization.
Thoughts On the Predator
An Interview with Ward Churchill
Ward Churchill (Keetoowah Band Cherokee) is Professor of American Indian Studies at the University of Colorado/Boulder. An uncompromising indigenist activist, he has been a member of the American Indian Movement for more than 30 years and currently serves on the Leadership Council of the Colorado AIM. An insightful and eloquent author, his many books include Marxism and Native Americans (1983), Agents of Repression (1988, 2002), The COINTELPRO Papers (1990, 2002), Struggle for the Land (1993, 1999), Indians ‘R’ Us (1994, 2005), Since Predator Came (1995), Pacifism as Pathology (1996), A Little Matter of Genocide (1997), Acts of Rebellion (2003), Perversions of Justice (2003), On the Justice of Roosting Chickens (2003), “Kill the Indian, Save the Man” (2004) and Speaking Truth in the Teeth of Power (2004). Ward’s writings and lectures critically examine conquest and genocide in the Americas, environmental destruction, political repression, cultural appropriation, and resistance to colonization.
In many of your essays you use the term “Predator” to describe the successive waves of colonial/imperial brutality that began to ravage the Western Hemisphere in 1492. In our opinion, the Predator is a useful concept for radicals in North America to become familiar with, as it describes and reveals the true nature of the United States occupying forces far more accurately than terms like imperialism, capitalism, or even Empire. Could you elaborate more fully on your concept of the Predator?
WC: Sure, although I think it’s important to note, as I did in Since Predator Came and elsewhere, that I lifted the term from John Trudell, back in the days when he still had something to say. I’m not entirely sure how John conceived it—there’s always some sort of visualization with these things—but my own version of Predator—how I saw it—was kind of like “Pac-Man.” I mean, it’s this absolutely antinatural entity, utterly synthetic, the very existence of which is predicated upon its fulfillment of a single function: to consume anything and everything it encounters. There’s no reasoning with it, no way of appealing to its “better instincts.” It has none. Certainly, nothing resembling a conscience. The fact is that it lacks the capacity to deviate in the least. Ever.
Its appetite is infinite. So, it will simply consume until there’s nothing left to consume. Like I said, I don’t know what specific image John had conjured up when he first started talking about Predator, but I do know that we were using the term in pretty much the same way, to describe precisely the same things: the mindset and consequent behavior of those who identify with the European tradition from the point their invasion of this hemisphere began on the 12th of October, 1492, right on up until the present moment.
There’s a straight and unbroken line of predation spanning the 512 years from then till now, and no sign that the line’s likely to be interrupted or change direction any time soon. Or at least not of its own volition. So, there’s nothing for it in the end but to look the thing square in the face and see it for what it is, rather than what we might wish it were instead. On that basis, we can appreciate what it is that must be done in order to bring it to a halt.
And that is?
WC: Well, let’s just say that since what I’ve been describing isn’t something that’s susceptible to persuasion and reform, if we’re going to stop it, we’re going to have to kill it. That’s the bottom line. The only valid question in this regard isn’t whether killing the thing is necessary, it’s how we go about accomplishing the job. Clear?
Okay. Good. Because, assuming that’s so, I’d like to say that I’ve come to regret having helped popularize the use of the word Predator in the manner I’ve just been using it. Framing things in terms of “Predator” is grossly unfair to actual predators like wolves and sharks. How many times have you heard the Great White Shark described as a “mindless eating machine,” for example. That’s just about word-for-word the way I characterize Predator, eh? Yet the two are diametrical opposites. Predator epitomizes the antinatural while there’s nothing more natural than the predator called shark. It’s a being so perfectly adapted to its environment that it’s remained almost unchanged by evolution for longer than all but a handful of current animal species have even existed. That’s because
the shark’s purpose, “mindless” or no, is to maintain the balance of the ecosystem it inhabits. In other words, the function of a true predator is to preserve the ecology upon which its existence depends. That’s as opposed to the function of Predator, which is to destroy that same ecology, any ecology, all ecologies.
The upshot is that my applying the metaphor of Predator the way I do may produce certain constructive cognitive effects among an audience—it had that effect on me when John did it, and that’s why I picked it up in the first place—but it leaves me with the queasy feeling that I’m also reinforcing the twisted outlook that legitimates the extermination of sharks, wolves and other natural predators. And that’s the reverse of what I’m trying to do. So, I need to come up with another way of framing what I’m trying to get across, and I’ve been playing with it, experimenting with different metaphors to see what might provide the same sort of clarity the term Predator seems to engender, without the garbled sideeffects. Follow?
Yeah, I do. And that makes me curious about what you’ve come up with. Before you answer, though, I want to pose a second question, and that’s whether your preoccupation with finding just the right word or metaphor might not border in some way upon the linguistic obsession displayed by the so-called postmodernists? That’s not meant in a hostile way. I’m looking for you to distinguish your project from theirs.
WC: Fair enough. But I’ll have to take the questions in order. With regard to the first one, I’ve been gravitating more and more towards disease analogies, especially cancer. I like the term disease because it doubles as “dis-ease,” and there’s a lot you can do with that. Additionally, it’s something to be cured, rather than something from which we “heal.” I’ve come to draw an increasingly sharp distinction on that score, largely in response to the rhetoric of “healing and forgiveness” which has become so fashionable of late.
Let me tag you right there. I’d like you to expand on that a bit before you go on. What’s your problem with the healing shtick?
WC: Well, that’s just it: it’s a shtick. More precisely, it’s a conflationary routine designed to muddy rather than clarify things, thereby precluding—or at least diminishing—the prospects of concrete action. Consider the sorts of conflations inherent to the formulation. First of all there’s the bit about the phrase “healing and forgiveness” being used as if it formed a single word. The implication, and it’s not an especially subtle one, is that forgiveness is healing, or at least that healing cannot occur without the bestowal of forgiveness upon whoever inflicted the wound that made the healing necessary. I’ll return to the falsity of that proposition in a moment, but I think it’s important to touch upon a second conflation—of being sick with being wounded—before doing so. The two conditions aren’t the same at all. You get cured from an illness, healed from a wound. Yet, you’ll notice that nothing in the formulation goes to curing. It’s all about healing.
That might be fine in certain settings where you were dealing solely with wounds and those afflicted with them. But that’s not what the “healing and forgiveness” crowd are on about. Their pitch is that, for their “process” to work, everybody should be involved. That’s the stated ideal, right? Where does that put us? With
perpetrators and victims all in the same bag. If you think about it, it’s no different at base than Ronald Reagan’s spiel at Bitburg back in the ’80s about how both the SS men buried there and the Jews, Gypsies and Slavs slaughtered by the SS were all—and equally—victimized by nazism. Well, later for that.
GA Note: Due to Ward’s recent situation, he was unable to complete most of this interview in time for publishing. He has assured us, however, that the entire interview will be concluded for our next issue…Stay tuned!
Like Chickens with their Heads Cut Off
An Update on Ward Churchill’s Most Recent Controversy
As we go to print, on top of being consumed with legal battles over Anti-Columbus Day Actions in Denver this past fall, Ward Churchill has been in the national spotlight over ideas expressed in his essay, Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens. The essay (published in part in Green Anarchy #8) on the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon eventually developed into a book, most of which is a detailed chronology of U.S. military interventions since 1776. Widespread and grossly inaccurate media coverage concerning Ward’s analysis resulted in numerous demonstrations against him, his position at University of Colorado (CU) at Boulder, and even threats against his life.
The CU Board of Regents held an “emergency meeting” to discuss the recent publicity and controversy surrounding the professor’s scheduled speech at Hamilton College, a small liberal arts school in New York where some students, faculty, and 9-1-1 victim’s families protested Churchill’s upcoming appearance there. At issue in Churchill’s three-year-old essay is his reference to World Trade Center victims as “little Eichmanns” (referring to the Nazi architect of the Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann), not merely innocent victims but willing perpetuators of the “mighty engine of profit”. Regent Cindy Carlisle, a typical Boulder Democrat, joined local conservatives in demanding Ward’s removal. She said she is “appalled” by Churchill’s essay and said despite the issue being complex legally, “something needs to be done.”
Campus talk about Churchill was not all against him. Many students protested Ward’s treatment by CU, with many being arrested. Ethnic studies senior Dustin Craun and a coalition of students are angry that Churchill is being singled out, like a “witch hunt.” “White men trying to get an Indian out of Boulder? That’s nothing new,” he said. “That’s how this city was started.”
Churchill resigned as chairman of CU’s Ethnic Studies Department, but will remain on as Professor of American Indian Studies, although many are pushing for a full dismissal, including Colorado governor Bill Owens. Most international news outlets featured the controversy as a lead story, including Fox’s Bill O’Reilly, who repeatedly urged viewers to email the college in protest. Churchill’s Hamilton College talk was moved to a building that could seat 2,000, instead of the planned 300, which he planned on giving in a flack jacket with two bodyguards. Finally, however, Hamilton College caved in and cancelled his appearance after thousands of angry and threatening emails and political pressure, citing “security concerns”. As we go to print, the controversy grows…
With his job in jeopardy, threats of physical violence against him, and some conservatives even calling for him to be tried for Treason and executed, the Green Anarchy Collective stand in complete solidarity with Ward, and continue to have tremendous respect for his dedication and courage during these turbulent times. The following statements are from Ward in a press release on January 31:
“I am not a “defender” of the September 11 attacks, but simply pointing out that if U.S. foreign policy results in massive death and destruction abroad, we cannot feign innocence when some of that destruction is returned… This is not to say that I advocate violence; as a U.S. soldier in Vietnam I witnessed and participated in more violence than I ever wish to see. What I am saying is that if we want an end to violence, especially that perpetrated against civilians, we must take the responsibility for halting the slaughter perpetrated by the United States around the world… I mourn the victims of the September 11 attacks, just as I mourn the deaths of those Iraqi children, the more than 3 million people killed in the war in Indochina, those who died in the U.S. invasions of Grenada, Panama and elsewhere in Central America, the victims of the transatlantic slave trade, and the indigenous peoples still subjected to genocidal policies. If we respond with callous disregard to the deaths of others, we can only expect equal callousness to American deaths.”
“I have never characterized all the September 11 victims as “Nazis.” What I said was that the “technocrats of empire” working in the World Trade Center were the equivalent of “little Eichmanns.” Adolf Eichmann was not charged with direct killing but with ensuring the smooth running of the infrastructure that enabled the Nazi genocide. Similarly, German industrialists were legitimately targeted by the Allies… It should be emphasized that I applied the “little Eichmanns” characterization only to those described as “technicians.” Thus, it was obviously not directed to the children, janitors, food service workers, firemen and random passers-by killed in the 9-1-1 attack. According to Pentagon logic, they were simply collateral damage. Ugly? Yes. Hurtful? Yes. And that’s my point. It’s no less ugly, painful or dehumanizing a description when applied to Iraqis, Palestinians, or anyone else.”
“The lesson of Nuremberg is that this is not only our right, but our obligation. To the extent we shirk this responsibility, we, like the “Good Germans” of the 1930s and ’40s, are complicit in its actions and have no legitimate basis for complaint when we suffer the consequences. This, of course, includes me, personally, as well as my family, no less than anyone else… Some people will, of course, disagree with my analysis, but it presents questions that must be addressed in academic and public debate if we are to find a real solution to the violence that pervades today’s world.”
From The Same Old Song (For America to Live, Europe Must Die)
by Russell Means
BEING IS A SPIRITUAL PROPOSITION. Gaining is a material act. Traditionally, American Indians have always attempted to be the best people they could. Part of that spiritual process was and is to give away wealth, to discard wealth in order not to gain. Material gain is an indicator of false status among traditional people, while it is “proof that the system works” to Europeans. Clearly, there are two completely opposing views at issue here, and Marxism is very far over to the other side from the American Indian view. But let’s look at a major implication of this; it is not merely an intellectual debate.
The European materialist tradition of despiritualizing the universe is very similar to the mental process which goes into dehumanizing another person. And who seems most expert at dehumanizing other people? And why? Soldiers who have seen a lot of combat learn to do this to the enemy before going back into combat. Murderers do it before going out to commit murder. Nazi SS guards did it to concentration camp inmates. Cops do it. Corporation leaders do it to the workers they send into uranium mines and steel mills. Politicians do it to everyone in sight. And what the process has in common for each group doing the dehumanizing is that it makes it all right to kill and otherwise destroy other people. One of the Christian commandments says, “Thou shalt not kill,” at least not humans, so the trick is to mentally convert the victims into nonhumans. Then you can proclaim violation of your own commandment as a virtue.
In terms of the despiritualization of the universe, the mental process works so that it becomes virtuous to destroy the planet. Terms like progress and development are used as cover words here, the way victory and freedom are to justify butchery in the dehumanization process. For example, a real-estate speculator may refer to “developing” a parcel of ground by opening a gravel quarry; development here means total, permanent destruction, with the earth itself removed. But European logic has gained a few tons of gravel with which more land can be “developed” through the construction of road beds. Ultimately, the whole universe is open – in the European view – to this sort of insanity.
Most important here, perhaps, is the fact that Europeans feel no sense of loss in all this. After all, their philosophers have despiritualized reality, so there is no satisfaction (for them) to be gained in simply observing the wonder of a mountain or a lake or a people in being. No, satisfaction is measured in terms of gaining material. So the mountain becomes gravel, and the lake becomes coolant for a factory, and the people are rounded up for processing through the indoctrination mills Europeans like to call schools.
But each new piece of that “progress” ups the ante out in the real world. Take fuel for the industrial machine as an example. Little more than two centuries ago, nearly everyone used wood – a replenishable, natural item – as fuel for the very human needs of cooking and staying warm. Along came the Industrial Revolution and coal became the dominant fuel, as production became the social imperative for Europe. Pollution began to become a problem in the cities, and the earth was ripped open to provide coal whereas wood had always simply been gathered or harvested at no great expense to the environment. Later, oil became the major fuel, as the technology of production was perfected through a series of scientific “revolutions.” Pollution increased dramatically, and nobody yet knows what the environmental costs of pumping all that oil out of the ground will really be in the long run. Now there’s an “energy crisis,” and uranium is becoming the dominant fuel.
Capitalists, at least, can be relied upon to develop uranium as fuel only at the rate which they can show a good profit. That’s their ethic, and maybe they will buy some time. Marxists, on the other hand, can be relied upon to develop uranium fuel as rapidly as possible simply because it’s the most “efficient” production fuel available. That’s their ethic, and I fail to see where it’s preferable. Like I said, Marxism is right smack in the middle of European tradition. It’s the same old song.
There’s a rule of thumb which can be applied here. You cannot judge the real nature of a European revolutionary doctrine on the basis of the changes it proposes to make within the European power structure and society. You can only judge it by the effects it will have on non-European peoples. This is because every revolution in European history has served to reinforce Europe’s tendencies and abilities to export destruction to other peoples, other cultures and the environment itself. I defy anyone to point out an example where this is not true.
So now we, as American Indian people, are asked to believe that a “new” European revolutionary doctrine such as Marxism will reverse the negative effects of European history on us. European power relations are to be adjusted once again, and that’s supposed to make things better for all of us. But what does this really mean? Right now, today, we who live on the Pine Ridge Reservation are living in what white society has designated a “ National Sacrifice Area.” What this means is that we have a lot of uranium deposits here, and white culture (not us) needs this uranium as energy production material. The cheapest, most efficient way for industry to extract and deal with the processing of this uranium is to dump the waste by-products right here at the digging sites. Right here where we live. This waste is radioactive and will make the entire region uninhabitable forever. This is considered by the industry, and by the white society that created this industry, to be an “acceptable” price to pay for energy resource development. Along the way they also plan to drain the water table under this part of South Dakota as part of the industrial process, so the region becomes doubly uninhabitable. The same sort of thing is happening down in the land of the Navajo and Hopi, up in the land of the Northern Cheyenne and Crow, and elsewhere. Thirty percent of the coal in the West and half of the uranium deposits in the United States have been found to lie under reservation land, so there is no way this can be called a minor issue.
We are resisting being turned into a National Sacrifice Area. We are resisting being turned into a national sacrifice people. The costs of this industrial process are not acceptable to us. It is genocide to dig uranium here and drain the water table – no more, no less.
Now let’s suppose that in our resistance to extermination we begin to seek allies (we have). Let’s suppose further that we were to take revolutionary Marxism at its word: that it intends nothing less than the complete overthrow of the European capitalist order which has presented this threat to our very existence. This would seem to be a natural alliance for American Indian people to enter into. After all, as the Marxists say, it is the capitalists who set us up to be a national sacrifice. This is true as far as it goes. But, as I’ve tried to point out, this “truth” is very deceptive. Revolutionary Marxism is committed to even further perpetuation and perfection of the very industrial process which is destroying us all. It offers only to “ redistribute” the results – the money, maybe – of this industrialization to a wider section of the population. It offers to take wealth from the capitalists and pass it around; but in order to do so, Marxism must maintain the industrial system. Once again, the power relations within European society will have to be altered, but once again the effects upon American Indian peoples here and nonEuropeans elsewhere will remain the same. This is much the same as when power was redistributed from the church to private business during the so-called bourgeois revolution. European society changed a bit, at least superficially, but its conduct toward non-Europeans continued as before. You can see what the American Revolution of 1776 did for American Indians. It’s the same old song.
– – –
Revolutionary Marxism, like industrial society in other forms, seeks to “rationalize” all people in relation to industry – maximum industry, maximum production. It is a doctrine that despises the American Indian spiritual tradition, our cultures, our lifeways. Marx himself called us “precapitalists” and “primitive.” Precapitalist simply means that, in his view, we would eventually discover capitalism and become capitalists; we have always been economically retarded in Marxist terms. The only manner in which American Indian people could participate in a Marxist revolution would be to join the industrial system, to become factory workers, or “proletarians,” as Marx called them. The man was very clear about the fact that his revolution could only occur through the struggle of the proletariat, that the
existence of a massive industrial system is a precondition of a successful Marxist society.
I think there’s a problem with language here. Christians, capitalists, Marxists. All of them have been revolutionary in their own minds, but none of them really means revolution. What they really mean is continuation. They do what they do in order that European culture can continue to exist and develop according to its needs.
So, in order for us to really join forces with Marxism, we American Indians would have to accept the national sacrifice of our homeland; we would have to commit cultural suicide and become industrialized and Europeanized.
At this point, I’ve got to stop and ask myself whether I’m being too harsh. Marxism has something of a history. Does this history bear out my observations? I look to the process of industrialization in the Soviet Union since 1920 and I see that these Marxists have done what it took the English Industrial Revolution 300 years to do; and the Marxists did it in 60 years. I see that the territory of the USSR used to contain a number of tribal peoples and that they have been crushed to make way for the factories. The Soviets refer to this as “ the National Question.” The question of whether the tribal peoples had the right to exist as peoples; and they decided the tribal peoples were an acceptable sacrifice to the industrial needs. I look to China and I see the same thing. I look to Vietnam and I see Marxists imposing an industrial order and rooting out the indigenous tribal mountain people.
I hear revolutionary Marxists saying that the destruction of the environment, pollution, and radiation will all be controlled. And I see them act upon their words. Do they know how these things will be controlled? No, they simply have faith. Science will find a way. Industrialization is fine and necessary. How do they know this? Faith. Science will find a way. Faith of this sort has always been known in Europe as religion. Science has become the new European religion for both capitalists and Marxists; they are truly inseparable; they are part and parcel of the same culture. So, in both theory and practice, Marxism demands that nonEuropean peoples give up their values, their traditions, their cultural existence altogether. We will all be industrialized science addicts in a Marxist society.
I do not believe that capitalism itself is really responsible for the situation in which American Indians have been declared a national sacrifice. No, it is the European tradition; European culture itself is responsible. Marxism is just the latest continuation of this tradition, not a solution to it. To ally with Marxism is to ally with the very same forces that declare us an acceptable cost.
There is another way. There is the traditional Lakota way and the ways of the American Indian peoples. It is the way that knows that humans do not have the right to degrade Mother Earth, that there are forces beyond anything the European mind has conceived, that humans must be in harmony with all relations or the relations will eventually eliminate the disharmony. A lopsided emphasis on humans by humans – the Europeans’ arrogance of acting as though they were beyond the nature of all related things – can only result in a total disharmony and a readjustment which cuts arrogant humans down to size, gives them a taste of that reality beyond their grasp or control and restores the harmony. There is no need for a revolutionary theory to bring this about; it’s beyond human control. The nature peoples of this planet know this and so they do not theorize about it. Theory is an abstract; our knowledge is real.
GA Note: This was excerpted from a much longer speech given by Russell Means in July 1980, before several thousand people assembled from all over the world for the Black Hills International Survival Gathering, in South Dakota. It was probably Means’ most famous speech and despite some problematic ideas in the complete talk (or his politics today), it has had a huge influence on many of us involved in the Green Anarchist resistance. Other indigenous critiques of Marxism and the Left of interest include Marxism and Native Americans (edited by Ward Churchill, South End Press 1983), which includes a version of this entire Russell Means essay and various other contributors, and Ward’s excellent essay “False Promises: An Indigenist Examination of Marxist Theory and Practice” from Since Predator Came, now available as a pamphlet from the GA Distro.
John Trudell: In His Words
Look at Us
We see your tech no logical society devour you before your very eyes
we hear your anguished cries exalting greed through progress
while you seek material advances the sound of flowers dying
carry messages through the wind trying to tell you
about balance and your safety
But your minds are chained to your machines
and the strings dangling from your puppeteers hands
turning you, twisting you into forms and confusions beyond your control
Your mind for a job
your mind for a t.v.
your mind for a hair dryer
your mind for consumption
with your atom bombs
your material bombs
your drug bombs
your racial bombs
your class bombs
your sexist bombs
your ageist bombs
Devastating your natural shelters
making you homeless on earth
chasing you into illusions
fooling you, making you pretend you can run away from the ravishing of your spirit
While the sound of flowers dying
carry messages through the wind
trying to tell you about balance and your safety.
Trying to isolate us in a dimension called loneliness
leading us into the trap
believe in their power
but not in ourselves
piling us with guilt
always taking the blame
greed chasing out the balance
trying to isolate us in a dimension called loneliness
economic deities seizing power
through illusions created
armies are justified
class systems are democracy
god listens to warmongers prayers
tyranny is here
divide and conquer
trying to isolate us
in a dimension called loneliness
greed a parent
insecurity the happiness companion
genocide conceived in sophistication
tech no logic material civilization
replacing a way to live
trying to isolate us
in a dimension called loneliness
Look at us, we are of Earth and Water
Look at them, it is the same
Look at us, we are suffering all these years
Look at them, they are connected
Look at us, we are in pain
Look at them, surprised at our anger
Look at us, we are struggling to survive
Look at them, expecting sorrow be benign
Look at us, we were the ones called pagan
Look at them, on their arrival
Look at us, we are called subversive
Look at them, descending from name callers
Look at us, we wept sadly in the long dark
Look at them, hiding in tech no logic light
Look at us, we buried the generations
Look at them, inventing the body count
Look at us, we are older than America
Look at them, chasing a fountain of youth
Look at us, we are embracing Earth
Look at them, clutching today
Look at us, we are living in the generations
Look at them, existing in jobs and debts
Look at us, we have escaped many times
Look at them, they cannot remember
Look at us, we are healing
Look at them, their medicine is patented
Look at us, we are trying
Look at them, what are they doing
Look at us, we are children of Earth
Look at them, who are they?
*Spoken word from John Trudell’s Tribal Voice
We Are Shapes of the Earth
I want to talk a little bit about who we are. Because I think the coherency of our future depends upon us knowing who we are. And I mean truly understanding who we are. Our relationship to reality, our relationship to power is based upon that understanding.
But sometimes I feel like I’m in a reality, where we don’t remember who we are. So therefore we don’t know who we are. We speak a language we don’t understand. Because of this we don’t know where we are.
And I think that we live in a technologic reality; that these conditions are part of a mining process. I’m going to call it a mining process. And there is a reason we are in this situation. It’s got to do with being fed upon by a system. So I want to go to who we are.
We are the human beings. That’s very important. We all know to say the words, we know the terms, and I know we know the terms because they taught them to us, they programmed them into us: the words, ‘human beings’. Our relationship to reality is in that definition. The DNA of the human, the bone, flesh and blood of the human, is literally made up of the metals, minerals and liquids of the earth. So we are parts of the earth.
We are shapes of the earth. We are forms of the earth. This is the form that we are. All of the things of the earth have the same DNA as the human does. Everything is made up of the metals, minerals and liquids of the earth. But the shape is just different. The purpose is different. We have being. That is our essence. That is our spirit. And all of the things of the earth have the same DNA as the human has, so all things of the earth have being, spirit.
Our relationship to power and to reality is in that understanding of who we are. We are forms of the earth. And that’s reality. Nothing will ever change that reality. What has changed is our perceptional relationship to reality. And what has happened to us through the millennium and through this whole technologic, civilized perception of reality, what has happened to the human being is that, to me, it is like a disease in one way. It’s like this thing that kind of spreads. And as a disease to the spirit of people it spreads to their perception of reality. So in one way it’s kind of like that, a possession.
But in another way, it’s almost like a mechanical thing, this mining process that takes place. It’s almost like this thing we call technologic civilization: this thing that is predatory upon our lives. Anyone ever feel that there is something missing from their life? Like purpose or understanding or self worth or whatever the understanding is?
They’re mining us.
One of the objectives of this technologic, civilized perceptional reality has got to do with erasing the memories of the human beings. We have a common collective experience. We are all the descendants of tribes. Back in the time of the original dream we were all tribes, and we were all the earths’ children. We all knew that the earth was our mother. And that we were all part of a spiritual reality, because we had being. We understood that there was a spiritual reality and we were physical in a spiritual reality.
We being who we are today, however we landed in this reality, whoever we are today, we carry the genetic experience of our lineage from the very beginning. It’s encoded in the DNA, it’s like genetic memory. It’s something about the experience of the journey we have it in us. But somewhere within our genetic memory, somewhere hidden in there, we all come from a people; each of us comes from a people that knew they lived in a spiritual reality. And because we lived in a spiritual reality every one of our ancestral peoples understood we have a responsibility. We were responsible for the past, the future and for the present.
We understood that all things had being.
So we knew who we were, we understood what we were saying and we knew where we were: we knew our purpose. And this reality lives in our genetic memory. As human beings, whoever we are, whatever individuals we are know.
That experience is there now. It’s that ninety percent of our brains that they say we can’t use. So they’re using it.
*Spoken word from John Trudell’s DNA descendant now ancestor
you old story you old thing
you fighting over nothing everything
how they work us
against one another
They mean to kill us all
Vanishing is no joke they mean it
We don’t fit this machine they’ve made instead of life
We breathe spirit
softness of dirt between our toes
Mountains ARE our mothers
Stars our dead
Big Mountain we’ve heard your story a thousand times
We’ve grown up inside your slaughtered sheep
Move here move there
die on the way
fences through our hearts
ask permission to gather eagle feathers
no sun dance
take our bundles
bowls to put in dry empty buildings
walls more walls jails more jails agencies thieves rapists
drunken refuge from lives with nothing left
take our children take our hands hacked from us in death
tell lies to us
lies written spoken lived
death that comes in disease relentless
Vanishing is no metaphor
Big Mountain you are no news
Our savage eloquence is dust between their walls their thousand deaths
We go to funerals never quite have time to step out of mourning
Everything we have left is in our hearts deeply hidden
No photograph or tape recorder or drawing can touch
the mountain of our spirits
They are Still
saying they know
what is best for us
they who know nothing
their white papers decisions empty eyes laws rules stone fences
time cut apart with dots
killing animals to hang their heads on walls
We cannot make sense of this
It has nothing
to do with us
Big Mountain I’ve met you before in Menominee County
at Wounded Kneeon Trails of Tears
in the back street bars of every broken city
I could write a list long & thick as the books they call
which none of us
We know your fences death laws death hunger death
This is our skin
you take from us
These were our lives our patterns our dawns
the lines in our faces
which tell us our songs
Big Mountain you are too big you are too small you are such an old old story
Black Mesa: Resistance, Harassment, and Solidarity
by Black Mesa Indigenous Support
Since 1969, PEABODY coal has been operating the largest strip-mine in the United States in a place called Dzil ijiin, or Black Mesa, in northeastern Arizona. Since 1975, over 14,000 indigenous people, mostly Navajo, have been forcibly relocated from the lands surrounding this mine, which are full of high quality coal not yet excavated. The people of Black Mesa who have refused to relinquish their ancestral homeland are considered trespassers in their own homes under federal law. They are subject to ongoing harassment and the threat that this law will be enforced, and they will be physically removed from their homes. The delicate, high-desert ecosystem of Black Mesa, full of thousand-year-old junipers, bobcats, deer, porcupines and a slew of different lizards, depends on the resilience of the Navajo resisters to keep it from the claw of the drag line, the teeth of the 4-story power shovel and the gullet of the slurry line which leads, via the Mojave generating station, to the neon lights of Las Vegas and the air conditioners of LA.
I sat down with Rena Babbit Lane and four copies of Green Anarchy last week. Rena, around 80 years old, is a Dine elder of the Naakai clan. She lives on the former “joint use area” within the bounds of the Navajo Reservation in Northern Arizona. She is an expert weaver, herbalist, and cares for her sheep and goats in a traditional manner. A law was passed in 1975 by the federal Government of the USA that mandated her and her family to relocate to parts unknown. Fences were erected in all directions around her home, partitioning off her cornfield and water sources. A pipeline was put in behind her house to slurry coal from Peabody’s Black Mesa mine to a generating station 300 miles away. The water used by this pipeline has caused drought conditions in her area. At all points in the process, Rena has resisted and opposed the encroachments of the government and corporations and has spoken out against them. I said to her in my best Navajo (she does not speak English) ‘this magazine wants to help you get your word out, they will print the stories of indigenous people like yourself. They oppose things like the coal mine and the government.”
She said, well, read some to me first. I told her about Brazilian people fighting against a diamond mine and some of the other dramatic clips. She began making the following statement. I accept all responsibility for the inadequacies of my translation:
“We have these sorts of problems too. The agency that we are struggling with is called Hopi Rangers. But we realize that they are agents of Washington, and they are working for the interest of the coal mine. We have been placed here by the holy people with the sheep, and the animals around us, and we have been defending it accordingly. Many of our people have suffered greatly on account of the mining, both the mining of the coal and uranium. A lot of the people living around here have died from the pollution. The reason is found in our understanding that the coal is the liver of the mother earth and the uranium is the heart. When they burn these things up it causes a burning up of the hearts and livers of all people involved, especially those of us living most closely to her. So we have been saying ‘no’ to these things and that is our life as a traditional people. Missionaries have come to us and said ‘we hate the Navajo religion’ and then that they will pray for us. But we keep on with our ways and we do our praying too. I’ve heard a lot of stories about this war going on in Iraq. I think it is about money and I don’t like what they are trying to do over there. I don’t support our troops. I think they should be taking care of their people here who are suffering and resisting the very government they are fighting for. The plan that they (Washington)are implementing is one that wastes up the land. They go crazy with it, and in doing so they ruin and make unkind their own brain, eyes, and nose. Sometimes I think that it would be nice to have them have some sheep or even cows to care for. That would keep them busy and stop them from messing everything up everywhere. We have helpers come stay with us sometimes from different places, and it’s hard there too, cause they don’t speak Navajo, but some of them learn, so we welcome people to come out and live with us and support our resistance in that way. By the way, I heard once that in places where there are a lot of TV’s that people don’t even talk to each other.”
I said that’s true, T’aa’aanii. Rena B. Lane and her son have recently been threatened and harassed. They reside in one of the most remote regions of Black Mesa. Due to the intense drought, the Lane family moved their sheep herd to a more suitable grazing area within their ancestral ranging area. The BIA Hopi Agency discovered the family’s sheep camp and began to threaten them with livestock impoundment. They remained with the sheep camp until the herd gained back its health. More recently, Rena’s son was preparing for the winter when the Agency law enforcement personnel charged him again (for about the third time now) with “illegally” cutting firewood. All his tools were confiscated and with that he has lost his second chainsaw to the BIA. and the entire definition – of progress? Can the humans dwelling in this global hotspot help the planet find a remedy for the still-spreading plague of civilization? These crucial questions can’t be answered with research or theorizing. Only our action can offer the answers we’re looking for. The Word on Hotspot Theory Civilization’s war on the wild and on land-based communities has taken a toll that is quite possibly beyond our comprehension. But in the last 15 years, British ecologist Norman Myer has made the task of defending biodiversity, and thus planetary survival, more “approachable” by demonstrating that we can conserve a major share of terrestrial biodiversity in a relatively small portion of the planet. An analysis carried out between 1996 and 1998 resulted in a list of 25 “hotspots.” South Florida falls in the top three, as part of the Caribbean region. Perhaps the hotspot theory is too rigid for some, but if we are to take the global ecological crisis seriously, having a real strategy makes sense. Yes, Florida has lost much, but there are still a lot of wild areas left. And we are not solely dedicated to protecting wild places. That is because social revolution and ecological defense have to go hand-in-hand or neither is worth a damn. South Florida is not only an ecological hotspot, it is a social hotspot as well. It is home to some of the greatest disparities of wealth within the U.S. Empire, as well as one of the most culturally diverse places on this planet. It was a place of strong Native resistance, a place of numerous past uprisings against police abuse, and most recently, the site of one of the largest preemptive police attacks in US history. South Florida is ripe for rebellion and renewal. Let’s help bring it on…
Ninety-nine percent of the Black Mesa communities rely on wood to warm their homes. There are no gas lines or gas delivery service out there, or any alternative means provided to the area residents to warm their homes. Nearly 85 percent of the Black Mesa areas’ full-time residents are elders over the age of 70 and most are traditional. This constitutes an act of genocide.
Black Mesa Indigenous Support (BMIS) is actively supporting the sovereignty of the indigenous people affected by mining activities on Black Mesa, who face forced relocation, environmental devastation, and cultural extinction at the hands of corporations, and U. S. and tribal governments. The resisters of Black Mesa continue to ask for outside assistance and support in their struggle. Most of the people resisting relocation are elders whose children have moved and are now living alone. They are asking for support to help maintain daily life and resistance. For more information on the history of the struggle on Black Mesa and for ways to support the people of Black Mesa please contact: Black Mesa Indigenous Support, P.O. Box 23501, Flagstaff, Arizona 86002, Voice Mail: 928.773.8086, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, website: www.blackmesais.org
Resistance from the Tropics
Igniting Eco-Rebellion in the Hottest of Hot Spots
In the 1500s, civilization’s progress expanded across the Atlantic Ocean like a slow-spreading bio-terror attack, with some of the first spores landing on this wild peninsula…
Before missionaries, conquistadors and real estate speculators got to what is now called Florida in 1513, there had been several thousand years of Native people living in the area. In the Miami area lived the “Tekesta,” around Jupiter, the “Ais,” and in the central Palm Beach County areas, the “Jeaga.” We know that they survived by fishing, gathering and hunting, but what they did with the vast majority of their time might be what we now call “leisure.” You know, that time we try to crunch into the schedule one day a week, maybe twice a month, to spend with friends, family, neighbors or by ourselves – luxuries even the richest often can’t afford.
In exchange for the generosity of local populations, the civilized settlers offered disease and brutality. In less than 200 years, nearly all of the population was wiped out, assimilated or forced to relocate. In the 1700s Muscogee (“Creek”) tribes migrated from Georgia and Alabama into Florida and were continually pushed south by white expansion. Seminoles, a word the Spanish used to mean “wild,” “free” and “untamed,” were a collection of various renegade southeast tribes who joined with African ex-slaves. Thus began the Seminole Wars of the earlyto mid-1800s, where General William Jenkins Worth earned the honor that got a lake (soon turned lagoon, for commercial purposes) and eventually a small coastal city named after him.
By the end of the Seminole Wars in 1842, more than $20 million had been spent, 1,500 American soldiers had died and still no formal peace treaty had been signed. Eventually, reservations were established around the Seminoles. Worth had cleared the way for land speculators – nothing could make a white man more proud. The vast majority of the Everglades were drained for industrial agriculture and real estate; the coasts were thoroughly pillaged by condo developments. And there the Seminoles remain, yet trying to subsist off a literal bingo/casino economy.
Meanwhile, our global casino economy is hitting the jackpot. South Florida has some of the highest concentrations of wealth in the world – but where exactly is our quest for luxury taking us? Europeans have been in Florida for about 492 years, and look what we have to show: fancy condos are forcing inner-city displacement and over-development everywhere you look, sprawling suburbs are eating away at the quiet countryside and wild swamps, Free Trade now has us shipping in oranges from Brazil and mangos from Somalia. South Florida is seen around the world as a bastion of progress and prosperity – but is there really such a thing as luxury in towns without trees, oceans without fish and neighborhoods that no one can afford to live in? What good is all the wealth in the world without drinkable water or breathable air? Is there any hope of us changing direction – and the entire definition – of progress? Can the humans dwelling in this global hotspot help the planet find a remedy for the still-spreading plague of civilization? These crucial questions can’t be answered with research or theorizing.
Only our action can offer the answers we’re looking for.
The Word on Hotspot Theory
Civilization’s war on the wild and on land-based communities has taken a toll that is quite possibly beyond our comprehension. But in the last 15 years, British ecologist Norman Myer has made the task of defending biodiversity, and thus planetary survival, more “approachable” by demonstrating that we can conserve a major share of terrestrial biodiversity in a relatively small portion of the planet.
An analysis carried out between 1996 and 1998 resulted in a list of 25 “hotspots.” South Florida falls in the top three, as part of the Caribbean region. Perhaps the hotspot theory is too rigid for some, but if we are to take the global ecological crisis seriously, having a real strategy makes sense. Yes, Florida has lost much, but there are still a lot of wild areas left.
And we are not solely dedicated to protecting wild places. That is because social revolution and ecological defense have to go hand-in-hand or neither is worth a damn. South Florida is not only an ecological hotspot, it is a social hotspot as well. It is home to some of the greatest disparities of wealth within the U.S. Empire, as well as one of the most culturally diverse places on this planet. It was a place of strong Native resistance, a place of numerous past uprisings against police abuse, and most recently, the site of one of the largest preemptive police attacks in US history. South Florida is ripe for rebellion and renewal.
Let’s help bring it on…
From Resistance Without Reservation!
by Harsha Walia
FIGHTING CORPORATE COLONIALISM: SUN PEAKS AND DELTA HOTELS
Sun Peaks Resort, Delta Hotels and Nippon Cables has for four years now been forcibly pushing ahead with their expansion, “corporatizing the land that bears our medicines and plants, the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the dreams we dream.” (Janice Billy, spokesperson of Skwekwelk’welt Protection Center). The $70 million expansion plan is mind blowing: clear-cut of a total of five mountains for ski runs, development on the drainage basin for commercial and residential real estate and expansion of a 9-hole golf course to an 18-hole golf course. Yet again a continuation of the appropriation of politically aware language – Three Mountains, One Village – selling a dream of a community “from extreme to serene, Sun Peaks Resort has it all. Our village is as versatile as you are.” Beneath the layers of advertising euphemisms is the deeper truth of dispossession. Thousands tour the largest ski area in the interior of British Columbia, in what has now become not just a winter destination, but an all-year around playground for tourists with all the essentials: sports centers, golf course, Pancakes with Santa, and a sprawling real estate business of townhouses and chalets that mimic Disneyworld. Meanwhile, in passing, a culture, a way of life, has been casually decimated.
And the absurdity continues: one of the three mountains has been renamed Sundance and one of the lodges at Sun Peaks is called Sundance Lodge. Absurd because the siege of Gustafsen Lake (1995) that the same Shushwap community was embroiled in involved protection of their sacred Sun Dance lands. In a trend that is becoming frighteningly familiar – the market continues to absorb its opposition. Names now reduced to innocuous magnet poetry.
