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Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters

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Walking along Pacific Ave in Santa Cruz, one might choose to go inside the large health food store located next to Borders. The food is overpriced, the staff becomes angry if you pop an olive into your mouth from the salad bar, and the beer selection doesn't include the cheap stuff. If you're bored while waiting to spend $8.67 for a juice and a muffin, feel free to read the latest issue of Pagan Vegan Gardening, or whatever they have in stock. Glancing up however, one comes to see something much more sinister than a lack of Keystone, a mural. Not just any mural, but one that really angers me. It shows white people farming, and then loading the produce onto a truck. The field ends next to the ocean, and a road begins, which leads into Santa Cruz, where a sign for the health food store beacons. If you want a picture of what Santa Cruz is, or what it wants to be, you need only look at that mural. And, if you're too stupid to not realize how ridiculous that image, and the message that it produces really is, then perhaps you need to refresh your browser and check how that time share is doing.

 

 


Walking along Pacific Ave in Santa Cruz, one might choose to go inside the large health food store located next to Borders. The food is overpriced, the staff becomes angry if you pop an olive into your mouth from the salad bar, and the beer selection doesn't include the cheap stuff. If you're bored while waiting to spend $8.67 for a juice and a muffin, feel free to read the latest issue of Pagan Vegan Gardening, or whatever they have in stock. Glancing up however, one comes to see something much more sinister than a lack of Keystone, a mural. Not just any mural, but one that really angers me. It shows white people farming, and then loading the produce onto a truck. The field ends next to the ocean, and a road begins, which leads into Santa Cruz, where a sign for the health food store beacons. If you want a picture of what Santa Cruz is, or what it wants to be, you need only look at that mural. And, if you're too stupid to not realize how ridiculous that image, and the message that it produces really is, then perhaps you need to refresh your browser and check how that time share is doing.

Santa Cruz exists like a colony. The county itself is almost 80% white, with large sections belonging to the upper middle class. The importance of tourism, technology industries, and also the university create a neo-colonial relationship with the nearby UCSC campus. Here, working class Latino labor is pulled in from Watsonville and exploited for just above minimum wage. Rent in Santa Cruz is out of control. It takes years to get on section 8. Without packing swarms of people into a small house, a person with a mediocre job or non-connected parents will not fare well here. The politics of the local area are interesting as well. Here, the city council passes resolutions against the Iraq War and the PATRIOT Act, "Marxists" and members of the ACLU sit on the city council, yet still they find it necessary to fill the streets with surveillance cameras and push out the homeless from the downtown. In fact, the Mayor even wants to hire 8 new cops in the wake of the riot, even though city workers face cuts and there is no money to pay for them. An 18 year ban on ICE has also been lifted recently, allowing La Migra to once again come in and break up families and deport working class people, in "Operation Community Shield." The coastal forest, which also draws so many people to the area, is also routinely threatened by the UCSC system itself. Recently, the school has announced a long range development plan to clear much of the forest in order to expand the school for the future elite. Welcome to Santa Cruz, pack a gas mask in your tote bag.

In essence, everything in this place is different, but it is really the same. Here, people love organics, but they also love the cheap immigrant labor that supplies it, especially when it stays in Watsonville. Here, people love being liberals, except when it comes to issues that actually have an effect on class relations in the city. It feels great to slap that anti-war sticker on the car, but the upper middle class is still a class with it's own interests - ones that run counter to ours. Thus, here we have repressive politicians that call for more police, higher rents, destroyed forests, more cameras, more development - all while wearing a Che shirt. This is what it takes in this town; but the game is still the same. An economy needs to be managed, workers have to keep going to work, and class and race lines have to be firmly kept in place. And if people could just enjoy their granola here and shut up, things would go a lot smoother...

The events of May 1st represent a tear in this fabric. Suddenly, people aren't shopping on Pacific, they're breaking windows and setting things on fire. They aren't afraid of the police, they are surrounding cop cars and pouring paint on them and pelting them with rocks. "What's next?," cry the elites? "Will they surround city hall and burn it to the ground? Will they link up with migrant workers and take over the fields?"

The events in Greece are not that far removed. There, people riot and fight a "socialist government" that is just as committed to capitalism as the one before it. In Santa Cruz, despite the liberal window dressings of the local establishment, the song is the same.

But, here, unlike in Greece, there is not wide support for revolutionary action, at least not loud, vocal support. In fact, here, most of the vocal support for a fundamental changing of society comes from those that want to preserve capitalism at all costs, albeit in a greener, much nicer form. Thus, we see signs on local health food stores that implore us that "Non-violence is the only way." The only way to what, however? The destruction of capitalism and it's states? Or the only way to get a film screening of the latest Al Gore film at your local campus dining hall?

Here, we are surrounded by a framing of proletarian actions (riots, strikes, occupations) in middle class contexts (property destruction, violence, etc). We are suffocated by middle class voices (mass media, activists, the Left, Take Back Santa Cruz) when engaging in proletarian actions. We feel the raining down of dirt as they push us into coffins through their defining of our struggles in middle class values to solely middle class people (like much of the "anarchist" movement). I, want none of this.

