I first saw Testament perform in 2007, following a small-scale riot in Athens, Ohio. It was exciting to see an MC delivering an explicitly anarchist message with the skills and charisma it takes to make real hip hop, rather than the well-intentioned imitation one sometimes finds in politicized circles.
Testament has since released a handful of recordings, some of which are freely available for downloading. His original work, such as “Get Into It” with Illogik as Test Their Logik, shows great promise, but thus far my favorite track is his interpretation of pop radio hit “Kiss Me Through The Phone.”
Testament does with this song what we did with pay phones and the Situationists did with comic strips. Just as a minor ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Whatever medical science may profess, there is a difference between Life and survival. There is more to being alive than just having a heartbeat and brain activity. Being alive, really alive, is something much subtler and more magnificent. Their instruments measure blood pressure and temperature, but overlook joy, passion, love, all the things that make life really matter. To make our lives matter again, to really get the most out of them, we will have to redefine life itself. We have to dispense with their merely clinical definitions, in favor of ones which have more to do with what we actually feel.
As it stands, how much living do we have in our lives? How many mornings do you wake up feeling truly free, thrilled to be alive, breathless... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) This world, the so-called “real world,” is just a front. Pull back the curtain and you’ll see the libraries are all filled with runaways writing novels, the highways are humming with escapees and sympathizers, all the receptionists and sensible mothers are straining at the leash for a chance to show how alive they still are… and all that talk of practicality and responsibility is just threats and bluffing to keep us from reaching out our hands to find that heaven lies in reach before us.
You can taste it in the shock and roar of a first, unexpected kiss, or in the blood in your mouth that instant after an accident when you realize you’re still alive. It blows in the wind you feel on the rooftops of a really r... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Several thousand migrants have fled Honduras, hoping to escape poverty, violence, and repression. Donald Trump and his fellow nationalists and racists have been fearmongering about this so-called “migrant caravan” in hopes of mobilizing their base to vote in the November 6 election; their efforts have triggered a wave of fascist violence including last week’s massacre at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. Still more troubling is Trump’s order to send thousands of US troops to “defend” against the caravan. This sets yet another precedent for the use of the military against civilian populations. Here, we explain why everyone who is not a racist ideologue has a common stake in resisting the militarization of the bor... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Emma Goldman knew it. Mikhail Bakunin warned everyone about it half a century before the Russian Revolution. Veterans of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army Ashanti Alston and Kuwasi Balagoon drew the same conclusion. There’s no such thing as revolutionary government. You can’t use the instruments of government to abolish oppression.
Since the mid-19th century, anarchists have maintained that the key to liberation is not to seize the state but to abolish it. Yet from Paris to St. Petersburg, from Barcelona to Beijing, one generation of revolutionaries after another has had to learn this lesson the hard way. Shuffling politicians in and out of power changes little. What matters are the instruments of rule—the... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) It should have come as no surprise yesterday when the grand jury in St. Louis refused to indict Darren Wilson, the police officer who murdered Michael Brown last August in Ferguson, Missouri. Various politicians and media outlets had labored to prepare the public for this for months in advance. They knew what earnest liberals and community leaders have yet to acknowledge: that it is only possible to preserve the prevailing social order by giving police officers carte blanche to kill black men at will. Otherwise, it would be impossible to maintain the racial and economic inequalities that are fundamental to this society. In defiance of widespread outrage, even at the cost of looting and arson, the legal system will always protect officers fr... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Since Minneapolis police brutally murdered George Floyd on May 25, 2020, demonstrations have exploded across the US and the world. Millions of people have taken to the streets to demand justice for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and an end to police violence and terror, underscoring the need to eradicate systemic racism by radically transforming our society. Within 24 hours of the explosion of protest, the President of the United States claimed that anarchists and anti-fascists were responsible for the unrest that has occurred in cities across the country.
This move to blame anarchists and “antifa” is intended to discredit these popular uprisings while demonizing and isolating the participants. Yet the ways that the prevailing... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Maybe you missed this, but you’re not in a dialogue. Your views are beside the point. Argue all you want—your adversaries are glad to see you waste your breath. Better yet if you protest: they’d rather you carry a sign than do anything. They’ll keep you talking as long as they can, just to tire you out—to buy time.