The entire ski resort industry means greater destruction of mountain eco-systems, forest, pure water, and animal habitats. The effects around Sun Peaks Resort are already being felt. The expansion involves putting ski runs on the previously undisturbed Mt. Morrisey, destroying the vital mountain ecosystem. Mount Morrisey, Mount Todd and Sundance are being cut, these three mountains destroyed along with animal habitat of deer, moose, bears, beavers, lynx, bobcat, cougars, wolverines and other animals, along with destruction of plant systems that provide berries and medicine for the Secwepemc community. Sun Peaks Resort pollutes the water with weed-control chemicals for their golf course and with chemical and bacterial additives used to make artificial snow. Sun Peaks over-consumes water and energy to make this artificial snow (it takes 1/3 the energy of a average town to run a medium ski area).
The Secwepemc assert that the current expansion of Sun Peaks Ski Resort will undermine their ability to exercise their inherent rights to land-use and occupancy and thus their aboriginal title to the land. The federal and provincial governments have refused to acknowledge aboriginal title and enter negotiations to establish co-jurisdiction despite legally binding decisions to do so. The government disregarded environmental and cultural impact studies performed by the Adams Lake and Neskonlith Indian Bands and refused to engage in consultation and meaningful discussion with the bands about the development. Notwithstanding the lack of consultation, the $70 million development plan began.
The Secwepemc community responded fearlessly to state and corporate occupation of their lands. The spirit at the Skwelkwek’welt Protection Center (set up in October 2000) is soul-stirring. Lone tents amidst sprawling golf courses and ski lifts. The blockades, the camps. These are not just protests for the sake of protesting. This is a community with ideas, with histories, with stories, with sufferings, with victories, and with visions. Remaining on the mountain despite police harassment, anger from tourists, and no near hope of victory. Victims, winners, survivors, fighters.
In November 2001, provincial Attorney General Geoff Plant terminated all discussions with the Secwepemc community, demanding that people vacate the camp located on traditional territories and return to the federal Indian reserve. In a letter dated November 2001 “people at Sun Peaks need the confidence that they can go on with their lives while we continue with our discussions.” Read: business as usual must continue. “The protestors have demonstrated that their manner of asserting rights requires that others be excluded from exercising theirs.”
In response Chief Arthur Manuel wrote, “It is unreasonable that you insist that we vacate our lands before you will even discuss our right to use and occupy our lands… Even these mass arrests will not deter us from using our Aboriginal title lands as we have from time immemorial. You may be able to use your police to grab and handcuff our Elders, land-users and youth and haul them away. But you will not be able to keep them away from our land. They will return and all our people will return.” After one year of failed attempts at negotiations with the province and Sun Peaks, the Secwepemc youth, Elders and land-users established a permanent log building on McGillvary Lake Road near the resort. An extremely defiant step to move off the reserve and build and establish community on the traditional territories. Elders taught the youth hunting, fishing, recognizing plants and their uses, and building traditional structures such as sweatlodges, along with regular discussions on outstanding land issues.
On December 10, 2001 (ironically – or perhaps not – International Human Rights Day), Sun Peaks Resort demolished two sweatlodges along with the cordwood home of Native Youth Movement freedom fighter Nicole Manuel and her family. With the supervision of the government of British Columbia and with the blessing of the courts that ruled in favor of an injunction application presented by Sun Peaks Resort, hate crimes against religious and sacred sites were committed. In its place, freshly groomed ski trails.
Currently, over 15 Secwepemc defenders have court-ordered restrictions placed on them, ranging from 5 to 10 kilometer bans. One year later, when several youth and Elders returned to the McGillvary Lake area, under heavy police monitoring, one RCMP asked two men: “What race are you? Are you even human?” And perhaps more despairing is the silence around such atrocities. Indigenous peoples are being refused the inherent right to even walk on the land; Elders and youth are being smeared as terrorists, a movement is being crushed ruthlessly.
Yet the resistance continues – the Secwepemc have developed a huge national and international support network (that puts all the city-slicker activists to shame), participated in United Nations Convention of Biodiversity discussions, made submissions to the United Nations Committee for Elimination of Racial Discrimination, along with ongoing fundraising and raising awareness. A Statement of Defense and Counterclaim to the trespass charges has been submitted to the provincial court, a crucial step in asserting Aboriginal title and forcing the government (judicial and executive branches) to deal with unsettled land issues.
Never mind that now with the Olympic 2010 bid, we are supposed to be tingling with joy at the prospect of more jobs and a better economy for British Columbia. It’s funny how the interests of corporations are so often, so successfully, and so deliberately confused with the interests of the people and local economies. Lands are being occupied. It is an asset. The Earth is being owned. This includes the expansion of the Sea-to-Sky Highway ($600 million), rapid transit system ($2 billion), Trade and Convention Center ($405 million), improved sport facilities and athletes village ($620 million). Leonard Peltier wrote in a statement against the FTAA, 2001 “they will justify their actions in the name of development for the poor. Development? What the first peoples of America need is recovery, not development. Recovery from the very same colonization, domination and genocide that multinational corporations want to perpetuate for their own gains today.”
The St’at’imc, like other indigenous nations in British Columbia, have fought for over a century to protect unceded territories that have never been surrendered through treaties: “We claim that we are the rightful owners of our tribal territories…We have always lived in our country, at no time we ever deserted it. We are aware that the BC government claims our country, like all other Indian territories, but we deny their right to it. We never gave it nor sold it to them. They certainly never got the title to the country from us, neither by agreement nor conquest, and none other than us could have any right to give them title.” (1911 Declaration of the Lilloet Tribe, St’at’imc nation)
As the Environmental Assessment neared completion in early 2000, a camp was set up at Sutikalh and set up an informational checkpoint at Highway 99 for 17 hours. In August 2000, the Lilloet Tribal Council issued a letter by all eleven chiefs rejecting the ski resort and in October 2000, referendum on the ski resort was held in Mount Currie. Of 800 eligible voters, 324 voted with 276 voting against the ski resort. Over four years now, the camp at Sutikalh represents the strong will of the St’at’imc people and is one of the longest standing camps in opposition to corporate and state occupation of traditional territories.
The inhumanness of the Neskonlith and Adams Lake reserves hits you. Right outside the sprawling development of the Sun Peaks Resort. Poverty, development and colonization no longer remain abstract words, part of our rhetorical vocabulary. It takes on a face in the form of demolished sacred sweatlodges and traditional cordwood homes. On International Human Rights Day, a young boy who only ever wanted to play with his older brother falls into the arms of his mother. Bulldozers, and kilometers of cuts from logging. Constant living reminders of what we are fighting for. Yet more real, more urgent, more critical.
There is no mitigating argument for the terror that has been unleashed at Skwelkwek’welt. Or Cheam. Or Sutikalh. Or Grassy Narrows. Across these lands, indigenous peoples continue to serve as collateral damage.
One of the greatest strengths of movements in the present is our solidarity and our vision of something new. We maintain the right to imagine and to create a global apparition. A globalization of struggle. A globalization of hope. Fully articulable but not yet articulated. Yet the movement already exists. It has existed for over 500 years. We must remain grounded in the historical realities of this land, remain true and honor indigenous struggles and indigenous histories and ideas and visions, for it is inextricably linked to all futures and all our movements that agitate for Earth and a more just existence.
Stop The Devastation and Destruction by Sun Peaks Corporation and British Columbia Government!
The Skwelkwek’welt Protection Center (SPC), an initiative of the Sewepemcul’ecw Traditional Peoples Government (STPG), along with various support groups, is struggling to halt the on-going $285 Million, Phase 2 expansion of the Sun Peaks Ski Resort. For More Information Contact:
“This is not KKKlananda! This is not the United States of Amerikkka! All the way from Alaska to Argentina is Indian Land. Indians continue to live here on this land, live off the land, harvest traditional foods and medicines and live the way of our ancestors.We didn’t give these illegal governments permission to be here, to occupy our territories and colonize our People.Nor did we ever stop fighting, we have always resisted since these invaders arrived on our lands.We never chose to assimilate.We were forced.When we are under their guns: their courts, laws and police force, their institutions, prison and education system and cities we forget that there is another Way and we are easily brainwashed into thinking this is the only Way. We existed forever without them and it has been only a short time since they started colonizing us—it will take a shorter time to de-colonize.”
– Native Youth Movement
Living In Reality: Indigenous and Campesino Resistance
“The Native People have always known that the government is corrupt.”
– Milton Born With A Tooth
September 7, Guatemala: Chixoy Dam Seized
Campesinos seized the Chixoy hydroelectric dam, demanding that the government return their land to them. Chixoy, which supplies about 60 percent of the country’s electricity, is about 75 miles north of Guatemala City in Alta Verapaz. The dam has long been a subject of dispute, with the government promising land to eighteen displaced communities in the 1970s.
The dam was built between 1976–82 with financing from the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank. The mostly-indigenous people displaced by the Chixoy dam received marginal land and housing and experienced brutal government repression, including two massacres at Rio Negro in 1982, in which more than 250 people were killed.
September 15, Shasta Lake (California): Tribe Dances To Protest Dam
As darkness fell across the crescentshape Shasta Dam, eight barefoot Winnemem Wintu Indians armed with bows began the tribe’s first war dance since 1887. Members of the now tiny tribe began their four-day protest to stop a potential expansion of the Shasta Dam, which would destroy sacred sites that had survived its original construction. “The war dance itself is a message to the world that we can’t stand to put up with this again,” said Caleen Sisk-Franco, the tribe’s chief, who says she received the protest vision from the spirits of ancestors. “We’ve already lost too many sacred sites to the lake.”
The Winnemem Wintu population has dwindled to 125 members because of a combination of disease, disputes and departures by members who have abandoned the culture. The tribe last held a war dance in 1887 to protest a McCloud River hatchery that captured the salmon it relied upon for survival. About 60 years ago, the tribe relocated the graves of 183 ancestors and abandoned many sacred sites as Shasta Lake swallowed its villages and ancient cemeteries. Sisk-Franco has likened the dam expansion to flooding the Vatican. Her tribe is one of hundreds in the U.S. that are not officially recognized, which limits its clout while “negotiating” with the government.
September 16, South Dakota: Indians Vow To Confront “Lewis & Clark” Reenactment
A group from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation announced that they were planning “an action of the Lakota people” against Lewis and Clark re-enactors who were heading to Chamberlain, S.D. “They’re just opening up all the old wounds that we’re still trying to heal from,” Alex White Plume said. “They should have been a little bit more courteous and asked us about what they are doing, and maybe they could have joined in the healing effort. Instead, they’re just coming here bragging about what they did 200 years ago.”
In late November, White Plume and a group of about 25 Indians confronted the expedition and told its members to turn their boats around and go home, condemning the reenactment for glorifying a journey that they believed marked the beginning of the end for traditional Indian culture. Physical violence and damage to the boats was allegedly threatened. The modern-day encounter occurred close to where the original expedition—or “resource inventory”—nearly fought with the Teton Sioux after exchanging angry words in 1804.
September 19, Bolivia: Aymara Peasants Turn to Traditional Lynch Law
The blood has been washed away but the blackened concrete below a broken lamppost in the sluggish town of Ayo Ayo’s main plaza is an inescapable reminder of the lynching that took place here. The mayor of Ayo Ayo, Benjamín Altamirano, was hanged from the lamppost and set ablaze by angry residents. The post mortem suggested he had been severely beaten.
Apart from his family, no one mourns for Altamirano in Ayo Ayo, a poor rural municipality an hour’s drive from La Paz on the windswept Altiplano plain, homeland of the Aymara people. In fact, most people in the town approve of the killing. No one has claimed responsibility, but the authorities have arrested at least 10 people.
“Altamirano was corrupt, just like the rest of the politicians,” said 59-year-old tailor Emilio Mamani as he walked through the plaza. “We told him if he did not keep his promises we would take more drastic measures. We told him very clearly. But he would not listen.”
The lynching came less than two months after Aymara people in a village in neighboring Peru lynched a mayor also accused of corruption. And it won’t be the last, warn Aymara leaders. Fed up with corrupt, unresponsive government institutions long controlled by a white and mestizo elite in La Paz, the people of the Altiplano are taking matters into their own hands. Residents of Ayo Ayo defend the killing of Altamirano as the rightful exercise of communal justice, a homegrown “legal system” practiced semi-clandestinely in the region since the time of the Incas. What is certain is that, less than a year after thousands of Aymara peasants and urban poor staged massive road-blocking protests that drove Bolivia’s President from power, the harsh Altiplano remains a redoubt of fierce anti-government defiance and, some analysts say, the most tangible threat to the precarious administration of interim President Carlos Mesa.
At various times in recent years, Aymara peasants have expelled police, judges and prosecutors from Ayo Ayo and other towns. Some are demanding self-rule.
“We Aymara carry rebellion in our blood,” said Ramón Coba, who heads the leading Ayo Ayo peasant organization. “Bolivia is totally corrupt, not just the mayor. All of them should be finished in the same way, if not burnt then drowned or strangled or pulled apart by four tractors… It’s the only way they are going to learn.”
Ayo Ayo is steeped in revolt. The municipality is the birthplace of Tupaj Katari, a legendary warrior who led an uprising of thousands of Aymara peasants against Spanish colonialists in 1781 before he was captured and executed. The lamppost where Altamirano was hanged stands in the shadow of a towering bronze statue of Katari.
People in Ayo Ayo began demanding Altamirano’s resignation after he was accused of embezzlement in 2002. A group of locals burnt down his house and held him captive until he promised to resign. But Altamirano, who is also Aymara, then refused to step down. As a two-year legal battle dragged on with no resolution in sight, Ayo Ayo residents opposed to Altamirano lost their patience. “We would have been satisfied if Altamirano admitted he had made mistakes, or if he had proposed a punishment for himself, or if the authorities had fined him,” said Coba. “But none of this happened. What else could we do?”
“The government only pays attention to those who have power,” said an interviewed Aymara. “Rights are not for the poor. They are for the rich, by the rich, and so the people here have gotten tired…tired with a long tradition in which politics is used like a spoils system for personal enrichment.”
October 13, Chile: Anarchist In Solidarity Action With Mapuche Resistance Shot By Police
A group of encapuchados (masked-up rebels) attacked a motorcycle police contingent with firebombs outside of the University of Chile in Santiago. The cops opened fire on the rebels, using live rounds, and hit an anarchist, who has been identified by the corporate media as Gustavo Fuentes. His anarchist comrades immediately rushed to the scene and confronted the officials still there. It was discovered that an ambulance was delayed, and Gustavo was left bleeding. The anarchists have not been able to determine which hospital Gustavo is being kept in, as he has been declared “lost”. The University has also washed its hands of the confrontation, declaring that Gustavo is not a student, and most students are “non-violent”.
Gustavo’s anarchist comrades immediately planned a solidarity march, and said that “the streets will burn”. Chile’s universities are a regular staging ground for insurrectionary anarchists and other rebels, in part because police do not usually enter university grounds, according to social taboo.
For several days, anarchists were taking part in the Mapuche resistance against the “Day of the Race”, the Latin American version of “Columbus Day”. A large Mapuche march took place on October 11 in Santiago, and encapuchados fought with police at the UFRO university in Temuco, Chile, on October 12, in another act against the celebration of Chile’s colonization. Solidarity with the Mapuche struggle for the land and the liberation of Mapuche prisoners is a crucial element of the anarchist movement in Chile.
October 21, Panama: Rebellion in Banana Town
On October 21, residents of the port town of Almirante, in Bocas del Toro province on Panama’s Caribbean coast, blocked the road to the port to protest a lack of water and fire trucks after an unchecked blaze destroyed three homes.
At 6 a.m. on October 24, 100 riot police agents arrived in Almirante from Changuinola to try to break up the blockade. As tear gas spread through the town, residents became angrier; they took three police agents hostage for over five hours, confiscated their weapons (including a grenade launcher) and broke their legs. Police say demonstrators burned two police vehicles and took over a gas station to steal fuel for molotov bombs. At 10:45 a.m., the police retreated and the demonstrators resumed their blockade. A total of 24 police agents and at least four civilians were injured.
October 25, Colombia: Indigenous Seize Dam Office
A group of 20 members of the Embera Katío communities of the Sinú and Verde rivers seized the offices of the Empresa Urrá S.A. in the city of Montería, in northern Colombia. At the same time, more than 400 Embera Katío community members camped out in a “permanent assembly” across the street to support the action. The occupation was prompted by the company’s failure to compensate the communities for losses incurred when the Urrá Hydroelectric Dam flooded 7,400 hectares of fertile land where their communities lived, fished, and farmed.
November 22, Brazil: Landless Workers Killed in Minas Gerais
Five people were killed when gunmen opened fire on a settlement on occupied farmland in the state of Minas Gerais. The victims were members of Brazil’s Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) that had occupied the site in 2002. A local landowner is suspected of ordering the killing. The attackers struck in the afternoon, firing shots at the makeshift settlement on farmland near the town of Felizburgo. The victims, all MST members, had moved onto the site two years ago. The number of deaths in confrontations over land has increased during the presidency of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Trotskyist hero to Noam Chomsky.
November 23, Mexico: Federal Cops Beaten and Burned
A crowd of some 300 residents seized and beat three undercover agents of Mexico’s Federal Preventive Police (PFP) in a rural section in the southern part of the Federal District (DF). Two of the agents died after the angry mob doused them in gasoline and set them on fire. A third agent was rescued by DF police before he could be burned; he was hospitalized with serious injuries from his beating.
PFP officials said they were trying to catch drug dealers. On November 27 the left-leaning daily La Jornada carried a report that the three agents had been investigating suspected guerrilla activity, not drug dealing, which would be handled by the PFP’s criminal unit. Sources in the PFP who asked not to be identified said the agents were “planted” in the village to seek information on the Revolutionary Armed Forces of the People (FARP), a small rebel group which has set off a few small bombs since 2000.
November 23, Brazil: Indigenous Attacked, One Shot
A group of 40 armed assailants, led by a local rice grower, attacked four indigenous villages in Raposa Serra do Sol, a demarcated territory in the northern Brazilian state of Roraima. In the village of Jauari, the gunmen shot community member Jocivaldo Constantino Macuxi in the head and arm; he was taken to a hospital in the state capital, Boa Vista, where he was in critical but stable condition. Another community member is missing; his documents were found in blood near the village. The attackers tried to abduct the community’s tuxaua (leader), but he managed to escape. The attackers used tractors to completely destroy the village’s 22 houses, health post and school, then burned the village to the ground, destroying all the equipment, crops, and domestic animals. Later in the day, it was learned that three other indigenous communities in the area—Homologaçao, São José and Brilho do Sol—were razed in the same manner.
Raposa Serra do Sol is the traditional land of the Macuxi, Wapichana, Taurepang, Ingaricó and Patamona peoples. Although it was demarcated in 1998 by then-Minister of Justice Renan Calheiros, the area has yet to be ratified by Brazil’s president—the last step in official recognition. Activists say the failure of leftist president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to ratify Raposa Serra do Sol has emboldened landholders in the region who are fighting the demarcation.
Update from Botswana
New Xade, Botswana: An ancient people fight to keep their land and their way of life
Roy Sesana is a haunted man. His people, the Bushmen, represent Africa’s most ancient culture. But their way of life is being wiped out because of a campaign by the Botswana government to move them off the land on which they have survived by hunting and gathering for more than 30,000 years. By “coincidence”, it is land on which reserves of diamonds have recently been detected. Botswana already produces 80 per cent of the world’s quality jewel gems.
Bitterness is etched in Mr Sesana’s ailing face as he emerges from his wooden hut at his new compound on the near-barren land on which he has been forcibly resettled. He is impatient with preliminary questions about his name, age and family life. Instead, he wants to talk about his hatred for his life in the camp called New Xade, an ironic echo of Xade, one of the important areas of ancestral land in the largely unfenced central Kalahari game reserve, an area the size of Wales created by colonial authorities to protect the Bushmen’s land and way of life.
“Being here is like being detained in a refugee camp or being held captive in a place for prisoners of war,” he says through an interpreter . He does not know his age but estimates he was a young teenager by the time of the Second World War. Thick dark smoke swirls from his home-made cigar.
In the shade of the lonely tree in his new compound of three wooden huts, Mr Sesana oozes confidence when he narrates his people’s centuries-old history as the first inhabitants of southern Africa. But he chokes with emotion when he speaks of the government plan to remove the 3,000 traditional Bushmen from the central Kalahari. “If I had had my way, I would have physically resisted the eviction from my ancestral land and I would not be here at all,” he says. “They would rather have killed me as I would have stayed put.”
He was not given the choice. He returned from a long hunting trip in the bush to find that government officials had trashed his entire village and destroyed his water sources. His nine children and two wives had been forced into trucks and transported to New Xade. He says he had no option but to follow his family.
About 140 diehard Bushmen remain inside the old reserve. Some escaped the official compounds at New Xade. In an attempt to drive them out, the government has destroyed all the main water sources. The diehards are almost impossible to reach. They live three days’ trek in to the bush.
In New Xade, amid the shabby hut compounds, the government has sunk boreholes and built a modern school, clinic and even a community bar. It seems determined to encourage the Bushmen to integrate into the national way of life.
The government’s chief representative in New Xade is James Kilo. He chairs the local development committee and plans to run for public office as the candidate of the governing political party. He denies the evictions have been motivated by diamonds. As far as he is concerned, it is about development. The government has an obligation to integrate them into “modernity” and the Bushmen should be thankful, he says. “I don’t possibly see how anyone can argue that it’s better to live in the wilderness with animals than being here.”
The Bushmen are unimpressed. If development is the aim of the scheme, as the government claims, says one Bushman, Galompele Gakelekgolela, “why did they not bring these developments to where we were in our own lands?” And where they were not plagued, as now, by alcoholism and AIDS. He answers his question with one word: “Diamonds.”
The First People of the Kalahari (FPK) is an organisation formed by the Bushmen to champion their interests. “If I thought you were primitive and in need of help, would I visit you in Johannesburg or London and destroy your home, expel your wife and children and leave them without food or a roof over their heads?” the FPK’s co-ordinator, Jumanda Gakelebone, asks. “Do I have to strip you of your dignity just because I believe you need help?”
In The Spirit of Crazy Horse! Anti-Columbus Actions From 2004
“The Columbian encounter, of course, unleashed a predatory, five-century-long cycle of European conquest, genocide, and colonization in the “New World”, a process which changed the face of Native America beyond recognition.”
–Ward Churchill, Since Predator Came
September 16, Boston, Massachusetts: Christopher Columbus Statue Defaced
For the fifth time in recent years, a statue of Christopher Columbus was vandalized in a park in the North End of Boston, this time with the word “murderer” painted across the pedestal, said city park officials. The statue’s head was painted in red and at least a gallon of paint was thrown over the pedestal.
Just two years ago, the same statue, which was erected in 1979, was decapitated. And several times around the Columbus Day holiday it had been vandalized with paint. Police made some arrests the next day after this most recent incident: two men who allegedly defaced the statue of Christopher Columbus with paint took some of the evidence with them, and police needed only to press “rewind” to see it. When the two were arrested, police found 54 cans of spray paint and seven stencils with anti-war messages, in addition to the video camera and tripod that they had been using to record the act.
When police rewound the recording, they discovered footage of one of the men dousing the Christopher Columbus statue with paint and tagging a McDonald’s restaurant with the words “FREE PALESTINE.”
October 12, Denver, Colorado: Anti-Columbus Mayhem
Calling it a ‘’Convoy of Conquest,’’ American Indian Movement members and their allies blocked the Columbus Day Parade in a protest of the holiday that represents genocide and the theft of homelands for indigenous people in the Americas.
‘’America continues to fight the ‘Indian wars’ and one expression of that is Columbus Day,’’ AIM organizer Glenn Morris told Indian Country Today.
Protesters focused on exposing the root of genocide in America as they were arrested for blocking the path of the Sons of Italy’s Columbus Day Parade of bikers, limos and semitrucks. Denver police arrested 245 people. Morris said Indian children as young as seven and eight chose to be arrested because of the injustice they face in U.S. schools. ‘’Every year they confront the silence of their ancestors’ voices in their history classes.’’
Further, Morris said, when the 245 cases go to court, American Indians and their allies will not be the ones on trial. ‘’We intend to put Columbus on trial, the city of Denver on trial and the state of Colorado and the United States on trial for celebrating genocide.’’ Morris pointed out that Colorado is the perfect place to halt Columbus Day because Colorado was the first to proclaim it as a state holiday in 1907.
Indian lands have been reduced from 2 billion to 50 million acres since Columbus advanced and expanded the arrogant European Doctrine of Discovery, claiming that superior, civilized, Christian Europeans had the right to seize and appropriate indigenous peoples’ territories and resources.
This doctrine has been embedded into racist Federal Indian Law, and is apparent today in the case of the Western Shoshone in Nevada and the Lakota in the Black Hills of South Dakota. ‘’We’re not talking about a hypothetical theory to Native people.’’ Morris said the result of the Doctrine of Discovery was the loss of land and lives for Indian people. Today, the rhetoric of ‘’Indian wars’’ is used in Iraq by the United States military as it seeks to take control of territory. “All hostile territory in Iraq is still called ‘Indian country.’ People who fraternize with Iraqis are said to be ‘going Native.’’
“[Our arrests] expose a corrupt educational, legal and political system that refuses to describe the destruction of millions of indigenous people at the hands of Columbus for what it is: Genocide,’’ Colorado AIM stated after the arrests.
October 13, Venezuela: Next Statues To Topple…
From the Postscript of the Communiqué
From Popular Bolivarian Movements:
“We knocked down the ex-statue of Columbus! … We knocked down a face of COLONIALISM and it broke to pieces… We knocked down a bronze statue and, as it fell, it stuck its finger in the Empire’s eye… we knocked it down in the full light of the day with our young, uncovered faces, thus discovering hypocritical masks… we knocked down a “public evil” and we made a true work of art, a rebellious and collective work of art without imperial signature… we knocked down the oppressor at the rhythm of libertarian drums… we knocked down a symbolic ex-statue and we shook the bureaucraticstatue, the impunity-statue, the communication-monopoly-statue, the repressive-state-statue… the Escuálido-[anti-revolutionary]-with-a-red-beret-statue. In short, we knocked down an ex-statue and shook those who want to turn our Revolution into their hypocriticaland untouchable Revolution-Statue.”
Native American & Land Rights Prisoners:
Byron Shane Chubbuck #07909051, US Penitentiary, PO Box 1000, Leavenworth, KS 66048. Indigenous rights activist serving time for robbing banks in order to acquire funds to support the Zapatista rebellion in Chiapas, Mexico.
Eddie Hatcher #0173499, ECI, PO Box 215, Maury, NC 28550. Longtime Native American freedom-fighter being framed for a murder he did not commit.
Leonard Peltier #89637-132, PO Box 1000, Leavenworth, KS 66048. American Indian Movement (AIM) activist, serving two Life sentences, having been framed for the murder of two FBI agents.
Luis V. Rodriguez #C33000, PO Box 7500, Crescent City, CA 95532-7500. Apache/Chicano activist being framed for the murder of two cops.
Tewahnee Sahme #11186353, SRCI, 777 Stanton Blvd, Ontario, OR 97914. Dedicated Native rights advocate serving additional time for a prison insurgency.
David Scalera (Looks Away) #13405480, TRCI, 82911 Beach Access Rd, Umatilla, OR 97882. Dedicated Native rights advocate serving additional time for a prison insurgency.
The Struggle In West Papua: Winter/Spring Update
The last several months has seen big events in West Papua and here we will try to summarize some of the main incidents. We are doing this, of course, from the other side of the globe (Turtle Island) so we also encourage our readers to check out the following website for more up-to-date information: www.westpapuanews.com
15,000 Flee Military Assault On Highland Villages
The Indonesian military has been attacking villages in the heavily forested highland district of Puncak Jaya. Dozens have already been killed; either directly by bullets from helicopter gun ships or from starvation in the crowded makeshift camps that now adorn Pancke Jaya – the highest mountain in Australasia. The military assault follows guerrilla attacks attributed to around 50 OPM/TPN warriors in mid October. Six Indonesian construction workers were killed when their vehicle was attacked. This was followed by the torching of government schools and administration buildings. The subsequent state reaction has led to ‘internal refugees’ now exceeding 15,000 from 147 villages. Some are forced to hide in caves in the mountains in the central Puncak Jaya district. People are starving. The death of 15 people, mainly children, was reported on November 27. There are 2,800 troops in several locations around Puncak Jaya, blocking off access to the Papuans who fled into the forest seeking refuge. As well as direct attacks on people, the troops have been destroying village houses, wrecking food gardens, killing domestic animals, etc.
The helicopter gunship, herding the main mass of tribes people up onto the mountain peaks, serves three functions:
Collective Punishment: for guerrilla attacks on development projects. The military must show both the population as a whole and warriors in particular that the death of children, lovers and family is the reward for insurgency – just as the British army did in India, Borneo and Kenya!
Draining the Sea: means the fish have nothing to swim in. The Papuan people are the sea and the military may hope that by driving them up onto the peaks it can easier deal with the warriors left behind – at least for now.
Genocide: expansion and profit is the primary function of the Indonesian Army in New Guinea. Today’s cold mountaintop deaths are just the most recent in a massacre that has eradicated a sixth of the Papuan population.
Against this huge state assault the tribes have shown their instincts for both flight AND for fight. In mid-November, after much of the population had fled into the forest, a government convoy on the way to the area was attacked. One cop was killed and 12 officials were injured. About 100 insurgents from the Free Papua Movement ambushed the group as they traveled to the town of Mulia, about 2,300 miles (3,701 kilometers) northeast of Jakarta, local military commander Maj. Gen. Nurdin Zainal told El-Shinta radio. “Rebels attacked the officials with axes, swords and arrows and then ran off into the jungle,” said Zainal.
While the highlands have been resistive and summarily repressed, in the city there have been demos and a hunger strike. December 1 is celebrated/mourned as West Papuan Independence Day. Since the fall of President Suharto, Papuan towns have hosted illegal but overt, mass proindependence flag raising rituals – which inevitably have led to bloody and lethal army attacks. This year was no exception. 5,000 people raised the Papuan ‘Morning Star’ flag for one hour…
Activists Shot At Demonstration
Violence again flared in the capital of Indonesia’s troubled province of West Papua as security forces moved to break up a flag-raising ceremony by independence supporters on December 1. Five people were shot and wounded and at least 18 people arrested as 100 police dispersed the gathering at Trikora soccer field in Adepura, a suburb of Jayapura. December 1 commemorates the first West Papuan national congress in 1961, organized by the then-ruling Dutch as a preparation for independence.
Two of the event organizers had been beaten by police as they were taken away on a police truck for interrogation in the city center. Another 16 people were being questioned at the local Adepura police station. Among the five people wounded were 20-year-old Marselina Gobay, who was shot in the leg, and 24-yearold Yermia Kayame, shot in the head.
As was said by Solidarity South Pacific back in 2000 when a similar incident occurred: “Opinion on the flag issue is divided within the OPM; some see the defense of the flag as an important symbol of aspiration, others as a senseless waste of Papuan lives”.
Either way the event has resulted in further arrests – prisoners now need outside support. Two of the twenty two prisoners arrested on 1/12/04 are on hunger strike – Philip Karma (47) and Yusak Pakage(26). They have refused to eat or talk to the police.
West Papua: The Obliteration of a People, by Carmel Budiarjo and Liem Soei Liang. A superb introduction to the subject, upsetting and enraging.
Poisoned Arrows: An Investigative Journey Through Indonesia, by George Monbiot
Indonesia’s Secret War: The Guerrilla Struggle in Irian Jaya, by Robin Osborne
OPM Support Group, c/o 43 Gardner Street, Brighton BN1 1UN, UK; www.eco-action.org/opm/ Practical solidarity with the indigenous people of West Papua. Produces occasional newsletter.
Friends of People Close to Nature, 33 Gould Close, Welham Green, Hatfielld, Hertfordshire AL9 7EB, UK; www.fpcn-global.org Independent group working to support the struggles of indigenous peoples against development.
TAPOL, 111 Northwood Street, Thornton Road, Surrey CR7 8HW, UK; www.gn.apc.org/TAPOL Produces a newsletter detailing the current situation in East Timor and West Papua.
Tears from West Papua: Tribal Peoples Message To the World
West Papua is the Western Half of the New Guinea Island which is north of Australia.
West Papua tribal people are struggling firstly for independence, from the brutal Indonesian regime.
Second is, we are struggling for our nature & culture and also our environment.
Third is, we want to be free from other economical colonisation that steal our nature.
West Papuans ethnically are Melanesia, not Asia, Australasia, Polynesia, or any other grouping, but we are 100% Melanesia. West Papua is geographically, mountainous (snow capped), and covered tropical rainforests.
West Papua consists of 250 different tribes and so 250 languages, each tribe – with quite different cultures.
Our Second struggle is for land, in our own land, because land is our mother and forest is our store, because forest gives us life and all we need.
If we look to West Papua right now, almost everything is disappearing, everything we have; for examples; killing of us human beings, cutting the trees, very, very quickly and so destroying us and our way of our life. We don’t want any form of your development because development is bringing big problems in to the tribal world.
Just leave us alone, what ever we are, because we know that – already for thousand years. We have already settled the whole Melanesian region specially in West Papua, long time before your civilization was even born. When western civilization came to our world – bringing all kinds of so-called development it began to destroy our natural way of life.
Before our ancestors lived in harmony, respecting each other, we respect our nature, we respect our customs and also we are sure of everything we have, but now we see that very different because the new cultures brought in from outside world, via the Missionaries or Western People. So now, for our culture, our world disappears.
That is why we want, only simple life.
We not interested in development
We not interested in western way of life
We don’t want any more colonization of our people.
We don’t want your civilization
Just leave us alone!
by Benny Wenda
Leader of DeMMaK (Koteka Tribal Council) and West Papua People
Let There Be Light!
An Exposure of Fundamentalist Christian Involvement in Cultural Genocide
Wycliffe Bible Translators and the Summer Institute of Linguistics
Wycliffe Bible Translators (WBT) are a fundamentalist, millenarianist missionary organization who have a long history of using their belief in the doctrines of original sin, and the damnation of all unconverted people to justify any behavior. Together with other groups such as the New Tribes Mission, they have embarked on a quest called Vision 2025, to evangelize to every last uncontacted society on earth, largely because they believe that in doing so they will bring about the second coming of Christ and the end of the earth. Because their interpretation of Christianity encourages obedience to Authority and justifies acquisition of material wealth, they have enough financial support to make a go of it, particularly from people connected to corporations and governments that have interests in the natural resources where these tribal societies live.
The Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) presents itself as a scientific organization focusing on previously unwritten and untranslated languages. They have a number of programs and schools at which they teach people how to translate these languages. One of these programs operates out of Northwest Christian College in Eugene, a program that the University of Oregon will give students credit for.
SIL and WBT are the Same Organization.
Both have their roots in Camp Wycliffe, which was founded in 1934 to train missionaries in linguistics to facilitate their work with indigenous peoples, primarily in the Americas.
In 1942, Wycliffe alumni incorporated as two separate organizations, WBT and SIL, as a clever way to get around laws banning missionaries from working in countries including Mexico. It is a ruse that has continued to serve them quite well. WBT remains in the U.S. as the fundraising and recruiting wing, emphasizing the religious aspect of their operations, while SIL arranges fieldwork and deals with governments, and gives the venture a veneer of scientific legitimacy.
SIL and WBT have historically tried to deny their connection, until 1953 when they were outed by, of all people, the Catholic Church. Since then they have tried to explain it with statements like “SIL and WBT are the same people, but it is a question of two corporations dedicated to different things.” Tidy, but logically somewhat dubious.
Evangelical ethnocide is defined as the stigmatization, demonization and ridicule of beliefs rites and symbols of indigenous cultures while glorifying missionaries’ own world and own culture as the only path.
By entering, uninvited, into a society and attempting to foist an alien system of beliefs and morality on them, allmissionaries engage in ethnocidal behavior. By identifying godliness with capitalism and the American way of life, WBT/SIL carry out this process to a particularly fanatical extreme.
Their focus on societies with little or no previous contact with the industrialized world make them especially dangerous. Arriving in the bush in flying machines bearing penicillin and metal tools, they can easily present themselves as messengers from a society and religion where all of life’s problems have been solved by the grace of their god. They provide no context with which to understand and analyze the price of development. Furthermore, by entering and building airstrips in previously impassably remote areas, they blaze the trail for governments, the military, and corporate interests.
This is, of course, fundamental to their purpose. WBT/SIL have been accused of scientific and political infiltration and espionage; control of foreign territory; violation of sovereignty; being a religious trans-national corporation; conspiracy with the CIA; detection and extraction of strategic materials; clandestine landing strips; intrigue; sterilization without consent, and much more. Although many of these allegations remain unproven, some things, such as SIL’s collaboration with the CIA in counter insurgency in Latin America and in South East Asia during the Vietnam War, as well as their cozy relationship with numerous dictatorships, and the funds they receive from both the CIA and western multinationals are quite well documented. They get away with this, in your town and around the world because there is very little known about what they do.
For more info, contact: email@example.com
Hmong: Betrayal, Yellow Rain, and Resistance
by Killa T
Growing up in the dominant culture, I’ve learned a lot of important aspects about the destruction and horrid atrocities that the dominant culture has perpetrated. One important factor that this culture has perfected is the notion of silence. I’ve learned that this culture and this civilization will not teach our children its atrocities, but only romanticize its so-called “accomplishments”, ones built on betrayal, murder, and progress.
Coming from a Vietnamese background, my life was filled with ancient folklore and stories that told a theme about everyday life. My father was a great story teller and poet; yet one topic that he always talked about with great admiration (that didn’t correlate with folklore or fiction) was about a group of indigenous people who lived in the mountain region near the border of Laos and Vietnam. He said the indigenous people would travel barefoot for hundreds of miles to trade with villagers in Khe Sanh and other rural areas in Vietnam. My father would describe them as “Meo”, which in their [Hmong] language meant slavery or contempt. My father had no idea of this connotation, but nevertheless, he admired their simplistic lifestyles and always told me the beauties of their culture.
I would soon know these people as the Hmong, which in their language means “free people”. However, unlike their name, the Hmong have yet to see their freedom in the past half-century, for it has been stripped away by ideologies that encourage progress and modernity, and which threaten their everyday existence. This is a testament of their story as well as a testament of civilization. This is an example of what both the materialization of capitalist and communist ideologies as well as civilization in its totality have done as a threat to the indigenous people in Southeast Asia. This is also a testament of silence, for civilization cannot thrive when people know of its horrors.
The Hmong are horticulturalists who have practiced slash and burn techniques for thousands of years. They are relatively egalitarian, although, like most sedentary non-foraging societies, some implications of patriarchy unfortunately are present. Their religious beliefs are that which is known to the Western World as animism; they believe in a spirituality within the realm of animals. This is incorporated with ideas of ancestral worship. Most of their religious practices coincide with the spiritual realm of the Earth. They, like many indigenous cultures, believe in a world that’s in direct unison with the people and life around them. The main spiritual group of the Hmong is called Chao Fa, and would later serve as a key role in their resistance. Though no one really knows the origin of the Hmong, many stories imply that they were the first people of China who migrated in the mountains between the border of Vietnam and Laos.
Hmong and Colonialism
The Hmong generally lived in a peaceful yet isolated environment; it wasn’t until the past century that the Hmong encountered hostility with colonial powers.
Colonialism is one of the key factors in the civilizing process, a process that exploits, destroys, and devastates land-based cultures through the degradation of human/non-human life and the earth, provoking a new form of domination that has no positive outcome and is solely based on dominance. Civilization has to expand, for the subjugation of land, people, and cultures are important for its survival; thus, the stories of the Hmong are one of the many who have endured through the civilizing process.
Colonization of the Hmong began during the Japanese invasion of French-Indochina (now known as Vietnam). A Hmong elder would soon remark that the entrance of the French into the region would be the beginning of tragedy for the Hmong people. The French and Japanese would serve to the Hmong people as a ‘double-edged sword’. The Japanese would force the Hmong to mine silver in Pa Heo, leading to a countless number of deaths and many more injured, while the French modernized the Hmong terrain, destroying their land and culture. The Hmong would later choose to ally with the French and subsequently find out the repercussions of their choice.