The Left denounces the riots because they were violent. Violence, like sabotage, has always been a tool of the proletariat. Strikers in the UFW destroyed company property and armed themselves. Rioters in Oakland fought police and destroyed property when Oscar Grant was shot. In Chicago, workers occupied their workplaces, students in Santa Cruz and beyond did the same, and in Stockton and elsewhere, people occupy their foreclosed homes, ready to have it out with the police. The state is already violent. It is up to us to decide how we should respond. Will we be crushed, or do we fight? We are fighting for bread (and, fuck, roses too) here, not some moral code that says we can't cap a fucker who's screwing us. WE define the terms of our struggle against capitalism. Us. Not liberals and leftists who want to preserve capitalism. Display your billboards. Write your letters to the editor. We are not in the same struggle. You want more room at the Farmers Market. We want an end to wage labor and hierarchical power.

Some Leninists even went on to write on indybay regarding the riot:

While Liberation News understands that a system that keeps kicking people when they are down is bound to create a reaction, we also see [the May Day Riot] as having been generally counter-productive. Our perspective is towards building a workers’ party that fights to overthrow the current leadership in the unions to make the unions a fighting instrument of the working class. In the course of that struggle we seek to build self-confidence in the working class coupled with a vanguard party capable, with a rebellious working class...


The Left. Ridiculous. Disgusting. Vile.

One segment sees class as a misnomer. Something to be avoided. Don't talk about work, and rent, and immigration. Talk about bikes, and vegan food, and non-violence. Peace, dood, comes through buying the right products, the right lifestyle choices, and all that jazz, man.

The other side of the Left, sees the working class as a means to power. They want to use us to build their party, and put them in the leadership role. A ruling class in waiting. Meet the new boss, same as the old, but with sandals.

Another position, comes from Take Back Santa Cruz. They tow the same line as other groups before them. Gang violence is a problem. Crime is a problem. Thus, they want more police. More surveillance. More immigration cops. To them, crime isn't something that is caused by inequality. Nor is it something that they have had to deal with as being part of the class that is criminalized. No, they are attacking crime as a threat to their quality of life as the upper middle class.

However, the working class can only solve it's own problems. We can only help ourselves in our own communities. More police means more immigration officials. More people in jail and more tickets. It does not mean safer streets. But it does mean gentrification and higher rents. It means us removed from areas that rich people want to be developed. Now "anarchists" are on their radar. Their "violence" against the property of downtown business owners is a problem, just like the gangs. It threatens the tourist industry. It scares away potential businesses, just like brown people. Take Back Santa Cruz's activism does not impress us. They can clean all the parks they want to. We still understand the upper middle class to have interests different than ours, just as we see those heads of the gangs to be contrary as well. They do want to Take Back Santa Cruz, but even more so for the upper classes and their interests.

Finally, what are the anarchists saying? Most of the public outrage at the riot has been directed towards SubRosa, a small cafe that sells coffee and offers a place for people to buy anarchist publications. Being that there were flyers for the May Day event at SubRosa on a bulletin board and the space is "anarchist," many people believe that the space organized the event (which they didn't). SubRosa however, has been quick to distance themselves, being that they are becoming the victims of media attacks and mean posts on the Internet. Some of these include (ironically) threats of violence against anarchists that have quite public faces.

As SubRosa open letter read on indybay.org:

"We know it is a terrible feeling to feel under attack, as some of the downtown business owners and employees must feel right now. We care about the suffering of the people who were affected. The fear of violence and attack is something that many of us, especially women, youth, people of color, political dissidents, and poor people, feel on a regular basis in Santa Cruz and the world at large."


A SubRosa collective member wrote:

This town does not just belong to the rich, the white, the business owner. It also belongs to the artist, the street musician, the worker, the homeless. It also belongs to the anarchist and the anti-authoritarian. We live in a place where business owners and the police try to control our every move, where you can sit, what you can say, and they give us nothing in return, telling us to move along so that the rich tourists who come to spend money won't have their pure eyes tainted with the sight of our ragged clothes.


Can't we all just get a long, the anarchists ask? No, actually, we can't. This is class society. There is death, abuse, destruction, and violence everyday. Sometimes, we get to direct it. That is why the riots on May Day were a good thing. For those that are angry about the property of corporations and rich people being destroyed on International Workers Day while rent is sky high, workers are laid off, people are foreclosed on, people are deported and families are destroyed, fees continue to rise, and the forest is destroyed for development, and so on - eat shit. These actions weren't to find you, or make you feel good, they were meant for others. They were meant for us.

We refuse to let our actions be defined by a pacifistic leftist middle class morality. We refuse to let our actions be merited by it's politicians. We do not seek find sympathy with or feel sorry for, business owners, they are a different class than us. We do not care if they are afraid. We do not care what they think. We do not care how many letters of opinion the upper crust activists in Take Back Santa Cruz write, we see where their true interests lie. We see the game, as we smash a black checker down and scream in yo face, "CONNECT FOUR MOTHERFUCKER!"

It must be understood that the Left is shifting the debate of the riot. It is doing that because of it's own middle class interests. They don't want us to talk about why these actions against the rich in a society divided by class and race make us feel good and powerful, and how they could lead to more action. They want us to feel bad and to help catch the bad ones. If we're feeling uppity, we're told, go out and hold a sign, and if we've got money, run for office. Even many "revolutionaries" are playing the game. Don't.

