Meditations And Recommendations From The Anarchist International
On February 4th, 5,000 people assembled underneath the Acropolis in Monastiraki Square. The demonstration had been called by a wide array of people in the anarchist and anti-authoritarian spaces. The purpose of the event was to highlight opposition to the Troika and to distribute information to the public. We will now quote at length a portion of one communique issued after the event:
During the demonstration, thousands of counter-informative leaflets and texts of anarchist agitation were shared out to passersby. On some occasions, people on the sidewalk applauded the demonstrators and a couple of elderly citizens even raised their fists in support; nevertheless, most of the passersby as well as homeless people across the demo route had blank and tired stares from the misery of everyday life, and only a couple of people joined spontaneously the march. While the demo was underway, various slogans were painted on the metropolitan walls.
Despite the massive anarchist presence on the streets, where several political trends came together under the projectuality of social class counterattack, the demo gave the sense of a comradely walk, rather than a protest march, and breaks between chanted slogans felt at times as if they reflected our inability to give a firm and decisive response to the hardest issues that we all face today: How will we overthrow this system of death, which suffocates us on a daily basis?
We find this comradely walk they speak of to be highly important. 5,000 people walking together, being-together, knowing they are together, acting together, however minimally, is a process that increases the likelihood of the world revolutionary Geist entering linear time. Those 5,000 people can act as a conscious amplification device for the Geist, acting together for the singular purpose of destroying capitalism and ending linear time. While the demonstration on February 4th did not see a mass intrusion of the Geist, those same 5,000 people remembered each other on February 12th, the day the Geist returned and laid siege to dozens of cities across Greece.
Later on the day of February 4th, 60 people attacked the house of Greek President Karolos Papoulias. All 60 people were able to outrun the DELTA police who tried to capture them. This action was claimed in solidarity with Stella Antoniou and the others arrested for being part of the Conspiracy of Cells of Fire in 2010. It was promised that more attacks would continue. On February 23rd, a nameless group of people burnt six ATMs, a newspaper van, and a Ministry of Culture building in five separate areas of Athens. This was also claimed in solidarity with Stella Antoniou.
The comradely walk through town is the being-together of multiple people, acknowledging their shared struggle. Experiencing this being-together creates strength and confidence in the people involved. It is wise to view these walks as valuable efforts that will strengthen any future efforts. These walks can be taken in multiple ways and are in no way confined to the form of the street demonstration. As should be obvious by now, two goals of the Anarchist International are to forge a stronger collectivity between anarchists internationally and to increase the sense of being-together on the planet, engaged in the same struggle. To use Greece as the microcosm of the international struggle, we need to ensure that the 5,000 comrades can become 500,000 individuals who share the same goal of removing the government, the police, and capitalism from their lives.
We hope many people attend the demonstration called by the Villa Amalias squat for March 3rd. The demonstration will be starting at an occupied market that has been brought to life after seven years of being abandoned. Immigrants are taught Greek there and food is given out for free. We find the sentiment in Greece to be highly inspiring and eagerly await the impending transcendence of the population and the prolonged and potentially infinite expansion of the world revolutionary Geist. As we said in our Three Unifying Tactics Of The Anarchist International, as long as the chaos, mystery, and ferocity of our actions pierce directly into the heart of capitalist normality, we may consider all tactics legitimate and worthy of repetition.
To conclude, we would like to quote the words of Christos Tsakalos, also arrested for being a member of the Conspiracy. Christos and his comrades reject the words and the terminology of the State, constantly arguing that they are simply anarchists who have decided to attack their enemy.
As for our terrorism, it is the human will for freedom and anarchy. Apparently, you dread this will, so you vote new terror laws, you establish exceptional court-martials, you take special security measures, you do not allow us to talk to our relatives and companions during trial recesses, and even when you take us to the detention rooms, ten metres from your court room which is built inside the prison, you handcuff us. This means that you are really scared. This is an honour and pleasure for us, because it shows that a group of people, a circle of anarchist of praxis can terrify an entire State. This shows that, away from the silence and passivity of the mass, the will of only a few people is sufficient for your system to be crushed.