In 1941, Hmong tribal leader of the Ly tribe, LyFang Touby, would sign a pact with Free French’s Second Lieutenant Maurice Gauthier for the creation of a resistance group that would take out the Japanese occupation. Utilizing guerrilla tactics to fend off the Japanese, the Hmong served as a trustworthy exigency for the French. To the French, the Hmong were only looked upon as that, a necessity. Since their lives are primarily egalitarian, the Hmong could not understand the hierarchies of the French military; the different ranks of authority seemed to them pointless and quite confusing.
The resistance of the Japanese would soon end in 1945 after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Though the French and Hmong may have triumphed over the Japanese, a new form of resistance would soon ensue.
A year after the Japanese withdrawal from Indochina, the French were still presiding in the Hmong territory, for the French were embarking on a new battle with the extremely nationalist group whose leader was a Marxist-Leninist by the name of Ho Chi Minh; this group was called the Vietminh. Within the period of 1947-1953, the Hmong and French would have numerous offensives against the Viet Minh, leading to many trials of victory and defeat.
At the same time of France’s war with the Vietminh, the French imposed laws on the Hmong people and forced all of them to pay taxes or be driven off their land. A number of Hmong people even sold their own children in order to make the income for the French imposed taxes. The Hmong were also forced to give ‘15 days of free labor’ to build roads, mines, and create marketplaces within the surrounding area. The French, to the Hmong people, were beginning to be viewed more as an enemy than ally.
At the end of the French-Indochina war, the French were defeated in the battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954 by the Vietminh; practically resulting in the evacuation of all French troops from the Hmong villages. Soon there would be another war for the Hmong, one that would consist of fighting against the Panthet Lao and the Vietcong, as well as the betrayal of their Western “allies”, developing into the bloodiest war that the Hmong would have to endure.
Secret War: America, Panthet Lao, and Yellow Rain
In 1960, the Hmong were in a constant battle against the Panthet Lao and the Vietcong. Thanks to the French (along with the inherent imperialist tendency of communism), a driving animosity was created between the communists in Vietnam (Vietcong) and Laos (Panthet Lao) against the Hmong people. This led the way for the opportunistic U.S. involvement in Laos’ civil war. The CIA was secretly training Hmong villagers for an offensive against the Panthet Lao, meant to be a ‘secret war’ against the communist forces. Vang Pao, a local tribe leader, was to be one of the heads in the resistance against the Panthet Lao. This war led to thousands of Hmong dead and thousands more relocated. In 1975, Vang Pao and U.S. officials involved with the Hmong finally pulled out of Laos, the biggest betrayal to the Hmong people.
On May 9th, 1975, the Panthet Lao would soon confirm that “We [Laos People Democratic Republic] must eradicate the Meo minority completely.” They also stated that it was time “to cut down the old trees which didn’t produce any fruit to allow the new trees to grow.” This remark was geared towards the modernization of Laos and the elimination of the Hmong people. By creating this new social “revolution”, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) devised actions directed at the elimination of the ethnic minority. One act was for PDR officials to instruct children who were captured by the Panthet Lao to go back to their villages and kill their parents for the cleansing of the traditional culture. This was the beginning of the Hmong’s genocide.
Soon enough, planes would fly over, spraying a yellow substance over the villages. Many people were vomiting blood and dying almost automatically after the yellow substance reached the breathing level; newborn children were becoming deformed and soon died.
In 1977, the Lao PDR was sending airplane pilots on missions spraying chemical and biological weapons they received from Russia. The weapons were in the form of a liquid mist substance, causing all internal organs to shut down, with blood seeping out of a person’s pores and profuse vomiting of blood and other matter.
The outcome of the Hmong’s casualties in the year’s of 1975-1978 were reported to be 50,000 from biological and chemical toxins and 45,000 shot, tortured, or starved. Also, the result of the genocide has left more than 300,000 Hmong refugees. Currently, there are only 315,465 still living in Laos and Thailand.
The Hmong carried out several offensives against the Lao government since 1977. The Lao government labels any insurgents as members of Chao Fa, while in reality, many are just typical rebels who have no specific affiliation. It’s been said that the Hmong have affirmed a spiritual battle against the PDR, for most warriors who engage in combat typically have a set of rituals. For example, a group’s shaman would recite different chants, casting away evil spirits and tying quick knots in three strands of white cotton thread binding it to the wrists of each man.
In 1981, Vang Pao – who was in exile in the U.S. – created the United Lao National Liberation Front (ULNLF), which was a group of Hmong refugees in Santa Ana, California. The ULNLF gave arms and support to Hmong insurgents to fend off the Lao PDR. Later in the 1980’s, there would soon be more ULNLF groups forming in Hmong refugee camps in Thailand.
In the past two decades, there have been several incidents of bombings within Vientiane, Laos claimed by different Hmong insurrection groups. Also, groups such as the United Lao National Liberation Front, Ethnic Issara, and Chao Fa are just a few of the many resistance groups that have been actively resisting the domination of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.
Yet there will also be treachery within the struggle. In 1994, the Laos’ PDR insured that any of those who resisted the Lao occupation would receive clemency if they surrendered and carried out their regular lives; those who gave into this agreement were sent to internment camps where they would later be beaten and killed. On September 18, 2004, a video was shown depicting five unarmed Hmong children being killed by 40 Laotian soldiers; the girls were raped before their deaths.
Currently, many Hmong rebels are in continual combat against the Laos PDR government and refuse to stop fighting until the PDR isfully dissolved. The PDR should fear the Hmong, for the necessity for liberation of the Hmong people will be fought at all cost and in the recent ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) conference held in Laos, the fear was definitely apparent, for many PDR officials worried about the onslaught of a Hmong resistance during the conference.
In another story, on November 21, 2004, Hmong immigrant Chai Soua Vang shot and killed six hunters in Southern Wisconsin after being harassed, threatened, and shot at by the local hunters when he accidentally stumbled on to one of their properties. Vang was called derogatory connotations like “chink” and “gook” and was surrounded by eight men, one who shot at his feet as a warning.
Vang’s story is one of the many that have been involved with Hmong hunters in conflict with the local hunters. Most of the Hmong hunters have been awfully agitated by the local idea of property, for most Hmong people have no notion of property and when it comes to hunting, the Hmong usually have no set terrain or boundaries.
The Hmong’s future is in constant turmoil. The Laos People’s Democratic Republic continues to authorize a secret agenda to eliminate the Hmong people. As my father and many elder Vietnamese speculate, the Hmong people will cease to exist within five years, for the constant assault on their people and culture will continue as long as dominant powers have control.
It’s up to all of us to take the initiative to protect the livelihood of the Hmong people and all indigenous people, for their story reflects the sheer oppression of colonialism and civilization. The Hmong are an example of how both communist and capitalist ideologies (twin constructs of industrialized civilizations) have destroyed people, culture, and land.
The defense of this Earth and land-based cultures are exclusively based on our will to fight against the devastation and horrors that civilization has bestowed onto its inhabitants. The fight of the Hmong and other indigenous cultures are armed conflicts connected to the broader resistance against civilization. Their war is our war, for the powers that threaten their lives lie within our own culture as well as other predominant civilized cultures. We must take the initiative to ‘hit it where it hurts’ by focusing our energy to areas which are integral to life on this Earth.
Transcending the movement and building a struggle!
The Network for Asian Liberation
The Network for Asian Liberation is a non-hierarchical, anti-authoritarian network enabling different Asian groups, collectives, and cells to share information with each other. With up-to-date direct action reports and news pertaining to Asia and the South Pacific, the Network for Asian Liberation serves as a source of education on topics pertaining to cultural exploitation/ extinction, assimilation, globalization, industrialism, the environment, resistance to the dominant culture and a myriad of other struggles.
For more information contact:
info/ comments: NETAZANLIB@RESIST.CA
news/direct action updates: ASIANLIBERATION@HUSHMAIL.COM
Resistance to Development in the Philippines
by Solidarity South Pacific
The Philippines archipelago has seen in recent times natural systems placed under severe and rapid attack by the onslaught of capitalist development. Primary forest cover is down to 3% (18.6% total forest cover) making the islands’ biodiversity some of the most threatened on the planet. And as a result of this, the remaining peoples who are integrated into and dependant on these ecological systems are forced into constant struggle for their very survival.
The Philippines government claims there are some 3 million ‘indigenous people’ living in the country, out of a total population of 126 million. This refers to people who have managed to maintain some level of cultural identity that is distinct from the mainstream culture. However most, if not all, have seen huge changes in their way of life compared with just a few generations before. Several tribes are traditionally exclusively hunter-gatherers, but forced settlement and destruction of the forest has meant nearly all have had to develop some form of agricultural activity.
One of the many negative impacts of 450 years of colonial and neo-colonial rule by Spain and the U. S. has been the introduction of Christianity. Missionary activity has been found by successive waves of Christian colonisers to be a particularly effective means of assimilation and control. Missionising has therefore never been restricted in the Philippines and those few peoples who have not been converted have only done so by continuous resistance.
Since the initial contact in 1521, there has been consistent resistance to conquest. Spanish explorer Ferdinand Magellan met his death on the island of Mactan at the hands of Lapu-Lapu, a local chief, and the rest of his expedition fled back to Spain, who didn’t send another ship for 43 years. Resistance continued through the 350 years of Spanish rule, until a revolutionary war forced the colonists out at the end of the 19th century. The revolution, however, was immediately sold out by its leaders, who let the U.S. take over the reins of power. Their 50-year rule consisted of exceedingly violent repression – between 1 and 2 million people were killed in the first 10 years of the U.S. regime.
In more recent times, the struggles of tribal peoples have often been focussed on the industrial development that destroys the forest and pollutes the land: logging, mining, plantations, and large dams. In the early 1980s, the people of the Cordillera Central mountain range launched their famous successful struggle against the World Bank funded damming of the Chico River. The fierce mountain people, who had never allowed the Spanish to subdue them and exploit the large gold reserves under their land, united in militant resistance against the project. Repression was brutal and resulted in several deaths but the World Bank eventually pulled out, and the resistance sparked a highly organised movement in the region which has been fighting developments and for political autonomy ever since.
Many of the largest battles of the last decade have focused around mining. In the mid-90s the Philippines government decided to push the mining industry as a key source of foreign income, with many of the proposed new mines in indigenous areas. However, despite new laws and other incentives, the mines have nearly without exception not been able to open, due to community resistance. The Igorot of the Cordillera, the B’laan of Mindanao and other tribal and non-tribal groups have all managed to keep foreign mining companies at bay – at least for now.
A current struggle, that despite strong resistance, is not proving successful (and deserves our solidarity), is that of the Subanon people, together with local Christian and Muslim populations, against the Canadian Company TVI Pacific. The company, with head offices in Calgary, is currently in the process of constructing infrastructure for its gold mine, and has bulldozed the summit of Mount Canatuan, a sacred mountain.
For years the destruction of the land and community has been resisted, including physical resistance to the company’s attempts to start mining. In March 2004 Subanon people mounted a road blockade to prevent the company’s heavy machinery from moving onto the land, which was ended after several days when company security opened fire, wounding four people.
The years of resistance to the mine have met with a counter-offensive from the company and the state which are further assaults on the Subanon culture. Huge militarisation and death threats have created a climate of fear in which people are afraid to publicly voice their opposition to the mine. In addition, the company has used deceit and bribery to try and create an alternative leadership structure that supports its projects. This use of sophisticated PR techniques and buying people off, introducing capitalistic relations to divide the tribe and subvert traditional decision-making structures, is no less a serious attack on the tribal existence than the destruction of their land.
In early 2003, a group from the U.K., previously involved in solidarity work for West Papua, visited various indigenous villages within the Philippines, among them one Manobo area which was the focus of a long but ultimately unsuccessful battle against a geothermal power plant on Mount Apo, the highest peak of the Philippines. During the most intense period of struggle, the company had bought the support of one traditional chief, while others stayed firm in their opposition. The opposing sides fought each other through ritual curses and counter-curses, law courts, and even physically, as some pro-geothermal Manobo were recruited into paramilitary units by the state.
When we visited, the tribes were trying to rebuild unity. They were in the process of trying to claim title to their ancestral domain. However, they were fully aware that this legal process is fairly worthless, and wanted to do something much more interesting, trying to reclaim their cultural heritage and reverse the trend of increasing assimilation into the lowland civilisation. Rediscovering their music, traditional crafts, clothing, rituals etc, as well as the tribal warrior tradition through forest defence, has opened up a common ground through which the divisions created by the geothermal project can be gradually overcome.
The political situation in the Philippines is far from straightforward, and resistance movements need to be understood in this context. There is a 35 year old communist (essentially Maoist) movement and guerrilla army, which aims to incorporate and control all resistance in its ‘united front’. There is also an ever-increasing number of NGOs and mass-based people’s organisations, with varying levels of sympathy/affiliation to the underground left. In addition there is a strong ‘progressive’ wing of the Catholic Church, which has also been involved in struggle since the years of the Marcos dictatorship.
These various organisations will often support or become involved in the struggles for physical and cultural survival of indigenous people, and this involvement clearly changes the nature of the resistance. One Filipino anarchist advanced the theory to us that the reason that the recent struggle against the San Roque dam failed whereas that against the Chico River dam was successful 20 years before was as a result of the hugely increased bureaucratic control of the movement neutralising the spontaneous militancy which had worked so well previously. Whether this is true or not, it can certainly be difficult for indigenous people insufficiently acquainted with the complexities of authoritarian politics to clearly understand when their resistance is being helped by the organised infrastructures that these groups have, and when they are being manipulated towards their agenda. Of course, on the other hand, there are plenty of indigenous people who understand perfectly well and are quite happy to embrace leftist ideologies.
We need to remember that most of the information that emerges into the outside world has its source in one of these institutionalised groups, and therefore it is often not possible to understand the real motivations and actions of those who engage in acts of resistance if we are not present in their communities at the time. And so those of us who have problems with the ideology of these groups must not simply assume that it is representative of all the people who are fighting – as we should be aware of the tendency to interpret the resistance in a way that confirms our own political line.
What we heard and understood time and time again from indigenous people in the Philippines was that the motivation to resist came from the destruction of the land, which sustains them – as much a physical necessity as a spiritual one. We met many people living in severe material poverty, but fully aware of the ecological richness they have, how they are dependent on it, and what it means to lose it. We stayed with communities that were continuing to take direct action to block the machines of the logging industry or confronting illegal loggers in the forest, and communities that continued to practice their traditional rituals in secret despite being outwardly Christian. We met many people proud of their traditional life and determined to maintain that life. But also, we encountered people who were obviously worn out by the stress of the constant need to resist new encroachments, and had essentially given up the fight, no longer hoping or believing that it was possible to stop the increasing destruction of their forests and their lives.
For anyone interested in contacting members of an Earth First! Group that regularly visit and work with tribal groups, visit: www.geocities.com/efdavao or www.katribu.cjb.net. A longer analysis of indigenous resistance in the Philippines can be found on the Solidarity South Pacific web page: www.eco-action.org/ssp/resources.html
Earth Liberation and Anti-Genetix Actions
“Monsters hate fire, especially fires started by children. In fact, Monsters hate fires so very much that they are the ones who first thought up the idea of having Firemen who put fires out instead of just allowing them to burn. You see, Monsters burn rather easily. Plus fire is much too bright and hurts Monsters’ weak night vision eyes. You must practice setting fires, quickly and easily. You must also learn how to control or not to control fire. The easiest and best way to practice fire starting is in your back yard on a sunny, summer afternoon. Just set a small fire, at first, using stolen matches from your kitchen or your father’s desk. Gather some dry leaves, scraps of paper, or tiny twigs, set them in a pile and toss on a match or two. Eventually, experiment with paper balls and bits of coal or other household fuels. This is very important. Most grown-ups, Monsters or not, will try and tell you that playing with fire is extremely dangerous and potentially deadly. Just remember that you are fighting for your life, so you must understand every defensive technique possible.”
– Destroy All Monsters!
August 18, Porter, Texas:
Unknown individuals used construction equipment to topple power poles erected at a development site. Although this is an older news item, we thought it worth mentioning considering the tactical and strategic implications of the action.
September 25, France:
About 15 people were injured in clashes between French police and activists protesting against genetically modified (GMO) crops. Police fired tear gas grenades at the activists, who were trying to stage their protest/decontamination in a field of transgenic corn near Valdivienne in central France.
October 3: News Blackout On GM Decontamination In France
Anti-GM demonstrations have been met with violent repression in France, so protesters have responded with night-time decontamination. But now, a news blackout seems to have been imposed. During the night of Sunday October 3, thirty voluntary reapers decontaminated an experimental field of GM maize in the commune of Varois-et Chaignot near Dijon. The field was the largest GM planting in France and the last in the whole of Bourgogne but although all this information was sent to newspapers and to France 3 TV in Bourgogne, it has not been made public by any of the systems media outlets, so we’re spreading the word here!
October 11, Milwaukee: Sabotage Suspected In Wisconsin Tower Collapse
Bolts deliberately removed from two Wisconsin electric transmission towers caused them to collapse across railroad tracks. About 17,000 homes and businesses, including Milwaukee’s Mitchell International Airport, were without power for part of the weekend. A Canadian Pacific freight train that stopped just north of the fallen electrical lines was still waiting there a day later.
The FBI issued a general warning to regional authorities to watch for attacks on infrastructure. Waukesha, Wisconsin-based American Transmission Co., ordered crews to inspect all electrical towers in the area. The distribution lines are owned by We Energies. Police have cited “ecoterrorism” in this incident, which dropped electrical wires on railroad tracks used by Amtrak and Canadian Pacific trains.
Officials said it would take two or three days to effect repairs on the 49-year-old fallen transmission towers. Additionally, replacing the two 80-foot electric transmission towers in Oak Creek will cost the company about $300,000.
October 12, Pennsylvania: Bomb Scare Closes 1-76 For Hours
The FBI is trying to determine if a radical environmental group (the Earth Liberation Front) is responsible for a extensive disturbance on the Schuylkill Expressway in Pennsylvania. The problems started when a “suspicious” device was found along the Belmont Ave. off-ramp. During the commuter rush hour, authorities cut off all traffic between Belmont and the Blue Route because of the ominous metal box found attached to a PECO hightension line. The PECO tower stands in close proximity to railroad tracks that run parallel to the highway.
The FBI is still uncertain as to whether the box, with the letters “ELF” on it, was left by the radical environmentalists. The box’s discovery caused a massive disruption, stranding some drivers for nearly three hours with no way to get off the road. If this incident was the work of ELF, it wouldn’t be the first time the group has struck in that area. They came under suspicion last spring when a number of animals were stolen from the Saul Agricultural High School. That case remains unsolved.
After blowing open the box, investigators found only inert materials. The FBI termed it a hoax, and said the box only contained wood mixed with an adhesive.
“It was a ‘calling card’ stating potential danger,” a bomb technician said. The large black metal box had the initials “ELF” emblazoned on white on the front of the box. Another “concern” (and investigative stumbling block), according to the Feds, is the fact that the ELF is very “fragmented’ (decentralized?), with no official head or leader, making it difficult to track down
any of its members.
November 11, Washington: Vancouver Lumber Yard Attack
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has joined in the investigation of an attack on a Vancouver lumber yard. The FBI is taking part in the probe because of the possibility of “ecoterrorism”.
Every front and rear tire on the trucks loaded with wood were pierced with an ice pick. Altogether, 36 tires were ruined, costing the company about $12,000, said Ira Harris, operations manager. The anarchist “A” logo was also spray painted on the trucks and doors of the lumber company’s building. A security camera was ripped off its mount on a roof beam. “I just saw a lot of confusion,” said yard foreman Todd Petrie. “I saw a lot of money sitting on the ground.”
November 17, Naperville, Illinois: Housing Development Targeted by Vandals
Pigs are baffled by the vandalism at the site of a new housing development. The most serious damage was done to two tractors owned by an Oswego-based construction company that were left at the site.
Bags of powdered mortar that had recently been delivered to the scene were apparently discovered and utilized by the vandals. Several of the bags were opened, with the powder then poured into each tractor’s hydraulic system. The land itself had recently been surveyed, with surveying stakes planted in the earth. The vandals removed the stakes and tossed them to the ground, forcing the developer to have the tract resurveyed. It was not known whether the tractors’ hydraulic systems could be cleaned or salvaged. The cost of replacing the systems, if necessary, could run as high as $20,000.
December 21, Hillsboro, Oregon: Two Men Indicted In Conspiracy To Target Construction Company
Two transients found living in an abandoned farmhouse in Hillsboro have been accused of allegedly planning to blow up trucks and equipment belonging to a construction company that is polluting a Washington County stream. Charles Arthur Jordan IV, 20, and Stephen Philip Marshall, 19, were each charged with conspiracy to damage or attempt to damage equipment used in interstate commerce.
The alleged target was Morse Brothers, a company that runs quarries throughout Oregon and operates a concrete materials and tool service. The FBI said the two men told friends of their plans and that the eco-terrorism scheme unraveled Oct. 30, when neighbors called Hillsboro police to report people living in an abandoned farmhouse on Tualatin Valley Hwy. Police found three teenagers and 25 sticks of old, unstable dynamite in the house. Lt. Chris Skinner, Hillsboro police spokesman, said the teens reported that a friend named “Chuck” had found a half-case of dynamite in a shed on the property and took it to the basement to extract the nitroglycerin.
On Oct. 31, the Portland Police Bureau Explosives Disposal Unit used a robot to carry the dynamite to the back yard, where it was destroyed in a slow controlled burn. The bomb team burned the nitroglycerin in the house’s basement after the robot dropped a bowl containing it. No one was injured, although Skinner said the dynamite was so unstable that it had begun to sweat and that some of the nitroglycerin had crystallized. Steele said after the indictment that Jordan and Marshall planned to use the nitroglycerin “to damage trucks or equipment” belonging to Morse Bros. because they thought the company was polluting a nearby stream.
Jordan is in federal custody at the Multnomah County Jail after serving time in Washington County on state trespassing charges. Marshall is in the Washington County Jail awaiting transfer to federal custody pending resolution of his trespassing case. Marshall’s current prison address is: Stephen Phillip Marshall #0415972, Washington County Jail, 215 SW Adams Ave., MS 33, Hillsboro, OR 97123-3874
December 26, Los Gatos, California: Fire Consumes Two Trucks
Two trucks at Anderson Chevrolet were destroyed by fire. A passer-by noticed the smoke and called 911, but by the time firefighters put out the blaze, it had spread to eight vehicles. Though they have no firm suspects, arson investigators are already referring to this incident as a “possible act of eco-terrorism”. In 2003, an arsonist torched vehicles at a nearby Los Gatos Hummer dealership. No arrests were ever made.
December 27, Lincoln, California: Incendiary Bombs Found At Construction Site
Federal agencies have sent a terrorism task force to Lincoln to investigate the discovery of three unexploded bombs that apparently were intended to start fires at homes under construction. Authorities said graffiti found at the construction site raised concern that the incendiary devices may have been the work of radical environmentalists.
Among messages found spraypainted on a home and on a tractor were “Enjoy the world as is – as long as you can,” “U will pay,” “Quit destroying their homes,” “Evasion,” “Leave” and “Disarm or die.” Karen Ernst, a spokeswoman for the FBI, said the agency wouldn’t speculate on what the words mean but that investigators will look at all possible motives and angles.
“We haven’t ruled anyone out,” Ernst said. “Was it a group with an agenda? Was it teenagers? We just don’t know.” Ernst said the devices “were capable of causing extensive fire damage to the structures if they had successfully functioned.” The bombs were found in the Catta Verdera development at Twelve Bridges, an upscale golf-oriented, master-planned community in southeast Lincoln. Lincoln Police Lt. Brian Vizzusi said two of the devices were found inside homes and a third was found in a trench in the back yard of another house. The lieutenant said 50 to 60 homes are under construction in the area where the bombs were found and that each home was searched during a nine-hour operation by the various agencies that responded.
As we go to print, the ELF (in an extensive anti-civ communiqué) claimed responsibility for this action and another attempted arson in early January on buildings under construction in the city of Auburn. Details in our next issue.
Eco-Defense & Animal Liberation Prisoners:
Ted Kaczynski #04475-046, US Pen-Admin Max Facility, PO Box 8500, Florence, CO 81226. Sentenced to multiple lifetimes in prison for the “Unabomber” bombing attacks against the architects of the New World Order.
Jeffrey Luers (Free)#13797671, OSP, 2605 State Street, Salem, OR 97310. Serving a 22+ year sentence for setting fire to Sports Utility Vehicles to protest the destruction of the environment. He has been made an example of by the criminal injustice system and he urgently needs your support.
Fran Thompson #1090915
HU 1C, WERDCC, P.O. Box 300, Valdalia, MO 63382. Longtime eco-activist serving a Life sentence for shooting dead, in self-defense, a stalker who had broken into her home.
Helen Woodson #03231-045 FMC Carswell, PO Box 27137, Admin Max Unit, Fort Worth, TX 76127. Serving 27 years for robbing a bank and then setting the money on fire while reading out a statement denouncing greed, capitalism and the destruction of the environment.
Too Marvelous For Words
by John Zerzan
A few years ago the now-deceased philosopher of science and anarchist Paul Feyerabend was invited to sign a petition being circulated by well-known European thinkers. Its thrust was that society is in need of input from philosophers, who draw upon the “intellectual treasures” of the past. In these dark times, the petition concluded, “We need philosophy.”
Derrida, Ricoeur and the other liberal concocters of the document were no doubt shocked by Feyerabend’s negative reaction. He pointed out that philosophy’s “treasures” were not meant as additions to ways of living, but were intended to express their replacement. “Philosophers,” he explained, “have destroyed what they have found, much in the way that the [other] standard-bearers of Western civilization have destroyed indigenous cultures….” Feyerabend wondered how civilized rationality– –which has reduced a natural abundance of life and freedom and thereby devalued human existence––became so dominant. Perhaps its chief weapon is symbolic thought, with its ascendancy in the form of language. Maybe the wrong turn we took as a species can be located at that milestone in our evolution.
“Writing…can be seen to cause a new reality to come into being,” according to Terence Hawkes, who adds that language “allows no single, unitary appeals to a ‘reality’ beyond itself. In the end, it constitutes its own reality.” An infinitely diverse reality is captured by finite language; it subordinates all of nature to its formal system. As Michael Baxandall put it, “Any language…is a conspiracy against experience in the sense of being a collective attempt to simplify and arrange experience into manageable parcels.”
At the beginning of domination and repression, the start of the long process of depleting the riches of the living world, is a very ill-advised separation from the flow of life. What was once freely given is now controlled, rationed, distributed. Feyerabend refers to the effort, especially by specialists, to “reduce the abundance that surrounds and confuses them.”
The essence of language is the symbol. Always a substitution. Always a paler representation of what is at hand, what presents itself directly to us. Susanne Langer pondered the mysterious nature of symbols: “If the word ‘plenty’ were replaced by a succulent, real, ripe peach, few people could attend to the mere content of the word. The more barren and indifferent the symbol, the greater its semantic power. Peaches are too good to act as words; we’re too much interested in peaches themselves.”
For the Murngin people of northern Australia, name giving and all other such linguistic externalizations are treated as a kind of death, the loss of an original wholeness. This is very much to the point of what language itself accomplishes. In slightly more general terms, Ernest Jones proposed that “only what is repressed is symbolized; only what is repressed needs to be symbolized.”
Any symbolic mode is only one way of seeing and connecting. By reversing our steps, in light of what has been progressively de-realized or lost, it appears likely that before the symbolic dimension took over, relations between people were more subtle, unmediated, and sensual. But this is a forbidden notion. Commonplace statements like: “Verbal language was perhaps the greatest technical invention [!] of human life” and “Language enables human beings to communicate and share with each other” deny, incredibly, that communication, sharing, society didn’t exist before the symbolic, which was such a relative late-comer on the evolutionary scale. (It appeared an estimated 35,000 years ago, following nearly two million years of successful human adaptations to life on earth.) Such formulations express perfectly the hubris, imperialism and ignorance of symbolic thought.
We don’t know when speech originated; but soon after domestication gained the upper hand over foraging or gatherer-hunter life, writing appeared. By about 8500 B.C. engraved clay tokens, records of agricultural transactions and inventories, became widespread in the Middle East. Five thousand years later, the Greek invention of the alphabet completed the transition to modern writing systems.
The singular excellence of modern humans has of course become a basic tenet of civilization’s ideology. It extends, for example, to Sapir’s definition of personality as a systematic psychological organization depending on constellations of symbols. The symbolic medium of language is now widely felt as an all-defining imprisonment, rather than a liberatory triumph. A great deal of philosophical analysis in the past century revolves around this realization, though we can hardly imagine breaking free of it or even clearly recognizing its pervasive presence and influence. This is a measure of the depth of the impoverishing logic that Feyerabend sought to understand. Certainly it is no small endeavor to try to imagine what human cognition may have been like, before language and symbolic thought took possession of so much of our consciousness.
It is grammar that establishes language as a system, reminding us that the symbolic must become systemic in order to seize and hold power. This is how the perceived world becomes structured, its abundance processed and reduced. The grammar of every language is a theory of experience, and more than that,
it’s an ideology. It sets rules and limits, and grinds the one-prescription-fits-all lenses through which we see everything. A language is defined by grammatical rules (not of the speaker’s choosing); the human mind is now commonly seen as a grammar- or syntaxdriven machine. As early as the 1700s, human nature was described as “a tissue of language,” a further measure of the hegemony of language as the determining ground of consciousness.
Language, and symbolism in general, are always substitutive, implying meanings that cannot be derived directly from experiential contexts. Here is the long-ago source of today’s generalized crisis of meaning. Language initiates and reproduces a distinction or separation that leads to ever-increasing placelessness. Resistance to this impoverishing movement must lead to the problematization of language. Foucault noted that speech is not merely “a verbalization of conflicts and systems of domination, but…the very object of man’s conflicts.” He didn’t develop this point, which is valid and deserves our attention and study. The roots of today’s globalizing spiritual crisis lie in a movement away from immediacy; this is the hallmark of the symbolic.
Civilization has made repeated, futile efforts to overcome the instability and erosion of substance caused by the rule of the symbolic. Among the most well-known was Descartes’ attempt to give “grounding” to science and modernity in the 17th century. His famous mind-body duality provides a philosophical method (based on suppression of the body, of course) that we have suffered from ever since. He claimed certainty for the system by means of the language of number, as expressed in his analytic geometry. But the dream of certainty has been consistently revealed as a further repressive substitute: an illusory foundation on which domination has extended itself in every direction.
Language is conformist in the profoundest sense; even objective reality yields to its pressure. The so-called factual is brought to dissolution, because it is shaped and constrained by the limits of language. Under its reductive force, we forget that we don’t need symbols to be present to meaning. The reality of pre-linguistic social practices is screened from us by more than the practical, empirical limitations of access to time past. Primal existence has been ruled irrelevant, and indigenous lifeways are everywhere under siege, because of civilization’s pervasive over-valuation of the symbolic.
Yet an exploration of social life in the early symbolic epoch need not be overly speculative, and may reveal important connections. We know from archaeological and ethnographic evidence that early on in divided society, inequality was often based on ritual knowledge: who possessed it, who did not. The symbolic must have already been very much present and determinant; or why wouldn’t inequality be based on, say, knowledge of plants?
It could well be that language emerged from ritual, which among other attributes, is a substitutive form of emotion. The dissociated, symbolic process of ritual activity parallels that of language and may have first generated it: emotionally displaced expression, abstracted cries; language as ritualized expression.
From early on, ritual has mystified power relationships. Deacon has argued that language became necessary to enable the contracts on which society depends. However, it is more than likely that social life long predated language. Contracts based on language may have appeared to meet some challenge in society, such as the beginnings of disequilibrium or inequality.
At a later stage, religion was a further (and even less successful) response to problems and tensions in human communities. Language was central there, too. Word magic runs through the history of religions; veneration of names and naming is common (the history of religious life in Ancient Egypt is a welldocumented example).
Problems introduced by complexity or hierarchy have never been resolved by symbolic means. What is overcome symbolically remains intact on the non-symbolic (real) plane. Symbolic means sidestep reality; they are part of what is going wrong. Division of labor, for instance, eroded faceto-face interaction and eroded people’s direct, intimate relationship with the natural world. The symbolic is complicit; it generates more and more mediations to accompany those created by social practices. Life becomes fragmented; connections to nature are obscured and dissolved. Instead of repairing the rupture, symbolic thought turns people in the wrong direction: toward abstraction. The “thirst for transcendence” is initiated, ignoring the shifting reality that created that desire in the first place. Language plays a key role here, re-ordering and subordinating natural systems that humankind was once attuned to. Symbolic culture demands that we reject our “animal nature” in favor of a symbolically defined “human nature”.
Now we live our everyday lives in a world system that is ever more symbolic and disembodied. Even economies are decisively symbolic; and we are told that the social bond (what’s left of it) is essentially linguistic. Language was an intrusion that brought on a series of transformations resulting in our loss of the world. Once, as Freud put it, “the whole world was animate,” known by all in a full, engaged way. Later the totem animal was replaced by a god, a signpost of the advancing symbolic. (I am reminded that indigenous elders who are asked to make audio or video recordings often decline, insisting that what they say must be communicated in person, face to face.)
Language was a powerful instrument for technological and social disenchantment. Like every symbolic device, it was itself an invention. But it does not establish or generate meaning, which antedates language. Rather, it confines and distorts meaning, via the rules of symbolic representation––the architecture of the logic of control. Domestication also partakes of this underlying orientation, which has served domination in key ways. Language has a standardizing quality; this develops in tandem with the technological development it facilitates. The printing press, for example, suppressed dialects and other language variants, creating unified standards for exchange and communication. Literacy has always served economic development, and aimed to bolster the cohesion so necessary for the nation-state and nationalism. Language is a productive force; like technology, it is not amenable to social control. In the postmodern era, both language and technology rule, but each shows signs of exhaustion. Today’s symbolic reflects nothing much more than the habit of power behind it. Human connectedness and corporeal immediacy have been traded away for a fading sense of reality. The poverty and manipulation of mass communication is the postmodern version of culture. Here is the voice of industrial modernity as it goes cyber/digital/virtual, mirroring its domesticated core, a facet of mass production. Language does not bestow presence; rather, it banishes presence and its transparency.
Dan Sperber wrote of an “epidemiology of representations”; his pathology metaphor is apt. He questioned why the symbolic spreads like an epidemic, why we are susceptible to it, but left these questions unanswered.
In the Age of Communication our homogenized symbolic “materials” prove so inadequate. Our isolation grows; what we have to communicate shrinks. How is it that the world and consciousness have come to be seen as mainly comprised of, and enclosed by, language? Does time structure language or does language structure time? So many questions, including the key one; how do we transcend, escape, get rid of the symbolic? We may not yet know much about the how, but at least we know something of the why. In language, number, art, and the rest, a substitution essence has been the symbolic’s bad bargain. This compensation fails to compensate for what is surrendered. Symbolic transactions deliver an arid, anti-spiritual dimension, emptier and colder with each re-enactment. This is nothing new; it’s just more sadly oppressive and obvious, more corrosive of actual connectedness, particularity, non-programmed life.
This strangling, unhappy state saps our vitality and will destroy us if we don’t end it. Representation is unfaithful even to itself. Geert Lovink concluded that “there is no ‘natural’ image anymore. All information has gone through the process of digitization. We just have to deal with the fact that we can no longer believe our eyes, our ears. Everyone who has worked with a computer will know this.”
Discounted, atrophying senses to go along with the distancing and decontextualization. George Steiner has announced a “core tiredness” as the climate of spirit today. The weight of language and the symbolic has brought this fatigue; the “shadows lengthen” and there is “valediction in the air.” A farewell is indeed appropriate. Growing illiteracy, cheapened channels of the symbolic (e.g. email)…a tattered dimension. The Tower of Babel, now built into cyberspace, has never been taller—but quite possibly never so weakly supported. Easier to bring down?
Primal Guerilla Warfare: Nomadic Gathering and Hunting as a Tactic
by Kevin Tucker
No one knows what the future has in store for us. But considering how things are going now, it doesn’t look very promising. In any case, it never hurts to be prepared for the worst. The end of civilization is coming and I believe it will be in our lifetime. I can’t say how it will end, but things will get much worse before they get better.
Those holding power now won’t go down without a fight. Taking out the grid is a practical way of keeping them from acting since their world is now impossible without machines. But even if the power goes out tomorrow, you can count on the military and police taking their time to realize their own inevitable end. Civilization’s war against life will rapidly become clearer. Our response must be fitting.
Now I talk a lot about a nomadic gatherer/hunter lifeway in terms of psychological, ecological, social and spiritual sanity, but it doesn’t end there: it is also an extremely adaptive lifeway for the worst case scenarios. I’m talking about guerilla war.
Guerilla warriors have always had the problem of getting food. Che considered the relationship between the guerillas and the rural folk who feed and support them as the most important factor for survival. And he was right. Numerous other Latin American resistance movements failed simply because they could not connect with the local peoples. Some were outright rejected (including Che’s last stand) and some groups would outright terrorize the people. For obvious enough reasons, neither leads toward success.
Granted, support is an important factor but I’m interested in destroying civilization, not seizing it for some eventual dismantling. So what it comes down to is dependency upon food and material support from the population that is to be liberated. That’s always been the biggest risk and in our world of the all-seeing technological eyes and ears of the state, it’s hardly a risk worth taking. Learning how to gather and hunt gives you the advantage: you can support yourself completely, if necessary. The fewer ties to the world at large, the more you are likely to succeed.
Self-sufficiency, tied to nomadism, keeps you on the move and extremely adaptable. Army survival programs are meant for the worst case scenario. The enemy may know some basic skills, but the gatherer/hunter lifestyle is a completely different world. The world around you becomes familiar and sacred territory for you while it remains uncharted territory for the unsuspecting and disconnected. You learn lessons about flow and movement that can take you in and out of cities unnoticed and unsuspected.
Hunting is important for a number of reasons. The most obvious is the technical skill and ability of hitting dead on. It means being able to make tools capable of causing damage at any range. Blow darts, bows, atlatls, spears, blades, and traps are all silent and easily reproduced. Guns and explosives are far different in terms of damage, but not in terms of technique and skill. Practice is important, but adaptability is vital. Needless to say, guns, ammo and explosives can easily become available with the help of other tools.
But with hunting comes tracking and stalking. No machine can replicate the stealth of a fully aware and interconnected being. You learn very quickly what to look for and what not to leave behind. You learn how to be a part of the world around you: spiritually and physically. Awareness can put you on the offense rather than defense.
The nomadic lifestyle keeps you in top shape. Walking for miles a day with a full load can do wonders for the body and mind. It’s the life our bodies evolved into. The enemy, prepared only to survive long enough to ‘win’, is never at ease and no amount of training can place them where a rooted person flourishes.
Nomadic peoples have always had the advantage in terms of warfare. Wars of conquest and expansion have always been long and typically completed only by forced settlement, rather than outright success. In the Americas, the settled empires were open to military conquest. There was a place to walk into and a position of power to assume. That is something nomadic gatherer/hunters lack entirely, to their benefit.
The one disadvantage has always been the inability of rooted peoples to understand their uprooted enemies. The idea of annihilation, conquest and warfare are all rooted in the ever-expanding settlements of domesticated peoples. Being raised in civilization has made us not only incapable of understanding this, but complacent in it. We possess a technology that affects people in a way that is psychologically impossible to grapple with. Annihilation and intimate knowledge of machine-like thinking are unfortunately too well known to us. But in this case, our deepest wound may be our greatest advantage when coupled with the nomadic lifeway.
Let the rage of our healing and the knowledge of our enemy guide us through the worst and enable us to immerse ourselves in a world of wildness: to reemerge into a world without domestication.
Anarchist Resistance from Around the World
“Revolutionary violence is preventive organization and preventive attack on the bourgeois forces. It is the struggle against State institutions, it is the specific search for confrontation, aimed at the surrender of the State superstructure. Revolutionary violence is initiative, the preparation of guerrilla organizations, the formation of the forces of resistance, and the thinking out of new programs of attack. Nevertheless revolutionary, violence is still defensive violence. In fact the institutions, the State, the bourgeois structure, the military repressive forces, the police and every other expedient put into effect by the shrewd pillage organized by the bosses, is in itself a provocation, an attack, a sentence, a systematic blow. Even when all these repressive forces take on the loose aspect of dialogue and tolerance, even when we feel a familiar hand on the shoulder, precisely then is the moment to strike harder, more deeply.”