The breaking of windows materially doesn't get us anything, (unless you lucky bastards came up in that rolex store!) But, it sends a message that we are not afraid to attack, and in rioting, we feel something. We come to understand that we can't just let capitalism wash over us. To continue to just allow ourselves to simply sell our time and labor out for a wage in order to survive. To pay for rent. To allow everything on this earth to become a commodity; from cum to forests. In finding each other and realizing that we don't want this; realizing that the avenues for change are bankrupt, we understand that in action together we find new ways of being that can improve our conditions. We find possibility. That is what is exciting. Today, a riot of 200. Tomorrow a general strike of 5.9 billion? Next week, the end of industrial capitalism?

What is most terrifying for the petite-bourgeoisie is not that we are no longer afraid to attack and steal their property and engage with the police. No, we already knew that. What is terrifying to them is that this is just a start. Yes.

In the end, we are not interested in showing how "bad" a corporation is by breaking it's windows, or in decrying police by destroying their cars, but in subverting and negating the totality of life in capitalism. In refusing wage labor and the commodity. In destroying the hold and control of capital and the police over all space. In destroying the separations that exist between the proletariat based on race, age, geography, gender, and sexuality. We are not out just to punish you, but to abolish you and your dictatorship over all our lives.

So, when we go on strike. When we occupy the building. When we break down the doors and start looting. When you scream at the top of your lungs, "PEACEFUL PROTEST!" while cop cars are burning and we tell you to "SHUT THE FUCK UP!" When the co-op becomes a collective meeting space and the SEIU hall becomes a strike coordinating center. Remember, that before all of this, someone whispered in your ear: "...long live the proletarian movement!"

At that point, it stopped being the start, and started becoming the end.

http://wewantsomefood.blogspot.com/

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Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters | 40 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters
Authored by: Admin on Friday, May 07 2010 @ 11:02 PM CDT

Ugh! The bravado, machismo and arrogance in this rant is pretty annoying. Really turned off by the hostility towards our allies. This rant just confirms every stereotype about young anarchists being angry at everything.

I think somebody didn't get enough hugs.

C

[ # ]
Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters
Authored by: Admin on Friday, May 07 2010 @ 11:17 PM CDT

On the other hand, there is lots of good rhetoric here. Sincere and to the point.

Guess I just have mixed feelings about it.

C

[ # ]
Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, May 08 2010 @ 02:12 AM CDT

i don't think actions that draw such a hostile repsonse will spread, from a strategic perspective. i guess we'll see, but i've hearing that from certain anarchists for years, yet they can't point to any spreading of attack.

 

[ # ]
Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters
Authored by: HPWombat on Saturday, May 08 2010 @ 09:42 AM CDT

You can't be serious.  How about May Day 2010?  <--- Look, I'm pointing to it.

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embrace the dork side
[ # ]
Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters
Authored by: JBizzle on Saturday, May 08 2010 @ 06:14 PM CDT

may day in the US actually seemed like a buffering of any wide movement, with more insular actions. Again.

[ # ]
Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters
Authored by: HPWombat on Sunday, May 09 2010 @ 03:14 PM CDT

Maybe you'd like to explain your point more instead of assuming I would know what you mean?  How is this insular?  How is it "again"?  Doesn't seem insular nor "again" to me.

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embrace the dork side
[ # ]
Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 10 2010 @ 05:11 PM CDT

mayday 2010 riots represented an increased militancy as numbers dwindle and only the hard-core of the movement is left. see: SDS in the 1960s, their riot at the DNC, and their subsequent turn to bombing as their movment shrank to it's most militant core, and those folks got desperate to keep the movement going, and thought increased militancy would keep people excited and invovled, which doesn't work. let's not make the same mistakes. if people turn to increased militance in tactics as they get frustrated by, and attempt to re-energize, a movement losing momentum, it will be a strategic failure. when movements lose momentum and numbers, it is better to keep one's actions linked to what more people are comfortable with, to give oneself a guide as to appropriate restraint and the current limits to open revolt. that is why it's important to keep things as open as possible, and not try and substitute clandestine actions for organizing people to openly reject the legitimacy of capitalists and pigs to tell us what to do. things like occupations, foreclosure resistance, open squatting, open marches, open confrontation are much better and more effective, because they depend on your ability to NOT be isolated, which is crucial to not repeating the mistakes of the 1960s.

[ # ]
Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters
Authored by: HPWombat on Monday, May 10 2010 @ 11:08 PM CDT

Substitute for what exactly?  This substitution argument is bullshit and it means nothing.  If I go and get ice cream am I suddenly substituting an entire class that was going to get ice cream?  Seriously, this argument is a dead end.  I think everyone showed appropriate "restraint" whatever that is supposed to mean.  These actions, which are very marginal at best, have been hyped up by the fear brigade.  I certainly would like to see much of what you've mentioned, but these are not the only approach to action, nor are the only approach to what one may desire to do.  Attack can take on a variety of forms, including these, which you'd prefer to push into the realm of Marxist-Leninist militancy, which it is not.  Check out Bonanno's "Armed Joy" for his reaction to the 60s militancy.


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embrace the dork side
[ # ]
Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, May 11 2010 @ 12:36 AM CDT

a substitute for the hard work it takes to pull off open revolts that are infectious, inspiring, and spread. that re-organize social solidarities along class lines.

substituting specialization and militarization for insurrectionary momentum.

