Sunday, October 30, 2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

Our Lives Are Not Negotiable!


We are at the beginning of a great shift. We are in motion, all of us, experiencing new ideas, trying out new ways of living, organizing and relating to each other. The old ways of doing things, which have had the feeling of going through the motions for some time now, are finally fading away. Soon they will all be gone.

The truth is we have been tired of this world for some time. It isn't organized for our benefit, which makes sense because it isn't organized by us. It's organized by capitalists and bureaucrats, politicians and technicians. So-called “experts”. The institutions, all of them, have revealed themselves as servants of power, not broken but functioning normally as part of a giant profit- and power-driven machine. It hasn't changed, it's just easier to see it now.

American democracy isn't broken, we are witnessing the logical conclusions of its internal nature. Likewise with American capitalism. We don't need to “fix” it because it isn't broken. Neither was it ever meant to respond to us. In capitalism we produce and consume, but the profits go elsewhere. In democracy we validate capitalist domination over our lives. This is the normal functioning of the system.

This crisis goes beyond “corporate greed” or “getting corporate money out of politics”. It wasn't some character flaw that led to this calamity. And it isn't any particular mechanism by which elite power influences politics that is the problem. It's that elite power controls politics regardless. This is because we live in a dictatorship of money, of capital. Just like you can't get money out of capitalism, you can't get capitalist power out of government because government exists to perpetuate capitalist power.

This crisis goes deep. It's not just foreclosures, it's also the vacuous suburbs themselves. It's not just unemployment, it's the meaninglessness of our jobs. It's also being worked to death in an era of massive technological advancement. It's a system that moves so fast that we never get any time to slow down. We exist for the system, not the other way around. Meanwhile the system throws so many of us away, locking us in prisons, poverty or powerlessness. It eats up the Earth with an insatiable appetite, foisting the costs unto us.

It's a system determined to eat up everything in sight, invading and colonizing everywhere, including our minds and relationships to each other. Always accumulating at our expense, and backed up by the army and the police, it's a system that doles out petty privileges to some while it systematically attacks others, all the while keeping the lion's share for those at the top. And, as we have seen, if it wants to it can take those privileges away. The laws do not protect us so why should we respect them? In this system we have very little control over the fundamental questions of our lives. Picking between brands of ketchup isn't freedom. And neither is working in the ketchup factory. Nor studying at ketchup university.

At such an important point in our history, now is not the time to seek to restore normality. Now is no time to be conservative. Do not hold back! We must resist the temptation to try to return to the way the system functioned in the past. Not only isn't it possible, but it would be a betrayal of this amazing moment. And things weren't so great back then anyhow. Don't beg for reforms. Insist on your dreams. Think big. Look around you for inspiration of how things could be. Now is the moment to ask yourself how you would like the world to be, not what you would settle for. It can be different. It can be totally different.


#Occupy Phoenix reading roundup for 10/28

PCWC's continuously updated news that we think should be of interest to #occupyphoenix.

Postal workers occupy TD Bank on Bay Street (
Activists dropped a banner at a downtown parking garage Wednesday morning to protest Mayor Menino's recent statements concerning anarchists (Boston Indymedia)
Anthropologist Graeber Turns Radical Side Loose in Zuccotti Park Protest (Bloomberg)
On the Previous Few Days, And What Is to Come… (Bay of Rage)

SFPD: Massing of Police Was Training Exercise, Readying For Oakland Protesters (KQED)

Occupy Oakland makes plans for citywide general strike (Mercury)

Behind the Barricades at Occupy Oakland  (Mother Jones)

“Anonymous” Shuts Down Oakland P.D. Website Over #OccupyOakland Battle (Pat Dollard)
Occupy Movement Not Ready for General Strike, Says Duke Labor Historian (Duke)
Getting to the Roots of Capital (Articles on the Occupy movement from an anarchist perspective)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

This Saturday at Occupy Phoenix, a discussion on "Defending Self-Defense from Militant Nonviolence"

 "I am not the 99%! I am me, you are you. In different ways the rulers of this society have screwed us over. Each of us, in different ways, autonomously (but perhaps interweaving what we do), have to respond. To hell with moralistic condemnations of other people's choices in this regard. To hell with imposed guidelines and programs. That guarantees a "movement" that cannot move!"