September 28, Greece:
A gas canister bomb exploded outside a shop selling Greek flags in the northern Athens suburb of Halandri in the early morning, causing minor damage.
October 4, Spain: Sabotage of New Jail under Construction
From the communiqué:
“…Between 2:00 and 3:00 a.m. on Sunday morning, two explosions destroyed two trucks of the company that is preparing lands for the new jail under construction in Can Margarit. The jails are places of repression and confinement that the system constructs to be perpetuated and to maintain the status of that which they control: Capital and its servants, the politicians. We attacked these centers as one more form of opposition to a system that perpetuates repression, war, crime and exploitation. For freedom and social equality. Against the jails, its guardians and their promoters.” –Templanz Anarchist Group
October 5, Barcelona: Spanish Bombs Rock the Province…We’re Hearing Music From Another Time!
In the night, three Molotov cocktails were thrown at the entrance of the Sants-Montjuic district police station, causing damage to the lobby of the building and injuring one pig who tried to extinguish the flames. The attack coincided with the “Day of the Police.” Three anarchists have reportedly been arrested and charged for the attack.
October 5, Greece: Salonica Bomb Blasts!
Gas-canister bombs destroyed two municipal vehicles parked outside the town hall in Thessaloniki in the early hours of the morning but no one was injured, local pigs said. There was no claim of responsibility for the blasts. A series of similar attacks earlier this year and in 2003 has been attributed to anarchist groups.
October 15, Athens, Greece: Polytechnic School Occupation in Solidarity with Hunger Strike
Anarchists occupied the Polytechnic School in solidarity with the convicted members of “Revolutionary Organization 17 November” who are on hunger strike. Dimitris Koufontinas, now in critical condition, began the hunger strike on the 18th of September; he was followed by Christodoulos Xiros, Iraklis Kostaris,
Savvas and Vasilis Xiros, Alexandros Giotopoulos, and Christos Tsigaridas. Vasilis Tzortzatos, who had been on a hunger strike for 43 days (from August 9 to September 20), announced he will participate in the new hunger strike as well. The prisoners are demanding better living conditions and drawing attention to the state’s attempts to physically exhaust the militants kept as hostages and to de-construct their personality.
October 17, Athens, Greece: Olympics Are Over, But Anarchists Live On!
Now that the Olympics are over, Greek police are back to worrying about anarchist arson gangs. About 20 hooded youths went on a rampage in central Athens, throwing gasoline bombs and smashing windows. The group damaged two banks and an Interior Ministry office; no one was hurt.
The episode is raising fears amongst State officials that arson gangs could re-emerge with the relaxation of security after the Olympics. Anarchist arsonists routinely target private banks and government property. Greece spent a record one-and-a-half billion dollars on security during the Games while 70-thousand police and soldiers patrolled city areas. The heightened security measures ended in early October.
The anarchists began their rampage at around 10 p.m. from Exarchia Square, splitting up into two groups. One group attacked the Agricultural Bank branch near the square with firebombs, causing a blaze, which also threatened a nearby medical clinic. Firefighters quickly put out the fire, but not before it caused major damage. Minutes later the same group threw petrol bombs at a nearby branch of Emporiki Bank. The ensuing blaze was soon extinguished and only resulted in minor damage.
The other group of anarchists firebombed a nearby office of the Interior Ministry, but without causing major damage. The rebel youth fled the scene before the police could make any arrests.
October 21, Barcelona, Spain: Police and Squatters Battle
Clashes broke out between riot police and squatters in the Cornella district of Barcelona on October 21. Masked squatters set up burning barricades in the streets to fight the eviction and demolition of the “Pati Blau” building, and threw rocks and bottles and shot fireworks at riot police, wounding four pigs. At one point during the three-hour battle, squatters stopped a bus, evacuated the passengers, and set fire to the vehicle’s tires to use it as a barricade. The squatters eventually fled the area and none were arrested at the scene. The demolition of the building that was once their home unfortunately proceeded.
October 28, Lawrence, Kansas: Vandal Hits County
GOP Headquarters This was one version of “rock the vote” Chris Miller could have done without. On the morning of October 29, Miller was tiptoeing around shards of glass at Douglas County Republican Party headquarters, the result of a large rock that was thrown through the front window overnight. The rock
was shrouded in a partially burned American flag with the words “No Kerry” and “No Bush” scrawled on it.
October 29, Catania, Italy: Police Station Firebombed
At about 4 a.m., two firebombs were thrown at a police station in downtown Catania, causing minor damage. Local pigs suspect the attack was the work of anarchists since fresh anarchist graffiti was found on several walls of the city, consisting of antifascist and anti-police slogans.
October 30, Italy: Temp Agency Bombed In Milan
Sometime in the late night/early morning hours, two bombs exploded outside a “Manpower” temporary labor agency. A few weeks later, this action was claimed by anarchists.
November 5, Raleigh, North Carolina: Never Mind The Ballots, Here’s The Rest of Your Life!
A mob of vandals attacked the North Carolina Republican Party headquarters, leaving behind smoke damage, broken windows and “vulgar messages”, local pigs said. Raleigh cops reported that earlier in the night about 100 people wearing masks and gloves were walking down a street near the headquarters. The vandalism occurred around 11 p.m., the result of an obviously “planned and orchestrated event,” police spokesman Jim Sughrue said. “This is not a political
statement,” Sughrue said. “A political statement is what we made Tuesday. This is a crime.”
Investigators at the scene found a partially burned, two-headed effigy in military fatigues (Bush and Kerry). They also found several spent fireworks, placards, broken windows, and spray-painted expletives on the walls. Police said it appeared as if the vandals tried to put incendiary devices inside of the building.
“The people who did this are sick,” said Kevin Howell, communications director for the state Republican Party. “People don’t understand that debate and elections are part of the process. This isn’t how you act.”
Bill Peaslee, state GOP chief of staff, said campaign offices and party headquarters in other states have also been vandalized in recent months.
Commotion erupted in two spots on Hillsborough Street shortly after 11 p.m. One group of roughly 100 people blocked the road across from the N.C. State University Bell Tower while another 100 gathered at the Republican Party building. As pigs responded to the illegal demonstration in the street, they passed the group vandalizing the party headquarters. When police arrived, both groups scattered.
Police could not apprehend anyone, but, hearing a fracas, John Robbins and another slavish neighbor captured and detained three protesters until pigs arrived. “I found them between the garages taking off their black clothes,” Robbins said, adding that one of the female protesters bit him on the shoulder. “They were saying they didn’t hurt anybody, but my thing for going out there was to hold them responsible for the damage they had done,” he said. “Doing this sort of thing just isn’t right.”
Vanessa Marie Zuloaga, 24, and Melissa Lynn Brown, 18, both of Columbia, S.C., and David Reuben Hensley, 20, of Raleigh were each charged with one count of causing malicious damage to property by use of an incendiary device, a felony. On Saturday morning, Robbins discovered a black flag and crowbar in his yard and handed them over to police. Dog-walking neighbors and others driving by Saturday morning offered police the whereabouts of other items.
Flag-saluting idiot John Denton found all sorts of stuff during his morning walk, including a duffel bag, a torch, bandannas, gloves, a roll of duct tape and a discarded drum. He pointed it all out to local pigs. Police believe their suspects are part of the “anarchy movement”; a group of people the FBI considers domestic terrorists.
But the real fireworks happened after the court hearing when one of their friends attacked two photojournalists, breaking their cameras. Raleigh police have warrants out for the man’s arrest and are still searching for others they think took part in the vandalizing. Raleigh pigs said they believe this is not the first time this anarchy group has had a run-in with the law. In fact they believe this group is loosely connected with a national movement that has committed crimes in the so-called “Triangle” of Raleigh in the past. Police said back in June, anarchists were responsible for shutting down railroad tracks with explosives in Durham and hanging signs in protest of the G-8 Summit. Capt. Ken Mathias said, “It’s an old movement with roots back to the 1800’s. Their goal is to end government.”
November 8, Milan, Italy: Prison and Temp Agency Bombed
According to the Italian Ansa news group, the overnight bombings of the San Vittore jail and an Adecco temporary labor agency in Milan have recently been claimed by the “Federazione Anarchica Informale – Cellule Insorgenti Metropolitane” (Informal Anarchist Federation – Metropolitan Insurgent Cells), who stated that temporary labor agencies “are responsible for the exploitation of millions of people”. This group also claimed to have committed a bombing attack on a Manpower agency on October 30, 2004. Two of the three letter bombs that exploded in the night on November 8th were almost certainly a demonstrative action near Milan’s San Vittore prison. The third was for a seasonal job centre. This is the view of the police, who intervened in Piazza Aquileia, Porta Vercellina corner, after reports of a bomb going off in a large refuse bin. While the police were on the scene, Amsa, the municipal waste company, reported that a wastecrusher lorry, stopped on Via Paleocapa to unload smaller bins, was damaged by an explosion inside.
November 25, Bogor, West Java: Indonesian Officials Blame Anarchists for Bloody Police Riot
The incident started when thousands of villagers, supported by regional anarchists, staged a rally to protest the planned trial of a waste treatment facility by operator PT Wira Guna Sejahtera. It turned violent after cops guarding the plant clashed with protesters who had vandalized the office and cars at the plant and allegedly attempted to burn down the plant. Police say the protesters also carried machetes and other sharp weapons. The Bogor regency council as well as the West Java provincial council recommended after the violence that the plant be closed as it could spark further social unrest. Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso responded angrily to the recommendation, warning that foreign investors would flee Indonesia if authorities in Jakarta give in to the actions of “anarchists”.
He claimed the anarchic action has already prompted private investors from Canada and South Korea to think twice about committing to waste processing projects in the capital.
He added the facility could not yet be tested because it was damaged by the anarchists, who had also damaged Indonesia’s investment climate. The governor is accustomed to using brutality to push through unpopular projects. According to the Urban Poor Consortium, about 50,000 people have been evicted from their homes in Jakarta over the past three years as part of Sutiyoso’s development strategies. Many of the evictions resulted in bloodshed when security authorities attacked impoverished locals who refused to leave their simple homes.
November 26, Greece:
A homemade explosive device, comprised of three gas canisters tied together, caused serious damage to a bank ATM in Thessaloniki’s Evosmos district when it detonated in the early morning hours. The explosion caused around 10,000 euros in damage.
December 5, Rome: Police Stand Aside As Anarchists Raid Supermarkets
When 300 “shoppers” poured into a busy Rome supermarket and loaded their trolleys with fine wine and food, it was not because there were any special offers. Instead the crowd, incited by anarchist protesters who swigged champagne as they swept down the aisles, demanded a 70 per cent “discount” on everything they wanted.
They ignored the manager’s refusal and police, who feared a riot, stood by as the protesters
wheeled trolleys laden with goods past the tills and on to the street, to distribute their contents to anyone who would take them. The raid on the giant Panorama supermarket, on the eastern outskirts of Rome, was the most spectacular of 40 similar swoops on Italian stores in recent weeks by mobs claiming they were “reappropriating” the goods. There is considerable sympathy for the protesters among Italians who are fed up with high unemployment and economic austerity. One pensioner, who witnessed the Panorama raid, complained that after paying his rent he had almost nothing to live on. “There’s nothing wrong with what they’re doing,” he said. “Bravo,” said a woman. “I can only go shopping once a month, and when the money runs out I have to tighten my belt.”
The first supermarket raid was launched by activists in Milan protesting at the conditions of part-time workers, but the idea was hijacked as a publicity vehicle by anarchists. Nor are supermarkets the only target. The previous week anarchists extracted autoreduzioni, or “self-imposed discounts”, of 60 per cent from bookshops in Bologna and Florence.
Da Celeste restaurant in Volpago del Montello, a town near Venice, was also hit. A group of 44 people ate a $2,000 dinner then walked out without paying. They left an $82 tip and a written message, informing the astonished owner that the unpaid bill was the price he must pay for
agreeing to cater a recent NATO meeting in Venice.
December 10, Italy: Letter Bomb Delivered To “SAPPE” Office In Rome
A letter bomb containing an explosive videocassette was sent to the national office of Sappe, the prison officers trade union, on Via Trionfale 79 in Rome. The package was opened by a secretary who noticed various electric wires connected to a battery and to the videotape and quickly called the Carabinieri (Italian pigs). Bomb disposal experts arrived and found the package contained around 40 grams of explosive. The bomb was designed to explode when opened. In the space reserved for sender, was written DAP, the Prisons Department.
December 11, Rome: Bomb Sent To Italian Police Association
Suspected anarchists mailed a small package bomb to the Rome headquarters of the national Carabinieri police association, which was defused
without incident, “authorities” said. About 40 grams of gunpowder were packed inside a video-cassette case, which arrived in the mail at the association shortly after 11 a.m. No group has claimed credit for the device, which was similar to the one sent to the union offices of Roman
prison guards the previous day. That package bomb was also defused. The discovery on December 11 was the latest in a series of package
bombs and other threatening items sent to offices of police, newspapers and government offices in Rome and other cities over the past year by
suspected militant anarchists. Italian pigs say the anarchists may be angered over recent arrests. The offices of political party, the Northern League, said it also received an envelope on December 10 with two bullets and a letter with the names of party members: Justice Minister Roberto Castelli and Reforms Minister Roberto Calderoli.
December 25, Athens: Anarchists Attack Police Station in Greece
Some 100 anarchists wearing hoods and helmets attacked the St. Panteleimonas police station in Athens. The rioters used stones, bricks, crowbars, flares and Molotov cocktails, causing heavy damages. According to eye witnesses the police started firing their handguns when they feared the anarchists would take over the police station. Two cops were lightly wounded. As the crowd retreated, 5 police cars where destroyed. Hours later a 29-year-old builder was arrested and a small axe was found on him; he was severely beaten, sustaining a broken nose and a broken ankle. He is now facing felony charges for allegedly attacking police vehicles with the axe.
The strike was very well organized and successful even though the police station was on high alert the previous few days expecting an attack. It was a direct action against police brutality. Non-governmental organizations had earlier accused police from the same precinct station of torturing Afghan immigrants.
Activists said the previous week that police raiding an Athens hostel carried out mock executions on Afghan immigrants, with one pig sticking a gun in a teenager’s mouth.
Police panicked, following the broadcast of a television documentary highlighting the allegations, and said that they “would investigate reports that officers had beaten Afghan and Iranian immigrants.”
Anarchist & Anti-Authoritarian Prisoners:
Bill Dunne #10916-086, Box 019001, Atwater, CA 95301. Antiauthoritarian sentenced to 90 years for the attempted liberation of a prisoner in 1979.
Ojore N. Lutalo #59860, PO 861, SBI #0000901548, Trenton, NJ 08625. Anarchist and black liberation soldier serving time for revolutionary clandestine activities.
Brian McCarvill #11037967, TRCI, 82911 Beach Access Rd, Umatilla, OR 97882. Became politically active while serving a 39-year sentence on bogus charges, he has been continually harassed after filing a lawsuit against the Oregon Dept. of Corrections.
Mike Rusniak DOC K88887, Dixon CC, 2600 Brinton, PO Box 99, Dixon, IL 61021. Serving time for stealing a police car, and other acts of anti-government propertydestruction.
Robert Thaxton #12112716, (aka Rob Los Ricos) MCCF, 4005 Aumsville Hwy, Salem, OR 97301. Long-time anarchist sentenced to over seven years in prison for throwing a rock at a cop in selfdefense at a June 18, 1999 Reclaim the Streets protest in Eugene.
Rodney Wade #38058, S.I.C.I., ND-BL-24, P.O.Box 8509, Boise, ID, 83707. Ecological activist serving time for self-defense against a racist attack.
Jerome W. Bey #37479, SCCC (1-B-224), 255 West Hwy 32, Licking, MO 65102. Social prisoner and founder of the anarcho-syndicalist Missouri Prison Labor Union
Anarchist Black Cross Network
Contributing to Momentum Against Civilization
by Felonious Skunk
An Alternative to Building a Green Anarchist Movement
Along with the promising contagious articulation of anti-civilization ideas within the anarchist movement and beyond, there is a slippery and unfortunate tendency to repeat a motivational and organizational mistake of previous anarchists or revolutionaries; that is, the goal of constructing (whether egalitarian or not) a new social movement. It is baffling that those who have a strong critique of the Left (including an analysis of the fetishization of organization, representation, standardization, leadership, and mass society) can also stumble into the same pitfalls of trying to “build a movement”. While I trust that they are motivated by liberatory intentions, I have a hard time understanding how these pursuits are fundamentally different from previous attempts at solidifying ideas or managing conflict with the social/civilized order. Is it a case of not being able to see their own ideological baggage they wish to build a movement around? Do they see “their” movement as somehow different
because they are addressing the “correct” or “fundamental” issues and speak rhetorically of diversity, so long as people agree on the same principles they espouse?
As an anarchist, and particularly as someone whose life undertaking is the destruction of civilization and creating ways to truly live outside of its logic, I find the movement model completely unsatisfactory, suffocating, and foreign to my personal project of liberation. I prioritize my own needs, passions, and dreams. I form my affinity and connection with others based on these. But, I also understand that a small group of green anarchists and primitivists cannot significantly alter the trajectory of civilization, and that a linkage, both directly through action and mutual aid, and in the development of critical theory with other decentralized groups is important. But what might this look like as a truly nonideological and anti-authoritarian practice, one that prioritizes autonomy? As of late, the way I’ve been trying to articulate the opening of possibilities along these lines is not the development of a green anarchist movement, but instead, contributing, in my own unique way and in collaborations of affinity, to a diverse momentum against civilization.
There is certainly no shortage of reasons to despise and act against civilization, and each of us comes into the battle with our own experiences and our own agendas. This is demonstrated in our prioritization of certain articulations of analysis, by our strategic assessments, and by our actions. Ideally, these would not dwell on symptomatic elements, but rather, grasp a totality of the civilized dynamic. Although, again, this totality will be articulated and acted upon differently, based on the filters through which we view civilization, our specific interface and entanglement with it (both past and present), the particular language and terminology we utilize, and our personal desires. How, say, a middle class academic white man in a college town with his own personal and social experiences and analysis, approaches civilization will look much different than, let’s say, a black factory worker in Detroit, or a peasant mother in rural (yet industrializing) Mexico, or a hunter-gatherer who is resisting the deadly encroachment of civilization upon her ancient life-way and the world that she is intimately connected to. Each have their reasons and motivations to destroy and escape from civilization, but their paths along the way, for a number of reasons, will look very different. This difference, this uniqueness, is what a movement (and ideology) tries to flatten in an attempt to “get everyone on board”. As a “great unifier”, the “movement building” prescription is not that dissimilar in arrangement and motivation to imperialism or globalization, as it attempts to standardize our passions and goals into a lowest common denominator that moves further and further from us as numbers increase. We are left with either a very rigid and dogmatic set of ideas projected by the vanguard or elite thinkers, or an absurdly vague and meaningless agenda based on the most superficial characteristics of “diversity”.
As we start to look at momentum – a general dynamic or process, rather than movement – a grouping based around specific political ideas or measurements of progress, things begin to open up. Without getting too caught up semantically, or limited by the science from which these words are derived, it can still be somewhat helpful to look at momentum and movement in relation to physicality, where these concepts have their roots. Movement, while it is a description of activity, does not increase or decrease rate of motion; it stays at a constant. Momentum, however, by definition, is increasing or decreasing rate of motion. If something is in motion (“on the move”) then it is said to have momentum. Momentum is dependent upon three variables: how much is moving, how fast it is moving, and where it is going. Another important, yet obvious, reduction is that objects at rest, or at a constant speed, do not have momentum (one could say, like the Left).
Momentum is a commonly used term in sports. When an announcer proclaims that a team has momentum, they mean that the team is going to be hard to slow down or defeat. It is necessary to apply a force against its motion for a given period of time to halt it. The more momentum something has, the harder it is to stop. Thus, it would require a greater amount of force or a longer amount of time (or both) to bring something with more momentum to a rest, to change its velocity, and hence, its momentum. An unbalanced force will always accelerate or decelerate an object. If the force acts opposite the object’s motion, it slows the object down. If a force acts in the same direction as the object’s motion, then the force speeds the object up. Either way, a force will change the velocity of an object. And if the velocity of the object is changed, then the momentum of the object is changed.
Obviously, these scientific definitions and explanations are extremely restricted, but they do offer some insight in reference to the question of movement vs. momentum. In this light, we begin to view movement as a linear process which neither offers nor describes any variety, directional change, or acceleration in transit from point A to point B. Momentum, however, is a dynamic or description of motion which takes into account various influences of force (both conflicting and supportive), the mass of what is being measured, and the rate of speed in connection to its acceleration and direction. While clumsy and hampered by the logic from which they come, these concepts can be applied to social dynamics, at the very minimum for their linguistic or metaphoric qualities.
But these are just words with somewhat arbitrary usage outside the problematic scientific realm, and this can take us only so far. What is more important is how these words and concepts have been used both historically and in contemporary social dynamics, and even more importantly, the concepts and practical applications which may be useful to an anti-civilization praxis. The concept of a movement has always been quite clear. To work to spread (read: package and sell) a specific idea or consciousness, so that when a critical mass of proponents, soldiers, sympathizers, converts, believers, or suckers is reached, either society will spontaneously begin to shift in a desired direction, or it will be deemed (by the elite within the movement, or through a democratically determined proposal) justifiable, reasonable, or strategically possible to structurally (physically or legally) change it. These movements tend to be tightly bound by a specific morality, world-view, ideology, strategy, or issue (i.e. Moral Majority, Anti-Globalization, Marxism-LeninismMaoism, Peace Movement, Gay Marriage). They are often defensive in positioning (anti-racism, anti-sexism, anti-prisons, anti-abortion, anti-Bush, etc.), and mostly reformist. They tend to accept and even promote hierarchy (organizations, parties), or at least some sort of informal leadership or experts (writers, speakers, and organizers). They usually have some formal policies or codes (platforms, programs, manifestos), or at least informal norms (political correctness, etiquette, protocol) for people to adhere to, with accountability, social pressures, punishment, and even expulsion being negative consequences. Typically, these movements have publications, conferences, and projects which, although not always overtly stated, are intended to represent the movement to others and offer a certain amount of internal dialogue. But, possibly the most defining characteristic of movements, despite any incoherence, ineffectiveness, or lack of direction or critical analysis they may have, is their inherent desire to have more people be a part of it; the old “numbers” game. At some point, even the most radical and autonomous political or social impetus, unless movement consciousness is critically rejected, will lose sight of itself, and become a distortion and shadow of its initial form. Sometimes, this mutation is not even detected until it is too late, but more often, this trade-off is accepted and even embraced in order to gain mass appeal or more converts.
On the other end of the spectrum from the tightly controlled or agenda-driven movements, are those which are so incoherent, arbitrary, and obscure, that they are virtually irrelevant. Every university, new age, alternative, and hippie town in America is filled with these “movements”, and the coinciding one-liner bumper-stickers (“One World”, “Save the Children”, “Freedom and Justice for All”, “Honor Diversity”, “Visualize World Peace”, and, of course, “It’ll Be A Great Day When Schools Get All the Money They Need, and the Military Has to Hold a Bake Sale to Buy a Bomber”) placed on their Volvos, Volkswagens, and Subarus, offering zero analysis or direction. These do-nothing dogooders feel they are a part of something bigger, some sort of movement, but when pressed, you’d be hard to find any coherent or articulate ideas or goals, and almost nothing as far as practice (outside recycling, sending out “good vibrations”, buying hemp, or voting for Nader, except this year when they voted Democrat). In a way, we can breathe easy, since these “movements” lack any authoritarian (or even visible) agenda.
Contributing to the momentum against civilization may not look like any movement model. Most, if not all, attempts at creating a social movement are naive, and often come into conflict with anarchy. I have no interest in creating a “new” and “improved” paradigm, but in dispelling with the very notion. I seek to contribute to a diverse momentum against civilization without ideological limitations, moral constraints, or entrenched expectations; through rewilding and healing from the wounds inflicted upon us by civilization with those with whom I have deep affinity and desire for intimacy, while creating healthy living dynamics and projects with these people; putting out questions and my personal analysis of civilization, and resistance to it, for people to do with what they want; learning from and sharing experiences and ideas, and, when possible, supporting others who are unleashing their fury on civilization and moving outside of its confines; and attacking the symbolic and physical manifestations of civilization where I feel I can, and where I determine the strategic targets to be, and where they directly affect my life. I do not need the approval, or even understanding, of what I do (although, I may choose to put energy in the latter) from anyone, except myself, and those I chose to enter into collaboration with when it concerns them.
These modes of activity are not consistent with working to create a “movement”, which implies, and has always meant, a singular or ideological project at the expense of the individual. While discussions of strategy, engagement in an ongoing dialogue, and our own personal analysis are important, we should be careful that they don’t become prescriptions or proposals for a “revolutionary agenda”. Nihilism can offer some healthy influence here (though, by definition no complete “resolution”), as it rejects the notion of something to “get behind”.
This is a complete rejection of ideology and morality, or preconceived notions of “revolution” or “another world”, avoiding the same “blue-print” traps of the Left, and all that comes along with that framework. I see nothing of this civilized logic worth keeping, and wish to destroy it all without pre-occupying myself with delusions of another world. Do I think another world is possible? Of course, this is why I continue to fight, but I will not dwell excessively on what that might be until this one is gone. It is an important realization that our visions can only be abruptly limited and incomplete due to the unhealthy and stifling death culture. Can we offer specific critiques of this world? Sure, this is essential, especially when put forward in personal articulations rather than totalizing language, and always remaining flexible. Can we develop healthier ways of existing now? Yes, but again, the priority, for me, is destroying this world, and seeking collaboration where it is possible. I feel nihilism (as one finite tool) can help free us from our socialist tendencies to re-define society.
Striving for purity is a recurring problem. In relation to anti-civilization anarchy, I see a stiffness developing in two main directions: in the anarchist/nihilistist/egoist direction (requiring complete openness, along with a suspicious reluctance to define many specifics) and the primitivist perspective (requiring a very specific analysis and praxis). There is a tension here, and one that, personally, I am fine with. We are complicated enough, and it is probably healthier and more strategic to exist within this tension between these directions (at least from where we are at right now). I do not presume to know for certain what my/our limitations or possibilities are. I am still, and will always be, learning and growing and not static or frozen by a singular world-view, although, there are some things we may generally assume or agree on. While a “primitivist” approach is my general orientation and I express these ideas in the theoretical and practical realms, it is still only one tool (granted, my main tool) in my anti-civilization project. On the other hand, I find many limitations in the post-modern non-positions and egoist rejection of any finite realities. On a practical level, both in developing (at least temporary) strategies for survival and resistance, the need to reject fixed or complete thinking or purity, in any direction, is essential.
I wish to enter into concert with others who do not articulate or approach civilization exactly as I do. I can also be inspired by and learn from many different or even contradicting movements on the level of strategy without embracing all or even any of their specific motivations. I feel as complex beings (and anarchists in particular) we can be stimulated by and draw from an endless assortment of ideas and influences (for myself: anarchists, primitivists, luddites, insurrectionalists, situationists, surrealists, nihilists, deep ecologists, bioregionalists, eco-feminists, indigenous cultures, anti-colonial struggles, the feral, the wild, the earth, etc), without adopting any singular framework from which to view or interact with the world. I have no desire to be rigid and motionless in the physical, spiritual, or intellectual realm. This, however, is different from a “nothing has foundation” post-modern cop-out, the “it’s all good” ecumenical approach, or the liberal “we need to all work together” mindset. I feel we need to proceed without illusions, and fight civilization on our own terms, as with the lives we create for ourselves.
This hardly begins to investigate and articulate the strategic advantages to stepping outside the movement model. I have always put more trust in chaos than order, and I have always experienced more success at connecting to my desires and achieving my goals with small, tight, and intimate groups, rather than anything that is “progressing”. Perhaps most important, strategically it is a lot harder for our enemies to cut off more heads, especially when we are coming at them from all directions (back to physics again…sorry), and all motivated by our most potent and least alienated passions and instincts.
Jacques Camatte And the New Politics of Liberation: Part 2
by Dave Antagonism
“All the conditions would seem to be ripe; there should be a revolution. Why then is there such restraint? What is to stop people from transforming all these crises and disasters, which are themselves the result of the latest mutation of capital, into a catastrophe for capital itself?
The explanation for this is to be found in the domestication of humanity, which comes about when capital constitutes itself as a human community.”
The Domestication of Humanity
Domestication — the reduction/destruction of humanity’s wild and autonomous subjectivity — rises with the earliest Neolithic origins of civilization. It reaches new heights with the origins of the despotism of industrial capital. The domestication of humanity is the Social/psychological State of the processes mentioned above. The human being undergoes “analyzing-dissecting-fragmenting” and then “capital reconstructs the human being as a function of its process”. The effect of this is that capital captures and transforms the fundamental critical facilities of humanity, the ability to think, conceive, communicate and wires them as part of the broader social circuitry. Camatte writes that “precisely because of their mental capacities, human beings are not only enslaved, but turned into willing slaves of capital”. The (re)production and circulation of life-as-capital require a huge amount of deep personal investment in all of capital’s processes. Hence, the post-modern economy is a vast libidinal economy gripping in constant agitation and anguish. The process of domestication involves the recuperation of the desires for community and individuality of gemeinwesen: “communal being comes in the form of collective worker, individuality in the form of consumer capital”. We see a recurrence of a central point of Camatte’s thinking: that the despotism of capital is the achievement of the premises of “communism” but in negative.
What has allowed this domestication are previous pre-suppositions of capital that structure the behavior of humanity in certain ways: “[t]he rupture of the body from the mind made possible the transformation of the mind into a computer which can be programmed by the laws of capital.” This is critique then of the project of rationality: the celebration of thought above and outside the body, and the broad instrumentalization of life that accompanies it. The inheritance of rationality is the extension of the binary of mind/body into the irrational as well. Part of the condition of domestication is the reduction of human experience to a seemingly inert and scopohilic state. Camatte states that “man (sic) becomes a sensual and passive voyeur, capital a sensual and suprasensual being”. Again, only a cursory view over the representations of mass society is enough to give some validity to this perspective. For example, think of the explosion of Reality TV, where countless thousands are desperate for a chance to move up a notch in the Panopticon in an attempt to infuse their lives with action and meaning.
Interestingly enough, Reality TV helps give weight to Camatte’s view in other ways as well. Witness how, when on air, people are quick to behave in ways that are already scripted, to faithfully act out all they have been taught. Here we see people, as they are everywhere: “reflections of capital.” Yet this does not quite allow us to explain the lack of revolt. We must go a little further. The effect of domestication is a difficulty in the ability to begin to act autonomously. The rise of the ideologies of new social movements is for Camatte not the arrival of new rebellious social actors but a product of the “disintegration of consciousness”. The project of self-activity by conscious human beings against the totality of capital recedes to the support of reified actors against sectional challenges. This is a condition of the Right as well as the Left. For Camatte, the disappearance of class and the arrival of the despotism of capital means all politics has been reduced to a competition of various “gangs”, none of which just embodies the fractured modes of being.
Trapped in such a huge mass, imprisoned in a global and seemingly infinite division of labor, engaged in endless activity, overwhelmed with ideology, is this the end for our protagonist humanity? For Camatte “this is nothing other than the reign of death”. Can we begin to image lines of escape?
Camatte remains a revolutionary and, as mentioned previously, was optimistic about a revolution against capital erupting in the mid 1970s. To understand this we have to see his theorizations as theorizations of process. What he is writing about are unfolding social tendencies that are in motion. Camatte does foresee a time when domestication will be so prolific that the nature of humanity will be fundamentally different, just “accessories of an automated system”. But not quite yet.
There are two currents in Camatte that work to explain the potential for revolution: one implicit in his writing and the other explicit. The former is the concept of species-being. This concept has fallen in ill repute with radicals due to the ascendancy of the ultra-conservative ideology of socio-biology; something that Camatte rejects. Camatte writes that capital “having de-subtantialized everything, it simultaneously becomes charged with a substance that inhabits it.” In other words, even as capital captures, and recreates as its self all human social life, there continues on, even in a fractured and alienated state, some kind of essence of human inter-relationship. Alienated and repressed as it is, it provides an antagonist kernel in the heart of capital.
The second current is that the activity of capital creates revolution itself. As seen above, capital constantly revolutionizes social processes. Camatte argues that this constant change creates instability, a permanent sense of crisis and a fear of the future that compels people to rebel.
It is here we can locate a major flaw in the writings of Camatte and the broader theorization of GA/AP. The flaw is that all activity is prescribed to capital — humanity appears to be a passive victim. If we take on Camatte’s arguments about the presuppositions of capital, then we construct a 10,000-year meta-narrative of constant oppression. Indeed, GA/AP writer Zerzan describes the history of civilization as a “horror show or death trip”. David Watson talks of the dominance of capital as a “mega-machine” and compares it to a “hydra”. Both authors then paint a picture of total dominance and inescapability: a non-dialectic view of history. There is some justification for this. The collapse of all serious revolutionary challenge and the horrors of “real existing socialism” are testament to the continual power of Power. The daily-lived experience within the despotism of capital is one of hopelessness: the cultural climate being a mixture of inertia and anxiety.
This problem seems to be almost epidemic to those who analyze the conditions of real subsumption (Frankfurt School, etc). By its nature, they assume the end of an exterior to capital and thus the end of the space from which resistance arises. However, there is one tendency that escapes this quagmire: a current we can call Autonomist Marxism (AM). It is the suggestion of this essay that Camatte and GA/AP more broadly would benefit from a reading in combination with AM (and vice versa).
In some ways GA/AP and AM are polar opposites. A crude reading of both sees the former as an image of the constant power of capital, the latter as the constant power of labor. Maybe something fertile can arise from thesis and anti-thesis?
What we can take from AM is the conception of the constant antagonism of those caught up within capital as our theoretical starting point, and that the conditions of real subsumption don’t signal the end of struggle but new and shifting battle grounds. Crucial to this understanding is to see capital not as a state of “fetishism” but of “fetishisation” — a distinction between the concrete of domination and its concretization. The former assumes the end point is here, that latter sees a constant struggle that capital can never win: history is not just 10,000 years of domination, but also 10,000 of resistance both within and without domination.
Reading Camatte through this lens, we reach an interesting insight. Capital’s condition of anthropomorphis is the transformation of everything into a state of tension. We are caught up in a social relationship that is itself a permanent crisis, the tussle between fetishization and anti-fetishization. Read this way, the formation of material human community by capital, is the formation of every aspect of life as struggle: the generalization of revolt as the sine qua non of existence.
GA Note: The third and final installment of this essay will be in our next issue.
Anti-Capitalist, Anti-Colonial, and Anti-Government Battles
The basic assumption of miserabalism is that misery is eternal—there is no way out. Beginning with resignation, it passes quickly enough to the outright glorification of misery for misery’s sake. Summed up recently by David Roediger as “a death grip that produces both misery and the idea that misery is the only possible reality,” miserabalism is the ruling ideology of late capitalism—the capitalism of the “New World Order” of NAFTA, the prison/industrial/pharmaceutical/media complex, Enron, genetic engineering, “Reality TV,” and countless other McMiseries of globalization. One of surrealism’s “signal contributions” to critical theory, as Roediger further explains, the concept of miserabalism “gives us a framework for understanding just what kind of hegemony is produced by the dialectical interplays of capital, patriarchy, and whiteness, and what must be done with them.” In today’s miserabalist world order, the Marvelous—along with wild nature, freedom, equality, and everything else that makes life worth living—is menaced as never before. All that deserves the name poetry is endangered, almost to the brink of extinction, by a violent, totalitarian, spirit-crushing, life-threatening social order that is concerned exclusively with increasing the profit, power, and privilege of a tiny, parasitical ruling class.
– From the book Revolution in the Service of the Marvelous: Surrealist Contributions to the Critique of Miserabalism
September 10, Benton, Arkansas:
A Republican candidate for state representative has had her campaign signs repeatedly defaced, torn down, or otherwise altered. She believes it stems from her support for law enforcement.
September 26, Madrid, Spain:
Spanish police found four bombs attached to the legs of an electricity pylon near the border with France, after a warning the previous day from the Basque separatist group ETA.
October 5, Knoxville, Tennessee: Bush-Cheney Office Hit by Gunshots
A Bush-Cheney campaign office in was hit by at least two gunshots apparently fired from a passing vehicle, but no one was hurt. The shots were fired before the office opened for the day and shattered two glass doors. On October 1, in Seattle, WA, three laptop computers containing campaign plans were stolen overnight from a Washington state Bush-Cheney re-election office. “The computers contained much of the Bush-Cheney campaign strategy for the state,” said state GOP chairperson Chris Vance, adding, “This looks like it was politically motivated.”
October 6, West Dublin, Ireland: Traveler Communities Fight Back!
The West Dublin City Council erected a huge concrete barrier blocking all access to a lane, claiming that they were doing so to stop illegal dumping. Several Irish traveler families who live down that same lane were blocked from leaving or entering their homes.
Traveller “representatives” took the case to court, protests were held, negotiations took place, but the barrier remained. On October 6, the Garda (Irish police) were sitting closeby observing the protest when their car was surrounded by masked people with hammers, bars and sticks. They smashed the shit out of the car and the cops escaped up the road to call for back-up. The masked group then stole a digger and began ramming the barrier; they then set the digger alight and made good their escape; no one was arrested.
The protests continued the next day with one of the main roads in and out of Dublin City blocked. The state forces had been caught unaware. The next day the state responded with a massive show of strength with mounted cops and riot squads to keep the travelers at bay. A few days later a compromise was made and the barrier was merely moved down the lane to ease the problems suffered by the traveler families in the area and obviously to try and end the escalating resistance. An attempt was made to call for support from militants without political ideology on Irish Indymedia but they pulled it from the list. On the night of the court ruling and compromise, a group went to the local golf course run by the local council and caused tens of thousands of euros worth of damage. The action was roundly condemned by the traveler “representatives” who called on travelers to snitch to the cops. No one has been charged with any of these activities. A week or so later the cops raided a site in Dunsink Lane and found guns and cross-bows.
This barrier was just one incident in many between the state and travelling communities. During the summer of 2004 in the nearby county of Wexford members of the travelling community and the cops had a stand-off, when the travelers’ caravans were sealed in by police barricades and anyone who left the site had to do so on foot and were not allowed to return to their homes. This standoff lasted for several days until the travelers fought a fierce battle, but the power of the state overwhelmed the sealed in and isolated traveler community.
They were “ordinary” people (no politicos) fighting the state directly in order to live their lives. Throughout many years the State has always been trying to assimilate, domesticate, intimidate and eventually eradicate the travelling community from Ireland. The travelling community notoriously does not follow the same rules as the settlers, they are self-reliant, living through their own endeavors.
October 18, Chongqing City, China: Tens of Thousands Riot!
A violent riot erupted when a porter with a dirty pole slung over his back accidentally struck a woman passing by, staining her clothes. A male accompanying the woman struck the porter, breaking the laborer’s leg. He also claimed that he was the Director-General of the Land Bureau, and that he could buy the porter’s life with 200 thousand Yuan (U.S. $24,000). The woman claimed that she was wealthy and that if the passers-by slapped the porter’s face, she would pay them for every slap.
The government official’s act caused public outrage, resulting in forty to fifty thousand people surrounding the district government building. Five police cars and fire engines were turned over and burned, and the glass door forming the front entrance to the Wanzhou District government office was broken by stones.
October 20, Pensacola, Florida: Spray Painting Spree Tags Multiple Cars
Pensacola police are seeking the vandals who went on an overnight spray-painting spree, defacing vehicles, Bush/Cheney yard signs and a wall that they covered with graffiti proclaiming “Eat the Rich” and “Class War”. At least 15 incidents were reported when residents of Aragon, North Hill and East Hill awoke to see the political and social commentary. While the vandals wrote mostly on Bush/Cheney yard signs, they also hit at least one home of a Kerry/Edwards supporter.
