The Thin Blue Line Is a Burning Fuse

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It should have come as no surprise yesterday when the grand jury in St. Louis refused to indict Darren Wilson, the police officer who murdered Michael Brown last August in Ferguson, Missouri. Various politicians and media outlets had labored to prepare the public for this for months in advance. They knew what earnest liberals and community leaders have yet to acknowledge: that it is only possible to preserve the prevailing social order by giving police officers carte blanche to kill black men at will. Otherwise, it would be impossible to maintain the racial and economic inequalities upon which this society is based. In defiance of widespread outrage, even at the cost of looting and arson, the legal system will always protect officers from the consequences of their actions—for without them, it could not exist.

The verdict of the grand jury is not a failure of the justice system, but a lesson in what it is there to do in the first place. Likewise, the unrest radiating from Ferguson is not a tragic failure to channel protest into productive venues, but an indication of the form all future social movements will have to take to stand any chance of addressing the problems that give rise to them.

Read the feature.

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.

To Change Everything: Final Countdown

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One month ago, we announced the kickstarter for To Change Everything, our ambitious anarchist outreach project. The final hours of the fundraising campaign are upon us now. This is your last chance to help us get this project off the ground.

Since that announcement, we’ve confirmed translations in several more languages and arranged a separate printing of the English version for the UK and Europe. Programmers from Oregon to São Paulo are coding the websites; collectives from Russia to Maharlika (the so-called Philippines) are finalizing their renderings of the video and text. Altogether, the network producing different versions of To Change Everything spans twenty groups in as many countries.

Thanks to the generous support of hundreds of donors, we will be able to:

  • print 100,000 full-color copies of the English version of *To Change Everything*
  • send 2000 copies to prisoner support groups
  • produce 50,000 stickers promoting the online version
  • and donate $400 each to fund the print versions in Brazil, Argentina, Romania, and Slovenia.

We are still hoping to raise enough money to produce 10,000 copies of a full-color Spanish version for North America. We hope that in the remaining hours, enough last-minute donations will come in to cover this. If you’ve already donated, or you can’t afford to, please just do your part to bring this project to others’ attention. The limited edition shirts, stickers, and posters we’ve made for the fundraiser will not be available after Thursday evening.

We will be excited to put To Change Everything at your disposal, in its print, video, and web incarnations, about a month from now. Thanks to comrades like @thetinyraccoon and Mask Magazine for doing their part to support this project—and thank you.

Now Accepting Bitcoins

In response to a few folks who have requested it, we’re pleased to announce that we can now accept bitcoins as donations for To Change Everything. Click the button below to either pay with a Coinbase account or to get an address to send the ol’ bitcoins to. You’ll still qualify for the Kickstarter rewards: simply email us at ‘hello@crimethinc.com’ after sending the bitcoins and tell us the amount you sent, when you sent it, and what reward level you’d like to receive. Though your contribution won’t be added to the posted total on the Kickstarter page itself, we will dedicate those funds directly to the TCE project.

Donate Bitcoins

 

 

“We often thought that the French police were missing a splendid opportunity for ruining our paper by subscribing to a hundred copies and sending no voluntary contributions.”
-Peter Kropotkin, Memoirs of a Revolutionist

 

 

The Ex-Worker #29: Anarchism in Chile, Part I

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#29: Anarchism in Chile, Part I: From Popular Power to Social War – It’s been a busy fall here at the Ex-Worker podcast: demos, illnesses, and catastrophes of all sorts have slowed us down, but can’t stop us! Against the odds, we’ve returned with our 29th episode, the first of a two-episode series exploring anarchism in Chile. From its roots in the popular power of the Allende years and militant resistance to the Pinochet dictatorship to today’s clashes between encapuchados and Carabineros across burning barricades, we explore the history and background context necessary to understand the distinctive and militant anarchist struggles of contemporary Chile. From the recent anarchist book and propaganda fair in Santiago, several anarchists speak with us about the importance of radical neighborhoods, the evolution of public anarchist organizing, and political imprisonment in Chile. And as if that wasn’t enough, we’ve also got a report-back from the marches and actions of New York City Climate Convergence, with several interviewees reporting on their experiences and sharing their reflections on how anarchists connect to broader environmental movements. Listeners weigh in on historical dates, pronunciation mistakes, and mind-controlled drones, and a big helping of news plus events and prisoner birthdays puts the icing on the cake.