As seen last night in Oakland and Atlanta, police agencies continue to clamp down on the surge of anti-capitalist, anti-bank, and anti-corporate protests around the country, and Phoenix has been no exception.  Phoenix police made dozens of arrests during the first night of Occupy Phoenix, as people sat down in the park after it closed at 10 PM and refused to leave.  Many of those arrested chanted that they "love the police" and reaffirmed their commitment to non-violence, while riot cops methodically pulled them behind their lines. Notably, one person was grabbed by her head and yanked behind the police line, while another person reported that he received a light beating after he was snatched. Still loving the police?

Anyone in the park who shouted back at the police advance, who had the nerve to challenge the state's attack on a peaceful gathering, was labeled as being "violent", or accused of trying to "provoke the police" by some of the "non-violent" protesters.

There's already a couple of other posts on here in the last few weeks about the role of the police as antagonists to social movements amidst all the cop loving going on, as well as the dead end of a non-violent movement that polices anyone who oppose the presence of armed white supremacists and neo-nazis at Occupy Phoenix.  Furthermore there have been a number of different groups and individuals advocating for some type of "peace police" that will marginalize and even physically isolate any person(s) who may be engaging in "violent" behavior, like defending oneself from a physical attack, or yelling at a cop who is being violent towards others. The Occupy Phoenix encampment will not survive if militant non-violent advocates continue to insist on a "head down" mentality that shames individual or collective self defense, the politicians, cops, and/or nazis will make sure of that.

In addition to some of the problems with the organized non-violence presence, there is also a popular, if factually inaccurate, narrative of non-violent movements (Gandhi, MLK, the civil rights movement) that says they were victorious simply because of the virtuousness of their non-violence.  This one sided understanding of social change throws history and facts out the window in favor of a mythologized interpretation of struggle, one that ignores any context that becomes inconvenient or clashes with the dogma of non-violent protest in the United States.

So, with all the contention over the question of tactics in this current struggle, I was happy to see that a friend of PCWC has organized an event for this weekend to challenge the dogmatism of militant non-violence, and to invite attendees to explore the histories of direct action, movement self defense, and diversity of tactics through a public discussion.  This event will take place this coming Saturday from 2-5 PM, at the Occupy Phoenix camp at Cesar Chavez Plaza (201 W. Washington Street) in downtown Phoenix, I encourage all interested to attend.  The summary for the event is reproduced below:

"Defending Self-Defense from Militant Nonviolence"

From day one of Occupy Phoenix it has been made clear that Kingian nonviolence is the acceptable means of protest, demonstration and direct action.

Nonviolence is a tactic, but it is one of many. It is important to remember that those who defend self-defense as a tactic are likewise not discounting the efficacy of nonviolence.

The purpose of this teach-in is to give a historical account of self-defense and direct action from the abolitionist movement and the Civil Rights era through to the present day.

It would also be extremely important to listen to our Native brothers and sisters, whose land we continue to live upon, on their ongoing struggles against U.S. state oppression and the tactics they employ.

It is also for the purpose of pointing out what Joel Olson has recently described as the "left colorblindness" of the Occupy movement in pointing out the historically different relations that people of color have had with the state and with the police. It seems easy to dismiss self-defense as a tactic when the community you are a part of has never felt oppressive state violence through exclusionary legislation, racial targeting, criminalization, slavery, prison and the dispossession of land.

Also, it is a hope that a discussion regarding the protection of private property rights above human values under nonviolence principles can occur.

Saturday, October 29 · 2:00pm - 5:00pm

Cesar Chavez Plaza
201 W. Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ

#Occupy Phoenix reading roundup for 10/26

Today's continually updated collection of articles we think should be of interest to the Occupy movement.

Letter from an Anonymous Friend: The Morning After the Attack on the Oakland Commune (Anti-Capital Projects)

Reports from Occupations: Oakland, Atlanta, Philly, NYC (BtR)
To the Occupy movement – the occupiers of Tahrir Square are with you (LibCom)

Occupy Wall Street's Race Problem (American Prospect)

What Police Should be Learning From the Occupy Protests (Security Debrief)

A Look at the Occupy Movement In a Manner Neither Forceful Nor Foolish (Counterpunch)

"Corporate greed," or just plain old capitalism? (LibCom)
 Inside the Shocking Police Crackdown on Occupy Oakland: Tear Gas Used, 85 Arrested (Alternet)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

#Occupy Phoenix reading roundup for 10/22

 There might not be much more added today since we're going to be at the #occupyphoenix general assembly all day.