Oct. 29, Gilbert, Arizona: Plot To Sabotage Intel Plant
A Gilbert man’s alleged plot to sabotage Intel’s Ocotillo plant in Chandler, AZ was “highly unlikely to succeed”, a former Intel security manager said. After monitoring his activities for weeks, the FBI arrested David A. Dugan, 52, a former Intel employee, after Dugan picked up an AK-47 rifle from a Scottsdale gun shop.
John Summers, who managed security for another Intel plant on Chandler Boulevard from 1997 to 2001, said security at the two plants is so tight it would be extremely difficult for an employee carrying an AK-47 to reach the basement area Dugan allegedly planned to sabotage. The FBI says that Dugan was plotting to attack the chip-making factory by turning on the gas in a basement area and shooting pipes and machinery, causing millions of dollars in damage.
Dugan, who worked for Intel as a manufacturing technician, became enraged after receiving a letter of termination from the company after a two-year dispute over disability payments. Dugan allegedly called a family member in Missouri and described his plot against Intel, and implied he would use an AK-47 along with a handgun and two other rifles to sabotage the factory.
If convicted, Dugan faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Gilbert, police went to Dugan’s home after his arrest and found a shotgun, numerous shotgun shells, a loaded handgun, a machete by the door and two axes. At least two cameras were mounted on the exterior of the house, including one above the garage and one over the back porch.
November 2, New Orleans, LA:
The Day of the Dead march transformed from a commemoration of those who have passed on into a night of spontaneous anti-system demonstration. At some point participants dragged newspaper boxes, garbage cans, and debris into the streets, blocking Frenchman and Decatur, and broke the window of an SUV, before calling it a night and retiring to await the outcome of who won the election: dumb, or dumber.
November 2, Wisconsin:
Thirty vans that the local Republican Party had rented to drive their voters to the polls in Milwaukee had their tires slashed on election night.
November 3, Chicago:
A brick shattered the windows of a North Side ward office where some local Republicans were watching the election returns. The 32nd ward committeeperson and other GOP supporters gathered in the building on North Halsted to await the outcome of the presidential race. Just after midnight, someone threw the brick through the entrance sending glass flying all over the room. No one was hurt. Several people chased a suspect down the alley but he got away.
November 4, Buffalo, New York: Vandals Target Two Locations
Political leaders think that anger prompted vandals to target two locations in western New York, including GOP headquarters in downtown Buffalo. Republicans say someone threw big rocks through the windows of their headquarters at the Statler Towers sometime during the early morning hours. The Armed Forces Recruiting Center on Sheridan Drive in Tonawanda was also vandalized. Buffalo television station News 4 received a letter from a group in the early morning of November 4 claiming it committed the vandalism in retaliation against the GOP agenda.
November 8, Rome, Italy: Looters Raid Shops
A group of 200 protesters wearing balaclavas, carnival masks and bandanas over their faces, went on a “proletariat shopping spree” in a Rome hypermarket, carrying off goods and handing them out. They swarmed into the Panorama hypermarket on the outskirts of the Italian capital on Saturday shouting “free shopping for all”.
Police chose not to intervene but later claimed to have identified 87 members of the group, who now face legal action.
The sprees hark back to similar, more violent protests in the 70s. They were condemned as looters led by Italy’s most extreme anarchist groups. The stunts coincided with a march by more than 10,000 workers complaining of soaring prices, insecure work contracts, cuts in state benefits and overspending on the Iraq war.
November 2, Paris, France: Students Fuck Shit Up!
Fifty hooded students attacked a wall at the University of Nanterre with home-made battering rams and two sledgehammers. Twenty security guards tried to intervene; five of them got injured. The whole crew got away as some lightning smokebombs filled the hall. Outside of the building huge fireworks exploded in the sky, celebrating their escape. A student supposedly recognized during the assault is now in jail awaiting trial.
For more than a year now, numerous French universities have been victims of assaults by various anonymous groups. Cameras were smashed by hooded gangs, graffiti filled the walls, walls were destroyed, stupid leftist debates were sabotaged, doors locks were glued, halls were ravaged and eventually, a dean had his nose broken during a demonstration. Nanterre University, cradle of the May ‘68 upheavals, has a long tradition of uncontrollable students.In response to the ongoing threat to imperial peace, in the last year pacification and control devices have been set. Cameras everywhere, armed security guards, pressure on political people, etc. Until last year, the administration decided to split, by building walls, the huge hall where students used to hang out. Quickly, one of the walls became the target for students’ anger. In April as hundreds of them gathered around the wall to protest the security/control policy, a black masked crew armed with battering rams managed to totally destroy it.
The wall was then rebuilt. This year, various graffiti announced that the students were still a little angry. “Pacification of behaviors=massification of fears”, “citizen=cop” and even “No to the assassination of Audeoud (the President of the University)” could be read on the walls.
Nov. 16, Jieyang, China: Tollbooth Incident Sparks Huge Riot
Police are searching for suspects who incited a riot over bridge tolls in south China’s Guangdong province, leaving one dead and several injured. The riot broke out in the city of Jieyang after a woman argued that the toll collectors had overcharged her. Witnesses said the woman was beaten by them, which drew an angry crowd who set fire to the tollbooth and threw rocks at police and firefighters. A teenage boy was killed and an elderly man injured by a fire engine as it arrived at the scene. This caused the crowd to swell to 20,000. Several people were injured and five people arrested.
November 17: Buenos Aires, Argentina: Bombs Explode at Three Banks; Guard Dies
Bombs exploded at three banks in the Argentine capital, including two branches of U.S. giant Citibank, killing one security guard and injuring a bomb squad officer. It was not clear who was responsible for the bombs, none of which was big enough to cause major damage to the buildings. It was the third attack this year on Argentine banks, widely blamed for contributing to the country’s economic collapse in late 2001 and early 2002. Hundreds of depositors demanded compensation from the banks for lost savings. The last time banks were targeted by small bombs was during the August visit of International Monetary Fund chief Rodrigo Rato. No one was injured in those incidents.
The first Citibank explosion killed a private security guard who picked up a bag with a bomb before the bank opened to the public. Another device was detonated by police. Nearby, a third explosion hit Argentine bank Banco Galicia but a bank official said there were no injuries. The blasts took place within around two hours of each other. These bombs coincided with the visits of two foreign heads of state and a large foreign media presence. Chinese President Hu Jintao was in Buenos Aires on a two-day state visit, while the king and queen of Spain were attending a language conference in Rosario, 250 miles north of Buenos Aires.
November 17, Chile: Riots Outside APEC Meeting
Hundreds of students protesting against the APEC meeting in Chile and an upcoming visit by George W. Bush clashed with riot police. Counter-terrorism and trade were expected to dominate discussion as ministers from the 21 Asian-Pacific nations met.
La Tercera newspaper said the police began dispersing the students as they met ahead of a planned march several kilometers away from the APEC convention center. They fired water cannons and teargas, prompting local shops to hurriedly close. The students regrouped and began taking banners out of their bags only to be forcibly dispersed again. One report said they built barricades down side streets with rubbish bins and threw paint bombs at police.
November 19, Brussels:
The Belgian judicial authorities arrested a man who allegedly threatened to kill a Belgian senator “ritually.”
November 24, Baghdad, Iraq: Attackers Assassinate American Diplomat
An American diplomat was killed in an attack near the heavily fortified sector of central Baghdad known as the Green Zone. Jim Mollen was the U.S. Embassy’s senior consultant to the Iraqi ministers of education and higher education. He was shot to death by unapprehended assailants while traveling in a car. Mollen was the second U.S. diplomat known to have been killed in Baghdad since Iraq’s interim government assumed political power on June 28. Edward J. Seitz, an assistant regional security officer for the U.S. Embassy, was killed in an attack on a U.S. military base near Baghdad’s’airport on October 24.
December 2, Germany:
German police have arrested three Iraqis who the chief federal prosecutor said appeared to be planning an attack on the Iraqi Prime Minister, Ayad Allawi, who was visiting Germany for talks with Chancellor Gerhard Schroder. Experts on “counter-terrorism” said the apparent assassination plot was a sign that for the first time Iraqi militants were trying to organize attacks outside of Iraq itself.
December 3, London, England: BBC Falls Prey To Hoax On Anniversary of Bhopal Disaster
The BBC, Britain’s largest broadcaster, acknowledged that it had been tricked into running an interview with a man pretending to be a spokesman for Dow Chemical, who claimed that the company had taken the blame for the chemical disaster in Bhopal, India, in 1984. The hoax, contradicting Dow Chemical’s rejection of any responsibility, came on the 20th anniversary of the catastrophe, when waves of lethal gas escaped from a chemical plant in Bhopal, in central India, killing more than 3,500 people and permanently injuring thousands more.
At the time, the plant was owned by the Union Carbide Corporation, which was absorbed by the Dow Chemical Company three years ago. Survivors have long complained that they have received inadequate compensation. The phony interview was shown on BBC World, a 24-hour television news channel broadcast globally. Twice that day, the channel televised the interview with a man identifying himself as Jude Finisterra, who said that Dow Chemical had agreed to set up a $12 billion compensation fund, reversing its previous insistence that such liabilities had already been settled by Union Carbide.
In a separate BBC interview on a lunchtime radio news show after the hoax was uncovered, the same man said he represented an organization called “The Yes Men”, whose Web site (www.theyesmen.org) says it engages in “identity correction.” “Honest people impersonate big-time criminals in order to publicly humiliate them,” the Web site says. “Targets are leaders and big corporations who put profits before everything.”
Early December, Virginia and Maryland: Federal Vehicles Torched
Fire officials in Montgomery and Fairfax counties are investigating several fires that have damaged or destroyed federal government vehicles outside military recruitment offices during the first week of December. On December 6, cars parked behind a military recruitment center in Montgomery County were torched. The cars, shared by recruiters from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, were owned by the federal government and were identifiable as such by government tags, said Brian Geraci, battalion chief for fire and explosives investigations.
Fairfax fire investigators, meanwhile, are looking into a pair of “suspicious” fires that destroyed two federal government vehicles near military recruitment offices the previous week. One vehicle in Fairfax was damaged on November 29 near a military recruitment and another on December 3. The second fire caused an estimated $19,500 in damage.
December 6, Canada: Bomb Attack On a Hydro-Quebec Tower
In a message received by news media outlets, the Initiative de Resistance Internationaliste (IRI) denounced what it describes as the “pillaging” of Quebec’s resources by the United States.
“An explosive device was placed under a Hydro-Quebec pylon of the Radisson-Nicolet-Des Cantons power line, near the American border. Through this operation, we are making public our refusal to be silent witnesses to the waste and pillaging of our resources at the hands of the United States empire,” said the statement, translated from French by CTV’s Montreal bureau.
“We are also acting against HydroQuebec’s exploitation to the benefit of private enterprises, which profit from each opportunity that imperialism provides.”
The group, which sent its communiqué to al-Jazeera, the Arab satellite TV news network, also brought Iraq into the equation—along with Bolivia, Colombia and the Palestinians.
“We refuse to allow all the weight of resistance to fall on the noble Iraqi people, who are being massacred because they were an obstacle to the American energy hegemony, or to the Bolivian peasants courageously mobilizing against the pillage of their gas resources, even risking their lives,” the message said.
“We also refuse to let the Colombian and Palestinian people confront the imperial army alone, whether or not it is hidden behind a national banner.”
It isn’t clear when the attack occurred, although a hunter on an all-terrain vehicle discovered the damage to a hydro tower November 30. The IRI said authorities hid news of the attack “from the population during the chief dictator’s visit” – possibly a reference to the November 30-December 1 visit to Canada by George W. Bush.
Police say they’ve never heard of the group before this. However, they have seized the original letter sent out to some Quebec media outlets to analyze it. They won’t confirm if the details in the group’s note are accurate.
A Hydro-Quebec spokeswoman said the tower is part of a line that delivers electricity from James Bay to the Boston area. An ongoing investigation involves the provincial police, Hydro-Quebec and the Canadian counter-terrorism force. The U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security and CSIS
have also been alerted.
United Freedom Front Prisoners:
The following three individuals are serving huge sentences for their role in actions carried out by the (UFF) in the 1980’s. The UFF carried out solidarity bombings against the U.S. government on a variety of issues.
Jaan Karl Laaman W41514, Box 100, South Walpole, MA 0207.
Thomas Manning #10373-016, Box 1000,Leavenworth, KS 66048.
Richard Williams #10377-016, 3901 Klein Blvd., Lompoc, CA 93436.
The Garden of Peculiarities: Fragment 35
by Jesús Sepúlveda
Not being civilized means being outside of standardization. For example, to pronounce a word erroneously according to the dictionary, in opposition to common sense and the phonetic rhythm of the language, or to go against the given use of a particular linguistic community is to throw a rock at the tyrannical minute hand of uniformity. Television has been in the last forty years the sinister vehicle of standardization. It has not only imposed a way of speaking, but also of seeing and of dreaming. Uncivilizing oneself means breaking with mediacratic homogeneity. To liberate oneself it is necessary to grasp the uniqueness of each and every one, that which constitutes the innate peculiarity of the being. The poverty of progress is a product of self-standardization. Ideologically, self-standardization means successfully learning the modern training in order to think during the entire course of a life in linear and progressive terms. This vision of time, which determines the modern perception of reality, makes every subject live life according to planned goals and promises that never end up happening. This generates anxiety: the first step toward alienation and toward postmodern emptiness that launches itself into the abyss of nonsense. Another form of self-standardization is to internalize the control of authoritarian power through paranoid and self-repressive behavior. This reinforces self-censorship and denies spontaneity by classifying it as noxious and inconvenient. As compensation, it offers improvisation, which is conduct that does not ponder or weigh the effects of human action on the planet and all other living beings, thus negating the eternal inhalation and exhalation of the rhythm of life. “Savagery” is liberating oneself from the poverty of progress, which is nothing more than the symbiotic mix of “povgress,” the registered trademark of the civilizing product, whose postmark and barcode have been stamped in the office of standardization. “Savagery” is, among other things, the only possible richness, because it brims with peace, abounds in time, and has life and spontaneity to spare. “Savagery” enriches the spirit.
Operation Civilization: 2–The Colonial Petri Dish
by Saura Agni
“For a warrior to succeed, she must practice dissimulation and move only when real advantage can be gained. She ponders and deliberates before moving. Whether he moves alone or with others can only be determined by the circumstances. When on the move he is as rapid as the wind, compact as the forest. When she attacks she is like fire, falling like a thunderbolt. When he needs to stand strong he is as immovable as a mountain. Always their plans are kept dark and impenetrable as night.” –Sun Tzu, Art of War
The sight, or other sense of a cop, induces a visceral reaction in most everyone, regardless of their actual illegality. This is one measure of the efficiency with which most have internalized the Civilized authority. Cops re-present this order, ensuring that we remember: we are watched; ranked according to a vague and massified set of criteria; and that our ability to fulfill our needs and desires is limited by the many forces Civilization brings to bear. As both symbol and enforcer, the pig serves to remind us of the many ways we deviate from the expectations of those whom they protect. It is the degree to which we have been assimilated/domesticated/civilized into the dominant order that influences our reaction to the pigs as well as the pigs’ reaction to us.
The ruling classes of 19th century England saw themselves as lawful, moral, righteous, and specially endowed with a destiny to enlighten and transform the rest of the world. Consequently, they needed to envision and portray their new security forces as also having a measure of these qualities. Generally unconcerned with their own legal status, the elite required cops to enforce predictable behavior amongst the inferior. Then, as now, the non- or poorly assimilated often present their refusal in a manner that creates fear in those whom the cops serve and protect. If occasionally this servant and protector of the people had to issue a polite summons to one of their class, to address some minor infraction, it was, of course, annoying – but an annoyance one could deal with. Often their Bobbie was depicted as a rotund, somewhat ‘dumb’-looking, unarmed pig – more bluster than substance, more swagger than confidence.
This was NOT the Bobbie (or his cousin, Officer Friendly) the criminalized classes saw. The cops they encountered often expressed their own frustrations with the paradox they were presented with each time they took the beat – the unresolvable reality that they enforce an order that also requires them to be subservient, monitored, and controlled. Those who are designated as born-criminals and those not accepting this unnatural lifeway know, with EVERY sense, that the cop and their ilk are a particular danger to anyone who chooses to go where no authoritarian can ever be free to go. Our reaction to the sight, feel, smell, sound, or other sense of a pig’s too close presence, perhaps, indicates an instinct not yet suppressed – to fight or to flee, to survive and thrive.
As the number of dissidents and the intensity of their resistance exceed manageable levels, police adopt more clearly military tactics to maintain order (and its main deviation from the military imperative – law). With its ever-expanding net of interlocking chains of command – police, soldiers, teachers, bureaucrats, priests, scientists and so on, the Machine dictates strategies for commanding and controlling the unassimilated populations.
A strategic formula – employed by compliant controllers using flexible tactics prioritized and reordered as needed – was developed and improved over the centuries. The schema to expand Civilization remains – as yet – still viable, with technological improvements providing the main shift in corollary tactics. Applied by all the institutional automatons, the modus operandi is more or less as follows: ELIMINATE (massacre, starve, exterminate, sicken); PROVOKE FEAR (threaten, bully, make examples of, beat, brutalize); IDENTIFY (classify, count, massify, demonize, criminalize); INFILTRATE (survey, comprehend, disrupt, divide); ASSIMILATE (convert, pacify, civilize, domesticate); RECRUIT (induct, create traitors, provide replacements); INCARCERATE (on reserves and reservations, in ghettos, tent cities, hotspots, prisons, jobs); EDUCATE (indoctrinate, socialize, politicize, train); ENFORCE (monitor, intimidate, control, roundup); EXPROPRIATE (annex, seize, take over, confiscate, steal, possess).
The multi-faceted, multi-fronted, and multijurisdictional attacks we’re witnessing today are the hyperextension of the industrial-capitalist/imperial-colonial attacks of the 17-19 th centuries. The successes of that era are being applied and failures corrected on the technological-capitalist/globalized-neocolonial stage. It is our challenge as anarchist/anti-civilization warriors to understand, target, eliminate, and stay safe from the mechanisms of this crippling death machine.
In the many European and American colonies of ‘occupation’, ‘pacification’, and ‘protection’, paramilitary police forces are a key element in this war of global domination.
2. The Colonial Petri Dish
The British Empire – India: Identifying the Criminals
“What was common to all these schools of thought [Platonic, Evangelical, Utilitarian, Romantic, Enlightened Despotism] was the supposition that it was Britain’s mission to rule, and India’s duty to submit; and that just as Indians were incapable of governing themselves, much less anyone else, so the British had been gifted with eminently good sense, courage, manliness, a sense of action, and active habits of thought to preside over the destinies of a nation far removed from their shores.” –Vinay Lal, Criminality and Colonial Anthropology
The British East India Company ruled India for over one hundred years, expanding its control and markets in silk, tea, indigo, and opium, generating the capital necessary for expansion and for new estates, businesses, and political power back home. This was made easier by an earlier conqueror that had effectively divided the population into a religious-based, hierarchical (and completely internalized) system of order. This caste system (from casta, Portuguese for breed or race) fixed individuals to a specific position and expectation depending on their ancestral lineage, skin color, religious practice, and occupation.
However, the task of assimilating indigenous and conquered peoples is never completely successful and there are always those who continue their attacks on the foreigners bent on confiscating their ancestral lands and who deny their ancient way of life. In India, these were called the Criminal Tribes, the many and varied nomadic peoples who were/are collectivized and ordained as criminal because their “…ancestors were criminals from time immemorial who are themselves destined by the usage of caste to commit crime and whose dependents will be offenders against the law, until the whole tribe is exterminated or accounted for in the manner of the thugs.”
The aforementioned Thugs (Anglicized from Thugee) were a particular sub-caste of men and women, who used secretive means to identify, ‘befriend’, strangle, rob, and bury wealthy travelers. Colonial police estimated that up to 40,000 were killed each year. This was of great concern to the Company and Crown whose personages (along with their Hindu and Muslim merchant/political allies) were often on the roads exploring their new Jewel in the Crown. India’s first police department, the Thugee and Dacoity (armed robbery) Department, employed ethnic profiling, surveillance, and native informants (classified according to reliability as ‘innocent/artless’, ‘accomplice’, ‘false’, ‘spiteful’, and the most desirable ‘honorable’) and infiltrators to eliminate over 1400 Thugee and imprison thousands in work reserves.
When the criminals adopted impersonation tactics to avoid the increased punishment meted out to habitual offenders, new technological advances provided solutions. The People of India Project, under the control of the Political and Secret Department of the military, stated, “Each Local Government is expected to collect into one collection such photographic likenesses of the races and classes within its borders as it may obtain and furnish a very brief notice of each. The likenesses are to be sent to the Central Committee of the London Exhibition in Calcutta.” This project was used to identify characteristics that could be assigned to an entire tribe or caste and also helped those innovators experimenting with surveillance techniques in order to learn the secret codes and languages used by the ‘criminal gangs’.
In the late 1800’s, a colonial judge invented the fingerprint identification system. This was further enhanced by a British cop who, with traitorous Indian associates in the Bengal police, perfected the means of fingerprint classification along with a telegraphic code used to transmit the results to concerned agencies. In 1887, fingerprinting technology was adopted throughout India as a conclusive means of identifying the criminal castes and tribes. Fingerprinting was not introduced to the British homeland security forces until 1901, where it was first described as “hopelessly inaccurate, ludicrous, dangerous and completely un-British,” an attitude that prevailed until the technique was widely accepted, with credit for this innovation attributed to Scotland Yard.
When British educated Mahatma Gandhi (who at one point stopped the rebellion because of “overly aggressive” attacks on traitorous pigs) led the upper castes towards ‘independence’, they further embraced the Enlightened order of policing.
Today, the Criminal Tribes, renamed the Denotified and Nomadic Tribes, are targeted by the cops as prime suspects and viewed as primitives in need of being raised up by the social justice do-gooders. Inspiringly, indigenous people of India continue to resist both.
The British Empire – Africa: Recruiting the Natives
“…the acceptance of native political authority always implied a British redefinition and limitation of the role of African political powers and radical mutations of traditional practices whenever they were considered repugnant in light of European conceptions. Further, the principle of indirect rule was considered secondary to the overall political and economic objectives of colonial rule. Political paternalism replaced indirect rule when local politics did not resemble appropriate government in the eyes of the British authorities and when it conflicted with Company Rule which sought to make colonial conquest a commercially viable enterprise.” –Mathieu Deflem, Law Enforcement in British Colonial Africa
Before the Berlin Conference of 1884, a ‘mere’ ten percent of the African continent was in the hands of the competing empires of Europe. Indigenous humans, gold, diamonds, and ivory were amongst the commodities deemed useful for expanding wealth and capitalism. The conference resulted in a mandate for colonial powers to prove “effective occupation” in order to gain international recognition of territorial claims and to ‘permit’ direct rule by the occupiers. Consequently, the civilizing powers could not tolerate any acts of defiance that might imply ‘ineffective occupation’. The goals of both military and police – often interchangeable forces were clear: pacify the natives, protect economic interests, symbolize and enforce the legitimacy of the colonial political authorities, and maintain sufficient order so as to permit access to and expansion of new territories.
Using ethnic security maps, British occupiers determined which tribes could be used, with proper supervision, to self-police tribal territories for the Crown. In the Nyasaland territory, the Yao ethnic community was deemed to be a martial tribe and recruited to protect and serve the masters needs. In the Gold Coast, the Hausa tribe formed the unofficial Hausa Constabulary, a paramilitary police force possessing the necessary qualities supportive of control, combat, and enforcement, recruited even before the official proclamation of the colony. The police, regardless of ethnicity, were considered an intrusive alien force and attacked as traitors to the native African communities. By the end of the “Scramble for Africa”, ninety percent of the continent was in European hands with Britain the dominant owner. Through apartheid and other brutal strategies, Africa remained under official occupation well into the 20th century. As long as native peoples can be recruited and trained as enforcers of their master’s order, the possibility of ‘effective occupation’ remains.
The America Empire – Internal Colonies: Incarcerating the Savages
“Indians are the most peaceful people, traditionally, you would ever wish to encounter. But, if you tell any people – to their perpetual suffering, agony, disenfranchisement, dispossession, disallowal of hope – that they are irrelevant long enough, they may just prove to you, in desperation, the irrelevance by utilizing violence. If they blow your brains out, you see, there’s no question they’re relevant. This applies to Indians, Palestinians, people of the inner cities, anyone who is oppressed.” –Ward Churchill, Listening to the Land
Prior to the Columbus invasion, over 15 million indigenous people are estimated to have lived in what is now America. By 1894, all but 250,000 were eliminated. The remaining people, from many varied and distinct tribal cultures, were identified as a single homogenous unit, negatively denoted as savage and primitive, and forced into prison-reserves. Cultural genocide programs in boarding schools and proper homes picked up where the military genocide left off, as Indian children were abducted and inserted into civil and Christian institutions. Educators and religious evangelists attempted to whitewash the memory of diverse and ancient languages, lifeways, and spiritual connections. Some of the newly domesticated were returned to the prison-reserves to spread the gospel of Civilized behavior.
By the mid-twentieth century, when the Empire renewed its attacks, many believed there were no more ‘real’ Indians. But the strong and diverse response to the colonizer’s first attacks was re-ignited when materials necessary to stoke the engines of the death machine – uranium, oil, coal, and natural gas – were discovered on reservation land, prompting aggressive expropriation. Using many forms of active and direct resistance, members of the American Indian Movement and others focused on getting treaty rights and national sovereignty upheld.
Their actions prompted a military assault by the traitorous ‘Guardians of the Oglala Nation’. These GOONs used U.S. military artillery in the 1973-1976 bloodbath on the Pine Ridge Reservation on behalf of the Empire. Using intelligence provided by the FBI’s COINTELPRO operatives, SWAT and other paramilitary pigs temporarily curtailed the struggle for Indian autonomy. But, as the opening words above, along with ongoing resistance to genocide and incarceration remind us, the spirit cannot be whitewashed and the fight is far from over.
“The only way to police a ghetto is to be oppressive…. They represent the force of the white world, and that world’s criminal profit and ease, to keep the Black man corralled up here, in his place. The badge, the gun in the holster, and the swinging club make vivid what will happen should his rebellion become overt… He moves through Harlem, therefore, like an occupying soldier in a bitterly hostile country, which is precisely what, and where he is, and is the reason he walks in twos and threes”. –James Baldwin, Nobody Knows My Name
The first militarized forces in urban North America were mounted patrols used in southern cities to keep slave populations from uprising. Once ‘freed’, the neo-slaves were quickly segregated into ghettos, prisons, rural work farms, and urban factories. As on the reservations, inner city African communities are riddled with unemployment, poverty, and by a particular hopelessness, both induced and soothed by the drugs supplied by a myriad of overt and covert sources. Liberals, feeling the effects of the “white man’s burden” and bourgeois white guilt, launch hundreds of programs designed to socialize this ‘violent underclass’. No attempt was made, until after WWII, to inductAfricans into local pigpens. As an L.A. pig admitted to an investigating commission, most cops simply did not view blacks as individuals, therefore could not discern the law-abiding from the lawless – a charge easily applied to the pigs themselves.
Riots, gangs, and even National liberation movements echo the anger and frustration of millions who can no longer bear a life of imprisonment and neo-slavery. Modern police forces in segregated areas were hyper-militarized before their counterparts in ruling class communities and commercial areas. Heavily armed, armored, and specially trained in urban warfare by U.S. military Special Forces, Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) units conduct regular raids in ghettos, inner cities, and ‘hotspots’ of Black (and Latino) enclaves. Urban warfare, the new primary frontline in this war, requires practice and continual improvements. Military exercises, such as Garden Plot, aim towards a coordination of the full war apparatus – National Guard, military, federal intelligence, local, state, and federal cops to quell the ever-growing urban unrest. In 1992, the pigs that attacked Rodney King were exonerated and the new urban war machine deployed. But the machine is not infallible and potential weaknesses are occasionally revealed for our exploration. A provocative example; on the night of these 1992 L.A. riots, a California State Guardsman was arrested by local cops with materials necessary for concocting Molotovs.
The American Empire – Iraq and the Homeland: Invoking Fear
“Insurgency can be extricated from the ‘placenta of common crime’ in which the state attempted to place it by establishing its identity as a violence which is public, collective, destructive and total in its modalities. These are, of course, the very attributes of the violence characteristically deployed by the modern nation-state. What name shall we give to that violence? Surely not insurgency? In what language shall we speak of the crimes of the state?” –Vinay Lal, Peasant Insurgency in Colonial India
In 2004, as the UN’s Decade of the World’s Indigenous People closes, the American Empire and its British partner apply the age-old formula to neutralize native, indigenous, and improperly civilized peoples. In Iraq (as in Afghanistan), all imperial forces – military, police, social, religious, and economic – are being employed in the crusade to secure total control over the (nearly) decimated people. After more than a decade of genocidal sanctions and biochemical and conventional warfare reduced the population by millions, the ongoing military incursion seeks to complete the mass elimination phase of the formulaic strategy. Using superior technology – ‘smart bombs’, ‘precision artillery’, and a steady (if increasingly reluctant) supply of dehumanized soldiers – the predatory neocolonialists attempt to gain access to the region’s valuable resources and militarily strategic position. To this end, American and European civilizers are inserting the Western paramilitary police model into these potential new colonies. However, a significant change from the past must be noted – the insurgents in the new colonies understand that the police (like the military) are key to the political, economic, and social machine waging war on all their lives. As such, they are combatants and are consistently targeted, attacked, and eliminated – with significantly less technological resources than those used by the enemy. Soon, it will be difficult to find traitors willing to serve and protect the Predators.
Here in the Homeland, pigs are removing their dress blues and donning the camouflage of the Battlefield Dress Uniform; exchanging their service revolvers for automatic weapons; and tear gas is replaced with ‘less-than-lethal’ biochemical weapons. Indigenous peoples of this continent and those abducted from distant lands, along with the disobedient, the unassimilated, and the perpetually resistant – need take heed. Operation Civilization has entered its most aggressive phase thus far and the enemy is preparing for the inevitable. The visceral reaction we have to all pigs, indeed all soldiers, imparts an important and positive message. Those who enforce this life of increasing subjugation to the will and whim of the death machine’s masters, prepare the way for our assimilation, incarceration, or elimination. Our preparations for fight or flight cannot lag behind.
Prisoner Escapes, Uprisings, and Revolts
“They sentenced me to 20 years of boredom for trying to change the system from within.” –Leonard Cohen
September 14, Beattyville, Kentucky: Uprising At Prison
A privately operated prison in eastern Kentucky was under a security clamp a day after prisoners torched three buildings during an uprising. It apparently started when nine prisoners tried unsuccessfully to tear down a manned, wooden guard tower in the recreation yard. With a guard still inside, inmates used large concrete ashtrays to topple the tower, then pulled boards loose to batter the maintenance building where ladders, wire cutters and axes were stored.
Beattyville Police Chief Steve Mays said smoke was billowing and inmates were yelling and throwing rocks at a Kentucky State Police trooper when he arrived to provide backup. “It was chaos when I first got up there,” Mays said. Prison officers quelled the uprising while police agencies from nearby counties provided backup outside and guarded against escapes.
Prisoners set fire to two dormitories and an administrative building. Inmates also broke windows and light fixtures in the dorm and damaged toilets and sinks. Meanwhile, prison and law enforcement officials have targeted nine inmates as suspected instigators and said the nine could face arson and other charges.
September 17, Everett, Washington:
A prisoner in the Snohomish county jail was sentenced to an additional 18 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to sending president George Bush a letter threatening to kill him if he was not released from the jail.
October 4, Idaho: Prisoner Escapes from Kootenai County Jail
The Sheriff’s Office is reporting the escape of a prisoner from the Kootenai County Jail. According to the initial investigation, Neal G. McCrea, 40, of Spokane, WA, was in an outdoor exercise area with another inmate when he scaled the fence, punched a hole through the chain link that covered the roof of the outdoor area and crossed the roof to effect his escape. Police dogs lost McCrea’s scent in a neighborhood southwest of the jail, not far from where a dark-colored pickup went through a stoplight and narrowly missed hitting a deputy involved in the search.
McCrea was originally arrested July 30 while parked between two banks with a loaded sawed-off shotgun in his lap. He previously served a federal sentence of five years in an Arizona prison for bank robbery. According to a police report, McCrea became “agitated” when he was brought into the county jail. “I intend to be violent,” McCrea told police. “I am going to be rowdy and violent. I have nothing to lose.”
October 6, Caracas, Venezuela: Massive Demonstrations Against Prison Abuse
“Chávez, remember you were a prisoner too!” read a sign held up by protester Ana Martínez in a demonstration by families of prisoners in the Venezuelan capital. The demonstrators were demanding that something be done about the appalling conditions in the country’s prisons, where 225 inmates have died so far this year. Martínez’s sign was alluding to the time that Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez spent in Yare prison between 1992 and 1994 after leading a failed military uprising as a paratrooper officer, against the government of Carlos Andrés Pérez (1989-1993). The demonstration was held right after six inmates were killed (several of them beheaded) and 35 were injured in fighting and rioting in Uribana, a prison in central-western Venezuela.
The country’s 32 prisons have a capacity to hold 16,000 inmates, but currently house around 20,000. And of that total, only 47 percent have been convicted and sentenced. The rest are still awaiting sentencing. In one of the highest-profile mass killings of prisoners in Latin America, dozens of inmates were slain by guards in the notorious Retén de Catia, a prison on the west side of Caracas, in 1992. In 1994, over 100 inmates, mainly Wayúu Indians, died in a riot and fire in the Maracaibo prison of western Venezuela. And in 1996, members of the National Guard shot tear gas canisters into inmate’s cells in the La Planta prison. At least 25 prisoners were killed in a fire that subsequently broke out.
October 12, Brazil: Towels Used in Jailbreak
Prisoners staged a mass breakout from a jail in Rio de Janeiro, using sheets and towels to make their escape. The 48 inmates made a hole in the ceiling of the cellblock, then climbed to the ground using a rope made from their clothing, bed linen and towels. They used another rope to scale the prison wall. Brazil’s jails are often the scenes of riots, fires and breakouts. The previous week, 69 people tunneled out of a police detention center in Rio.
October 14, Izmir, Turkey: Prison Protest Ends with Seven Injured
Seven people were hurt in a prison disturbance in western Turkey as inmates took guards hostage during a protest at conditions in the jail. The trouble flared in one wing of the Buca prison near the western port city of Izmir and spread to other areas of the jail. The prisoners refused to allow guards into their wing and set fire to their beds and sheets to protest their treatment and the quality of health checks in the prison.
Media reports said three guards had been taken hostage, but were later set free, bringing the protest to an end. Authorities had sent paramilitary police, fire engines and ambulances to the scene and tightened security surrounding the prison while firefighters put the fires out.
October 20, Istanbul, Turkey: Anniversary of Hunger Strikes Sparks Unrest
Security forces sprayed tear gas on stone-hurling protestors in Istanbul at a demonstration to mark the fourth anniversary of a hunger strike in Turkish prisons that claimed dozens of lives. Twenty-four people were detained in the unrest near the ancient Blue Mosque in the city’s historical heart. A group of some 100 activists gathered outside the mosque carrying symbolic coffins with pictures of victims of the hunger strike, which was initiated on October 20, 2000 by hundreds of inmates, most of them far-left militants, against the introduction of new high-security prisons.
Sixty-six people are known to have starved themselves to death in the hunger strike, including both inmates and outside supporters of the protest. The inauguration of the new prisons is seen as one of the most dramatic and controversial episodes in recent Turkish political history. Using firearms and tear gas, hundreds of soldiers raided jails across the country, several weeks after the strike started, to move the resisting inmates to the new jails. Bulldozers were used to demolish prison walls. The prisoners responded with gunfire, and some set themselves ablaze. The four-day operation claimed the lives of 32 inmates and two soldiers.
The strikers have argued that the new jails, where small cells replaced dormitories housing dozens, leave them more vulnerable to mistreatment by prison guards. The so-called “death fast” saw about 2,000 prisoners fast on a rotating basis at the peak of the protest.
October 20, Italy: Renowned Jail Escapist Breaks Free Again!
Max Leitner, an Italian criminal famed for his multiple prison escapes, has done it once again. The 45-yearold professional thief broke out of a jail in northern Italy under cover of nightfall. It was the fourth in a string of escapes pulled off by Leitner from prisons in both Italy and Austria. On checking the cell of Leitner and another prisoner who escaped with him, guards discovered cloth puppets tucked up in their beds. Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper said it seemed certain that this time the escape was an inside job, citing a discovery of a ladder, which helped the men climb over the prison walls. Leitner, who was sentenced to remain behind bars until 2012, was considered a “high-risk” detainee due to his series of escapes.
October 28, Istanbul, Turkey: Commando Attack On Istanbul Courthouse In Anti-Prison Action
A five-person commando team of alleged left-wing “extremists” hurled molotov cocktails and tried to set off a homemade explosive device outside the Beyoglu courthouse in central Istanbul. The team, reportedly militants of the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), their faces covered with red bandanas, hung up a placard protesting against prison conditions outside the courthouse. They then hurled molotov cocktails through the building’s windows, starting a blaze.
The DHKP-C, considered a terrorist organization by both Turkish and European Union authorities, is accused of masterminding a wave of hunger strikes among left-wing prison inmates and their friends and families that has resulted in nearly 70 deaths in four years.
November 2, Monrovia: Several Inmates Escape African Prison In Wake of Three Day Gang Riots
A number detainees broke out of the Monrovia Central Prison in the wake of three-day riots by gangs in Paynesville, Gardnersville, and the adjacent suburbs. The actual number of detainees who escaped prison is unknown, but police Chief Mark Kroeker said seven of the escapees were recaptured. The police force guarding the prison compound were reported to have opened fire to “prevent the escape” of more prisoners. The escapees were alleged to have “exploited” the weekend riots that swept across the city, as all attention was focused on the riots in which more than 14 people were killed and several properties damaged. Widespread violence erupted in and around Monrovia that weekend with youths going on the rampage, looting, killing, and destroying churches, mosques and private dwellings. What set off the riots is still unknown to us.
November 11, Kentucky:
A Knox County jail worker has been accused of helping prisoners escape by selling them saw blades.
November 17, Abidian, Cote d’Ivoire: 4,000 Escape!
About 4,000 inmates escaped from a prison in Cote d’Ivoire’s commercial capital of Abidjan in a hugely successful jailbreak. The escapees used a drainage leading to the nearby forest. Earlier in November, riots broke out in the same prison due to the lack of water supply. Some jail facilities were damaged in the riots, but were repaired later.
November 20, Fairbanks, Alaska: Jailbreak Attempt With Front-end Loader
Two people have been indicted by a grand jury in a suspected plot to break a prisoner out of the Fairbanks Correctional Center. Misty Hoffman, 28, and Joseph Gilespie, 24, are accused of ramming a stolen front-end loader into the wall of an inmate housing area. In the attempt, sections of two parallel barbed-wire fences surrounding the jail were leveled. The loader’s scoop was used to smash two windows and a portion of the building’s wall. Damages were estimated at $100,000. Hoffman and Gilespie are also accused of possessing a gun Hoffman planned on giving a prisoner in case it was necessary for the breakout.
November 27, Stockholm, Sweden: Man Shoots Cell Phones Into Prison Yard
Authorities in Sweden have arrested a man who shot mobile phones into the yard of a high-security prison with a bow and arrows. The 25-yearold man is charged with planning to aid a prison escape and could get up to a year in jail himself. The suspect, whose name was not released, taped two cell phones and a battery charger to three arrows, and fired them over the 12-foot wall into Mariefred prison outside Stockholm during the evening hours.
November 28, Palestine: Prisoners Attack Israeli Warden and Guards
Female Palestinian security detainees at the Sharon prison rioted and poured boiling oil and cleaning agents on the facility’s warden and guards. One male guard was wounded in the face and a female guard was wounded in her hand. The riots broke out after prisoner Amana Muna refused to stand for an inspection. Muna’s refusal elicited a chain of reactions when the other female prisoners joined in protest against the guards.
