I laid down my weary head to rest on Monday, September 10, 2001, I felt
that I had a fairly clear idea of where the anarchist project was heading
in the next few years and of what my part in that project was to be.
We were picking up momentum, patiently building the infrastructure that
we hoped would ultimately facilitate the system's demise and occasionally
confronting it, overtly by day and covertly by night. We did the quiet
work, built quiet armies, and went largely unnoticed while the powers
that be largely slept - so fat, lazy, senile and over-confident that
it really did seem like maybe we could just evade them until we could
bring them down. When I woke up Tuesday morning to the twin towers falling
and the Pentagon burning, it became quickly apparent that this trajectory
was no longer realistic.
unexpected development has understandably thrown most of us for a loop
- to say the least - but we need to accustom ourselves to the fact that
the times have changed somewhat. We need to realign ourselves to this
new situation, and we need to do it quick or we risk quickly becoming
irrelevant as all of the ground we have won recently is lost in the
flood of the coming war, the likely recession, and the quite plausible
specter of nuclear fucking armageddon.
better or for worse the new situation opens up possibilities that were
not present before. If we can move fast we may get somewhere - soon.
In that spirit, this here is a modest proposal from some individuals
affiliated with the CrimethInc. Ex-Worker's Collective: A few humble
suggestions as to where to go, where we have been, and what can to be
done from here.
starters, expressing unabashed jubilation or even tacit approval of
the hijackings is an exceedingly bad idea for a variety of reasons.
There is absolutely no way to get around the fact that over six thousand
people died horrifically - "disappeared" as they would say
in Latin America - leaving many thousands more parents, children, friends
and relations to pick up the pieces or the lack thereof. If we allow
ourselves to gloss over this simply because it's "cool" or
"exciting" that the Pentagon is finally on fire we render
ourselves completely alien to almost anyone with any sense and rightly
so. We do the State a very great favor in the process by fulfilling
every crude caricature that they create of us. This is unwise tactically,
if for no other reason. We don't need to impress each other with facile
displays of militancy. We should recognize that we are in some degree
of danger right now and act accordingly.
To pick a fight with the government at this point, while remaining blithely
oblivious to the fact that we are currently unable to win it, would
demonstrate a clear inability to understand power and the fact that
right now we have very little currently - at least in the domain of
no mistake, we are preparing for war. The day will come when we will
have to fight it and there is no reason to set it off before we can
prevail. In the meantime, it will be important to remember that the
system's not just made of bricks; it's mostly made of people. The demons
of domination and abuse which plague our relationships with each other
will not be exorcized by destroying buildings - however odious - and
to massacre people at will is to contribute to the problem. The type
of wholesale slaughter that we saw on September 11th is a clear expression
of an authoritarian arrogance that is the exclusive province of hierarchs,
archons, and ideologues. The war that our self-proclaimed leaders have
begun to wage will be an even clearer expression of that arrogance.
should think twice before pledging allegiance to anyone or anything
that claims to tell us who is innocent and who is guilty as if such
a dichotomy actually existed. Those who speak, with the heavenly judgment
of God himself of the infinite justice that will befall those who have
fallen from grace, are bloodthirsty maniacs and no friends of mine.
The Sun Still Rises Over the Western World*
beast has been awakened - snarling - and wants to bite someone
soon. We fear, not without reason, that it may be us. At this moment
the Underground Armies of Barbarian Anarchists are getting scant attention.
Still, we are on a very short list. We have recently been considered
a genuine threat to national security. We have yet to be linked in any
manner to the hijackers and their supporters, despite the obvious advantages
that the reactionaries stand to gain by doing so. This will not last
forever. We are being given a grace period, to rally around the flag
and return to the fold, or else. They will connect the dots or create
the dots to connect, and just because many of us are Americans does
not mean we are safe.
a doubt, the government intends to kill an immense number of people,
somewhere, in short order. They are already moving troops into Pakistan,
despite furious protests from many of the people who live there and
they are already bombing Afghanistan. Some of our old friends and erstwhile
associates have already been given their notice and for the first time
in most of our lives conscription seems within the realm of remote possibility.