Despite eviction warnings, Occupy Oakland protesters revel into the night (Oakland North)

On Immanence and Occupations (Ian Alan Paul)

Occupy Oakland, Day 12, Morning of Looming Forcible Eviction by Police, 10/21/11: photos (Indybay)

Monday, October 17, 2011

A short primer on jail support for #occupyphoenix from my experience (PCWC)

Here's how jail support goes from my experience:

(0) Get some money together.  Have a house party.  Rob a bank.  Organize a car wash.  Whatever.

(1) Get a land line that someone is going to sit at and wait by in case arrests happen.  That's their job. It's not exciting but it's fucking important. It's gotta be a land line in Maricopa county because Sheriff Joe is an asshole and you can't call cell phones from his prisons.  Let everyone at the action know the number to call.  It should be someone you all agree on and that you trust.  Reliable.

(2) Ask people who might get arrested what name they want to use when they call and who they want you to call for bail money, help, support, a ride, someone to cover for them at work tomorrow or whatever.  People might want to use fake names.  That's okay because fuck the cops.  Write that shit down so you get it right.

(3) It's gonna take a few hours for people to process out.  Maybe 24 hours even or more.  That's just how it goes because the pigs want to keep people out of the game while they protect rich people and the status quo.  That's why they sometimes arrest you and don't charge you.  They're pricks.

(4) Call all your fucking friends.  Have your friends call their friends.  Get your asses down to the fucking jail.  Call your friends who are musicians. The cops or idiot lawyers may tell you that if you stay that people in jail can't see friends, families or lawyers.  This is bullshit.  No one sees family or lawyers before their first appearance before the judge.  The asshole judge is not going to ask about guilt or innocence so lawyers don't really fucking matter at that point.  Don't fall for this shit.  Stay outside the jail and wait for your friend.  They will be happy you did.  If you're loud enough they might hear you.  They'll like that.

(5) Your friends are going to call you.  Do what you agreed to do in step 2.  They will really fucking appreciate it.  Being in jail, especially if your friends are alone, injured, or of a marginalized identity, can really suck.  It can be deadly.  They want to talk to you and to know they are getting out.  Help them with all your heart but don't lie.  Never lie about release prospects.  Don't talk about illegal shit.  The cops are listening.

(6) Pack the room where they are being read their charges.  These days because the fucks who run shit are afraid that we will liberate our friends like we used to back in the day, this mostly happens via video.  Your friends who are locked up probably can't see you, but they will be happy to hear you tell them you were there when it counted after they get out.  So be there.

(7) Bail your friends out if you can.  Really fucking important.

(8) Be outside in large numbers when they get out.  They are going to be so stoked to see you.  They might want a beer, too, so buy it for them because jail fucking sucks.  Maybe buy them two.

Others should chime in if I forgot something.  This shit always meant a lot to me.  And I'm a fucking militant, not a lawyer, so there's your disclosure.  Lawyers should advise but not tell you what to do.  Their job is to get your ass out of jail after you do what you do, not to tell you not to do it.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Whose side are you on? Oh, wait, we know!

Photo via Downtown Devil

This doesn't make you angry?

Do you have a free bone in your fucking body?

Could it be any clearer what side the police are on?

People were peaceful, they rejected the radicals, they carried the American flag around, they negotiated with the city, they sang all the old peace songs and the national anthem, too!  Politicians showed up... and yet, look at the result!

And we anarchists did what we were asked to do.  We didn't riot, we didn't overwhelm you with our weird dress and odd ideas.  We didn't speak to the media.  We didn't cover the space with our flags and banners.  We didn't tag everything.  We didn't fight with the Nazis who showed up.

And yet, isn't it obvious?

The cops are our enemies.  They are the defenders of the rich and powerful -- the very people we are opposing!  Look at what they do when we just try to take a little public space for a few hours to have a discussion about what we think this world should look like as opposed to how it is.

They are not part of the 99%.  Look what they do.

Until everyone is free!  We know who locked them up!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A call to defend Occupy Phoenix!

 A few of the anarchists active in the Occupy Phoenix events have put this call out in response to police threats of aggression towards anyone planning on staying in Margaret T. Hance park overnight.  

All who find themselves in solidarity are encouraged to come downtown tonight.