The two wounded guards were evacuated to an area hospital for medical attention and the prisoners were dispersed with high-pressure water hoses and returned to their cells. Young male detainees also started to bang on their doors and riot. Guards quelled the disturbances with tear gas.
November 28, Palm Island, Australia: Death of Aboriginal Prisoner Triggers Riots
About 200 people protesting against the death of a man in custody burnt down a police station, a house, and a courthouse on a remote Australian island, before police reinforcements flew in to restore “order”. At one stage of the riot some 20 police were trapped inside their police station as a crowd stormed the building, eventually setting it alight. Radio reports said the station had been set on fire with a petrol bomb in the protests that erupted after Cameron Doomagee, 36, died in a police cell. Doomagee had been arrested for “being drunk” and “causing a public nuisance”.
“This is cold-blooded murder,” one rioter yelled at the crowd in television footage. “I am not going to accept it and I know a lot of you other people won’t”. Australian radio said the riot started after the release of a postmortem examination of Doomagee. The autopsy found he had four broken ribs and died from a punctured lung. Palm Islanders will not accept that Cameron died by accident or, as they are being asked to believe, that the injuries (also including a ruptured spleen and liver) occurred as the result of a fall while scuffling with a cop at the watch-house. They know that he was walking along the street, drunk and singing, and an hour later he was dead with the internal injuries.
Two Aboriginal men who were in the cells at the time have given statements that they saw him being punched and beaten by Chris Hurley, a senior sergeant. Hurley was removed from the island for his own protection. The interim autopsy report stated “there was no evidence to suggest” his injuries had “resulted from a direct use of force”.
When a section of the autopsy report was read to a public meeting on Friday the simmering mood of discontent erupted. The crowd set fire to the court house, police station and police barracks, with many threatening in loud tones to kill the 18 police who had fled the buildings and were holed up in the hospital. On the night of the riot, 80 more police were flown in, including the tactical response group. That night they began rounding up the suspected ringleaders of the riot. In full armor they burst into homes, held guns on people while they searched their homes. By daylight the next morning, 12 men had been arrested.
November 29, Victoria, British Columbia: Prison ‘Houdini’ Sent Back To Slammer
A 62-year-old man described by his publisher as a prison “Houdini” for 13 escapes from custody is going back to the prison, this time for illegal possession of a handgun. Lorne Wayne Carlson, author of “Breakfast with the Devil: The story of a professional jailbreaker,” got 18 months after pleading guilty in British Columbia Supreme Court. Carlson was on parole in July when police tackled him and a loaded handgun fell out of his pants.
Carlson has an extensive record for robbery and other crimes in Canada and the United States. He has spent about 35 years in prison, most of his adult life, and has escaped 13 times. His publisher, Insomniac Press, contends that makes him the prisoner with the most escapes in modern North American history.
December 1, Panama City, Florida: Hostages Taken After Ambush
An inmate takeover, which ended with the shooting of a hostage and a prisoner, began when a Bay County Jail guard was ambushed during an escape attempt. The wounded nurse and inmate survived gunfire from a sheriff’s SWAT team that stormed the third floor of the jail to end the 11-hour standoff. The Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) publicly disclosed details of what happened for the first time on December 1st, nearly two months later. As a jailer entered a cell and tried to awaken an inmate “playing possum” on September 5, another prisoner sneaked up and struck the guard in the head with an improvised weapon, probably a bar of soap or a padlock wrapped in a sock. When the jailer radioed for help, a shift captain closed a riot gate and shut the elevators to keep inmates from getting off the floor. With the escape foiled, inmates rushed across the hall to a nurse’s station, where they took a guard and three nurses hostage.
Four inmates have been charged with felonies stemming from the escape attempt. The shootings remain under investigation by prosecutors. John Ferguson, president of Nashville, Tennessee-based CCA, acknowledged the hostage-taking may have sullied the company’s reputation, but he insisted the company is well below average for escapes, homicides, suicides and inmate takeovers at government-run facilities.
December 9, Nassau, Bahamas:
Migrants set fire to a detention dormitory, clashing with guards who fired rubber bullets at detainees. At least 20 people were injured. The riot at the Carmichael Road Detention Center in Nassau began after immigration officials forced their way into a dormitory with mostly Cuban migrants who were refusing to unlock the door.
The detainees set fire to the room and hurled burning objects at the immigration officials, who fired rubber bullets to disperse the migrants. Eleven immigration officials suffered bruises and lacerations, though none were hospitalized. Three migrants escaped hours before the fire, though two were quickly recaptured.
December 24, Honolulu, Hawaii: Half-Naked Inmate Escapes
A minimum security prisoner left his ripped pants and boxer shorts snagged in razor wire atop a fence when he broke out of the Oahu Community Correctional Center. A witness told police 25-year-old Michael Ventura ran across the street toward a gas station. Detective Larry Lawson says Ventura was last seen with a brown paper bag or a brown piece of cardboard wrapped around his waist.
December 26, Israel: Palestinian Prisoner Escapes Jail
Prison security officials were in pursuit of a Palestinian prisoner who escaped from the Damon Prison in the Carmel Mountain region. Prison service officials said that after Ahram Ali Zaharna was discovered missing during a roll call of the prisoners, a state of emergency was imposed in the jail, and large police and prison service forces arrived on the scene. Initial investigations concluded that the detainee managed to escape the prison grounds by scaling a wall surrounding the prison yard. The prison wall is currently under reconstruction and sections of the wall had been removed, which eased the prisoner’s escape.
MOVE is a radical ecological movement that has been attacked by the Philadelphia Police since its inception. Nine members were convicted and sent to prison for life following a 1978 siege at their house in which one cop was killed by another cop. One of those nine, Merle Africa, died in prison after being denied medical treatment.
Debbie Simms Africa #006307, Janet Holloway Africa #006308, Janine Philips Africa #006309, 451 Fullerton Ave, Cambridge Springs, PA 16403-1238.
Michael Davis Africa AM4973, Charles Simms Africa AM4975, Box 244, Grateford, PA 19426-0244 SCI Grateford.
Edward Goodman Africa AM4974, Box 200, Camp Hill, PA 17011-0200 SCI Camp Hill.
William Philips Africa AM4984,Delbert Orr Africa AM4985, Drawer K, Dallas, PA 18612 SCI Dallas.
Symptoms of the System’s Meltdown
“We are at war, even if the images of spectacular daily life try to make us believe the contrary. We have not chosen these social conditions ourselves, we can only choose from what position to fight. In order to do so, it is necessary to look at what is happening in our camp and in that of the ruling order at the same time, what forces move below the empire of names and official declarations, beyond the eternal present of the media. Not at all a careful investigation by cold analysts. Rather a social reconnaissance, if you will, of those who have the urgent need to live, a breach in both sides of the barricades for perceiving and practicing a different concept of force.” –Willful Disobedience
September 14: Uprising On Chicago’s South Side
A South Side community’s “public safety demonstration” climaxed in spontaneous violence when police and residents clashed, leading to several injuries and arrests. Two adults and four juveniles were arrested just as several hundred neighbors gathered for the third annual Hands Across the Neighborhood for District Safety – a community relations event sponsored by the Grand Crossing District.
The unrest started after police responded to reports of an assault. As police tried to break up a fight involving several men, Norman Shipp, 29, began to cause a disturbance and shouted “fuck the police”. The pigs took Shipp into custody, ran a background check and released him, which is when a crowd started throwing rocks at the police and their squad car. As police tried to make arrests, one pig was hit in the face with a rock, leaving him with a bloody nose and broken glasses. Another pig discharged pepper spray to subdue the crowd before Shipp, Karine Manuel, 37, and four juveniles were arrested.
“It’s unfortunate that this happened at an event that was supposed to unite police and community against violence,” said a Chicago politician. “We are going to have to find out exactly what caused all of this.” (Editors Note: This news item was submitted by Partisan Resistance of Chicago)
September 17, Paraiba, Brazil: Thieves Rob Bus Full of Cops
Forty-six Brazilian policemen traveling to a sports competition were caught with their guard down when four Brazilian thieves robbed the bus carrying them to the event. The bus with 46 unarmed cops from the northeastern Paraiba state was headed to the city of Salvador in Bahia when two cars with armed robbers forced them to stop on the country’s main interstate highway. “The robbers took their cameras, cellular phones, wallets and even the sports uniforms and sneakers,” a police spokesman said.
Late September/Early October, Grants Pass, Oregon: Numerous Anti-Election Actions In Southern Oregon!
This fall, there was a rash of anonymous, nonpartisan attacks on political campaign signs in Grants Pass.
“We put it up on the edge of our property, got up the next morning and found it uprooted, slashed, and thrown in the bushes,” said Revella Ruschmeyer, speaking of the BushCheney sign her husband had installed on their Granite Hill Road property. “It’s kind of rude. I thought everyone had the right to say what they want.” But the attacks were in no way a one-party issue. Democratic Party volunteer Mort Mondale (brother of Walter Mondale, former vice president under Carter) complains that he and another local liberal put up a number of signs in the Illinois Valley that were stolen or defaced. “It’s been a major effort to keep the signs up,” Mondale whined. “On two separate occasions, about a dozen signs were vandalized.”
Sign thefts and vandalism eat into the pockets of local political parties and candidates. “The first round of Bush-Cheney signs were paid for by the Oregon State Republican Party,” bewailed a local RNC volunteer. “The second round, we paid for, and the third round we also paid for.”
Likewise, local Democrats groaned about having to pay for sign replacements. “For instance, the large sign that was taken from Kauffman Wood Products was a $25 item!,” Mort Mondale whimpered. Resistance seems to be on the rise in Grants Pass, a town known mostly for ignorance, xenophobia and its sordid history of involvement with the Ku Klux Klan. On July 4th, 2004, the “Caveman” – a 15 1/2-foot fiberglass statue which has “guarded” the entrance to Grants Pass for 33 years – was torched by a local teenager, costing $4,000 to replace. This hulking monstrosity was an insult to our Paleolithic ancestors, and though most of the local citizenry reacted with outrage, a dissident minority welcomed the temporary removal of this hideous sentry, happy to get an unobstructed view of the mountains for a change.
October 7, Baltimore, Maryland: We Don’t Want To Be Learned. We Don’t Want To Be Tamed!
Baltimore City school police have made a fourth arrest in connection with recent “nuisance fires” at Walbrook High School, and an arrest has been made at another school for a similar early morning fire, but more fires at certain Baltimore City schools continued throughout the week, despite the five arrests. Thurgood Marshall Middle and High schools were evacuated due to a fire, two fires were set at Forest Park High School, and at least 16 fires have been set at Walbrook High School.
Top school officials are assigning more pigs to the hot spots, and they’re attempting to send a “stern message” to possible copycat arsonists. “This is absolutely not acceptable. It is absolutely terrible behavior and we are on top of this, so don’t think you are gonna get by with this. We know where the situations are,” said Bonnie Copeland, the district’s chief executive. Students arrested in the latest string of Walbrook fires have been placed in the custody of state juvenile officials.
November 2, Rockaway, New Jersey: Boy Charged In Multiple School Fires
An 11-year-old pupil at the Copeland Middle School in Rockaway Township was handcuffed and sent to the Morris County Juvenile Detention Center, charged with four counts of arson. The sixth-grader is accused of setting fires that started in trashcans in boys’ lavatories at the school January 9, 14, and 26, 2004. Three of the fires were minor and were quickly extinguished by school staff, but the January 14 blaze caused major damage to a bathroom that will cost an estimated $20,000 to repair.
The small 11-year-old, who will turn 12 in a few weeks, was dwarfed by the size of the chair he sat in and nibbled on his fingers and twisted his feet around the chair legs as he waited for the hearing to begin. After a nearly yearlong investigation, the cops have decided that this young rebel is their “man.” He left the courtroom in handcuffs after Superior Court Family Division Judge Thomas Critchley Jr. ordered that he be kept in detention at least until a probable cause hearing is held.
November 6, Pickens County, Alabama:
Four people attacked the Carrollton Unit School overnight, destroying property and stealing several items. Unfortunately, all four were arrested.
November 6, Brisbane, Australia: Homeless Tension at Flashpoint
Tensions on Brisbane streets have reached flashpoint as homeless kids revolt against authorities. Youth workers have warned of a riot if police and council leaders continue to take a heavy-handed approach to dealing with homeless young people. Street kids – numbering more than 100 in central Brisbane – are angry at new laws allowing police to detain youth for paint-sniffing, and a councildriven crackdown on the use of derelict buildings as squats. Simmering tension erupted, when teenagers hurled glass, chairs, bricks and other projectiles into the street from the first-floor awning of a disused, squatted building in the heart of the city. A dozen were arrested. The following morning, a group of angry street kids confronted Premier Peter Beattie in Brisbane’s King George Square after police ejected them from their overnight squat. Lord Mayor Campbell Newman and the Queensland Police Union have called for more police on the streets and a stronger response to incidents. But Youth Affairs Network of Queensland director Siyavash Doostkhah says that a heavyhanded reaction will ignite “a powder keg”. “All it requires is a trigger like that,” he said. “Young people have been pushed so far to the edge, they have nothing left to lose. They are fighting for survival. That’s how they see it.”
November 11, Lee County, North Carolina:
Two high school students slashed the tires on 12 buses overnight, hoping to cancel classes. We were sorry to hear that the two were caught a
November 14, Jackson, Mississippi:
A French Elementary School was attacked over the weekend. Over 140 windowpanes were broken.
November 15, Battle Ground, Washington: Students Sent Home After Fires Erupt At School
Students were sent home after fires broke out in two student restrooms at Prairie High School. Firefighters were called in to put out the fires. There were no injuries and it took just 10 minutes to extinguish the flames. However, students were still sent home as a precaution. Worried parents were held behind a fence as investigators secured the area, which was treated as a crime scene. Arson was immediately suspected by fire officials and a few days later, a suspect was arrested. Clark County Sheriff’s Deputies say the suspect, described as a 16-year-old male, is responsible for the fire that forced the evacuation of 1,500 students.
November 22, Talent, Oregon: Police Chief Shot At With Large Dart!
Police are investigating an incident in which a large dart was reportedly shot at the Butte Falls chief of police as he entered his Talent home. At about 11p.m., chief pig Mark Crumley parked his patrol car and headed towards the front door of his Wagner Creek Road home. After shutting the door, Crumley says he heard something smack against it. Still wearing his Butte Falls pig uniform, Crumley says he went outside and discovered a 6-inch-long dart embedded in his front door. “It dented my door,” he grumbled. “It was like a small arrow…that was shot out of a hand-held crossbow. I have been a police officer for years and this is the first time something like this has happened. Nobody’s out to get me, as far as I know.”
November 26, Lafayette, Louisiana.: Vandals Delay Shoppers’ Spree
The busiest shopping day of the year turned out to be a sticky affair. Vandals apparently glued the locks on dozens of Lafayette’s biggest retailers, preventing managers from opening up promptly on lucrative “Black Friday.” Hundreds of shoppers, some of whom arrived before dawn, were forced to wait outside Barnes & Noble, Old Navy and other stores while managers summoned locksmiths. At least 200 locks on dozens of businesses were glued, including the main entrances, rear doors, and the employee entrances, said locksmith Garan Wilson. Wilson’s first job at about 5 a.m. Friday was to make his way to the front door lock at the Old Navy – by pushing through about 500 shoppers waiting outside, he said. “I found about a half a tube of glue stuck inside,” he added. Chuck Trenchard, an employee of S&K Menswear, said the prank had cost his store more than $1,000 in business, because potential customers had arrived early, then left because they couldn’t get inside.
November 27, New York City: Pepper Spray Prank Prompts Evacuation of Toy Store
The huge Toys “R” Us store in Times Square was hurriedly evacuated after about 20 people were overcome by a mysterious pepper spray cloud that had been somehow dispensed above the crowds of holiday shoppers. About 3,000 potential consumers were transferred out on to the sidewalks of Times Square. This particular Toys “R” Us is the largest single operation by the mega-store chain.
December 14, Monrovia, Liberia: Hundreds of Students Riot
Hundreds of public school students staged a violent street demonstration, leaving several persons hurt and some students arrested as a strike by their teachers entered its third week. Angry students from the Monrovia Consolidated School System went from street to street throwing stones at random, smashing cars and attacking private schools across the Liberian capital city. Troops of the United Nations Mission in Liberia later quelled the violence, firing shots into the air as heavily armed “peacekeeping” soldiers backed by armor personnel carriers took up positions at street corners in the city center.
December 15, Scotland: Concrete Block Wrecks Police Car
A heavy concrete block was dropped on a police car as cops carried out an investigation into a theft from a building site in Edinburgh. The pigs returned to find the block embedded in the roof of their car. The windshield and roof of the vehicle were extensively damaged. At the same site, a slab landed on the ground 15ft away from an unsuspecting pig.
December 22, Bratislava, Slovakia: Explosive Device Found Near President’s Home
An explosive device was found and quickly defused in a house under construction near the Slovak presidential residence. The device was found the day officials announced that George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin of Russia would meet in the Slovak capital in February. The bomb was said to be made with about four pounds of the plastic explosive Semtex. President Ivan Gasparovic, who was elected in June, had not yet moved into the official residence.
December 28, Croatia: Bomb Topples Statue of Dictator Tito
A bomb knocked off the head of a statue of the former Yugoslavian dictator Tito in his hometown, Kumrovic, in northern Croatia. The blast wrecked the life-sized statue, erected near the house where Tito – who ruled Yugoslavia with an iron fist from 1945 until his death in 1980 – was born in 1892.
December 31, Baghdad, Iraq: Insurgents Target Police and Officials on New Year’s Eve
With car bombs, assassinations, ambushes and raids on police stations, insurgents killed at least 54 people on the last day of 2004, including Iraqi cops and a deputy governor, across the volatile Sunni Triangle, and a militant group claimed that it executed eight Iraqi employees of an American security company. This string of attacks – including one in which the throats of twelve cops were slit in their station – makes evident that the lies of the U.S. occupation have failed. None of today’s rulers can look at a photo of the revolt in Iraq without shuddering because it represents, as plain as day, the beginning of their end.
Cops For Fertilizer!: The Dead Pig Tally For 2004
The FBI reported that 132 cops were killed “in the line of duty” in 2004, eight more than in 2003. Of the total, 49 were killed in traffic accidents and 45 were slain with firearms. Thirtyone of those killed with guns were wearing body armor at the time.
The Dogs Hold an Election
We don’t think much of the white man’s elections. Whoever wins, we Indians always lose. Well, we have a little story about elections. Once, a long time ago, the dogs were trying to elect a president. So one of them got up in the big dog convention and said: “I nominate the bulldog for president. He’s strong. He can fight.”
“But he can’t run,” said another dog. “What good is a fighter who can’t run? He won’t catch anybody.”
Then another dog got up and said: “I nominate the greyhound, because he sure can run.” But the other dogs cried: “Naw he can run all right, but he can’t fight. When he catches up with somebody, what happens then? He gets the hell beaten out of him, that’s what! So all he’s good for is running away.”
Then an ugly little mutt jumped up and said: “I nominate that dog for president who smells good underneath his tail.” And immediately an equally ugly mutt jumped up and yelled: “I second the motion.”
At once all the dogs started sniffing underneath each other’s tails. A big chorus went up:
“Phew, he doesn’t smell good under his tail.”
“No, neither does this one.”
“He’s no presidential timber!”
“No he’s no good either.”
“This one sure isn’t the people’s choice.”
“Wow, this ain’t my candidate!”
When you go out for a walk, just watch the dogs. They’re still sniffing underneath each other’s tails. They’re looking for a good leader and they
still haven’t found him.
–Told by Lame
Deer at Winner,
Rosebud Indian Reservation,
South Dakota, 1969.
Recorded by Richard Erdoes.
The Nihilist Dictionary: #4–Feral
by John Zerzan
Fer-al adj. wild, or existing in a state of nature, as freely occurring animals or plants; having reverted to the wild state from domestication.
We exist in a landscape of absence wherein real life is steadily being drained out by debased work, the hollow cycle of consumerism and mediated emptiness of high-tech dependency. Today it is not only the stereotypical yuppie workaholic who tries to cheat despair via activity, preferring not to contemplate a fate no less sterile than that of the planet and (domesticated) subjectivity in general. We are confronted, nonetheless, by the ruins of nature and the ruin of our own nature, the sheer enormity of the meaninglessness and the inauthentic amounting to a weight of lies. It’s still drudgery and toxicity for the vast majority, while a poverty more absolute than financial renders more vacant the Universal Dead Zone of civilization. “Empowered” by computerization? Infantilized, more like. An Information Age characterized by increased communication? No, that would presuppose experience worth communicating. A time of unprecedented respect for the individual? Translation: wage-slavery needs the strategy of worker selfmanagement at the point of production to starve off the continuing productivity crisis, and market research must target each “life-style” in the interest of a maximized consumer culture.
In the upside-down society the solution to massive alienation-induced drug use is a media barrage, with results as embarrassing as the hundreds of millions futilely spent against declining voter turnout. Meanwhile, TV, voice and soul of the modern world, dreams vainly of arresting the growth of illiteracy and what is left of emotional health by means of propaganda spots of thirty seconds or less. In the industrialized culture of irreversible depression, isolation, and cynicism, the spirit will die first, the death of the planet an afterthought. That is, unless we erase this rotting order, all of its categories and dynamics.
Meanwhile, the parade of partial (and for that reason false) oppositions proceeds on its usual routes. There are the Greens and their like who try to extend the life of the racket of electoralism, based on the lie that there is validity in any person representing another; these types would perpetuate just one more home for protest, in lieu of the real thing. The peace “movement” exhibits, in its every (uniformly pathetic) gesture, that it is the best friend of authority, property and passivity. One illustration will suffice: in May 1989, on the 20th anniversary of Berkeley’s People’s Park battle, a thousand people rose up admirably, looting 28 businesses and injuring 15 cops; declared peace-creep spokesperson Julia Talley, “These riots have no place in the peace movement.” Which brings to mind the fatally misguided students in Tiananmen Square, after the June 3 massacre had begun, trying to prevent workers from fighting the government troops. And the general truth that the university is the number one source of that slow strangulation known as reform, the refusal of a qualitative break with degradation. Earth First! recognizes that domestication is the fundamental issue (e.g. that agriculture itself is malignant) but many of its partisans cannot see that our species could become wild. Radical environmentalists appreciate that the turning of national forests into tree farms is merely a part of the overall project that also seeks their own suppression. But they will have to seek the wild everywhere rather than merely in wilderness as a separate preserve.
Freud saw that there is no civilization without the forcible renunciation of instincts, without monumental coercion. But, because the masses are basically “lazy and unintelligent,” civilization is justified, he reasoned. This model or prescription was based on the idea that pre-civilized life was brutal and deprived–a notion that has been, amazingly, reversed in the past 20 years. Prior to agriculture, in other words, humanity existed in a state of grace, ease and communion with nature that we can barely comprehend today.
The vista of authenticity emerges as no less than a wholesale dissolution of civilization’s edifice of repression, which Freud, by the way, described as “something which was imposed on a resisting majority by a minority which understood how to obtain possession of the means to power and coercion.” We can either passively continue on the road to utter domestication and destruction or turn in the direction of joyful upheaval, passionate and feral embrace of wildness and life that aims at dancing on the ruins of clocks, computers and that failure of imagination and will called work. Can we justify our lives by anything less than such a politics of rage and dreams?
The Nihilist’s Dictionary was originally a regularly running column by John in Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed over ten years ago. The entire dictionary can be found towards the end of John’s book, Future Primitive (Autonomedia/Anarchy), and in a zine format available from our distro.
State Repression and Political Prisoner News
September 17, Germany: Web Worm Teenager Charged
Sven Jaschan, 18, the German teenager who created the Sasser worm that disrupted computers around the world in May 2004, has been charged with computer sabotage, a crime carrying a minimum five-year jail term.
September 24, Greece: Suspect Indicted For String of Anarchist-Linked Attacks
The Thessaloniki judicial council indicted a man suspected of involvement in a spate of over 60 anarchist-linked gas-canister bombings in 2003 and early 2004, to stand trial on charges ranging from the manufacture and use of explosive devices to resisting arrest. However, judges rejected a police request to take DNA samples from the suspect in a bid to establish how many attacks he was involved with. The 26-year-old, whose name has not been released, was arrested on April 16, 2004, when cops caught him in a sting operation, allegedly in the act of placing a gascanister bomb under a private security firm’s van, and is just now facing formal charges.
September 29, Phillipines: Earth Defender Slain in Cold Blood
Isabelo dela Pena, a forest defender who was a key figure in derailing massive forest logging by big corporations in Southern Mindanao, Phillipines, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen. According to reports, two unidentified motorcycle-riding men gunned him down in the Talomo district of Davao del Sur. The slain forest defender is now one among hundreds of earth defenders in the country who are consequently being murdered by hired goons.
October 5, Benton Harbor, Michigan: Stone Salesperson Pleads No Contest
A woman who police say sold stones to rioters in a southwest Michigan City last year and used the money to pay her cable television bill has
pleaded no contest to inciting a riot. Yuolanda Taylor, 32, faces up to 10 years in prison.
The city of Benton Harbor was “rocked” by two nights of rioting in June 2003, sparked by the death of a black motorcyclist during a high-speed police chase. Twenty-one houses, many vacant, were destroyed. Police said Taylor sold rocks through a riot-wracked neighborhood, selling small ones for $1 each and bigger ones for $5. Prosecutors said the rocks were thrown at police. Taylor told police she collected about $70 selling rocks, but quit when she got hit by one herself. Assistant Prosecutor Gerald Vigansky said Taylor was arrested after police investigated an informant tip. Taylor was one of six people named in warrants in June 2004. Investigators continued working through the area’s FBI Violence Crime Task Force, using videotape footage and witness accounts to identify and charge suspects.
Mid-October, Eugene, Oregon: Rebel Teen Sent to Oregon Youth Authority
A teenager charged with using Molotov cocktails to burn the car of a school administrator who disciplined him for smoking marijuana will serve up to eight years in a youth prison. A judge ordered Bruno Gartner Jr., 17, into the custody of the MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility in Woodburn, Oregon. He was also ordered to pay $8,700 in restitution to retired Sheldon High School Assistant John Lindsley, who awoke on May 1, 2004, to find his vehicle burning in his driveway.
Mid-November: Update On The Chico, California, Grand Jury Defendants
In 2003 ALF and ELF activists targeted the town of Chico, California, culminating in an arson attack on two McDonalds. The FBI investigated the arsons and called several people before a Grand Jury. Following the Grand Jury investigation it was alleged by a police informant that two people, Harjit Gill and Robert Brooks, had lied during the investigation. Both of these men have subsequently been charged with two counts of lying to a Federal Officer and one count of lying to a Federal Grand Jury.
November 16: Imprisoned Eco-Activist Released by Spanish State, But Another Prisoner Taken
After the eco-activist group “Solidarios con Itoiz” pulled off a massively successful sabotage action against the construction of the Itoiz dam in Spain, in 2001, Iñaki Garcia Koch was the first of the eight to be captured and imprisoned. We can now happily report that he has been released! However, another member of the group is now in prison, and would appreciate support and solidarity. On the 15th of March 2004, Spanish eco-activist Ibai Ederra was arrested for sabotaging the same dam construction as part of Soliderios con Itoiz.
Write To: Ibai Ederra, Carcel de Pamplona,c/o San Roque. Apdo. 250, 31080 – Iruñez – Pamplona, Navarra, Spain.
Mid-November: Update On Political Prisoner Richard Williams
United Freedom Front (UFF) combatant and political prisoner Richard Williams has been transferred from U.S.P. Lompoc to U.S.P. Victorville, in Butner, North Carolina. This move comes as Richard has been diagnosed with Hepatitis A and C, as well as cancer. A recent biopsy revealed that he has seminoma, or a partial invasion of cells by cancer, but so far, the cancer seems isolated and has not invaded his lymph nodes.
Since finding the cancer, prison doctors have recommended a three-month transfer to a prison medical facility in Rochester, Minnesota for treatment. That means a best-case scenario is a transfer to Rochester, then back to Lompoc, before being moved to Victorville. We’ll keep the pressure on and keep people informed. In the meantime, Richard Williams can be contacted at: Richard Williams—10377-016, F.M.C. Butner, P.O. Box 1600, Butner, NC 27509-1600
November 23, Iowa: Denver Woman Charged With Threatening the Life of the President
A Denver, Colorado, woman is being held without bail in Linn County, Iowa, on a two-count indictment charging that she twice threatened to kill president Bush in May. Catherine M. Guertin, 24, is pleading not guilty on both charges. The indictment alleges that Guertin made the threats against Bush on May 3 and May 16.
One count charges that she threatened Bush by saying “I want him gone” and “If I ever have a gun, I will shoot him between the eyes.” The second count claims that on May 16, Guertin wrote statements threatening the president.
Late November: Eco-Prisoner William Cottrell Named A POLICE INFORMANT!!
“Under the spreading chestnut tree, I sold you and you sold me …” – 1984
It is with deep regret that we have to announce that William “Billy” Cottrell testified against others at his trial. In two hours of testimony, Cottrell claimed that he had been present at an Earth Liberation Front action, admitting to painting ELF slogans and to causing criminal damage. However, he then went on to say that he did not start any of the fires and named two people, Tyler Johnson and Michie Oe, he claims were responsible for setting fire to sport utility vehicles in Monrovia and West Covina in August 2003. The FBI has now named Tyler and Michie as “fugitive co-conspirators”. The prosecution pointed to several mistakes Cottrell allegedly made in carrying out the crime, including leaving his DNA at the scene, telling friends about the incident, and sending the anonymous e-mails to the Los Angeles Times, which eventually were traced back to him and led to his arrest.
Some Background On The Summer of 2003:
On August 22, 2003, the ELF hit four SUV dealerships and damaged a small number of privately owned vehicles. In all, the ELF damaged and burnt approximately 125 vehicles and caused over $2,500,000 damage.
The police arrested a local vegan “peace activist” named Josh Connole. The only evidence against Josh was he looked similar to a suspect caught on CCTV security footage. There was no other evidence and whilst Josh was being held in custody, someone claiming to be involved with the ELF, emailed a local media outlet saying the police had the wrong person. Police finally recognized they had no evidence against Josh and released him. He subsequently sued the police for $20,000.
The hunt for the person who sent e-mails (allegedly written on behalf of the ELF) to the media, led the FBI to the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), where they claim to have identified the computer which was used. From that computer’s records the FBI claimed to have identified William Cottrell, a Ph.D. student and an outspoken critic of SUVs, as their suspect.
Cottrell was arrested and remanded into custody, without bail, in March 2004. During the course of his trial in October, he ratted on his friends and comrades and, in our opinion, should no longer be supported. A full report on Cottrell’s trial appears in the January 2005 issue of “Spirit of Freedom”. The “Free Billy Support Network” has been dissolved because of Cottrell’s decision to implicate others.
December 1, Paris, France: Man Sentenced for Shooting At Chirac
A French court convicted a man who tried to shoot French President Jacques Chirac during a national Bastille Day parade in 2002 and sentenced him to ten years in prison. Maxime Brunerie, 27, could have easily received a life sentence for the July 14, 2002, assassination attempt, in which he pulled a rifle out of a guitar case and fired a shot before being subdued. However, his lawyers successfully argued that he was in a “borderline” mental state at the time of the attack.
December 2, Arizona: Yaqui Warrior Rod Coronado Indicted on Federal Charges
Federal prosecutors indicted Chuk’shon Earth First! activist Rod Coronado on conspiracy charges related to the local environmental group’s
interference with the hunt for mountain lions in Sabino Canyon last March. The indictment came just seven days before Coronado was to stand trial for three lesser misdemeanor charges filed after his arrest in Sabino Canyon on March 26. The new charge, “Conspiracy to Impede or Injure an Officer” carries a maximum penalty of six years in prison.
Last March (2004) when Arizona Game & Fish Department (AZGFD) and U.S. Forest Service officials attempted to remove four to five mountain lions from Sabino Canyon, Coronado, with Chuk’shon Earth First!, organized a campaign of interference that included nonviolent tactics such as the spreading of false lion urine scent to lead AZGFD hunting hounds away from the real lions. Coronado and a reporter from Esquire magazine were originally charged with violating a federal closure and disabling a steel-cable snare set by AZGFD to capture a lion.
“Its just an Orwellian attempt to intimidate me for criticizing and drawing attention to AZGFD policies that cater to urban sprawl and trophy hunters. If AZGFD continues controversial programs such as lion eradication, trophy desert bighorn sheep and sandhill crane hunting, CEF! will continue to document and expose those abuses of public lands and wildlife,” Coronado said after he learned of the new charges.
Rod is a long-time friend and ally of the Green Anarchy collective, and a passionately committed earth warrior who already served multiple years in Federal Prison for actions taken in defense of our animal relations and the web of life. We STRONGLY encourage our readers to offer financial aid, legal assistance and moral support to Rod in his hour of need.
Contact: Rod Coronado 520.623.9184
Matthew “Rampage” Lamont Released; Conviction Overturned
After serving 2 and a half years for allegedly planning to attack an Aryan Nation celebration of Adolf Hitler’s birthday, Matt Lamont was released from prison this fall. Surprisingly, only months after his release, a state appeals court in Orange County reversed the conviction of the Long Beach, CA anarchist. The 4th District Court of Appeal found that an Orange County trial court should have allowed Lamont to challenge the search of the car in which he was a passenger during the arrest. After the initial trial court ruled that Lamont could not challenge the evidence found in the search, he pleaded no contest in April 2003 to charges that included possessing a destructive device. He was then sentenced to three years in prison. Lamont’s lawyer said the attorney general’s office is likely to appeal to the state Supreme Court, because of conflicting rulings on this legal question and a high degree of interest in the issue.
January 6th: Craig Marshall (aka “Critter”) Released from Prison!
After serving 4 and a half years for the 2000 arson of SUV’s at a Eugene dealership, Critter (co-defendant with Jeff “Free” Luers) has been released from prison. He will be on parole for 3 years.
Critter had this to say:
“I want to thank everyone who has shown me support whether through letters or through attacking civilization. I’m not about to roll over and lick my nuts now that the state has got me by the balls. Sure, they could lock me up again if they catch me slipping, but they could do that to anyone who’s not sitting on their asses and letting this world get more fucked up by the morons who care more for their comfort and their wallets. We all need to be striking back, the time for fear is over. Go out and get shit done, but be smart and keep your mouth shut and you’ll probably get away with it. Free and I got unlucky, but the greater majority of the time the way you get caught is because someone snitched so keep your mouth shut and let’s get busy tonight.”
The Green Anarchy Collective wishes him much luck, and encourage people to support him in this transitional period. While Critter would rather see people’s time, energy, and money spent on resistance, if you wanted to contribute to his post-release fund, you can send well-concealed cash or checks/money orders made out to “Craig Marshall”.
Contact Critter: c/o Green Anarchy at:
PO Box 11331, Eugene, OR 97440,
or email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
(although he doesn’t check his email all too often)
National Anarchism: Trojan Horse for White Nationalism
by Nick Griffin
Recently a man who hung out in Eugene around green anarchists started promoting the idea of National Anarchism. A few years ago he had written a well-known essay from a green anarchist perspective, and he was a familiar face to many. His new belief system advocated that people of different ethnic backgrounds should live in different villages, and he later wrote a letter to Green Anarchy in an attempt to propagate his views about supposedly “natural” hierarchies. [GA Note: We were going to print his letter, but it is almost as long as this article, and we did not want to provide a forum for his ideas on “natural hierarchies” and “National Anarchism”. If people are interested in the letter, and who wrote it, you can contact us.] Fortunately his attempt to spread this racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic (so-called) “anarchism” were quickly unveiled. But what is National Anarchism? How did it arise, and what does it stand for, and why are these racist Right-wingers attempting to recruit anarchists?
Radical politics of all kinds took a new turn after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and this accelerated after the demonstrations against the WTO in Seattle in 1999. Decentralized and networked political forms started becoming the predominant types of resistance. In the last few years, we have seen anarchism replace marxism as the dominant radical movement in the U.S., but changes have also occurred elsewhere. Parts of the white power movement started advocating “leaderless resistance” as early as the 1980s; the Islamic jihadists Al Qaeda are a state-less, transnational entity; and even marxist groups like Left Turn have rejected the tight “vanguard party” model in favor of a more network-based structure.
But anarchism itself has also became a magnet for the racist radical right, and a tiny fringe group in the UK called the National Revolutionary Faction has re-christened itself as National Anarchists. They are attempting to use anarchist symbolism and rhetoric to recruit both “White Nationalists” (WN, a catch-all term for the various kinds of white racists) as well as anarchists – especially green anarchists – to their strange belief system. They advocate a decentralized economic and political system which features ethnically-pure villages which are defined by racial separatism, anti-semitism and homophobia.
Most National Anarchists (NA) tend to be long-time participants in the Nazi or other racist movements (ie Klan, Christian Identity) who are looking for a new “hook” to use to break-out of the ghettoized White Nationalist scene. Many are former skinheads who retain their interests in racist Oi!, metal and goth bands, European football (soccer), and sci-fi. They also tend to be interested in occult or pagan religions, although the proprietor of the sole NA-affiliated website in the U.S. is a Christian. Sometimes they are interested in the ecology movement or animal rights, although this seems mostly to be lip service to attract anarchists to their ideas. Their real interests are clearly racism against non-white people and a hatred of Jews.
Unfortunately, their bait has seemed to hook a few from the anarchist scene, mostly mystical anarchists, individualists, and green anarchists – including the aforementioned Eugene hanger-on. There has always been a small Left-Right crossover point, especially where the politics involve a mixture of anti-capitalism, mysticism, environmentalism and questions of technology. (Although skewed in its conclusions, Ecofascism: Lessons from the German Experience by Janet Biehl and Peter Staudenmaier offers a detailed historical account of this, and many of the racists have read this and taken it as a guide.)
In Germany, there is also a similar phenomena afoot. There is a wave of fascist groups that are attempting to cross-recruit by sporting Che t-shirts and Palestinian scarves, even marching in Black Blocs! Sometimes calling themselves Autonomous Nationalists, they – just like the National Anarchists – are attempting to pull people from anarchist and left movements into the white racist milieu.
NA guru Troy Southgate claims that NA is a “Third Way” between Capitalism and Communism, and has nothing to do with “fascism.” But he
can only do this by falsifying history; for it is fascism that has always been called the Third Way. Southgate attempts to mobilize various philosophies in defense of his project, but he can only do it by distorting their messages. For example, in an essay on National Anarchist history, Southgate cites Gautama (the first Buddha) in support of his own work – but the Buddha was an opponent of the racist caste system. Southgate invokes Hakim Bey, a queer man who would be horrified at this usage of his ideas. Southgate also misattributes Ficthe’s trinitarian concept to Hegel, whose dialectic is not triadic at all, but rather involves a more complicated process of double negations (the negation of the object and then the negation of the negation). Southgate’s attempts at constructing a NA lineage are bullshit to anyone who has read their references.
But besides the details, Southgate’s general claims are historical revisions and obfuscations which only serve to cover up NA’s function as an attempt to recruit people to the same sour old racist right under a new label. He distances NA from “fascism,” and the Autonomous Nationalists have even been known to call themselves “anti-fascists” by attempting to redefine Socialists like the PDS (a German left-wing party) as “fascists.” Nonetheless, Southgate quite openly proclaims NA’s intellectual forefathers to be the “left-wing” of the original German Nazi party. Under the leadership of Otto Strasser, these “left-wing fascists” advocated a racist, anti-semitic, ecological, anti-capitalism before being thrown out of the party by Hitler in 1930, several years before his rise to power. A long discussion on the Stormfront site (a kind of bizzaro-world Infoshop.org for racists) will confirm that racist “White Nationalists” themselves look to NA to recruit anarchists and others to their cause, much the same way that Marxist-Leninists utilize the strategy of front groups. Here is an excerpt from that page, in a post by Pan Zagloba:
How can National Anarchism recruit people to our cause?