It is our hope that Christos realize that the mass he speaks of is not passive, it is simply beaten down constantly and kept contained in a city wide jail called Athens. Just as jail breaks do not occur every day while living in prison, upheavals cannot happen every day either. There is only patience, time, determination, and consistency. Until we have all broken free, some of us will remain trapped and it is our hope that this is now obvious. All of us are trapped and must make the most of our time in order to have a chance at seeing the endless expansion of the world revolutionary Geist and the end of capitalist time.
What will happen when the International is better organized, when a great many more sections — above all, agricultural sections — are enrolled in its ranks, when each section triples its membership? What will happen when each and every member knows better than he does now the ultimate objectives and true principles of the International, as well as the means to insure its triumph? The International will have become an invincible power.
-Statement from the Anarchist International, 1871
The Anarchist International endorses the call for an international general strike on May 1st, 2012 and recommends the participation of all comrades on that day. We look forward with great anticipation and excitement to the first clear articulation of the new power we are creating together. This event could be a powerful moment where massive numbers of us all physically affirm that we are together in our efforts to destroy the capitalist international. However, there are some reservations, problems, and questions that some of you may have with the current plans.
It is certainly true that the initial form the general strike will take is going to be a partial strike in mostly non-vital industries that takes place prior to a series of marches and gatherings on the streets. This will vary to a greater or lesser degree in different regions of the world. Some cities will see the participation of mass-unions while others, especially in the United States, will see a new form of mobilization that relies predominately on the participation of non-union and thus semi-autonomous workers.
The United States finds itself in a unique position with 89% of its workforce laboring without the economic protection of a union and thus has never had the luxury of contenting themselves with high wages for manual labor. This is very different from places like Belgium or Greece where the percentage of unionized workers is significantly higher and the members of these unions still retain the hope of forcing the government to agree to their limited demands.
While the participation of mass-unions can potentially bring hundreds of thousands of people onto the streets of the cities, those people will mostly be operating under the assumption that our enemy is listening to them, waiting for coherent arguments and a list of grievances. It is true that our enemy is constantly moving to undermine and destroy all mass-unions but it is unlikely that they will be able to succeed. Should they ever wipe out all of these old union structures or should these unions naturally decompose and vanish into nothingness, new forms of solidarity and autonomous organization will inevitably emerge that will be far more antagonistic to capitalism than their predecessors due simply to the very fact of their birth within the current capitalist reality.
The first instinct of most people is to always replicate the forms of struggle and resistance they have come to know through pattern and repetition. The only way for these old forms to organically transcend themselves is for them to become inhabited by an excess amount of people and potential. Within this critical mass of bodies and desires, be it a mass-demonstration or a night of insurrection, there is the possibility of the Geist intruding upon linear time and transforming the old methods and tactics into new forms that defy classification or immediate analysis. We will not know these new forms until the Geist has withdrawn and it is only in those moments, when capitalist time has returned, that we will view what came out of its intrusion as novel methods and tactics. In capitalist time, what was once timeless and unclassifiable is studied and replicated, becoming static.
As was stated earlier, in some cities these unions will be bring out large numbers of people and we cannot discount or ignore the proven fact that the Geist has turned passive crowds of people into a rebellious force that finally is able to do what it has always wanted to do but never dared: burn down and destroy the houses of governance and capitalism. We recommend that all of you assist these people should they happen to awaken and become animated by a kindred spirit.
We do not have the ability to offer any specific unifying tactics beyond mere participation in the general strike, but that is only because of the wide diversity in geographic locations and social contexts that we cannot advise on individually. We are certainly not advocating passive participation in a project organized by another group. Should any comrades be unable to muster enough support to have a strong and autonomous presence in their own cities, they should travel to the nearest place where their support would best be able to enhance the autonomous efforts of their neighboring comrades. But beyond this, we have nothing to offer other than our limited services and refer our readers to the previous communications of the International.