[ # ]
Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters
Authored by: HPWombat on Tuesday, May 11 2010 @ 01:16 AM CDT

Rhetoric.  Your lines of causality do not connect nor are they true.

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embrace the dork side
[ # ]
Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters
Authored by: notverycreative on Tuesday, May 11 2010 @ 10:00 AM CDT

"insular" because it involves mostly the same (or dumber) tactics in the same cities (minus a few) and (presumably) the same (albeit smaller) groups as previous years and "again" because... well, what i just said.

[ # ]
Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters
Authored by: HPWombat on Tuesday, May 11 2010 @ 10:41 AM CDT

No it didn't.  Maybe you are thinking of Chicago's historic May Day march?

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embrace the dork side
[ # ]
Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters
Authored by: notverycreative on Tuesday, May 11 2010 @ 09:38 PM CDT

how did it not?

[ # ]
Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters
Authored by: HPWombat on Wednesday, May 12 2010 @ 12:01 AM CDT

You are asserting a reply to me.  Why should I do your research?  I'll go ahead and assert anyways.  Santa Cruz and Asheville were not among cities reporting attacks May Day 2009.  San Francisco had a mini-riot, which it didn't have this year.  Do you have anything other than this?

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embrace the dork side
[ # ]
Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters
Authored by: notverycreative on Wednesday, May 12 2010 @ 09:31 AM CDT

http://anarchistnews.org/?q=node/7456

http://www.anarchistnews.org/?q=node/11257

 

i did my research

[ # ]
Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters
Authored by: HPWombat on Wednesday, May 12 2010 @ 10:18 AM CDT

Doesn't look like "again".  Looks like everyone did something different this year.  Maybe you'd like to throw in some argumentation to convince me otherwise?

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embrace the dork side
[ # ]
Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters
Authored by: notverycreative on Wednesday, May 12 2010 @ 08:27 PM CDT

how do youg et something different from what happened in asheville this year vs last year? last year there was an occupation and party (with more people!) that ended with... going through downtown and smashing a bunch of businesses. this year a smaller group of people just skipped right to the smashing, and it went down quite a bit worse. this suggests the action last year failed to translate into a "spread," and instead saw fewer participants and a smaller, more incomprehensible action.

[ # ]
Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters
Authored by: HPWombat on Thursday, May 13 2010 @ 12:18 AM CDT

Sounds like a different approach to the action. Without a communique from the participants, I can't really say how they organized their attacks. Perhaps they didn't bother with organizing anything like they did last year? There are many factors at play and your conclusion is drawn without enough evidence to support it. If you think it is "again" because people attacked, then sure, they attacked again. Big deal.

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embrace the dork side
Edited on Thursday, May 13 2010 @ 12:19 AM CDT by HPWombat
[ # ]
Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters
Authored by: notverycreative on Tuesday, May 11 2010 @ 09:56 AM CDT

how does may day 2010 represent a spread of these actions?  as far as i can tell may day 2010 in the us saw less and smaller actions with greater anger towards them and more damage to our friends via arrests, etc than 2009.

[ # ]
Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters
Authored by: HPWombat on Thursday, May 13 2010 @ 01:12 AM CDT

More cities, more actions, both in the days leading up to may day and the days after.  In addition to Asheville, Santa Cruz and San Francisco, Portland anarchists had a street conflict with some vandalism, Victoria, Canada reported an attack, Denver reported an attack, NYC reported an attack, Montreal, Canada reported an attack, Outside of Toronto, Canada reported an attack and Modesto reported an attack.  I probably could find more, but I'm just reading the Anews wire for these.  I put up posters.

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embrace the dork side
[ # ]
Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters
Authored by: bigg on Saturday, May 08 2010 @ 03:40 AM CDT

i understand the frustration with the 'leftist' middle class response to the riots and personally have no problem with property destruction and rioting per se but i really don't think we can pretend that there is anything particularly strategic about it.  maybe a few dissafected young people will become interested in our politics through seeing this propaganda of the deed, but i think the majority are just going to be turned off.  i really appreciate the spirit and the urgency of the insurrectionary current in anarchism but as of late i've come more and more to feel that, other than as ain inspirational rallying cry, it can't do much for us.  if we really were to step it up and bring some form of social war, the state would have no fucking problem throwing every single one of us in prison for a long, long time.  the media isn't gonna cover it and most of those so-called leftists you mentioned would, as you might imagine, let us rot in our cells.   we need to say outloud what most of us have already realized, that no violent confrontation with the state is going to end well for us.  if you want to keep up the tactics utilized during the riots, by all means do so, but do it strategically and don't get caught. that means avoiding the cameras, the crowds, and the pigs.  just some food for thought.

---

bigghigg (two of clubs)
[ # ]
Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters
Authored by: Admin on Monday, May 10 2010 @ 11:18 PM CDT

Property destruction and rioting are not practical strategies for most anarchists. Most of us have family obligations, jobs and other stuff that we can't risk. Others disagree with these tactics. Many of us have no interest in the legal headaches involved.

So where does that leave us? More self-righteous screeds from "anarchists keeping it real" against those of us who choose not to engage in these tactics?

C

[ # ]
Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters
Authored by: Insurrectionsfun on Saturday, May 08 2010 @ 06:31 AM CDT

Funny how there are still some people who claim to be anarchists but somehow do not support the insurrection essentially cowering in face of hightened police repression just to avoid conflict.

