The Ex-Worker #14: Squat the World!


In this episode, Alanis and Clara allegedly break into an abandoned building to begin a conversation about squatting–and why it’s so important to anarchists. This episode includes two interviews–one with participants in a squatted social center in the United States, and one from an anti-infrastructure land occupation project in France. We’ll also hear the soothing sounds of listener feedback, regarding our last episode and some further clarifications about technology, a review of Hannah Dobbz’s “Nine-tenths of the Law: Property and resistance in the United States,” news, upcoming events, and prisoner birthdays.

We’ve just been chugging along with the podcast—can you believe this is our 14th episode?!—and realized we haven’t actually taken a step back and defined what anarchism means. Our first episode of the new year will deal with this topic, and we’re looking for listener contributions, so send in your thoughts to, or leave us a voicemail at 202-59-NOWRK.

You can download this and all of our previous episodes online. You can also subscribe in iTunes here or just add the feed URL to your podcast player of choice. Rate us on iTunes and let us know what you think, or send us an email to

One thought on “The Ex-Worker #14: Squat the World!

  1. Something for the “listener feedback” section that didn’t squeak in before the deadline!

    (From a dismayed listener:)

    I love the show and usually find it engaging and insightful, but your last
    episode featuring “Deserting the Digital Utopia” reeked of false metaphors
    and psuedo intellectual bullshit. Programmers are not a ruling class.
    Programming is a skill and not a property relationship. The tyranny
    alogorithms hold over processors is necessary for the proper functioning
    of all your electronic devices. Applying political language in this way
    to inanimate objects is similar to when people refer to property
    destruction as “violence”.

    Telling people to “desert the digital utopia” is reactionary. Ignorance is
    a poor strategy for survival in a world of mass surveillence, where
    governments are hard at work building flying robots to drop bombs on
    whomever they decide is the enemy. You should be telling people to use Tor
    and strong cryptography, and to learn to code so that we can hack the
    drones and launch a campaign of mass electronic sabotage against state

    In solidarity,
    your loyal listener

    (From an email from one corner of the nebula that authored the essay:)

    Well, hello there, listener,
    Deserting the Digital Utopia was planned from the beginning as the first of at least two pieces, the latter of which will offer some concrete suggestions for how to fight hierarchy on digital terrain; encryption and programming skills will be strongly recommended there. This first essay is an attempt to imagine how that fight might proceed with due caution, and without being clouded by any superstitious assumption that computers themselves tend to make life better or freer. So, if you thought we were suggesting that you not learn to program, nor use Tor, then I fear your were not hearing our argument, and I wonder what went wrong. Though the wholesale rejection of electronics by certain primitivists is well founded, that argument never appears in this essay. It was composed on computers, distributed online, and some of its authors are currently teaching themselves to code.
    To respond, then, as clearly as possible: Please hack drones. Gain the ability to hack drones, then hack as many drones as possible. Those who fight drones with stones will appreciate the help.

    If you relisten to the essay, I think you will notice that some of what you thought you heard was not in there at all. The slightly longer version at may answer your concerns adequately, but allow me to clarify two further points:

    First, concerning the programmer: your desire to divide classes, skills, and property relationships begs for a simplification which the world will not provide you. Would you say that being a doctor or a soldier can be settled into one of these categories or the other? Classes, property relations, and skill sets are densely entangled. In any case, we only proposed that this is a critical moment for programmers who hope to oppose all ruling classes. If you must choose one, call it “negating a class,” “using a skill,” or “applying a tool,” whichever helps you remember that twitter-life is an insulting simplification, and readies you to fight for an open future.

    And finally, concerning the application of political language to “inanimate objects.” I hope we can agree that we must call out harm even when it is caused only indirectly by living humans. Radiation in the soil, and mercury in the water kill generations long after the industrialists who profited from putting them there are dead. An assembly line is built once and repaired occasionally, but it orders the movements, hunches the backs, and occasionally tears off the arms of people with a kind of independence. Sabotage is a traditional response to the harm done by inanimate things. A traditional means of sabotage is to animate a different inanimate thing and enlist it as an ally. Wrenches might, for instance, deconstruct a wrench factory, or assist labor in seizing it. A smartphone might, likewise, tweet #iPhun immediately before trying to burst through the Apple Store’s front window. Or it might spread reliable apps for stealing everything Apple tries to sell, and circulating untraceable notes. Any of these is potentially a good idea. But the smartphone will not save us any more than the wench has.

    In solidarity and provocation,

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