The form of the general strike has persisted throughout linear time and has become a mythological construct, a gateway to heaven, a dead shell. We support the appropriation of the term general strike in this effort for one reason alone: a true general strike will always be impossible. Once it is achieved, we will have defeated linear time and destroyed capitalist reality. Should the populations of the world stop production completely in any location, they will have to provide for themselves without the capitalist world network. It will be up to them not to replicate the system they have just destroyed or make deals with the surviving nation states.
What role the Anarchist International will play in a world outside of time will be determined solely by the extent to which all of us consciously create that world. We applaud the call by German comrades for an international week of actions leading up to the general strike and during the final week of April we expect to see news spaces opened up, ties between comrades affirmed, and bonds strengthened between ourselves and the people who become animated by the Geist along the way. Let the May 1st General Strike be an affirmation of our new international, leaderless and multiform, propelled by an eternal spirit of rebellion and freedom.
Our epoch is a birth-time, and a period of transition. The spirit of man has broken with the old order of things hitherto prevailing, and with the old ways of thinking, and is in the mind to let them all sink into the depths of the past and to set about its own transformation.
The majority of the Anarchist International does not reside in the country, in the small town, or on the periphery of capitalism. The majority of us inhabit the centers of global capital and spend our lives close to our enemies heart. One side effect of living in such close proximity to these glowing cores of money and power is a confusion as to what reality is like for those who live far away and near the edge. Military suppression, famines, civil war, and urban guerrilla warfare are commonplace in nation states such as India, China, the Philippines, and Afghanistan. Those inhabiting the interior sometimes trick themselves into thinking they understand what living in these situations is like, but obviously they do not.
Those who live within the stability of capitalist democracies haunt the camp of the enemy. Despite what our comrades might say, our enemy is still forcefully expanding into the un-colonized areas. This expansion emanates from Beijing, New York City, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Mexico City, Athens, and every other center of capital. We need not look any further than the young girl who was recently tied to a tree and burned to death by loggers who hoped to scare off the rest of her Amazonian tribe. The permanent capitalist offensive continues everywhere, from the untouched jungle to the congested and pacified metropolis. While it may be the same system the surrounds us all, those who inhabit the interior of the enemy live a life that is characterized by a lack of overt conflict and a militarized peace.
A tactical error has often been made by viewing resistance in the periphery as something more advanced than what is taking place within the interior. This line of thought is plotted against linear time and relies on worn out theories regarding stages, phases, and periods. According to this thinking, the cadre must first build up membership in the party before engaging in armed conflict, the purpose of which would be to seize the means of production. Once this occurs, the economy will be restructured and the population will be reorganized.
Because of this error, many former and potential comrades have hopelessly cast themselves on a journey that can only ever end in civil war and authoritarianism. By creating the necessary mechanisms to ensure their permanent continuity (cadres, parties), these people replicate the linear time of capitalism and no matter how well-intentioned they may be, their ideas will lead them to eventually see the Anarchist International for what it truly is: the bringer of chaos and disorder.
The last major intrusion of the world revolutionary Geist was a period that lasted from the mid 1950′s to the end of the 1970′s. According to most recollections, the Geist was ever-present during this time period. Unfortunately, the Geist was largely interpreted through the lenses of Maoism, Leninism, and Marxism. Fidel Castro and his guerrillas used the Geist to overthrow the capitalist government of Cuba, the FLN used it to overthrow the French government of Algeria, and Ho Chi Minh and the NLF used it to defeat the US military in Vietnam. In each of these examples, the Geist was forcibly suppressed in the post-revolutionary nation states and capitalist production restored. These revolutions were seen as the climax of a uniform process that could be implemented anywhere on the planet, the end goal of which would be the dictatorship of the proletariat, the people’s republic, the workers council, or some other fiction.
