To complement our Contradictionary, we’ve added an exchange with Kristian Williams about anarchist writing to our reading library. Choosing Orwell’s essay “Politics and the English Language” as his point of departure, Kristian takes contemporary anarchists to task for sloppy writing that leads to sloppy thinking. We respond with an assault on everything normative in language, calling for an anarchist writing that shakes readers free of the control mechanisms coded into English itself.
This morning, environmental activist Daniel McGowan was taken back to jail despite his exemplary parole record, presumably in retaliation for his recent article on the secretive Communications Management Units the US prison system uses to silence political prisoners.
Daniel’s article cites court documents confirming that, during his incarceration for environmentally motivated direct action, Daniel was moved to a CMU to punish him for expressing his political views. Despite first facing the threat of a life sentence, and then serving years in the CMU with very little contact with the outside world, Daniel has never cooperated with efforts to incriminate other activists, nor ceased to speak his mind. The US government is determined to make an example of Daniel for this. We too might hold him up as an example, showing that no amount of threats and coercion can break the spirit of a person determined to stand up to oppression.
There are two and a half million people in prison in the US, more than there were in the gulags at the height of Stalin’s reign in the Soviet Union. As in the Soviet Union, the authorities do everything they can to keep this population invisible: to prevent them from communicating with the rest of society so most people never learn how much violence and coercion are necessary to maintain this social order.
We should respond to attempts to silence Daniel and others like him by listening to what they have to say about what is going on in America’s prisons–and by doing our part to make it impossible for the authorities to silence anyone.
Daniel’s original article from within the CMU, “Tales from Inside the US Gitmo”
Our overview of Operation Backfire, in which Daniel was arrested, “Green Scared?”
Daniel’s attorneys at the Center for Constitutional Rights just released this statement:
Daniel McGowan has been released from the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn where he was taken into custody yesterday and is back at the halfway house where he has been residing since his release from prison in December. Yesterday, Daniel was given an “incident report” indicating that his Huffington Post blog post, “Court Documents Prove I Was Sent to Communication Management Units (CMU) for My Political Speech,” violated a BOP regulation prohibiting inmates from “publishing under a byline.” The BOP regulation in question was declared unconstitutional by a federal court in 2007, and eliminated by the BOP in 2010. After we brought this to the BOP’s attention, the incident report was expunged.
For months now, three courageous individuals—Matt Duran, Katherine Olejnik, and Maddy Pfeiffer—have been held captive in the Federal Detention Center in Seatac, Washington for refusing to cooperate with a grand jury currently underway in Washington state. Another person, Kerry Cunneen, has been subpoenaed but declines to appear. Convened in March of 2012, the grand jury is clearly intended to discourage anarchist activity, which has proliferated on the West Coast over the past few years.
In the following statement, we emphasize the urgency of offensive as well as defensive strategies, and present new support materials to draw attention to the grand jury resisters. This situation has been going on for many months now, but it’s important to renew public awareness on a regular basis.
Two decades ago, before the music industry had fully colonized it, the do-it-yourself underground was a space of exodus and experimentation, often in violent opposition to the rest of the world. This was the context in which Catharsis appeared, one of a new wave of bands to meld metal drama with the raw urgency of hardcore punk. They quickly distinguished themselves by an almost self-destructive intensity and uncompromising anticapitalist ethic. Inverting Christian iconography to champion the struggle of the individual against a hostile cosmos, they took up the centuries-old banner No Gods, No Masters, extending this project of total defiance into their increasingly tumultuous lives. This apocalyptic orientation in turn informed their music, as they sought to hit upon the magic combination of words, harmonies, and rhythms that could spark a global conflagration.
Catharsis broke up in 2002, following relentless touring on three continents and a final catastrophic five months in Europe. After a decade of watching the old records sell for absurd prices while bootleggers profited off substandard editions, we’ve finally taken it upon ourselves to offer a proper collection of their work.