It seems clear that the government's behavior is going to provoke more
attacks on us, and equally clear that they cannot protect us. If anything,
the attack on September 11th made clear that no government could protect
its so-called "citizens" from violence. Government, being
based on violence on all fronts, can only bring violence and inflict
it upon others.
stock market has been in a nose-dive since it reopened. They claim its
not going to crash, but most of us don't really know whether to believe
them or not. The airlines and many other industries are laying off thousands
of workers and the economy in general seems weaker. All of these events
should cause us to crack a little smile. The foundations of our despair
are not as solid as their architects would have us imagine.
we are seeing a rash of arsons, murders, and assaults on Arabs and other
minorities, their homes, businesses, and places of worship. The flags
are flying, the radio is playing "Proud to be an American",
and we have seen many of our neighbors and parents acting a bit more
than patriotic and a bit less than fascist.
we ready for this? Is the world that we were trying so desperately to
set on fire about to blow up in our face? Are these truly the last days?
Do we need to lay low and hope this blows over?
Forever - with Exceptions?*
are not soothsayers. But here is some advice:
panic. Most of us don't need to run to the hills just yet. Remember
that paralysis - a state of powerlessness or incapacity to act - is
generally the least effectual reaction to threatening stimuli. Doubtless
the road will become more difficult, but don't blow this out of proportion.
You will see that many things have not changed. Do not contribute to
the demoralizing hysteria that is understandably running amok amongst
up on what's going on but don't watch the television too much. It immobilizes
you, to say the least, and it is designed to scare you and make you
feel isolated. Go outside. Talk to people. Figure out the mood on the
street. Try to casually slip in your analysis of the situation in conversation
with random people. There are thousands, if not millions, of people
who are looking for answers who distrust the government and the media
implicitly. Find them. Make plans. We are not alone. Revolutionaries
are hiding around every corner in your town
is not going to blow over. We cannot afford to lose momentum, it may
be much harder to regain in the near future. Right now is the best opportunity
we will have to move, not after this madness has been given more time
to develop. This is urgent. Everything is at stake. At this point, we're
fighting for our lives - and more importantly, for everything that makes
them worth living.
of the conditions that have motivated our activity have changed in character.
We are still held hostage, flying on a suicide course that is going
straight to hell; tied to ecological, economic, and political timebombs;
with madmen or possibly nobody at the helm. If anything, these conditions
will intensify as globalization becomes increasingly militarized, as
economic apartheid becomes racist slaughter. To renege on our attempts
to bring the empire down from the inside would sabotage any such attempts
to do so from the outside, because at this point it is this empire which
ultimately enforces the entire world order. Such spineless behavior
on the part of American revolutionaries would reveal an immense amount
of arrogance and privilege, since most of the world does not have that
option. Those who are by nature dangerous to Capital and the State,
such as the starving farmers overseas who exchange their plowshares
for guns and groups closer to home like MOVE, do not have the luxury
of leaving the struggle. Furthermore, if we ever are to become a threat
our currently privileged status won't protect us, for it will most likely
go up in all too literal smoke.
smoke has cleared, and the stakes have been raised. Our resistance was
becoming comical and scripted. Our actions were repackaged and sold
to us as harmless videos, with ritualized, predictable, and no longer
dangerous roles such as "The Black Bloc", "The Direct
Action Protesters with a Three Letter Acronym", "Puppetistas"
(a group engaged in valiant art but possessing a name absurd to the
Zapatistas and Sandinistas who actually died participating in armed
rebellion rather than providing the papier-mâché backdrop),
"CrimethInc Ex-Workers Collective" and so on. Hopefully, now
that these roles will no longer be as safe, we will be willing to abandon
them, change our masks, and charge headlong into the future. Revolution
walks the thin line between victory and ruination, even thriving on
their Explosion is their Message
11th did not happen in a social or historical vacuum. We all know why
someone would want to destroy the World Trade Centers, and the Pentagon.