They intend to force their agenda on you. That’s what all the guns are for, what the police and drones and surveillance cameras are for, what the FBI and CIA and NSA are for, what all those laws and courts and executive orders are for. It’s what their church is for, what those racist memes are for, what online harassment and bullying are for. It’s what gay bashings and church burni... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) I’m writing from Rojava. Full disclosure: I didn’t grow up here and I don’t have access to all the information I would need to tell you what is going to happen next in this part of the world with any certainty. I’m writing because it is urgent that you hear from people in northern Syria about what Trump’s “troop withdrawal” really means for us—and it’s not clear how much time we have left to discuss it. I approach this task with all the humility at my disposal.
I’m not formally integrated into any of the groups here. That makes it possible for me to speak freely, but I should emphasize that my perspective doesn’t represent any institutional position. If nothing else, this sh... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) In the following timeline and interview, an anarchist collective in Hong Kong presents a complete overview of the months-long uprising, reviewing its achievements, identifying its limits, celebrating the inspiring moments of mutual aid and defiance, and critiquing the ways that it has yet to pass beyond a framework based in the appeal to authority and the outrage of the citizen. This is a follow-up to the interview we published with the same group in June.
The struggle in Hong Kong has been polarizing on an international level. Some conspiracy theorists are determined to read any form of protest against the Chinese government merely as the machinations of the US state department, as if it were impossible for protesters to set their own age... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Three years ago today, police in Athens, Greece murdered Alexis Grigoropoulos, a fifteen-year-old student. This touched off the first wave of unrest to follow the economic crisis of 2008, setting the scene for the upheavals that have followed since in North Africa, Spain, and elsewhere.
To commemorate Alexis’s life and the efforts of all who set out to avenge his death, we’re offering selections from an interview we did with comrades in Greece the following year, when the riots were over but momentum was still fresh. The interview serves as a sort of historical snapshot, documenting the heady optimism of the time but also the realization of how vast the barriers to revolution still were. A great deal has changed since then; Gre... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) If you could change anything, what would you change? Would you go on vacation for the rest of your life? Make fossil fuels stop causing climate change? Ask for ethical banks and politicians? Surely nothing could be more unrealistic than to keep everything the way it is and expect different results. Our private financial and emotional struggles mirror global upheaval and disaster. We could spend the rest of our days trying to douse these fires one by one, but they stem from the same source. No piecemeal solution will serve; we need to rethink everything according to a different logic.
To change anything, start everywhere.
Start with Self-determination
The phantom of liberty still haunts a world cast in its image. We have been promised c... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Across over two months of protests, demonstrators in Portland have experimented with a variety of tactics and strategies. The clashes in Portland drew international attention starting in mid-June, when footage spread of federal agents in unmarked cars snatching demonstrators off the sidewalks and Donald Trump announced that federal agents would be using this model to intervene in other cities around the United States. After Trump’s announcement, the demonstrations in Portland grew exponentially, drawing thousands each night, until the governor of Oregon declared that federal agents would be withdrawn from the streets. In the following overview, participants in the Portland demonstrations describe some of the tools and tactics they hav... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Comrades in Germany, France, and elsewhere have prepared the following overview of the 2017 G20 summit in Hamburg and the resistance it provoked. As a gesture of solidarity with others who fought the G20 and with those who will face it in Buenos Aires this November, we present their text here.
This is a detailed report and reflection on what happened before, during, and after the 2017 G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. At the same time, it is a letter addressed to the activists and residents of Buenos Aires, Argentina—where the next summit (protest) will soon take place.
The authors come from Paris and Hamburg; they took part in the protest week together. They began working on this book in September 2017, discussing and composing ever... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Our last update offered an overview of what happened in Toronto during the anarchist actions against the G20 June 25–27. We’ve received the following blow-by-blow report from on the ground there, offering context and analysis from inside the riots that shook Canada’s largest city. Anarchists have fully emerged in North America as a force to be reckoned with following the events in Toronto, and it is important to understand how this came about. The black bloc has become a household name throughout the region, and we must use this exposure to our advantage by maintaining our visibility even in the face of repression. We must also look critically at the events of the weekend in order to make strategic advances toward our goal... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) On the anniversary of the anti-fascist mobilization in Charlottesville, in response to a call for a weekend of international solidarity, we’ve received a solidarity statement from the Collectif des Mères Solidaires in France, the Collective of Mothers in Solidarity.