Hundreds of thousands of people were swept up by the Geist and in their fever they began to launch a low-scale, agitation offensive from within the interior. The majority of them believed to be part of the Communist International. Eventually, some of the most determined of these people started to wage guerrilla warfare against the enemy and discovered that the interior was the most vital place to strike. However, swayed by their delusions of communism, these guerrillas limited their imagination to striking targets that related to either their own internal concerns or those of the fighters on the periphery. Because of this, the Geist became stunted in their minds, growing blunt and dull, doomed to replicate only itself. However much we may respect the spirits of Ulrike Meinhof or Margherita Cagol, we have only their own ideas to blame for the ultimate limitations of the groups they helped create.
By the end of the 1970′s, the world revolutionary Geist was leaving linear time and the interior offensive was becoming desperate and dark. The guerrillas started to exchange ideas over the television, newspaper, and radio, sending each other images of kidnapped millionaires, hijacked planes, and burning buildings. All of this culminated in a spectacular orchestra of murdered politicians, judges, and industrialists, followed by a period of intense counterrevolution that lasted from the 1980′s until the beginning of the 21st century. The offensive of the Communist International failed.
The Anarchist International does not view the periphery as the ideal site of our offensive. The periphery of capitalism is simply a place where the social and physical control mechanisms of the interior do not function smoothly. It is a place where the militarized peace of the interior transforms into an overt war between the state and the population. The interior is the place of control and imprisonment. The periphery is the place of capitalism’s breakdown and decay. It often hosts dozens of smaller groups that mimic the forms of capitalism, reflecting back the light of the interior, fighting amongst themselves in order to survive. The state must always be contended with, and freedom only resides in the cracks and weakness of capital.
One example of what we are talking about is the archipelago state of Indonesia, an area that exists on the periphery of global capitalism. Numerous factions and forces have arisen throughout the course of the nation state’s history, but none of them have come close to overthrowing the state or capitalism. The peripheral islands of Indonesia will only be free from the capitalist international when Asian capital can no longer feed its workers and when it can no longer receive the goods it needs to defend itself. Asian capital will not withdraw until territorial China has been forced to contend with its own rebellious population and ignore its competition with the other collapsing nation states.
It is significant that there are comrades of the Anarchist International fighting in Indonesia against capitalism. Indonesia is now integrated into the global network and performs its function of exportation and importation adequately. It currently exists as a capitalist democracy that continues to quell internal resistance far more brutally than its German counterpart. However, it must not be forgotten that the German state would not hesitate to enact identical brutality upon the same type of resistance within its own borders. The defeat of the Indonesian state would result in its containment and isolation by the rest of the global network. The defeat of the German state would result in something we cannot adequately imagine, given its centrality to the network. Such an event would only ever occur during an intrusion of the Geist into linear time.
For this reason, the Anarchist International considers the interior to be the ideal sight for our offensive. When the Geist animates millions of inhabitants in the cities of the interior, there is the possibility of bringing capitalism to its knees, something it never has had to do. An event like this will only ever happen when these millions of people stop paying their rent, start feeding themselves, destroy the physical mechanisms of capitalism, and definitively chose to never return to the shameful peace of the interior.
The crippling of a city is not solely a military affair. Chaos, despite what our critics may say, is the breakdown of all order, especially logic. Chaos is what occurs whenever the Anarchist International takes any offensive action. We break down the enemies ability to comprehend our actions by virtue of our inherent inexplicability. Likewise, we encourage those around us to stop acting in a manner that is comprehensible to the enemy. People are taught to enrich themselves so that they might enrich the king, the nation, the world. Chaos is what appears in the eyes of the king when his subjects stop enriching themselves off his land and risk their lives to burn down his castle. Chaos is the negation of all order. As we have said before, our actions, in whatever form they may take, should cripple the normal functioning of capitalist time and space by their very nature.
Jakarta, New York City, São Paulo, London, and Beijing must all erupt at once or not at all. There will be no victory without hundreds of millions of people consciously choosing to nullify the capitalist reality they exist in. We will soon experience a more sustained intrusion of the Geist upon capitalist time, something that will carry us all away from what we now know. It is to our advantage that we have remained in the multiple hearts of capitalism, undermining its every step. The objective of the Anarchist International is to defeat capitalism and linear time. We are well poised to do so.