The official explanation is that the hijackers were by nature evil and
jealous, and possibly possessed by the devil, demons, a tall thin man
with a beard, or some exotic religion. We cannot agree.
Twin Towers were a nerve center of a global economic arrangement in
which a very great many of the world's people are impoverished and dispossessed.
They were also possibly the world's most potent symbols of this arrangement,
which is called capitalism. The Pentagon is a nerve center of the military
might that is capitalism's ultimate guarantor, and possibly the world's
most potent symbol of that might.
the hijackers are in all probability Middle Eastern, they were likely
incensed by the Washington's decisive diplomatic, military, and economic
intervention in support of Israel's brutal military occupation of Palestine,
the daily humiliations to which Palestinians are subjected, the expanding
settlements which are designed to break up the occupied territories
and take control of their resources, and other actions which are recognized
as acts of war throughout much of the world. It is also conceivable
that they were motivated by Washington's decade long assault on the
civilian population of Iraq, which has devastated that society completely
and caused over a million deaths, including over five hundred thousand
children. Or maybe the specific impetus was Washington's complicity
in wholesale slaughter in Lebanon during the eighties or possibly the
Clinton administration's bombing of the Sudan with no credible pretext,
destroying half its pharmaceutical supplies and killing unknown numbers
of people. Who knows?
hijackings are probably the fairly predictable result of this government's
particularly foul and odious behavior in the Middle East, which has
caused untold suffering, sorrow, starvation, and humiliation. The hijackings
were not an isolated and random event that should strike us like a meteor.
The conditions of widespread suffering and attendant reactionary ideology
that led to the hijackings have been around for longer than the short
memory of the complacent West can comprehend.
United States government has the capability to overwhelm any conventional
military force in the world, so no one in the world has the option to
oppose them in a conventional way. When these forces are the ultimate
guarantors of intolerable situations unconventional means will inevitably
be employed. Even so, the United States will use any event to its own
benefit - the destruction on Sept. 11th serves as an extremely convenient
pretext for something which our self-proclaimed masters were going to
have to do anyways in order to maintain the status quo: The consolidation
of military control in the third world, particularly in central Asia.
extremely finite nature of petroleum reserves was always the Achilles
heel of industrial capitalism, and even now it is the great blind spot,
the great point of denial at the heart of the priesthood's theology
of growth and accumulation. We are seeing the same process by which
the major capitalist states consolidated control over Middle Eastern
oil play itself out in a different context in central Asia. World oil
is already in sharp and irreversible decline, and with it our current
civilization. Following well rehearsed patterns developed in the Gulf
War, the United States may well try to establish a foothold in the form
of a client state - using Pakistan much as the United States used Saudi
Arabia - while a nearby country - Afghanistan instead of Iraq - is reduced
to smoldering ruins.
gears of civilization churn on
for the time being with us underneath.
should not fool ourselves into thinking that the status quo can perpetuate
itself without increasingly resorting to Wild Conflagrations of Massive
Carnage. Even if it survives in the short term it is still not going
to be able to last forever. The events are out of control of even the
global bosses, who are blundering from one reaction to the next in a
system that was already incredibly unstable. There is no reason to think
that they will not resort to mass murder of entire peoples if they feel
that it is in their interest to do so - which may well be the case.
Anarchists half jokingly refer to the coming downfall of civilization,
the fascist backlash, and the massive wars abroad. Do we think the world
will wait until we are ready?
is Our Message?*
climate has changed after September 11th, but the instincts and desires
that fuel us have not. We cannot forget what we are trying to do with
our lives. While unanimity is impossible - and not even to be desired
- we all in our own way are attempting to bring this horrific ten thousand
year reich to its fucking knees. This has not changed. Destroy what
must be destroyed, and create what must be created, by any means necessary.
