The Ex-Worker #14: Squat the World!

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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 podcast@crimethinc.com, or leave us a voicemail at 202-59-NOWRK.

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.

The Ex-Worker #13: Ones and Zeroes

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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).

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.

Contemporary Israeli Anarchism: A History

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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.

Read the interview.

Deserting the Digital Utopia

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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.

Deserting the Digital Utopia: Computers Against Computing

After the Crest, pt. IV: Montréal

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This is the final installment in our “After the Crest” series exploring how to navigate the waning phase of social movements. It is a personal reflection on anarchist participation in the 2012 student strike in Montréal and the disruptions that accompanied it. The product of much collective discussion, this article explores the opportunities anarchists missed during the high point of the conflict by limiting themselves to the framework of the strike, and the risks they incurred by attempting to maintain it once it had entered a reformist endgame.

After the Crest, part IV: Montréal – Peaks and Precipices

For a narrative account of many of the events discussed in this text, read While the Iron Is Hot: Student Strike and Social Revolt in Montréal, Spring 2012.

We’re eager to hear from comrades around the world about your own experiences and conclusions regarding how to relate to the waning phase of movements, whether for inclusion in the forthcoming “After the Crest” podcast episode or elsewhere. Contact us via rollingthunder@crimethinc.com.

After the Crest, pt. III: Barcelona at Low Tide

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This is the third part in our “After the Crest” series, studying how we can make the most of the waning phase of upheavals. This installment analyzes the rhythms of struggle in Barcelona over the past several years, discussing the complex relationship between anarchists and larger social movements as popular struggles escalated and then subsided. It concludes with practical input on how anarchists can take advantage of a period of ebbing momentum.

For best results, read this text in combination with our earlier features on Barcelona: “Fire Extinguishers and Fire Starters,” describing the plaza occupation movement of spring 2011, and “The Rose of Fire Has Returned,”, focusing on the general strike of March 2012. Together, the three pieces trace the trajectory of an upheaval from its inspiring but ideologically murky inception through the high point of confrontation and into the aftermath.

After the Crest, part III: Barcelona Anarchists at Low Tide

After the Crest, pt. II: The Oakland Commune

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This is the second part in our “After the Crest” series, studying what we can learn from the waning phase of social movements. In this installment, participants in Occupy Oakland trace its trajectory from origins to conclusion, exploring why it reached certain limits and what it will take for future movements to surpass them.

After the Crest, part II: The Rise and Fall of the Oakland Commune

After the Crest: The Life Cycle of Movements

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Over the past six years, cities around the world have seen peaks of anti-capitalist struggle: Athens, London, Barcelona, Cairo, Oakland, Montréal, Istanbul. A decade ago, anarchists would converge from around the world to participate in a single summit protest. Now many have participated in months-long upheavals in their own cities, and more surely loom ahead.

But what do we do after the crest? If a single upheaval won’t bring down capitalism, we have to ask what’s important about these high points: what we hope to get out of them, how they figure in our long-term vision, and how to make the most of the period that follows them. This is especially pressing today, when we can be sure that there are more upheavals on the way.

To this end, we’ve organized a dialogue with anarchists in some of the cities that have seen climaxes of conflict, including Oakland, Barcelona, and Montréal. Over the next several days, we will present the results of some of those discussions here, as a series of reflections on the opportunities and risks that arise during the declining phase of a movement.

After the Crest, part I: What to Do while the Dust Is Settling

Read the “After the Crest” Questionnaire

Coming This Week: “After the Crest” Series

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This week, we will publish a four-part series analyzing what happens in the waning phase of movements, and how to recognize the opportunities and risks they pose. We have been working on this for months in dialogue with comrades around the world. We encourage our friends to continue this dialogue via formal or informal discussions, in hopes that we might be better prepared for the next crescendo of social struggle.

Announcement for the discussion in Toronto after the jump.

The June 2013 Uprisings in Brazil, Part II

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June 2013 saw the biggest wave of protest in Brazil’s recent history. Last month, we published a report from participants in this struggle, which began with demonstrations against a transit fare hike and quickly escalated into countrywide clashes. This is our second installment on the uprising, authored by another group, who offer a more critical perspective on the events.

Read the feature.