Happy Steal Something from Work Day! Every April 15, on Tax Day, when the government robs us to pay for the police and bureaucrats who extort us, we observe Steal Something from Work Day. On this day—like every day of the year—millions of workers across the country smuggle whatever we can out of the workplace in a modest attempt to reclaim a little of the time and effort we are forced to sell. It’s a paltry substitute for the freedom we deserve, but pending revolution, we’ll take what we can get.
This year, in honor of all the workers whose stories are never told, we present the testimony of one wage slave who recalls his misspent youth in the stockroom of an upscale clothing store and recounts how he exacted his revenge, ultimately calling into question whether there is anything worth taking from the world of work at all.
More resources for the pilferous toiler:
A Theft or Work?—A grad student brings poststructuralist theory to bear on time theft, why the master’s degrees will never dismantle the master’s house, and how to resist work when it has spread so far beyond the workplace
Out Of Stock: Confessions Of A Grocery Store Guerrilla—A former Whole Foods employee recounts his efforts to run his employer out of business by means of sabotage, graffiti, and insubordination, reinterpreting William Butler Yeats’ line “The falcon cannot hear the falconer” from a bird’s-eye view.
We have heard terrifying stories from the revolution in Ukraine: anarchists participating in anti-government street-fighting behind nationalist banners, anarchist slogans and historical figures appropriated by fascists… a dystopia in which familiar movements and strategies reappear with our enemies at the helm.
This text is a clumsy first attempt to identify the important questions for anarchists elsewhere around the world to discuss in the wake of the events in Ukraine. We present it humbly, acknowledging that our information is limited, hoping that others will correct our errors and improve on our analysis. It has been difficult to maintain contact with comrades in the thick of things; surely it is frustrating to be peppered with ill-informed questions amid the tragedies of civil war.
What is happening in Ukraine and Venezuela appears to be a reactionary counterattack within the space of social movements. This may be a sign of worse things to come—we can imagine a future of rival fascisms, in which the possibility of a struggle for real liberation becomes completely invisible. Here follow our hypotheses and an English-language reading list for those who are still catching up.
We’ll be back in two weeks with the episode we promised on what communists and socialists do (or don’t) have in common with anarchists. Until then, 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 email@example.com. You can also call us 24 hours a day at 202–59-NOWRK, that is, 202–596–6975.
The past two weeks have seen a fierce new protest movement in Bosnia, commencing with the destruction of government buildings and continuing with the establishment of popular assemblies. Unlike the recent conflicts in Ukraine, this movement has eschewed nationalistic strife to focus on class issues. In a region infamous for ethnic bloodshed, this offers a more promising direction for the Eastern European uprisings to come.
To gain more insight into the protests, we conducted two interviews. The first is with a participant in Mostar, Bosnia, who describes the events firsthand. The second is with a comrade in a nearby part of the Balkans, who explains the larger context of the movement, evaluating its potential to spread to other parts of the region and to challenge capitalism and the state.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave us a voicemail at 202-59-NOWRK.
Some radicals believe the internet prefigures a decentralized utopia; others foresee a new digital feudalism of total management and surveillance. In our long-awaited thirteenth episode of the Ex-Worker, Clara and Alanis take on the recent CrimethInc. feature “Deserting the Digital Utopia,” teasing out some of the limitations and possibilities of resistance that engages with digital technologies. A supporter of imprisoned radical hacker Jeremy Hammond discusses his anti-authoritarian politics and the military, corporate, police, and intelligence agencies he targeted with his hacks. Listeners lambast us on our grievous gaffe from last episode, sketchy cops and masked marchers populate the news, and we announce an anarchist primer competition (even if we can’t agree on how to pronounce it).
Our anonymous interlocutor traces the prehistory and development of contemporary Israeli anarchism, touching on the origins of punk and the animal rights movement in Israel and presenting a critical analysis of the trajectory of Anarchists Against the Wall. He concludes by reflecting on the function of nonviolence rhetoric in the conflict between Israel and Palestine. We strongly recommend this interview to anyone interested in the Israel/Palestine conflict or, for that matter, in the strategic challenges of formulating an anarchist opposition in adverse conditions.
The Internet has often been compared to the Wild West: a largely unregulated space rich in opportunities, in which people may experiment with new relations. Most commentators miss the full implications of this metaphor. The Wild West was the final frontier of colonization, where the last zones of ungoverned territory were mapped, stripped of resources, and integrated into state control. Many who fled to the Wild West in search of freedom only accelerated this process of colonization. Similarly, those who champion the Internet as the new frontier of freedom may inadvertently hasten the enclosure of the last aspects of human life that remain outside the economy.
The Net is indubitably the front lines of the battle against enclosure, and it is essential to fight on the territory it presents. But should the object of that fight be to establish a democratic digital utopia? Understanding the original meaning of “computer” as a human being reduced to an algorithmic device, we set out to trace the relationship between capitalism and digitization and to imagine a digital resistance to computing itself.