In the woods outside of Seattle, on the outskirts of Manado, or in the wastelands surrounding D.F., exists the periphery. These wastelands are the microcosm of the peripheral nation states. Nothing changes there aside from occasional development and natural disasters. A great dark hole exists in the distance, but away from the metropolis life moves slowly, ruled by strange laws emanating from the centers of capital, rules that do not have to be followed so closely, if at all. Space can be carved out for life on these peripheries, but they will not seriously threaten the functioning of the interior. Instead, they will be places of freedom, autonomy, and refuge. They will contribute to the offensive by acting as a beacon, a reminder of what reality can be outside of capitalist time. Beyond this, the rest of the conflict resides in the centers of capital.
Peace + City = Shit
Hegelian dialectics are an arcane and moronic control mechanism created by a fool. They restrict thought to a bleak trinity that always reinforces order. The USSR and the USA were once antagonistic, now one is gone and the other has absorbed it. China and the USA were once antagonistic, but now they mutually support each other in the grand harmony of the global network. All those who followed the insane Hegelian religion found themselves synthesized by their enemy. The Anarchist International has no interest in subscribing to this or any other religion.
If we still hold onto the multitude of anarchist thoughts, it is only so that we not forget ourselves as we travel through linear time. Our signifiers exist only to remind us of what did not work, what we aim to accomplish, and what we intend to bring to the world. Without these memories, the Anarchist International could not exist.
We present to you the following conclusion from what we have just written: We are in a moment of time that resembles the onset of the world revolutionary Geist. The Communist International once acted as the unifying myth that connected the participants in the offensive against the Capitalist International. With the wreckage of their disaster now far behind us, we affirm the existence of the Anarchist International as the new unifying myth and we positively state that this will be the final incarnation of the force we have been trying to build across the centuries. After this, there will be no more synthesis, no more order. We will have all escaped.
The Anarchist International recommends that as many comrades as possible attend the International Anarchism Gathering in Saint Imier, Switzerland that is set to take place from the 8th to the 12th of August, 2012. The conference is being held in the same city in the Jura mountains where the first Anarchist International was created in 1872. The symbolism of this location pleases us, but our humor is not the sole reason we are advising you to attend.
Paul Goodman, a self-described lumpen-bourgeoise anarchist from the US, often wrote about the ability of artisans and craftsmen to create a degree of autonomy and intellectual freedom for themselves through their self-employment. He identified these people as being largely susceptible to anarchist ideas, his theory being that people can only critically think when they do not have to work endlessly and cab become anarchists by learning to provide for themselves.
The watchmakers that Bakunin met in the Jura mountains of Switzerland fall into this category. Because their craft was so specialized and because the watchmakers operated within a federation, they could dictate their own wages and hours. This completely separated them from the majority of European workers who were still toiling in largely unbearable and murderous circumstances. Naturally, they became anarchist workers who understood the ideas of Bakunin and sided with him after the split with the communists in the First International.
As Paul Goodman correctly identified, these watchmakers were able to refine their ideas and join the Anarchist International because of the amount of free time they had been able to steal back from the capitalists. However, they still sold their goods on the market and they still used money and because of this they never fully escaped capitalist time. Nevertheless, the limited freedom they obtained for themselves and for their comrades transformed the Jura into a bastion of freedom and rebellion. It was only by being literally enslaved to capitalist time that the Jurassic watchmakers were able to create a place where the anarchists from across the planet came to conspire and gather inspiration and resources for their assault on the early capitalist world system. Countless exiles, fugitives, and revolutionists passed through this mountainous region before dispersing back into the world, armed with new ideas and powerful friendships.
