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.
“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?
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.
#24: Communization – From the incendiary writings of The Invisible Committeeprompting 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call us 24 hours a day at 202–59-NOWRK, that is, 202–596–6975.
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.
Over the past few years, there has been a push to criminalize squatting across Western Europe. But in a time of increasing economic instability, can governments succeed in suppressing squatting? What is at stake here?
This article reviews the background and contemporary context of squatting in England, beginning after the Second World War and comparing the current movement to its counterparts on mainland Europe. It touches on many stories: migrants squatting to build a life safe from fascist attacks, gay activists finding spaces in which to build up a scene, vibrant and insurgent squatted areas, single-issue campaigns occupying as a direct action tactic, and anti-capitalist groups setting up social centers. We hope this text will help those in present-day struggles to root themselves in the heritage of previous movements.
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.