Do not give into the states fear tactics. The only thing you have to fear is fear it self. Accepting a state of fear is shamelessly acquiescencing to their slavery. People who fight hard in Greece deserve our full and anti-authoritarian militant support. America started this mess and is about to end with it. We never agreed with their system even before the meltdown began. The day's of making speeches that reek of passivism are over.

The second wave of the financial meltdown is already underway and it begins with Greece. Then the pig nations are next and then the UK and then finally the US is done for. By the time America is hit with the real crisis, there will unrest and it will be up to us to keep it going so that we hammer the last nail in capitalisms coffin.

Είμαστε μια εικόνα από το μέλλον

Translation:

"We are an image from the Future"!

 

 

 

[ # ]
Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, May 08 2010 @ 01:03 PM CDT

How can anyone be this out of touch?  Hearing about "widespread anarchist attacks" on anarchist news sites does not mean the tactic is somehow spreading, or that anyone except a tiny subculture of para-hipster insurrectionists and assorted internet ideologues know why these things happen and support them.  Explaining it in some really idiosyncratic way to your coworkers and watching a few of them sort of shrug or maybe say "that's cool" doesn't make a specific tactic legit or effective.  This comment is definitely not coming from a position of support for businesses of any size or kind or comfortable anarchist "communities" in left-leaning towns, but people need to seriously get real here and realize that the dichotomy of supporting anarcho-liberal bullshit vs. smashing up yuppie neighborhoods is fucking dumb and will propagate itself endlessly within a North American anarchist milieu which is totally ineffectual, aesthetically-obsessed, and self-destructive (but not in some semi-positive Fight Club way).

The most ridiculous and disgusting thing about this kind of "action" and especially the one that happened in Asheville is that while they are essentially and obviously voluntarist attacks - and in fact usually embody the most exclusive kind of voluntarism - they are somehow presented by their internet defenders as open, accessible, "reproducible" attacks on everyday symbols of capital which can and (WHAT THE FUCK) "are" going to "spread" across a larger social terrain assumed to be just waiting for the right trigger signals or something.  I remember feeling this way about these kinds of "social" attacks, along with many friends, for several years but knowing in the back of my mind that in the end it made no sense to anyone, and I remember especially that when people tried to justify the tactics and targets by assuming it would just "make sense" to normal people or proletarians or whatever it inevitably failed in the most hurtful way. 

The tenor of the writing in support of these kinds of actions is similarly pathetic and foolish, and it infallibly makes the partisans of "the proletarian movement" (or the global social war) step in all kinds of shit they can't handle.  Every time something like this happens, authoritarian leftists and anarcho-liberals ally with the rest of this fucked society todecry the action, but instead of the partisans watching this happen EVERY  TIME and learning from it, they write long ass communiques about how liberals collaborate with class society and how they ("we") are leaving the left behind or something similarly untrue.  The same drama is played out and left perpetually unfinished, with the predictable reactions of ANSWER and other leftist community defenders are perpetually seized upon and ruthlessly critiqued and what amounts to the right of the insurgents to smash windows without Trotskyists criticizing them is perpetually affirmed.

The very worst, though, is that this shit is defended and justified in the most verbose and alienating way by basically the same body of insurrectionary theorists (or at least people who adopt a similar conceptual language) who made huge efforts to critically disassemble and insult the "clandestine voluntarism" of nighttime ecodefense actions like those taken under the banner of the Earth Liberation Front.  How can anyone not see that these kinds of actions are just poorly-applied voluntarism with a more vague and unapproachable goal?

[ # ]
Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters
Authored by: Admin on Saturday, May 08 2010 @ 05:10 PM CDT

Well said. Even if you support these kiind of tactics, most of the recent instances of anarchists using these tactics are poorly thought out. If you have to write a long communique to explain what you are doing, then you are obviously doing something wrong. The problem with how anarchists have been employing these tactics in the U.S. is that they are doing them in a vacuum. It's like some people have decided to kick start an insurrection without providing any fuel for the fire. They aren't doing any organizing of a greater movement, be it social, labor, anti-war or anti-globalization, which would help contextualize employment of such tactics. If you have the backing of such movements, you also have the numbers to provide solidarity to people who get arrested doing such tactics and you have the numbers to help you get away with doing such tactics.

This also recalls the primary problem with the Weather Underground, the misguided idea that a few radicals in the U.S. could kick start some kind of wider social insurrection. It didn't work then and the political zeitgeist then was favorable for people listening to radicals, like it is now.

Put down the fancy tomes and language about insurrectionism and go talk to your neighbors and co-workers. You'll probably find that they are open about radical analysis of contemporary politics.

C

[ # ]
Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters
Authored by: veranasi on Sunday, May 09 2010 @ 10:12 PM CDT

Please don't delete this comment. Define fancy tomes. I'm serious. There's a lot of talk about how everyone needs to speak and write a certain way. I don't think universalism is the best way to go. It it were, the use of the word "tome" was have to be banned.

 

While I think the communiques are frequently verbose, most of the time the people are trying to figure out how to communicate, be it academese, slang, etc.