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 podcast@crimethinc.com. You can also call us 24 hours a day at 202–59-NOWRK, that is, 202–596–6975.

The Making of “Outside Agitators”

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On August 19, ten days after police murdered Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, a slew of corporate media stories appeared charging that “criminals” and “outside agitators” were responsible for clashes during the protests. CNN alleged that “all sides agree there are a select number of people—distinct from the majority of protesters—who are fomenting violence,” quoting a State Highway Patrol Captain, a State Senator, and a former FBI assistant director to confirm this.

But what exactly are “outside agitators”? Where does this concept come from, and how is it deployed? In this feature, we analyze this rhetoric, what functions it serves, and what it conceals.

Read The Making of “Outside Agitators.”

Meanwhile, in response to popular demand, we have made a hasty zine version of our previous article about the events in Ferguson, What They Mean when They Say Peace. Download a printable PDF here [7.1MB].

Finally, the above illustration is available in poster form from artist Corina Dross, to raise funds for arrestees in Ferguson.

What They Mean when They Say Peace

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“I’m committed to making sure the forces of peace and justice prevail,” Missouri Governor Jay Nixon said in Ferguson on Saturday, August 16, after a week of conflicts sparked by the police murder of teenager Michael Brown. “If we’re going to achieve justice, we first must have and maintain peace.”

Is that how it works—first you impose peace, then you achieve justice? And what does that mean, the forces of peace and justice? What kind of peace and justice are we talking about here?

Read the editorial.

Staying Safe in the Streets

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In view of the ongoing police violence in Ferguson, Missouri, comrades have requested that we post some new material about how participants in protests can protect themselves in the streets. If you are participating in dangerous protests, especially if you are part of a group targeted by police violence, please take steps to minimize the likelihood that police and other repressive entities will be able to capture or identify you. You deserve to be safe and free!

Here is a handout that was circulated during the protests in Durham, North Carolina against the killing of Jesus “Chuy” Huerta in November 2013. You can read a collection of texts about those protests here.

In addition, here is a short guide to being prepared for public order situations such as those unfolding in Ferguson right now. Thank you for your courage, and good luck.

Read the guide.

The Ex-Worker #24: Communization

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#24: Communization – From the incendiary writings of The Invisible Committee prompting arrests on charges of rail line sabotage in France, to the calculated analysis of Theorie Communiste and Aufheben, we may have skipped a few things in our previous two episodes about communism. The current known as communization emerged out of the struggles of May ’68 in France, and to this day the question remains: can we enact communism ourselves, here and now? In this episode of the Ex-worker, we’ll take another angle on communism, away from the backstabbing, newspaper-hocking, withering-state-types profiled in Episodes 20 and 21, instead focusing on those who share our dream of breaking with the misery of our conditions and dismantling this world (even if they still talk like Marxists.) In this episode we experiment with different ways of breaking through some of the heavy theoretical language and ideas, including a reportback from a rather unusual Endnotes reading group, and transmit a theme segment from an autonomous, anonymous podcasting cell. We’ll travel to North and South Korea in our listener feedback section, hear an interview from Anarchist prisoner Michael Kimble about prison struggle in Alabama and the importance of supporting long-term prisoners, and round it out with news and prisoner birthdays.

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 podcast@crimethinc.com. You can also call us 24 hours a day at 202–59-NOWRK, that is, 202–596–6975.

Why Riot against the World Cup?

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With just a few days left before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, we conducted an interview with our comrades in São Paulo about the demonstrations that are unfolding. In a wave of unrest emerging on the heels of last year’s riots against proposed transportation fare hikes, thousands are once again flooding the streets and clashing with police in hopes of disrupting the games. We anticipate more unrest in the coming weeks.

Read the interview.

Running from the Devil: An Interview

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In 2012, Steve Jablonski was subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury and chose instead to leave the United States. In this interview, he describes his interactions with law enforcement and his time on the run.

Download Zine PDF (online reading version). [3.1MB]

Download Imposed PDF (print-ready version). [2.1MB]

Read the Interview.