What those things are is up to you.
must realize that people are legitimately terrified and angry, and that
their feelings are not delusional. They know that they are in danger,
and this changes what we can do. Often we have dealt with problems that
could be ignored. Children dying in Iraq and clearcuts in Northern California
are relatively easy to avoid if you don't happen to live there, and
no one really knows how to explain what the World Trade Organization
does anyway. But the attack on the World Trade Center made many people
fear for their safety. They want to know why this happened and they
want to know what to do about it, and they not nearly as sheepish as
the media pretends or as activists believe. Indeed, they probably suspect
already the audacity of our self-proclaimed leaders who refer to the
hijackers as faceless cowards (when at least they killed themselves
too) while these maniacs just convince other people, mostly working
class people - many of our grandfathers, fathers, uncles, and now friends
and brothers - to do their shit for them.
the State's answer is that Our Enemies are Evil and Jealous, and the
plan is to Exterminate the Brutes. This is the only viable explanation,
and the only viable plan, which is being presented to the great majority
of Americans. Many may harbor secret and not-so-secret doubts that this
is wise, but for lack of better options most will follow along. To counteract
this we must produce our own analyses, and our own programmes; which
address what is happening here, and present a course of action that
seems to make more sense than worldwide state-sponsored butchery.
should point out to our neighbors that maybe they should remember the
horror of this experience the next time the government decides to reign
hell down from the skies on little dehumanized brown people somewhere.
When they become enraged at pictures of Palestinian kids waving and
cheering in celebration of mass murder we should remind them of many
fifth grade American classes, where comfortable white kids did just
that during the Gulf War. We can be disgusted by the rank hypocrisy
of the professional rationalizers in the media, who wring their hands
when Americans are slaughtered, and grin contently when Americans do
the slaughtering. We can also point out that declaring war on countries
like Afghanistan will only further lead us down the road the mad bombers
of September 11th perhaps wanted - a full out war between many of the
Islamic countries and the West.
such alternatives to the government's actions are being presented by
peace groups - most of which by nature are haunted by a privileged pacifism,
ridden by religious morality, and are unable to grasp that this situation
was created by global capitalism, unable to be stopped without the overthrow
of global capitalism. Many peace groups, while in the Eighties posed
a threat by revealing the system's machinations overseas, also have
a tendency to become harmless and even congenial by limiting their actions
to marching in circles and "witnessing" wanton destruction
in distant lands. Then the whole array of bizarre and ineffectual Old
Left relics with even more three letter acronyms understand only too
well the cause of the situation, but by casting it in ridiculous Marxist
jargon, unabashed moralizing, lack of any real action, and using it
as a pretext to seize control of power themselves, ultimately only damage
the movement. Neither of these groups analysis or plans make the least
bit of sense, which is why most people will avoid them like the proverbial
plague - which is still different than believing that a never-ending
world war is the answer.
anarchist analysis of the situation also appeals to people, if only
because it hopefully fits to reality more than the 21st century cowboy
movie our leaders are currently engaged in.
the prime justification of the existence of the state is that it will
defend its people against terror. The state's ability to do so was shattered
by the events of Sept. 11th, and despite the clamor for war people above
all want to be safe. Also, the state's war against terrorism completely
falls apart. Historically our state has a horrendous track-record of
finding terrorists within our own borders. The leaders of the Weather
Underground mostly gave themselves up. The Unabomber was turned in by
his own brother. They still haven't found Eric Rudolph. Carpet-bombing
Afghani villages to find terrorists will seem more like sheer madness
than a just war after the initial patriotic thrill is over, and if retaliatory
attacks inside America continue, these wars will seem even more futile.
The anarchist case that the government is neither infallible nor invisible,
incapable of serving its people and the environment, is only being proven.
As our so-called representatives blindly march in line with drumbeat,
funding the war machine and the large corporations, the point that big
government and big business are the same and fundamentally undemocratic
will be driven further home. Their hypocrisy will be further revealed
as they decry religious violence from Muslims while singing "Onward
Christian Soldiers", as they invade other countries to protect
our supposed national sovereignty, and as people slowly become unable
to differentiate our "just" war from terrorism.
kids start returning in body-bags people will be only more sad and angry
than they are now - and their rage will need something to focus on.