The other thing that is often overlooked is that the conclusions of a lot is this insurrectionalism is: things like "movements" are alienating. That is, they have gone and talked to their neighbors and no one actually gives a shit about a movement that doesn't offer them something. The IWW can't give people the protection they need to be effective. Platformism requires people to join a clique and that kind of commitment doesn't mesh with reality. Infoshops and cute projects like that are too insular due to their political nature. A lot of this thought is taken from post-68 thinkers, and chances are people are trying to emulate these writers in their communication.

In their perspective:

What people need is something that gives them power. That's why many people will go on about smashing shit and shoplifting. The problem is, the current generation of anarchists learned nothing from the post-left critique. You actually have to appeal to people. Defeat doesn't appeal.

You have to offer something they want. Little autonomous smashy smasheries could do that if the rest of the anarchists weren't demanding that their pet projects were the most important thing of the decade. (That's what I tried to communicate in "The Politics of Time Stamps", but I guess it wasn't suitable for this site or something. On other sites, it mostly made left-anarchists pissed, despite the fact that it mostly critiqued some bizarre authoritarian IA tendencies.) What is glaringly obvious is the viral nature of infighting going on. It isn't just critique anymore, it's turning into outright opposing political prisoners because of disapproval of tactics. 

The irony is that May Day marks the events at Haymarket. The matyrs recieved similar hate. Remember the "Fuck Puritanism" campaign? We might need more of that before we all successfully tear each other apart for not meeting whatever personal codes of anarchist conducts we hold other people to.

The IA strategy is about becoming that force that is "ungovernable." Given the fact that society is full of passive consumers, who are looking for a cheap, quick way to identify with something powerful, anarchists are caught in a position of trying to figure out how  maneuver through neoliberalism.  Politics are boring. Meetings are boring. Community projects that have to compete with non-governmental agencies fail. Non-corporate unions don't have the power to protect anyone.

Maybe it all appears to be pseudo-mafioso antics for kids, but at least they are trying.

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Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters
Authored by: Admin on Monday, May 10 2010 @ 05:04 AM CDT

I've made no secret of my opinion about insurrectionism. It's fashionable now, but it offers no real methodology to advance radical social change, especially in the USA. I totally understand and support the idea of ungovernables and I think there is a time and place for smashy-smashy tactics, but I think that basing your politics around these tactics is just political suicide at this time in the U.S. Even if conditions were more favorable, say something like the years before 9/11, I'd still argue against insurrectionism.

I have plenty of criticisms concerning movement-building, but I still think that movements are the most viable forms of social change. The problem is that the proponents of movement-building don't understand the correct way of building movements. They focus on the trappings of movements, such as creating organizations. A movement is built because people see something worth joining. For example, you can explain and cajole people about the importance of joining radical unions like the IWW, but people aren't really going to join until the union DOES something. Like organizing workers at Borders or Starbucks.

A similar example is the anti-war movement. Many leftist organizations focused on movement building, often for their own interest in controlling said movements, but their tactics reflected their interests in movement-building. The goal of the anti-war activist is to do things that will oppose the war, not build the movement. That activity in opposing the war will draw more supporters, thus building the movement.

Those of us who successfully grew the U.S. anarchist movement in the late 1990s and early 2000s did it through organizing practical projects, campaigns and resistance. We weren't using the standard leftist model of always focusing on movement building.

We were successful, when the Left had been marginal for years. It would pay to listen to those of us who have a track record of success.

Meetings are boring? Sure, but nobody ever claimed that the revolution would be some stimulating Wii game. Creating effective social change requires lots of hard work. Just like any kind of project, ranging from growing a garden to raising children.

I have little patience for younger anarchists, anti-authoritarians and radicals who whine about organizing being "boring." If you put energy into it and exercise some responsibility in not quitting or undermining the work of others, the results can be quite exciting!

C

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Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters
Authored by: veranasi on Monday, May 10 2010 @ 10:35 PM CDT

"I have little patience for younger anarchists, anti-authoritarians and radicals who whine about organizing being "boring."

I understand your point. I'm not a spring chicken. That doesn't mean that people aren't feeling crappy because there's no satisfaction in continued failure.

The other thing is I remember the late Nineties. Until Seattle, there wasn't much going on.

The other thing, still, is: the problem of a nihilistic populous. People feel so desparate, they will vote against their beliefs, because it gives them something to identify with, that will win something. Right now, anarchism is a joke. Not because of insurrectionists, but because most of America doesn't see anarchy as the way we do.

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Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters
Authored by: Admin on Monday, May 10 2010 @ 11:15 PM CDT

But you do make a good point, there should be a "fun" aspect to making revolution. If you've been involved in enough protests, campaigns and organizations, you'll know about the fun times involved. Like solidarity during a sit-in. The thrill and adrenaline of doing a prank or a surprise protest. The awesomeness of shutting a city down for a few hours. Going to dinner with comrades after an excellent meeting.

But there are always those things that make social change boring and frustrating. Egotistical and narcissistic people. People who think that a meeting is the place to renact some student council meeting. And so on.