In the years that followed the historic Saint Imier congress of 1872, anarchists proceeded to establish similar free areas for themselves across the planet. Peasants taught themselves to read in Spain, syndicalist unions were formed in France, study groups were created in China, and cooperatives and communes were established in the US. In addition to taking offensive actions against the capitalists, anarchists pooled whatever resources they had in order to free each other from mental and physical bondage. It was this protective and emancipatory tendency that lead to the predominance of anarcho-syndicalism throughout the world milieu. During this time period, the priority of the Anarchist International was the mutual support of all its members. The offensive tendencies developed as extensions of these free areas in a time of intense repression and brutality. Only later did they detach from the larger support networks and blaze off on their own.
By the 1920′s, most of the free areas that anarchists had been able to build had been significantly reduced. The hyper-exploitation of the world population had created areas of massive wealth that was able to pacify the upper levels of the working classes. While the syndicalist-unions struggled to maintain their own existences, the assassins and bombers continued to inflict whatever damage they could on their ruthless opponent. Because of the repression that followed these acts, the syndicalists distanced themselves from their comrades, concerned only with making the figurative watches that would generate the money that would buy the food that would feed the bellies of the hungry members of the Anarchist International. Others chose to feed only their own bellies and take the offensive actions that their comrades would dare not take. We believe this is the root of the split in the Anarchist International that is only just beginning to heal.
The collapse of the world economy in 1929 was triggered by the intrusion of the world revolutionary Geist into linear time. The Geist would remain in the world throughout the 1930′s, fueling various revolts and upsurges. The revolution in Spain and the rise of the Nazis in Germany were both brought about with the help of the Geist. As we all know, this massive explosion of energy was ultimately usurped by the fascists and culminated in the slaughter of millions and the creation of the atomic bomb. Once the carnage of the war was over, the capitalists decided to prevent any future upsurges by providing as much wealth to as many people as possible. Through social welfare programs and state employment, the Capitalist International competed with the Communist International. Whenever one side could provide more wealth than the other they would succeed in pulling a nation state into their bloc. This war between the two that lasted until the fall of the USSR left the Anarchist International weak and directionless.
The wild ones continued to attack their enemy, the cautious ones continued to preserve their watch making, and both seemed to be hopelessly antagonistic to the other. The Anarchist International had once been able to provide limited freedom in times of great poverty and strife. Some of this freedom came in the form of food, some of it came from being able to physically strike the enemy. In the recent past, however, the Capitalist International has defeated us because of its ability to give many people an unskilled job that ensured their material survival and guaranteed their dependency to the world system. But as is now clear, the Capitalist International is collapsing. Our enemies efforts to destroy us have lead only to their ultimate disintegration.
And so, comrades, we recommend that all tendencies of the Anarchist International to attend the International Anarchism Gathering in Saint Imier. We are in a position to return to where we came from and move beyond our origins. This will never happen if we cannot even manage to have critical solidarity with each other despite our differences in methods and tactics. We are aware of the dangers present in any public gathering, but there are conversations that no spy or agent can understand. The most dangerous weapons they will find at this gathering will be a handshake and an argument made in good faith. These two things will bring us all closer than we have been in decades. We in no way mean to diminish or gloss over any differences that we surely have with each other. We merely wish to have these disagreements be debated, understood, and accepted without undue hatred or animosity.
Switzerland is extremely far away from most other parts of the world and many of us will not be able to attend. Given this reality, we also recommend that similar gatherings be organized on different continents that have the specific intention of bringing us all together, regardless of tendencies. If possible, members of the Anarchist International who go to Saint Imier should eventually bring what they have gathered to the far reaches of the world. The symbolic significance of this gathering in Switzerland is clear. But if we truly have the intention of rebuilding the Anarchist International, the gathering will also have a material significance that we can only begin to imagine.
We once made watches to buy time for ourselves. Some of us still do. But time is our enemy and we cannot toil for it any longer. The old world is gone and the Anarchist International persists, lingering outside of time on the borderlands between slavery and freedom.
This concludes our Meditations and Recommendations
TOWARDS INFININTE SOLIDARITY
AND THE END OF TIME