Anarchists should try to channel that valid rage against the real culprit
of the government that put the world in this situation to begin with,
otherwise they will channel it back to the government-approved targets
such as the Afghans, Osama bin Laden, or even us.
we may lack the complete control over the corporate media behemoth to
shove our viewpoint down the throats of everyone, we have the even more
potent weapon of talking to people while not being arrogant pricks about
their ideas (which may at first be cloaked in the jargon of the right-wing,
but simply reflect their terror at their own inability to control their
world). Many people are already anarchists at heart and simply do not
know the word for their feelings, feel alone, or lack the heart to stand
up. Anarchists must present to people why such carnage overseas is murderous
to people everywhere on all sides and ruinous to the earth. Anarchists
should offer concrete assistance or attempting to destabilize the system
at home, which is inflicting the destruction in the first place. We
should not expect others to read our anarchist papers or come to our
anarchist social events. Instead, we can find ways to make ourselves
relevant to people by propagating our ideas in a form that can be understood
and digested by them.
others understand anarchism is especially crucial now as people may
seem to be wavering towards fascism, but may be able to waver to any
form of extremism including ours. The good old toolbox of wheatpasting,
newspaper wraps, and guerilla theatre are just a few among the many
tactics we can imagine. Yet the tactics that have not yet been imagined
- those are the ones that will prove vital in the coming days.
Moment Despair Ends - and Tactics Begin*
us motley crew who learned our politics through serving the hungry food
from dumpsters, by putting our bodies between civilization and the trees,
by breaking the windows of corporate complacency - now is not our time
to surrender. We realize that our forms of decentralized control and
direct action, rediscovered by us youth in only a few short years, are
the key to any victory. We must not let any pretentious so-called "leadership"
develop, and we should ourselves not devolve into boring marches with
the same uninspired slogans that will only serve to further alienate
the potentially sympathetic people. All sorts of people, such as older
people and families, will now be involved whose support is crucial.
This is a whole new development which we must be prepared for and welcome
with outstretched arms.
our demonstrations for peace and in solidarity with all those who suffer
be festive and anarchistic in an older sense of the word, folk uprisings
against a bloodthirsty regime and insane wars. Let us never forget to
cause actual damage to the system when they least expect it. Peace is
destruction of corporate property at the next mass demonstration might
be less socially acceptable by either the general populace or the government
at the current moment. Despite the darkening times, we should keep up
clandestine activities when they are still effective, and this recent
event should have little impact on the perpetuation of acts committed
in the style of the ALF, the ELF, or perhaps even the adaptation of
these tactics against the coming war. With the tightening of the petty
freedoms our government so arrogantly allows us, people will have to
decide which side of the law they will have to choose to operate on,
and live with that in mind. People who go underground for political
reasons should be supported by whatever means needed with utmost caution.
as the new war against terrorism will be without borders, so must our
solidarity. We are much more effective if we work in concert with others
who can do things we can't do and who we can aid by doing what they
can't do. Let us also not forget that many overseas also live daily
with the threat that they can be bombed by the U.S. into charred corpses
at any given moment, and that many of us as American citizens operate
in some safety. Also, let's not confuse the general population of Arabs
overseas with the right-wing religious networks such as the Taliban,
just as we hope they will not confuse us with the actions of our government.
Many revolutionary forces such as the Revolutionary Association of Women
of Afghanistan are fighting for their lives against both the Taliban
and U.S. foreign policy, and are ever in need of assistance. For example,
it is easier to obtain money, books, replicate propaganda, and steal
computer parts in this country than it is in Bolivia. Unlike many anarchists
overseas, we operate in comparative safety, can acquire resources quickly,
and can publicize struggles overseas to other possibly sympathetic audiences
that those overseas simply don't know about the situation. We can make
the most what we have and attempt to aid our sisters and brothers, especially
when U.S. military might rains down upon them like so much hellfire.