It speaks to these kids [anarchists] in a language they understand, which draws them closer to our side, and makes them more open to our ideas.
It plays upon their distrust of Marxism, Zionism, and ZOG [the “ZionistOccupied Government]. It demonstrates to them something that they probably don’t realize now – that many WN values are often the same as theirs. These include concern for the environment, distrust of globalization and the NWO, and a desire to preserve the rights of indigenous peoples (in our case, Europeans).
Websites and other media that support National Anarchism expose them to quotes from prominent Anarchist thinkers which actually support WN, such as Bakunin’s and Bookchin’s writings on nationalism.
It can show them that the mainstream Left’s version of “diversity” doesn’t leave room for Whites. This can be very instrumental, as a large portion of the Anarchist movement is made up of disaffected White youth.
Once they become more interested in National Anarchism, they are more open to the influence of other nationalist and WN ideas, up to and including National Socialism.
How can we be sure this is the case?
Well, this is purely anecdotal, but: It worked on me, and I have the feeling that I’m not the only one here on Stormfront who may have been attracted to WN due to exposure to National Anarchist ideas.
NA itself has a complicated history. Its origins are in a ‘70s UK racist right-wing party called the National Front, who are probably best known to U.S. anarchists as the object of hatred in many ’77 punk songs. The group adopted a “Third Positionist” stance in the ‘80s, attempting to meld elements of communist and fascist political systems. They embraced racial separatism (as opposed to White Supremacy, which often advocates racial genocide) and started to work with black and Asian racial nationalist groups to promote their common ends of ethnic separatism. In the early ‘90s these politics were later copied by Florida Klan leader (and former SDS member) John Baumgardner, which led to the spectacle of joint Klan and Black nationalist demonstrations, held in conjunction with Chief Osiris Akkebala’s Pan-African Internationalist Movement (PAIN).
Originally a two-tone Ska skin, Southgate ‘crossed-over’ into the white power Oi! scene and became a teenage National Front organizer. He later navigated several splits in the party-turned-movement, first entering the International Third Position (who tried to recruit the far-right Roman Catholics of the Society of St. Pious X), and then the English Nationalist Movement (ENM). In 1998 the National Revolutionary Faction came out of the ENM, and then in turn morphed into the National Anarchist movement in 2003. NA is friendly with groups such as the National Bolsheviks in Russia, who mix their Stalinism with German fascism, and NA cites influences as diverse as occult philosopher Julius Evola, Libyan leader Colonel Qathafi and former UK Green Anarchist editor Richard Hunt. Hunt quit the magazine to form the eco-fascist Alternative Green group, which Southgate says NRF was “heavily influenced by” and which helped prompt their transition to so-called “anarchism.”
NAs also frequently cite anarchist founders Proudhon and Bakunin as influences, supposedly for their advocacy of an economically decentralized society. Actually, they are more interested in their anti-semitism, an unfortunate attribute that both thinkers shared but which all anarchists since have repudiated. If this wasn’t the case, why are NAs reluctant to mention other decentralists such as Alexander Berkman or Emma Goldman? The answer is because of their clear opposition to nationalism, and their progressive politics and Jewish backgrounds. Jews were always a vital part of the European anarchist movement, and no amount of NA historical revisionism can change this.
Southgate sometimes makes feeble attempts to avoid answering if NA is anti-semitic, lest its true nature as a White Nationalist front group be revealed and potential recruits be put off. However, in a Stormfront discussion, the man who posts as “Faith & Folk” calls for fellow-travelling National Bolsheviks to be “more folk centered and dare I say anti-Zionist and Judaic.” In a 2001 interview (www.rosenoire.org/interviews/southgate.php), after a rant about “International Zionism” and the banking industry, Southgate is asked point-blank if he is an anti-semite. He responds by reciting a bizarre story about Israeli Jews actually being not Jewish but being members of another ethnic group, while at no point repudiating anti-semitism. In the same interview he says that he is not a fascist “because the main tenets of this creed – bureaucracy, centralisation, the police state, the cult of personality, the mass movement etc. – are contrary to our objectives.” Naturally, the Nazi murder of 6 million Jews represents no problem to Southgate. Only organizational issues separate him from the Hitler cultists.
In the end, since there is so little that is anarchist in National Anarchism, they will probably have limited success in recruiting anarchists. Anarchists seek the abolition of all hierarchies on the basis of our common humanity – not a separatism based on ethnic, religious or sexual identity. In any event, most NAs seem obsessed with watching and deprecating the more orthodox racist factions, as if they were somehow not just as much a part of the white power circus. But if people appear in your scene sporting the National Anarchist symbol (a purple star with an NA in the middle), or attempt to promote the setting up of separate ethnic villages, know that these people are not talking about a new kind of anarchism, but just a very old and obscure style of fascism. If you encounter these people, don’t be fooled by the surface similarities; treat them as if they were Klan members or Nazis. The only difference is that this time, instead of pointy hats and braces, their racist ideas come dressed in a hoodie and patches.
Websites of Interest:
National Anarchist sites in English:
www.national-anarchist.org (main NA site of Troy Southgate) www.folkandfaith.com
‘Stormfront’ discussions about National Anarchism:
Ecofascism – Lessons from the German Experience:
see the article “Nazis Go Pop” at http://www.raggacore.com/
Photos of racist “black bloc”:
Just in case you forgot. These are the OPINIONS of various Green Anarchy Collective members (or others when noted) and do not necessarily reflect the OPINIONS of the entire collective, all green anarchists, or anyone else for that matter (why we continually need to point this out is beyond us). If you don’t want to know what some people think, you can skip the “review” section…well, you might as well put down this entire magazine. We never claimed (nor do we think that it is even possible or desirable) to be unbiased.
Anarchism: What It Is & What It Isn’t by Chaz Bufe
Yet another impoverished pamphlet from See Sharp Press has reached our dirty doorstep (to be honest, they have managed to produce a couple of decent titles, such as The Revolutionary Pleasure of Thinking for Yourself and The Irrational in Politics, but these are certainly the exceptions). This newest release is one in a long line of “current” anarchosyndicalist rantings, including Anarchism vs. Primitivism (an incoherent and fraudulent caricature of primitivism from a pro-civilization technophilic organizationalist) and The Inefficiency of Capitalism (which argues that capitalism’s main flaw is its inefficiency, and that a systematic anarchoworkerist program is the blueprint to liberation) both by Brian Oliver Sheppard (see Reviews in issue #13). This time, it is Chaz Bufe’s definitive statement: Anarchism: What It Is & What It Isn’t. Thanks for clearing this up for us, Chaz. Remind us to come to you when we are making love, raising children, or understanding who we are as autonomous beings. It is always nice to have someone tell us the correct answers to all of life’s difficult questions, like what unrestrained freedom means for everyone (according to some leftist platform, scheme, or agenda).
You may remember Chaz from such vital and pertinent anarchist classics as Astrology: Fraud or Superstition and Alcoholics Anonymous: Cult or Cure. He is perhaps best known, however, for a preceding pamphlet of sanctimonious, closedminded, and shallow drivel with the self-important title, Listen, Anarchists! This new pamphlet, Anarchism: What It Is & What It Isn’t, seems to be the abbreviated and dumbed-down (if it is possible to get any dumber) re-write of that same leftist/absolutist position.
It is one thing to have solid convictions (which can also become limiting), but it is quite another to confine everyone else to them. I’m always a little cautious in presenting “what anarchy is” for lack of interest in imposing my personal agenda. I try to limit my perspective to an open presentation of my analysis, questions I wish to raise, personal dreams and desires, and a critique on a tactical and strategic level; avoiding morality, ideology, and absolutes. This, I guess, brings us back to the “anarchy vs. anarchism” discussion: anarchy as a formless, organic, subjective, and non-ideological process, while anarchism (unfortunately) has become a rigid, programmatic methodology based on historical figures. Anarchy is open, and therefore rejects definition, but we can say a few things it is not (based on the linguistic definition), such as hierarchy, domination, control, statism, etc; basically, it is the rejection of power. Chaz, however, rather than expressing his differences as one anarchist with other anarchists (dialogue of critique), goes quite a bit further in denouncing all those he disagrees with as “not anarchist”.
As some sort of self-appointed public relations representative for the “actual anarchists”, Bufe’s agenda is to straighten out the masses: “There are many popular misconceptions about anarchism, and because of them a great many people dismiss anarchism and anarchists out of hand.” Also, attempting to “school” the rest of us, he adds: “Worse, some who call themselves ‘anarchists’ don’t even know the meaning of the term. These people fall, in general, into two classes. The first…consist of those who are attracted to the lies in the mass media. By and large, these people are simply looking for a glamorous label for selfish, antisocial behavior…The second class consists of those who equate anarchism with a pet ideology having essentially nothing to do with anarchism. In modern times, the most prominent of these beliefs have been primitivism and amoral egoism…[these positions] attract a fair number of what [Luigi] Fabbri calls ‘empty headed and frivolous types,’ and occasionally outright sociopaths, whose words and actions tend to further discredit anarchism.” While there’s a lot there to respond to, I’ll let you sift through the self-righteous and moralistic dogma yourself, otherwise I may be accused of getting “defensive”.
Chaz goes on to define his biggest pet peeves as to “What Anarchism Isn’t”. Beginning with, of course, “Anarchism is not terrorism”, by which he means that “violence” is generally ineffective and in conflict with anarchism, and in the rare cases that it is deemed necessary must either be approved by the correct organization or accepted by some vague notion of the masses. Any individualistic or autonomous cells taking action are therefore denounced as vanguardist, arrogant, and unjustifiable, as well as somehow “responsible” for the (re)actions taken by the state (repression).
Probably Chaz’s most heartfelt statement, the all-too-common attack by anarcho-leftists, is that “Anarchism is not primitivism” (or more accurately, “primitivism is not anarchism”). Without missing a beat or stepping outside of his faith, he states: “In recent decades, groups of quasi-religious mystics have begun equating the primitivism they advocate (rejection of science, rationality, and technology – often lumped together under a blanket term “technology”) with anarchism. In reality, the two have nothing to do with each other, as we’ll see when we consider what anarchism actually is – a set of philosophical/ethical precepts and organizational principles designed to maximize human freedom.” I want to see the equation! You seem well-schooled, show us your work.
And for those with a mind to think for themselves and reject the fetishization of orderly masses, in favor of organic spontaneity and unrestricted autonomy, listen up; “Anarchism is not chaos; Anarchism is not the rejection of organization” As Bufe so convincingly explains, “Over and over in the writings of Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Rocker, Ward, Bookchin, et al., one finds not a rejection of organization, but rather a preoccupation with it – a preoccupation with how society should be organized.” So, anarchists have traded in a life of unfettered experience to become master planners. He left out that they’d tolerate all of us who don’t quite fit in, until we start to complain. (Just a funny side note: when you do a spellcheck on Chaz on my computer, the word Chaos comes up first. Maybe he’s not really an anarchist after all! This doesn’t really mean anything significant, but hopefully it pisses Bufe off just a little. That’s right, a cheap shot…he had it coming).
In case you thought that you are your own authority, that there is any legitimacy to the idea that you should have ultimate control over your own life, that subjectivity could be anarchist, or that absolute truth and universal right and wrong are for the domesticated, think again; “Anarchism is not amoral egotism” (by which he generally means “post-left anarchism”). And now, Chaz’s non-judgmental clarification about those thinking for themselves: “As does any avant-garde social movement, anarchism attracts more than its share of flakes, parasites, and outright sociopaths, persons looking for the glamorous label to cover their often pathological selfishness, their disregard for the rights and dignity of others, and their pathetic desire to be the center of attention.” While some of this may be true on some level, Bufe extends this to anyone unwilling to fall in line or get with the program (as dictated by our anarchist forefathers…let’s leave Emma out of this, please).
Chaz then proceeds to declare, with his usual arrogance, “What Anarchism Is”. No need to even get into this in detail, it’s nothing terribly exciting, just the same old anarcho-syndicalist line (“worker-controlled unions coordinating the entire economy”) and an idealized account of the Spanish Revolution. There are whiney complaints about not having the same college opportunities or equal access to the media and medical care as rich people, and even some vague talk of freedom. But a noteworthy slip occurs when Chaz declares that “anarchists recognize that absolute freedom is an impossibility”. We do? You mean YOU do (the “actual anarchists” I guess he means).
While Buffe doesn’t explain this position in detail, it reminds me of an email I recently got from a similar mindset (one I’m sure Chaz would, or at least could, appreciate; one which shows the glaring contrast in our perspectives). It was from the International Anarchist Tribunal (email@example.com), another group who also apparently determine anarchist credentials: “Authoritarians notoriously mix up anarchy, anarchist, and anarchism with authoritarian tendencies: Chaos, disorder, lawlessness, criminality, riots, [etc]).” Going on to add: “Sufficient public service of policing is important. Man (I’m sure they mean everyone, really) is not like ants who cooperate socially, naturally and voluntarily without coercion/repression automatically by themselves. Thus, doing away with the existing rule or tendencies of authority may result in oligarchy, mob rule, and not anarchy, if not a firm horizontal social organization, ideally or practically is established with sufficient police corps to create security and libertarian law and order.” Do I hear accusations of “counter-revolutionary” in the background? But don’t worry friends: “The police corps shall of course be well educated in libertarian human rights and policing and be democratically regulated and controlled, and bully types, corrupt and other ‘brown’ [term for fascist], oligarchical elements should be expelled during the education process and thus stopped from participating in the police corps.”
So, now that y’all understand “Anarchism: What It Is & What It Isn’t”, go out there and…do what you’re told. Huh?
No Listed Price. See Sharp Press, PO Box
1731, Tucson, AZ 85702-1731
Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed #58/Fall-Winter 2004-05
It is with this issue of AJODA that we bid farewell to its long-time editor, Jason McQuinn. While he will still contribute to the magazine, and will most likely stay on as an editor of sorts, the project will move from Columbia, MO to the San Francisco Bay Area, and be produced by a collective made up of folks who have increasingly become a larger part of the past few issues. AJODA has been at the forefront of the Post-Left discussion for years, and an uncompromising journal of anarchist theory for almost a quarter of a century, and for much of this we have Jason to thank. Always controversial for asking the tough questions, his legacy will continue with a healthy infusion of fresh energy and ideas.
One area in which the magazine is sure to improve is in its physical presentation. While it will likely take a couple of issues to get the hang of it, the new collective plans on keeping some of the familiar aspects, while making its presentation more dynamic and interesting than it has been. This will probably mean more than the typical graphics from Richard Mock or James Koehnline, which have dominated their aesthetic landscape for far too long. I recently looked back over the last ten years of AJODA, and could hardly tell the difference from one issue to the next. This may just be a personal preference, but I enjoy a wide range of images, and firmly believe in the old cliché that a picture can tell a lot more than a thousand words; and the Bay Area is filled with artists from which the new collective can draw.
Another area I hope will improve is the review section. While there has always been a priority on in-depth book reviews, which has been helpful, reviews of periodicals have left a lot to be desired. They typically read as an uncritical listing of the table of contents, with ordering info and prices (often incorrect), and maybe one or two complaints about not numbering pages or tiny print size. AJODA seems to be providing free ad space for zines rather than an ongoing discussion of the anarchist underground press and the various elements that make up the “anarchist movement”. I think some big opportunities are missed here.
This latest issue (#58) begins with two predictable, but not disagreeable positions on the recent elections (criticizing some anarchists’ disgraceful push for participation in them), as well as some interesting news reports. However, the reason I never miss an issue of AJODA is the theoretical and historical content. This issue has lots of interesting articles, and I am already hearing the grumblings of discontent over what is being discussed. Most controversial, at least among leftists, is Lawrence Jarach’s “Preliminary Thesis for a Longer Discussion on Essentialism and the Problem of Identity Politics”. Despite the title being almost as long as the actual essay, this was a muchneeded explanation of some very basic concepts that have long plagued the left and anarchism, something Lawrence is superb at providing. His essay, broken into 11 brief points, describes the dynamic of essentialism; “the idea that there exists some detectable and objective core quality of particular groups of people that is inherent, eternal, and unalterable”; the counter-essentialist discussion of Identity Politics; and the problems and limitations of these perspectives. Whether pertaining to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, etc, essentialism and Identity Politics, while understandable reactions, are not the healthiest, most liberatory, or openly anarchist positions, and are in need of deconstruction and abandonment. Hopefully this essay will open up more discourse along these lines.
Another noteworthy piece is Jason McQuinn’s “Demoralizing Moralism”. While the title is shorter on this one, it takes almost half the article to get past the disclaimers and qualifiers, perhaps unavoidable when addressing such a complicated and loaded subject. Once it does get going, however, it has a lot to offer anarchists in regard to the rejection of “compulsory morality” or “a system of fetishized values that demand compliance”, in favor of a “nonfetishized system (or nonsystematic set) of values” or “finite ethics”. Again, this is the opening for vital discussions to occur for anarchists in relation to both action and the ideas which guide them.
Some interesting articles offering in-depth historical perspectives joined with contemporary situations were the lengthy “The Meaning of Tiananmen” by Burt Green and Wolfi Landstreicher’s “Autonomous Self-Organization and Anarchist Intervention”. I found Wolfi’s piece, while occasionally repetitive, very needed. It offers theoretical ideas linked with real examples on what an “anarchist intervention” in the struggle of the dispossessed (of which we are a part) against their conditions might look like, while maintaining our complete autonomy and understanding that “the basic unit of autonomous self-organization is the individual.” Challenging the purity of ideology and the specialization of activism, Wolfi prioritizes the social over the political, and warns against vanguardism and evangelizing, with the provocative thought that “we are not seeking followers or adherents, but accomplices in the crime of freedom.” Also of interest was Aragorn!’s column “Strategy & Anarchy”. This issue focused on “The Myth of Mass”, which offered much insight, but seemed to be over before it really got started. I look forward to the furthering of these ideas in future issues.
One article which I personally felt fell short (and a number of folks who were in attendance have agreed with me on this), was “Miscellany from the Black & Green Gathering”. This was a series of short vignettes attempting to share experiences at the Feral Visions Gathering in Oregon last summer. While the concept could have been an interesting attempt at providing varying personal perspectives, it, for the most part, repeated the same limited view: people were cliquish and ageist (although one of the authors hypocritically contradicts their own statement by saying that “the people who were most interesting (with a few rare exceptions) were the over-40 crew in the kitchen”); people were lazy and irresponsible; and the swimming was good. I think there was a hell of a lot more than that going on (see “A Look At the Feral Visions Gathering” in issue #18 or talk to people who went for more details). Sure, they can’t cover it all, but a more representative portion would have been nice, considering that there were over a dozen discussions, workshops, and presentations on everything from Nihilism and Insurrectionalism to skinning roadkill and identifying medicinal plants going on every day for a solid week, as well as lots of dedicated enthusiasm to making it all happen, and the immeasurable personal connections made. Believe me, these are not sour grapes. Criticism is vital concerning anything we do, but I would have preferred, say, Bob Black coming and writing a report trashing everything about the gathering. At least then people would have gotten some idea of what actually happened. Instead, what we are left with appears to be a small group of complainers trying to one-up the next on who can be the most critical, not the actual experiences they had (I can say this with some certainty, since I hung out with them all for a big part of the week). I had a hard time taking much of their “critique” seriously though, especially after one of them admitted that the last time that they went “camping” was the summer before their senior year in high school.
Another piece that I felt could have said a lot, was John Zerzan’s critique of the limits of Post-Leftism. I agree with John that there does seem to be some reluctance to question certain institutions specifically (technology, domestication, etc), as well as some hesitation to make stronger breaks with obvious leftists (although I do think specific elements of certain individuals’ ideas can still be valuable, I’m not quite as quick to brand someone with the scarlet letter “L” as John). But, I felt his piece was overstated (at one point he crudely equates Wolfi Landstreicher with the anarcho-liberal Chris Crass without explanation) and too definitive (hinting that the only way to be anti-civilization or truly postleft is to be a primitivist). While I know this mostly comes from years of frustration with the left, and an understandable impatience with people’s unwillingness to break from it, this discussion is vital, and cannot be undermined by a lack of clarity, sloppiness, or stiffness.
Ultimately, my opinion of AJODA is positive. I consider it to be one of the few worthwhile and critical anarchist projects out there. I have no problem considering them a sister project of GA, and I think the move to the west coast will only strengthen this connection. I have to say though, my biggest concern is that it remains too high above the ground, offering little in practical thoughts on how we (or they) might live anarchy and fight the power structure outside of the realm of ideas. It’s important to be uncompromisingly anarchist, but rarely giving much of an indication as to what they would actually like to see happen or their own passions and desires, can be somewhat frustrating, and also limiting in what it has to offer (not to mention minimizing anyone’s ability to pin them down on anything, therefore eluding specific criticisms). There often seems to be an overall lack of immediacy or even enthusiasm, and there seems to be a desire to view the world from a detached perspective, void of emotion and connection. Being pure means you touch nothing directly, and I’m not sure this is helpful. This being said, I feel that AJODA is a vital part of ongoing anarchist theoretical discourse. For me, every issue challenges and is well worth the read.
$4.95 U.S./$5.95 Canada.
C.A.L. POB 3448,
Berkeley, CA 94703,
Fire and Ice by Laurel Luddite and Skunkly Monkly
Fire and Ice (subtitled: Disturbing the Comfortable and Comforting the Disturbed While Tracking Our Wildest Dreams) is an extraordinarily potent new book put out by the underground publishers, Apeshit Press. I really dug the style and personal approach of their stream-of-consciousness writing, often missing in the either over-simplistic rhetorical or hyper-intellectual writings of the anarchist milieu. This emotionally poignant and extremely lucid book is the joint effort of two damaged/socialized souls struggling/dreaming for moments of health and sanity as they flee the cesspool of civilization. With a narrative of two distinct voices, interwoven with a collective voice, Laurel and Skunkly offer their unique anti-civilization perspectives with stories of trauma and loss, tales of perseverance and journey, and their deeply personal insights. I wanted to pull an excerpt from the text itself, but I book-marked almost half the book, so you’ll have to read it yourself.
To be honest, it did bug me at first that the authors seemed fairly defeatist in terms of resistance. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty nihilistic myself, and have no simplistic delusions of a “Revolution” or think that a handful of primitivists will bring down civilization, but at times, for me, the book dwells a little too much in an almost escapist tone (which, I certainly understand and have no judgement of in any way). But hey, who wouldn’t want to get the fuck out of here asap? For me though, part of my rewilding praxis, part of my recovery, part of my reason for continuing, is resistance, even if this appears, for some, (in some sort of logical or linear way) to be pointless. But, as I read on, I felt their frustrations and cynicism blur and meld into a more positive, yet sober, transformation of self-empowerment, healing, and released rage.
Laurel and Skunkly are dealing with probably the most important aspect of dismantling the logic of civilization, the psychological. Without looking at how fucked up civilization makes us all, and exploring ways of achieving some inkling of recovery, however minor that may be…what is the point? Then we’re all fucked. Fire and Ice reminds me of a mix of the tragic and curious personal tone of Derrick Jensen, the earthly poetic analysis of Susan Griffin, the deep desire for recovery of Chellis Glendinning, and the more playful dreaming and cleverly mischievous aspects of CrimethInc, but certainly distinct in their own voices and perceptiveness. They do all of this in clear and articulate, yet provocative and exciting, language. Fire and Ice is highly recommended. Great book!
Contact authors at: www.apeshitpress.org
Now available from the Green Anarchy Distro for $10
I ♥ Huckabees written/directed by David O. Russell
(co-written with Jeff Baena)
Are you looking for a little break from endless days of constructing the perfect rhetoric to “bring on the ruckus”? Are your eyes sore from too many late nights “engaged” in the insular theoretical debates on internet discussion boards? Are you sick of the eternal ass-kissing of depthless coalition building? Are you tired, wet, and hungry after weeks up in a tree? Are you exhausted and frustrated in your perpetual search for some sort of meaning in all of this? If you answered yes to any of these questions, than a re-assessment of your life’s priorities may be in order. But, if you don’t have that much time and energy right now, and just want a short intermission from the insanity of your existence (and a visit to a parody of other people’s problems), you might consider the little treat of I ♥ Huckabees, a new self-described “existential comedy” (due out on video soon).
I ♥ Huckabees is a cleverly confusing film which mocks all singular and ideological answers to “the meaning of life” or “way of being”, while exposing the American culture’s bankruptcy and susceptibility towards “hucksterism”, propaganda, stupidity, and ridiculousness. The film primarily revolves around Albert (Jason Schwartzman), a struggling environmentalist/poet whose most recent campaign to save a piece of land has been reduced to protecting a single rock (to which he writes a poem with the line: “You rock, rock”), leaving him wondering, “Is it hopeless? Can you change things?” His directionless yet idealistic search for meaning leads him to seek out the help of Vivian and Bernard (Lily Tomlin and Dustin Hoffman), a wife-and-husband team of existential detectives, who explain to Albert that individual details of his existence are irrelevant once you understand that “everything is connected”. As Albert “looks into his void”, his fragile and neurotic life begins to crumble around him, as his leadership position in a local branch of the ‘Open Spaces’ coalition is usurped by smooth-talking marketing executive, Brad Stand (Jude Law), from Huckabees, a giant retail chain. Brad has joined the group to subvert the environmentalist’s effort and guarantee his company’s ability to construct a new megastore on a beloved marshland.
Vivian and Bernard’s clients eventually include: Brad; Tommy (Mark Wahlberg), a depressed fireman traumatized by September 11, whose newfound intellectual and moral restlessness has cost him his family, and is so dedicated to his cause (a single-issue campaign against petroleum) that he rides his bike to fires; and Dawn “The Huckabees Girl” (Naomi Watts), whose obsession to be the perfect spokesperson, model, and wife (of Brad), eventually drives her to reject Huckabees and into Tommy’s arms. Vivian and Bernard’s efforts seem to be destroying all of their clients’ lives, and Albert and Tommy begin to be influenced by the teachings of the existentialists’ nihilistic arch-enemy (and former student), Caterine Vauban (Isabelle Huppert), a French philosopher who preaches that we are all isolated and alone, and that the world is dominated by “cruelty, misery and meaninglessness,” caught between pure being and the human drama of desire and suffering.
The plot is all over the place and will totally frustrate those who attempt to find something too specific in the narrative (somewhat of the point), and the characters are a bit over the top, as it often verges on slap-stick and inconceivable crisis on top of crisis. But, I ♥ Huckabees is a witty response to the “easy answer” prescriptions and delusional New-Aged escapism of the liberals and progressives who ate up the film “What the Bleep Do We Know” (see “Reviews” in issue #17).
While I ♥ Huckabees isn’t perfect by any means, very disjointed and incoherent at times (although probably somewhat intentionally), and often a bit corny, it nevertheless cleverly pokes fun at the “I want to understand the meaning of life right now (and straighten out all my problems) by reading the right book, taking the right pill, or talking to the right specialist/guru” approach that is all too common in our absurd postmodern MTV reality. If you need a hiatus from “saving the world” or “figuring it all out”, this film is definitely worth a watch.
The Secret World of Duvbo by CrimethInc. Runaway International
This delightful little slumber time minibook put out by CrimethInc is subtitled, “a magical story about a perfectly ordinary world”. The Secret World of Duvbo, “composed long ago, in the darkness of a Swedish winter,” is a refreshing reminder of the heartening and whimsical nature of earlier CrimethInc, like Days of War, Nights of Love, before they started heading down the more activist-oriented road with propaganda like Don’t Just Vote, Get Active (see “Reviews” in issue #18). It is an innocent tale of a curious boy who inadvertently discovers a reoccurring clandestine nocturnal celebration in the midst of a monotonous and regimented average town. In this tale of the sorrow of repressed desires, we are reminded that our passions can eventually find a release. Reminiscent of the simple, playful, and curious writings of Italo Calvino (Marcovaldo, Invisible Cities, and If on a winter’s night a traveler), we discover that our wildest dreams can only be realized if we, despite the uncertainty, fully embrace them.
Obtained for a song from: CrimethInc.
Editions Unadulterated, PO Box 1963,
Never-Never Land. www.crimethinc.com
Arson – first communique: winter 2004
Arson is a new mag from Australia that leaves little doubt it means what it says. The unvarnished passion of this fat anti-civilization booklet just leaps off every page. Yeah, this zine rings true and comes out swingin’!
Its authors surge with a desire to torch up this oppressive and imprisoning totality. Analysis, poetry, tactical advice, first-person accounts, indigenous struggles, tales of heart-ache… Arson really delivers.
One of its stand-out strengths is a section on patriarchy and sexism, which brings forth practical as well as theoretical considerations. Among many other things, this part helps us see how civilization and patriarchy are very possibly synonymous.
Other primo features are the powerful “Against Civilization…and its consequences” and an anti-cell phone piece which shows the generally hidden costs of modern technology. These tie together so very much in a page or two: compelling and right on target. If you want to be emotionally moved as well as mentally stimulated, Arson is a winner.
No price. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Radical Anthropology 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Anarchy and Human Nature
This is a nifty 7-pager that responds to 15 basic questions or stereotypical statements about the anarcho-primitivist outlook. It also contains a brief glossary of terms (e.g. foragers, civilization) and a list of useful books and websites.
I think that this kind of format is both accessible and dynamic, also under-utilized in our milieu. Radical Anthropology 101 is a handy and very basic introduction, very nicely produced and quite concise. “10,000 Years Ago We Were All Anarchists” proclaims the cover, and that sums up a lot. This little booklet, handling topics like “human nature,” scarcity, and violence, is the perfect starting point for beginners curious about an important sphere of anti-civilization exploration.
Available from: Wild Resistance and the Crimethinc. Apocalypse Faction
www.WildResistance.org or email@example.com
Destroy What Destroys You: An Anarchist Series of Essays and Poems
This 36-page booklet will not win many points for looks or style; the muddled cover “art” pretty much escapes me completely, for example. But Heretic and High Priest Wombat have come up with a real contribution here, nonetheless. Rage and analysis (and a few poems) keep company in essays about work, nihilism, feminism, class society and more. The personal is also present, as in “This Medicated Hell,” a diatribe about the pharmaceutical straitjacket that doesn’t leave out the writer’s own painful experience. Yeah, political commentary and fire—plus a healthy dose of humor. Here’s their Xmas card:
I smile because I am told to
I destroy this false happiness
Give a season’s greetings with a hand grenade
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit
Solidarity South Pacific Newsletter, Number 2, Spring 2004
“For me, democracy, autocracy, and dictatorship are all the same. All are used to control and manipulate people. All are to exploit. They’re all tools of the “nation-state” that does not exist in tribal communities. Therefore promoting democracy is not the solution for tribal communities.”
Lani Tribesman, Just Leave Us Alone!
A stated aim of Solidarity South Pacific (SSP) is “to support the West Papuan tribal resistance, Earth First! and indigenous people in the Philippines and bring attention to the revolution in Bougainvillea.” This newsletter describes some of that support: direct actions in the U.K. and elsewhere, fundraising for “medicine, books, funding and friendship”, and producing materials “to bring the voices of rebels in the South Pacific unmediated”. This bulletin is one of those publications.
The quote above opens this 8-page newsletter; the second from the U.K. based Solidarity South Pacific. The first was published in Do or Die #10. Newsletters are generally most useful when they are sufficiently self-contained to give new readers a clear sense of the issue the writers/editors are focusing on, along with sufficient inspiration and sourcing to encourage the reader to explore the subject more thoroughly on their own. This newsletter does a fair job at the first and quite a good job with the second.
The newsletter contains a number of articles describing some of the more recent activities by the region’s indigenous resistors to Civilization. For example, Indonesians are required to vote, a law also effecting Papuans. Mass abstentions and voting blockades were planned for the Spring 2004 elections. This is significant as in 1977, the Papuans were attacked by the state for refusing to vote. Thousands were reportedly massacred or starved in that earlier refusal to participate in selecting their own oppressor/killers. I am inspired to follow up on this issue, having recently witnessed the pro-voting bloc (that did not require State threats) within American anarchist circles.
A second interesting article was related to the banana plantations on Mindanao. Most people in the consumer world are clueless about the impact of our eating habits – usually choosing foods not from our own bioregion and frequently buying foods from remote areas of the world. This article points out the devastation the Southern Philippine lands and people are undergoing for a new treat desired by the Japanese – high-altitude bananas. Tribes have been uprooted, forced to work on plantations, and the land they used for subsistence farming taken for the banana and pineapple monocrops.
One page is devoted to ideas of “Things You Can Do!” to support the resistance. It also includes a list of projects SSA is looking for cash support for. It was useful and low-key, but direct. Financing projects that resist the onslaught of Civilization is a daunting challenge and an effort to assist folks who do not want to become Civilized is particularly difficult.
One of the most powerful essays I have ever read was included in this newsletter – “When The Nature Speaks”. Written by a Papuan tribesman in response to a recent earthquake it gives depth to what Civilized green anarchists and primitivists are only able to give hints of, as yet – that we are of Nature and Nature speaks a language that most humans no longer understand. Indeed, most humans do not accept such a non-scientific, irrational possibility.
Prisoner information, direct and non-direct actions give a sense of some of the activities being conducted to either effect change in or to bring attention to some of the few remaining wild areas under attack in the South Pacific.
An addition I could have used was a map of the area along with a brief history of the attacks that led to the current situation. The editors do include a useful “Who’s Who?” page describing some of the organized groups involved. They also offer an important cautionary note about the nature of these groups and their affiliations. As part of this warning we are told they offer their solidarity for the “more insurgent and libertarian” and that they come to “their conclusions through a combination of ecoanarchist analysis, advice from trusted friends in the region… and direct experience…”
One final note of interest was an editorial regarding a recent split they have had with Friends of People Close to Nature, a German NGO who has purchased parcels of land for the tribal people to live on and who support many indigenous causes of resistance to Civilization. They mention certain restrictions being enforced on the Agta people of the Philippines who are permitted to live on FPCN lands as one cause of their discord (and withdrawal of support). As in many anarchist writings, it is difficult to determine if splits being played out on the pages of magazines and web forums are due to political/philosophic differences or personal vendettas. Independent research on this particular issue was not elucidating and I look forward to some clarification. Overall, it is a worthwhile read and other publications by this group were equally interesting and provocative.
You cannot kill us, we are already dead: Algeria’s Ongoing Popular Uprising (2004)
“What is going on in Algeria?”
Timelines, chronologies, a glossary, mainstream news reports, essays, communiqués, and one anarchist analysis make up this collection meant to tackle the editor(s)’ opening question. The title of the publication repeats the cries of young rioters fighting police and gendarmerie forces following the murder of teenager Massinissa Guermah by police while he was in custody (no mention is made as to the conditions that brought him into the cop shop where he was ‘accidentally’ killed by machine gun fire). Demonstrations, riots, general strikes, blockades, election boycotts, and battles with security forces followed in the ‘Black Spring’ of 2001 and continue today. That this incident renewed and invigorated the anger amongst the minority Berber population is a clear theme repeated throughout all the writings. Most of the writers, hailing from Europe, the United States, and Algeria also insist that this is a self-organized, leaderless, nonhierarchical ‘popular uprising’.
The ‘reader’ opens with an uninspiring BBC news report about the 2002 election boycott. Additional writings follow including a short letter from an exiled Algerian psychoanalyst/novelist, several essays from the West and the Middle East, a letter of solidarity from Italy, and one analysis and call to solidarity by an anarchist.
A glossary section contains Abbreviations – listing and describing the numerous organizations and groups involved in the insurrection – and a section of Key Terms that are found throughout the issue. This is a great way to open a publication, laying down a foundation about the groups involved, their focus, and an explanation of the language used throughout the publication.
A Timeline sketches a history starting in the year 670 with the Arab conquest of North Africa and takes readers through the 1962 independence movement, and ending with the March 2001 popular general strike. The Timeline, when combined with the Abbreviations section does a decent job of introducing events and actors influencing the increasingly dismal situation leading up to the Black Spring uprising. It leaves out other important factors, however, such as the economic turmoil following the global drop in oil prices and the resulting unemployment, poverty, and dwindling resources for the poorest of the country.
Sixteen pages of the collection are devoted to a Chronology of the Algerian Insurrection starting in April 2001 after the murder of Guermah. By the time I got to those pages, located at the end of the text, I had realized that the ‘reader’ was not going to make any clearer what role the various political parties, coordinations, delegations, military and paramilitary forces, and informal groupings have in the struggle for power and surely, in many cases, for authentic liberation. Perhaps this section may have been more useful in the first part of the issue.
The only article from an explicitly anarchist source is Insurrection in Algeria by Wolfi – a reprint from the December 2002 Willful Disobedience journal. Wolfi describes the actions taken by people of Kabylia in a straightforward and interesting form. His repeated emphasis on the horizontal and leaderless nonrepresentational self-organized nature of the rebellion is echoed in other writings in the collection. Quoting the “very interesting” Code of Honor adopted by some of the participants that requires delegates (which my dictionary clearly defines as representatives) to pledge themselves “not to carry forward any activities or affairs that aim to create direct or indirect links to power and its collaborators”; “not to use the movement for partisan ends nor to drag it into electoral competitions or any other possibility for the conquest of power”; and “not to accept any political appointments in the institutions of power” was immediately interesting. However, the 11-point Code of Honor (included in this ‘reader’) reveals some troubling nationalist and decidedly non-anarchist goals. For example, the Code refers to a platform as a necessity to honoring the code. Wolfi notes that this El-Kseur Platform “mainly deals with relief of the immediate effects of government repression…”
Again, the platform is included in this compilation and outlines the clear demands being made to the state for: prosecution by civil courts for criminals of the state; satisfaction of the Amazigh claim (identity, civil liberties, and culture); “consecration of Tamazight as an official national language”; “for a state that guarantees all socioeconomic rights and democratic freedoms”; “for all executive duties of the state and the security forces to be placed under the authority of democratically elected bodies”.
While neither Wolfi nor other writers in this collection portray the insurgency as an explicitly anarchist one, they do encourage our solidarity with the rebellion. A call for anarchist solidarity is serious and requires a strong analysis of the situation in question. All over the world people are rejecting oppression from every quarter. No doubt many (we might wish to think most) folks are agitating for total liberation from all oppressive regimes and actors. Certainly there is a strong element alluded to and even likely in the constant expression of resistance in the Berber region. That the people of the region are organizing themselves along their traditional community lines seems likely as there is a strong history of this discernible in most uprisings. But it is important to expose the reality that there are many who want a state apparatus, who agitate and organize for institutionalized ‘freedom’ in the guise of democracy, and who are easily influenced by leadership masked as ‘delegates’. This has been the case for all liberation movements in the past and the articles in this ‘reader’ do nothing to convince me that it is different in Algeria. In fact, Wolfi mentions delegates as “self-styled” when they claimed to represent the ‘arsh to the state’. But who else are the coordinations’ delegates, self-styled or otherwise, going to make demands to?
I would have appreciated a note that described the political perspective of the editors. That producers of any media are merely reporting objective facts is rarely, if ever, supported in reality. We all stand somewhere when we write or speak and we surely have a goal with our communication. No information was available regarding the political tendencies of firestarter press and their ‘Introductory Notes’ did little to clarify their own goals beyond encouraging solidarity for an expanding uprising that is “national, not nationalist”, a distinction that is never clarified. From the Introduction:
“Those of us who have an interest in determining the course of our lives, would do well to not only study this ‘spreading’ but to implement it as well. They are demanding everything and so should we [my emphasis added]. Let’s work to extend the revolt beyond the confines of Algeria, across the Mediterranean to Italy and France, across the Berber belt from Morocco to the Middle East, across the Sahara to the populous West African Coast, across the Atlantic through the Kabyle Diaspora in Canada and the U.S., and beyond!”
Rousing words indeed! But, what are the people of Kabyle demanding when they demand ‘everything’? And to whom do we make OUR demands for everything?
Information is scarce from the many regions in revolt throughout the world and it is good to have folks exploring and reporting on the uprisings. While this ‘reader’ does not answer the original question of the editors, “what IS going on in Algeria?”, it inspired further reading, prompted more questions than gave answers, and perhaps provided a much-needed launching pad for a discussion of anarchist solidarity. Not bad for a simple compilation of scattered essays and chronologies. The interested reader will want to augment this collection when attempting to resolve the contradictions and confusions inherent to any situation such as that in Algeria.