C

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Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 10 2010 @ 11:17 PM CDT

seattle was a coalescing of a lot of local organizing and hard-fought struggles in local communities. from anti-sweatshops, to anti-logging, to anti-outsourcing and anti-over-fishing activists, tons of people who had spent the nineties organizing to pressure the government to change (since Clinton was already a Dem, folks did not have an electoral option to divert energy from direct organizing and pressuring the govt) came together around one global issue that effected all their local issues. the organizers of seattle identified all those local movements and tailored arguments for each of them for why they should care about the WTO. so i wouldn't say not much was happening, i would say tons of local struggles were building for a decade and then came together. i feel like we are building back up to another moment like that. perhaps we should be keeping our eyes open for an opportunity to unite all the local struggles now in the same way against one global issue once again? perhaps an IMF convergence would be good, with serious organizing and outreach to local struggles around foreclosures, housing, education, eco-activists, climate change, etc.... to unite them all against the IMF in October?

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Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters
Authored by: Admin on Tuesday, May 11 2010 @ 02:16 AM CDT

Exactly! There was A LOT going on in the run up to Seattle, which is why that event was such a break through. Younger and newer activists who want to know the secret to organizing successfully should start with what we were doing before Seattle. The events in Seattle and on N30 didn't just happen. All of it was the culmination of a shitload of organizing, on the Seattle/N30 event and on other campaigns, including 1) the anti-IMF/World Bank movement; 2) fresh labor orgnaizing around campaigns such as Borders and Nike; 3) eco-activism; 4) pirate radio and independent media activism; 5) Critical Mass struggles; and much more.

The anarchist movement in the U.S. had gone through a resurgence in the period 1995-2000. Conferences, protests, and organizations helped with that. This website was also instrumental, as was new technology such as the World Wide Web.

Chuck

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Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters
Authored by: notverycreative on Tuesday, May 11 2010 @ 10:15 AM CDT

"I think there is a time and place for smashy-smashy tactics, but I think that basing your politics around these tactics is just political suicide at this time in the U.S. Even if conditions were more favorable, say something like the years before 9/11, I'd still argue against insurrectionism."

i think the most unfortunate thing is that insurrectionary anarchism is simply "politics based around smashy-smashy tactics" in so many people's minds (even ia's, unfortunately). i've been recently re-reading a lot of the italian, kka, etc shit and getting a much different feel from it.

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Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters
Authored by: notverycreative on Tuesday, May 11 2010 @ 10:03 AM CDT

i want to hug you

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Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters
Authored by: Insurrectionsfun on Saturday, May 08 2010 @ 07:35 PM CDT

 

You should be inspired by the crumbling of the global economy and how that is leading to the escalation of militant insurrectionary actions all aross the globe.

The crumbling of capitalism is the life blood of a new revolution that gives birth to many alterantives, one of them being the anarchist alterative. Either way there is great rebellion tht is very near. Every single thing that is breaking down before your very eye's is a single seed of resistance been planted at just right moment. Anyone paying attention to the financial news and economic forcasts for global markets, the dollar, the debt/deficits would know that big financial crash is imminent.

Many are calling it "the crash of 2010" but that can drag out for another 2 or 3 years before every domino has fallen.    

The order is which the dominos are set to fall:

1) GREECE

2) ITALY

3) PORTUGUL

4) SPAIN

5) UK

5) USA!

 

 

 

 

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Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 10 2010 @ 05:26 PM CDT

capitalism has figured out a way to survive every crisis for the past few hundred years, things are not about to completely fall apart in any sense in the U.S., or even the rest of the PIIGS besides Greece. don't psyche yourself out, it's more unstable now than in the past decade or two, but it is nowhere near toppling, and will find a way to recuperate/reorganize to survive, as it has done for centuries. basically: calm down and don't act like the world is ending soon, cuz it's not. people thought that in the 60s too, and it landed a lot of them in the prisons that never crumbled for a long time.

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Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters
Authored by: ObbieZ on Saturday, May 08 2010 @ 07:43 PM CDT

Hypocrisy alert: You claim to be so against the capitalist system, yet you bemoan the lack of Keystone "beer" (a Coors product). So do you buy cardboard for your protest signs at WalMart?

When I first heard of the Santa Cruz riots, it sounded like another case of Black Bloc hangers-on busting shit up simply for the sake of busting shit up... all I could call it is "childish."

A lot of independent business owners would agree with you on many things, and COULD become allies if you weren't so confrontatory. When you go around busting shit up, all you do is piss people off and make enemies out of people who COULD be your friends.

And quit bitching about "the man" while you're complaining that you can't get "the man's" beer. Either bite the bullet and buy the (yes, more expensive) independent locally-made beverages, or make your own damn beer.

Edited on Saturday, May 08 2010 @ 07:59 PM CDT by ObbieZ
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Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters
Authored by: nostalgia on Saturday, May 08 2010 @ 10:21 PM CDT