should also adapt to the place and people we are fighting with, and
realize that anarchism in Afghanistan will be different than anarchism
for American train-hoppers, but just as effective and important. If
anarchists don't self-consciously identify themselves as such, let us
work with whatever segment of the population that seems most likely
to tear both locally and globally the existing hierarchies of power
down. We must work internationally and with those who live down the
street who we never bothered to talk to. A cross-pollination of strategies,
tactics, material assistance and general activity will aid us all.
us also not forget those who are struggling in the belly of the beast,
now that the old white men in suits are throwing about the word "terrorist"
with the same racist tone their predecessors used the word "nigger"
with. The waves of racist hatred against Arabs must be combated with
every ounce of power. Our freedom is tightly bound with theirs. The
current militaristic jingoism would serve the particularly convenient
function of killing off angry black militants, especially those currently
incarcerated. It is far too easy for white ex-suburbanites with dreadlocks
to flee the system, to dumpster-dive to live or start a farm for organic
carrots than it is for those who capitalism has tried to destroy since
birth, for those who do not have a single cent and children to feed.
point is not too delegitimize our struggle for freedom, but to make
sure that we realize both the immediacy of the struggle of all for freedom
and our immense possibilities if we build mutually beneficial relations
with each other. If anything, now is the time for anarchists, especially
white anarchists, to come to the aid of black and Arab radicals to prove
ourselves the reliable allies they need. The alliance of white radicals
with black and Arab radicals needs to happen - for the government will
eventually put us all in the same boat, and we shall all need friends
to let us survive the stormy seas. Every racist indignity should be
opposed - and we should be on the frontlines.
anything, recent events should serve as a highlight to anarchists of
our own weak position
this coming from our own lack of social
power. If we were in a position of strength we could effectively stop
the war from happening and this is a position we need to be in one day.
So, let us involve ourselves in the process by seizing by whatever means
we can - both the means of production and means of consumption (stealing
and dumpster-diving are tactics for consumption), creating self-sufficiency
and autonomy. Imagine the possibilities of an anarchist union refusing
to let ships out to fuel the war effort abroad. Impossible? Similar
events happened before Seattle and even more recently in Charleston
and after the G-8 protests. No particular tactic should be ruled impossible
- as long as these acts have the net effect of bringing our modern madness
more than ever as anarchists we must create the world we want right
now. Redoubling our efforts to plant the seeds of revolutionary change,
which unnoticed in the current wartime frenzy, will blossom when least
expected. Independent media networks, permanent autonomous zones, safe
houses, food programs, and the like can only prosper as the current
system of human relations continues to shamble on towards its own destruction.
We must learn fast - how to grow food, heal ourselves, defend ourselves,
and much more if we to survive. We can be constantly wary of false alternatives,
traveling neither the path of 'Ben and Jerry's' nor that of the Shining
Path. The distinctions between the ways we want to live and the way
the system provides will only be sharpened, and it is us who must sharpen
Solution - Revolution*
war against capitalism - better phrased as the war for freedom - is
a war without borders, a war without clear enemies or predefined objectives.
Capitalism, authority, domination are all more tendencies that specific
individuals or buildings - although over the millennia these tendencies
have grown to absurd proportions in certain groups (like the police,
the corporations, the church, and even ourselves sometimes), and we
must never forget that these people are in a continual war against us.
We must first acknowledge this in order to fight back.
were always for the war, and we will always be at war - and our war
is not the same the as the hate-mongering wars of any religious fanatic
or any foul government. We are for the war of love, the war of being
fought everyday by all those who suffer, the war being fought by those
all who realize that we have nothing to lose and our own lives to gain.
you hear the wind calling your name? Will you be the one who lights
the spark that starts the flame? For this we promise you - as this world
and its wars ends in flames we will be there with you, holding your
hand and planting a kiss ever so gently upon you.
memoriam for all those who have died in any battlefield, in any office
complex, in any nursing home, or from bombs of any nationality falling
from the skies. Your deaths are not in vain my friends. We will assure
you of that.