Occupy Phoenix is moving from Cesar Chavez plaza to Margaret T. Hance park, next to the Burton Barr Library in downtown Phoenix. The move is being made because the Chavez plaza is shut down by the police at 6 PM, whereas Hance park is open until 11.

People are planning on occupying the park tonight, which officially closes at 11 PM. However, the cops have said that there is no way they are going to let anyone stay past that time, nor allow camping gear, nor would they commit to not cracking down violently when pressed by a participant at the Occupy Phoenix gathering today.

In response to the possible attack by the authorities, participants are organizing a party at the park to commence after the thousands arrive from Chavez park to Hance park. There is now an open call out for all interested to come down to Hance park this evening, and into the night.

The new movement challenging the destruction and greed of capitalism must have a space to organize from, which is why we must protect our movement from state and police repression. The wealthy and powerful want to crush the grassroots opposition before we can build our own decentralized power that could potentially change and transform society.

Come down to defend the occupation in Hance Park this evening, and stay all night!

No more banks, no borders!  An end to the era of loan officers, and police officers!

The National Socialist Movement scum show up armed to counter protest #occupyphoenix

Today at the first mass general assembly of the #occupyphoenix movement, neo-Nazi members of the National Socialist Movement showed up, armed and in their "Arizona Border Guard" militia fatigues, to counter protest.  Sporting assault rifles, they posed flanked by dozens of cops.  Recognizing key NSM organizers in their midst, several people confronted them and set about informing the generally ignorant crowd that before them stood actual fascists, armed to the teeth.

Ignorant liberals behaved in a variety of idiotic ways.  Some contending that the Nazis were part of the 99% as well, if only confused.  Others were actually intrigued by the word "socialist".  "I kind of like socialism," one old lady said.  Other confused liberals mistook the fascists for soldiers, forgetting their self-assumed pledge of non-violence (which apparently exempts the military as well) and posing their children for a cool shot with the army guys.

One liberal pacifist came up to confront people speaking loudly about the Nazis, telling them that the protest was supposed to be non-violent and that by using loud language we were being "violent".  She made no such attempt to approach the Nazis, highlighting the deep contradictions and blindspots in the ideology of nonviolence as practiced by this movement, which so far has only deployed this ideology inwards to control participants rather than outwards towards the genuine threats.

This attitude towards the NSM scum played out, quite predictably, along racial lines, with whites being the only ones to express attitudes of tolerance towards them.  This points to the continuing importance of addressing racism and the continual appeal and relevance of racial privileges within the movement.  Indeed, we can expand this argument to the whole attitude of the bulk of the white movement towards the police.  Experiencing policing in quite different ways than people of color in general, white middle class liberals mistake their own experience for that of others, and routinely attack anyone who questions the alleged 99% status of the police, or points out their quite obvious  tendencies towards violent action, as violent themselves.  To question the violence of the police is to be violent, according to this backwards analysis.

The presence of an armed fascist street-level opposition to our movement, in the form of the National Socialist Movement and it's "Arizona Border Guard" front group, is one major reason to reject dogmatic pacifism and poorly thought-out nonviolence.  Instead, what we heard from protesters speaking during the general assembly were declarations of the most naive nonviolence imaginable.  Arizona is a right wing state and the forces of reaction are huge and easily overwhelming if they want to be.

#Occupyphoenix organizers should not kid themselves about their numbers or power.  This movement clearly has capability to attract large numbers, as evidenced by the several thousand that showed up today for the general assembly and will march later to set up camp at Margaret T. Hance park.  But we need to be honest about our political circumstances and the forces of reaction arrayed against us.  Today is a reminder for those who are paying attention.

When the fascists finally departed, one man in a motorized wheel chair came up to me to ask me who they were.  When I told him, a cheer went up from the crowd mocking the vacating Nazis.  He looked at me and said, "They're gone, but don't mistake their absence for the absence of fascists in general."  Standing behind him were the cops.  Another lesson the #occupyphoenix movement has yet to learn.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

New PCWC poster for #occupyphoenix

Build the general strike.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Occupy PHX: Two new posters -- spread far and wide!

New posters for #OccupyPhoenix!  Blast these out there!  Courtesy of the Phoenix Anarchist Movement.  PCWC will have something up soon about how we see things currently.  Until then, see you at the gallows!  Don't let the liberals bore this movement to death in its crib!  Let's contest this shit!