Rolling Thunder – Summer 2012 – CrimethInc

Excellent anarchist journal from CrimethInc. I love the definitions.

  • Accident – A statistical inevitability. Some unclear power plants are built on fault lines, but every mine, dam, oil rig, and waste dump is founded upon the tacit acceptance of the worst case scenario. on a long enough timeline, everything that can go wrong will, however small the likelihood is from one day to the next. the responsibe parties may wring their hands about Japan – and Haiti and the gulf and new orleans and mexico city – but accident is no accident.
  • Agency – until november 1999, few anarchists knew anything about the WTO or the IMF. shortly after the historic protests of 1999 and 2000, any punk or fell-travler could expound upon their wrongdoings in greater detail than the average grad student. feeling that one has some influence over an issue, every by proxy or association, makes on a  great deal more interested in it. activists usually begin by trying to educate the public in order to build up to taking action. perhaps they’ve got it backwards
  • Bailout – in the words of Benito bussolini, “Facismin should rightly be called Corporatism, as it is the merger of corporate and government power.” this neologism did not take off however, probably because fascism is not the only political system based on such a merger
  • Common Sense – What is common become sense, but what is sensible does not necessarily become common
  • Critique – at first, one only recognizes particular instances to be worthy of critique; critique appears synonymous with rejection, implying deficiency in that which is critiqued.. over time, one discovers that everything warrants critique. this can produce cynicism: nothing is above reproach, nothing is pure, therefore nothing is worthwhile. but followed through to its logical conclution, this insight inspires a profound optimism: if everything can be critiqued, then no matter how bleak things are, there is always a way to improve them.
    those thow comprehend this can pass beyond the binary of approval wind disapproval, striving to identify the conflicting currents within any subject of inquiry so as to take sides inside positions as well as between them.
  • Debate – an opportunity for mutual gain often mistaken for a competition, to the misfortune of us all
  • Gift shop – another contradiction in terms – can even gift-giving be conscripted to capitalist ends
  • Market forces – indeed it does
  • Top-Down – denoting a system in which actions are initiated at the top of a hierarchy. one might think the opposite to be “bottom up,” but this still assumes an “up”; many grass-roots initiatives makes this error, attempting to exert leverage through political channels rather than developing the power to achieve their goals autonomously. better simply to topple pyramids than to attempt to defy gravity.
  • resistance is the motor of history: it drives social, political, and technological developments, forcing the prevailing order to innovate constantly in order to outflank or absorb opposition. thus we can contribute to tremendous transformations without ever achieving our object
  • the essential fabric of our society – the curtain that stands between us and another world – is above all the good behavior of exploited and excluded alike.
  • in an economy full of opportunities to sell one’s labor, it makes sense to emphasize the importance of other motivations for activity; in a precarious economy, being willing to work for free has different implications. the state increasingly relies on the same do-it-yourself ethic that once animated the punk underground to offset the deleterious effects of capitalism. it is cheaper to let environmentalists volunteer to clean up the BP oil spill than to pay employees to do this.
  • Play is not constrained by external demands – the player establishes her own goals and meanings in the course of acting. play takes place in a condition of freedom – rather, it is the condition of freedom. in play, the individual interacts with the forces around her rather than reacting to them, creates the context for her actions as she acts rather than passively being shaped by the situation: it is thus that self-determination is possible”
  • perhaps the central contradiction of our age is that the new technologies and social forms horizontalize production and distribution of information, yet render us more dependent on corporate products
  • some have argued that in the absence of a  center, when the aforementioned virus is much more dangerous than the frontal assault, the task is not so much to pick the correct target as to popularize a new way of fighting. if this has not yet occurred, maybe it is simply because anarchists have yet to develop an approach that strikes others as practical. when we demonstrate concrete solutions to the problems posed by the capitalist disaster, perhaps these will catch on.
  • if we permit proponents of hierarchy to monopolize opposition to the prevailing order, anarchists will simply disappear from the stage of history
  • contrary to its mythology, the Left exists to defend the interests of the middle class, not the poor. the welfare programs of social democracy were established to appease the oppressed instead of granting them an equal say in society. likewise, “sustainable” capitalism – tellingly, the latest cause to reinvigorate the Left – is more about sustaining capitalism than sustaining life on earth
  • at our current capacity, we can do little to mitigate the effects of capitalist catastrophes. our task is rather to set off chain reactions of revolt, creating opportunities for others to join us in struggle and keeping thsese spaces free of authoritarian dynamics. we should evaluate everything we undertake in this light.
  • nothing is more terrifying than the possibility that we could live out our dreams, that something is truly at stake in our lives
  • following a blind mantra of attack is like taking the first vulnerable piece you see in a chess game: it can set you up for crushing defeats. this leaves anarchists always on the back foot.
  • the state desperately needs people to distrust and fear each other; without this, it lakes its chief justification for existence
  • however devious the Republicans’ machinations, they passed the bill by democratic process, the same way countless other bills are passed. although the protesters saw themselves as partisans of democracy, in forcing their way back into the capitol om Marth 9 they were essentially asserting that their illegal occupation of the building was more legitimate than Senators doing what they were elected to do in it. Unfortunatnely, this was never articulated; people were prepared to break the law, but not to cease believing in it. 
  • capitalism is not a static condition but a dynamic process of transforming the world. a protest can’t freeze history. even if one wave of cutbacks can be stopped, a thousand more assaults will follow. the state literally can’t back down – the politicians have nowhere to go. this means that apparently realistic goals, such as blocking a particular budget or bill, are actually less realistic than attempting to change the entire system. 
  • “most teachers are maore than happy to take 18% pay cuts, to do anything that will help get the state back and running. We’re most cone rend about the loss of collective bargaining rights.” in other words, we’ll conceded anything – just don’t take away our right to concede! let bill ages keep his $56 billion while we get pay cuts or pink slips, but don’t touch the illusion that we choose this state of affairs.
  • while the so called revolutionary wing of the managers of social revolt wanted to exploit a potentially explosive situation to expand their ranks, anarchists had no interest in exploiting anyone’s death to push a political program. this distention is fundamental. anarchists in the puget sound sought to act in solidarity with those resisting the violence of the police – not out of moral obligation, but because we recognize that our struggle is the same. we act on our own rage, for ourselves, against the forces of domination in our own lives. we don’t demand “justice” or “accountability” – we want total freedom. if we act according to our values, our actions will resonate with new comrades, whom we trust to act on their own values and analysis. we don’t offer a prescription; we don’t seek to control the explosion, we want to lay the detonator. 
  • the second assembly did not represent any constituted group or function as a formal decision-making body. there was no vote or attempt to reach consensus. rather , a loose trajectory arose in an open discussion among comrades who tied their analysis to concrete proposals. individuals were free to flesh out nuances and debate disagreements without pressure to resolve them. one advantage of this approach is that is produces mutual understands of different and even conflicting positions. individuals’ natural tendency to gravitate toward the analyses and proposals that resonate with them reinforces respect for a diversity of tactics. in hindsight, it’s easier to see how these different tactics proved mutually beneficial; what seemed like a series of different plans later revealed itself as a cohesive strategy
  • we do not want a better system because, in fact, better only means more efficient for those who which to kill and imprision us. we do not strive to reform those who love to see us on our knees. instead we seek the total destruction of this system of domination, with our feet planted firmly on the ground.
  • don’t forget who you are. don’t forget what you’re here to do
  • what seems outrageous to one generation becomes  commonplace to the next. you think this can’t happen; but later, when it’s history, no one will be surprised.” – jeanette winterson