It should be pretty obvious to everyone that the more disruptive mayday actions (Santa Cruz and Asheville, in particular) weren't attempts to have open dialogues with the broader working class. I don't think anyone really thinks that a reasonable conversation is going to be had with someone running down the street with a ski mask and a hammer. Therefore, discussions around this topic should at least be honest enough to start from the point that, in all likelihood, people probably weren't running down the street breaking every window in sight wondering why their neighbors weren't out on the street discussing their recent layoff or foreclosed home with them. That said, it isn't necessarily a problem. It's basically dumb as shit to pretend that any one action should carry with it all of the elements of a successful revolutionary strategy. This year it seems like, in lots of cities, mayday was a day of attack. Anarchists hate rich people so they break their things. Not that complicated. The effects (gains or losses) of these attacks are not isolated to May 1. On the one hand, there's lots of felony arrests which sucks because its going to make further action a lot harder for a lot of people in the near future. On the other hand, these kinds of rampages can be skill building exercises. The participants see the collective power they have, learn to trust each other (hopefully) and can use their gained understanding of their collective potential to work on other ventures (which don't have to have shit to do with breaking windows). One thing that should be learned is the importance of tactical decision making, basically, knowing when to get the fuck out of an area before the police arrive. If there weren't so many damn arrests on mayday this year, we could have more productive discussions on tactics. There is a need for actions that build popular support. The chances that the people involved in the mayday disruptions aren't also involved in these types of actions is slim to none. The events in Asheville and Santa Cruz this mayday seem somewhat similar to the mayday action in San Francisco last year, the difference being that, from my understanding, there were no arrests in the San Francisco rampage. This year, San Francisco took a different approach, still disruptive but attempting to locate the "thin ridge, just enough for us to walk on"; the middle ground between masked rampage and liberal boredom. Hopefully the middle ground will encourage a popular disruptive movement that doesn't incur more felony arrests and FBI attention than it can support while continuing to expand, however, this is clearly optimistic. Time (and the streets) will tell.

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Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters
Authored by: Admin on Sunday, May 09 2010 @ 05:10 PM CDT

If there is no effort to have an open dialogue with the working class or any effort to organize with workers or people in the community, then these "rampages" are just mindless vandalism with no point. Certainly not worth the jail time and legal costs for the people involved and their friends, family and comrades. It's also pretty mindless to be smashing out the windows of random small businesses instead of targeting capitalist businesses.

Chuck

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Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 10 2010 @ 05:31 PM CDT

except anarchists didn't just "break rich people's things" they broke car windows of schoolteachers and nurses, windows of small businesses whose owners are not rich, etc.... they also broke some rich people's things, but the smashing of the things of working class people was fucking stupid.

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Why I Support the Santa Cruz Rioters
Authored by: Insurrectionsfun on Sunday, May 09 2010 @ 11:41 PM CDT

 

One side of me thinks the people are waking up already while the pessimistic side say's quite the opposite.

The news media has convinced just about every American to be disillusioned with the idea of using rebellion to topple the American regime and that it's not even necessary but that it's perfectly fine and necessary to do it to every other government around the world. The media has way too much power over peoples minds and the public is too slow to realize this.

I know people are brainwashed into not thinking for them selves. People are fed a false understanding of freedom which is something that makes the struggle a lot harder to cope with. As heart breaking as this may be while some decide to drop out, "the struggle continues" with out them. The American people are also too afraid to take matters into their own hands. They have been taught by society to call the police to handle conflict and have been weakened as a result of this. They do not see the police as the enemy yet but when they do what will happen? Will they desire to join the struggle to break free? Our goal should be to get everyone to join us to destroy the pillars of social control. People have to be in favor of overthrowing the government and I think we can convince a majority that an uprising is necessary before 60% of the population is living in a tent city with nothing to eat and no where to bathe. Just look at the millions of people being abandon by capitalism everyday.

People are being forced out onto the street by mass eviction and foreclosure. Unemployment just went up and the true numbers are being covered up just like every government because that is the job of every government, COVER-UPS. Unemployment is really 22% if you count the people who have exceeded their 6 month unemployment entitlement. Listen, I happen to know that the peoples patients is waring thin even though they are a bunch of sheep and some of them wanna be sheep dogs. As the time passes them by and things continue to get worse as the media say's things are just great and improving people become more frustrated and that frustration lead to anger and that anger leads to action. We are suppose to influence how that anger materializes all around us. That is our job. Do we want to negotiate with the power structure or do we only live to see it fall is the question?  

We need to continue the insurrectionary struggle until the debt get's so out of hand that we go bankrupt as a nation which is already underway. When it Americas turn to ask other countries for bailouts and then the same austerity measures get imposed upon the American people to fit the bill, it's going to be sudden upheaval which is something the military is still preparing for as I type. If we burn the images of rioting into people heads leading up to the 2nd great American depression followed by austerity, you will see the same images of national strikes, MASS RIOTS and who knows how crazy the people on the "right"  will get with their "no taxation with out representation" rhetoric with guns locked and loaded. If there are camps, just saying, those people will be the first to go and it will be up to the masses who are unarmed to disobey and continue to disobey until the military has lost all ability to function and the morale in the marines continue to go down.  

If you don't see the picture I see, it means you have not been paying attention. This is a chess game where information is critical. Timing is critical. And action being taken based up on the information at just the right time is SUPER critical. We should be using the crisis to our own advantage. To bring about a revolutionary way of life we must seize up every opportunity to wake people up while destroying what destroys lives all over. We should be proving to people that obedience at a time like this is becoming more and more meaningless as it is becoming more evident to everyone that they are just standing in line waiting to get fuckt by the system. We can make better moves in this chess game if we pay attention to economic trends so we'll get a better idea of what's to come in the future. We can make better moves.

There is a way for everyone to break free and to help others to break them selves free by joining us.

It's called not following orders and not giving up on the insurrection not matter what happens and knowing that people will eventually understand why we do what we do and why it is necessary.

They will see the big picture when they are reduced to nothing like all the MILLIONS of others!

 

 

 

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