One year ago, we felt with you the pride of seeing a powerful anti-fascist movement rise up against a far-right and white-supremacist gathering in Virginia.
We also felt the terrible sadness of seeing a young woman who stood up against all forms of discrimination murdered by fascist hatred: Heather Heyer, this shining face, this strong and at the same time calm determination to refuse the unacceptable. Too much light, too much determination…
This is the s... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) For as long as anyone can remember, the FBI has infiltrated radical communities in hopes of framing people on criminal charges. This has intensified in anarchist circles over the past few years. A handful of unfortunates now languish in prison, serving up to decades for actions they never carried out and probably would never have even considered were it not for the efforts of agents provocateurs. How does the government choose who to target? What factors put people at risk? Most importantly, what can we do to protect ourselves and each other?
This is required reading for anyone going to the impending Earth First! Rendezvous in Oregon, the CrimethInc. convergence in Pittsburgh July 20–26, or, for that matter, any other radical gatheri... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) In summer 2013, we interviewed the Turkish group Revolutionary Anarchist Action (Devrimci Anarşist Faaliyet, or DAF) about the uprising that began in Gezi Park. At the end of summer 2014, we learned that DAF was supporting the fierce resistance that residents of the town of Kobanê in northern Syria were putting up to the incursion of the fundamentalist Islamic State.
During the civil war in Syria that began with the Arab Spring, the Kurdish region of northern Syria, known as Rojava, asserted its autonomy and began carrying out experiments in horizontal organization. Rojava is surrounded on all sides by hostile forces: Assad’s beleaguered Syrian government, which lost control of the region a couple years ago; the Turkish go... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Direct action—that is, any kind of action that bypasses established political channels to accomplish objectives directly—has a long and rich heritage in North America, extending back to the Boston Tea Party and beyond. Despite this, there are many misunderstandings about it, in part due to the ways it has been misrepresented in the corporate media.
1. Direct action is terrorism.
Terrorism is calculated to intimidate and thus paralyze people. Direct action, on the other hand, is intended to inspire and thus motivate people by demonstrating the power individuals have to accomplish goals themselves. While terrorism is the domain of a specialized class that seeks to acquire power for itself alone, direct action demonstrates poss... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) In May, Jeremy Christian, an alt-right proponent of so-called “free speech,” murdered two people on a commuter train in Portland who were responding to his attacks on two teenage women of color. In response, far-right organizers promoted a rally in favor of “free speech” to take place in downtown Portland on June 4. Portland Police, Oregon State Police, the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and a host of other state forces mobilized to protect these “patriots” from the consequences of promoting hatred and violence.
The events in Portland reflect a classic model we have already seen police and fascists employ in Berkeley. Police disarm and disempower demonstrators so fascists can attack them with ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) While Putin tries to change the subject from insurrection to war (perhaps in fear that the contagion of unrest will spread inside Russian borders), we believe it is especially important for anarchists and others with a stake in social movements to learn from the revolution in Ukraine. Specifically, we want to study how nationalist and fascist elements were able to take the initiative, and how to minimize the likelihood of this occurring elsewhere in the future.
To that purpose, we present an interview here with a member of the Autonomous Workers’ Union in Kiev, who discusses why groups like Svoboda and Pravy Sector were positioned to take advantage of the social movement, and evaluates the effectiveness of the various strategies anar... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) We have heard terrifying stories from the revolution in Ukraine: anarchists participating in anti-government street-fighting behind nationalist banners, anarchist slogans and historical figures appropriated by fascists, a dystopia in which familiar movements and strategies reappear with our enemies at the helm.
This text is a clumsy first attempt to identify the important questions for anarchists elsewhere around the world to discuss in the wake of the events in Ukraine. We present it humbly, acknowledging that our information is limited, hoping that others will correct our errors and improve on our analysis. It has been difficult to maintain contact with comrades in the thick of things; surely it is frustrating to be peppered with ill-inf... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) November and December 2010 saw an unprecedented wave of student protest in the UK, touched off by an attack on the right-wing Tory party headquarters during a demonstration against tuition increases. With the assistance of members of the Last Hours collective, we’ve completed a belated overview of the causes and highlights of the UK student movement.