PO Box 50217, Baltimore, MD 21211
News from the Balcony
with Waldorf and Statler
At least they got the lack of interest right.
“The Baltimore Anarchist Union withdraws their draft call for a Black Bloc for January 20, 2005 protest …because of lack of interest.” We have seen the fascination with elections come and go (on what appears to be a quadrennial basis) and we much prefer it when they go but this last one just doesn’t seem to ever end. Our friends in Baltimore at least have the good sense to have cancelled their protest of the J20 ascension. (When is this naming convention going to end? It’s as bad as using an acronym every time you find a group of people you can stand working with.) But what are they replacing it with? Something called Anarchist Resistance. To quote: “a prime opportunity to shatter these illusions of grandeur by crashing this decadent display of arrogance and wealth.” Is this some variation of speaking truth to power where instead of us all becoming boring reporters, we all become statistics of this week’s police blotter?
A word of advice. Waving a black flag does not make you bulletproof. Charging into the maelstrom of armored police, military checkpoints, and surveillance that is going to envelop the entire area of Washington D.C. is not going to shatter any illusions. No decadent display will be crashed. The media will not care about this ‘action’. It makes my bum knee (shattered by the Pinkertons back in the day) act up just thinking about it.
Is the Ruckus the Necronomicon?
Joel Olsen, former anarchist and vegan cook, is currently an organizer in the Race Traitor-influenced ‘Bring the Ruckus’ organization. His comments about the election in “Voting for Malcolm X” shouldn’t go entirely without notice (although the temptation to ignore all commentary about elections for fear of being put to sleep is real). His claim is, shockingly, that Bush and Kerry weren’t all that different; especially when it comes to policies of militarism and economics. He also correctly states that ‘the left’ (whoever they are) become social democrats every four years regardless of their (alleged) political stripe. His conclusion? That he went into the poll booth and voted for Malcolm X. Why? “I did what any person who just can’t put political principles aside to vote for the lesser of two evils…Like I’ve done for every election since I started voting, I cast my ballot for the only person I’d truly support for president, Malcolm X.”
Leaving aside our befuddlement at such terms as ‘principles’ and ‘support’ in this context is the question of logistics. How exactly, if elected, would Malcolm serve as president? What exactly is the Bring the Ruckus strategy for bringing him back from the grave? Would Joel serve as high priest of the sect and the only correct interpreter of Malcolm’s words? Has Malcolm actually already come back and is he among us now? Does Malcolm have a tulku?
If Malcolm is still dead does the Bring the Ruckus organization have a way to bring him back? If they do, it may be time for Statler and I to join for fear of the Reaper. Should Race Traitor be renamed Race and Death Traitor?
Grimoire my ass!
What is to be done…with the internet?
It’s been a while since we’ve taken a look at RAAN – the Red Anarchist Action Network. As you may have recalled from their logo they are an organization that intertwines the ‘edgy-ness’ of anarchism with the ‘seriousness’ of the Bolsheviks and combines them in internet form as a series of web pages and discussions about whether to split hairs or raise each other’s ‘class consciousness’. I thought there were only two directions that this entirely mediated organization could go in; they would either particularize their politics so obscurely, and righteously, that they would lose whatever tentative relationship that they had to the outside world (the RCP option) or they would become so buried with projects like Food not Bombs and rushing to the latest protest that they would seem more like a sub-cultural social aggregation than “a strong association based on shared revolutionary beliefs” (the Crimethinc option).
With the arrival of the fourth version of their newsletter it appears that they found a third direction entirely, that of total incoherence. If you take the newsletter at face value you would come away with the picture of RAAN as running an all-ages venue in suburban Washington DC, helping put on environmental conferences in Ohio, supporting IWW organizing at health food stores, and doing FnB in Modesto. We might as well put out a newsletter where we discuss our organizing of underrepresented communities (weekly backgammon games at the home), work with the disabled (physical therapy for the bum knee), and labor organizing (complaining so much in the gruel line that the workers refuse to serve me). If this is the future of anarchism, and the ‘possibilities of the internet’ made real, maybe we will not need the Ruckus after all. We’d rather die.
Thanks for your letters. Sorry we can’t print them all. We prioritize thoughtful responses, clarifications, critique, or outright anger brought on by recent issues. Send your letters to us by May Day for the Summer Issue, and please keep them under 500 words.
On The Archeology of Violence
Next time some liberal or pacifist tells you, “your fearful anarchy is violent and bespeaks great loss of life,” say: “your concept of quantifiable violence is an abstraction, equally as reified as your untenable utopianism, motherfuck – and ignores the truth that our violence will be poetic & that a tiny, gleaming nick across the shoulder will mean more than fifty of your Lusitanias, your Hiroshimas & your Dresdens. “Watch for a wild boy of no particular clan, ready for anything, always armed. Prefers fighting to toil, drink to fighting …” (Nelson Algren, A Walk on the Wild Side)
Love & Anarchy,
what are you really trying to do?
what are you really trying to do. will anything we do ever stop this. reality is a bitch. what can i really do, im just a fucking pissed off kid with no friends sitting at home wishing civilization would just die. i wanna blow something up, wanna kill something evil, wanna experiance life, cuz im afraid i never will. what am i gonna get out of life, i wanna try, but what can i fucking do. “revolution changes nothing, and voting changes even less.” maybe im just pissed right now because i just wasted a beautiful saturday working 8 fucking hours, my whole goddamn day for roughly 50 fucking dollars. is it worth it? im trying to figure that out. my plan: get the fuck out of wisconsin, go to where the action is, cascadia. But what then. i expect oregon to be a region ready to overthrow civilization, go on a rampage and destroy all signs it was ever there, i expect people to just stop everything they believe they’re living for, and follow the black and green flag to freedom. then i realize im a fucking antisocial pseudo punk/hippie who dreams all day of civilizations annihiliation, and beauty. I makes me so sad just to think. think about what? about what the world once was. All the beauty, the life, the relationships. am i fucked up? i wouldn’t say so, u probably wouldn’t say so, but society would. and society is every person i see everyday. every person i have ever met, 99.9% of the people i will ever meet. so who is the enemy? how do i know im right? how do i know i shouldn’t be out right now, not worrying about all this shit, and having a good time with other people who don’t give a shit? how did i ever get outside. so far i havn’t seen anybody else out here. and sometimes i wonder if maybe i should just walk right back in. then i realize i can’t. i’ve made my choice. ill never be able to go back. im a green anachist. i just want to be with people who feel the same way. i would die, i would kill for the wilderness to overtake the city, for the fish to come back to the Fox River, for the deer and bear and moose to come back to the dense forest of Green Bay. but then i look out the car window and see farm fields, parking lots, and paper mills. what can i do.
i really dont know
To thank you for the publication you sent me is not enough (Issue #16). To pay homage to your beacon of truth also falls short. Your magazine went around my cell block and touched everyone it encountered, in a meaningful way. Yours is the only publication I’ve encountered that echoed my sentiment about the failure of the Left to offer up solutions and assert viable alternatives to the policies of the current administration. We are surrounded by those that rush past us, into submissive patterns, their senses blunted by routine.
I will always read and reread your publication because I value the message. I still cannot afford a subscription but I thank you for your generosity.
J.A. Nino T54325, C11.130 MCSP
P.O. Box 409000, Ione, CA 95640
Fuck Yeah! I love the new issue! Thanks for showing NEFAC that they don’t have the intellectual (sorry to use that word in relation to commies) property rights on class-consciousness. As someone who grew up working class, no fuck that, dirt poor, I find most anarchists to be severely lacking in understanding of class. At best we get some college-educated kids trying to reheat Marx and the likes (or as a letter in the last issue referred to them, “bearded dudes who fart dust”). Do they really think we need their help? I am a self-educated high school drop-out maneuvering through this mess just fine without their guidance. Why don’t they get on with their own liberation already? As someone who has worked in a number of factories (from Coors to Del Monte), not to mention my share of janitorial and dishwasher jobs, I have no interest in being a part of any proletarian take-over of this shit hole. I want out! I found the linkage of class society to the rise of civilization, in particular to permanent and surplus-driven society, to be very interesting. I am glad, however, that this primitivist perspective was balanced with personal tales of disgust with the class society, and civilization, which creates it.
I’ve recently heard some grumblings that Green Anarchy is too mean and not as encouraging of anarchist and leftist projects as they should be. Oh fucking well, I say. It seems obvious to me that Green Anarchy is supportive of projects, people, and ideas they have kinship with, or feel have some sort of value to a revolutionary agenda, whether they agree with them completely or not. I have seen you be quite fair (and often too restrained) with undertakings I have no interest in, like Fifth Estate (hippy-pacifist art freaks) and CrimethInc (dumpster-diving future/ex-college kids who idealize poverty from their privileged positions). Most of the time Green Anarchy cuts through the shit and the smiles to get down and dirty so they can address the drawbacks (like the Left) of the anarchist movement and its continual failings. We don’t need fucking cheerleaders, we need clarity. In almost no other place does this happen. Face it folks, we’re getting our asses handed to us, and are obviously doing something wrong. But even if this part is too difficult for the faint-hearted to handle, I think Green Anarchy offers much more, for instance pages and pages of inspiration in the form of action reports from around the world, most of which occur outside this miserably conditioned country. Anyway, I hope you all know that there are lots of us out here who desperately anticipate each new issue, and spend our time in between chipping away at the foundation of this dreadful nightmare. Keep it up!
Affinities and Differences
Hello, GA, I appreciate Volonta Terrarottura’s comradely review of Barbaric Thoughts [see Reviews, Issue #18]. It helps to clarify where the affinities and differences currently lie between s/he and I. Unfortunately, I don’t feel the letters section here provides space for a deeper discussion of the difference, but there are a few more minor things I want to bring up.
First, I don’t merely reject biocentrism, but the entire biocentrism/anthropocentrism dichotomy. It is within this false opposition that the ideological, moralistic nature of biocentrism lies. I have yet to encounter anyone who uses the term biocentrism without making that opposition. This would be a point to expand on in discussion.
Second, my critiques of primitivism and the study of primitive skills are not absolute, as a careful reading of BT will show. I do reject primitivism as an ideology, but also point out that we can learn from what little is known about “primitive” people (though I may disagree with Volonta about how much and what we can learn). As to primitive skills, I say: “Though primitive skills may be useful…, they do not constitute the practical expression of a revolutionary critique of civilization.” This is not a rejection, but a recognition of limitations.
I put a reference list at the end of BT, rather than taking citations out of context, so that people can read things in context and draw their own conclusions. It’s far too easy to take quotes out of context to prove whatever one wants to. As a former bible scholar, I know that all too well.
I personally find present concrete reality much more convincing in explaining why the civilized order has to go, than unprovable speculations about origins. And it is present realities that have led me to question Zerzan’s speculations on origins.
My critique of Zerzan’s ideas and practice was not “attack” “often taking cheap shots”. The only “cheap shot” was the reference to Steve Booth. The rest forms a critique of Zerzan’s theoretical method and practical projects as I perceive them. My attacks are never so gentle, and I save them for real foes, not comrades with whom I disagree.
I have limited this letter to minor matters and brief clarifications. We will need to find a context to debate the real differences in the way they deserve. The letters section is not the space for it, due to the need to be brief. Thanks again for the comradely review.
Venomous Butterfly Publications
818 SW 3rd Ave., PMB 1237
Portland, OR 97204, USA
P.S. I ask $1 @ for copies of Barbaric Thoughts to cover my expenses.
Singular Solution or Exploration?
Dear Green Anarchy,
As always, I enjoyed the last issue. I found the class topic to be very useful and interesting.
“A Surrounding for Us to Live Within” was my favorite because it was amazingly articulate and stimulating, yet relevant to our lives in the physical world. Other favorites included: “Camatte”, “About getting free from the myth of Revolution”, “Reclaiming Kafka”, and the two reports by Felonious Skunk. As always, I was inspired by the action reports and enjoyed the reviews, especially “Don’t Just Vote” (is that the best thing Crimethinc. can do?), “The Corporation”, and “Barbaric Thoughts”. I felt they offered critical analysis of these projects, and helped add some depth to the anti-critique, a sort of “how our politics apply to our projects”.
One review which seemed out of place, in an anti-moralist and antiideological magazine, however, was “The Eco-Hotties Calendar” review. While I too found the idea of a nude eco-defense calendar to be juvenile, pathetic, and objectifying, I felt the review to be moralistic, self-righteous, and excessive. I felt like we were being scolded by my 3rd grade teacher, not reading the opinion of a fellow anarchist. Maybe I did not get the same feminist schooling, or something, but I found the reviewer’s perspective to be not that unlike the branch of feminism which is sexually repressive, controlling, and methodological. Do we want a singular solution or do we want exploration? Huge statements like: “Folks are not dealing with sexism” should be followed by “the way I think they should.” A statement like “It annoys and frightens me that we are still in the “observation” phase of understanding sexism” echoes in my head with assumptive self-righteousness.
As a “promiscuous” pro-sex, nonessentialist, pro-exhibitionist woman with my own analysis of sexism and patriarchy, I would warn the author against creating a new morality based on one specific feminist ideology. This is not only antianarchist, but it also marginalizes women who have their own perspectives, through shame and dismissal. I say this not to discourage the author, who obviously has much passion and insight, but to warn her/him of a troubling tone. I think there were good things raised in the review, like security concerns, priorities, objectification, and such, but it also left an all too familiar “I know what is correct, you Cretin” feel. This tone is all too prevalent in feminist writings (as well as the Left in general), and is one of the reasons I have retreated into the woods and developed my own community of open-minded free-thinkers. Hopefully, this will not be defensively taken as anti-feminist (although most feminism is for liberals), but as a healthy suggestion.
Against All Domination,
Helen A. Bucket
“Captain” Watson’s Tall Tale
Dear Green Anarchy Folks,
Thanks for doin’ the magazine. I’m writing this to correct a portion of Issue #17/Summer 2004. Unfortunately, in the “Earth and Animal Liberation Actions from Across the Planet” section, the “April 30. Sea Shepherd Crew Save Sea Turtle from Taiwanese Long-line!” is not true. I volunteered on the Farley Mowat from October of 2003 to May of 2004. I was on the ship during the long-line incident and it was quite different than the report that “Captain” Paul Watson gave. The actual amount of line that was pulled in was 8 kilometers, not 25 kilometers, and there was absolutely no sea turtle saved. The long-line was freshly baited and there was no catch whatsoever on any hook that we pulled in, which in my opinion is a good thing. We got the line out of the water before it caught and injured or killed any marine life. The radio transmitter buoy was pulled in and estimated to be worth around $1,000. This action happened on our journey to the Galapagos Islands. When we reached the Island and checked the SSCS website, the same report that you published was on the website. When the “captain” was confronted about the lies, he said that he thought that was what happened. In my humble opinion that was a lie as well. Any other person on the crew could have told you the same thing that I have written above; for the “captain” to be the only one on the ship to think that happened raises an eyebrow. I would be cautious of any reports about the SSCS that you publish in the future. If you have any questions feel free to email me.
Dear Green Anarchy,
I am a staunch believer in autonomy and enjoyed your Winter 2004 issue. I got this issue from another inmate and would like to receive more
issues since you mail to prisoners for free. I am also a Hare Krishna devotee, and if you know anything about us then you know that we are
peaceful non-conformists to the struggle of modernization against nature. So please put me on your mailing list so I can read more about green anarchy.
P.S. I loved the gecko photo on your magazine. Hare Krishna! and ELF power to the highest magnitude.
Fist in the Air
First off, is “A. Morefus” in the GA collective? “Beyond Utopian Visions,” his extremely awesome article, really amazed me. His description of our “need” to improve civilization really hit home and described the way I thought as a libertarian anarchist in high school. He actually described the history and flaws of every utopian ideal there is! If Morefus is around, give him a “fist in the air” for me please.
Also, the ELF prisoner mailing list is just what I needed. I sent letters and stamp money to all of them. I wish I could meet those hardcore mother-fuckers.
John, your “Post-Leftists! One more effort if you would be antileftist” put tears in my eyes. Finally someone draws a line between the “whiners” and the “doers”. This essay finally broke my leftist “Ishmael” philosophy. It’s gone. I’m finally listening to my instincts instead of EF! and Greenpeace authority figures. Every time we believe that we are liberating our minds, we’re really just following a new leader – it’s our instincts that liberate, never will the answer be found in some dictator under a “green peace” flag. Never give up guys, you’re all keeping me sane. I’d send you every penny my poor ass has to keep the magazine afloat. Until then, I’ll be here at the home of “homeland” security (College Station, TX), fighting with everything I got.
Thanks again for the note John. I hung it on my wall, haha. You guys are amazing. Keep it up! Never stop…please.
What Scope… What focus
Dear John (and GA),
Yesterday I received the parcel! Two issues of GA and your Gender article. Many, many thanks!
I’ve just rushed over the pages but I saw many great things. I’m not here to judge like some customer, but GA #18 is outstanding. What a scope and what a focus at the same time! How did you get that? Obviously, some mighty powers are streaming between all of you joined in GA.
Please don’t think that I’m flattering you because of this contact. I’m really impressed and thankful for such an inspiration. That’s what I wanted to start here in next year (very uncertain project, but I’ll try). I don’t feel the need for entire sections and I generally have some other vision, but it’s the same magic formula: a wide scope, beyond all ideological clichés and separations, and, at the same time, that focus, clear and sharp like an arrow. Just look at that scope of authors, some unknown, some known to me and all those themes and other messages: Teresa, Riesel (his text, what a finale!), Kevin, Bonanno, that piece about Kafka, Dave A, that guy Zach F., etc. And yet there’s not a trace of some eclecticism or empty talk.
I also think it’s good that you published Sasha K’s “Notes” although I’ve already told him something about that. I like Sasha K and his Killing King Abacus 1 & 2 very much, but in his more recent attempts, like this one, I see a kind of setback. He – and he’s not the only one, it’s a much broader phenomenon – made such an enormous detour through class theory only to find out that it’s too narrow and static. And then he started to stretch and squeeze its vocabulary in order to get few drops of remaining potential. Why? Why do people feel that need for approval of some theories (authority?) instead of looking into reality as directly as possible and then, maybe, in the lack of better way, to use some theoretical concepts in order to express their insights? He started from the opposite end, from a theory – a very dubious one – only to find out what is obvious: that we must surpass and reject whole that perspective. And then he made that mixture of some good points and empty ideological rhetoric (“revolutionary class struggle of dispossessed”, class-this, class-that, etc.)
Maybe one could argue that Debord or Camatte did the same and yet they were so convincing. Maybe it’s true but it’s always been at the expense of clarity and closer touch with the reality (although they surfed through Marxist theory magnificently; and Camatte succeeded to break through the open air). Beside that, those were different times: that language was so prevailing that even sparrows spoke it. Anyway, it’s not that simple, but I noticed that phenomenon among many other people. It seems that they feel more selfconfident, even superior, with some more solid ground under their feet when they use that language. It serves as a kind of psychological anchor, something like that. It could also mean that our intuition, our direct insights, authentic expressions and other approaches are not valid if they are not checked out through such a rigid and distorting prism. Well, that’s what I tried to tell Sasha (and to Red H, from Against Sleep And Nightmare) with few more things, but I didn’t succeed to express myself in English clear enough. Sorry if I bother you with all that in these emails but I was really provoked by that subject.
I must admit that I was afraid that friends from some distant anti-civ camps are also on the verge of slipping in an ideological jargon, repeating
always the same slogans and formulations instead of broadening that new approach who finally broke the spell of the past and all those defunct strategies. And now I see this. Mighty stuff. I simply didn’t have the right picture.
Please tell me just one more thing: who made the inside cover? I mean, that “I’m not…” piece? That one who made it is already free. The abolition of “class divided society” begins with throwing out all that class mud from our hearts and our minds. We are not anything from that offer. The best thing I saw in years. And that’s the direct answer to all those people who still seek approval from old theoretical authorities. That one who made it doesn’t need that; he or she is already on the other side.
Wish you all the best and please send my best regards to all GA people!
Get a Clue?
The population of the planet increases at two additional people PER SECOND. Each will want a computer, a car, a house, water, food, and other stuff, just like you. So, unless you address that issue, you’re just blowing smoke into the assholes of naive brats. The government provides the muscle for the corporations to provide the resources for the breeders to breed, and then shop for computers so they can complain about the government. Get a clue.
Anarchy begins at home.
Practical Re-wilding: Along Side Indigenous Resistance to Civilization
I’m white, and I don’t have much experience with indigenous resistance to civilization, but my impromptu apprenticeship with some Anishinaabe elders in northern Ontario last summer and fall left me with an overwhelming sensation of the importance of those connections and others like them. Relationships between those who have been colonized and we who – whether we like it or not – come from a class of invaders and imperialists are inevitably difficult and run the risk of repeating old patterns and adding fresh wounds to the old. However, after my experience last summer, I believe they are also crucial to our attempts at healing or creating radical and meaningful change.
White people who strive for social justice, who resist global forces of destruction, who defend wild lands, and who want nothing more than to live a better way than any option we’ve been presented by civilization, would do well to seek alliances with Native people who do all these things and more whenever they attempt to maintain or reclaim their own ancestral traditions and/or territories. We end up helping ourselves (in sometimes unexpected ways) when we aid indigenous resistance. There may come a point where our goals and our lives will be stunted without the help and insight that some Native people continue to offer.
Last summer I traveled north by canoe, beyond where industry and even roads reach. I hoped to meet someone (most likely someone Native, since not many white folks live there) who could help me learn the skills I’d need to survive the winter in the bush. Though I did learn a thing or two about gill netting fish, trapping beaver, and calling moose, these things were a small part of what my Anishinaabe hosts shared with me before I was forcibly removed by Canadian immigration. (Not surprisingly, the feds didn’t seem to care that I was a welcome guest of the rightful inhabitants of that land.)
Through my friend’s examples I saw what it is to take care of each other. I witnessed the value of family and home. I learned about healing and prayer –in the forest and in the dark, moist heat of a sweat lodge. I felt true respect and generosity, and was inspired by their persistence and humility.
I listened to stories from their lives, and through them got a clearer understanding of the processes of domestication. I did my best to imagine what they must have felt as loved children in healthy families that still traveled by canoe with their clans. Hunting, fishing, picking blueberries. I shuddered when they struggled to describe the sharp contrast they experienced when at the age of around seven each child was forced into residential schools. There they were segregated, verbally abused, beaten, and regularly sexually assaulted by the nuns and priests who were hired by the Canadian government to wring every bit of Native culture from the children. Thankfully, this genocide attempt on my friends did not succeed.
After being released from school they each eventually found themselves at the bottom of despair, and began the long, slow climb back toward health. They are still climbing, aided by gifts from their ancestors: ceremonies and exceptional spirits. They were rich enough to share things my life has always lacked – home, with a history that goes back generations in one place; respectful interactions with people from the generation before me; healing herbs and rituals that are ancient and necessary; and so many lessons that are still inside me – that I’m yet unable to name.
I felt awkward and out of place, especially at first. I had to resist the urge to retreat to my comfortable, homogenous community. I did not expect to be welcome right away. I did not expect to be trusted or liked, but that didn’t make it easy. I made plenty of mistakes. Despite all my best intentions to be humble and listen, I still found myself speaking at inappropriate times, mistakenly thinking that I had some special insight to offer a certain situation. It would have been much easier to stay home. There would have been no risk of offending or being rejected, but I’m so grateful that I stayed.
I don’t want to presume anything, but it certainly seemed that our relationship fed my Native friends in some way as well (you’d have to ask them for specifics.) It seems important to me that any exchanges with Native people are fair. White culture has taken enough. If one thing is certain, it’s that Native people owe us nothing. Making sure that we have no expectations of generosity, and that we are giving back is crucial. However, it is just as important that we realize that no matter how much we give, we can never remove the injuries our ancestors inflicted, nor those our culture continues to this day. White guilt and subsequent acts of charity do not aid our relationships, nor do they engender respect. Charity repeats patterns of imperialism. It maintains the conventional power imbalance where “good white folk help the poor Indians.” True respect, it seems to me, will only result when we can find ways to value what one another have to offer.
One question that I’m still not clear on is, “what do we white kids have to offer?” A friend of mine suggested that we have our desire to live in a good way, as our ancestors once did, though often that time is so long past we easily forget. She also said we have our strength of spirit, gifts from those ancestors. We have the potential of creating healthy and strong communities, and those are beginning to be. I’d add that some of us have the courage and commitment that utter desperation can lend.
However, before we can ever meet as equal nations, white people have a lot of work we need to do on our own. I do not want to encourage the hordes of lost and spiritually starving white kids to go off in search of Native elders to be their new gurus or guides. It bears repeating here: Native people owe us nothing. Romanticizing a Native person into a spiritual cartoon can be more dehumanizing than assuming they’re a drunk. The emptiness inside us is our responsibility to acknowledge and find ways to fill. Someone who is not conscious of their own lack of self is prone to cultural appropriation, and other transgressions. It seems to me that one of the most important aspects to re-wilding or healing is stalking ourselves. Whether our domestication process spans one generation or thousands of years, the results are the same: we lose our sense of self. Reclaiming our lives requires a trip to that dark, despairing place affectionately termed, “the bottom.” It’s a frightening journey, and one that many do not survive, but I believe it is the only way to begin to see clearly where we’ve been, what we’ve done, who we are, and the faint glowing promise of authentic hope.
If a person coming from a “privileged” position in society has not made it this far on their healing journey, I cannot in good conscience suggest that they seek a relationship with the colonized. If they have, then I advise patience and humility. Remember that we are trespassers on this continent. I’ve been asked by a Native elder to ask permission to live on stolen land. Our culture has a history of deafness when it comes to listening to Native people. Strive hard to listen; it may require major life changes. Also, feel. You’ll hear horror stories. Go ahead, let your heart break. It’s the most appropriate response I’ve found, and the only one that has resulted in any healing action.
White people have seldom been up front about our intentions or motives. Perhaps we can change that. I do not know what is appropriate to ask for as this changes with each situation. When it feels right, we could openly communicate what we are looking for or expecting. We can ask directly what they need in return. We can talk about issues of cultural appropriation, and be honest about our own dangerous tendencies that we’ve learned over a lifetime in a racist culture. Perhaps we’ll discover that despite all the obstacles put between us, we have a fair bit in common —including work that we can do best if we do it together.
Skunkly is co-author of the book Fire and Ice: disturbing the comfortable and comforting the disturbed while tracking our wildest dreams (see “Reviews” section, page 62). He is currently helping to organize the Earthbound Gathering, happening this Spring/Summer in Northern Minnesota. It will be a forum where Native and non-native people who share a common love and concern about the earth can come together to create healing relationships that can benefit us all. In this gathering, we hope to address cross-cultural issues and dynamics, strategize, and foster unity. Toward this goal, we hope to find our similarities and differences, focus on our strengths while working on our weaknesses, learn from the past and build for the future. It will be free to all, and we hope to be able to provide travel stipends for elders and others who may need it. If you want to support this project, help spread the word. Please contact us if you want to stay informed, attend, present a workshop, donate resources, or help with fundraising, organizing, or anything else.
For more information, contact Skunkly: (866) 758-9634
We Are Not Seperate
Thoughts on Indigenist Resistance to Civilized Colonization of the Mind, Body and Earth
by A.R. Son
We are not separate beings, you and I.
We are different strands of the same Being.
You are me and I am you
and we are they and they are us.
This is how we’re meant to be,
each of us one,
each of us all…
A few weeks ago, my mother mentioned in casual conversation that her grandmother was a ‘half-caste’ Maori – the indigenous people of Aotearoa [known as ‘New Zealand’ in the civilized world]. Thus I am apparently, to the extent that I actually believe in these biological blood-quantum calculations, 1/16 Maori. This was something of a bombshell to me. In recent times, I have become increasingly aware and passionate about indigenous cultures and politics, but it had never occurred to me for a second that I might actually have some indigenous heritage. I know my mother’s family in Aotearoa only as white, lower middle-class, and more than a little racist. It seems that the spiteful racism of my grandfather stems not just from his conditioned white colonial mindset, but also from his pathological denial of his own ancestry. The child-abusing, wife-beating fuck has no more room for his own Maori heritage in his racist worldview than he has for his own sexuality in his heterosexist worldview. But that’s another story.
Because of the shame and stigma attached to the indigenous heritage, my mother’s family have lived, and continue to live, in denial – a common condition in today’s world. Denial is everywhere: the Earth is not crumbling beneath the weight of our sick culture; the nuclear family really works; I really don’t mind working for 40+ years; we are not in any way connected to those people. But as well as the insanity that clearly comes along with it, denial also just simply means secrecy. My mother can’t answer my questions about the Maori heritage in her family, because she doesn’t know the answers. We don’t know where her grandmother was from, or where her people were from. We could call up my grandfather and see if he fancies having a chat about it, but even if we tied him down and tortured him for the information, he has probably long since cast the names of the people and places out of his tiny mind. Deny. Vilify. Forget. Thus the thin shred of hope that I might find a place within a culture that I could feel part of, or even proud of, slips away…
But hope was always a false promise; an indulgence of disempowerment – merely an excuse to sit quietly with fingers crossed and try to wish misery away. Hope be damned. I am an anarchist. I want action and empowerment, uproar and uprise, glorious victory and yes, even catastrophic defeat. Anything but resignation.
So I’m taking what I have: my white skin, my cultural privilege, my mind and body, my so-far cursory knowledge of the indigenous culture I have a tenuous biological link to, my love of the Earth and of life, my utter disgust for this culture that’s wrecking the planet as I write these words and my fury and determination that this will not continue – and I’m fighting back.
My struggle for liberation will be fought on three fronts: my mind, my body, and this Earth – all currently colonized (that is to say, occupied) by the sickness we call civilization. All three fronts must be fought at once – colonialism cannot be divided up and asked to wait until it is convenient for me to fight. Colonialism is everywhere. Colonialism is relentless. Colonialism is the totality. Thus if I am serious about liberation I must struggle constantly, everyday to decolonize my mind, my body, and the land I am standing on. I must be prepared to live life as war.
‘Life as war’ isn’t the desperate and deathly existence it seems to be, of course – self-perpetuated misery would hardly be a sustainable or successful form of resistance! We need only remind ourselves of our enemy in this war to be assured of its liberatory potential and absolute necessity: boredom, drudgery, domestication, dispossession, subjugation, rape, genocide, ecocide (and eventually omnicide), the colonization of all lives and all land: civilization.
If I am to live my life as a war against my colonization and the infinitely destructive force that maintains it, I am in need of various strategies and tactics. One such strategy for liberation, one that I think warrants widespread discussion, expansion and implementation amongst anti-civilization anarchists, is indigenism– perhaps best expressed in Ward Churchill’s 1992 essay ‘I Am Indigenist’. Churchill characterizes his indigenist outlook thusly: “…I mean that I am one who not only takes the rights of indigenous peoples as the highest priority of my political life, but who draws on the traditions – the bodies of knowledge and corresponding codes of value – evolved over many thousands of years by native peoples the world over… indigenism offers […] a vision of how things might be that is based on how things have been since time immemorial, and how things must be once again if the human species, and perhaps the planet itself, is to survive much longer.” In short, “indigenism stands in diametrical opposition to the totality of what might be termed ‘Eurocentric business as usual’”.
The relevance indigenism has for anti-civilization anarchists is obvious here, and indeed to a certain extent many of the ideas that comprise Churchill’s indigenism are already part of the green anarchist spectrum of thought. There is, however, clearly some hesitation – demonstrated aptly enough by the lack of clear, direct affiliation with actual indigenous peoples. My recent cultural identity crisis has made clear to me why that hesitation is so prevalent, as I have most certainly felt it gripping me these past few weeks: we’re terrified of becoming colonizers ourselves. Of course we are, and rightly so. White activists (including anarchists) have a long and sordid history of taking over, fucking over and flaking out on non-white struggle of all kinds. Just as often white activists (still including anarchists) have feigned support for a far more militant non-white struggle, and then left them to be crushed by the full force of the state once some actual effort was required – you could ask the Black Panthers about this (but evidently they’re mostly all dead or in solitary confinement).
This dichotomy of white and non-white struggle has troubled me deeply these past weeks, ripped me apart even. I have felt like a power-hungry racist undercover agent for the white colonial empire every time I’ve given serious thought to even just investigating my Maori heritage. And then just last night I read those words, echoing out from the belly of the beast, from the cell of an Indian warrior kidnapped and held captive by the U.S government, a bona-fide prisoner of war in this war-to-endall-wars: “We are not separate…”.
What if we were to take this note from the front to heart? Not as a license to co-opt and colonize, or even as a new ‘strategy’ in our own idea of the war-that-need-be-waged, but as simple truth? What if the indigenous of the land we live on are simply our older siblings, ready to guide us with their knowledge and strength if only we would stop running around in circles and listen? What if the impossible quandaries of race and history and power and privilege disappeared as soon as we learned to love our older sisters and brothers, and act accordingly?
I want to be clear that I’m not talking about abandoning our responsibilities and realities as (mostly) white anarchists, and wandering into indigenous communities with our hands in the air proclaiming “Show us the way! We are but lost sheep!” While it would be a huge understatement to say that we have a lot to learn, we are also not entirely clueless – it is entirely possible that indigenous people in struggle will want to exchange ideas with us. Certainly it is doubtful they will want an army of mindless zombies or disciples waiting to be shown the way. We have to have the maturity and intelligence (by this I am not referring to sharpening our ‘critique’ with even more convoluted academic theorizing) to find our way to effective struggle and sustainable lives starting from here. Look at what you have – your heritage, your knowledge, your passion, your strength, everything that makes you the flawed, damaged, brave and uniquely beautiful person that you are. Then start your process of inner and outer decolonization in earnest: keep what you need and burn the rest. That’s what you have. That has to be enough. Don’t steal from your brothers and sisters. Cheating sends us all back to square one. Also, and this should hardly need saying, indigenous lives and communities are far from perfect. To varying degrees they are in fact ruins – the rubble left behind after a merciless demolition job. This is why they need active, militant supporters, not brain-dead, burdensome followers.
I am not advocating cultural appropriation – unless you mean appropriating this culture in order to further undermine it; or ‘forgetting’ the holocausts our white ancestors perpetrated against indigenous nations everywhere (and that our white relatives continue to perpetuate). Quite the opposite: I am advocating realizing that, as people trying desperately to disentangle ourselves from the mire of civilization and simultaneously bring it crashing to the ground, we have more in common with indigenous peoples, struggles and communities than with our fucking murderous ‘ancestors’, ‘relatives’ and the civilization they have erected on the backs of every living creature on this planet. It’s time to decolonize our minds and bodies, to build the bridges of trust and love with the indigenous communities that will accept us (those that will not can hardly be blamed), to leave this culture of death for good in order to gather in its shadows and at its frayed edges, and finally, to wage one last assault against Babylon and bring it down forever, together. Un-separated. Unconquered. Unbowed.
This article has barely scratched the surface of a deeply complex topic. I do not suppose to have offered all, or even any, of the answers, and I do dearly hope that this will continue to be discussed – on a clear, practical level as well as a theoretical one – amongst those who take liberation seriously. I welcome any feedback and discussion at:
Children of the Earth are you listening?
Can you hear the cries of our Earth Mother every time another sacred site is destroyed?
Is your heart breaking to see forests being leveled, strip mines ripping open the land,
entire species of plants and animals disappeared forever?
Do you hear the muffled screams of our children and feel the agony of our sisters being
violated and physically abused by their own relatives?
Is your heart raging at the loss of yet another brother or sister to alcohol or another
grandmother to cancer?
The Indigenous Ancestors of this land spoke of a time when our relationships with the
Earth may be healed.
That time has come.
We’re on the Edge.
We can go forward to our death, try to go backward to our past, or we can turn around
and go forward to a new future.
A future that honors the past.
A future where we listen to the Elders of the Earth and remember our lessons.
A future where unity and love breeds a New Generation strong enough to stand up to the
Destroyers of Earth. If we defend the Earth she will provide all we need to be strong and happy.
We must remember the ways of the Earth, walking gently with respect and ritual in our
hearts, asking for guidance from the Earth, the Plant and Animal people, the
indigenous Elders, and the Wimmin – always dancing to the rhythm of our
own Heart, and remembering the sacrifices our relatives made so that we
may Live, not as victims, but proud.
It’s time to form new, or rejoin traditional warrior societies. Gather
together to sing and strengthen our spirits and dance. Gather
together to form a Strategy. Gather together to learn how to be
together. Gather together so that Spirit will speak through You.
Gather together in the Mountains.
Build a Fire. Watch it Rage.
 Hamilton-Merritt, Jane. Tragic Mountains: The Hmong, the Americans, and the Secret Wars for Laos, 1942-1992. (Indiana): Indiana University Press December 1, 1999.
 Ibd. 381-382.
 Ibd. 18.
 Ibd. 22.
 Ibd. 27.
 Ibd. 67.
 Ibd. 65.
 Ibd. 226.
 Ibd. 356.
 Ibd. 368.
 Ibd. 376.
 Ibd. 393.
 Ibd. 394.
 Ibd. 403.
 Lee, Gary Yia. Bandits or Rebels. http://www.atrax.net.au/userdir/yeulee/Topical/bandis%20or%20rebels.html. October 31, 2004.
 Lee, Gary Yia.
 Hamilton-Merritt, 1999: 91.
 Lee, Gary Yia.
 Lee, Gary Yia.
 Lee, Gary Yia.
 Network for Asian Liberation. “Video Allegedly Showing Atrocities Shock Hmong”. October 31″ http://asianliberation.org/sept18.html. October 31, 2004.
 Floyd, Peter. “US Warns ASEAN Summit Targeted by Hmong Rebels” http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2004/s1252940.htm. November 30, 2004.
 Asia One. “I Killed Them Because They Called Me a Gook.” http://newpaper.asia1.com.sg/top/story/0,4136,78130,00.html. November 27, 2004.
 Paul Feyerabend, Conquest of Abundance: A Tale of Abstraction versus the Richness of Being (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999), p. 270.
 Terence H. Hawkes, Structuralism and Semiotics (London: Methuen, 1977), pp. 149, 26.
 Michael Baxandall, Giotto and the Orators (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971), p. 44.
 Paul Feyerabend, Killing Time (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995), p. 179.
 Susanne K. Langer, Philosophy in a New Key (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1942), p. 75.
 Ernest Jones, cited in Dan Sperber, Rethinking Symbolism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975), p. 43.
 Edward Sapir, The Emer gence of the Concept of Personality in a Study of Cultures, Journal of Social Psychology 5 (1934), pp 408-415.
 For example, Johann Gottfried Herder, Treatise on the Origin of Language.
 Michel Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge, translated by A.M.Sheridan Smith (New York: Pantheon, 1972), p. 216.
 Terrence W. Deacon, The Symbolic Species (New York: W.W. Norton, 1997), passim.
 Ernst Cassirer, Language and Myth (New York: Dover, 1953), pp 45-49.
 Sigmund Freud, Moses and Monotheism, The Standard Edition of the Complete Works (London: The Hogarth Press, 1964), p. 114.
 Dan Sperber, Anthropology and Psychology: Towards an Epidemiology of Representations, Man 20 (1985), pp 73-89.
 The major rise in the incidence of autism is not metaphorical. Autism as a retreat from symbolic interaction seems to be a terrible commentary on its
unfulfilling nature. It may not be coincidental that autism first appears in the medical literature in 1799, as the Industrial Revolution was taking off.
 Geert Lovink,Uncanny Networks(Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2002), p. 260.
 George Steiner, Grammars of Creation (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001), p. 3.
 Movement is defined as speed (time and space) and does not change velocity, where momentum (mass and velocity) expresses changed velocity.
 As a vector (directed magnitude) quantity, the momentum of an object is more fully described by both magnitude and direction.
 These concepts are an outgrowth of Newton’s Second (Fnet=m*a) stated that the acceleration of an object is directly proportional to the net force upon the object and inversely proportional to the mass of an object.