To Change Everything Eastern European Tour

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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.

Coinciding with this, we have added the Polish and Czech versions of To Change Everything to the website, including PDFs of the print versions.

We are planning a full US tour for the fall, bringing together participants in To Change Everything from several continents. Email rollingthunder@crimethinc.com if you can help set up an event.

Tour dates after the jump.

Why We Don’t Make Demands

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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.

Read the feature.

Tomorrow Is Steal Something from Work Day!

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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.

Read on.

April Is Anarchist Book Fair Month

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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.

Turkish Anarchists on the Fight for Kobanê

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In summer 2013, we published an interview with the Turkish group Revolutionary Anarchist Action (Devrimci Anarşist Faaliyet, or DAF) about the uprising that began in Gezi Park. At the end of summer 2014, we learned that DAF was supporting the fierce resistance that residents of the town of Kobanê in northern Syria were putting up to the incursion of the fundamentalist Islamic State.

In hopes of gaining more insight into the situation, we contacted our comrades of DAF once more. After months of waiting, we are finally able to present these two interviews—one offering general background on the struggle in Kobanê, the other delving into analytical detail about the geopolitical context and implications.

Read the feature.

Why Syriza Can’t Save Greece

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Since 2008, Greece has been a bellwether of crisis and resistance around the world: whatever happens in the social movements there is a pretty good indication of what lies ahead for the rest of us. Syriza, a new political party, took power in Greece last Sunday with the promise to rescue Greece from austerity programs in defiance of the international bankers and finance ministers at the helm of global capitalism. While conservative economists wring their hands, similar parties all over Europe are hailing this as a new model offering hope and change.

But in the long run, Syriza cannot solve the problems created by capitalism and the state, and their electoral victory may only hinder the revolutionary movements that could solve them. Here’s why.

Read the feature.

From Ferguson to Oakland

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The movement that began in Ferguson in response to the murder of Michael Brown has spread around the United States, setting off nightly clashes in the Bay Area. Scrambling to keep up with events, our contacts in Oakland have composed this overview of the past 17 days of anti-police revolt. They describe the trajectory of die-ins, marches, riots, blockades, barricading, and looting, and explore the implications for the future of protest movements around the country.

Read the feature.

Why Break Windows?

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From the initial revolt in Ferguson last August to the demonstrations in Oakland and Berkeley last week, property destruction has been central to a new wave of struggle against police violence. But what does vandalizing businesses have to do with protesting police brutality? Why break windows?

First, as countless others have argued, because property destruction is an effective tactic. From the Boston Tea Party to the demonstrations against the 1999 World Trade Organization summit in Seattle, property destruction has been an essential part of many struggles. It can pressure or punish opponents by inflicting an economic cost. It can mobilize potential comrades by demonstrating that the ruling forces are not invincible. It can force issues that otherwise would be suppressed—we would certainly not be having a nationwide conversation about race, class, and policing were it not for the courageous actions of a few vandals in Ferguson. Finally, it conveys an uncompromising rejection of the prevailing order, opening space in which people may begin to imagine another.

Continue reading after the jump.

From Occupy to Ferguson

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In early 2011, in response to austerity measures, protesters occupied the capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin. It was a localized struggle, but it gained traction on the popular imagination out of all proportion to its size. This clearly indicated that something big was coming, and some of us even brainstormed about how to prepare for it—but all the same, the nationwide wave of Occupy a few months later caught us flat-footed.

In August 2014, after white police officer Darren Wilson killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, a week and a half of pitched protests shook the town. Once again, these were localized, but they loomed big in the popular imagination. Police kill something like three people a day in the United States; over the past few years, we’ve seen a pattern of increasing outrage against these murders, but until that August it hadn’t gained much leverage on the public consciousness. What was new about the Ferguson protests was not just that people refused to cede the streets to the police for days on end, nor that they openly defied the “community leadership” that usually pacifies such revolts. It was also that all around the country, people were finally paying attention and expressing approval.

Like the occupation of the capitol building in Madison, this may portend things to come. Ferguson is a microcosm of the United States. Could we see an uprising like this spread nationwide? It seems almost possible, right now, as the governor of Missouri has declared a preemptive state of emergency and people all over the US are preparing demonstrations for the day that the grand jury refuses to indict Darren Wilson.

Continue reading after the jump.

New Project: To Change Everything

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For many months now, we’ve been hard at work on a new anarchist outreach project that picks up where Fighting for Our Lives left off—drawing on everything we’ve learned since then and updating the contents and format. Now that work is completed—we just need your help to get it into the world.

To Change Everything is a full-color 48-page booklet. In fresh, accessible language, it explores the virtues of self-determination, illuminates why authoritarian power structures cannot resolve the crises they produce, and discusses how to weave our personal revolts together into a collective struggle for liberation.

We want to print 100,000 copies and circulate it for free, so as to reach the generations radicalized by the global movements and catastrophes of the past few years. We’ve worked with Submedia.tv to produce an accompanying video; we’re coordinating with comrades around the world so the text will appear simultaneously on at least three continents in at least a dozen languages. The video and text will be available in all those languages on a fully responsive website. With your help, we can accomplish all this by the end of 2014.

We’re using Kickstarter to raise the funds to cover printing. If you aren’t familiar with Kickstarter, you can learn about how to use it here. If you’re curious why we’re using a fundraising platform for this project, read our explanation Why a Kickstarter? Why Now?. If you think we do good work, please help us—every little bit counts, and you’ll be ensuring that this project is available to everyone for free. To sweeten the pot, we’ve come up with some fancy rewards for donors, including our first-ever t-shirts.


Kickstarter To Change Everything

 
New anarchist outreach material is long overdue. Even entrenched representatives of the status quo are now admitting that it is necessary to change everything, but the best they can come up with is to appeal to the same authorities that are responsible for our problems in the first place. Meanwhile, the rise of the far right in Europe and the ongoing debacle in Ukraine show how high the stakes are and how bleak the future will be if fascists succeed in presenting themselves as the partisans of change. When the next round of uprisings arrives, it may be too late to reach out to people.

We don’t ask for much, but if ever there were a time for you to help us, this is it. Even if you can’t contribute financially, please send word of this project out on twitter or Facebook, yell it out from street corners. Thanks so much, dear friends.

Why a Kickstarter? Why Now?