The events in the UK are significant in that they come on the heels of labor unrest in Spain and France, and coincided with fierce student protests in Italy as well. To the south, the government of Tunisia has just been toppled, sending shockwaves to Egypt. Broadly speaking, these are all reactions to the effects of the ongoing financial crisis that came into public consciousness in 2008... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Unless you grant our demands, from the close of the millennium at midnight, New Year’s Eve, onwards,
happiness, self-esteem, and mental clarity will be held hostage from the populace by a ruthless elite of advertising executives and other psychologists, utilizing a constant barrage of propaganda upon all five senses to maintain their power ;
corporations will steal the most precious hours from the lives of millions of human beings, converting them into useless trinkets, pollution, tedium, and work-related injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome ;
those trapped within the frontiers of this ever-expanding hell will take their apathy and anger out on themselves and each other with firearms, addictive drugs, and abus... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Pop quiz: what is it called when one of the finest minds of a generation picks a few individuals who are personally involved in the destruction of the environment (a timber-industry lobbyist) or of the attention span and reasoning ability of tens of thousands of Americans (an advertising executive), and kills or maims them in the pursuit of finding a voice for his concerns about social issues… concerns that otherwise would be heard by very few? Clearly, it is murder.
And what is it called when a nation of overweight barbers and underpaid clerks, of lazy unemployed middle class intellectuals and talk-show-educated housewives, of cowardly fast-food-chin managers and racist sorority girls, conspires to execute this murderer in the name... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) It’s that time of year again, when students head back to school. With the government lurching towards tyranny and fascists killing people on the streets, it has never been more pressing to organize on campuses to promote self-determination and collective defense against oppression. This is especially pressing because from Berkeley to Charlottesville, the far-right has set their sites on campuses as a place to recruit future stormtroopers and suppress critiques of authoritarian power. If you are a student yourself, now is the time to lay your plans—whether that means founding a formal student group, coordinating an informal network, or at least preparing to distribute literature. To do our part, we will be publishing a series of ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Ask an urban bird what a polluted sky is. You’ll get no answer. Even if birds could tell their tale so you could understand it, they would likely have no explanation for the pollutants they breathe and fly through every moment of their lives. Polluted air simply is. Birds take it for granted.
The first step in combating oppression is learning to recognize it. Many people in North America seem to think racism, for example, is a thing of the past, banished now by affirmative action programs and Black History month. Radicals often have a stronger awareness of how prevalent racism still is, and may even develop an analysis of how it is only one manifestation of systematic white supremacy, but many go no further than this. To undermine an... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Until recently, few in the Western world had heard of the Kurds, let alone their revolutionary history. Brought into the spotlight by their fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), they have received a great deal of attention both from the mainstream mass media and from radicals and revolutionaries around the world.
Romanticized and often summarized superficially as a population fighting Islamists, the Kurds have a tradition of self-defense extending across several national borders. They have been fighting for their liberation since the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, if not prior; the religious revolts led by Sheikh Said in 1925 and the uprising against assimilation in Dersim in 1937 are only two examples out of a long... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Over three hundred people participated in this summer’s CrimethInc. convergence, perhaps one and a half times the attendance of last year’s. The two and a half days set aside for workshops were not enough to accommodate all the workshops participants hoped to present, even with four sessions a day and five running at a time. In a matter of days, an overgrown tangle of wilderness that had been abandoned for twenty-odd years became a fully-functioning campsite capable of hosting workshops, cooking, a full-time arts and crafts center, and a walk-in ’zine library and prisoner support station even in the midst of intense rainstorms. Everyone had access to camping space, three healthy meals a day, comprehensive health care, nons... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) August 5 through 10, 2003, a gathering of touring theater troupes loosely associated with the radical publishing collective CrimethInc. took place around and within Louisville, Kentucky.
No, that’s no way to begin. Fuck the dry A.P. press release tone, this has to really grab people, convey what it was like to be there — it should put readers in our shoes, not just “inform” them, as if it was possible to do so in an impartial manner in the first place. Maybe we could start in medias res, at the high point of the action:
The roar of the helicopter grew deafening as it circled lower around the house, the searchlight scouring the walls outside. Our host clasped her baby closer to her breast; we all shuddered. At that ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)