We received the following report from the group that produced the French version of To Change Everything, Pour Tout Changer. They describe the situation in Paris before and after the attacks of November 13: the intensification of xenophobic discourse, the repression of homeless refugees, the declaration of a “state of emergency” as a way to clamp down on dissent, the preparations for the COP 21 summit at which demonstrations are now banned, and what people are doing to counter all this. It offers an eyewitness account from the front lines of the struggle against the opportunists who hope to use the tragedy of November 13 to advance their agenda of racism and autocracy. With demonstrations forbidden and the COP 21 summit around the corner, what happens in Paris will set an important precedent for whether governments can use the specter of terrorism to suppress efforts to change the disastrous course on which they are steering us.
In Paris, on November 13, 129 people were killed in coordinated bombings and shootings for which the Islamic State claimed responsibility. European nationalists lost no time seeking to tie the attacks in Paris to the so-called migrant crisis, even though many of the refugees are fleeing similar attacks orchestrated by ISIS.
Tighter border controls won’t protect us from attacks like the one in Paris, though they will go on causing migrant deaths. Airstrikes won’t stop suicide bombers, but they will produce new generations that nurse a grudge against the West. Government surveillance won’t catch every bomb plot, but it will target the social movements that offer an alternative to nationalism and war. If the proponents of Fortress Europe succeed in suppressing and segregating us, we will surely end up fighting each other: divide and rule. Our only hope is to establish common cause against our rulers, building bridges across the boundaries of citizenship and religion before the whole world is carved up on the butcher’s block of war.
In this new feature on the struggle in Rojava, we offer an overview of the history of transnational Kurdish resistance, culminating in the present moment of crisis in the conflict with ISIS and the Turkish state. Drawing on repeated trips to Kurdistan during which he met with youth militias in Cizre and visited Kobanê immediately after its liberation, our correspondent traces the trajectory from the founding of the PKK to the Suruç massacre, spelling out exactly what is at stake in this struggle.
This Tuesday, our comrades are embarking on a two-month tour of the US, comprising fifty events in twenty-five states. Where our massive outreach project To Change Everything introduces anarchist ideas, on this tour anarchists from three continents will discuss their experiences acting on these ideas in a variety of struggles, movements, and uprisings.
There are still a couple days open in Southern California in late October. If you want to help us book those dates, or you would like to host future CrimethInc. tours anywhere in the world, please contact us at email@example.com.
Hope to see you this fall!
In February 2015, after months of confrontations in response to the murder of Michael Brown, a number of anarchists from the St. Louis area gathered to reflect on their experiences in the streets, their role in predominantly black struggles, and the ramifications of arson and gunfire in protests. We had sent some discussion questions to get the ball rolling, but mostly they let the conversation take its own course, speaking with admirable frankness and vulnerability. The result is an important historical document, of interest to anyone who might one day participate in something similar.
This transcript originally appeared in the 12th issue of Rolling Thunder, which examines the movement that spread across the United States from Ferguson in great detail. It is the first of a series of texts we will be publishing this week to commemorate the anniversary of the uprising.
We’re organizing a US tour for this September and October including anarchists from the groups that have produced versions of To Change Everything in Latin America, Eastern Europe, and the Balkans, as well as North America. Together, they will present a panel discussion comparing experiences from the recent global wave of uprisings and exploring the significance of anarchism in the 21st century. We’re excited to facilitate this exchange of perspectives across different continents and struggles, in hopes of helping to foster more global connections and solidarity.
But we need your help! If you are able to host an event, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re especially interested in setting up events outside the usual venues. We would love to hear from student groups, community centers, and anyone else with a good idea.
This May, to support the Czech, Polish, and German versions of To Change Everything, a rotating cast of participants from the US, Czech Republic, Germany, and the Balkans are presenting a series of speaking events in Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, and Germany.
We are planning a full US tour for the fall, bringing together participants in To Change Everything from several continents. Email email@example.com if you can help set up an event.
On May 1, following a week of riots and demonstrations, Baltimore’s chief prosecutor filed charges against six police officers for the death of Freddie Gray—an almost unprecedented development in a nation in which police kill hundreds of people a year with impunity.
Does this prove that the system can work, provided we make our demands forcefully enough? One could conclude from these events that the best way to address injustice is a sort of hyper-militant reformism. Yet it is also possible to draw the opposite conclusion—that the only way to make any progress whatsoever is to stop petitioning the authorities and take action outside the structures of governance, as the courageous people of Baltimore demonstrated. The fact that it took such a massive upheaval simply for charges to be brought against Freddie Gray’s captors—to say nothing the fundamental changes that are desperately needed in this society—suggests that it is unrealistic to think we could reform the existing institutions one riot at a time.
In that case, what is promising about these moments of rebellion is that they could serve as steps towards determining what happens in our communities autonomously, in defiance of the state, its police, and hand-wringing newscasters. Perhaps the Baltimore Uprising doesn’t show us how to present demands to our rulers, but points the way beyond the politics of demands.
This is an old debate, but it has become more and more urgent through the global uprisings of the past decade. We present our contribution, the result of months of discussions with participants in movements around the globe.
Tomorrow, April 15, is tax day: the day by which you are required to file income tax returns so the US government can extort some of your earnings, the greatest part of which traditionally goes to funding the military and police without which such banditry would be impossible. Thanks to the tax breaks available to the wealthy, your employers may pay less in taxes than you, even as they take more profit home. Many corporations—like Citigroup and Bank of America—pay no federal taxes whatsoever.
In addition, April 15 is a nationwide day of protest under the banner Fight for $15, aimed at winning workers $15-an-hour wages and the right to unionize. Now, we’d love to think that a few protests would suffice to make corporations treat their employees better, or to make the government that exists to protect those corporations suddenly change sides… but we’re not holding our breath. If you’re participating in those actions, we wish you success; just don’t get so comfortable negotiating the details of our exploitation that you come to take it for granted. Even $150 an hour couldn’t justify the humiliating jobs many of us are forced to hold. Real dignity isn’t a question of getting higher wages to do the same thing; we deserve complete self-determination, not better compensation for squandering our lives.
April 15 is also the sixth annual Steal Something from Work Day. Whether or not your employer raises your wages or permits you to unionize, you can conspire with your fellow employees to expand your take-home pay yourselves. You can that do right now, on your own terms, without waiting for legislation, without opening negotiations with your enemies, without the assistance of paid organizers or condescending nonprofits, without struggling to get the attention of politicians who answer to the highest bidder. Sure, stealing from your workplace is dangerous, but it’s no more dangerous than the kind of pressure campaign it would take to win a living wage for everyone nationwide—consult the bloody history of the old US labor movement if you want to know how people won the right to unionize in the first place. And what is more likely to equip us to move towards a real revolution, collective illegal activity or legal reform campaigns? Not that you necessarily have to choose—try both, if you like.
On April 17, a CrimethInc. agent will present at the Base in New York City about To Change Everything, exploring its most provocative themes and tying it into struggles taking place around the world. The next day, on April 18, we will table at the New York City Anarchist Book Fair. The following weekend, on April 25, we will be tabling for our fifteenth consecutive year at the Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair in Oakland. Come to any of these events for a heaping helping of free anarchist literature.