This discography, “Light from a Dead Star,” includes their debut 7”, the “Samsara” and “Passion” LPs, and the split LPs with Gehenna and Newborn. It also includes the final Catharsis song, “Absolution,” recorded alongside “Arsonist’s Prayer” in their last session but never released. That totals two hours of music on four LPs, packaged in a box with oversize booklets offering all the original artwork.
These will be back from the pressing plant in mid-January, just in time for a handful of Catharsis reunion shows. In the meantime, the discography can be pre-ordered from CrimethInc. Far East (North America) and Refuse Records (Europe).
All records are now sold out.
Pre-orders from CrimethInc. will come on limited-edition colored vinyl; they will include digital versions of all these songs and others, plus video footage, fliers, and other archival material. We’ll throw in some additional treats as well. These are unavoidably expensive, but the digital download of the discography will be available in January at a price anyone can afford.
[UPDATE: The colored vinyl, limited to 100 copies, has sold-out. All pre-orders from here on will include black vinyl, limited also, to 400 copies.]
In addition, Catharsis is briefly reuniting to play four shows this January: January 17 in Raleigh, NC; January 18 in Baltimore, MD; January 19 in New York City; and January 20 in Washington, DC, at a benefit show for political prisoners as part of a counter-inaugural festival of resistance.
Finally, we are able to offer our article, “Designed to Kill: Border Policy and How to Change It,” in Spanish translation: Diseñada Para Matar: Política Fronteriza y Como Cambiarla. A printable zine pdf is also available in English and Spanish. Please circulate these wherever they can be useful!
Unrast has just published the first full-length book of German CrimethInc. translations, Message in a Bottle: Selected CrimethInc. Communiqués 1996-2011. Our comrades in Black Mosquito have worked hard to translate and prepare this collection. A speaking tour throughout German-speaking Europe is currently underway to discuss the issues it raises.
Just in time for the one-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, we have the video footage of last Wednesday’s debate with Chris Hedges, courtesy of our comrades at Global Uprisings. We’re also including a summary of the results of the debate and some of the points we set out to make in it.
On July 19, Kelly Rose Pflug-Back was sentenced to eleven more months in prison for her participation in the 2010 G20 protests in Toronto. She remains unapologetic about her role in the black bloc that caused so much disruption during the summit, demonstrating that the forces that impose capitalism and patriarchy are not invulnerable.
To support Kelly and the millions like her who are imprisoned for the inconveniences they pose to the powerful, we are proud to present her eloquent and thought-provoking memoir of the time she spent incarcerated after her original arrest: “Every Prisoner is a Political Prisoner.” In this account, Kelly powerfully evokes the experience of captivity and the importance of understanding all captives of the state as political prisoners.
Our friends Strangers in a Tangled Wilderness are publishing a book of Kelly’s poetry as a fundraiser to benefit her during her incarceration. Walt Whitman argued that “to have great poets there must be great audiences,” but audiences is precisely the opposite of what there must be. To have great poetry, there must be people who are willing to act on their ideals rather than just watch from the sidelines. We are deeply grateful to Kelly for finding the courage to live her poetry as well as writing it.
On May Day 2012, anarchists around the US succeeded in precipitating clashes on a larger scale than in previous years. But it’s important to strategize ahead of our immediate problems, in order to be prepared for the subsequent challenges we will face when we succeed. This report from the May Day 2012 mobilization in Berlin offers a cautionary tale, showing how the commodification of rebellion, the influence of accommodating movement leaders, and the rhetoric of creating safe spaces have been used to neutralize a popular tradition of resistance. If revolt continues to gain momentum in the United States, we can expect to see some of these strategies employed here as well.
We are pleased to present TERROR INCOGNITA, an outsize barnacle clinging to the hull of Vortext, a meditation on seduction, desire, and insurrection.
Why do liberals label nearly any form of direct action as violence? What do queer black blocs have in common in with Christian hardcore? Why are anarchists so hung up on breaking windows and fucking?
In three interlocking movements, TERROR INCOGNITA answers all of these questions and more, while overturning some of our deepest assumptions about desire, identity, strategy, and freedom.